Although some aspects of life are out of our control, there are things we can control like diet, exercise and making healthy choices. Steps you take earlier in life can have a profound effect on not only how long you live but also on how you feel and how active you’re able to be as you age.
Try these tips to maintain your health and happiness throughout life.
General Health and Wellness
Here are several areas you should be aware of to stay healthy:
- • Maintain a healthy weight.
- • Fill your diet with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Where possible, eliminate saturated fats and trans fats from your diet and replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Also look for ways to get more vitamin D and calcium in your diet—some people take a daily multivitamin or supplements to get these vital nutrients.
- • Avoid smoking.
- • Perform daily tooth care, including flossing and brushing. Visit a dentist regularly for checkups.
- • Keep an active and challenged mind, including trying new things.
- • Build a good social network.
- • If you have a chronic condition like osteoporosis, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, ask your doctor about medications or other techniques to control it.
- • Follow all preventive care guidelines as instructed by your doctor, including any screening tests recommended.
Tips for Losing Weight
For many people, losing weight—or even just maintaining your current weight—can be difficult. Here are some pointers to help:
- • Start small: If you try to bite off a huge chunk of your weight loss at once, you can easily burn out and end up accomplishing nothing. Instead, shoot for smaller, more manageable goals that you can attain step by step.
- • Eat well: Follow the dietary recommendations above and look for ways to reduce cravings and temptations—for example, you may want to set a rule to avoid eating after a certain hour of the day.
- • Understand how many calories you need to burn: If you burn more calories than you consume during a day, you’ll lose weight. You generally need about a 500 calorie deficit between what you’re eating and what you’re burning to lose a pound per week. There are simple resources available to help you track how many calories you’re burning and consuming.
- • Exercise more: Try to take part in 60 to 90 minutes of daily activity, whether in shorter segments or all at once. Speak to your doctor if you aren’t sure about a what type of exercise is right for you.
Tips for Healthy Eating
A healthy diet can lead to a longer, healthier life. Your risk of conditions like heart disease, cancer, hypertension and cataracts can be reduced by eating a healthy diet. Here are a few pointers on making the right choices with your diet:
- • Look for healthy fats: Prioritize monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats and trans fats. Look for foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, including fish like salmon, trout or mackerel. For those with coronary artery disease, get at least a gram per day of EPA or DHA from oily fish or from supplements. Limit saturated fat to no more than seven percent of your daily calories, and limit total fat to no more than 30 percent.
- • Eat more fruits and veggies: Aim for five or more servings of fruits or vegetables a day, and pick fruits and veggies of varying colors. There are plenty of ways to mix things up, from soups and salads to using fruit on cereal or as a dessert.
- • Eat plant-based proteins: Wherever possible, look for protein that comes from plants—beans, nuts and whole grains are usually good sources. This way, you avoid the additional fats that are often found in animal proteins. You can also have poultry or fish.
- • Limit carbs: Always look to whole grains over refined grains, and if you’re a potato eater, decrease the amount of white potatoes you consume.
Smoking is among the highest risk factors for numerous life-threatening diseases, from heart disease and stroke to osteoporosis, emphysema and many others. It can cause memory issues and limit one’s ability to exercise by decreasing breathing efficiency.
If you do smoke, there’s still time to quit and reverse much of the damage. Risk factors for heart disease drop significantly within a few months of quitting, and by an exponential amount after five years. Speak to your doctor about methods for quitting.
Your family doctor can offer further recommendations when it comes to habits that will help you live a long, healthy life.
My profession allows me to interact with people on a level that few other jobs would. The number one way to provide safe, effective healthcare is to educate patients and make sure I listen to and understand their story and what they want to get out of their healthcare.