Adopting healthy habits can increase your life expectancy and your quality of life. It’s never too early—or too late—to start!
Maintain a normal body weight with proper diet and exercise. If you are overweight or obese, you’re at risk for health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Being overweight can also affect your oral health. For example, if you have diabetes, you’re at a higher risk for developing gum disease. Maintaining a healthy diet and good exercise habits helps both your oral and overall health.
But, if you are overweight, how do you get started on the right track?
Start by working on your diet. Anyone who has watched the calorie counter on the treadmill knows it takes a lot of time to work off even 300 calories. So if you can eat foods that are better for you and get rid of empty calories – you have a better chance of seeing progress.
Build a weekly meal plan for you and your family based on the guidelines of the food pyramid. Build your meals around whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Include moderate amounts of low-fat dairy and lean protein. Start thinking about fatty foods and sweets as an occasional indulgence, rather than a daily habit. These healthy habits will help your oral health, too, as fruits and veggies are great for your gums. Learn more about what foods are good for your teeth.
Next, create an exercise schedule you can stick to. You can always step it up once you are going regularly – but start with something you know you can do. It is recommended that you exercise at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes most days of the week.
Lots of activities count as moderate exercise—even household chores. Take a brisk walk, wash the car, scrub the floor, or run around with your kids. Making exercise a family activity will not only make it not feel like exercise, but it will put your whole family on the right track. Twice a week, incorporate some strength training into your exercise routine.
Now that you are moving more, make sure you are paying attention to your oral health too. Brush your teeth gently at least twice a day (paying special attention to your gum line) and floss at least once a day to avoid tooth decay and gum disease. Practice good oral hygiene to keep your mouth happy and contribute to your overall health.