Four tips for a healthier 2016 from Rocking Horse health center


By Chris Cook

Chief Executive Officer of Rocking Horse Community Health Center

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward LeBron James was recently asked if he had any resolutions for the new year.

He simply said, “No, for what? I don’t need a reset. I’m all good.”

Well, LeBron and the Cavs are winning right now, so it’s tough to argue with his reasoning. As for the rest of us, the new year is a great time to set a new direction with our health. But all too many times we make things overly complex and we don’t set ourselves up to win.

Springfield is a wonderful place to live and it has been my lifelong home. But it looks like we all have some work to do to improve our health. So let’s keep things simple with four ways to improve our health this year.

Live the 5-2-1-Almost None Rule

We know that obesity is a major problem, not only here at home but across the country. More than one third of the kids in the United States are considered overweight or obese. This leads to diabetes, heart disease, and many other chronic health issues that we see on a daily basis at Rocking Horse Community Health Center.

Living the 5-2-1-Almost None rule is a great way for your family to stay healthy. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Spend less than two hours on leisure screen time each day (TV, computer, gaming). Get at least one hour of physical activity each day. Drink “almost none” of those sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks.

Stop Smoking

Having known several people who have stopped smoking over the years, I realize that it’s not as simple as just saying “stop.”

But this is one of those choices that you just have to make.

If you’re a smoker, or use any form of tobacco, there are no better health choices you can make in your lifetime than to stop smoking. Right now.

Just to be totally clear — if you are a smoker, the single best thing you can ever do for your health, and your family’s health, is to stop smoking. We all know the statistics. You just need to do it. There are lots of resources around you in the community to help you.

Drink more water

This is one that I have to keep an eye on for myself. Your body is more than 60 percent water and it needs to be constantly replenished.

It sounds simple, but with our busy lives, it can be a challenge. Try setting a reminder on your phone or using an app to track your liquid intake. Free iPhone apps like iHydrate are fantastic because it will not only track your beverage intake, but also recommend how much you should have each day based on your weight.

Remember that other non-water beverages like coffee and milk factor into your daily water intake as well.

Find a medical home

All children and adults should find a medical home — even if you never get sick. While great for meeting a specific need, emergency rooms and urgent cares are not medical homes. Find a health-care office that makes you comfortable — if you are comfortable, you will be more likely to go.

Accredited Primary Care Medical Homes, or PCMHs, like Rocking Horse Center, focus on and are measured by quality, comprehensive, whole-person care. You should make regular visits to your health-care provider even if you are healthy in order to screen for diseases, assess risk of future medical problems, work on a healthy lifestyle, update vaccinations and establish a relationship in case of an illness. Physicals, or “well visits,” are usually quick and painless, but are critical to head off or manage chronic health concerns for both children and adults.


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