Health Tip of the Day
Set weight loss goals that can be reached. A realistic amount of weight to lose is between one-half and two pounds a week.
Instead of making a diet resolution, think of healthy eating as a diet “evolution.” Start with one positive step, such as eating breakfast.
Control your weight to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Use smaller plates to make it look like you are getting more! Share a restaurant meal or take half home for lunch or dinner the next day.
There is no magic formula to lose weight. To tip the scale in your favor, eat fewer calories than you use up, expend more energy in activity, or do both.
Although there is no known prevention for Alzheimer’s disease, studies suggest staying physically and mentally active may help lower the risk.
Smoking and obesity are the top two preventable causes of death in the U.S.
Diets high in dietary fiber may help reduce the risk of colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and heartburn. Choose whole-grain foods over white, enriched ones. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and beans.
Before pregnancy and during the first months of pregnancy, females should take 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid a day. This vitamin (B9) can prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain or spine. Not enough folic acid in food (folate) in the father’s diet is also linked to birth defects in the baby. Good sources of folate are deep green leafy vegetables and fortified grains.
Avoid crash dieting. This makes your body slow down to preserve body fat for reserve.
Breakfast is important because it “breaks the fast” and provides energy to get you going for the day. Healthy choices include fruit, a whole-grain bread or cereal, and a low-fat or nonfat dairy food.
Deal with your emotions without turning to food. For example, when you are angry, take three or four deep breaths, count to 10, or state out loud why you are angry.
Don’t be a yo-yo dieter. Repeated weight loss and weight gain slows the body’s metabolic rate. This makes it easier to gain weight.
Not getting enough sleep can change the body’s metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. Less sleep leads to less energy to exercise and more time for snacking. Get at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
If you are overweight, losing 10% of your weight will help lower your risk for many chronic diseases.
See your doctor if you have a lot of fatigue, are depressed, have dry, pale skin, feel cold often, and have constipation. These could be signs of low thyroid.
Instead of a bottle that has a liquid with any source of sugar, give your child a clean pacifier between feedings and before naptime and bedtime. Don’t dip the pacifier in sugar or honey, though.
If you use space heaters, keep them three feet away from items that can catch fire. If you have young children, keep guard rails around space heaters.
If your water supply does not have enough fluoride, your child’s doctor may prescribe it in drops or pills. Give it as advised. Too much can cause spots on your child’s teeth.
Keep fire extinguishers in your home near the kitchen, in the garage, and at the top of the basement stairwell. Learn how to use them and check them monthly.
A working smoke alarm greatly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire. Install and maintain smoke alarms on every floor of your home, in every bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. Follow smoke alarm codes for your city.
Begin tooth brushing after your child gets his or her first tooth. Clean and massage gums in toothless areas with clean gauze, too. Begin flossing when all of your child’s baby teeth have come in.
Follow directions on over-the-counter (OTC) medicine labels and package inserts. Avoid taking OTC medicines on a regular basis unless your doctor tells you to.
If you or a loved one feels depressed for two weeks or longer, see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
To help prevent colon cancer, eat fruits and vegetables, do regular physical activity, get to and stay at a healthy weight, limit red meats, and don’t smoke.
Cancers of the colon and rectum can be cured if they are found and treated in their early stages. Discuss screening for colorectal cancer with your doctor if you are age 50 and older (earlier if you have a family history of colorectal cancer).
If you chew gum, have one with the artificial sweetener xylitol. This helps prevent tooth decay. Don’t give any gum to children under the age of four.
As many as 195,000 people a year die in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors. Take an active role in every decision about your health care. If needed, have a family member or friend oversee your care.
If you play poker for money at a casino or with family or friends, set a limit on what you can afford to spend. Stick to your limit.
Eat at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Choose ones of different colors for a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals (phytochemicals) for good health.
Eat a green, leafy vegetable, such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and romaine lettuce every day. The darker the green, the more nutrients a vegetable has.
It may not look cool to wear a helmet when you ride a bike, rollerblade, snowboard or ski, etc., but doing so helps prevent a severe head injury.
Follow your workplace’s safety rules to protect your eyes. Wear safety glasses, goggles, face shields, etc. Keep your safety eyewear clean and in good condition.
Add some spring to your step. Instead of a coffee break, take a walk break, outside when weather permits, or inside your workplace, house, or shopping center.
Buy household products, vitamins, and medicines in child-resistant packaging. Keep items in original containers. Read and follow label warnings.
Store medicines, vitamins, and personal care products out of the reach of children. Put childproof latches or locks on cabinets where household cleaners, chemicals, and other items that could harm children are stored.
Memorize the National Poison Control Number: 1.800.222.1222. Write it near each landline phone. Program it in your cell phone or smartphone, too.
Carbon monoxide (CO) has no odor or color. Symptoms of CO poisoning are like those of the flu, so you may not suspect CO poisoning. Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home and garage.
Teach your children not to touch anything that has skull and crossbones on the label. Store all poisons out of the reach of children and pets.
Glasses and contact lenses used for other activities may not be effective for video display terminal (VDT) use. Let your eye doctor know if you use a VDT. He or she can prescribe the right eyewear for your needs.
Ask your doctor or health care provider if and how much alcohol you can safely have due to medicines you take. Alcohol can lessen the effects of some medicines. Other medicines, such as sedatives, can be deadly when combined with alcohol.
