The new year is a time when many reset their goals, including those for their health and lifestyle. There are many factors that influence wellness, and it’s never too late to start working toward improving health and feeling your optimal best.
“The most important thing in wellness is lifestyle,” said Dr. Akash Patel, a Steward Health Care family medicine physician. “How we live our life, how we train our body – all of this plays an important role.”
Exercise is one of the keys to wellness, says Dr. Patel. Exercise helps your body, but it also aids your brain, helping to relieve stress and anxiety. When walking – indoor or outdoor- or while hiking, your mind can wander and help you relax. Exercises like swimming require your full attention to maintain the correct form for breathing and arm and leg movements but provide a wonderful physical and mental outlet.
The food you consume goes hand-in-hand with exercise as a part of wellness. Dr. Patel advises a diet that is lean, with a focus on nutrients including chicken, yogurt, seafood, eggs, and nuts, and cutting back on carbohydrates, bread, sugar and salt. Vegetables, additionally, are a key element to include in your diet.
Preventative care also plays a key role in wellness. Screening for cancers has developed into another tool to help prevent, detect, and treat a number of cancers. Screenings are available for colon, lung, and breast cancers, as well as gynecological cancer. He urges patients to follow the guidelines to undergo these critical evaluations at the appropriate time as early detection of cancers helps save lives. “When we find it, we can treat it early,” Dr. Patel said.
Monitoring your blood pressure is also an important part of your physical wellness as is undergoing an annual physical. Adults should have their blood pressure checked at least once a year. A normal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Diet and exercise also play a critical part in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Oftentimes, medication can be used to treat high blood pressure, but for some patients, the same results can be achieved through a modification of their diet and exercise plans. Too high a blood pressure creates stress on the heart, which can increase a person’s chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
“Our job as physicians is to educate our patients,” Dr. Patel said.
Have questions about wellness or need an appointment? Reach out today to schedule an appointment with your provider: https://providers.steward.org