As each year winds down, many New Yorkers make resolutions to improve their health and well-being. Here are five suggestions from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that will do you a lot of good – and online resources you can tap 24/7 to help keep them:
Still smoking? It’s never too late to quit. Smoking causes thousands of strokes, heart attacks and cancer deaths in the city each year – every day is the right day to quit. If you need help, visit at the Health Department’s Facebook page, facebook.com/nycquits, where you can find tips, resources and moral support – or send a friend or family member an e-patch – a friendly electronic reminder to call 3-1-1 for a free course of nicotine replacement therapy.
Shape Up, New York! Besides warding off weight gain, physical activity can boost your mood, energy and overall health. Everyday life is full of opportunities for exercise. If you’re game for something structured, check out Shape Up New York, a free program of fitness events sponsored jointly by the city’s Health and Parks Departments. Visit https://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/cdp/shapeupny.shtml to find out more.
Don’t drink yourself fat. Eating less is one way to lose weight, but choosing different beverages may be easier. The calories in a daily sugary soda, sports drink, fruit drink, tea or coffee can make you 10 pounds fatter over a year’s time – spare yourself some empty calories by switching to water or seltzer – or plain coffee or tea. To find or share tips on healthy ways to quench your thirst, visit www.facebook.com/DrinkingFat.
Don’t drink yourself sick. Toasting the season is part of celebrating it, but more booze doesn’t make for more fun. Alcohol increases your risk of liver disease, high blood pressure, depression, a range of cancers, accidents or bad choices. For tips on avoiding unhealthy drinking, visit www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/public/dohmhnews6-02.pdf. For help with alcohol dependence, call 3-1-1 or 800-LifeNet (800-543-3638).
Be smart about sex. Unless you have only one, mutually-faithful partner, you run the risk of HIV or other sexually transmitted infection (STI) if you have sex. STIs are more prevalent here than in most of country. So is teen pregnancy. If you want to find free NYC condoms, or give them away through your organization or business, visit www.nyc.gov/condom. New Yorkers find free, confidential testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, help with notifying partners, a sexual health website specifically for teens and more at www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/std/std2.shtml
For more tips on staying healthy throughout the year, visit nyc.gov/health.
– Victor G. Mimoni