Eating healthy means getting enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients – and limiting unhealthy foods and drinks. Eating healthy also means getting the number of calories that's right for you (not eating too much or too little).
To eat healthy, be sure to get plenty of:
- Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, seeds, and nuts
It's also important to limit:
- Sodium (salt)
- Added sugars — like refined (regular) sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and honey
- Saturated fats, which come from animal products like cheese, fatty meats, whole milk, and butter, and plant products like palm and coconut oils
- Trans fats, which may be in foods including stick margarines, coffee creamers, and some desserts
- Refined grains which are in foods like cookies, white bread, and some snack foods
Regular physical activity is good for everyone's health.
Physical activity is anything that gets your body moving. Start at a comfortable level. Once you get the hang of it, add a little more activity each time. Then try getting active more often.
What kinds of activity should I do?
To get all the health benefits of physical activity, do a combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities.
- Aerobic activities make you breathe harder and cause your heart to beat faster. Walking fast is an example of aerobic activity.
- Muscle-strengthening activities make your muscles stronger. Muscle-strengthening activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing push-ups.
Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your health. The sooner you quit, the sooner your body can begin to heal. You will feel better and have more energy to be active with your family and friends.
Smoking is the most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Smoking causes:
- Lung cancer
- Many other types of cancer
- Heart disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Pregnancy problems
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Lung disorders
- Gum disease
- Vision problems (cataracts)
How can I quit smoking?
Nicotine – the drug found in tobacco – is just as addictive as heroin or cocaine. It's the nicotine in cigarettes that causes the strong feeling (craving) that you want to smoke. Remember, quitting isn't easy, but it is possible! Start by thinking about why you want to quit. If you've tried to quit before, think about what worked and what didn't. This will help you find the right quitting strategies. Here are some things you can try to help you quit:
- Make a quit plan.
- Change your routine. For example, go for a walk instead of having a cigarette.
- Eat healthy snacks instead of smoking.
- Get medicine from your doctor or pharmacy.
- Get support from family, friends, and coworkers.
You will feel better.
Your body begins to heal as soon as you quit smoking. Here are some ways you will feel better:
- You will breathe more easily.
- Your senses of taste and smell will get better.
- You will have more energy.
- Your lungs will become stronger, making it easier for you to be active.
- You will cough and wheeze (struggle to breathe) less.
What else will quitting do for me?
Quitting smoking will help you live a longer, healthier life. After you quit smoking:
- Your chances of having a heart attack or stroke goes down.
- Your lungs can fight off infection better.
- Your chance of dying from cancer goes down.
- Your blood pressure goes down.
- Your pulse and blood oxygen level return to normal.
- If you have kids, they will be healthier. Kids whose parents smoke around them are at higher risk for lung and ear infections.
- Plus, quitting smoking will save you money.
Will quitting make me gain weight?
Some people worry about gaining weight when they quit smoking. The average weight gain is small – less than 6 to 8 pounds. Some people may gain more, but many people don't gain any weight when they quit. To help control your weight as you quit smoking:
- Be active. Aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity, like walking fast or dancing.
- Eat healthy snacks, like vegetables or fruit.
- Talk with your doctor about ways to control your weight.
Follow these steps to quit:
Call 1-877-966-8784 for free support and to set up your quit plan.
- Talk with your doctor about medicines to help you quit.
- Set a quit date within the next 2 weeks.
- Plan for how you will handle challenges like cravings.
- Make small changes, like: throw away ashtrays in your home, car, and office so you aren't tempted to smoke and make your home and car smoke-free. If you have friends who smoke, ask them not to smoke around you.
- Changing your routine can help you break the smoking habit.
Learn from the past.
Many people try to quit more than once before they succeed. Most people who start smoking again do so within the first 3 months after quitting. If you've tried to quit before, think about what worked for you and what didn’t. Drinking alcohol, depression, and being around other smokers can make it harder to quit. If you are finding it hard to stay quit, talk with your doctor about what medicines might help you. Remember, quitting will make you healthier.
If you want help, talk with your doctor.
A doctor or nurse may be able to help you quit smoking. The doctor can help you choose the strategies that are likely to work best for you. She can also tell you about medicines to help make quitting easier.
What about cost?
You can get free help with quitting by calling 1-877-966-8784 for free support and to set up your quit plan.
One of the best ways to prevent back pain is to keep your back muscles strong. Follow these steps to help protect your back and prevent back pain:
- Do back-strengthening and stretching exercises at least 2 or 3 times a week and stay active.
- Stand and sit up straight.
- Avoid heavy lifting. If you do lift something heavy, bend your knees and keep your back straight. This way, your leg muscles will do most of the work.
- If you are overweight, lose weight to help lower the strain on your back.
Stay Safe at Work
Staying safe and healthy at work is very important. If you don't work in a safe way, you can get hurt or sick. Back injuries are the most common type of workplace injury. There are things you can do – both at work and at home – to lower your chances of getting hurt or sick. Take these steps to prevent injuries and stay healthy at work:
- Lift things safely and arrange your equipment to fit your body.
- Take short breaks, stretch your muscles, and wear protective equipment.
- Ask about health resources at work.
It's also important to:
- Get enough sleep and take steps to manage stress.
- Eat a healthy diet, stay active and watch your weight.