Fitness tops resolution list for most

Published 1:31 am Saturday, January 2, 2016

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions can be traced back to the ancient Babylonians, who promised their gods that they would repay their debts and return borrowed items in the new year. While resolutions have changed since then, people still see the dawn of a new year as an opportunity to commit to doing something good in the months ahead.

Julian Yanes and Chris Yanes fit in a workout on the treadmills at Andalusia Health and Fitness Thursday. Jill Prevett/Star-News

Julian Yanes and Chris Yanes fit in a workout on the treadmills at Andalusia Health and Fitness Thursday.
Jill Prevett/Star-News

No rules govern New Year’s resolutions, but many people resolve to do something healthy. The following are just a few resolution ideas for people who want to make 2016 as healthy as possible.

• Lose weight. A January 2015 survey from Nielsen found that 32 percent of U.S. consumers resolved to lose weight in the new year. That should come as no surprise, as New Year’s Day marks an end to the holiday season, when many people pack on pounds thanks to holiday dinners, parties and the baked goods that seem to find their way into homes and offices throughout December. Seventy-six percent of participants in the Nielsen survey said they did not follow a weight loss or diet program in 2014, which might explain why so many felt a need to lose weight in 2015. If you resolve to lose weight in the new year, do so with the assistance of your physician, who can offer useful advice on diet and exercise.

• Bike to work. Depending on how close your home is to your office, consider riding a bike to work instead of driving into the office every day. Riding a bicycle is great cardiovascular exercise, which is a critical part of any successful exercise regimen. But riding a bike to work also benefits the environment by making the air you breathe cleaner. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that roughly half of all U.S. residents live within five miles of their workplace, which provides a great opportunity for commuters to reduce total household emissions, all while having fun on their bicycles. If 50 percent of American workers chose to bike rather than drive to work each day, total household emissions could be cut by as much as 6 percent. Biking to work also saves commuters money on fuel.

• Work less. Work is good for the mind and body, but too much work can lead to elevated levels of stress. Stress can produce a host of negative consequences, including an increased risk for depression, obesity and heart disease. Long hours at the office is one of the leading causes of work-related stress, and many professionals find themselves taking on more than they can reasonably handle. Make an effort to scale back your responsibilities and spend less time at the office.

• Reduce alcohol consumption. Reducing alcohol consumption is another healthy resolution for the new year. Excessive alcohol consumption can do a number on the human body. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes that overconsumption of alcohol can affect the heart (increasing the risk for cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, stroke, and high blood pressure), liver (fibrosis, cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis), pancreas (pancreatitis), and immune system (weakening it and making you a much easier target for disease). Reducing consumption can have a considerable impact on your overall health.