Modifying Behaviors to Find a Long-Term Healthy Lifestyle

Health risk factors are classified into two groups: modifiable and non-modifiable.

For instance, our genetics play a significant role in certain chronic diseases, and despite a
healthy lifestyle, some people are more susceptible to high cholesterol–thanks, mom and dad!

On the other hand, there are many risk factors that we can control through changing our
behavior. These are known as modifiable health risk factors.

Four of the major modifiable health behaviors include tobacco use, excessive alcohol use, lack of physical activity, and poor diet.

In this article: Modifying Behaviors to Find a Long-Term Healthy Lifestyle, we’re taking a close look at these four major modifiable health behaviors and how those struggling with them can make better choices.

Tobacco use

Tobacco use is responsible for four hundred and eighty thousand deaths per year, making it the most preventable cause of death and disease in the United States.

Despite this risk, over 34 million adults continue to smoke cigarettes according to the CDC.

If you’re one of those adults, head over to the Larimer County Health District website for
information on smoking cessation programs, it’s never too late to quit!

Alcohol consumption

Excessive alcohol use is a modifiable health behavior that causes a wide range of health and
social problems.

More than 15 million people struggle with this in the U.S., although less than eight percent
receive treatment, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Moderation is essential when it comes to drinking alcohol. For those who choose to partake, no
more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men is recommended.

For those struggling with excessive alcohol use, professional help is needed.

Lack of physical activity

Sufficient physical activity in addition to adhering to a healthy diet has significant health benefits
and helps with chronic disease management.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults complete at least 150
minutes of moderate exercise per week. If you aren’t sure what type of exercise is right for you, UCHealth MedFit offers a variety of fitness classes fit for all levels of ability.

Staying fit is always easier when you have others cheering you on. Give one of our
group exercise classes a try or opt for a few sessions with a personal trainer. Regardless of what
you’re looking for, our team is here to help you.

Poor diet

In today’s society, there is always a new fad diet or trending exercise program to try.

But the truth is, they’re typically not that great for you anyway—not to mention they can be
difficult to stick to. Instead of trying a fad diet, stick to whole food-based meals and use seasonal fruits and vegetables in your cooking.

You may be surprised at just how much better you feel!

Healthy living comes with practice (and patience)

There’s no question that making healthier choices (and sticking to them) can be challenging.

However, when it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes long-lasting there are a few
tips that may help you find a habit and stick to it:

1. Decide on a few short-term and long-term goals to focus on.
2. Write your goals down in a place you can see them daily and often.
3. Baby steps: begin by tackling smaller changes first.
4. Once you feel comfortable in the routine you’ve developed with these small changes,
slowly begin to address the larger ones.
5. Surround yourself with friends and family who are supportive of the changes you are
making.
6. Track your progress using your phone, computer, or pen and paper so you can see your
results. (Pro tip: sometimes it’s difficult to see change, especially at the early stages.
Keeping a detailed log will help you understand the changes you’re making. Keep
going!)

 

Remember that UCHealth MedFit is here for you and can offer help with any nutrition or
exercise goals you may have.

Find one of our fitness specialists for help if you have a question about one of your workouts,
need advice on how to stick to your routine, or just want to try something new!

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