With sleep apnea, the airway narrows or gets blocked during sleep. Breathing stops 10 or more seconds at a time. This causes loud snoring, harsh breathing, and snorting sounds. See your doctor if you have these signs. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and other problems.
LOL (laugh out loud). Studies show that hardy laughter improves blood flow, reduces stress, lessens pain, and burns calories.
To help manage stress, follow good health habits for eating and exercise and get enough sleep. Share your feelings with others to keep your feelings from getting “bottled up” inside.
A great way to deal with stress is to take a walk. This frees your mind from what’s bugging you and gets your blood circulating.
Many cancers can be cured if detected and treated early. Get screening tests for cancer (e.g., breast, colon, prostate, etc.) as advised by your doctor.
The most common type of cancer in the U.S. is skin cancer. To help prevent skin cancer, avoid exposure to midday sun (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and use a sunscreen with a broad spectrum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
The American Cancer Society states that about one-third of all cancers in the U.S. could be prevented with a healthy diet. Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. And maintain a healthy weight.
Volunteer work is one way to reduce stress. It puts the focus on others and less on your problems. Be a mentor for a child. Deliver meals on wheels. Volunteer your time at your church or local senior center.
If your workplace has fitness testing and equipment, use them. If not, look for ways to plan fitness at your workplace. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk at lunchtime, etc.
High blood pressure (HBP) can be present without signs or symptoms. Only two out of three people with HBP know that they have it. Get your blood pressure tested at every office visit, at least every two years, or as often as advised by your doctor.
Get enough sleep at night to feel refreshed the next day. If you have insomnia for more than 3 weeks, see your doctor.
Often, the first sign of osteoporosis is a fracture of a wrist, hip, or spine. To help detect osteoporosis, all women 65 years of age and older should get a bone mineral density (BMD) test. Women who have had a fracture or are at high risk for osteoporosis should get this test sooner than age 65, as advised by their doctors.
To help prevent osteoporosis, take medicines as prescribed by your doctor, do weight-bearing exercises, choose a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, and practice good posture.
When lifting things, bend at the knees, not at the waist. Pull in your stomach and rear-end. Hold the object close to your body. Keep your knees bent as you lift. Lift slowly. Let your legs carry the weight.
Do a skin self-exam monthly. Look for changes in birthmarks, blemishes, and moles. Check for a sore that does not heal. If you have any of these problems, let your doctor know.
It is not known if and how much alcohol is safe to drink during pregnancy. Follow your doctor’s advice. If you serve beverages to pregnant women, have nonalcoholic choices, such as water and caffeine-free iced tea.
To help prevent osteoarthritis, get to and stay at a healthy weight; get regular exercise, and prevent falls and injuries.
To help prevent a stroke, take medicines, as prescribed, to control blood pressure, blood cholesterol, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation.
Keep a diary of when headaches occur and how long they last. List where the pain is felt and how severe it is. Keep track of other symptoms, such as nausea, that occur with headaches. Show this diary to your doctor.
Though rare, men can get breast cancer. If you notice a lump or other change in a breast, tell your doctor.
“Brain freeze” is a sudden headache from eating or drinking something very cold, such as ice cream or a snow cone. To prevent “brain freeze,” keep the cold item away from the roof of your mouth. Warm the item in the front part of your mouth for a few seconds.
To help prevent falls, use safety rails and nonskid mats and rugs. Keep pathways clear of ice and clutter. Be careful when taking medicines that decrease alertness.
Don’t wait until you get sick to find a doctor. Getting regular checkups and preventive health screenings help prevent health problems and detect them early when they are more likely to be treated with success.
Testicular cancer is the most common type of cancer in males ages 20 to 35, but can occur at any age. It is very curable, especially when it is found and treated in its early stages. Discuss detection for testicular cancer with your doctor and if and how you should do testicular self-exams.
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men. Lung cancer is the first. Discuss prostate cancer screening with your doctor and the benefits and risks of having prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests.
Dental problems affect more than your teeth. Gum disease and other mouth infections can increase the risk for heart disease and pneumonia. Get a dental checkup and professional cleaning twice a year.
Keep an emergency supply kit packed and ready-to-go in case of a natural disaster. Include water, food that won’t spoil, flashlights with extra batteries, blankets, etc.
To help prevent colon cancer, eat fruits and vegetables, do regular physical activity, get to and stay at a healthy weight, limit red meats, and don’t smoke.
Ninety percent of eye injuries can be prevented. Wear safety goggles, glasses, helmets etc., as needed by the sport or activity. Wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV rays. Keep chemicals, aerosol sprays, etc. away from your eyes.
In the U.S., the leading cause of unintended deaths from injuries involves motor vehicles. Wear seatbelts. Designate a sober driver. Follow the speed limit and do not text or talk on a cell phone when driving.
Each year, more than 4,000 persons in the U.S. die from drowning. Nine out of 10 drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. Wear a life jacket when boating, water skiing, etc. Make sure children wear one, whenever they are near the water.
Prevent Blindness America states that there is no safe way for nonprofessionals to use fireworks. To enjoy fireworks, see them at a professional display. If you can’t attend one, watch one on TV.
Don’t fake bake. High doses of UV-A radiation comes from sun lamps and tanning beds. For the look of a tan, use sunless tanning lotions, sprays, and bronzers.
Weekend athletes are more prone to injuries than persons who exercise on a regular basis. To help lower the risk of injury, warm up your muscles with stretches or walking. Avoid “overdoing it,” too. Cool down at the end of exercising.
