Can you name the most important habits to stay healthy?
Even if you don’t consider yourself an expert on health, chances are you can list quite a few habits to stay healthy off the top of your head. No matter how great your medical supply store is, no amount of medical care can replace healthy habits, though products from the store may still come in handy when making new habits. Or, put another way, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”
However, even though everyone wants to have good health, many people only think about their health when they’re sick or seeking medical treatment. But to enjoy a truly healthy life, you’ve got to be mindful of your health every day, whether you’re going in for wisdom teeth removal or not.
Top Habits to Stay Healthy
To help you become more mindful of your health, here we’ve listed some of the top habits to stay healthy. From getting enough exercise to knowing when to see your doctor, this article should get you well on your way to enjoying perfect health.
Start Exercising (and Keep Doing It)
There’s a big difference between thinking about starting a fitness program and actually doing one. Everyone knows that regular exercise is an important part of healthy living, but far fewer actually work out routinely. This isn’t necessarily because people are lazy, so if you’re guilty of this, don’t feel too bad. Starting anything new is difficult, not just because of the effort you must put in, but also because you’re never sure what to do when you’re just getting started. And with so many options to choose from, working out is definitely one of the more complicated habits to develop.
Knowing this, it’s important to keep things simple if you’re new to exercise. If you want to go all-out by developing a fine-tuned fitness program just for you, there are simple ways you can do that, from assessing your fitness level to setting your goals. But if that’s too much to wrap your head around right now, why not try jogging for ten minutes tomorrow? Ten minutes isn’t a long time — the recommended length of time spent running is usually 30 minutes — but if you’re not generally very active, ten minutes is a great start. Over time you can bump it up to 15, then 20, and then 30 minutes. Getting 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day is a great workout goal to have.
If you haven’t done much exercise in a while, you may find your muscles getting really sore when you begin, no matter how careful you are. Getting some muscle rub cream can help a lot when you need to focus on your work after a morning of exercise.
If you can dedicate a little more time and effort towards your workout program, you may want to be more detailed with your goals. To start, what’s one thing you’d most like to improve about your fitness? Would you like to lose some weight, or would building strength be more exciting? What are your biggest needs where your health is concerned?
Once you know what you’d most like to accomplish with your workouts, do some quick research to find a plan that you can keep up with. Don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed with options. There are hundreds of great workout plans, and each one has its own pros and cons, but the important thing is that you start being active.
Begin Choosing Healthier Foods
The average American consumer spends more than 12% of their income on food. But do you know how much of your budget is being spent on actual nutrition and how much is being spent on junk food? If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t given it that much thought.
But if you want to enjoy good health well into your senior years, a healthy diet needs to be a priority. Unfortunately, much like finding an exercise program, figuring out how to optimize your diet can be overwhelmingly complicated. Once again, it’s important to take baby steps and improve over time. Maybe find some superfoods at your local grocery store, like maqui berries, that you can try. The important thing isn’t to change everything overnight, but to start progressing in a positive direction.
The following are some guidelines to get you started. You can try to follow all of these from now on, or you can choose one or two to focus on for one day of each week. Either way, try to do what works for you and don’t overwhelm yourself with details.
Start buying and preparing whole foods instead of prepackaged dinners and snacks. The next time you go shopping, search for fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products. These are dramatically more nutritious than foods like instant ramen and frozen pizza, and they also contain fewer (if any) synthetic colors, flavors, and preservatives.
Stay away from sugary drinks. Unfortunately for those living in the United States, soda is practically a staple of the American diet. But drinks with lots of sugar are more fattening than solid foods with the same amount of sugar. They’re also terrible for your teeth. Do your health a favor; stay away from drinks high in sugar (and that includes many fruit juices).
Snack on nuts and seeds, and experiment with recipes involving fish. Vegetables and whole-grain bread can get boring after a while, so when you need to shake things up, why not try a new recipe using salmon or mackerel? These are loaded with healthy fats that are good for your brain and body. And for snacking between meals, look no further than a nice bag of mixed nuts, which have lots of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and few calories.
Sometimes habits to stay healthy are hard to develop, but these simple guidelines should be easy to start using in your day to day life.
Practice Healthy Skincare Habits
If there’s one part of the body that goes neglected and ignored the most, it might be the skin. Despite being your largest organ and protecting you from the world outside, you probably don’t think about the health of your skin when considering habits to stay healthy.
But skin care is very important. Besides being exposed to the elements all the time, your skin is the single biggest factor in determining how old you look, which becomes a big deal for people as they progress past their 30s. Taking good care of your skin can also help you avoid serious health issues, from chronic acne to skin cancer.
The first habit to develop should be to wash your face twice each day, first when you get up and again before bed. This helps you avoid unsightly acne and nasty clogged pores. Don’t wash it more than twice per day, though — over-washing your skin can be just as bad as under-washing it.
