Day to day habits play a huge role in your health and wellbeing. The healthy habits below are known to lower the risk of many diseases. They may also help you recover from other illnesses or injuries. Together that they lead to a higher quality of life. The more healthy habits you have, the healthier you will be.
- Choose a healthy balance of foods. A balanced diet is one that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber. It should also be low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Focus on whole foods that you prepare instead of processed or fast foods.
- Be physically active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity into your day. Find something that you enjoy and have easy access too. Examples include walking in the morning, yoga class, jogging with a friend, basketball league, or bike ride around neighborhood. Try new things. Include 2 to 3 days of strength training every week for healthy muscles and bones.
- Get regular check-ups. See your doctor for regular exams. Talk to them about screening exams and risk factors you may have for illness. Answer questions honestly and share concern you may have. This includes physical and emotional problems. Exams may catch small problems before they become big problems.
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death. It also has a negative effect on your immediate health. It is never too late to quit. Talk to your doctor about tools that may help. It may take more than one try to stop. Don't give up, it is worth short term discomfort.
- Be safe.
Use common sense and be street smart. Do not put yourself in situations that may be dangerous. Just a few ways you can put safety first include:
- Always wear your seatbelt.
- Wear a helmet when participating in sports such as biking.
- Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Do not go for a run, walk, or jog alone at night. Most attacks happen to people who are alone. Reduce your risk by bringing a friend.
- Use medicine wisely. Follow directions given by doctor or on labels. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about side effects. Let your doctor know about all medicine or supplements you are taking.
- Avoid too much sun. Protect your skin when you are outdoors. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. It should protect against UVA and UVB rays. Use clothing, hats, and sunglasses as extra layer of protection.
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
—Moderation means no more than 2 drinks in a day for men and no more than 1 drink in a day for women. One drink is:
- One 12-ounce bottle of beer
- One 5-ounce glass of wine
- 1.5 ounces of spirits
- Keep your mouth healthy. Poor oral health can cause gum disease and tooth loss. Bacteria from the mouth can also cause heart disease and infections, pneumonia, and problems in pregnancy. Brushing at least twice per day and flossing will keep the mouth healthy. It can also control bacteria. See your dentist for regular exams and cleaning.
- Keep blood pressure in healthy range. High blood pressure increases the risk for many illnesses including heart disease and stroke. Your doctor will check blood pressure at regular exams. Ask what your blood pressure should be and how to reach and keep your goal. Follow care plan to manage high blood pressure.
- Learn ways to better handle stress. Too much stress can make you ill and miserable. It is not possible to avoid all stress. However, you change how you react to it. Relaxation steps like meditation, mindfulness, or breathing exercises may help. Evaluate stress in your life and step away from stress if you can. Consider therapy or support groups if stress is hard to manage.
- Stay in touch with family and friends. Get to know your neighbors. Take the time to be involved or volunteer with your community. A strong social network has been linked to better health and wellbeing.
- Sleep well. Poor sleep not only makes you tired but can increase your risk for accidents, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Make sleep a priority. Develop a healthy sleep routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Keep electronics out of the bedroom. Talk to your doctor if you are having regular problems falling or staying asleep.
- Keep a positive attitude. Studies have shown that people who have a positive attitude tend to lead healthier and happier lives and that laughter makes you feel better. Just laugh, and you will know it is true. Try to avoid taking things personally. Look for the humor in life. And remember to laugh.
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Canada Safety Council
Alcohol and public health: Frequently asked questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm. Updated January 15, 2020. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Attitudes about aging affect longevity, study says. American Psychological Association website. Available at: http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct02/attitudes.aspx. Published October 2002. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Fight Stress with Healthy Habits. American Heart Society website. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/fight-stress-with-healthy-habits-infographic. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html. Updated February 4, 2020. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Oral Health Basics. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/index.html. Updated July 29, 2019. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Physical Activity. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/. Updated February 4, 2020. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Prevent and Manage High Blood Pressure. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/prevent_manage.htm. Updated January 28, 2020. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Skin cancer: What can I do to reduce my risk? Centers of Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/prevention.htm. Updated June 13, 2017. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Sleep Health. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. Available at: https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/sleep-health. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Sunscreen FAQs. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens. Accessed February 21, 2020.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Last Updated: 2/21/2020