Creating a habit of scheduling routine health checkups
By Samantha Gluck
Are you in charge of your health, or is your health in charge of you? If you’re like most people, you might tend to wait until you’re sick or need a new prescription to see your doctor. After all, if you feel fine, why bother with a doctor visit?
Paying a visit to your doctor, even when you feel fine, is an investment in your health that can pay off big dividends in the future. You probably take your children or your pets to see a health care provider on a regular basis, even when they’re well. Shouldn’t you do the same for yourself? Consider caring for yourself like you do these other members of your family by scheduling at least a once-per-year check-up. You deserve it—and the many benefits that go along with it.
You’ll develop a relationship with your doctor. Relationships take time to build. Consistent visits give your relationship a space to grow. Your doctor will gain knowledge about you as an individual. Likewise, as you get to know him or her better, it will be easier for you to talk about troubling or embarrassing concerns.
You’ll stay up to date. You can keep current on lab tests, vaccines (like the flu shot), and important vital statistics, such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Regular visits help build your current medical record, something you’ll definitely want if you ever end up in an emergency room.
Early intervention in case of a problem. Regular visits make it easier for your doctor to identify potential issues before they get out of hand. Treatments are far more effective for certain health issues if started in early stages.
You’ll have access to new medications. By seeing you regularly, your doctor can better evaluate your medications and discuss tweaking your treatment plan. New drugs often have fewer side effects or work via different physiological pathways, making them more effective.
Remember, you deserve the same level of care you give to those you love. Taking care of your own health is just another way you can love them. Get up and go for it—a healthier, happier, longer life.
Healthy at Home
What can you do at home to take charge of your health?
It’s not as hard as you think. Little things can grow into big benefits. No matter the obstacles that have blocked the way in the past, step over them now with these little health tips:
Make sleep a priority.
Some people need nine hours of sleep, some need only six. However many hours you need, commit to getting them now. Ensure that it’s uninterrupted and that your room is dark and has an ambient temperature that’s comfortable for you.
This doesn’t mean you have to run three miles a day or do an hour of interval training every day (although that’s not a bad thing). It means set a timer and move your body for 15 minutes. Take a brisk walk alone or with someone else. Walk up and down the stairs of your home until the timer goes off. Fifteen minutes of movement a day.
Stress visits everyone. It’s how we handle it that counts. Whether you happen to be feeling stressed or not, take five minutes every couple of hours to close your eyes, sit in a quiet place, and rid your mind of all the thoughts and distractions that try to push their way in.
Like most other people, you’re busy with family, work, and other necessary obligations. But take some time for yourself once a week, twice a month—whatever works for you—to get involved with something in your community. It can be as noble as volunteering for a charity or as casual as getting together with people for a card game or common hobby.
Four little things that can make a big difference in your overall health and wellbeing. Go for it!