Changing habits can have a big positive impact on your health.
Be physically active.
Walking briskly, mowing the lawn, playing team sports, and biking are just a few examples of how you can get moving. If you are not already physically active, start small and work up to 30 minutes a day of moderate physical activity for most days of the week.
Eat a healthy diet.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products are healthy choices. Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts are good, too. Try to eat foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.
Stay at a healthy weight.
Try to balance the calories you take in with the calories you burn with your physical activities. As you age, eat fewer calories and increase your physical activity. This will prevent gradual weight gain over time.
Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all.
Current dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, you do not exceed 2 drinks per day for men (1 drink per day for women). Some people should not drink alcoholic beverages at all, including
- Individuals who cannot restrict their drinking to moderate levels.
- Individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery, or take part in other activities that requires attention, skill, or coordination.
- Individuals taking prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol.
- Individuals with specific medical conditions.
- Persons recovering from alcoholism.
For tips on how to quit, go to www.smokefree.gov. To talk to someone about how to quit, call the National Quitline: 1-800-QUITNOW (784-8669).
Take aspirin to avoid a heart attack.
If you are at risk for a heart attack (you’re over 45, smoke, or have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease), check with your doctor and find out if taking aspirin is the right choice for you.
Source: Stay Healthy. December 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/patient-involvement/healthy-men/healthy/index.html