The quest to live a healthy life is much more than just exercise and nutrition. While both of these are key pieces to a healthy lifestyle, they certainly don’t encompass total head-to-toe health. In fact, there is more you can do to ensure your body is functioning at its best, and the following tips are just a few of many head-to-health strategies you shouldn’t overlook.
Catch Health Problems Before They Arise
Preventive health screenings are important, especially since age brings potential health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, vision/hearing problems, and osteoporosis, to name a few. If you can’t remember the last time you scheduled a check-up, it’s time to get one on the calendar. Most preventive care services are covered by insurance as long as you use a doctor in your health plan’s network, however, routine dental, vision, and hearing screenings aren’t included unless you’ve added it your plan. Seniors with Medicare are also eligible for annual preventive screenings; however, certain Medicare Advantage plans provide additional benefits for preventive coverage as well as access to fitness centers. Whether you are an adult or a senior, it is important to use your insurance coverage to benefit you, so make adjustments if needed.
Be Kind to Your Gut
Have you ever heard of your gut microbiome? Your body is home to trillions of microbes, 95 percent of which live in your gut in what is referred to as the gut microbiome. These microbes are essential to your health, helping with metabolism, digestion, immune system management, and even emotional health. In order to take care of your gut, eat probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and pickled cucumbers; limit sugar; drink plenty of water; and consider taking a daily probiotic. If you have issues with your gut such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you might look into getting a food sensitivity test to determine what is causing your body to react negatively to certain foods and get some relief without costly drugs or therapy.
Don’t Forget About Your Mental Health
Most health strategies focus on physical health, but your mental health is just as important. If you do an internet search for mental health strategies, you’ll find suggestions like mindfulness meditation, journaling, or yoga, but don’t underestimate the benefit of talking with a therapist. Talk therapy provides benefits whether you are dealing with anxiety, depression, a mental health disorder, or just need someone to talk to. An unbiased professional can offer clarity and support, as well as offer helpful self-care tips to keep your mental health in check.
There are many surprising things that can cause a decline in mental health, such as a lack of socialization, irregular nutritional habits, and even poor dental health. Depression and oral health are connected, in that neglecting dental hygiene can feed into feelings of depression. The resulting stress increases cortisol levels, speeding up the progression of periodontal disease and causing jaw pain. So, try to limit sugar, brush regularly, and get regular dental check-ups. Depression and self-care are connected, so always take care of your body and mind.
Exercise Is Still Important Too
Exercise is the first thing you think of when you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle. While it isn’t the end-all and be-all of health and wellness, it is an important piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately, regular exercise is one of the hardest activities to get motivated to do. Make it easy to stick to by finding a workout partner, keeping your exercise clothes in your car, or hiring a personal trainer to get you on the right track. Keep things fun by trying new things such as hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking, or dancing.
Getting your health back on track is a head-to-toe process. Kick things off by getting preventive health screenings. Take care of your gut microbiome so it can flourish, be mindful of your mental health, and commit to weekly exercise, and you are well on your way to head to toe health.