Standing with your goals
Happy New Year! Upon clicking the link to this article, let me be among the first to welcome you to the year 2017!
As we begin to enter a new chapter of our lives, many of us will see the New Year as an opportunity to change our mindset and look at life from a new perspective. Whether it’s setting goals for ourselves to absorb more information, quitting habits that we see as a detriment to our lives, or simply finding more time to spend with the people we love, the idea of seeing January 1st as a fresh start is nothing new.
However, one of the biggest difficulties that many tend to face when making resolutions is being able to keep them. According to University of Scranton psychologist John Norcross, over half of resolutions made at the beginning of the year will be abandoned by June. However, in the same study, Norcross found that people that make New Year’s resolutions are 10 times more likely to change, compared to those who don’t make an official decision to resolve during their year.
Short and sweet: Making a New Year’s resolution is only half the battle – the other half is finding the motivation to stick with it. With this in mind, where can someone find the motivation to keep their resolution for the entire year? Well, did you know that some of the most common New Year's resolutions not only have the standard benefit of improving your general well-being, but can significantly improve your vascular health as well?
One of the most popular resolutions for both short and long-term tobacco users is also one of the most difficult for many to stick with. Due to the addictive elements found in many tobacco products, quitting smoking is a lot easier said than done for those looking to use it as their New Year’s resolution. However, with the right push, quitting smoking can provide numerous health benefits throughout the entire body, including the vascular system. When looking at contributing factors to the development of vascular disease, smoking puts individuals at a higher risk of developing both abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysm, peripheral vascular disease, stroke, varicose/spider veins, renal artery stenosis, pulmonary embolism, and Raynaud’s syndrome.
Not only this, but smoking is also a major risk factor for heart disease, contributing to the hardening and narrowing of arteries through plaque production, and results in a higher risk of developing blood clots, heart attack and even limb loss.
If you decide to quit smoking as your resolution for the New Year, there are many ways you can ensure your plan goes fulfilled. One way that many have found successful is to build a quit plan – a systematic approach to slowly, but surely, abandoning smoking as part of an everyday lifestyle. Steps to succeeding include making a list of reasons of why you’ve made this decision, understanding the benefits and rewards of quitting, clearing any remnants of your past history of smoking, and finding help from others who also want you to succeed. For more helpful tips about how to quit smoking, click here.
Another popular resolution by many is to simply eat healthier – whether it’s to eliminate or lesser the excessive intake of high cholesterol foods, pursue healthier alternatives to fast food restaurants, discover new foods that better meet your nutritional needs, or some combination of the three.
A diet heavily comprised of high cholesterol foods is another major contributor to the development of vascular disease, as the high levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) can accumulate in the arteries over time, causing increased plaque build-up. If plaque builds up to a point of total blockage, a multitude of diseases have the potential to develop, depending on the location of the blockage. For example, plaque build up in either carotid artery, the vascular connection that brings oxygenated blood to the brain, can result in a stroke. For more information about the dangers of high cholesterol foods, click here.
When it comes to adopting a healthier diet, there are many alternatives to fast food, as well as many vascular super foods, that one can adopt to help come closer to their resolution. When it comes to fast food, eating healthy at your favorite restaurant doesn’t mean having to sacrifice taste or enjoyment. The majority of responsibility that rests on those looking to balance the convenience of fast food and a healthier year rests largely on two aspects: Eliminating high fat entrees, and portion control. For many restaurants, the effects of fast food aren’t nearly as damaging when not only analyzing their menus, but also applying it to their own diet. For more information about how to implement a more vascular friendly fast food diet, click here.
Finally, there are many vascular super foods that can help to develop a healthier version of you in 2017. Eating more foods that have low or moderate levels of vitamin K, for example, can help to synthesize proteins that aid in blood clotting. Foods such as kale, collards, spinach, turnips, broccoli, asparagus, green peas, and celery all fall into this category. Additionally, foods such as whole grain, pumpkin/sunflower seeds, garlic, root ginger and oranges, through different means, help to ameliorate vascular blood flow. For more information on healthy foods that can improve blood flow, click here.
Finally, in the same vein as eating healthier, many people who commit to resolutions that involve improving their overall health, exercise is often a key component of the equation.
There are many ways one can exercise in order to either lose weight or feel healthier, but one of the most effective methods is to develop a workout regimen with your physician. Aerobic and resistance workouts are recommended for fending off the development of plaque caused by high cholesterol, and can mark the initial stepping stones of fat and weight loss. Many specialists believe that, in order to bring the best results, just thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise, or 15 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, can make all the difference.
While every person is different in what they require for a workout, establishing a daily workout can make all the difference in the long run, especially when it results in feeling and living better.
All of these tips mark just some of the preliminary steps for ensuring your New Years resolutions go fulfilled in 2017. Though the road ahead may seem daunting, just remember the benefits of how you’ll feel in the long run – both in the short term of feeling healthier, and in the long term, knowing your vascular lifestyle is slowly becoming stronger than ever.