Recent research suggests that a healthy lifestyle — eating right, getting enough exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking — is very rare in the United States. In fact, only 3% of Americans can claim a healthy lifestyle. This is concerning as lifestyle is one of the biggest factors affecting your health that you can control. A healthy lifestyle can decrease your risk for premature death, improve your overall quality of life, reduce lifetime medical expenses, and decrease your risk for certain cancers and chronic diseases.
The good news is that if you’re not among the 3% of Americans who live a healthy lifestyle, it’s not too late to start. However, transitioning to a healthy lifestyle can be a big change, and a big challenge, for some.
There’s no time like the present
Summer is a great time to make changes in your health habits. The weather’s great, so it’s fun to get outside and move. Fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available. Making small healthy choices can make a difference, but this may be the best time to make the big changes that the average American needs to make.
Make a plan
It’s not enough to decide that you want to make drastic life changes and start living a healthy lifestyle. You must determine what this means, and how you will make these healthy changes.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov provides great information about what a healthy diet looks like, and how to eat healthier.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer basic recommended guidelines for physical activity.
- Of course, regular meetings with your primary care provider can also greatly improve your health. Schedule an annual wellness exam with your doctor.
Once you’ve identified the lifestyle changes you want or need to make, and how you will implement them, you can focus on sticking with these healthy changes.
It can be difficult to maintain big lifestyle changes, especially if you’re not used to healthy living. It’s important to keep in mind that your lifestyle greatly affects your health, and it’s something that you control. The same can’t be said for many of the things that affect your health.
Diligently sticking with your healthy changes can help lead to healthy habits. It’s much easier to live a healthy lifestyle when making healthy choices is already part of your daily routine. Get accustomed to healthy eating, regular exercise, and other healthy habits.
Your primary care physician can help you work towards a healthy lifestyle. Set up an appointment with your doctor today!