Best. Year. Ever.
The secret to a great 2012 may lie in how you feel ... your health, your state of mind.
1. Complete your health maintenance tests. “Getting the recommended health tests can help find problems before they start – or find them early, giving you the best chances for treatment and cure,” says Dr. White. “In other words, the right health services, screenings, and treatments at the right time maximize your chances for a longer, healthier life. If you’re over 40, schedule your mammogram – you should have one every year or two. Get pap and pelvic exams at least every three years, and if you’re 50, schedule your colonoscopy.” Check your Health Reminders on hap.org. You’ll find them after you log in under the My Health & Wellness tab.
2. Start or keep a regular exercise program. “One of the most important disease-preventing and disease-minimizing things we can do is to exercise,” Dr. White notes. “Start slow and build up. Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, for example, a brisk walk, each week.” This can be a 30-minute walk five days a week or a 10-minute brisk walk, three times a day, five days a week. Additional guidelines for physical activity are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
3. Follow the 8 x 8 rule – eight, eight-ounce glasses of water every day. “Every system in your body requires water. It delivers nutrients, flushes out toxins and helps keep your ear, nose and throat membranes moist to prevent illness,” advises Dr. White.
4. Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. “Researchers have learned that the right amount of sleep can help blood pressure, anxiety, weight control and mood, amongst other things,” says Dr. White. Set a regular sleep schedule and avoid large meals and alcohol close to bedtime. Regular exercise can also improve sleep.
5. Stay connected with people who make you happy. “Good health includes your mental well-being, not just physical,” Dr. White notes. “Relationships with our friends and family members help us maintain our mental health, and can help prevent depression, dementia and more.”