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Health & Balance

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Healthy Living: 8 Steps to Take Today

Healthy living starts right now. Experts tell you how.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Healthy living is within your reach, starting today. Sure, healthy living is a long-term commitment, not a flash-in-the-pan fad. But there are steps you can take right now that will make today healthier than yesterday and pave the way for healthy living tomorrow, too.

Here's your checklist of practical healthy living tips that are ready to go. Let's get started.

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Healthy Living Step No. 1: Take stock.

Your first step toward healthy living is to get a handle on your health status right now. Here's your to-do list:

  • Make appointments with your doctor and dentist. Catch up on your routine screening and immunizations, and take the opportunity to ask your doctor any questions you might have.
  • Gauge your girth. Measure your height and weight to check your BMI, and measure your waist circumference to see if you're overweight and if your waistline is putting your health at risk.
  • Assess your activity. How much physical activity do you get in a typical week? How intense is that activity? How much variety do you get in your activity, and how much do you enjoy it? The CDC recommends that adults get at least two and a half hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week.
  • Keep a food diary. Write down everything you eat for a day -- and no fair skipping the items you're embarrassed about. "The idea is to write it down ... without judgment," says Kathianne Sellers Williams, MEd, RD, LD, a nutritionist, wellness coach, and personal trainer with Cafe Physique in Atlanta. "You can't change what you're not aware of or don't acknowledge."
  • Check your mood and energy. Healthy living includes emotional wellness and adequate rest. How has your mood been lately? Are you experiencing any symptoms of depression or anxiety? Do you usually sleep well for seven to eight hours a night?
  • Consider your social network. How strong are your connections with family and friends? Are you plugged in with social or spiritual groups that enrich your life? "People have a fundamental need for positive and lasting relationships," C. Nathan DeWall, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, tells WebMD.

If you're not thrilled with the answers to some of those questions, remember that the point is to figure out where you are today so you can set your healthy living goals. It's not about being "good" or "bad," "right" or "wrong."

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