We want to live long, stay healthy and take good care of ourselves and those who are dear to us. We cannot change certain risk factors, but we can all make choices that promote our health and greatly reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, many types of cancer and type II diabetes.
Five steps to a healthier you
- Avoid smoking
Tobacco use and exposure to indiscriminate smoke are significant causes of premature death from heart and lung disease, heart infarction, and cancer, Canada’s Leading Fatal Diseases.
If you smoke, think now to stop. It’s never too late to do it, no matter how long you’ve been smoking or how many times you’ve tried to quit. When you quit smoking, the risk of heart disease decreases rapidly. After a few years, they are almost as weak as if you had never smoked. You can be one of five million people in Canada who have quit smoking. Ask your doctor for methods of quitting.
If you do not smoke, do not start. Every person should avoid being exposed to second-hand smoke, which is a serious danger and carries the same health risks as smoking. It is especially important for children and people with asthma and respiratory problems to live in a smoke-free environment.
- Eat well to be healthy
Good nutrition helps you stay in shape, feel good and control your weight. Good nutrition also provides protection against heart disease, heart attacks, cancer and other serious illnesses. Please see some tips for food.
- Eat small portions of lean meat, fish or poultry and remove visible fat;
- Plan your meals from vegetables, fruits and cereals, such as rice, pasta, bread and cereals. Choose whole grain foods, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice and cereals. Eat a few servings of green and yellow vegetables, fruits and vegetables every day;
- Choose low fat milk, yogurt and cottage cheese (1% or 2% butter fat, or skim products);
- Reduce the amount of fat such as butter, oil and margarine. Prepare your food using the least amount of fat possible;
- Incorporate physical activities into your life
You want to protect your health, achieve or maintain a healthy weight, have more energy and are less stressed? You can do this by doing regular physical activity. Physical activities help your heart, lungs and blood vessels work better while lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure. It is easy to do physical activities. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get off the bus a few stops earlier, and walk the rest of the way. Walk to shop in the neighborhood rather than take your car. Get up from your chair, stretch your muscles and flex a few minutes an hour.
- Know what your blood pressure is
Are you in good shape? How could high blood pressure be a problem? Unfortunately, you may have unknowing hypertension because there are no obvious symptoms. Men and women of all ages in all sectors of activity can be affected. Tense people can have normal blood pressure, and calm people suffer from high blood pressure. The only way to ensure this is to have your health care provider check your blood pressure.
Hypertension is a serious health condition that can cause heart disease and heart attack. Hypertension can, however, be corrected. If your blood pressure is high, follow your doctor’s recommendations.
Here are some tips that will help you keep your blood pressure at an appropriate level:
- Have your blood pressure periodically checked;
- Stop smoking;
- Do regular physical activities
- Reduce or stop using alcohol
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Consume less salt.
- Relax and enjoy life
Take the time to enjoy fun activities and enjoy the company of your friends and family.
Do you feel tense or irritable? It’s time to identify the sources of negative stress in your life and take the necessary steps to reduce them. Learn about relaxation and stress management techniques from your family doctor or the organizations listed below.