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Nicki Anderson: Here’s to healthy new year

<p>DPA/Patrick Pleul</p>

DPA/Patrick Pleul

For those of you who read my column regularly, you know I’m not a resolution setter. I tend to look at the past year, see what I can do better and find solutions in the areas that need improvement. Using that approach minimizes pressure, because there is always room for improvement, and this year is no different.

The following are areas I plan to improve. Sharing my intentions just might inspire you to make 2014 a year full of good health!

Weather

Let it be said, I don’t do cold. I’ll blame my Portuguese heritage on the fact that warm weather is my salve. The minute the temperature drops below 40 I whine — a lot. Therefore, this year, I’m going to do my best to whine less about the weather and find the good things that winter brings.

I decided to kick off my new attitude toward winter with a New Year’s Day run. I typically don’t run outside if it’s below 35. However, thanks to a double-dog dare by my friend, I did it. If you’ll recall, it was snowing that day. Half the run was absolutely gorgeous, but the other half my face was pelted by the innocent-looking snowflakes that hopefully served as an exfoliant (my attempt to find the positive side of running on a 23-degree, snowy day). But when all was said and done, I did it, whine free. My 2014 goal is to get outside and just do it.

Flexibility

Stretching has long had its share of supporters and naysayers. Some believe that stretching is very beneficial, while others feel stretching may increase risk of injury and ultimately is a waste of time. One thing people can’t dispute is that flexibility is one of the first things our body loses as we age.

I know that when I have healthy flexibility, I feel better. My aches and pains diminish, and I feel my range of motion is where it should be. I try and stretch before I go to bed, but stretching has fallen away during the last few months. Therefore, I will do my best to get back to pre-bedtime stretching most days of the week. It only takes five minutes, and I feel so much better when I do it. When I finish, a little deep breathing sets the stage for a good night’s sleep.

Technology

As a writer, it only seems natural that I would spend a lot of time on the Internet researching, writing and exploring. However, there are times when three hours goes by and I have not moved from my computer. Studies show that even if you workout, spending eight hours a day sitting eliminates the benefits of daily exercise. Therefore, it is encouraged to get up every 30 minutes and walk around, just enough to get the blood flowing. So, my goal is to get back to setting my timer for 30 minutes so I’m able to make my exercise count.

Water

There is no doubt that I need to improve my H2O consumption. Again, like my 30-minute ritual, I used to be good about keeping a full glass of water on my desk at all times. Given that I should be getting up and walking around every 30 minutes, seems like a perfect time to fill my glass of water.

Water not only helps my body work more efficiently, it helps me focus, too. So time to get back on track and get in my adequate water amount, about eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. However, during the winter months or after a heavy workout, I’ll need to kick it up.

Less worry

As a mother of four children, I know worry intimately. Intellectually, I know that worry does nothing to help a situation. As the saying goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but doesn’t get you anywhere.” How true.

Moreover, worry usurps brain space that I could be giving to something far more positive and productive. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I have an incredible imagination, which means that sometimes my worry can move into some pretty interesting territory.

However, worry is completely unproductive. So this year, I will do my best to worry less and focus more on the positive side of things. That type of thinking will make the coming year healthier both mentally and physically as we know that worry can take its toll on the body and mind. Here’s to positive thoughts!

So what about you? Have you considered what things you’ll be focusing on this year? I always look forward to a new year and its endless possibilities. I find it rather exciting.

Thanks to all of you who regularly read my column and share your thoughts and support via email. I appreciate it more than you know. I hope this year brings you all good things, including good health. Here’s to a healthy, happy 2014.

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