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Salud y Bienestar: How to Stick to Your Health Resolutions and Keep Them

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“No more junk food!”

“Cakes, sweets, and chocolates are so 2014.”

“This year will be different.”

You might identify with one or all of these statements. The start of a new year is almost synonymous with resolutions of all kinds, especially those related to exercise, fitness and nutrition. Usually one of the main goals is to shed the extra pounds gained during the holiday season. This is why January is the peak month for gym memberships subscriptions and renewals, but attendance usually tapers off several weeks later along with the willpower to eat “healthier” foods. There are a couple of things to consider if you want to not only keep your resolution, but create a lifestyle change:

Change your mindset

Think about the why instead of the what. Why do you want to lose weight or eat healthier or do more exercise? Motivation is an important part of achieving a goal. If that motivation is finite— that is, tied to an event or situation— you may reach that goal, but afterward there is no reason to keep at it. But what if your motivation focused on a broader and more fulfilling end goal, such as good health in your golden years? If we start to see health, fitness, and exercise as important factors that support the aging process, we are able to pursue a lifestyle that ensures we are in the best health possible at every stage of life— not just for a party or a trip. Your heart will thank you!

Cultivate healthy habits

Lifestyle changes are challenging, but not impossible. And, if your mindset is focused on long-term, life-long health, half the battle is won. The other equally important half is creating— and more importantly, sticking to— habits that will support the lifestyle change. So why can’t many who embark on ambitious resolutions at the beginning of the year make the transition from resolution to habit? The answer is in our brain. While each person is different, science points to a magic number of days needed for our brains to process and adopt a new habit: 21. Curiously, this is usually about the time it takes many people to give up on their resolution. While the reasons may vary, what we can gather from this is that even though we are jogging at a marathoner’s pace, we still need to mark short-term goals to ensure we experience progress.

Keep realistic short-term and long-term goals

Any lifestyle change requires developing and keeping new habits. Goals help us keep up and strengthen these habits. For example, you may want to include weekly exercise as a habit that supports the lifestyle change you are seeking. You can reinforce that habit by setting up short-term goals (I want to walk in the park three times a week) and long-term goals (I want to train for a 5k race). In creating goals we not only appreciate our own progress, but can track it as well.

Keep good company

Lifestyle changes aren’t easy, as we mentioned before. But, if you find family members or friends who share your desire to lead healthier, more active lives, you can keep each other motivated and accountable. Whether it’s your spouse, children, friends, or even grandchildren, having someone to do exercise or cook with helps keep you on course with your goals.

Keep it real

Lastly, we suggest to “keep it real.” Don’t deprive yourself or push yourself too hard. Burn out is one of the reasons many people fail to keep their resolutions. The key here is moderation and the understanding that just because we didn’t walk one day or ate too much cake, we haven’t failed. Each day is a new beginning!

National Wear Red Day Flyer ENG

This Friday, February 6, NHCOA will “go red” for National Wear Red Day, created by the American Heart Association (AHA). Wear something red, snap a selfie and share it through your social media channels with the hashtag #GoRedCorazon. To learn more about the National Wear Red Day and AHA’s Go Red for Women Campaign, visit www.goredforwomen.org.

Aging and Chronic Kidney Disease: Are You at Risk?

Today is World Kidney Day, and while we may not think about our kidneys very much, they are vital organs that we need to function properly especially as we age. This year WKD is focused on chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its impact on aging.

Why take care of our kidneys?

Our kidneys help us remove waste and excess fluids from our bodies through urine. Kidneys, however, also play other important roles, such as release the hormones that regular our blood pressure and produce vitamin D, which helps to strengthen and keep bones healthy.

If you suffer from diabetes or high blood pressure, it is even more important to take care of your kidneys because you face a higher risk of CKD:

Approximately 1 of 3 adults with diabetes and 1 of 5 adults with high blood pressure has CKD. Kidney disease also increases your chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

For more information, check out this CDC fact sheet on CKD.

Who is at risk for kidney disease?

The problem with kidney disease is that its symptoms are not obvious, making early detection difficult. In fact, more than 10% of adults in the United States have CDK and are not aware of their condition.

Risk factors include:

–       Being Latino

–       Being over the age of 50

–       Suffering from high blood pressure

–       Having diabetes

–       Having a relative with chronic kidney disease

What can I do to prevent CKD and help my parent/grandparent take care of their kidneys?

Here are some kidney-pleasing tips:

–       Check your blood pressure routinely. Normal blood pressure is at or below 120/80. Click here to learn more.

–       Schedule routine checks up that include urine and blood tests. (High levels of protein could indicate kidney disease. Also, your blood creatinine levels along with other factors, such as age, race, and gender will determine your glomerular filtration rate or GFR. GFR indicates how much kidney function you have.)

–       Make sure you are hydrated throughout the day, and drink water. (Experts tend to recommend drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid every day. This could be water, tea, or juice. Remember that certain beverages have more sugar than others.)

–       Keep a healthy, low-sodium diet.

–       Participate in daily physical activity. Exercise is good for everyone!

–       If you or your loved is diabetic, consistently check blood sugar levels to ensure they are under control.

Watch this: The 8 Golden Rules and read this: CDC Kidney Health Tips.

¿Necesitas información en español? 

http://www.cdc.gov/spanish/especialesCDC/DiaMundialRinon/

http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/spanish/controle/kidney.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/spanish/especialesCDC/VitalSigns/HipertensionColesterol/