By Karisa Son, NP-C

  1. Reduce your risk for skin cancer.
    • Wear sunscreen everyday, at least SPF 30. Common areas of skin cancer include face, neck, ears, and arms.
    • Schedule an appointment with a Dermatologist to get a full skin cancer screening.
  2. Lose weight and get stronger.
    • Join a gym and start an exercise habit.
    • Sign up for an exercise class like spinning, yoga, Zumba, or even AquaZumba. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring or harsh on your joints!
  3. Stop losing your muscles.
    • After age 50, the body starts to lose muscle mass every year, a phenomenon known as sarcopenia. The good news is that sarcopenia can be reversed by exercising.
    • You can stop this muscle loss by engaging in resistance training, aerobic exercise, or even just walking.
  4. Eat less processed foods.
    • Processed foods contain more sugar, salt, and preservatives.
    • More salt will increase your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease.
    • More sugar will increase your blood sugar and your risk for diabetes.
    • Processed, preserved meats can increase your risk for colon cancer.
  5. Drink less calories.
    • This means less soda, less juice, and less alcohol. It is too easy to drink your way to your recommended daily calories and beyond. Spend your calories on something more solid, slow, and satisfying.
  6. Take more small steps.
    • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. This is such an easy, passive way to get more exercise. Small steps add up!
  7. Don’t let sitting kill you.
    • Spend less time sitting and more time on your feet. Walking counts! A research study showed that men who walk 3 mph or faster lived longer than those who walked slower than 2 mph.
  8. Bedtime better.
    • Fall asleep in bed, not the couch.
    • Avoid looking at screens (TV, phone, computer) at least 1 hour before bedtime.
  9. Give your stomach a curfew.
    • Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime. This will help you eat less, lose weight, and have less heartburn.
  10. Take better care of your teeth.
    • Floss daily.
    • Brush your teeth 3 times a day.
    • Schedule that dentist appointment.
  11. Get your annual wellness exam done even if you feel healthy.
    • For example, you may not feel that you have chronic high blood pressure early on. This could be caught early during an annual exam.
    • Basic annual bloodwork will check your cholesterol, liver function, kidney function, and blood cells.
    • Your health care provider will make sure your cancer screenings are up to date.
  12. Talk about your end of life wishes.
    • Talk to your family and friends about your end of life wishes so you and they will be prepared to best care for you in an emergency.
    • Complete an advance directive, which will get your end of life wishes in writing.
    • Ask your primary care provider at your next visit about getting an advance directive.