For the past few years, you haven’t given your health much thought. You don’t go to the doctor regularly, and you work out once or twice a week, if you feel like it. While this strategy can work for a while, it doesn’t set you up for a lifetime of health. Here are three things you need to do to prioritize your well-being.
1. Figure Out Your Health Insurance Plan
Making sure that your health plan addresses all your needs and works for your budget is your first priority. Whether you have a government-sponsored or private plan, ask yourself these questions to determine if your plan is good. How high are your premiums, and do they cover services that you don’t regularly use? Are your children, spouse, and other dependents covered, or do you have multiple insurance plans for your family? How high are your deductibles if you need to pay for a major treatment such as surgery or an X-ray? Does your plan include prescription drugs from antidepressants to allergy medications to pain killers? Do your primary health care physician and specialists such as physical therapists and clinical psychologists accept your plan?
If you’re unsatisfied after answering these questions, it’s time to find a new health insurance company. If you live in Massachusetts, look for Massachusetts health insurance providers that cater to your family’s medical history and budget. Read all contracts carefully before signing them, and don’t forget to verify your decision with your doctor.
2. Start a Healthy Eating Program
You don’t need to go on a fancy diet to lose weight or be healthy, but you do need to find a meal plan that promotes your long-term health. At your next check-up, ask your doctor how many calories you should eat per day to maintain your current weight. If you want to lose weight, you need to ingest fewer calories than you burn. Calorie-counting isn’t fun, but if you use an app or a journal, it’s easy to keep track.
Eating right isn’t just about the calories, though; it’s also about eating foods that give your body protein, grains, calcium, vitamins, and other important minerals. It’s been a while since you learned about the food pyramid in health class, but the concept still applies. Prioritize eating leafy vegetables and fresh fruits, which are full of vitamins and low in fat and chemicals. Save foods that are high in fat and added sugars, such as fries, burgers, and dessert, for special occasions.
3. Begin an Exercise Routine
The other essential component of your new wellness strategy is regular exercise. For exercise to be effective, it can’t be something you do whenever you feel like it; you must prioritize both cardio and strength training. Start with something simple to get yourself into a routine, such as walking two miles five days a week and doing yoga once a week. With your doctor’s permission, progress to more advanced activities such as running, biking, swimming, and weight training. Don’t forget to build a few rest days into your schedule each week so that your muscles can heal between workouts.
Regular exercise supports your healthy eating habits because you burn more calories when you move more. It also makes it easier for you to sleep well at night, another critical part of being healthy. Finally, exercise improves your balance, increases your bone density, and makes your muscles stronger, all of which add up to a fitter you.
Getting back on track with your health after slacking off for a while can be overwhelming. However, these three steps help you get back into the routine of prioritizing wellness.