Staying Healthy

Maintaining good health doesn't happen by accident. It requires work, smart lifestyle choices, and the occasional checkup and test.

A healthy diet is rich in fiber, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, "good" or unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids. These dietary components turn down inflammation, which can damage tissue, joints, artery walls, and organs. Going easy on processed foods is another element of healthy eating. Sweets, foods made with highly refined grains, and sugar-sweetened beverages can cause spikes in blood sugar that can lead to early hunger. High blood sugar is linked to the development of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even dementia.

The Mediterranean diet meets all of the criteria for good health, and there is convincing evidence that it is effective at warding off heart attack, stroke, and premature death. The diet is rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish; low in red meats or processed meats; and includes a moderate amount of cheese and wine.

Physical activity is also necessary for good health. It can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls. Physical activity improves sleep, endurance, and even sex. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week, such as brisk walking. Strength training, important for balance, bone health, controlling blood sugar, and mobility, is recommended 2-3 times per week.

Finding ways to reduce stress is another strategy that can help you stay healthy, given the connection between stress and a variety of disorders. There are many ways to bust stress. Try, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, playing on weekends, and taking vacations.

Finally, establish a good relationship with a primary care physician. If something happens to your health, a physician you know —and who knows you — is in the best position to help. He or she will also recommend tests to check for hidden cancer or other conditions.

Staying Healthy Articles

Fitness over 50: Rebooting your workout

Jumping back into a workout after a long period of being sedentary sets people up for injury. Before rebooting a workout regimen, one should get the all-clear from a doctor, and make sure there aren’t any underlying health problems that could make exercising dangerous. Choosing a new exercise routine should include a current assessment of abilities and limitations. Then, one should ease into exercise with a low-intensity workout for 20 or 30 minutes, and increase the intensity and length over time. (Locked) More »

Insider tips to maximize your doctor visit

The average length of a doctor visit ranges from 10 to 20 minutes. There are ways to maximize every moment. For example, it helps to prepare and prioritize questions for the doctor in advance, and tell the doctor as soon as possible that there are questions that need to be answered before the end of the visit. When the doctor asks about the reason for the visit, one should give a brief summary. (Locked) More »

Is your home a haven for allergens?

A study published Nov. 30, 2017, in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that 90% of homes have three or more allergens, with at least one allergen at high levels in 73% of homes. More »

Ask these questions when you get a new prescription

When a doctor prescribes a new medication, it’s essential to ask questions about it. The patient should find out why the medication is needed, how it works, what the risks and benefits are, what side effects might occur, how to take the medication, what to avoid when using the medication, how soon the medication will begin working, and when it will be time to re-evaluate if the medication is still necessary. (Locked) More »

What to look for in a home treadmill

Home treadmill options are varied. Harvard experts recommend shopping for a home treadmill with a strong motor, a deck long enough for your stride, a sturdy frame and side rails, an emergency stop button, gauges that are easy to read, and buttons that are easy to use. Other options to consider include a built-in TV screen and compatibility with heart rate monitors. A person should try out a treadmill before buying it and make sure the treadmill comes with a warranty that includes servicing the motor. (Locked) More »