A healthy lifestyle can help you thrive throughout your life. Making healthy choices isn’t always easy, however. It can be hard to find the time and energy to exercise regularly or prepare healthy meals. However, your efforts will pay off in many ways, and for the rest of your life.
Steps you can take:
- Be physically active for 30 minutes most days of the week. Break this up into three 10-minute sessions when pressed for time. Healthy movement may include walking, sports, dancing, yoga, running or other activities you enjoy.
- Eat a well-balanced, low-fat diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose a diet that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in sugar, salt and total fat.
- Avoid injury by wearing seatbelts and bike helmets, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home, and using street smarts when walking alone. If you own a gun, recognize the dangers of having a gun in your home. Use safety precautions at all times.
- Don’t smoke, or quit if you do. Ask your health care provider for help. UCSF’s Tobacco Education Center offers smoking cessation and relapse prevention classes as well as doctor consultations for smokers trying to quit.
- Drink in moderation if you drink alcohol. Never drink before or while driving, or when pregnant.
- Ask someone you trust for help if you think you might be addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- Help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS by using condoms every time you have sexual contact. Condoms aren’t 100 percent foolproof, so discuss STI screening with your provider. Birth control methods other than condoms, such as pills and implants, won’t protect you from STIs or HIV.
- Brush your teeth after meals with a soft or medium bristled toothbrush. Also brush after drinking and before going to bed. Use dental floss daily.
- Stay out of the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun’s harmful rays are strongest. You are not protected if it is cloudy or if you are in the water — harmful rays pass through both. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that guards against both UVA and UVB rays, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Select sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of the sun’s rays.