Healthy Habits

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This year, my new year’s resolution is to get healthier. I don’t just mean working out and eating better, though. I need to get better about all aspects of my health, including basic stuff like scheduling doctor’s appointments. I’m trying to come up with a list of the biggest changes I can make and the most important stuff I can do for my health, so I thought I’d turn to the experts and ask what sorts of things college kids like me tend to ignore. I want to find the things I should be doing that will make a real impact on my overall health, so that I can be healthier and feel better (and happier, I hope). Thanks in advance!

Good for you! We could all stand to live healthier lives. Americans aren’t exactly known for their health-consciousness, and statistics suggest that we all need to shape up: according to one far-reaching study, just 3% of us have a “healthy lifestyle.” This failing takes all sorts of forms. Our diets aren’t good: we consume too little of the healthy stuff and too much of the bad stuff, and we can prove it with statistics. We avoid care that we need from doctors out of laziness, concern for our finances, or simple ignorance. And this hurts us: more than 70% of adults are diagnosed with chronic diseases, and more than 2 in 3 American adults is overweight or obese.

Achieving a healthy lifestyle is about more than just diet and exercise, as you say–but it does begin there. Experts recommend eating lots of whole foods (particularly vegetables) and avoiding processed sweets and treats. We should exercise regularly and keep our bodies moving. Even little habits–like using a standing desk for a few hours a day or taking the stairs instead of the escalator–can help.

But we also need to monitor our health with the aid of medical professionals, as you suggest. The place to start is with your health insurance: make sure that you have it, and use its list of approved providers (it’s usually online, and it’s usually searchable) to find a primary care physician near you. Make an appointment and go back regularly (your doctor will tell you how often to do so). From there, you may be referred to a specialist, say doctors at East Windsor Lawrenceville Foot & Ankle, PC in East Windsor, New Jersey. Alternatively, you can look up specialists through your insurance if you know what type of care you need (just check to make sure your insurance doesn’t require a referral in order to cover it).

Don’t forget about dental care, either, say practitioners at North Olmsted, Ohio’s Sikora Family Dentistry. And if you wear glasses, an eye doctor should be on your regular appointment list as well.

With your personal lifestyle full of healthy foods and exercise and your medical care covered by appointments with the right doctors (organized and written down so that you don’t miss any), you should enjoy a healthier and happier 2018.

“Money cannot buy health, but I’d settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.” — Dorothy Parker

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