Stay Well from Head to Toe

Follow these simple steps to prevent health problems and help you feel your best

Women stretching

Taking care of your heart is the first rule of good health. But other parts of the body also need some tender loving care! Try these tips to help feel your best today...and tomorrow.

Taking care of your bones can help prevent weakening that makes fractures more likely. Do this:

  • Eat calcium-rich foods like low-fat dairy, leafy green vegetables and fortified orange juice. Most adults should get 1,000 mg/day. Women over 50 should get 1,200 mg/day.
  • Get Vitamin D from fortified dairy, salmon, halibut and sunshine.
  • Be active. Exercise strengthens bones no matter what your age. Walking, jogging, climbing stairs and playing sports are all good choices.

Muscles and Joints
Healthy muscles make it easier to do life’s daily physical tasks. Muscles also protect your joints so you move more freely. Do this:

  • Build muscles up with activities like jogging, hiking, jumping rope and lifting light weights.
  • Practice yoga to help keep muscles flexible.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes protein, good carbs and healthy fats.
  • Get enough iron from meals. Lean beef, dark poultry, beans and spinach are good sources.

Your back is your main support beam, and it connects to parts you need to move. Take care of your back and your whole body benefits. Do this:

  • Strengthen your back with weight-bearing exercises. Add squats, lunges, planks and leg lifts to your workout.
  • Stand up for a few minutes every hour if you work at a desk. If you work on your feet, take a stretch break.
  • Practice good posture. Remind yourself to stand and sit up straight.

Aging increases risk of eye problems like glaucoma and cataracts. Having high blood pressure or diabetes can also raise risk. See an eye doctor right away if you feel eye pain or notice flashes of light or tiny floating spots. Do this:

  • Take a 20-second eye break from computer screens every 20 minutes.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 99%-100% of UVA and UVB rays.
  • Eat carrots, leafy greens, almonds, berries and citrus fruits.

Having healthy teeth and gums is good for your whole body. Keep them nice and clean and you’ll boost your chances of a great smile for life. Do this:

  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Floss between your teeth every day.
  • Make teeth stronger by eating foods such as dairy products, almonds, dark leafy greens, tofu and sardines.
  • Eat crunchy foods like apples and celery to clean teeth and prevent decay. Drink green or black tea and more water.
  • Cut back on starchy carbs like chips and crackers. They produce acids in the mouth that weaken teeth and gums.

The brain is the most complex part of the body. Experts don’t yet know how to prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s, but research shows you can take steps to help your brain stay sharp. Do this:

  • Engage in exercise that gets your heart pumping and boosts the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain.
  • Go dancing. Walk with friends. Join an exercise class. Being social may reduce the risk of mental decline.
  • Read a book. Do a puzzle. Study a new language. Research suggests keeping your mind active helps keep your brain healthy.
  • Relax. Stress can be bad for brain cells. Meditation and calm breathing can help. Some people find exercise is the best way to handle anxiety.
  • Eat plenty of greens. A diet rich in vegetables, especially dark leafy greens and broccoli, has been linked to a lower rate of decline in brain function.