No one plans on being sick, but how can you help yourself stay healthy? How can you avoid headaches, congestion, cough, runny noses, and fever? Here are five things you can do to help stay healthy year-round.
Get your Flu Vaccine
The first vaccine was invented in 1796 to help stop the spread of smallpox. The same scientific principals that made that vaccine successful apply to the yearly flu vaccine. Once your are vaccinated, your body helps develop antibodies to attack the flu virus if your body comes in contact with it.
Can you catch the flu virus from the flu vaccine? NO. That’s not how it works. However, it does take about two weeks for the vaccine to provide protection – which means during that time you can still contract the flu. That’s why it’s recommended to get your vaccine at the start of flu season each year – but it is never too late to vaccinate!
One of the best investments you can make for your health is to have a yearly physical and form a good relationship with a primary care provider. Yearly physicals include a quick check on your weight, blood pressure, heart rate, heart & lung sounds, medication review, and a blood draw. Most often that blood draw includes lab work to evaluate cholesterol levels, glucose levels, and overall blood counts.
Milestone birthdays can also lead to the start of routine screenings (mammograms, colonoscopies, bone scans, etc.). Early detection can be key to treatment options.
Even moderate exercise (walking, yoga, gardening, bicycling) 2-3 times per week can help boost your immune system, improve overall cardiac and respiratory health, increase energy, and improve overall mood.
Want stronger bones as you age? Aside from diet, you need to include strength and weight bearing exercises. Even small hand weights (1-2 lbs each) can make a difference if you perform exercises on a routine basis.
Healthy Food Choices
Sweets are great. Fast food has its place. You can say yes to that second serving. Your body needs the proper nutrients to stay in tip-top shape. Remember that what you put in your body determines how your body will perform. FIll your nutrient tank with more of the good stuff – protein, fruit, vegetables – and less of the extras.
Wash Your Hands
This is the most important tip – wash your hands. When should you wash your hands? Before you eat. After going to the bathroom. When you first walk into your home – and after you take off your shoes. Wash them any time they look dirty. It’s a simple fact – handwashing helps prevent the spread of viruses & bacteria.
While antibacterial gel can be effective, the simple use of soap, water and the friction of scrubbing is all you need to help rid yourself of the germs.
Remember, simple steps every day (walk that flight of stairs, wash those hands, grab an extra serving of vegetables at dinner) can make a difference over the days, weeks, and months of each year! Stay healthy!