Staying healthy is important both now and to help us age better. Most of us are aware of the importance of eating a healthy diet in one’s overall health, but let’s look at 7 other ways to keep yourself healthy and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and cancer. The good news is that these are not nearly as difficult to do as you might think.
Regular physical activity is as important as eating right, perhaps even more important. If you have difficulty finding the time to stay active and fit, you’ll be glad to know that it’s not as difficult as you might think. You should get a minimum of 30 minutes of activity each day. Of course, more is certainly better, but any activity is better than no activity. Get creative, park further away from work and walk, go for a walk on your lunch break, have a 15 minute dance party with the kids, etc.
You should choose activities that you like to do such as dancing, gardening, walking, playing tennis etc. Remember exercise is a habit, and like any other habit it takes time to turn it into a habit. You need to participate daily and the best way to do that is to plan your exercise for regular intervals. You don’t need to do the full 30 minutes at once. A good way to remain motivated is to have an exercise partner.
To get your kids active go on regular bike rides or family walks. Always encourage your kids to play outside where they can be more active such as in sports like baseball, soccer, etc. Walking your kids to school is a great way to get exercise for all of you.
It’s important to keep your weight in check and to work at maintaining a consistently healthy weight. This isn’t always easy and if you are overweight, now your first focus will be to stop yourself from gaining any additional pounds and then to put a plan into place that focuses on losing the extra pounds at a healthy rate. Maintaining a healthy weight will improve your health overall and it will slow the aging process. Eating healthy and staying physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight. Eat a diet that’s packed with fresh fruits and vegetables and remember that moving your body is important to maintaining a healthy weight and staying healthy.
Maintaining a healthy weight is also important for our kids and you can do that by encouraging them to participate in physical activity during their free time, by limiting the amount of screen time they have, and by encouraging healthy snacks.
For a healthy heart and to reduce your risk of certain cancers it is important for you to stop drinking alcohol. If you don’t drink, don’t start. If you currently drink you should start thinking about quitting.
At parties and when you are dining out you can choose nonalcoholic beverages, and avoid those events and occasions that focus around drinking alcohol. Avoid any kind of binge drinking. If you have a problem with alcohol, you should talk with your doctor, as there are many programs that can help you to reduce or eliminate alcohol.
If you smoke, the best thing you can do to improve your health is quit. It might not be easy, but it is certainly possible. Each day over 1,000 Americans stop smoking for good. If at first you don’t succeed try again. It can take as many as seven or eight tries before you are able to permanently quit. Join a quit smoking program or talk to your health care provider for help in quitting.
There are several important screening tests available to reduce your risk of cancer and even protect you against cancer. Some of these tests are early detection tests so that your cancer is more likely to be treated successfully. Others help to stop cancer from developing. For example, screening for colorectal cancer might save over 30,000 lives every year. That is three times the number of people that were killed by drunk drivers in 2011 in the USA. Talk with your doctor about which tests he/she thinks are right for you. Cervical cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and rectal cancer should be screened for regularly.
Sexually transmitted diseases can cause many problems ranging from infections to sterility to causing different cancers. For example, the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cervical cancer. Protect yourself from STDs and lower your risk. Of course, not having sex will always be the best protection, and/or being in a monogamous relationship. In other situations (casual sex and non monogamous relationships) always use a condom and practice safe sex. Remember other forms of birth control like the pill do not protect you from STDs. Don’t rely on your partner to have condom, instead always carry your own.
When your kids are age appropriate you should talk to them about safe sex and abstinence. Good practices now can keep your kids healthy into adult hood. Girls and boys of a certain age can now be vaccinated for HPV. This vaccine protects only against some strains. Talk to your doctor to see if this is right for your children.
The warm sun feels so great, but too much exposure can cause skin cancer, which includes the very serious melanoma. Skin damage actually begins during childhood, so make sure you protect your kids. The best way to do this is by getting in the habit of applying sunscreen to yourself and your kids every time you are going to be outside. You should also reduce exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., which is when the sun is the strongest. Wear hats and protective clothing, and do not use tanning booths.
You now have 7 ways to keep yourself healthy, 8 ways if we count good eating. So why not start today, and begin to live a healthier life, which also means an increase in longevity.
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