How to Take Care of Your Own Health

Couple cooking in kitchen
Follow healthy lifestyle habits for long-term benefits. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

To stay as healthy as possible, you have to be an active participant in your own care. You can help maintain health and wellness by following a few steps every day, and be aware of changes in how you feel. This responsibility is not only for adults, but teens as well. Talk to your doctor about healthy lifestyle tips and avoid engaging in habits or activities that have the potential to damage your body in any way.

Step 1

Young woman wearing sunglasses, smoking outdoors, close-up
Smoking is a major risk factor for developing chronic lung conditions such as emphysema and lung cancer. (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Quit smoking, and if you don't smoke, don't start, suggests Familydoctor.org. Smoking is a major risk factor for developing chronic lung conditions such as emphysema and lung cancer. Do your best to avoid situations where you're exposed to second-hand smoke as well.

Step 2

Couple preparing food together
Eat a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious diet. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Eat a healthy, well-balanced and nutritious diet. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy junk food once in a while, but don't over-do. Make sure you eat three to five servings of vegetables every day, and two to four servings of fruit, as noted by the American Heart Association. Children, teens and adults should eat two to three servings of dairy products and five to seven ounces of meats or beans, suggests USDA's MyPlate.gov.

Step 3

runner - woman running
Exercise every day if you can, but at least three to four times a week. (Image: Maridav/iStock/Getty Images)

Exercise every day if you can, but at least three to four times a week. In addition to improving your mental alertness and mood, exercise helps your body stay strong and resist illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight, increase your energy levels and sleep better at night.

Step 4

Resist pressure to drink, regardless of your age. Drinking affects your vital organs, regardless of how much you consume, warns College Drinking Prevention. Drinking may lead to conditions like hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver. Alcohol can cause an increase in blood pressure, which places added strain on the heart to pump oxygenated blood to cells and tissues of the body, including the brain.

Step 5

Avoid getting behind the wheel if you've been drinking, and resist the urge to be a passenger in a car driven by someone who's been drinking or using drugs. You may be embarrassed to call someone to come pick you up, but the alternative is even more unpleasant.

Step 6

Couple lying in bed, feet sticking out of covers, low section
Avoid taking chances with unprotected sex. (Image: Nick White/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Avoid taking chances with unprotected sex. Sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia, gonorrhea or syphilis are devastating to the body, and may even prevent you from being able to have children in the future. Other communicable diseases like human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome--more commonly known as AIDS -- may damage body function and even lead to death.

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