5 Ways to Improve Your Health That Have Nothing to Do with Dieting

When most people talk about getting healthy, they focus on diet and weight loss. However, staying healthy for life means caring for your entire body. What you eat is an important part of your holistic health, but it’s not everything!

Before you get serious about improving your health, double check your health insurance. Do you have a policy that covers all the care you need to stay healthy, or does insurance cover the bare minimum and leave you to pay the rest out of pocket? If you have to pull out the credit card every time you see a doctor, you’re less likely to be proactive about your health.

Review your insurance plan every year during the annual enrollment period to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. Plans change annually, so you can’t assume the plan you liked last year will be the same this year. Seniors in particular should look closely at their insurance coverage. Medicare is affordable but leaves a lot of important gaps when it comes to dental care and vision care. In some instances, it may be worth paying more for a Medicare Advantage plan. Part C plans like UnitedHealthcare’s cover all the same services as Original Medicare, but with additional benefits for dental and vision, in addition to access to thousands of fitness centers across the country.

Now that your health insurance is in check, here are smart ways you can use it to stay healthy:

Look after your mental health

When talking about head-to-toe health, the obvious place to start is your mental health. There’s a lot you can do to support your mental health, like getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and practicing self-care. Good mental health also protects cognitive health as you age, because chronic stress, anxiety, and depression are risk factors for cognitive impairment and dementia.

Take care of your teeth

Good dental hygiene habits are the key to an award-winning smile, but that’s not the only reason you should brush and floss. Dental decay and gum disease cause other serious health problems too. If your mouth is unhealthy, you’re more likely to develop heart disease, respiratory infections, and diabetes. In addition to daily care, make sure you’re visiting your dentist regularly to have your teeth cleaned and examined for decay. If you had an uncomfortable experience with your old dentist, their prices are too high, or it’s inconvenient to get to, shop around for a dentist who better suits your needs.

Build strong muscles and bones

Healthy bodies come in many shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they’re strong. Strong muscles and bones let you enjoy all the activities you love and keep you capable and independent as you age. Unfortunately, sedentary lifestyles mean most people don’t challenge their bodies as much as they should. Preserve your bone density and muscle mass by incorporating strength training into your exercise routine. And don’t worry about getting bulky: It’s possible to build muscle without losing a lean physique.

Don’t forget your vacation

Believe it or not, taking a vacation is great for your health. It allows you rest your mind as well as your body, and it gives you an opportunity to recharge and regroup. Regardless of whether you decide on a vacation getaway or a staycation adventure in Scottsdale, you don’t have to completely blow your diet while having fun. If you find a property with a full kitchen, you can ditch the calorie-loaded restaurant food for healthy dinners and snacks. There are a variety of vacation rentals available in Scottsdale. When you book with a site like Turnkey, you’ll get amenities such as keyless access, complimentary Wi-Fi, and local support whenever you need it. Just filter by number of guests and dates of stay and start searching for your vacation home.

Stay on your feet

Exercising for strength and bone density has another benefit: It reduces your risk of falling when you’re older. Falling is a top fear for seniors, and for good reason. Falls are a leading cause of injury in older adults, including fatal injuries. In addition to strength-training, include balance exercises in your fall prevention plan. You can also get involved in fun activities like yoga, tai chi, and dance, which also improve balance and stability.

Appearance can be an indicator of how healthy you are, but good health goes deeper than looks. If you’ve been focusing on diet and weight loss but aren’t paying attention to these important aspects of health, it’s time to take a different approach to wellness. When you look after your whole body, you feel, look, and live better.

Jennifer McGregor

jmcgreg@publichealthlibrary.org 

PublicHealthLibrary.org

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