Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

What Are The Top 3 Ways To Prevent Diseases?

Posted by Total Access Medical on Aug 11, 2020

Screen Shot 2020-08-11 at 10.50.12 AMMany of the key steps to a healthy, happy and longer life are easy, relatively cheap and within reach to almost all of us. Master these three science-based healthy habits and you'll high-five your way to feeling great.

1) Exercise

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks exercise high on its bucket list of activities. So, if there's one thing in life you can do to live a longer, healthier life, it's exercise.

People who are physically active (brisk walking, dancing, bicycling, doubles tennis, water aerobics, etc.) for about 150 to 300 minutes a week have a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who are physically inactive.
 
In addition, exercise -- even just walking at a moderate pace -- has been shown to improve cognitive function, help you control your weight, reduce your risk for disease and, of course, strengthen your bones and muscles.
 
After finishing one 30-minute physical activity you'll have less anxiety, lower blood pressure, more sensitivity to insulin and you'll sleep better that night.

Within a few months, you'll see improvement in your blood pressure, heart and lung functions as well as a lowering of risk for depression, anxiety, type 2 diabetes and bladder, breast, colon, kidney, lung and stomach cancers, according to the CDC.
 
2) Eat A Plant-Based Diet
 
Keeping a healthy weight -- defined by doctors as having a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 -- is another key way to stay healthy and reduce your risk of all manner of diseases and conditions.
 
There are lots of excellent diets out there to help you lose and keep your weight under control, such as the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), which helps with hypertension, the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), which focuses on food to slow cognitive decline, and the Flexitarian Diet, which combines the words flexible and vegetarian.
 
Science has shown meals from the sunny Mediterranean can reduce the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, stroke, dementia, memory loss, depression and breast cancer. The plan has also been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart and microbiome and longer life. Oh, and weight loss, too.
 
It shares a key element with the rest of the diets mentioned above: It's plant-based, meaning you'll eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds.
 
3) Get Good Sleep
 
You may choose to exercise or eat healthy, but your body is going to demand sleep. The quantity and quality of it, however, is under your control.
 
If you're not sticking to a regular sleep schedule, you're hurting your health.
 
Depending on your age, you are supposed to get between seven and 10 hours of sleep each night. Getting less has been linked in studies to high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, weight gain, a lack of libido, mood swings, paranoia, depression and a higher risk of diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, dementia and some cancers.
 
Not convinced?
 
Sleeping less than the recommended amount each night on a regular basis may double your risk of dying. In a longitudinal study of 10,308 British civil servants, researchers found that those who reduced their sleep from seven to five hours or fewer a night were almost twice as likely to die from all causes, especially cardiovascular disease.
 
You can train your brain (and your willpower) to get more restful sleep with a few key steps:
  • Make sure your bed and pillows are comfortable and the room is cool: Between 60 and 67 degrees is best. Don't watch TV or work in your bedroom; you want your brain to think of the room as only for sleep.
  • Avoid stimulants (coffee, tea) after 3 p.m. and fatty foods before bedtime.
  • Eliminate all lights -- even the blue light of cellphones or laptops can be disruptive. Dull sounds, too. Earplugs or white noise machines can be very helpful, but you can create your own with a humidifier or fan.
  • During the day, try to get good exposure to natural light, as that will help regulate your circadian rhythm.
  • Establish a bedtime routine you can follow each night. Taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or doing light stretches are all good options.
These actions will also help reduce your stress, improve your mood and invigorate your life.

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