Two separate recent studies suggest that being married may improve the likelihood of surviving a heart attack and may also help you beat cancer.
It is possible that the reason for this is that married folks have a significant other nagging … er, I mean strongly encouraging … them to go to the doctor on a regular basis and get a checkup.
Preventive care and early detection are key to maintaining and continuing a healthy lifestyle as you age. Finding cancers early, learning about diseases or conditions at an early stage, gives you a better chance of doing something about it.
The best way to proactively keep yourself healthy is to take care of your body. So whether you have a spouse to ‘encourage’ you or not, there are some steps you can take to get in shape and keep healthy.
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 more information on quitting, visit Quit Smoking section.
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.
Sources: AHRQ, UC San Diego Health, British Cardiovascular Society
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