Healthy is not the end goal, it is a way of living!
We recently sat down with INLIV Medical Director, Wendy Smeltzer, a wealth of knowledge with over 35 years of experience in the healthcare industry, to discuss her thoughts on what each of us can do to prioritize a healthy lifestyle.
You can kick start many of these today, while some require proactive planning to improve your health over time.
1. Daily lifestyle choices
Choosing healthy foods daily, exercising and protecting your lungs by not smoking all support your long-term health. And don’t discount the value of a good night’s sleep. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night is important for growth and repair, aiding in cognitive performance and memory.
- Selecting fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, and limiting alcohol intake
- Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous exercise
- Smoking is the leading cause of premature death, and is shown to reduce life expectancy by up to nine years
2. Know your numbers
- Blood pressure
- Resting heart rate
- Waist Circumference
- BMI (Body Mass Index)
- Blood Glucose Level
How do your numbers stack up? What do they say about your health? Knowledge is power and these health indicators can help you prioritize areas for improvement.
3. Preventative screenings
Preventative screening is key for the early identification and treatment of certain chronic conditions, including several types of cancer. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat.
Common preventative screening tests –
- Prostate exam
- Bone density
- Bone density
- Pap test
Age and family history are important factors for all preventative screening. Family history should be reviewed and updated regularly, especially when there are significant changes. Be sure to tell your doctor if your parents, children, brothers or sisters have ever had cancer or other inherited medical conditions. Your doctor can help you understand your risk and talk to you about possible options, such as genetic testing.
When in doubt, check it out!
4. Stress & Work-Life Balance
More than 70% of serious diseases are linked to stres,s and stress accounts for 30% of short and long term disability claims. Set proper boundaries to maintain a work life balance to minimize stress and anxiety.
The following activities have been proven to reduce stress.
- Deep breathing
- Positive self-talk
Find at least one activity that works for you and do it often.
Be aware of your burnout limits, and schedule stretching or movement breaks multiple times during the workday.
5. Brain health
Brain health is about keeping your brain working at its best and reducing risks to it as you age. There are an estimated 564,000 Canadians living with dementia – plus about 25,000 new cases diagnosed every year (Canada, 2016). Dementia is most common in people over the age of 65 but can affect people as young as 30.
Mental decline is common, and it’s one of the most feared consequences of aging. But cognitive impairment is not inevitable. Here are common ways you can help maintain brain function.
- Physical exercise
- Mental exercise – puzzles, Sudoku, etc.
- Keep busy
Take the first step
After reading this blog post, maybe you feel excited and encouraged, that you are on the right track, or maybe you are feeling overwhelmed or lack the motivation to get started.
Trying to achieve all these things at the drop of hat, can be overwhelming and will set you up for failure and discouragement when things begin to slip. Start with small steps to moving your health forward. Whether it is replacing 1 meal a day, adding a 20-minute walk or simply doing a crossword puzzle, small steps compound over time to contribute to a healthier you!
Get started by scheduling a Proactive Health Assessment to get a complete snapshot of your current health.