Exercise is good for your skin because it helps improve blood circulation. But one side effect of exercise is excessive sweating, which can cause your pores to get clogged with bacteria and dead skin cells. To avoid this, always shower and gently wash your face after working out.
In addition to clogged pores, another common problem people have is dry skin. Having dry skin can accelerate the appearance of aging, causing premature wrinkles to form. To keep your skin healthy and looking radiant, start using an oil-free moisturizer, especially on your face and hands. It’s important for it to be oil-free since excess oil can contribute to clogged pores.
Finally, to further avoid premature aging as well as unpleasant conditions like skin cancer, always use sunscreen whenever you spend much time outside. Again, make sure the sunscreen you use is oil-free.
Developing these habits to stay healthy won’t just help you feel better. They’ll help you look younger for longer, too.
See Your Dentist Routinely
As important as at-home care is, nothing replaces having a good dentist to go to for checkups and teeth cleanings. As you should already know, you should visit your dentist twice each year for regular teeth cleaning exams. Besides helping to keep your teeth clean, these visits give your dentist a chance to notice oncoming health conditions before they become serious problems. When oral health problems do develop, they’re much easier to treat when your dentist is familiar with your oral health history.
This is reason enough to see your dentist twice a year, but what about when problems develop between your regular appointments? Sometimes you need to see a dentist for more serious care, such as tooth repair, and waiting for your semiannual appointment just won’t do. Here we’ll discuss some signs that you might need to see a dentist.
First of all, if you experience tooth pain, it’s a good idea to call your dentist and set up an appointment. You can try waiting it out for a couple of days, but generally, pain like this is a sign of a deeper problem that needs to be treated. This is especially the case if you notice swelling in your cheek or around the afflicted area, which can indicate an infection in the root.
Speaking of swelling, if you find that your gums are swollen, sore, or inflamed, you could be developing gum disease. Mild forms of gum disease are easily treatable by dentists, however, it’s important to get checked out quickly before the case becomes severe. Deep cleaning and scaling appointments will likely be needed to restore your gum health if your condition becomes severe.
Finally, you’ll also want to see your dentist any time you experience some sort of injury or trauma to your mouth. Even if it doesn’t seem like a dental emergency, it’s important to get checked out after experiencing trauma to your face. Trauma to the teeth may cause damage to the root, and you’ll need your dentist to monitor the injured area.
Simply knowing when to see a dentist or doctor may not sound like significant habits to stay healthy, but it’s important for avoiding health issues.
Don’t Forget Your Eye Doctor
Your dentist’s office isn’t the only healthcare facility you should visit routinely. You should also get an exam at your local eye clinic once each year to monitor changes to your vision. If you’re over 50 years old, your vision can change more often, so you might even want to get an examination two or three times each year.
But as you can tell already, habits to stay healthy don’t just include getting your routine checkups. Sometimes you need to set an appointment before your regularly scheduled time, whenever you notice certain symptoms.
For example, if your eyes become red, dry, or itchy, it would probably be wise to set an appointment with your optometrist. You definitely should if you’re seeing spots, flashes of light, or floaters across your vision.
You should also schedule an exam if you realize that you’re having trouble driving and seeing street signs at night. Besides being inconvenient, driving in this condition is dangerous to you and everyone on the road around you. Your eye doctor may be able to help reverse the problem.
Issues like motion sickness, dizziness, or difficulty following a moving target can also be signs that you need an eye exam. You should also call your eye clinic if you start to experience eye strain, blurred vision, or headaches after spending significant time looking at a screen.
And of course, if you notice any significant changes in your vision (especially following an incident of head trauma), you should get checked out.
Watch out for signs like these and you’ll be well on your way to maintaining good eye health.
Watch Out for Developing Health Issues
Usually when you get sick, you notice. After all, it’s hard to ignore a bad case of the flu, and when you need to seek hemorrhoid treatment, you can tell. But at other times, developing health conditions are much more subtle and easy to miss. So one of the habits to stay healthy that you need is looking out for developing health issues, so you can do something about them before they become big problems.
One health change that’s easy to ignore is suddenly losing weight without knowing why. Experiencing an unexpected drop in weight could be a sign of an overactive thyroid, diabetes, liver disease, or even depression. If you lose more than 10% of your body weight within six months (and you aren’t obese), you should probably see a doctor.
Another problem that shouldn’t go ignored is shortness of breath. If you’re visiting a high-altitude area, obese, or working out, shortness of breath is to be expected. But if you find yourself short of breath for no apparent reason, give your doctor a call.
If you experience a blow to the head, you should monitor how your body reacts afterward because it can be easy to overlook the signs of concussion. Symptoms of a concussion can include headache, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and even a change in sleep pattern. Don’t simply brush these off if you experience them, see a doctor.
And there you have it: some of the top habits to stay healthy. Between gradually changing to a healthier diet and watching for changes in your body, you’ll be set for a long life of good health.