With the pandemic spanning the full calendar year of 2021, I am sure most of us have fallen behind on routine preventive health care. For example, researchers noted a decrease in cancer screening back in early 2021, and unfortunately the pandemic has continued. So as we move on to 2022, here are some tips to getting your health back on track:
- See your primary care doctor! Your primary care doctor is invaluable to your overall health, for example directing you to complete age-appropriate cancer screening or recommending routine vaccinations. They can also help you with some of the other items on this list.
- Get your blood pressure checked! Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure, is often called “the silent killer” because you may not have symptoms of elevated blood pressure until you develop damage to key organs like the heart, brain, and kidneys, among others. That’s why getting your blood pressure checked is recommended for all adults older than 18.
- Move more! There is a reason the American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity. They explain the various benefits of being active, including lowering the risk of various diseases and improving your sleep, cognition, and mood.
- Improve your diet! While not everyone can implement drastic dietary changes, everyone could make healthier choices, like eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products. One good tip to accomplish this goal is to make sure half of your plate at each meal consists of fruits or vegetables. Substituting water for sugary drinks is another great way to improve your health.
- Get more sleep! Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep each night, which can be hard when balancing all your responsibilities. However, getting enough sleep can itself reduce your risk of issues ranging from obesity to diabetes and even early death.
- Last but certainly not least, get your COVID vaccine! The COVID vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in US history, and can protect you and your family from serious illness related to COVID. They will also be crucial for getting things back to normal, which is a common goal for us all.