Discuss your travel plans with your doctor. Make sure to take enough medicines you need for the whole trip. Find out if and what your health insurance covers and where to go if you need medical care during your trip.
The most common cause of back pain is muscle strain to the lower back. To help prevent this problem, bend at your knees, not at the waist. Keep your back straight. Lift objects slowly. Let your legs carry the weight.
A common excuse for not exercising is, “I don’t have time.” Schedule physical activities into your daily/weekly planner. Exercise while you watch TV. Join an exercise class, a dance club, a softball team, etc. Take 15-minute walks during work breaks or lunchtime.
Drink one to two cups of water 15 minutes before you exercise. During exercise, drink ½ cup every 15 minutes. Carry a water bottle with you, if needed. Taking in large amounts all at once could cause a bloated feeling.
“Leaflets three, let them be.” Avoid contact with poison ivy and oak, which have 3 leaflets per stem. Poison sumac has seven to 11 leaflets per stem. If you are at risk of being exposed to these plants, use an over-the-counter lotion that blocks skin contact with the sap that causes the rash.
To prevent West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, use mosquito repellent as directed on the label. Get rid of items around the house that hold standing water, and install or repair screens.
Choose the proper shoe for the activity you do (e.g., running, walking, and tennis). Try new shoes on after a workout or at the end of the day when your feet tend to be their largest. Wear the socks you would wear during the activity.
Muscle burns more calories than fat. This occurs even when your body is at rest. To build muscle, do strengthening exercises. Use weights, a stretch band, etc.
Walking just two flights of stairs every day for a year burns enough calories to lose almost two pounds of body fat.
Many people eat more than one out of three meals away from home. To lose weight or control your weight, make wise choices when you eat out. Eat at places that offer healthy food choices. Limit portions. Share menu items.
Bees love sweet things like soft drinks. When you serve food outdoors, keep food and beverage containers tightly covered. Avoid wearing perfume, cologne, and hairspray, too.
Mixing some “natural” products and foods with prescribed medicines can be harmful or make the medicines less effective. Let your doctor and pharmacist know what vitamins, minerals, and herbal products you take.
Fat-free and reduced-fat foods are not calorie free. Some of these products may have as many calories as their regular counterparts. Read food labels. Find out the number of calories the food item has per serving.
Wear a medical alert tag or carry a card in your wallet that lists your medical problems, drug and food allergies, if you take a blood thinner, have a pacemaker, etc.
If you are too out of breath to carry on a conversation with another person as you dance or walk briskly, etc., you’re overdoing it. Slow down. When you exercise, start out slowly. Gradually increase your activity.
The next time you’re stuck in traffic, take a few deep breaths, loosen your grip on the steering wheel, and listen to music that is calming.
Backpacks that are too heavy or worn on one shoulder can cause lower and upper back pain and muscle strain on the neck and shoulders. A child’s backpack and contents should not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of his or her body weight.
A baby or young child can drown in less than two inches (six centimeters) of water. Never leave a baby or young child alone near any water, such as a bathtub, a toilet, a bucket with water, etc., not even to answer a telephone or the door.
To reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), put a baby to sleep on his or her back. The baby should sleep on a firm mattress. Do not have pillows, blankets, quilts, bumper guards, stuffed toys, or other soft products in the crib, bassinet, or play yard. Instead of a blanket, use a sleep sack or warm sleeper to keep your baby warm.
When you eat out, look for safe food handling practices. Does the restaurant look clean? Does the restroom have soap to wash hands and signs to remind workers to do this?
Exercise your memory and your mind. Continue to learn new things. Read. Do crossword, word find, and Sudoku puzzles. Take a class. Mentor a child. Join a club.
Controlling blood cholesterol levels lowers the risk for coronary heart disease. Get your blood cholesterol levels checked at least every 5 years or as often as advised by your doctor.
The single best way to prevent getting the flu is to get a yearly flu vaccine. This vaccine is advised for all persons over six months old.
When thunderstorms threaten, get to a safe place. Stay clear from windows and doors and from anything that conducts electricity.
Persons who weigh themselves on a regular basis are more apt to control their weight. Weigh yourself once a week or as often as needed to monitor your weight.
Hunger is when your body needs food. Appetite is the desire for food. To control caloric intake, eat as a response to hunger, not appetite.
“He who laughs, lasts!” Laughter can improve the immune system and reduce stress. Watch funny movies. Read comics. Spend time with people who make you laugh.
Ballroom dancing may be the ideal workout for some people. It can raise the heart rate enough to achieve aerobic fitness and can be fun to exercise with a partner.
Parents and caregivers play a major role in preventing childhood obesity. Be a good role model today and every day. Prepare and eat healthy foods and be physically active.
Families that work and play together can better survive a crisis, such as an illness or losing a job. Hold family meetings on a regular basis to set goals, express feelings, and discuss plans.
About half of deaths from fires in homes occur in ones without working smoke alarms. Check all smoke alarms once a month to see that they still work. Change batteries at least once a year in alarms that use a 9-volt battery. Replace the unit every eight to10 years. Alarms with a lithium battery do not need a battery change, but need to be replaced every 10 years or as instructed by the manufacturer.
If you exercise on a regular basis, good for you! Keep it up! If not, today is the time to start. Choose activities you can do and enjoy. Start out slowly and progress slowly.
Super sizing a fast food order gives a lot more food for a little extra money, but costs more in the long run as excess body fat.
The best way to keep your lungs healthy is to not smoke and to avoid secondhand smoke. Aerobic exercise promotes lung health, too.
