Health & Fitness

By Jasmin Guleria

Health and Fitness are always popular topics when determining New Year’s resolutions. However, most people never evolve from the ‘get more fit’ or ‘be more healthy’ stages. Below are four resolutions that concentrate on specific goals you need to address this year: yes, need. And besides, why would you want to be like everyone else? Get a jump on some real health issues with our 2007 check-list!

Resolution #1: Get those Z’s
The term “beauty sleep” is a lot more accurate then most people think. There’s no doubt the average adult doesn’t get the recommended eight hours of sleep each night. Researchers claim that too few hours of sleep can cause hormonal changes that lead to weight gain. These hormone levels can trigger hunger and slow down your metabolism. In fact, a recent study shows that people who sleep less than seven to nine hours a night are up to 75 percent more likely to be obese. Stop, back up, and read that again: Lack of sleep can lead to obesity. Bestselling author and nutritionist Cherie Calbom says, “”Many of us are tempted to think if we stay up late, we’ll burn more calories. But this is simply not true. Getting more sleep, such as seven to nine hours a night, is the ticket to a lean body.” Avoiding caffeinated drinks and sugary treats around bed time may help in getting your body ready for bed. Also, try not to work out right before sleeping. Working out energizes and awakens the body – trying to sleep after a hard workout is always pretty difficult. If falling asleep is a problem, a warm shower, warm glass of milk, or lighting some candles may help relax your body into a sleep-ready state.

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Resolution #2: Get Tested
Let’s face it – tests are rarely ever fun, and on the top of the list of dreaded testing activities are certainly medical exams. Like it or not, there are certain exams that you must take because if you don’t, the health risks will only increase. We at BeautyNews believe that the below exams are the Top 3 tests that each and every woman should promise to take this year.

Mammogram – Breast Cancer can happen to any woman at any time. This is why it is crucial to get a mammogram each year just in case because early detection of cancer significantly improves survival rates. It is recommended that women over 40 should get a yearly mammogram and women between the ages of 20 and 39 should have a clinical breast exam every year. Women of all ages should do monthly self breast exams. Personally, I think it’s better to take more tests than less – and so why not take the mammogram every year regardless of your age? Make 2007 the year of the mammogram!

Pap Smears – I’m not going to lie, pap smears are 100 times more dreadful than a visit to the dentist. However, the outcomes of a pap smear are almost always more important to your general well-being than a dentist’s visit. A pap smear test can tell you if you have an infection in your cervical area or if you have cervical cancer. Cervical Cancer is a common cancer in women and a pap test can find the earliest signs of this cancer. Early detection can save your life! So its time to decide – 15 minutes of discomfort with your gynecologist or the risk of a life-threatening illness? Take the test!

STD Test - When we think about sex, our thoughts go to our ‘happy place’. Sex is great – it can be intimate and romantic love-making or a wild and crazy quickie. Either way, it should be something that makes you feel great. Unfortunately, many of us forget the other side to sex. STDs. If you are under 25 and sexually active, doctors recommend that you get routinely tested for Chlamydia. If you or your partner has a history of multiple sex partners, you definitely MUST get tested. Finally, while it certainly may be uncomfortable to bring up the topic of ‘have you been tested’ with your about-to-be bed partner, just think how much more uncomfortable (and scary!) it will be for you after you’ve done the deed and notice the very unappealing symptoms of an STD.

Resolution #3: Get Cooking
As city-dwellers, cooking is an activity which is hard to get excited about. The restaurants and pizza shops constantly attract us with their quick, tasty, food. Yet, it’s important to remember that cooking at home means YOU control your calorie intake. Restaurants tend to put a large amount of extra unnecessary butter and oil into their foods because they think it enhances the tastes of the food they are serving. What they fail to mention, is that this inordinate amount of butter will also enhance your posterior. Most food that you eat at a restaurant will taste just as good made at home with less fat. This new year, resolve to cook at home at least 3 times a week. Your body, your wallet, and your cholesterol level will thank you.

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I recommend getting the cookbook, Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to Extremes. Rachel Ray boasts that in “30 minutes you can make a fast, tasty, healthy meal.” I’ve tried her recipes, and believe me, she’s not exaggerating! If the idea of a cookbook bores you, try signing up for a cooking class with a friend. Not only will you learn how to cook, but you’ll get some bonding time in with a friend – which is always nice to have!

Resolution #4: Get Rid of those Nasty Cigarettes!
New York City has banned smoking in most bars, restaurants, and clubs. However, we still see those people on the streets sucking on their stick of death before entering a restaurant/office building/museum/you name it. We all know that smoking causes lung cancer and heart disease. However what some people do not know is that smoking also contributes to infertility, anxiety, blindness, and osteoporosis. Smoking also aides in taking the beauty out of women and upping the ugly by causing facial wrinkles, yellowed teeth, gum disease, and bad breath! To sum up, smoking could render you an un-kissable, infertile mess! Fortunately, there are many ways to kick the disgusting habit. Over the counter nicotine replacements are abundant and can be found at your neighborhood Duane Reade. New York City also has a QuitLine which provides helpful services that can help even the most addicted smoker get the motivation they need to quit. So what are you waiting for? Call now! 1-866-NY-QUITS.

Stick to these resolutions and I can guarantee that 2007 will be your healthiest year yet!

Originally published January 2007
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