First step is the vital one

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Sure, you could have taken the plunge in a polar bear dip New Year’s Day to prove your mettle. But there are all sorts of other things lesser mortals can do as resolutions toward a more healthy and prosperous lifestyle.

Tis the season to make these vows – to ourselves and, perhaps, to significant others.

Rash promises and false starts aside, the kickoff of the year is a prime time to make good on those intentions, which most often include losing a bit of weight, avoiding certain vices and getting more active.

And the thing is, it doesn’t have to be complicated, nor does it have to be herculean in the beginning – as doctors and other columnists in these pages continually advise throughout the year.

Considering the big nemesis – the hectic schedules so many people have running their lives – finding the time is often the challenge. But as the experts suggest, a day has 24 hours, so just start off by finding a half hour. They also say simply making a point of walking more on a regular basis will make a difference and is an activity easily within the means of most.

When it comes to wiser food choices, you’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard plenty of advice – and even controversy. Medical organizations and dietitians have long been criticizing the food industry for standards that include too much salt, and high fat and sugar content in many, many processed food choices. They’ve also taken the government to task for avoiding taking on the industry and requiring healthier standards.

All that means a need for individuals to grow wiser in making selections. Taking the time during shopping excursions to read labels and learning more about nutritional guidelines could be the best new habit for you and your family. Add to that more choices of lean protein dishes, whole grains and the five to 10 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables encouraged by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and you’re well on your way to some rewarding and achievable resolutions.

Organizations: Heart and Stroke Foundation

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