Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Top 5 Ways to Stay Healthy

By: Larry Studt, M.D., Occupational Health & Medicine Program, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Hospitals

Staying healthy doesn't have to be complicated or cost a ton of money. Here are my top five tips.

  1. Don't smoke! According to the American Lung Association, each year in the U.S. over 392,000 people die from tobacco-caused disease, making it the leading cause of preventable death. Another 50,000 people die from exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking can also contribute to numerous chronic health conditions. There are many options to help you quit smoking. Be sure to talk to your healthcare professional to find out what's best for you.

  2. Eat healthy. It might be hard to say good-bye to lunches of cheeseburgers, fries and chocolate shakes, but a steady diet of high fat foods can lead to trouble down the road. Your diet should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins. Seem overwhelming? Take small steps at first, like adding a salad to one meal a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking.  As these changes become habit, you can continue to incorporate more healthy choices into your diet.

  3. Get enough exercise. Regular physical activity helps burn calories, keeps your lungs and heart healthy, and reduces your blood pressure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends adults do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) per week. That may sound like a lot, but remember, you don't have to do it all at once. Take a brisk walk 30 minutes a day, five times a week. Or to make it even easier, you can also break your activity up into smaller chunks of time during the day. For instance take a quick 10 minute walk before work, at lunchtime, and after work, Monday through Friday. Before you know it, you'll have clocked in your healthy 150 minutes of exercise for the week!

  4.  Don't scrimp on catching your Zzzzz's. Not getting enough sleep is linked with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. It also can lead to anxiety and difficulty concentrating throughout your day.  According to the CDC, more than one-quarter of the U.S. population report occasionally not getting enough sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia. They recommend 10-11 hours of sleep per night for children ages 5-10; for teens, 8.5 to 9.25 hours; and adults, 7 to 9 hours.

  5. Wash, wash, wash your hands! ‘Tis the season for colds and flu. Keeping your hands clean is the first line of defense against spreading many illnesses and infections. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (hum the "Happy Birthday" song twice!). If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. It is especially important to have clean hands before, during and after preparing food; before you eat; and before and after caring for someone who is sick.


Be sure to watch the "Ask the Doc" video to learn more!

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