Rub It In – It’s important to protect our skin from UV rays. Your risk of skin cancer doubles once you’ve had 5 sunburns, and 42% of us get sunburned at least once a year. Yikes!When spending time outdoors, make sure everyone – kids and adults – apply sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30 that protects against UVA and UVB. Wear hats, too, and long sleeves if it’s really blazing. The simple things can make all the different for a long, happy life.
Partner Fitness – Just you and a partner? You and an adult child? Want to grab some alone time with your sweetie? Consider a pair workout. Each week, you can let one person choose the activity. There are lots of possible activities. Working out together can be a date night, and plenty of exercise is a key to an active sex life.
All in a Lather – There is a huge health benefit to hand washing in preventing infection. Yet the dirty little truth is, few of us wash our hands, and when do, we do a poor job. In fact, studies show that only 30% of doctors wash their hands when not being prodded. There’s no proven benefit to antibacterial hand soap over regular soap. Either way, you need to lather well with warm water (singing your ABCs is the best way to ensure it’s long enough).
Fake Out the Flu – The seasonal flu is a real bummer, with serious health consequences. As many as 1 in 5 people may get the flu in flu season, which can run from October to May, but usually peaks in January and February. Seniors, children, and people with chronic health conditions are most at risk, but some years, the government recommends that we all get vaccinated. Flu shots are often cheap, if not covered by insurance. Employers, you might sponsor free shots for your people, offered at your workplace.
What’s Up, Doc? Getting an annual, or at least regular, checkup from your doctor is a good idea. It provides an opportunity to get your vital signs and any other basic tests you need, ask lots of questions, and together keep an eye out for new problems or risks. Most health insurance covers an annual preventative visit for little or no cost. Under the Affordable Care Act, thousands of new people are able to sign up for affordable insurance -see HealthCare.gov (and Covered California for CA) . For those without insurance, community health clinics are widespread – clinic finder map here.
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Stop Stroke – Stroke occurs when oxygen stops flowing to the brain. It’s life-threatening, but if you act FAST, you can help someone reduce the impacts.
Measure It to Move It – Keeping track of your exercise, steps, weight, and other basics are the best way to boost them. Methods range from a notebook log to a special paper calendar to a pedometer to advanced digital resources. Try the websites SparkPeople; AHA MyStart Tracker; or the USDA’s SuperTrackerfor devices try DigiFit, Jawbone, in Apps check out Fitocracy and Strava
Map Your Path – It’s fun to discover walking, running, and hiking routes through your community. It’s a great way to explore and get exercise. Often there is a good book at the local library. You can also take advantage of digital tools like MapMyRun, Trails.com, and AHA Walking Paths.