December 2023 MediGap Advisors Health & Wealth Newsletter  Vol. 19, Issue 12

Back to Basics: Twelve Keys to a Healthy Lifestyle

 I’ve always been a health nut.

Back before I started MediGap Advisors, I got a Masters Degree in exercise science and nutrition. I learned a lot about physiology, organic chemistry, biomechanics, and cellular nutrition.

It was all fascinating. But the more I learned, the more I realized that most of our health outcomes are rooted in just a handful of basic principles.

Get these right, and turn them into habits over time, and you can do a lot to prevent medical problems and reduce your healthcare expenses later in life.

Here’s I what I learned:

1. Take ownership

It’s your body—take care of it.

Nobody else can do it for you. Embrace it, make it your personal mission, and take proactive steps towards maintaining it.

2. You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet

While movement is essential, a balanced diet is the cornerstone of weight management –– especially as metabolism slows with age.

 3. Portion control matters

Measure out what’s right for you, and know when to stop.

If you need a guide, a portion of protein and a portion of healthy carbs about as big as the palm of your hand per meal is a pretty good reference point for most people. And you don’t have to worry about counting calories or bringing a scale around with you!

 4. Get off the couch

Sedentary lifestyles are deadly.

Get up, get out of the house. Walk every day. Swim. Play golf or pickleball. Walk your dog. Go to those Silver Sneakers events. Hang out at the fitness club, not at the bar. This is especially important for seniors. 

 5. Tie your social life around physical activities

Spend time with your active friends, not the couch potatoes.

6.  Strength training is important

Cardio is important, too, but not sufficient by itself.

Incorporate weight or resistance training, with a doctor’s approval, to maintain muscle mass, stave off diabetes, and prevent osteoporosis. You can lift weights, use elastic resistance bands, or do bodyweight exercises like lunges, pushups, and Pilates.

 7. Complicated diets don’t work, long-term

Avoid complex diets. Instead stick to balanced, straightforward eating habits.

Ask your doctor about nutritional supplements if you feel they may help.

 8.  Quit smoking

Take this pivotal step towards improving health and saving on healthcare costs.

Studies show that people who quit smoking experience positive changes within days or weeks even after decades of smoking. And the cost savings are immediate.

It’s never too late! 

 9.  Limit sugars and starches

Think sugar, white bread, potatoes, or rice.

These spike your insulin, screw up your metabolism, and can lead to diabetes. Instead, replace them with green vegetables, and legumes. 

10. Recognize stress and depressive eating when it happens

If you catch yourself doing it, go for a walk or bike ride instead.

If it happens a lot, ask your doctor for help. Depression and anxiety are both treatable.

11.  Respect bedtime

Poor sleep patterns lead to multiple health problems, poor mental performance, and accidents. 

Don’t watch TV in bed. Put the electronic devices away, and go to sleep at bedtime.

12. Gain control of stress

Stress has been found to be a key factor in many health issues such as a poor immune system, heart disease and anxiety.

Engage in relaxing activities when you can. Take nature walks or enjoy hobbies that help you unwind and detach from daily stressors. Pray, meditate, or exercise. Then go back refreshed.

Your path to a healthy lifestyle is a personal one, and finding what works for you is the key to a long and healthy life​. The small steps we take now lay the foundation for our future health.

Here’s to your health and wealth,

Wiley P. Long, III
President – MediGap Advisors



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