You manage your health when you go to the doctor for injuries, illnesses, and regular checkups. But you’re also managing your health at every other moment of your life: from when you’re asleep (good!) to when you’re ordering popcorn with extra butter at the movie theater (bad!).
Some of your most essential healthcare needs are things that you just can’t do for yourself. But other parts of a healthy life can be managed entirely on your own. The key is to know which is which, and to view the two halves of your healthcare plan as parts of the same whole.
Relying on the professionals
Let’s start with the obvious: you need a doctor.
No matter how healthy your lifestyle is, you’ll need to rely on traditional medicine for regular check-ups. You’ll need a doctor for injuries, illnesses, and other things that require fixes more serious than just eating a lot of salad.
This part of your healthy lifestyle involves some paperwork. Properly managing your health insurance – including signing up for a plan, or investing in a supplemental Medigap plan if you’re on Medicare – isn’t quite the same kind of task as exercising or eating well, but it’s similarly important to your health.
So get that insurance in order and visit your doctor for regular check-ups. Rely on professionals for diagnoses and medicines (never self-medicate). And remember that mental health, like physical health, requires the help of trained professionals.
What you can do on your own
You can’t choose your own medicines. But you can choose your own diet and your own supplements.
While doctors can offer great advice on diet (and may sometimes instruct you do go on specific diets not covered in this article), your diet is generally a part of your healthcare plan that you manage yourself. So eat well: keep your calorie count under control while eating nutritious foods, especially vegetables.
Similarly, you can take charge of your supplement plan. A daily multivitamin is a great place to start.
Finally, exercise is your responsibility, too. A regular exercise plan is as important as a regular medical check-up schedule!
All one thing
It’s tempting to think of these two types of health as mutually exclusive. You have your “medical” health – your illnesses, your doctor’s visits, and so on – and then you have your “lifestyle” health. But, of course, they’re the same thing! You’ll be sick more often if you have a lousy lifestyle, and you’ll have a hard time being active if you don’t seek help for that broken leg. So think of these two types of health as two sides of the same coin, and approach each with the same level of constant commitment.