Omega-3 fats may help lower the risk for heart disease and arthritis. Good sources of omega-3 fats include salmon, herring, and sardines; flaxseeds; walnuts; and canola oil. Follow your doctor’s advice for taking fish oil supplements and cod liver oil.
Health experts advise getting 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber a day. Most persons in the U.S. get only 11 to 15 grams a day. Read food labels to choose foods with dietary fiber.
Studies have found that anger and depression raise the risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Express your anger in a healthy way. Share your feelings with someone you trust.
Store fruits and vegetables in easy to see places. Put cut up vegetables front and center in clear containers in your refrigerator. Keep fresh fruit in a clear bowl on the kitchen counter or table.
The American Dental Association advises that you use a new toothbrush at least every three to four months; sooner if the bristles get frayed with use.
Instead of cookies, put slips of paper, each listing an activity you’d enjoy doing, into the cookie jar. When you get an urge to snack, pull out one of the slips and do what it says.
Your skin serves as a barrier against chemicals, germs, hot and cold weather, pollution, the sun, etc. Clean your skin daily. Use mild soap and warm water. Hot water dries the skin.
Each year, more people in the U.S. die from lung cancer than from breast, colon, prostate, and pancreatic cancers combined. To lower your risk for lung cancer, don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.
When you’re facing a stressful event or situation, imagine yourself feeling calm and confident. You’ll relax more easily when the event takes place.
When going to a party where high-fat, high-calorie foods will be served, bring your own dish (BYOD). Take a fresh fruit or vegetable platter.
Wash your hands before you handle food, and after you use the bathroom, take out the trash, cough, blow your nose, etc. Scrub all surfaces of your hands with soap and warm running water for at least 15 seconds.
When you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand rub. Keep one at your work station, in your purse, car, backpack, etc.
Think of extra calories you eat as interest on a credit card. The more you spend, the harder it is to pay off.
When you choose gifts for others and tell them what they can get you, consider ones that promote physical activity. Choose exercise gear, gift cards to sporting good stores, etc.
Keep healthy snacks in a drawer at work, a purse, briefcase, diaper bag, etc. Examples are raisins, meal replacement bars, and dry roasted soy nuts.
No one fitness activity will meet all your needs. Try a variety of activities and choose ones that suit you best. Doing different activities helps you stay active and keeps you from getting bored.
Before a party, etc., designate a sober driver. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk.
Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car and at work. Take a walk during times when you have a break in your busy day.
Bad habits give rewards by providing a feeling of pleasure, relaxation, or escape. Replace a bad habit with something else that gives a similar, but healthy reward.
If you are hosting a party, make sure to have nonalcoholic drinks for minors, as well as persons who prefer not to drink alcoholic beverages.
Alcohol increases appetite and has a lot of calories. Limit drinks with alcohol. Drink water with lemon or lime. Mix a few ounces of wine with club soda to make a wine spritzer.
Ask health care persons if they have washed or sanitized their hands before they give you (and loved ones) care. If they haven’t, ask that they do.
When you order or make pizza, choose lots of vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions, olives, mushrooms, peppers, and broccoli. Go meatless or limit meats and have half the cheese. Limit pizza to a few slices and add salad and fruit to complete the meal.
Look at dates on food labels. Avoid buying food items that are spoiled or will spoil before you use them.
More than half of all cancer deaths may be prevented by not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, eating nutritious foods, and being physically active.
Create and maintain healthy work habits. When you get to work, use a “To Do” list to plan your day. Spend at least 10 minutes organizing your space and putting things in their place.
Separate work from your home and personal life. Make time for leisure activities you enjoy.
To control your weight, get your calories from foods with nutrients instead of high-calorie drinks. Choose coffee black or with skim milk instead of coffee with sweet flavorings and whipped cream.
By exercising for as little as 30 minutes each day, you can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Choose lean meats and skinless poultry since they are low in saturated fat and calories. Limit meat, chicken, and fish portions to two to three ounces, or the size of a deck of cards. Serve the protein on a bed of dark greens and chopped vegetables and fruits. Add low-calorie salad dressing.
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans are low in calories, and full of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fill three-quarters of your plate with these foods.
Choose milks, yogurts, and cheeses made from skim milk or 1% low-fat milk. Add fresh, frozen, or unsweetened fruits to plain yogurt.
Tell yourself to eat until you are satisfied, not until you are stuffed.
Limit sodium to 2,300 mg. per day; 1,500 mg. if you have high blood pressure, are African-American, or are middle-aged and older. Read food labels for sodium content.
Eating and other lifestyle behaviors have been learned; therefore they can be replaced or changed. Think positively!
Count steps not just calories. Walking 2,000 steps is about a mile. Wear a pedometer to log your daily steps. Aim for 10,000 steps a day.
Instead of butter or margarine, try using low-sugar spreadable fruit on wheat toast.
Shake the salt habit. Put a sodium-free seasoning blend in your “no salt” shaker.
Quench your thirst with water, not alcohol. When you drink alcohol, sip it to make the drink last longer.
Keep all medicines secure from children, grandchildren, and teens. This includes ones in pill bottles, purses, and dose containers.
Talk to your doctor about taking aspirin to lower your risk for a heart attack if you are a man ages 45 to 79 years; to lower your risk for a stroke if you are a woman ages 55 to 79 years.
Identify your stress triggers. Plan, ahead of time, ways to deal with them if and when they occur.
