It’s very exciting that our health — and our ability to stay strong and live longer — are not just a matter of our genes or our luck. Take some simple steps to support your health, your family, and your future.
How much do you know about your health?
- Eat smart. Nutritious foods give you energy and may lower your risk of certain diseases. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free milk products. Learn nutrition basics and how to read a food label.
- Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Find out how much physical activity you need.
- Get to or stay at a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can raise your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Find out your body mass index, or BMI, to see if you’re at risk. Eat healthy foods, control portion sizes, and be active to keep your weight in check.
- Be smoke-free. Smoking is linked to many of the leading causes of death, including cancer, lung disease, and stroke. If you smoke, quit today! Also, avoid secondhand smoke.
- Get routine exams and screenings. Ask your doctor how often you need to be examined. Ask about getting vaccinated and about getting screened for certain diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sexually transmitted infections, and certain types of cancer.
- Take any medications you need. Thousands of deaths could be prevented each year by taking medications properly. Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications, including those that help control conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Avoid heavy drinking. Heavy drinking can lead to many problems, including high blood pressure, various cancers, psychological problems, and accidents. For men 65 and younger, drinking in moderation means no more than two drinks per day. Men older than 65 should have no more than one drink a day.
- Manage stress. Balancing work and family obligations can be challenging. But it’s important to protect your mental and physical health.
- Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can affect your mood and your health. Try certain changes that can improve your sleep. See your doctor if you think you have a serious problem. Sleep apnea, a common problem in which your breathing stops briefly, can increase the risk of accidents and certain health problems.
- Know your risks. Learn how your lifestyle affects your risk of health problems. For example, people who work with certain chemicals need to take protective steps, and men who have sex with men should talk with their doctors about particular concerns. You also should keep track of your family medical history and share it with your doctor.
- Stay safe. Safety means many things, like wearing seatbelts and helmets, having working smoke detectors, and following safety rules at work. It also means using condoms, washing your hands, taking care of your teeth, and wearing sunscreen. Take steps to protect yourself and others.
The following sections have more in-depth information on how to stay healthy for life.
Every heard of reproductive life planning? Well, it’s not just for women. Planning for your future means setting personal goals regarding having (or not having) children. It also guides you in how to achieve those goals. It is recommended that everyone have a reproductive plan based on personal values and resources. For more information on reproductive life plans, click here.