Whether you need to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, or BMI, positive lifestyle choices often lead to a healthier you. More importantly, you feel energized.
- Sleep. Sufficient sleep is increasingly being recognized as an essential aspect of chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Sleep needs vary from person to person and change as people age. Seven to nine hours per night is recommended for adults.
- Connect. Social support, whether from a trusted group or valued individual, has been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological consequences of stress, and may enhance immune function. Social networks whether formal (such as a religious organization or social club) or informal (meeting with friends) provide a sense of belonging, security, and community. With any social support network, make sure you feel comfortable with the group’s beliefs, practices, and expectations. While it’s unrealistic to think you’ll never experience any disagreement with your friends, family, or other social support network, remember that spending time with them should make you feel accepted, peaceful, and energized, not coerced or anxious.
- Exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity such as walking, jogging, swimming, biking, or dancing five days per week. Start slowly and listen to your body. Strive to incorporate gentle stretching and balance exercises daily and strength training two to three times per week.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. Fill your plate with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
- Quit smoking.
- Limit alcohol. If you drink alcohol, do so moderately. That means no more than one drink daily for women and no more than two drinks daily for men.
- Relax. Using relaxation or mindfulness techniques (such as breathing techniques, imagery, and centering) throughout your day counteracts the effects of long-term stress, which may contribute to or worsen a range of health problems including depression, digestive disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, and insomnia.
- Share your numbers with your doctor. Discuss if medication (or medication adjustment) is appropriate for you.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can minimize the risk of developing a number of chronic diseases in the future. More importantly you feel good and are better prepared to meet the joys and challenges of life.
* The health screening and lifestyle information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a physician.