Spend time with loved ones, including pets. Accept help from family and friends who offer support.
Know your smoking triggers. Avoid them or plan ahead of time, something else you will do, such as chew sugarless gum.
Tell all of your health care providers about any allergies you have and any problems you have had with medicines.
Slow down your eating. Chew and swallow each bite before taking another one. Take sips of water between bites.
Take your medicines as advised. Tell your doctor if you have bothersome side effects. Don’t stop taking medicines on your own. Consult your doctor for advice.
Your blood pressure can be high with no symptoms. Get it tested at every doctor office visit, at least every two years, or as often as your doctor advises.
Use nonstick cooking spray in place of butter, margarine, or oil when you grill or sauté foods.
Put salsa instead of sour cream on a baked potato. Use vinegar and lemon juice plus one to two teaspoons of olive oil on salads. Or use fat-free or low-fat salad dressings or sprays.
Alcohol can worsen sleep problems. Also, drinking less or no alcohol and getting more sleep can help you deal with pain better.
Ask your doctor if sun exposure worsens health problems you have or if any medicine you take makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Ask your doctor about the pros and cons of health screening tests. Decide, together, which ones are right for you.
Ask all health care providers that come in contact with you to wash or sanitize their hands to help prevent the spread of a super bug called MRSA, which can cause serious blood and wound infections.
Did you know that proper hand washing may prevent 16% of respiratory infections? Wash your hands often. Use soap and running water. Count to 15 or sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
Be a non-tobacco user for your health and the health of your family and pets. If you are pregnant, be a nonsmoker for your unborn baby’s health.
To help prevent osteoporosis, do weight bearing exercise and get 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day from foods and supplements, as advised by your doctor.
Ask your doctor if conditions you have or medications you take raise your risk for falls. Ask how to lower the risk.
Aim for a waist measurement below 40 inches if you are a male and below 35 inches if you are female.
Lose the sodas, lose weight. Having water instead of one 12-ounce soda a day can help you lose 15 pounds in one year.
Choose whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas. Dietary fiber in these foods aids in digestion and relieves constipation.
Go lean with protein and fat-free or low-fat with dairy. Limit total and saturated fats and cholesterol, but still get protein, minerals, and vitamins, such as calcium and vitamin D.
Explore to learn more. Visit museums and zoos. Take vacations that involve walking tours or other fitness activities, such as climbing or skiing.
Childproof your home. Room by room, take steps to prevent burns, cuts, electric shock, and poisoning.
Prevent falls during winter months. Keep walkways clear of ice and snow and well lit. Wear boots and shoes with nonslip soles. If ice or snow covers stairs, driveways and sidewalks, stay home.
Being involved in your health care empowers you to make choices that can affect the length and quality of your life. Work with your doctor or health care provider to make medical decisions best suited for your needs.
Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of treatment options. Ask for things to be stated in terms you know. Get written directions for medicines, medical care, and self-care measures.
For a quick way to relax, take a slow deep breath in through your nose. Hold the air in for 3 seconds. Purse your lips and exhale through your mouth making a whooshing sound. Repeat five or more times.
Visit your happy place in your mind. Like Happy Gilmore did, close your eyes and picture being at the place you feel the most relaxed and happy.
When you are so upset that you want to scream, count to 10. It buys you time so you can reflect on what’s bothering you and calm down.
Excessive alcohol use can lead to increased risk of health problems and unintentional injuries. If you choose to drink, limit alcohol to no more than two drinks a day if you are a man and no more than one drink per day if you are a woman.
When you’ve been sitting for a long time, such as in an all-day meeting or a theater, cross a leg. A short time later, cross the other leg. Doing this moves many of your back and hip muscles.
Read food labels. Choose foods with zero grams of trans fat per serving and that do not list any kind of hydrogenated oil in the ingredients.
To get calcium and vitamin D in your diet, have at least 2 servings of nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese a day. If you can’t drink cow’s milk, have almond, rice, or soy milk fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Eat green leafy vegetables and vitamin D-fortified breads and cereals.
When you interview a doctor, ask questions that are important to you. For example, is he or she open to discussion about medical decisions? Choose a doctor that you can relate to and want to partner with to prevent and treat health conditions.
Talk to your family about cell phone and smartphone safety. Set rules and limits for your children. Let them know that you have regular access to their phone calls and text messages. Hold them accountable if rules are broken.
If you are a woman, get screening tests for cervical cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer, as advised by your doctor. If you are a man, follow your doctor’s advice for colorectal cancer screening and ask if and when you should be screened for prostate cancer.
Researchers say the release of tears – whether happy or sad – helps release stress. It’s healthy to have a good cry.
Vacations are good for your health and happiness. Planning ahead, packing smart, and knowing about your destination will help you relax and enjoy your vacation.
Put a sticky note in your workspace that reminds you to stretch, bend, and move throughout your workday. Make use of exercise programs and equipment offered to you at work.
Learn ways to relax without alcohol and drugs. Listen to calm music. Do deep breathing exercises. Exercise.
Cut calories and car exhaust at the same time. Walk and ride a bicycle more and drive less. Save money on gas, too.
Install an air filter or electronic air cleaner on your furnace. Or use a portable air purifier and/or vacuum that has a HEPA filter. These help eliminate gases, odors, chemicals and dust.
Wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from flying particles and debris when working with wood and tools and doing yard work. Before you mow the lawn, look for and remove rocks and other items that can become flying objects.
