What’s in and what’s out when it comes to your health

By The Health News Team | January 12, 2024
Pensive woman with notepad and pen

According to the New York Times, a top trend on social media channels is sharing “in-and-out” lists. Among popular influencers — people who have created a trusted presence on social media platforms — the lists seem to be replacing the sharing of New Year’s resolutions, which experts say just 9% of adults keep, anyway.

With Sharp’s expertise being health and wellness, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to jump on this bandwagon and share our own specialized list. Here’s what we think should be in and out to help you improve your overall health in 2024:

2024 Health and Wellness In-and-Out List

In: Sleep
Out:
Sleep deprivation

Sleep plays a pivotal role in so many aspects of our health, from keeping our minds strong to warding off illness and disease. Unfortunately, many people fail to get the sleep they need, and an estimated 50 to 70 million people in the U.S. have a sleep disorder. It's important that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night — and the quality of that sleep is crucial.

In: Digital detox
Out:
Endless screen time

On average, Americans spend more than seven hours looking at a screen. And most use their smart phones over three and a half hours every day — not counting when they’re actually talking to someone. All this screen time can have negative effects on your health, both physical and mental, which is why experts recommend no more than two hours of screen time per day.

In: Sober curiosity
Out:
Regularly drinking

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, drinking can take a serious toll on your body. Limiting how much you drink or taking a complete break from drinking, what some refer to as being “sober curious,” can help boost your immunity, limit your risk of disease, lead to weight loss, and improve your sleep, concentration, energy, performance, skin health, and even your relationships.

In: Movement every day
Out:
Overexercising

The CDC recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week. However, you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to meet this goal. Thirty minutes a day, just five days a week will do the trick. Pushing your limits can lead to poor performance and health problems, including overuse and stress injuries, too much weight loss and decreased immune performance.

In: Water
Out:
Caffeine-laden energy drinks

Water is an ideal choice for hydration. While some people prefer sports drinks over water because of the taste and added electrolytes, the standard sports drink contains 140 calories, 34 grams of added sugar and 270 milligrams of sodium. Additionally, excess caffeine can be harmful, causing changes in heart rate, increased blood pressure, anxiety, sleep and digestive issues, headaches and dehydration.

In: Hygge
Out:
FOMO

Everyone occasionally experiences FOMO, or the fear of missing out, but going to every social event can be exhausting and expensive and can lead to overindulgence in food and alcohol. Instead, consider enjoying more “hygge,” explained by the Danes as “taking time away from the daily rush to be together with people you care about — or even by yourself — to relax and enjoy life's quieter pleasures.”

In: Homemade meals
Out:
Eating out and ordering in

People are looking for fast and tasty foods to fit busy lifestyles. But whether you’re eating carryout or sit-down restaurant cuisine, researchers say you’ll consume about 200 more calories a day and more saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium than if you made your own meals. Cooking at home, however, helps you avoid these pitfalls and is an opportunity for creativity, togetherness and cost-cutting.

In: Saying no
Out:
Always hustling

Every once in a while, your body, mind or heart sends a message that it needs a little time off. It’s important to heed that call, especially if it’s coming from all three at once. Occasionally saying no to an invite, request or assignment is a true form of self-care, which can lead to reduced stress; improved mood, immunity and self-esteem; and a variety of other physical, mental and emotional health benefits.

In: Reading
Out:
Binge-watching and doom-scrolling

In a sea of streaming video and ever-present screens, doom-scrolling and binge-watching are often the entertainment of choice above the more old-school option of reading a book. But research says reading can provide a healthy distraction from life’s day-to-day worries and pressures while also making us smarter, happier and even more empathetic toward others.

In: Authentic friendships
Out:
Accumulating social media “friends”

Friendship is good for your health. When you’re with friends, your body releases the hormone oxytocin, which combats stress and creates calm. And the more time spent with friends, the less likely you are to develop health issues and dementia. But creating and sustaining friendships takes commitment far beyond “liking” the occasional post. In fact, one study found it takes hundreds of hours — all worth it — to become true friends.

Now it’s your turn: What’s on your 2024 in-and-out list? Feel free to keep it to yourself or share it like the influencers. Either way, creating a list can help you identify what you’d like to improve or focus on in the new year and what you are ready to do without. As they say, out with the old, in with the new.

Get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.


Get the best of Sharp Health News in your inbox

Our weekly email brings you the latest health tips, recipes and stories.