Secrets of long life & vibrant health

We know how to live a long and healthy life. There really are no secrets about it. Most good health or bad is because of the choices we make every day. Here are some areas where you can make good choices.

Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol regularly. Your doctor can tell you how often these two important measures should be checked, based on your risks for heart disease. Your doctor can also tell you about other screening tests you need. Catching problems through screening tests gives you and your doctor the chance to start treatment before problems get worse and cost more to cure. Ask your doctor about developing a personal health care plan to help you regain and keep good health.

Stop smoking. It is hard to quit but your doctor can help you with pills, nicotine gum, patches and support groups. Quitting tobacco is probably the most important thing you can do to be healthy. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit www.stampoutsmoking.com

Limit alcoholic drinks. Men should not drink more than two drinks a day. Women should not have more than one drink a day. One drink means 12 oz. of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or one-and-a-half ounces of hard liquor. If you are drinking more than that, ask your doctor about community resources to help you quit or cut back. Visit: www.aa.org

Eat well. Cut back on fast foods, sugary drinks, salty foods, fried foods and red meat. Increase fruits and vegetables to at least five servings a day and eat more fish and chicken.

Exercise daily. Set a goal of at least 30 minutes of daily vigorous activity, e.g., brisk
walking or jogging. Try a variety of activities or sports so you won’t get bored. Try exercising with a friend. Make exercise a daily habit you enjoy. You will have more energy, sleep better, live longer and feel better, both mentally and physically.

Maintain a healthy weight. Reading nutrition labels on food packages is a good way to learn how many calories and other nutrients are in the foods you eat. The number of calories you eat must balance the number of calories spent doing daily activities or you will gain weight. Extra weight around the belly area is the unhealthiest place to carry it.

Reduce stress. One of the best stress-reducers is exercise. Another way is to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Restorative sleep is very important for overall health.

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