TAKING CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH
What if better health were a choice; wouldn't you think most people would choose to have it?
Scores of studies and years of medically supported evidence says that each of us has the power, through our choices, to achieve better health. For many, health isn't valued until sickness comes. Sadly, most people don't understand the true value of their health...until they lose it.
You are the one that can make the biggest impact on your own health. Managing your healthcare and living well doesn't have to a complicated proposition. Here is some information you can use to empower you to take charge of one the most important areas of your life...YOUR HEALTH!
What's My Role?
Approximately 40% of all premature deaths in the U.S. are due to unhealthy choices such as tobacco use, poor diet sedentary lifestyle, misuse of alcohol and drugs, and failure to use safety equipment. The best way to have a healthy lifestyle is something you already know: make good decisions.
8 Steps to Take Today - Healthy Living Starts Right Now. - WEBMD/ Miranda Hitti
STEP 1: TAKE STOCK
Make an appointment with your doctor and dentist. Catch up on your routine screening and immunizations
Gauge your girth. Measure your height and weight to check your BMI, and measure your weight circumference to see if you're overweight.
Assess your activity. How much physical activity do you get in a typical week? The CDC recommends that adults get at least two and a half hours per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes per week of vigorous intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.
Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat for a day. "You can't change what you're not aware of or don't acknowledge."
Check your mood and energy. Health living includes emotional wellness and adequate rest.
Consider your social network. How strong are your connections with family and friends? Are you plugged in with social and/or spiritual groups that enrich your life?
If you're not thrilled with the answers to some of these questions, remember that the point is to figure out where you are today so you can set your healthy living goals.
STEP 2: PUT OUT FIRES.
If you know that you have chronic health problems; whether it's heart disease, diabetes, depression, arthritis, or other conditions, treatment is an obvious priority for healthy living. The same goes for risky behaviors, such as smoking, and addictions of any kind. Partner with your doctor. Make the phone call today.
STEP 3: MOVE MORE.
Make it fun.
Keep track of it.
Set a weekly goal for activity.
Work activity into your day.
STEP 4: UPGRADE YOUR DIET.
Replace "I should" with "I choose." - instead of "I should be eating more fruits and vegetables, it's "I choose to eat more fruits and vegetables".
Skip the guilt. When someone feels guilty, it feeds right back to the behavior that they're trying to get rid of.
Choose to plan. Stock your pantry with healthy fare and bring healthy snacks with you.
Slow down and savor your food. Don't watch TV, work or drive while you're eating.
Shoot for five to nine daily servings of varied fruits and vegetables. Cover the rainbow of fruit and veggie colors to get a good mix of nutrients.
STEP 5: MANAGE STRESS.
Develop positive coping skills, such as meditation and visualization, and look for activities, such as yoga or exercise, to keep your baseline stress level in check.
Check your perspective. Ask yourself, "Will this matter to me a year from now?"
Volunteer. Helping to meet other peoples' needs may make your own problems seem smaller.
Keep a gratitude journal. Write down the positive people, events and things that you are thankful for. "Most stress is caused by wishing things were different than they are now."
STEP 6: SLEEP BETTER
No TV or computer two hours before bedtime. It's not just because the TV and computer are stimulating; it's also because of their light. Consider reading lit by a lamp that doesn't shine directly into your eyes.
No heavy exercise close to bedtime. Light stretching is OK. Vigorous activity will heat up your core temperature, which makes it harder to sleep.
Take a hot bath. That will heat up your core temperature, but when you get out the bath, your core temperature will fall, which may help you get to sleep. Plus, the bath relaxes you mentally. Having a hot, non-caffeinated drink, such as chamomile tea, may also help.Set a regular sleep schedule.
Don't count on weekend catch-up sleep. If you have chronic sleep problems, you probably can't make up for that on the weekends. But if you generally sleep well and a rough week, go ahead and sleep in on the weekend.
Don't ignore chronic sleep problems. Get to a sleep specialist earlier rather than later, before bad habits set in.
Prioritize good sleep. This is as important as diet and exercise.
STEP 7: IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS Healthy relationships are very important.
It's about connecting with other people---your social network.
Look for people like you. Details don't have to match yours, but look for a similar level of openness. What is really important is that share a similar level of comfort in getting close to people.
Spend time with people. There's this emphasis in our culture that you need to be independent--"an army of one, you can get along on your own." Most people don't know their neighbors as much as they did 50 or 60 years ago.
Build both virtual and face-to-face relationships.
If a close relationship is painful, get help. When you feel rejected by someone, your body actually registers it as pain. Seek help if you need it.
STEP 8: CHALLENGE YOUR MIND
Participating in mentally stimulating activities, especially activities that involve other people, may be good for the brain.