Keep children safe when riding in vehicles. Use age- and size-appropriate car seats, booster seats, or seat belts. The safest place for children of any age to ride is properly restrained in the back seat.
Choose non-toxic toys for children, such as ones made from solid and recycled wood (not pressed wood) and non-toxic paints and finishes. Avoid toys made of PVC plastic; xylene, toluene, or dibutyl phthalate.
Protect yourself from medical errors. Be your own watchdog. Take an active role in every decision about your health care. If needed, have a family member or friend oversee your care.
Get all of your medicines from the same pharmacy to avoid harmful interactions. Make sure each doctor who prescribes medicine for you knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines and to foods, such as shrimp.
Make fruit your everyday dessert. Snack on fruit instead of chips, cookies, and candy.
Getting enough quality sleep is as vital to good health and long life as are healthy eating and regular physical activity. Adults average about six hours of sleep a night, but function best at seven to nine hours a night. School-aged children and teens function best with at least 9 hours of sleep each night; preschoolers need 10 to 12 hours.
Discuss, with your doctor, how to get your daily need for vitamin D. Fifteen minutes of midday sunshine on your skin (without sunscreen) may meet your daily needs. You may not get vitamin D benefits from the sun during winter months, if you have dark skin, are overweight, and/or you are age 60 years and older.
Soda and pop, also called soft drinks, are the number one source of added sugars in the U.S. Having just two 12-ounce regular sodas a day could add 30 pounds of weight in one year. Choose warm or iced tea or water instead of regular soda.
Redo your favorite recipes to lower fat, sugar, sodium, and calories. For example, in muffin recipes, substitute applesauce for the sugar and skim milk for whole milk.
Carry a list of all your medicines with you. Show it to all doctors and health care providers who prescribe medicine and treatment.
Be “pro” antioxidants. These substances protect damage to body cells from free radicals, which have been linked to cancer. Antioxidants are abundant in fruits and vegetables. Choose ones of different colors for a variety of these helpful substances.
Spice up your life without salt. For meats, use seasonings, such as bay leaves, marjoram, curry powder, garlic, and lemon juice. Add cinnamon, cloves, dill, rosemary, and tarragon to vegetables.
Research says that daily stretching can reduce tension, increase blood flow, and improve range of motion and coordination. Take 15 minutes, daily, to stretch all major muscle groups (neck, shoulders, arms, abs, lower back, buttocks, and legs).
Use your smartphone for health’s sake! Download free apps to help you set up and keep track of your weight, physical activity, and food intake.
Work extra activity into your day. Take the stairs. Walk to another floor to use the bathroom. Do chair exercises at your desk.
Shop for foods after you have eaten. Start in the produce section. Then shop the outer aisles for fresh meats, and dairy foods. Avoid aisles with processed foods, cakes, cookies, and munchies high in sugar, fat, and salt.
Choose meatless meals more often, such as “Meatless Mondays.” Enjoy veggie burgers, meatless chili, and soups with kidney and other beans, lentils, and plenty of vegetables.
Interview your closest relatives and record their health problems. Pick the two problems that occur most in your family and find out what can be done to prevent or delay their onset.
Discard expired medicines. Use a community drug-take-back program. Or, mix the medicine with kitty litter or used coffee grounds and put this in the garbage in a sealed bag.
Take a “safety” tour of your house. Clear all clutter on steps and in walkways. Secure electrical cords that could be tripped over.
Do one hour less of TV watching or computer use and replace it with something that gets you moving (e.g., bicycle riding, walking, stretches).
Make extra soups, stews, and other foods to freeze for “planned overs.” Reheat for quick, healthy meals.
When you buy packaged frozen dinners and entrees, choose ones with 800 mg or less of sodium.
Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods when you shop for, prepare, or store foods. Wash your hands before you handle foods, Use clean utensils and clean surfaces when you prepare foods.
Keep hot foods higher than 140º F. Keep cold foods at 40º F or lower. Bacteria grow rapidly in the “danger zone” between 40º F and 140º F.
Eat cooked foods or refrigerate them within two hours. If the temperature is 90° F or higher, eat or refrigerate them within one hour – or toss them out.
When you get vaccines, you protect yourself, as well as your family, friends, and co-workers from preventable illnesses.
Did you know that adults need one dose of Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis (Tdap) vaccine to prevent whooping cough? This protects you, your children, and grandchildren. A tetanus/diphtheria (Td) vaccine is advised every 10 years.
If you are age 26 or younger, get three doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) as advised by your doctor. These protect women against cervical cancer and help protect women and men against genital warts.
Get a pneumococcal vaccine once at age 65 years or older. You may need more than one dose, starting before age 65, if you smoke or have certain medical conditions. These include diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and chronic lung disease.
Be in tune with your body while exercising. If muscles or joints start to hurt, ease up.
To prevent shingles or have a milder form of it, get one dose of Zoster (shingles) vaccine at age 60 years old or older. You do not need this if you have not had chicken pox.
Be flexible in dealing with people and events. Avoid “psychosclerosis” – hardening of the attitudes.
When you are in a stressful situation, be in control. Think before you speak. Take a few deep breaths or look for humor to break up the tension.
Find your passion(s) in life. Plan for doing things you enjoy and look forward to. Write a “bucket list.” Putting your goals and dreams into words is the first step towards making them happen.
Wash and dry your hands well or use a hand sanitizer after using public restrooms, ATM keypads, shopping carts, escalator railings, elevator buttons, and gas pumps.
