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New Year’s Resolutions are very predictable. While most New Year Resolutions are health oriented, I purport that a healthy mind, body and spirit requires a healthy lifestyle. Interestingly, the ten most popular resolutions listed below, all have an impact on a healthy life.  

  1. More Time With Family And Friends
    • Polls repeatedly show that one of the most consistent resolutions for the New Year is to make more time to spend with family and friends. Moreover, research shows that the comfort and camaraderie of these people whom we love is important to our health and well-being.
  2. Begin or Improve a Fitness Program
    • The benefits of regular exercise is no longer anecdotal, it is factual. Daily exercise, even in small doses, has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies clearly demonstrate that it reduces cholesterol and coronary artery disease and the risk of some cancers. Also, it increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better. If done properly, there is no down side. So, make this year the year to do it!
  3. Adhere to a Weight Loss Plan
    • Recent studies report that more than 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese. As a result, weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. However, adhering to a weight loss program is not easy. It requires many things, including, setting reasonable goals and staying focused. Often, professional help is required. While this may be one of the most difficult goals to attain, the ultimate reward and value is well worth the effort.
  4. Stop Smoking
    • Second only to losing weight, this resolution, while extremely difficult, is another life-saving goal that must be attempted. Studies report that smokers try and fail four times on average before they are successful. SO, KEEP TRYING! Get help. Talk to your physician about using over-the-counter or prescription nicotine replacement therapy and proven quit-smoking aids. Consider smoking cessation classes, support groups and hotlines in addition to the meds. This is one goal that is worth the effort.
  5. Find Your Smile
    • Due in great part to our hectic and stressful work and family demands, the United States is home to millions of people requiring the use of mood elevators and antidepressants. As a result, it is important to learn what really makes you happy in order to FIND YOUR SMILE. It requires the balance of a healthy mind, body and spirit. It might be a walk in the snow, taking dance classes or a trip to the spa. One hint, it is often something simple and inexpensive.
  6. Moderate Drinking
    • This is one tip for a healthier New Year that I expect to receive plenty of flack about! But, I would be remise if I did not mention this potentially harmful habit. While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are unable to adhere to such a rigid goal. Studies show that moderate drinking can offer many health benefits such as lowering cholesterol and coronary artery disease but that is defined as one or two 8 ounce drinks per day and red wine is preferred. However, many heavy drinkers would do well to taper off to a moderate level. Consider participating in “Dry January!” For those with a problem and have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available such as Alcoholics Anonymous. There are also a number of treatment-based programs, as well as support groups for families of alcoholics.
  7. Get Finances in Order
    • This is one tip that few consider being health related. However, serious stress from financial problems affects millions of Americans every day. This cumulative stress can be very harmful to your health and can be lessened by initiating a plan. Get professional help and learn how to downsize and reevaluate your real needs…less toys with less stress for a longer life!  
  8. Try Something New
    • There may be no one thing more important to gaining a new perspective on life that to have learned something new. It could be as drastic as returning to school to prepare for a career change or as simple as learning to play bridge. Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Take a course at local college or read a new book. Visit the Everhart Museum or take the free tour of the Scranton Cultural Center. It will enrich your life and make you a more interesting person. Most local colleges and universities offer distance and adult education programs.
  9. Service To Others
    • Service to others is service to you! There may not be anything more gratifying than providing a service to others in need. Volunteerism makes you a better and healthier person. It fits into any schedule. Donate clothes, time or resources. Locally, we have many charitable causes in need of help: Be a “Friend of the Poor,” or serve lunch at St. Frances Soup Kitchen.
  10. Get Organized
    • The goal of organization, like the goal of financial order, has similar health implications because it eliminates tremendous stress. There are many books and websites that offer suggestions on how to organize just about anything in your life. For this reason, I love my iPhone – there’s an App for that!

SOURCE: A. Powell, Guide

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This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

Happy Valentines Day

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! And, while you may wonder what that has to do with health and wellness, you might be surprised to learn that love can be good for your health! Studies show that it is in our DNA to seek out good relationships and that these solid relationships can lead to a happier, safer and healthier life. Conversely, infatuation and less committed, volatile relationships that are “on and off,” are very stressful and unhealthy. But those fortunate to participate in a stable and satisfying long-term relationship are the beneficiaries of many health benefits! Whether you have spouse, partner, or close friend, (love is love is love), feeling connected, respected, valued, and loved is critically important to your health and wellness!

Less Sick Visits to your Physician

The US Department of Human Services found that couples in a committed long-term relationship are less likely to require sick visits to their physician. And, when hospitalized, these “love birds,” have shorter hospital stays. One theory for this health benefit is that couples in good relationships watch after each other to ensure regular healthy visits for routine care and testing. Consequently, they are less likely to have unexpected serious illnesses.

Less Depression & Substance Abuse

Experts feel that social isolation is associated with unhealthy behavior and depression. Happy, loving and committed couples are far less likely to suffer from depression. Furthermore, these couples are less likely to engage in risky and unhealthy behaviors such as excessive drinking and drug abuse.

Lower Blood Pressure

Researchers have found a strong relationship between marital status and blood pressure. Happily married couples have the lowest, while unhappily married couples have the highest. Happy singles scored somewhere in between. It is also interesting to note that non married committed couples and well-adjusted singles with strong support groups had lower blood pressure.

Less Anxiety

Studies show that long-term committed couples have far less anxiety than new romance. MRI brain scans found both groups showed high activation in areas of the brain related to romance, but only new couples had activation of the area of the brain associated with anxiety.

Pain Control

A CDC report on pain included a study of more than 127,000 adults and found that married people were less likely to complain of headaches and lower back pain. In fact, one study showed, when a happily married couple held hands, pain thresholds improved and, the happier the marriage, the greater the effect

Better Stress Management

Similar to the findings on pain, there is a strong link between happy and committed couples and stress management. The support and love from a strong and healthy relationship provides good coping methods to help overcome adversity…job loss, illness etc. 

Boosted Immune System

Solid loving relationships can boost your immune system. In fact, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who exhibit positive emotions are less likely to get sick after exposure to cold or flu viruses.

Quicker Healing Time

It may be that a wound from “Cupid’s Arrow” will heal faster when you are in a loving relationship. Researchers at Ohio State University Medical Center gave married couples superficial wounds and followed their healing time. The wounds healed nearly twice as fast in spouses who interacted warmly compared with those who behaved with hostility.


Strong research indicates that married people live longer. Researchers found that people who had never been married were 58% more likely to die than married people. Some reasons purported were mutual financial, emotional and physical support and assistance from children. One common denominator for a short life span is loneliness and those in a healthy relationship may live longer because they feel loved and connected.


A study in the Journal of Family Psychology showed that happiness depends more on the quality of family relationships than on the level of income.  So, according to the research, when it comes to a long, happy and healthy life…love is more important than money!


EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM

For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles visit our "Health and Exercise Forum"