KDHE offers healthy habits suggestions for the new year

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TOPEKA –  As 2021 begins, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) offers 10 healthy habits to begin or to continue this new year!

Move more, sit less. Go for a walk, run, bike ride or try a new online fitness video this new year. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine can lift your spirits, make you feel better and provide some helpful structure to your days. Benefits of regular physical activity include maintained weight, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduced high blood pressure and reduced arthritis pain. If you feel limited because of a chronic condition, consider participating in a Self-Management class such as Chronic Disease Self-Management, Walk With Ease or the National Diabetes Prevention Program. 

Take a stretch break. If you are working from home, spending time watching tv or on the computer, it is important not to sit in the same place for too long and take a break from your screen. Get up and take a few minutes to stretch and move around every 30 minutes.

Eat the right foods. Good nutrition is key to good health. Everyone needs to get the right amount of healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and whole grains. Just remember fresh foods are healthier than processed, salty or sugary snacks. Learn more about how you can support the health and prosperity of Kansans by eating locally.

Rethink your drink. Skip high-sugar fruit juices, soda pop and alcoholic drinks to reduce calories and stay safe. Instead, prioritize drinking more water. You can even infuse your water with fruits, herbs and berries to switch it up each day. This simple change can reduce your risk of weight gain/obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, non-alcoholic liver disease, tooth decay and cavities and gout, a type of arthritis.

Quit smoking. You are never too old to quit. Benefits include: lowered risk for lung cancer and many other types of cancer; reduced risk for heart disease and stroke; reduced heart disease risk within 1 to 2 years of quitting; reduced respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath and more money you will save. To get started, call the Kansas Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free support. My Life, My Quit is a free resource available to Kansas teens to help them quit vaping. It is your life, and you should live it your way. Text “Start My Quit” to 855.891.9989 or call to talk with a coach who is ready to listen and cheer you on. My Life, My Quit website is always free and confidential, start your quit today.

Get screened for cancer. Regular screenings may find breast, cervical, colorectal (colon) and other cancers early, when treatment is likely to work best. Talk with your health care provider to see which ones you should have. Women, call Early Detection Works, 1-877-277-1368 to see if you qualify for support in paying for breast and cervical cancer screenings.

Keep kids healthy and safe — talk to them about the dangers of vaping. Children develop their habits and behaviors at an early age and those habits can impact their life-long health. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey data, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among both high school and middle school youth. Vaping is putting young people at risk for developing lifelong nicotine addictions. My Life, My Quit is a free resource available to Kansas teens to help them quit vaping. It is your life, and you should live it your way. Text “Start My Quit” to 855.891.9989 or call to talk with a coach who is ready to listen and cheer you on. My Life, My Quit website is always free and confidential, start your quit today.

Get vaccinated. The best way to prevent common illnesses is to get and stay up-to-date on vaccinations. A complete immunization schedule for children and adults can be found at http://www.kdheks.gov/immunize/schedule.htm. For adolescent females, this includes getting vaccinated against HPV cancer.

Prioritize sleep. Make it your mission to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can be a risk factor for many long-lasting (chronic) diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and depression.

Maintain mental health. Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. While everybody has the blues, feels anxious or gets stressed at times, if you cannot shake these feelings, it is important to get help. Poor mental health increases the risk for long-lasting (chronic) physical conditions like heart disease, stroke and cancer. Our resiliency and ability to overcome adversity is key in creating and maintaining healthy habits. Learn more about the importance of building resiliency within your community.

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