Last updated: February 2, 2022
Here are 10 things you can do to improve your health. Starting today, take steps to make them a part of your lifestyle.
- Wash your hands. Your hands can spread germs to your nose, mouth or the food you prepare. Hand sanitizers are a good alternative when hand washing is not possible. Use tissues or an elbow to cover a cough or sneeze. Hand Washing Tips.
- Eat healthy foods. To maintain a healthy weight, balance calories eaten with calories burned during physical activities. Eat a varied diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, but low in sugars and saturated fats. Watch portion sizes and limit sugary or alcoholic beverages. Healthy Recipes.
- Get active. Physical activity helps your heart and builds muscle and bones, while reducing fat storage. Physical activity improves strength, balance, mood, posture and sleep. It can even reduce risk of injury. Walking just two miles a day, or approximately 4,000 steps, increases life expectancy. Increase your fitness level with a variety of activities, especially those you enjoy and can do on a regular basis. Also encourage children to be active. Young people (age 5 – 17) should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily. Get Moving.
- Don’t smoke or spend time in a smoke-filled environment. In Anne Arundel County, tobacco and secondhand smoke are the leading causes of premature death, mainly from heart disease and cancer. Tobacco smoke makes children sick with respiratory problems and ear infections; and it can be lethal for infants. Don’t allow smoking or vaping indoors, in cars or around children. Quitting smoking improves quality and length of life. If you smoke or vape, quit. If you can’t do it alone, get free help at Smoking Cessation Kits and Classes.
- See your doctor and dentist regularly. If you receive regular care from health care providers you trust and who know you well, you will receive the prevention advice you need. Ask what cancer screenings you should have for your age, sex and risk factors. Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening and Colorectal Cancer Screening. Ask your provider about sun protection, heart health, vitamins and other health concerns. Never put off medical care. Most diseases are easier to prevent or treat early.
- Get immunized. Childhood immunizations improve health and lifespan. Adult and childhood immunizations for flu, pneumococcal and coronavirus disease also work to prevent illness. Ask your doctor about vaccines for yourself and your children. Immunization Services.
- Drive safely. Seat belts and child safety seats are priorities on the road. See Car Safety Seat Information. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When driving, follow the rules of the road. Be alert, be in full control of your vehicle and be patient with other travelers.
- Conquer substance use disorders. Substance misuse affects more than physical health. Addictions can destroy quality of life, mental health, relationships, work and school, and they often land people in legal trouble. See Substance Treatment Services. Good parenting is also important to help prevent substance misuse. See Tips for Parenting on Talking to Teens.
- Keep relationships healthy. Build positive, long-term family and social relationships. Be responsible in your sex life by protecting yourself and your partner. Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Services. If you don’t know your current HIV status, get tested. HIV Testing.
- Get enough sleep. Most adults need about 7-9 hours of sleep daily. Adequate sleep will help you to be more alert, productive and safe at work, school and play. Having a regular sleep-wake cycle has benefits that are hard to measure, but easy to feel. Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep (NINDS).