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New Year's Resolutions to Improve Your Health

Staying Healthy in the Year to Come

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Updated December 26, 2008

The new year is here and it's time to make a few New Year's resolutions. You know the ones; "no chocolate", "take a class at the local college", "no more credit cards". While all these examples are noble and worthwhile, don't forget to think about your health and resolutions you can make to yourself that with result in a healthier you for the coming year. Here are a few ideas to get the new year off to a good start.

Learn More About Your Disease

Knowledge is power, and nowhere is this idea more important than when living with HIV. HIV is a very complex disease. New complications and treatments are emerging everyday. But staying knowledgeable about the disease will help you to stay healthy. But how to we learn more? First and foremost, don't hesitate to ask your doctor lots of questions. No question is too trivial if you don't know the answer. Write down your questions before your appointment so your don't forget them once you are in the office. If you don't understand an answer, ask your doctor to clarify until you do. One note of caution. The Internet is a vast resource of HIV information. But be aware that not everything on the Internet is fact. When searching for HIV information, stick to the reputable sites that have been time tested and provide accurate and up-to-date information. Here are a couple items to get you started.

Eat Healthier

The old saying goes "we are what we eat". A balanced diet provides nutrients, calories, and minerals necessary to maintain the health of our immune system. AIDS Wasting and lipodystrophy are two problems that often can be managed with the proper diet. Many HIV treatment programs incorporate nutritional counseling as part of their routine care. Ask your doctor if your clinic offers such services. If not, ask him to refer you to a registered dietitian for diet counseling. Most hospitals provide dietary counseling which is often covered by medical insurance. Again, the Internet offers hundreds of helpful nutrition resources, but be aware that many of those sites may provide inaccurate information and unproven "remedies" for everything from HIV to cancer. A simple rule to follow is eat a diet that includes fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as fish, lean meats, and chicken, and contains limited amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol.

Regular Exercise

The human body is the only "machine" that grows weaker with inactivity. Regular exercise is a key to maintaining your health. Exercise builds muscle, maintains ideal body weight, improves cardiovascular health and provides an overall feeling of energy and good health. A thirty minute exercise regimen three times a week benefits the body and helps maintain your immune system. Fatigue commonly associated with HIV can be reduced with even the smallest amount of regular exercise. Keep in mind that before engaging in a strenuous exercise regimen, you should have a thorough examination by your doctor. Then ask him or her for help in planning an exercise program that's right for you.
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