December 23, 2009
Make Resolutions Count, Say Walton Experts
Augusta, GA—It’s easy to make New Year’s resolutions—and unfortunately, just as easy to break them.
According to the University of Scranton, 71 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions keep them after two weeks, 64 percent keep them after a month and only 50 percent keep them after three months.
So is there a secret to keeping New Year’s resolutions? Some experts say it’s important to make a resolution that you believe in wholeheartedly and that will have an impact on your future. “If you decide to make New Year’s resolutions, it’s important that your resolutions are realistic, meaningful and achievable,” said Dr. Jeremy Hertza, Director of Behavioral Medicine at Walton Rehabilitation Health System.
To that end, physicians at Walton Medical Associates offer their suggestions on resolutions that will have a great impact on you and your family’s health, safety and wellbeing in the new year.
Resolution No. 1: I resolve to always wear my seatbelt, no matter if I’m in the front or the back seat. The simple act of wearing a seatbelt can help drivers and passengers from sustaining higher degrees of injury. “When you consider the fact that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of spinal cord injury as well as brain injury and other traumas, wearing a seatbelt whenever you get into a car is an easy resolution to make,” said Dr. Jennifer Yang, a spinal cord specialist at Walton Rehabilitation Health System. New teen drivers in particular should be encouraged to buckle up—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens have the lowest rates of seatbelt use.
Resolution No. 2: I resolve to always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle/motorcycle/ scooter/skateboard (even if I think it looks uncool). A properly fitting helmet is the single most important thing you can wear when you are participating in certain recreational activities. “According to recent studies, wearing a bicycle helmet decreases risk of a brain injury by 88 percent, risk of severe brain injury by 75 percent and risk of facial injury by 65 percent,” said Dr. Andrew Dennison, who cares for brain injury survivors at Walton Rehabilitation Health System. Remember too that helmets are designed to sustain one accident, so never buy a used helmet or reuse a helmet that has been in an accident.
Resolution No. 3: I resolve to make easy fixes to keep my home safe from hazards. Particularly if you are an older adult, you are at a higher risk for falling. And according to the Brain Injury Association of America, about one-third of all falls involving older adults are caused by hazards in the home. Simple fixes such as improving lighting, removing slippery throw rugs, ensuring that pathways and stairs are clear of items, and installing non-slip mats and grab bars in the bathroom can help reduce this risk. “Falls can cause injuries as minor as a sprain and as major as a brain injury, spinal cord injury or bone fracture requiring surgery,” said Dr. John Nicholson, who sees patients at Walton Medical Associates and Aiken Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center. “But in any case, that could mean weeks or months of recovery that could have been prevented by some simple precautions.”
Resolution No. 4: I resolve to eat better, practice moderation, exercise more, and quit smoking. It’s no surprise that losing weight and quitting smoking are two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions, if achieved, will not only help you look and feel better, but will also make a positive impact on your overall health. “Eating a sensible diet—which includes avoiding fried foods—exercising regularly, and quitting the habit of smoking will greatly reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes and many other diseases,” said Dr. Fredrick Phillips, a stroke/amputee specialist at Walton Rehabilitation Health System. “Realizing that bad dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle will have long-lasting deleterious effects on your health may be the motivation needed to keep your new year’s resolutions and improve your overall health.”
While keeping resolutions can be difficult, they don’t have to be once you get into the right mindset. “The goal of rehabilitation physicians is to help patients stay as active as possible at any age,” explained Dr. Pam Salazar, Medical Director of Walton Rehabilitation Health System. “By making and keeping these resolutions that impact your quality of life, you and your family can help ring in a happy and healthy new year.”
Media Contact: Danielle Wong Moores, Public Relations Specialist, 706-434-0150
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