Healthy Living in the Real World

When you can't find time to live by the book, it helps to know a few short cuts

By Sherry Rauh
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Exercise, eat well, get enough sleep. You've heard it from your doctor, the surgeon general, your mom, and maybe even your kids, but you just don't have time to live by the book. You can't even keep track of the latest guidelines, let alone follow them. WebMD is here to help.

Guidelines for Healthy Living

WebMD compiled this easy reference guide based on input from leaders in nutrition, dentistry, dermatology, mental health, and physical fitness. The guide outlines positive actions for improving and maintaining overall health. (It goes without saying that smokers should quit.)

  • Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products
  • Limit saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars
Oral Hygiene
  • Brush your teeth twice per day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss every day
  • Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings
Skin Care
  • Wash your skin daily with a mild cleanser
  • Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 year-round
  • Use a retinoid if appropriate to your goals
Mental Health
  • Keep the mind sharp by reading or learning a new hobby
  • Practice some form of stress management
  • Maintain good relationships with family members, friends, and peers
Physical Fitness
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days
  • Sleep 7-9 hours per night
  • Drink plenty of water

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