13 sane ways to stay healthy — for good

The people who lose weight and feel fabulous are the people who listened to their grandmother's advice...

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  • It's so frustrating searching the Internet for health advice. All we want is to stay healthy enough to enjoy our kids and grandkids well into our golden years, but modern media reporting has muddied up the water. It's hard to tell the legitimate advice from the scams.

  • When you start looking at trusted medical sources for solid advice, it's suddenly clear why good advice rarely makes it to the top of our search engines — it's not very exciting. Authors have a hard time selling books full of common sense, so they find far-fetched, miniscule studies to support wild claims.

  • Turns out that good medical advice, promoted by responsible medical professionals, sounds a lot like things we'd hear from our great-grandmothers. Here are 13 examples.

  • 1. Eat a balanced diet

  • Tired of trying to figure out if carbs are bad and what, exactly, constitutes a "whole food?" So are we. The World Health Organization, as well as almost every other global health agency, advocates eating a balanced diet full of fruit and vegetables, lean meats and dairy products, and whole grains. Nothing hard to figure out there.

  • 2. Get enough sleep

  • The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Your kids might not help with this one, but if you can get them to cooperate, sleep improves your memory and mood.

  • 3. Get help for mental illness

  • Don't let fear or embarrassment keep you from addressing feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiety or depression. Mental illness is serious, and help is available.

  • 4. Exercise regularly

  • Raising your heart rate a few times each week controls your weight, boosts your energy, lifts your spirits and insulates you from some serious diseases. No gym or fancy equipment required.

  • 5. See your doctor for more than just sickness

  • No one loves sitting around the doctor's waiting room, but the Center for Disease Control maintains that preventative medicine is a smart move for both children and adults.

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  • 6. Remove temptation

  • Self-control only goes so far. Pass up the processed food at the store. If you don't have it in the cupboard, you don't have to worry about eating it.

  • 7. Get appropriate tests

  • While you're at the doctor, don't forget to schedule routine medical examines. Getting poked and prodded now may prevent something more serious later on.

  • 8. Find healthy ways to deal with stress

  • The American Psychological Association finds that stress affects every system in your body in a negative way. Minimize the stress you can, and adopt a Zen attitude for everything else. Life is too short to spend all your time worrying.

  • 9. Enlist a buddy

  • Shanghai your best friend as a workout buddy or food accountability partner. It's no fun being the only one saying "no" to sweets, so go it together.

  • 10. See the dentist

  • Dentists are good for way more than just a sparkly smile. Trust the American Dental Association — they know it's easier to fix a little problem than a huge mess.

  • 11. Just say "no"

  • Make former First Lady, Nancy Reagan, proud and just say "no" to drugs, tobacco and excessive alcohol. Not only do these things sabotage your health, they also kill your budget.

  • 12. Practice safe sex

  • Sexually transmitted infections are no joke, and you're never too old to catch one. Don't forget that HPV is also a major contributor to female cancers. Protect yourself.

  • 13. Don't be dumb

  • This is catch-all advice. Always use a seatbelt, be careful with power tools, wear helmets, swim safely and so on. In other words, use common sense, and never start a sentence with, "Hey, watch this!"

  • Sorry if you came looking for a miracle tip to lose 10 pounds and instantly look like Jennifer Aniston. Staying healthy for a lifetime is all about good sense and moderation. There are no "tricks" or "secrets of the stars." Do good by your body, and it will do amazing things for you.

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Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan and mom to three crazy boys.

Website: http://moderatelycrunchy.blogspot.com

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