Does your lifestyle constantly give you health issues? Well, you may be doing it wrong. There are several major factors that allow you to assess your lifestyle.
The goal is to determine if your regular life habits really help you to protect yourself against health problems and achieve longevity.
Primarily, these factors are your diet, physical activity, stress management, sleeping habits, exposure to harmful substances, socialization and seeking professional health advice.
Health checklist: Are you eating a healthy diet?
Your diet reflects your overall health so it should be part of your health checklist. Ideally, you should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and good proteins in your regular diet and eat them in moderate amounts.
Acquiring vitamins and minerals is also essential; you can either get these from eating certain foods or drinking pills or supplements. You should also ensure you are getting enough water every day to cleanse your body from toxins coming from the food you eat.
Moderation of alcohol, sugar, salt and fat consumption is also a must. Hence, you must avoid eating processed foods or often referred to as pre-packaged foods.
Processed foods are known to be one of the factors leading to obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease .
Meanwhile, fried foods are also as harmful as processed foods. A 2021 study looked at the heart risks associated with eating fried foods.
The scientists concluded that fried foods could cause fatal health problems, including:
- Clogged coronary arteries
- Heart attacks
- Heart failure
The findings were derived from seventeen studies. People who consume most fried foods every week are more likely to develop heart problems by 28 percent compared with people who eat less .
On the other hand, following a plant-based diet is found to be good for preventing chronic diseases, most especially those diets that are rich in fiber, antioxidants and nutrient dense.
2. Physical activity
Health checklist: How often do you exercise?
Ideally, you should be active for at least five days a week as part of the health checklist. Frequent exercising can make a massive improvement to your overall health.
Being physically active is not only about losing many pounds because it also helps in relieving stress, keeping the muscles up to snuff and maintaining cardiovascular health.
Leisurely exercises like walking or gardening are also a great way to stay active; however, pushing your body to do more than that is much more advisable.
Some other physical activities you can try can be:
- Weight lifting
By ensuring you have regular exercise, you can combat the negative effects of sedentary life, which can increase all-cause mortality, including:
- Cancer risk
- CVD mortality
- Risks for metabolism diseases, including dyslipidemia, knee pain and osteoporosis 
3. Stress management
Health checklist: How do you manage stress?
Experiencing stress is a normal part of everyday life and can be easily resolved or diminished after a particular period. Hence, stress management is a must to add on your health checklist.
Serious life events such as job loss, serious illness and death in the family are all elements contributing to stress. Stress can make you feel down or anxious about your life situation, affecting your mental health.
Without well-established stress management, your stress may lead to the severity of some mental conditions like anxiety and depression and even physical health, including obesity and immune dysfunction.
It is important for you to recognize the signs and stress responses to build effective stress management.
Finding a coping mechanism and stress reduction techniques may help in improving your overall wellness .
4. Quality sleep
Health checklist: Do you sleep eight hours a day?
Having enough quality sleep is essential in securing a healthy mind and body, which is ironically often ignored.
Frequent inadequate sleep may lead to sleep deficiency which is associated with numerous fatal health problems, such as:
- Type-2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
Plus, sleep deprivation is also known to promote a higher possibility of injury in adults, teens and children .
Having a lack of sleep can negatively impact your memory in both the short term and long term, including your ability to focus and think. Worse, sleep deprivation can lower your immune system and increase your risk of developing.
Health experts advise adults to sleep between seven to nine hours of sleep every night  to check it off on your health checklist.
5. Exposure to harmful substances
Health checklist: Are you exposed to harmful substances?
It is time to quit smoking – a line smokers often hear but can be tough to follow, especially for those who struggle with its addiction.
Smoking is associated with all sorts of illnesses, especially in respiratory and heart health.
While the majority of people may be primarily concerned with cigarette smoking, regular smoking of cigars, marijuana and other harmful substances is found to provide the same problems, if not more.
Too much use of tobacco and alcohol consumption at the same time has been found to increase the risk of developing chronic diseases and death.
In fact, consuming light and moderate alcohol can reduce mortality from cardiovascular diseases; however, when paired with smoking cigarettes, this beneficial effect may be offset .
Health checklist: Are you active in socializing and interactions with others?
No man is an island – a famous quote that may also apply to health, as socialization and interaction with others are required to achieve a healthy mental and physical state.
To prove research shows that positive social relationships have a direct link to positive health outcomes involving:
- Mental health
- Physical health
- Health habits
- Mortality risk 
You can leverage social connections and relationships to help reinforce healthy behaviors. Spending time with loved ones, volunteering on community projects with neighbors and joining events amongst strangers are some of the great ways to acquire a sense of belongingness.
Humans are social creatures, and many studies scientifically back this statement; hence, you must engage with others to stay healthy. Becoming intimate with your loved ones, like touching, hugging and alike, can improve overall wellness.
Some other socialization ideas that are good for mental health can be:
- Relaxing with a body massage done by a professional or your partner.
- Hugging or cuddling with your loved one, a stuffed toy or a pet.
- Volunteering to take care of a pet.
7. Regular check-ups
Health checklist: How often do you visit your doctor for a consultation?
To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you need to have regular health check-ups and add them to your lifestyle routine.
Even if you are not feeling anything wrong with your health, you still need to visit your doctor for a consultation to make sure you are well. It does not have to be every week; maybe do it every three months to annually.
Regular check-ups allow you to monitor yourself and ensure you are not developing any diseases as you get older every day. Some tests you may undergo, regardless of gender, are the following.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure is quite common in adults. You must have your blood pressure checked every two years to know if it is within the normal range and every year if above normal (120/80 and 139/89).
Many health professionals recommend that all adults 20 or older must ensure to have their cholesterol and other traditional risk factors screened every four to six years.
After turning 40 years old, your doctor will also need to use an equation to calculate your 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease or stroke.
Cholesterol testing is also advisable to be completed at a couple of points during childhood, at least once between ages 9 and 11, which should be before puberty and another between ages 17 and 21, after puberty.
HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Often, your doctor may ask you if you are sexually active and if yes, you are strongly advised to go through HIV or STIs testing.
Sexually transmitted infections, like HIV, may be present in someone and still show no symptoms until it is already severe. Don’t be embarrassed, and be honest with your physician to ensure you are healthy.
when turned 45 years old, all adults are recommended to get checked every three years for type-2 diabetes. Screenings must be conducted earlier if several factors below are present.
- Overweight or obese
- Have blood pressure of 135/80 and up
- Have a high cholesterol level
- Have a family history of diabetes
By age 45, you must have a fecal blood test and perform it annually. Colonoscopies are professionally performed every ten years.
Yearly screening for lung cancer with a low-dose CT scan in adults ages 55 to 80 years is recommended. Most especially, adults who have a 30-pack-year smoking history are currently active in smoking or quit within the past 15 years.
Check your skin regularly for irregularly-shaped, dark spots as it may be skin cancer, especially to the face, back and shoulder regions. If you find any unusual marks, you should schedule an appointment with your physician .
Here’s a short health checklist to help you determine if you are doing great in your everyday health habits:
- I have regular check-ups with my doctor every year.
- I make sure to take my medicine on time.
- I have had my eyes checked by an ophthalmologist in the last two years.
- I visit a dental clinic for a check-up yearly.
- I ensure to brush my teeth twice a day for two minutes.
- I floss daily.
- I don’t smoke.
- I have a healthy sleeping schedule.
- I stop eating when I feel full.
- I eat fruits and vegetables every day.
- I drink soda only three times or less within a week.