Top tips for a healthy new year

Commentary by Steven Hill, MD, Internal Medicine, IU Health Physicians

 

If your New Year’s resolutions include improving your health, there are important habits you can adopt to help keep you on track. The top three healthy habits for everyone are:

  • Exercise regularly – The American Heart Association recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Aerobic exercise is generally recommended, and adults are encouraged to add weight/resistance training and stretching to their program.
  • Eat healthy – Be sure your diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods high in salt, sugar and fat. Watch portion sizes and avoid snacking.
  • Get adequate sleep – Adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep nightly. Avoid meals and exercise close to bedtime.

Staying healthy this year also begins with the right preventive care. General preventive health guidelines for women and men include:

Women

  • Schedule an annual check-up with your primary care doctor.
  • Have your cholesterol checked if you are older than 20; be sure your doctor also screens for pre-diabetes/diabetes.
  • Schedule a colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 50; earlier if you have a family history of the disease.
  • Practice breast self-exams; have a clinical breast exam at least every three years in your 20s and 30s; schedule yearly mammograms beginning at age 40.
  • Begin cervical cancer screenings at age 21 and continue every three years (if results are normal) until age 65.
  • Schedule HPV (human papillomavirus) screenings every five years between ages 30 and 65.
  • Talk with your doctor about vaccinations you may need (flu, tetanus boosters, varicella/chicken pox, pneumonia).

Men

  • Schedule an annual check-up with your primary care doctor.
  • Have your cholesterol checked if you are older than 20; be sure your doctor also screens for pre-diabetes/diabetes.
  • Schedule a colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 50; earlier if you have a family history of the disease.
  • Begin prostate cancer screening at age 50; earlier if you are African American or have a family history of the disease.
  • Talk with your doctor about vaccinations you may need (flu, tetanus boosters, varicella/chicken pox, pneumonia).

 

Steven Hill, MD, specializes in internal medicine. He is a guest columnist located at Indiana University Health Saxony Hospital, 13100 E. 136th St., Fishers. Dr. Hill can be reached by calling 678-3800.