The start of a new year is the perfect time to prioritize the health of your legs which will support a healthier you. As we proceed, keep in mind that changing habits isn’t easy in the beginning, but becomes a way of life if you power through. Once you’ve established your new way of life, you can think about things more interesting than your legs. Let’s do this. There’s no time like the present to start. Carpe diem! So if you’re reading this in August 2023, it’s still the perfect time.
New Year's Resolution #1:
Get strong and moving
This resolution means different things to different people. If you are leading a 100% sedentary life right now, a 15 minute per day walking habit will get your legs stronger. If you already walk, think about picking up a little speed.
Walking improves your leg strength and stamina, but the benefits extend beyond that. You’ll see an improvement in mood and wellbeing, it may help lower blood pressure, and it may lower your risk of diabetes. Consistent walkers also report improved cognition, memory, sleep, and immunity.
Already a power walker or half marathoner? A strength training program could be your next goal.
The socks to wear:
New Year's Resolution #2:
Stretch every day
It's so relaxing and it your blood circulating. Think about learning some basic yoga routines. Look up "full body stretch yoga flows." You are less likely to injure yourself if you do stretches regularly since your range of motion will begin to increase.
If yoga doesn't sound appealing to you,
try these simple leg stretches:
- Hip stretch: Lying flat on your back, cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Pull that knee into your chest to stretch the hip muscle. This can relieve a lot of tension and greatly improve sleep.
- Calf stretch: Press your palms against a wall, with one knee forward and the other leg straight behind you. Stretch until you feel a pull in your calf.
- Quad stretch: Using a wall for stability, grasp your ankle behind you until you feel a stretch in your quad.
- Ankle stretch: Before going for a walk or doing a workout, circle each ankle while saying the ABCs. This helps strengthen the muscles in your ankle, so you don’t roll them while being active.
QQ: How long does it take to form a habit?
Quick answer: According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. It varies from person to person and depends on the habit in question.
New Year's Resolution #3:
Improve your nutrition
Your legs need hydration, vitamins and minerals, protein, and blood circulation. What you feed your body either supports this need or deprives it. We need to have a serious talk about nutrition. (Notice we didn’t say “diet.”)
Nutrition affects leg health, sure, but it also impacts every aspect of your health and vitality, so this is a big topic. Let’s not talk about foods you shouldn't be eating. Rather, let’s talk about what to add and swap. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables. Add more healthy proteins and healthy fats. Everyone has a sweet tooth, but you can reduce those cravings by filling voids in your diet with nutrients.
And when you do have a craving you can’t get out of your mind, think how you can solve it without sugar. Add a natural sugar substitute to a healthy plain (unsweetened) yogurt and top with fresh strawberries. Do whatever you have to do avoid anything with added sugar.
The trick is to be creative and think outside the box -- literally. Avoid pre-packaged foods. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Don’t’ deprive yourself, provide yourself with healthy alternatives.
QQ: Do taste buds change every seven years?
Quick answer: You may have heard this, but the truth is even better if you're trying to change your diet. Taste buds actually turn over every two weeks! But don't give them so much credit. A lot about how much you enjoy certain foods happens in the brain.
New Year's Resolution #4:
Are you getting enough sleep? Most of us aren’t. If you’re feeling sluggish, drowsy, spacey, moody, or even sick, it’s time to focus on your sleep hygiene. Make sleep a favorite pastime. Your whole body will thank you. Restorative sleep is essential to staying well, being happy, being strong, and feeling and looking your best.
If yoga doesn't sound appealing to you,
Your new sleep routine:
- Put away your electronics: At least 1 hour before you try to go to sleep. Get into a good book instead. This is a much healthier way to wind down. Reading has its own wellbeing benefits, but that's a story for another day and a different site.
- No caffeine for 4-6 hours before bed: Some are more sensitive than others, but you probably already know when you need to switch non-caffeinated beverages. Be kind to yourself and make a commitment to a cut off time that works for you.
- Make a ritual: You can condition your brain to prepare for sleep by sticking to a routine every single night. A ritual, even. Change clothes, brush teeth, wash face. One last trip to the kitchen for a bottle of water to keep by the bed. Phone alarm set. Pick up book. Read one hour. Sleep. Repeat.
The average adult needs at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night.
New Year's Resolution #5:
Pamper your legs and feet
Are you overdue for a pedicure? Take every opportunity to pamper yourself.
While in the shower or bath each day, gently exfoliate your legs. Then take the time between drying off and getting dressed to massage each leg with a lotion with upward motion.
This might be the easiest, most enjoyable resolution of all. Treat your skin well (it’s the only skin you’ve got) and get your circulation going with self-massage.
New Year's Resolution #6:
Wear your compression socks every day
Wearing quality graduated compression socks on a regular basis can help improve vein symptoms. Graduated compression socks will help to reduce swelling and increase blood flow, thus helping to reduce discomfort caused by swelling and general fatigue caused by poor circulation. Resolve to wear graduated compression on your legs every day.
How to establish this routine:
- Put out your compression socks before bed: You’re less likely to forget your compression socks if they are in your line of sight when you’re getting dressed.
- Get a Doff N' Donner: A device like the Doff N' Donner cuts down on the time it takes to put on your compression socks and makes it so much easier. Take the time to learn to use it. Use it with the cone for even more help. If you take the time to learn this system, you’ll never struggle with putting on your Sigvaris again.
- Buy compression socks you like: Beige and black are practical and classic, but we’re not all the type, are we? If you don’t like neutral, solid styles, check out our styles with more options like Microfiber Patterns for Women and Men.
You can do this!
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