Healthy Promises To Make To Yourself

Make this health pledge your resolution for the new year.
If there's any new year resolution worth keeping, it is the commitment to get your body in peak condition. After all, if you're in tip-top shape, you can channel your energy into the other important areas in your life -- career, kids, spouse -- more efficiently. Start by making these health promises to yourself:

I will

Exercise everyday

There are a million reasons to exercise -- lose weight, lower stress, cut heart disease risk -- yet most women still don't do enough of it, say experts. If it's difficult to set aside large blocks of time each day for exercise, find 10-minute pockets in your day. Research shows that cumulative short bursts of moderate-intensity activity is as effective as a one long workout. "If you can find 10 minutes to exercise three times a day, and you do this five times a week, you will have exercised 150 minutes in one week!" says Martha Gulati, M.D., expert in the study of women and heart disease and author of Saving Women's Hearts.

I will

Eat more veggies

If you haven't been eating enough greens, your goal now is to add a fruit or vegetable to each meal. For breakfast, sprinkle berries on your cereal or have a sliced banana with your toast; at lunch and dinner, order side salads with your meal. Fruits and veggies are rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants; they're also high in fiber which makes you feel full and satisfied so you eat less.

I will

Hit the hay early

Instead of staying up for your favorite late-night shows, record them for later viewing. Sleep deprivation doesn't just leave us groggy, it also puts us at greater risk for obesity, heart problems, depression and motor vehicle accidents.

I will

Make time for me-time

You're a multitasker extraordinaire juggling work and family, but don't forget the most important thing -- you! "Whenever we try to do too much -- and what woman doesn't -- we create a nagging sense of urgency and the feeling that we will never catch up," says Stephanie McClellan, M.D., author of So Stressed. All these can lead to exhaustion and chronic stress if you don't learn to take a break. Find regular outlets for blowing off steam -- be it meditation, a long soak in the bath, journaling, or a girls' night out.

I will

Floss daily

We know, flossing's a drag! But cleaning between your teeth does more than fight dental diseases. Studies suggest that the bacteria-laden plaque that causes gum disease can trigger a inflammatory response in the body, possibly leading to heart disease and stroke. Brush twice a day, and floss daily to clean out the food particles where your brush can't reach.

I will

Encourage my partner to live healthy

Married couples influence each other's health more than they realize. Consider this: If your partner's a smoker, you're going to breathe in second-hand smoke; if he eats junk food, you're going to share it with him; if he's a couch potato, your evenings are going to be spent in front of the TV instead of walking in the park. So get your partner to join you in the pledge for better health; it's a win-win situation.

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