Taking care of your health is critical as you get older. If you’ve been neglecting your physical health for a few years, here’s what you need to do to get your body back on track.
1. Schedule a Doctor’s Appointment
Every year, you need to have a physical. This doctor’s appointment allows your primary health care provider to take your vital signs, inspect your body, and prescribe follow-up care. Your doctor checks that your height, weight, and body mass index are healthy for someone of your age and gender. You also get the opportunity to ask questions about problems you’ve noticed, such as shortness of breath, difficulty urinating, and chest pains.
After your appointment, it’s crucial that you follow through with your doctor’s recommendations and referrals. For example, if your doctor tells you to get cholesterol testing, you should order a testing kit or sign up for an appointment immediately. Unhealthy cholesterol levels cause many health conditions:
- Clogged or hardened arteries
- Blood clots
- Chest pain
- Heart attacks
While a variety of factors make you more likely to have high cholesterol, including obesity and infrequent exercise, you don’t know for sure unless you take a test. As a result, you must take your doctor’s prescribed tests to prevent serious health complications.
2. Start Exercising
Now that you’ve had your body examined, you’re ready to start an exercise regime. At your appointment, ask whether you should avoid certain types of physical activity. For instance, if you have problems with your lungs, running may exacerbate your struggle to get enough oxygen. Regardless of your preexisting conditions, you need to start slow. Don’t expect to run five miles after three years of rarely running. Instead, choose a form of exercise that you like and make a schedule where you gradually increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of your workouts. Start with a two-mile walk five times a week, and then progress to three miles six days a week, and so on.
One of the best ways to ensure that you keep up with your exercise regime is to enjoy the workout you’re doing. If the idea of jogging makes you want to run in the other direction, try a different form of cardio:
- Using an elliptical machine
- Doing step aerobics
- Ice skating
Don’t forget to add in strength training a few times a week, too. Lifting weights is a great way to increase your muscle mass, but you can also do yoga or another form of bodyweight strength training.
3. Rethink Your Diet
No matter how much you exercise, if you don’t eat right, you’re going to have a hard time losing weight. Also, it’s difficult to exercise properly when your body is bloated and nutrient-deficient. It’s time to rethink the way you eat, and you should start by thinking about where you eat. Do you get takeout or stop by fast-food restaurants a lot, or do you cook for yourself? Although cooking takes more time than buying prepared food, it’s the best way to control what goes into your meals. Most processed and restaurant-made food contains lots of sodium, sugar, and fat and not enough vitamins, minerals, and protein.
As with exercising, don’t expect to change your entire routine overnight. Start by reducing the number of times you eat out every week and adding in a few fruits and vegetables. Avoid rewarding yourself with food, since this confuses your body, and focus instead on changing your long-term habits.
Becoming healthy is a long process, but it starts with these three steps. Keep track of your progress so that you don’t forget how much hard work you’ve put into your wellbeing.