Being healthy is about more than just being free of germs. Besides exercising and eating right, feeling healthy also requires being emotionally fulfilled and having a positive mental outlook. That's quite a checklist, but it's not so difficult to complete. See the next few pages for some tips on staying healthy.
Exercise not only boosts your immune system and keeps your heart healthy, but endorphins can also help relieve stress and improve happiness. If you are under age 65, exercising five times a week for 30 minutes is recommended.
Thirsty? Reach for a glass of water instead of a soda. Water doesn't just quench your thirst. It can also help you lose weight, kill your headaches and reduce fatigue (along with making your skin look pretty).
A diet high in fruits and vegetables provides the nutrients your body needs for energy and maintenance. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. See what foods you should eat less of next.
Cut the fat in your diet by consuming less fatty meats, fried foods and high-fat dairy products. These foods are associated with high cholesterol, which is a major cause of heart attacks.
Sleep can also keep you healthy. Some studies show that getting less than six or seven hours of sleep per night increases the risk for developing disease. Sleep also gives your body time to repair its cells and promotes chemicals that reduce depression and stress.
Getting a massage, meditating, thinking positive thoughts, taking a hot bath and doing a favorite activity are additional options for stress relief.
Once you've got your body relaxed and healthy, make sure you protect yourself from infectious diseases by washing your hands frequently.
Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze to prevent spreading germs. You can also avoid getting sick by not touching the body parts on the next page.
Don't want to get sick? Avoiding touching your mouth, nose or ears, as these areas best transmit viruses and bacteria that might be on your hands. The next tip also involves your skin.
One of the most important things you can do for your skin and your health is to use sunscreen. More people in the United States end up with skin cancer than any other type of cancer.
Avoid other types of cancer, emphysema, heart disease and stroke by not smoking and by avoiding secondhand smoke.
When drinking alcohol, do so in moderation. Excessive alcohol consumption can damage your liver and increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
If you are sexually active, use condoms and practice safe sex to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
Don't forget regular checkups and screenings. Up until age 40, it's recommended that you go every two years. For more information, see the Preventive Care Channel or test your knowledge with the Ultimate Human Body Quiz.