Haven’t settled on resolutions for 2022? Experts at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation have a few suggestions for healthy commitments you can still check off the list this year.
1. Get moving.
OMRF physician-scientist Hal Scofield, M.D., said adding movement like taking the stairs or a short walk can pay dividends. “You don’t have to sign up for a marathon,” Scofield said. “The greatest health benefits come from changing habits by small increments that fit your current lifestyle.”
If winter weather hinders outdoor workouts or Covid-19 precautions limit gym time, take advantage of free online workout videos. “You can get moving in new ways at home without any special equipment,” Scofield said.
2. Get checked.
A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study of U.S. adults found that 41% of those surveyed delayed or missed medical care at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the coronavirus surging again, OMRF immunologist Eliza Chakravarty, M.D., cautions that routine medical care remains important.
“Don’t let other conditions – or concerns – go untreated, and don’t miss routine checkups,” she said.
Putting off testing for chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer might reduce the number of treatment options and have long-term impacts, Chakravarty added.
3. Get informed.
Health is influenced by changing factors including age and environment, said OMRF cancer researcher Magdalena Bieniasz, Ph.D. This year, she said, make it a goal to educate yourself on possible risk factors specific to your life.
“For example, many cancer screenings aren’t needed at a young age, but should become a regular practice after age 40,” Bieniasz said.
No single factor should be cause for concern but knowing risks and warning signs for common conditions can help guide when to consult your doctor (see resolution No. 2).
4. Get boosted.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a Covid-19 vaccine booster for all adults and some children. Timing varies based on the maker of each person’s initial vaccination.
“As Covid-19 continues to spread, all forms of protection are necessary,” Chakravarty said. “Being fully vaccinated and boosted is at the top of the list, along with masking and testing.”
Visit cdc.gov/coronavirus for the latest guidance on vaccines.