Making a List and Checking it Twice! Healthy Practices to Prepare for the New Year

Originally published in Maury County Living

Amid all the holiday chaos, gatherings, food, and family time, it is easy to neglect your health. However, Dr. Matt Anderson, sports medicine surgeon at Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, stresses the importance of taking time for yourself before the new year.

“It’s so important to tackle health concerns as soon as they arise,” says Dr. Anderson. “This allows you to enter the new year with a good mindset instead of being stressed about lingering health issues.”

1. The most wonderful time of year … to see your physician.

While you’re busy wrapping presents and marking off your to-do list, do not forget to schedule your end-of-the-year appointments. As the year draws to a close, many people meet their insurance deductible and can save money on physician visits.

“Everyone should see a primary care physician at least once a year,” says Dr. Anderson. “They can screen for medical issues by taking vital signs, performing a physical exam, and running basic labs.”

In addition to a primary care visit, Dr. Anderson advises those who are active outside to see a dermatologist for an annual skin check, and for those who have prior vision issues to visit an optometrist. Women should see a gynecologist once a year and those over 40 should get a mammogram, while men over 50 should consider being screened for prostate cancer. Dr. Anderson also suggests that women over 65 or anyone who has experienced fragility fractures, schedule a bone density scan to check for osteoporosis.

“Give yourself time to get in to see your doctors,” says Dr. Anderson. “During the holidays, appointments can book up quickly.”

2. Create attainable resolutions you’ll actually stick to!

This time of year can be perfect for a reset – a great time to break a bad habit or start a new one, but resolutions can be hard to maintain.

“Choose two or three practices that can fit your lifestyle and that you can incorporate into your daily routine so that they become habits,” says Dr. Anderson.

Even something as simple as adding an SPF moisturizer to your morning routine, packing a salad for lunch twice a week, or taking the stairs at work can make a huge difference in your health. “Try to set realistic achievable goals,” says Dr. Anderson. “Take small steps to improve your wellbeing.”

3. Watch the milk and cookies, you’re not Santa!

Making sure to stay active and eat healthy can be extremely difficult when you’re surrounded by peppermint bark and hot chocolate, but being intentional can help you stay on track.

“Finding ways to make an active lifestyle work for you is important even if you’re busy,” says Dr. Anderson. “Try incorporating your exercise into play time with children or pets to maximize your time and enjoy it even more.”

However, Dr. Anderson says that what you eat is often more important than how much you exercise. Positive changes can quickly be undone by not correcting your diet, he warns.

“The enemy of a healthy diet is snacking,” says. Dr. Anderson. “Try to eat three quality meals every day.”

He adds that if you do snack, start with the healthy options like fruits and vegetables and cut our late-night snacking as those calories get quickly converted to fat.

4. There’s no place like home for the holidays, but …

If you find yourself slipping on the ice rink, twisting an ankle while decorating the tree, or experiencing any other orthopaedic issues, the doors of Bone and Joint Institute are always open.

“We offer world-class orthopaedic care with a small-town feel,” says Dr. Anderson. “The knowledgeable providers at Bone and Joint Institute are kind, caring people whose positive attitudes permeate through every patient interaction.”

If you do suffer an injury over the holidays, Dr. Anderson says it’s always a good idea to get evaluated if your symptoms do not improve in a few days or if you experience weakness, numbness, or any symptoms that prevent you from completing daily activities.

“Don’t hesitate to come see us,” says Dr. Anderson. “We are happy to take care of you and your loved ones and will do our best to get you in this holiday season!”

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 615-791-2630 or visit Follow them on social media at @boneandjointtn.