Use a disinfecting wipe to clean your office phone, computer keyboard, mouse, and desk once a day. Disinfect objects touched by others, too, such as copy machines and door handles.
For most people, it takes more than one attempt to stop using tobacco. Don’t quit on being a quitter.
Keep a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio available to receive official instructions and updates from local authorities if the power goes out.
When traveling buy airplane, make an effort to breathe slowly and deeply. Aircraft air is lower in oxygen than outdoor air. Deep breathing helps you to get enough oxygen into your blood and avoid fatigue and sluggishness.
Try to reduce the need for some medicines, such as sleeping pills and laxatives. Check with your doctor for ways, other than medicines, to help treat your problems.
Prevent problems with regular dental care. Let your dentist know if you have tooth pain, red or swollen gums, bad breath that doesn’t go away or any other dental problem.
When the heat starts to rise, slow down. Drink more fluids (ones without caffeine or alcohol). Stay in the shade or indoors. Wear lightweight clothing.
Do a relaxation technique every day. Breathe deeply, do yoga, meditate, etc. Do regular exercise, too.
To help prevent insomnia, avoid caffeine for eight hours before bedtime; don’t take long naps during the day; dim the lights an hour or two before you go to bed, etc. See your doctor if insomnia lasts for more than three weeks.
If you are hosting a party, make sure to purchase nonalcoholic drinks for minors, as well as persons who prefer not to drink alcoholic beverages.
Gallup surveys in 130 countries show that people with higher personal well-being are more likely to say they give time, money, or help to others in their communities. Find out about many ways you can help others from Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America at www.nationalservice.gov.
To help prevent burnout, plan one or more vacations during the year. Do not work on your vacations.
Build a budget. Use a plan to manage your money and stay out of debt. Include a savings plan in your budget, such as through your company’s 401K and a direct deposit into a savings account.
At work, report injuries, “near misses” of injuries, threats, and violent acts to your supervisor or to security. Follow your company’s policies and procedures.
As many as half of people who have high blood pressure do not know they have it. There are usually no signs or symptoms. So get your blood pressure checked at every office visit, at least every two years, or as often as your doctor advises.
Use one cutting board for fruits and vegetables and another one for meat, poultry, seafood, or eggs. Never place cooked food on a plate that held raw food.
You don’t have to have a mental illness or lie on a couch and confess your dark secrets to benefit from counseling. Sitting upright and talking about everyday stresses, phobias, or life changes with a professional therapist can help you learn how to take control of challenging situations.
Hanging out with your pet is more than just fun. It can turn your frown upside down. Studies show that spending 15 to 30 minutes with Fido or Fluffy lowers the level of cortisol, a hormone the body releases as a response to stress. It also raises levels of dopamine and serotonin, nerve chemicals that produce calmness and pleasure.
When you interview a doctor, ask questions that are important to you. For example, is he or she open to discussion about medical decisions? Does he or she support alternative treatments? Choose a doctor that you can relate to and want to partner with to prevent and treat health conditions.
Whether it’s from living above your means, expensive medical bills, a job loss, or supporting your parents, you can eliminate debt. The first step is to avoid getting deeper in debt. Limit spending to essentials and follow a plan to pay down the debt.
Move as much as you can throughout the day. Swing your legs when you are sitting. Stand up and do side steps while you are on the phone. Squat while you are waiting for the washing machine to finish its spin cycle.
Chances are you don’t have one of those newfangled treadmill desks in your office. That shouldn’t stop you from adding exercise into your work schedule. If you get breaks, use them to march up and down the stairs or walk around the building a few times.
If your eyes are craving dessert, wait at least 15 minutes after you finish your meal. This allows your body to decide if it is actually still hungry. If you insist, tread lightly. One restaurant double hot fudge brownie sundae will add more than 1,100 calories.
The next time you mindlessly reach for sweets or treats, ask yourself why. If your answer has nothing to do with physical hunger, put the food down and take a walk instead.
If you are struggling to find a reason to get off your duff and exercise, go online and find a cause that interests you – Alzheimer’s disease, animal welfare, breast cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, etc. Chances are there is a fitness-related fund-raiser in your area that will inspire you to get fit and soothe your soul.
Be assertive. This is expressing your wants and needs without hurting the feelings of others or putting them down. Doing this helps prevent an aggressive response which can lead to feeling rejected.
Look on the bright side and be with positive people. Positive energy spreads from one person to the next like an electrical charge.
Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. Do not ask your doctor for an antibiotic to treat a cold or the flu. These are caused by viruses. Using antibiotics for viruses is the main cause of antibiotic resistance.
When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue and throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow or sleeve.
If you have trouble sleeping for three weeks or longer, see your doctor. You may have a sleep disorder or other problem that needs to be evaluated and treated.
To keep from getting dehydrated, drink water throughout the day. Drink sports beverages if you sweat a lot. Limit coffee, tea, and colas. Fluids with caffeine act as diuretics. Don’t rely on thirst alone to tell you if your body needs more fluid.
Next time you are in a stressful situation, take control. Think before you speak. Take a few deep breaths. Look for humor to break up the tension. Be willing to compromise or at least agree to disagree.
Wear earplugs or special earmuffs when you are within range of very loud sounds. These include motorcycle riding, jet take offs, firearms, and loud musical venues. Concert musicians wear earplugs. You should too.
At least once a year, review all of your medicines with your doctor and pharmacist. Include prescribed and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, minerals, and herbals.
