Periodic health check-ups and screenings with your health care provider are key to maximizing your chance of living a longer and healthier life. Not only can they help prevent health problems before they start, but check-ups may also help you discover health problems early enough to increase your chances of successful treatment and recovery!
The specific screenings and exams you need depend on your age, health, family history, and lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, smoking, etc.). This week, visit My Health Finder to find age- and gender-specific guidelines for how often and for what health areas you should seek physician advice. After reviewing the guidelines, consider scheduling an appointment with your health care provider.
Good health should always top your priority list! Thankfully a few minutes here and there are all it takes to bring balance to your busy life. You can stay fit by getting off the bus a stop early, taking the stairs whenever possible or walking to a coworker's desk instead of e-mailing. Make eating right easy by scheduling a weekly supermarket trip, planning out your meals and bringing your lunch to work.
Write down the behavior changes you make this Monday and see how many times you can repeat them throughout the week. Each step may seem small but the results will add up quickly!
You don't need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment to get active. Exercise is any movement that works your muscles and uses more energy than resting. Try walking around your neighborhood, playing tag with the kids, using resistance bands, running up and down stairs, making your own weights at home or doing push ups and sit ups.
Come up with some creative, free fitness ideas this week. Remember that playing sports, swimming, biking and other fun activities all count as exercise!
A good mood or hunger pangs can make a big difference in what you bring home from the grocery store. Both feelings tend to lead to a pile up of unnecessary junk and other impulse buys. And once these items are in your home you may feel obligated to eat them!
Have a plan of attack this week! Write a grocery list and stick with it: even include a few healthful snacks so you don't feel deprived. Still tempted to stray? Stick to the perimeters of the supermarket (where you'll find the most whole foods) or bypass the junk entirely with a trip to the farmer's market.
Forbidding certain foods - like Valentine's chocolate or wine - is a common diet strategy, but studies have shown that this can actually led to overeating. Food restrictors often satiate their cravings by eating other high-calorie items, which can lead to weight gain. Learning how to effectively cope with trigger foods will leave you feeling in control and improves your chances of maintaining your weight.
Instead of fearing your favorite foods, figure out how to budget a small portion into your week. Simply removing the "forbidden" label from a food can greatly reduce cravings for it!
Headaches, indigestion, loss of appetite, muscle tension, sleep issues and allergic reactions could actually be signs of stress. Giving yourself time to pause, consider the situation and breathe deeply when you encounter these signals is the first step towards finding the cause and limiting it in the future.
Write down any unresolved symptoms that you experience this week, along with the situation that may have sparked them. Then consult with a professional who can help you develop better coping strategies.
It can be tempting to focus on just one variable when deciding if a food is healthy, but even calories don't tell all. It's important to also choose nutrient-dense foods: a high fiber, vitamin rich meal will keep you fuller, longer and help you eat less overall. Nutrition labels list how much of each nutrient is in a serving.
Use nutritional labels this week and see if you're getting the most bang for your bite! Try replacing some of your empty calories with nutrient-dense foods.
There's no doubt that music and mood are closely related - that's why lullabies exist! Listening to happy, upbeat tunes tends to make you more cheerful than when you listen to slow, sad music. Your emotional state plays a big role in how you perceive the world, so your favorite songs may actually help you have a more positive day.
Set yourself up for a better week this Monday by composing a CD or playlist of music that makes you smile or feel happy. Listen to your tunes if you feel blue, start stressing or just want to enjoy!
Regular physical activity benefits every part of your body and can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and more. While it's recommended that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week, every bit is better than nothing! It's important to start moving and gradually increase intensity and duration.
Start strong this week by adding activity whenever possible. It can be as simple as walking while on the phone, parking at the end of the lot, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Write down this week's moves and think of ways to build on them.
Incorporating new habits into your daily life takes work, so aim for progress not perfection! Start with small changes that you can easily fit into your daily routine and go a little further each week. Swapping a breakfast Danish for whole grain cereal, having water instead of soft drinks with meals, picking veggies as a side dish or trying fruit for dessert are all doable actions that will lead to long term results.
Look at your usual eating habits and commit to one "swap out" this week. Make sure your new habit is something that you can integrate seamlessly into your routine. Use your New Year's momentum to consider other situations where you could easily make a change.