THE YOU DOCS
How're you doing with those New Year's resolutions?
Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 9, 2012 at 4:29 p.m.
Did you ring in the new year with resolutions for a healthier you? Bravo! Writing this annual list is like the effect of dropping a NASCAR engine into the family sedan: You'll whiz over the finish line. An impressive 60 percent of resolution makers hit their goals within months. (Folks who claim resolutions don't work are all wet.)
Of course, what's on your list counts, too. We YOU Docs want to change what we bet is in the No. 1 spot. Instead of the almost inevitable "Lose weight," make it "Move." Not to a new town. Move your butt!
That's right. If you need to lose just 10 or 20 pounds, bump "Lose weight" and everything else down a notch, including "Eat your spinach" and "Learn to IM the grandkids." Getting your body into gear became even more important in 2011. Here's why:
Fitness edged out the scale: The fit/fat debate raged for years, until new data on 14,000 guys hit the news late in 2011. Men who stay or get active and fit are almost 40 percent less likely to die over 11 years than guys who slack off — even if they gain weight. Every increase in fitness level lowers the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes by 19 percent. Cutting back on exercise boosts risk four times more than gaining a few pounds does.
The take-home lesson for you? Unless you're obese (that's a whole other issue), worry less about your weight and more about both getting and staying active.
Note! It's not that we YOU Docs don't think excess weight, especially belly fat, isn't important. But doing something active every day discourages a buildup of that health-threatening belly fat, reduces stress, improves sleep, sharpens your memory, makes you happier, keeps your body's systems humming and makes you more likely to do other healthy things — like losing weight.
Sitting around proved lethal: Strong evidence in 2011 showed that sitting around messes up your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, and — yes — causes cancer. Scientists tied more than 90,000 cases of breast and colon cancer every year to prolonged sitting. Breaking up endless time on your tush, even for a few minutes, breaks up the bad body effects.
Here's how to make resolution No. 1 stick like glue for a healthier you:
Can't always find time? Do mini-workouts. Often, the toughest thing about exercise isn't doing it; it's fitting it in. If you can't swing a 30-minute walk every day, plus about 30 minutes a week of strength-training (our easy Rx for fitness), well, don't worry about it! Slicing and dicing your activity into 10-minute chunks spread throughout the day works just as well for your weight, waist management and health. Just be sure to do 30 minutes total.
Use the buddy system. Why go it alone when being in cahoots with a healthy-change partner doubles your odds for success? You keep each other honest and cheer each other on. Plus, walking and talking with a pal naturally blows off stress — another big health-booster.
Don't trust yourself? Find an enforcer. Add another layer of support: your doc ... or, soon, one of us, Dr. Mike. "Reporting in" regularly is a proven way to get to your goals. Dr. Mike (aka, "The Enforcer" to YOU Doc patients) has done this behind the scenes for years. We're taking it public soon; keep checking this column.
Give it two weeks. That's how long it takes your brain to start cementing a new habit. Yep, like walking every day.
Just move it. Pace, don't sit, when you're talking on the phone. Do an extra lap around the office when you go to get coffee. Drag your new exercise bike smack in front of the TV (that's where ours are). Clean the kitchen like you're doing an aerobics class. Take a 10-minute break every chance you get and walk. That break now counts toward your daily exercise goal! Sweet.
The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of "The Dr. Oz Show" and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic, are authors of "YOU: Losing Weight." For more information go to www. RealAge.com.
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