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How to consistently make smart health choices

January 8, 2022 at 10:00 p.m.

So I have devoted a section in my upcoming book "The Great Age Reboot" to the proven ways to successfully and consistently make smart health choices. I hope you will give them a try -- and if you lapse, try again. It may take some effort, but you are worth it!

No. 1. Give yourself the support you need. That means using technology to keep you aware of the choices you make. Track your steps, your heart rate, calories consumed, sleep quality, blood glucose -- whatever needs attention and improvement. It also means using your doctor as a resource to help build a health care team -- a nutritionist, diabetes educator, exercise physiologist -- you get the picture. They can help you reach your goals for a healthier you. Speaking of goals ...

No. 2. Set goals -- and write them out. Post them where you see them multiple times a day. They could include the following:

n Blood pressure of less than 125 over 85

n A BMI of less than 27

n Fasting blood sugar of 106 mg/dL

n LDL cholesterol of less than 70 mg/dL

n No cotinine in urine (that's an indication of nicotine use)

n Completion of a stress-management program

No. 3. Enlist a buddy -- or several. Sometimes it takes a village. Your tribe of supporters, and people you support, can help you stay on track by setting the same goals, checking in on how you are meeting yours, and offering support and encouragement when times get tough.

Motivation theory shows that relatedness -- being aligned with friends and supporters -- is a major factor in successfully sustaining an effort to stay healthy over the long run.

No. 4. Manage stress. It's the great disruptor, undermining optimism and triggering desire for short-term and often self-destructive comfort from food, alcohol or sedentary behavior.

We know exercise helps dispel stress, but so does talk therapy, meditation, tai chi, yoga, interacting with friends and acting generously by helping others. If you're having problems getting yourself to take these kinds of stress-busting steps, spend some money and sign up for a class. You won't want to waste the cost of class, and it can get you into the swing of things.

No. 5. Take a walk. Exercise -- whether it is vigorous swimming or interval training while you walk 10,000 steps a day -- benefits your brain as much as it does your heart and metabolism. And a healthy, alert brain is better able to focus on making smart decisions about everything from your health to your wealth. Again, if you cannot summon up the motivation, join a gym, sign up for a class and enlist a buddy. Reinforce your goal with positive outside pressures.

No. 6. Go fishing. I mean, you can literally go fishing -- it can be lots of fun, good exercise and stressbusting. But the real goal here is to eat omega-3-rich fish like salmon. An upgraded diet that delivers heart and brain enhancing nutrients like omega-3s uplifts your mood and 'tude. And that makes it much easier to make and stick with smart health choices.

No. 7. Speaking of food ... The same emotional and physical boost you get from fish comes from ditching added sugars and red and processed meats and sticking with a plant-based diet that uses fresh ingredients and healthy fats, nuts and complex, not refined, carbs to fuel your day.

Hopefully, these seven pointers will help you on your journey to better health -- and happiness. And if you want to check out your current RealAge and set a goal for a younger one, you can take the evaluation at Sharecare.com.

Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Mike at [email protected]

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

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