Save enough pennies and you have a dime. Save enough dimes and you have a dollar. Save enough dollars and, well, you can get what you have always wanted, like that big-screen television, cool car or vacation home. It might take some time to get the big ticket items, but if you work hard and start saving early, you could achieve your goal. Staying healthy works the same way. By doing the little things, like wearing sunscreen or going for a walk, you could live a longer, healthier life.
Good lifestyle habits can pay high dividends for men in the long run. Here are a few tips to help you live healthy so you can reap the rewards of avoiding chronic illnesses and premature death. Start moving. Regular exercise can help prevent and control both high blood pressure and diabetes, and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. Don't like to exercise? No sweat. Good ways to keep your heart healthy include brisk walking, riding a bike, hiking, dancing, swimming, physical tasks around the house, raking leaves, or painting a room. Other ways to work exercise into your day include taking the stairs when possible, or parking farther away from the office and then walking the added distance. Eat right. A healthy diet includes a variety of grains (especially whole grains), fruits and vegetables. Opt for foods with no trans fat and low in saturated fat, cholesterol, added sugar and salt. Choose fish, poultry and lean cuts of meat, as well as low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Limit the number of egg yolks and cut down on processed meats. When preparing food, broil, bake, roast or poach instead of frying, and tame snack attacks with low-fat options, such as animal crackers, melba toast or fat-free yogurt. Don't smoke. Smoking is associated with heart disease, cancer and lung disease. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. The risk of having a heart attack is six times higher for smokers, with the chances increasing depending on the number of cigarettes smoked daily. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of heart disease -- and one year of not smoking can cut heart disease risk in half. Drink responsibly. Moderate drinking of no more than two drinks per day for men is okay, but don't overdo it. Stay safe. Wear the proper protective gear when participating in sports and fasten your seat belt when riding in or driving a car. Learn about your family's health history. Certain health conditions can be passed on from one generation to the next. When several family members have heart disease, diabetes or some cancers, you may be at increased risk for that health problem as well. Get regular checkups. Check with your doctor about when you need to have a prostate exam, colonoscopy or other preventive health screening. Some diseases and conditions do not cause symptoms, so it is important to get screened before signs appear. Check your numbers. Monitoring blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index can help catch underlying health problems early. Get vaccinated. Immunity from some vaccinations can fade over time and make adults more susceptible to diseases. Stay balanced. Try to equalize the stress of professional and personal obligations with relaxing activities that you enjoy. Be sure to get enough sleep. Go outside. Get 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight exposure daily for a sufficient amount of vitamin D. But don't overdo it. Too much exposure to the sun can increase the risk for skin cancer.
See a penny, pick it up and all day long you'll have good luck. By making smart lifestyle choices every day, you can fill up your piggy bank and stay healthy well into your golden years. For more information about living healthy, talk with your doctor or call 877-582-2737.
Holly Mlodzinski is a registered dietitian and health promotions coordinator at Hilton Head Hospital.