An Apple A Day
The crisp fall air is rolling in and apple season is here. You've probably heard the phrase "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", and in some regard this is true! Keeping a well-balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats is a great way to maintain your health, but there are many other actions you should take to sustain a healthy mind and body. Before you head out to the orchards to pick apples or run through the pumpkin patch, read about the steps you can take to keep yourself healthy for seasons to come.
Visit Your Primary Care Provider
Primary care and family medicine providers, like myself, provide continuity of care to our patients. I get to know my patients and examine family history, identify health needs, and see my patients throughout the year when they are sick. Regular exams can determine changes in health like high blood pressure, fluctuating weight, and address other underlying health conditions that might need follow up care with a specialist. We also address things such as immunizations, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and scheduling visits for preventative care like cervical cancer screenings, colonoscopies, and mammograms.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, especially during these times when we are challenged with new routines and procedures. Taking a few minutes a day to find a quiet spot to reflect has many positive health benefits including reducing stress, improving memory, and relaxing your breathing. There are different types of meditation and many ways to get started – some guided meditations can be found through apps on your phone. The great thing about meditating is that it can be done anywhere and it doesn't have to be for a long time. Some studies show that just a few minutes a day can benefit your health.
Exercise has many benefits for physical and mental health. Moving your body releases endorphins, which help produce feelings of happiness, and it can help increase your energy levels giving you the boost you need to get through the day. You might also find that you have a better time managing problems like blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and depression. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends at least 150 hours of exercise a week, or about 20 minutes a day and you can do anything from walking, running, weight training, or swimming.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that smoking is bad for you and can cause many health issues. If you're a smoker you're at an increased risk of lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stroke, coronary heart disease, respiratory issues, and many other problems including risk of death. One of the best things you can do for yourself and those around you is to quit smoking. While quitting can be difficult, there are many therapies and smoking cessation medications available to help. Make a plan and find the support you need to manage your cravings.
Living a healthy lifestyle is a combination of many things. Having a hobby, spending time with those you love, doing things in moderation, taking safety precautions (wearing a helmet, seatbelt, etc.), and keeping up with your preventative health medical appointments are all important to your well-being. Engage in meaningful conversations with your doctors about your healthy lifestyle goals and reach out when you have questions or concerns about your health.
The primary care and family medicine providers at North Attleborough Medical Center are accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, please call 508-695-9421.