A Road Map to Better Health and Wellness

Generally speaking, we could all do a better job of looking after ourselves. Between work, home, and everything in between, staying healthy can be hard. But given the importance of health and wellness, the difficulty of doing so is no excuse. We have to find a way to make it happen. Otherwise, we risk chronic illness, recurring pain, and an early grave.

While everyone’s path to better health and wellness is different, each person’s journey is bound to go through the same intersections. The following serves as a reliable road map to better health and wellness, regardless of your specific situation:

Regular exercise

Nobody gets to be healthy without dedicating some portion of their week to exercise. Whether it’s walking, running, swimming, or participating in sports like soccer or tennis, you must find a way to stay active. Doing so leads to weight loss, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of heart disease. It also leads to more energy throughout the day, better sleep at night, and an improvement in your emotional wellbeing. Whatever fitness activities you choose, the goal should be to work up a sweat and elevate your heart rate.

Routine testing

The last few years have been a reminder of the dangers of infectious diseases. With this in mind, those concerned about health and wellness should undergo routine testing to uncover any underlying infections. Fortunately, thanks to advanced forms of testing, you don’t even have to leave the house. For example, an at home STD test can be sent to a lab with results sent to your mobile device. The same goes for other forms of disease testing.

Eating better

Most of us can take steps to eat better. Unfortunately, few people bother until their poor eating habits have gotten them to the point of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you’re faced with serious health risks to start eating better. Skip the fast food, limit the sodas, and slowly introduce more fruits and vegetables into your diet. If eating meat, stick to lean options like chicken and turkey and limit your red meat intake. Explore meatless options and sugar-free alternatives as a way to enjoy your favorite foods and drinks without all the added fat and carbohydrates.

Sleeping better

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 70 million Americans suffer from poor sleep. That’s approximately one-fifth of the entire U.S. population. While lack of sleep might seem manageable in our prime, its tax on our health and wellness grows as we age. The result is an increased chance of developing chronic conditions and reduced quality of life. Take steps to improve the quality of your sleep. It could mean something as simple as avoiding caffeine after 3 pm or as involved as seeing a sleep specialist. Do whatever it takes to get the sleep you need to be healthy and feel your best.

Managing stress

Many medical professionals consider stress to be the silent killer of the modern world. Millions of people let stress pile on with no way to mitigate its negative effect on their health and wellbeing. Don’t fall into that deadly pattern. Start taking steps to manage stress as much as possible. This could mean remembering to take breaks during the day, practicing meditative techniques, or identifying the cause and eliminating it from your life (though the last one is easier said than done).

Remembering to relax

Many busy people find themselves feeling guilty for taking time to relax. But ceaseless efforts to stay busy and productive are unsustainable. You eventually crash and burn. The best way to avoid burnout is to make a point to relax at some point every day. Simply sitting in a cool, dark room for 20 minutes can be enough to alleviate stress and prevent health-related harm caused by trying to do too much.

Finding happiness

What are you working toward? Why do you willingly work so hard throughout the week? If you can’t think of the reason, then stop and reconsider your situation. That’s because life shouldn’t be all about the burdens and hassles. There need to be moments of happiness where we feel good about ourselves and our place in the world. By taking steps to be happier, you naturally improve health and wellness.

Most people aren’t doing enough to care for themselves. But that’s a guaranteed recipe for disaster. By achieving better health and wellness, we’re happier, more productive, and less likely to suffer from chronic conditions as we age.

Julie Steinbeck is a freelance writer from Florida. She enjoys covering topics related to business, finance, health, and travel.