Limit your drinking: It’s true that moderate amounts of alcohol have been tied to some health benefits, like a lower risk of heart disease, but there are also serious downsides to drinking, such as a higher risk of cancer and liver disease. So you shouldn’t start drinking for the sake of good health. When you do have alcohol, keep it to one drink per day if you’re a woman or two if you’re a man.
Steer clear of smoke.
Smoking doesn’t just hurt your lungs. It harms almost every organ in your body, making you a more likely target for cancer, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. Secondhand smoke is dangerous, too, and there’s no amount that’s “safe.” If you live with a smoker, support them in quitting or at least ask them to take it outside.
Map your family tree of health.
A history with a disease doesn’t guarantee your fate, but your genes do offer a clue about the health issues you might face. You may need to be screened more often or earlier for conditions that run in the family, especially when close relatives developed them at unusually young ages or several family members had them. Let your doctor know about any serious ailments your parents, siblings, and children have been diagnosed with.
Check-in with your doctor.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all time frame for seeing your primary care doctor (anywhere from annually to every 3 years might be OK), don’t go AWOL. Regular visits can help you catch problems early when they’re easier to treat and often cure. Stay on top of tests like cholesterol checks, mammograms, and prostate cancer screenings.
Use prescriptions correctly.
Missing doses or taking your medication at the wrong time can have serious consequences. According to the CDC, so-called “non-adherence” leads to 125,000 deaths every year. If you aren’t taking your prescribed medicine because of side effects or other issues, talk to your doctor. Having trouble remembering? Put notes on your calendar or set alarm reminders on your phone or watch.
Stay up to date on vaccines.
Grownups need shots, too. You should get a flu shot every year, but you may also be due for a tetanus booster, a shingles vaccine, or a shot to protect against pneumonia. Ask your doctor what you might be missing and when you should get it.
Take baby steps.
It’s tempting to overhaul your entire lifestyle at once. But tackling too many health goals at once often backfires because change can be hard. To better your odds of getting — and staying — healthier, make a series of small changes and work your way up to a bigger end game. For instance, if you’d like to eat a more nutritious diet, focus on breakfast. Once you get used to that, think about how to improve your lunch menu.
Don’t go it alone: Whatever your health goals are, it will be far easier to reach them if someone has your back. That might mean finding an exercise buddy who meets you at the gym, asking a friend to go with you to doctor’s appointments, or simply confiding in someone you trust about your current struggles so they can cheer you on along the way 🙂 🙂