Getting healthy is a common New Year’s Resolution, but it involves more than exercising and eating better.

You should start your journey to improved health with a checkup from your primary care provider. They can identify the specific things you need to improve, schedule preventative screenings and help you set goals for a lifetime of better health.

Regional One Health has primary care providers at convenient locations throughout Memphis who can help you get off to the right start.

Many people make a New Year’s Resolution to get healthy – but too often skip a crucial step: a checkup with their primary care provider to assess their medical needs and find out what they really need to do to feel their best.

Amanda Best, a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Regional One Health, says her number one piece of advice is to start the New Year with a physical exam.

It’s a chance for patients to bring up concerns and get advice from their provider, and for the provider to administer any necessary tests.

That way, you can focus on making the improvements that are most needed in your life.

Best said your provider will test your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and other basics and counsel you on age-appropriate screening like mammograms or colonoscopies: “It’s very important for prevention, and to catch things early so you can treat any issues,” she said.

Your primary care provider will check your vitals and ask you questions about your health history, concerns and goals.

She understands there is a fear factor for some patients, whether they suspect something is wrong or simply haven’t been screened for a while.

She said Regional One Health offers convenient appointments and quick turnaround on imaging and other tests, and the health care system has a team of specialists who can help patients who need a referral.

“If anything comes back abnormal, we follow the patient and guide them through the whole process,” she said. “If it’s something that can be taken care of as an internal medicine provider, we take care of it. If they need a specialist, we refer them in-house.”

Along with tests, patients can expect their primary care provider to talk to them about medical history, lifestyle and more. “We go over personal and family history, and questions like alcohol use and smoking,” Best said.

“I like to know when they had their last exam or bloodwork, and to hear about any problems they’re having.”

Again, it can spark anxiety, but honesty is crucial: health care professionals are there to help, not judge. Best noted she went into nursing specifically to care for others – she actually switched her major from pharmacy while she was on a mission trip in Guatemala – and aims to work with her patients to develop a roadmap to improve their health.

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein and meat is a great step to take if you’re trying to get healthier this year.

While that roadmap is tailored to each patient’s specific needs, Best said there are some basic steps that can help anyone start the New Year off right.

“I tell every patient to eat healthy and get regular exercise. Plan healthy meals and make a list before you go shopping. Shop the perimeter of the store, because that’s where fruits, vegetables,

meats and dairy are. Exercise when you get up or right when you get off work. Lay out clothes ahead of time so you’re ready. Get enough sleep, and drink plenty of water.”

The idea is to make your health a priority in 2020. “You have one body for your whole entire life. You’re the only one who can take care of it,” she said.

Building a relationship with a primary care provider can help. Regional One Health has skilled, compassionate providers in convenient locations throughout Memphis:

Appointments are available by phone or at