Doctors go through years of education and training to do what they do. They’ve completed tests like the MCAT, the medicine Shelf, and even their medical boards along the way. They’ve spent a lot of time learning and proving that they know their stuff. While it’s true that you know your body best, don’t discount everything your doctor has to say even if it’s uncomfortable to hear. There are some health tips you should listen to your doctor about. Sometimes, just listening to our doctors can be the best thing we can do for ourselves. So here are 8 health tips that doctors recommend.
Sleep 7 or More Hours Each Night
Some people need only 7 hours of sleep to feel rested and refreshed, while others need 9. And of course toddlers and babies need way more than that. Sleep is a vital part of your health. It helps you recover from illness and injury, aids in learning and concentration, enhances mood and memory, and protects against depression. If you are missing out on sleep at night, you are putting yourself at risk for a number of problems including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
You don’t need to invest 2-3 hours a day in exercise to stay healthy, but daily activity will benefit you greatly. But how much is enough? The Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study found that 150 minutes per week was the golden number for preventing chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
How do you make exercise a habit? Try starting with small goals. You might do just 15 minutes a day. It could be as simple as making time for walking between errands, on your breaks, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work.
Drink Plenty of Water
If your doctor is telling you to drink more water because you keep coming in with urinary tract issues, it might be time to listen. For some people, drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day is enough. Others need more or roughly half their body weight in ounces. This means a 180-lb person would need closer to 90 ounces of water daily. There are several ways to tell if you’re drinking enough water. First, your urine should be clear or very light yellow in color. If it’s darker than that, and especially if it’s dark or strong-smelling, you need to drink more fluids. Another strategy for ensuring proper hydration involves keeping track of how many times throughout the day you go to the bathroom. If you only go once or twice, that isn’t good.
Eat a Healthy Diet
When your doctor tells you to eat a healthy diet, they aren’t fat-shaming you. They simply recognize that people who eat better have better overall health. And while you going to the doctor is good for his or her wallet, they also want to see their patients thrive.
It’s no secret that a healthy diet can help you feel better overall. But just what does “eating healthy” mean? Basically, eat a balanced diet. You shouldn’t be eating all carbs, just in the same way you shouldn’t eat all protein or only fat. Enjoy most foods in their natural state, like an apple instead of applesauce or a steak instead of beef jerky. Try to eat all the colors of the rainbow throughout the week in vegetables, fruit, grains, meat, and healthy fats.
Drink Alcohol Only in Moderation
If you find yourself drinking daily, or multiple times a day, you need to evaluate your drinking habits. When you drink alcohol, it’s best to only have it 2-3 times a week and no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
Always consume alcohol with food, especially if you have an empty stomach or are older than 40 years old. Your body cannot break down and process alcohol efficiently if it lacks food in your system first, which increases the likelihood that you will become intoxicated faster and experience negative consequences from drinking too much alcohol.
And of course, drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive. Even if you’re not drunk, one drink can still slow your reflexes when you’re driving.
Soak up Some Sun, But Not Too Much
Your doctor will tell you that getting enough sunlight for vitamin D is important. Vitamin D is an essential hormone for maintaining good health, and it’s produced in the body when exposed to sunlight. Getting enough vitamin D through sun exposure can help prevent osteoporosis, certain cancers, and other health conditions. Just 15 minutes a day uncovered should be enough for someone with lighter skin. Someone with darker skin may need a bit more time than that to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Find Ways To Lower Stress
Stress is a plague upon many adults. It seems like everyone you know is stressed about something. One of the best things you can do is to learn deep breathing techniques to reduce stress. Deep breathing is an excellent way to reduce everyday stress. When you’re feeling stressed, take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth while counting slowly to 10. You can also do this while lying down or sitting up.
Take the Right Vitamins
Vitamins are good if you need them. Some people eat a well-balanced diet and don’t experience any deficiencies. Others need more help. Taking the right vitamins can help you overcome a deficiency. Most doctors will encourage you to get your vitamins and supplements from food sources instead of pills, whenever possible. That means eating beans, spinach, and rice when you need more folate, instead of popping a pill. Vitamins and supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet, but they can be beneficial when needed.
While it’s important to listen to your body and advocate for your health needs with your doctor, it’s also important to pay attention to what the doctor has to say about ways to be healthier. These tips can help you live a healthier life, but they’re not the only things you should be doing. Your doctor is there to give you personalized advice based on your needs, and if it doesn’t apply to your situation, it’s okay to get a second opinion.