The Top 10 Things Healthy People Do
Winter 2014 | Page 8-9
Some people just seem to understand that there’s nothing more important than their health. They make taking good care of themselves a regular part of their routine. Laura Riggins, MD, FAAFP, family practitioner, and Amrita Singh, MD, internist, share the top 10 things that healthy people do.
They stay up to date on their adult vaccinations.
They get a flu shot every year and once they turn 65, they have the pneumonia vaccination. They get a Tetanus/Diphtheria booster shot every 10 years, and they’ve had the series of vaccines for Hepatitis B. Healthy people 60 and older get their shingles vaccine.
They get regular checkups.
Most people only go to the doctor when they’re sick. Healthy people see their doctors for preventive care because most conditions are more easily treated if they’re caught early.
They know their four most important numbers:
blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index and bad cholesterol (LDL).
They get age-appropriate cancer screenings.
For those who have no family history or other risk factors, these screenings include a Pap smear for cervical cancer starting at age 21, annual mammograms starting at age 40 and a colonoscopy starting at age 50. Healthy people who do have risk factors talk to their doctor about the right time to start screening.
They don’t smoke or use tobacco products.
Smoking is a risk factor for several kinds of cancer, including lung, bladder and kidney cancer.
They get 30 minutes of exercise a day.
Whether it’s yoga, dancing, walking, playing basketball or swimming, healthy people find some kind of activity they enjoy—and they stick to it.
They drink alcohol in moderation.
If they drink alcohol at all, they do so responsibly. For women, moderate drinking equates to an average of seven drinks a week, or one a day. For men, it’s 14 drinks a week, or an average of two a day. They don’t binge drink.
They have a colorful diet and eat regularly.
Healthy people eat darkcolored fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, and stay hydrated with water and other unsweetened drinks. So many people skip meals in an attempt to keep their weight down, but not eating regularly slows down the metabolism.
They maintain a healthy weight.
Between diet and exercise, they maintain a healthy weight, which is a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9. Doing this reduces the risk of developing chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
They get a good night’s sleep every night.
Sleeping seven to nine hours a night gives the body sufficient rest to be able to perform safely the next day. It also reduces the risk of diabetes. Sleep deprivation increases levels of stress hormones in the body, which can lead to elevated blood sugar levels.
Need a Primary Care Physician?
Drs. Riggins and Singh are part of the Virginia Hospital Center Physician Group
and are accepting new patients. Call today!