According to a 2013 study by the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, preventive health care measures and healthy lifestyle choices could save Canada billions of dollars a year, reporting that the average yearly health care bill for a Canadian in poor health is more than $10,000 higher than for someone in good health.
Preventive health care means taking measures to avoid illness or injury and making healthy choices as part of your daily life, instead of allowing poor health to escalate until it becomes a costly and uncomfortable or even dangerous health crisis.
Ways to practice preventive health instead of crisis management include:
- Seeing a physician for regular health checkups. Yearly physicals can help catch health problems early, and early detection can save a lot in costs and trouble. This includes twice-yearly visits to a dental care professional for a checkup and cleaning.
- Eating a healthy diet of whole foods rich in fruits and vegetables, including green, leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, poultry, and dairy. Avoid eating too many processed foods and refined sugary sweets.
- Quit using tobacco. Just quit. Today’s the day. It’s now universally acknowledged that tobacco use has been correlated as the number one risk factor in a number of deadly diseases like cancer and heart disease.
- Get regular exercise. Some experts recommend as little as 30 mins of vigorous exercise three times a week can make a big difference over no exercise at all. If you don’t like to exercise and/or don’t feel you have the time, negotiate with yourself until you come up with something that you can live with.
- Reduce stress. Take up yoga or meditation. YouTube abounds with excellent free yoga lessons you can take in the comfort and convenience of your own living room. Wake up ten minutes early and quietly sip on a cup of hot water with lemon juice in the dark and just breathe.
- Watch less television. Especially in bed. Being too sedentary is a major cause of health problems and most of us spend all day sitting at work already. And watching television or phone screens right before bed has been shown to decrease sleep quality drastically.
- Be sure to get enough sleep. Some people need six hours a night; most need seven or eight. Don’t kid yourself. Canada’s the third most sleep-deprived country in the world. If you’re not getting enough sleep, make time for it. Some way, somehow.
- Drink plenty of water every day. Not getting enough water is hard on your skin, kidneys, liver, blood, heart, and even your teeth. Good oral health relies on having enough saliva to nourish good bacteria and kill bad bacteria, which thrive in a dry mouth.
- Be positive. Make a choice moment to moment to have a bright, cheerful, and grateful attitude. It does wonders for your mental and physical health. It will even do wonders for your professional life and relationships as well.
- Brush and floss your teeth every day. Brush twice daily and floss once. Skipping these in your daily routine could cost you comfort and convenience later. There your teeth after all. And they’re the only set you’ve got.