Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes

It can be difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle when it gets dark at 4:30 and your favorite sweatpants are waiting at home to watch Netflix with you. But with the promise of warmer weather on the horizon, many of us are feeling a renewed sense of motivation to tackle our health and fitness goals. Whether you’re training for a marathon or working toward a healthy weight, these tips can help you reach your goal while supporting your overall health and wellness.

Make a realistic plan. Start with your final goal in mind and work backward, listing out smaller goals and benchmarks you’ll need to hit along the way. Make sure your timeline is reasonable and realistic for your lifestyle. If there’s no wiggle room in your plan for an impromptu lunch with a friend or unexpected weekend plans, you’re setting yourself up for failure (or at least not much fun). Spend some time thinking through the most likely roadblocks and find solutions to work through them. For example, you could find a few healthy options at your favorite restaurants, so you’ll be ready when dinner plans come up at short notice.

Be specific. Setting specific and time bound goals gives you something to measure your results against and help keep you on track. This could be a daily calorie budget, servings of fruits and vegetables, or weekly miles run. Once you’ve set your mini goals, figure out what you need to be doing on a daily or weekly basis to reach them. If you’re training for a race, research training schedules and pick one that fits your lifestyle. Schedule your runs and their mileage on your calendar and treat them like any other important appointment.

Start with a physical. Your doctor would much rather help you stay well than treat a problem that could have been prevented. If you haven’t had your annual physical yet, make scheduling an appointment one of your first tasks. If you’re training for a race, share your plans with your doctor. They will make sure you’re healthy enough to undertake a rigorous training program and help you stay healthy in the long run. No one wants to work hard for months just to be sidelined by an injury or unexpected health issue right before the big race.

If you need help starting your health journey this spring, you can schedule an appointment at Health Trust Physicians Clinic by calling 515-462-2950. Don’t have a primary care provider yet? Visit us online at madisonhealth.com/find-a-doctor/ or give us a call and we’ll match you with the right provider.