Jeepers, creepers, why not protect those peepers? Regular vision care may prevent or lessen your chances of eye problems as you age. See an ophthalmologist or optometrist for regular eye exams. A dilated eye test and glaucoma screening help detect vision problems in their early stages.
For the next three days, keep a diary of everything you do. You may learn that trying to find things on your cluttered desk, engaging in gossip, spending too much time on Facebook or watching TV are keeping you from completing what you need to get done.
Take at least 10 minutes every day to calm your mind. Sit or lie down. Breathe slowly and deeply, concentrating only on how it feels in your lungs and chest. Focus on the present moment.
Soluble fiber slows digestion, makes you feel full, and may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Good food source of this type of fiber include lentils, kidney and other beans, oat bran, oatmeal, flaxseed, and the fleshy parts of apples and carrots. It is also found in psyllium, a common fiber supplement.
To help prevent constipation, eat foods with insoluble fiber, such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. This type of fiber adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines.
Mom was right − sit up straight; don’t slouch. Maintain good posture and keep from straining your back to help you prevent stressed and damaged back muscles – the main causes of back pain. Muscles that aren’t worked out on a regular basis are more prone to injury.
Tooth decay prevention is as easy as 2-1-2:
• 2 times a day, brush your teeth
• 1 time a day, floss your teeth
• 2 times a year, get a dental cleaning and checkup
If you are spending more than you earn, cut back on variable expenses. If you still have money left over after paying your bills and putting money into savings, carry over the extra for future expenses.
If anger interferes with your day-to-day life or has caused physical or emotional harm to you or someone else, seek help from your doctor or a mental health care provider.
Kids laugh 200 times a day. Adults laugh only 15 times a day. Start counting the number of times you laugh and increase your record every day.
Build muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat. This occurs even when your body is at rest.
Increase dietary fiber gradually. Too much, too soon, can cause gas. Also, drink plenty of water when you increase fiber in your diet.
A tasty and easy way to get calcium from foods is to mix plain, nonfat yogurt with fresh fruit for a refreshing smoothie.
Eat meals and snacks in the kitchen and dining room, not in front of the TV. Make meal time family time.
Plan for healthy meals that will be eaten at home, lunches that need to be packed, and for nutritious snacks. Involve children in planning meals, shopping for food, and cooking. Choose a new fruit or vegetable one or more times a week.
Just saying you want to exercise more isn’t enough. Be specific about how much exercise you want to do, how much time you plan to spend on it, and how you will measure your results.
If you have a job that requires you sit all day long, set an alarm on your cell phone (on low) to remind you to stand up at least every two hours for more than a minute at a time. Stretch, bend, or take a short walk.
Make a list of areas in your life that keep you dwelling in negative energy; then write out a few positive statements for each. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.
If you order alcohol the next time you eat out, ask to have it served with, not before the meal. Alternate sips of alcohol and water to make it last longer.
Supervise children and pets around outdoor cooking areas and especially around fire pits that have flames close to the ground. Cover fire pits with a screen. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
Hide and store matches and lighters high up and out of children’s reach. Teach children not to play with them.
Supervise the use of lit candles. Snuff candles or blow them out before you leave the room and go to bed. It is best to enclose lit candles in candle holders. Or, use battery-operated or flameless candles.
Do not overload wall sockets or power strips. Do not use wall sockets that have been melted or burned. Register new appliances with the manufacturer so you can find out about potential problems.
If a fire starts in the house, get out first. Then call 911! In less than 30 seconds, a small fire can get out of control. Do not take time to collect personal items before leaving the house.
Get down on the floor and follow your child to look at things from his or her point of view. Address items that pose a safety risk for your child.
Install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector on each floor and outside each sleeping area. Test the alarms monthly. Replace batteries at least once or twice a year, such as in the spring and/or fall when daylight saving time changes. If the alarm sounds, leave your home right away and call 911!
NEVER leave a child alone near a pool, a bucket of water or a toilet, not even for a few seconds. A child can drown in just one inch of water!
Make sure to give the right type and dose of medicine, such as acetaminophen to children. Use a calibrated medicine dropper or spoon, as directed.
Keep knives, scissors, razors, and sharp objects high up and out of a child’s reach. Put safety latches or devices on drawers that contain sharp objects.
If you have a swing set, it is best to use mulch, wood chips, sand, or pea gravel beneath it. These absorb shock better than grass and packed dirt. Supervise children when playing in the backyard.
Rest your eyes 20/20. If you are working at a computer or doing close-up work, look away every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds.
Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your risk of being in a crash. Don’t drive distracted. Avoid calling, texting, eating, smoking, or fiddling with any gadgets in the vehicle.
Every day, have two to three servings of nonfat or low-fat dairy products, such as skim or half-percent milk, and plain, low-fat yogurt. These provide protein, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B-2 and B-12.
Choose whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas over white, enriched ones. Include beans, lentils, and peas in meals, often. Dietary fiber in these foods and in fruits and vegetables helps you stay fuller longer.
Be ready for physical activity. Keep a pair of comfortable walking shoes in your car and at work.
When you are bored, crave sweets, or feel stressed, take a walk, clean out a drawer or closet, or spend time on your hobby.
Join an exercise class or a group sport that you enjoy. You will look forward to being active and spending time with others.
This Online guide is not meant to substitute for expert medical advice or treatment. The information is given to help you make informed choices about your health. Follow your doctor’s or health care provider’s advice if it differs from what is given in this guide.
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