Let’s Get (A) Physical: Keeping Your Health in Check
Published by: LifeWorks,
We all want to live a long and healthy life. Research has shown that for most of us, longevity is determined by our family history and our lifestyle choices. Whatever choices you’ve made until now, it’s not too late to start leading a healthier life.
Eat a variety of healthy foods every day. Whenever possible, choose fresh fruits and vegetables and whole-grain breads, pastas, and cereals. Cut back on trans fat, saturated fat, and added sugar and salt. For guidelines and recommendations, visit the American Heart Association for healthy eating guidelines.
Most days of the week, get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise that makes you breathe harder. Find a way to walk, run, swim, garden, hike, bicycle, or participate in another type of aerobic activity at least four times a week for at least 30 minutes.
Get enough sleep for good health. Too little sleep impairs your concentration, reaction time, and ability to absorb new information. Adults need an average of about 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Go for annual checkups. Finding a primary care physician or family doctor should be high on your priority list. Do your research on local doctors and find one that suits your circumstances and needs. Once you’ve found one, be sure to schedule an annual checkup with them. Keep a living list of concerns that come up over the year that are not urgent and share them at your annual checkup to help keep the checkups focused, covering all the issues and questions you want to address.
Get regular screenings. With early detection, many serious hereditary diseases can be controlled or prevented. Based on your family history and other risk factors, your doctor may recommend routine testing for a variety of conditions. Commonly suggested screenings include:
- Breast cancer. Women are recommended to have a clinical breast exam every two years after age 40 and a mammogram every two years after age 50.
- Colon cancer. Everyone 50 years and older should be screened with a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every two years.
- Heart disease and stroke. Cholesterol testing is recommended every five years for adults over the age of 20.
- Type 2 diabetes. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends testing for everyone every three years after age 40.
Taking steps early and often to maintain a healthy lifestyle – including regular checkups with your doctor, especially if you have hereditary health concerns – can help you live a long, healthy and fulfilling life. Don’t wait for something to come up – be proactive and start today!