40 Healthy Behaviors for Adults

40 Healthy Behaviors for Adults

Eat Well

  • Eat local! Take advantage of our local farms and eat fresh. Fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs and meat are all produced locally and are available from a variety of sources including farms,farmers markets, and local grocery stores.
  • Limit your salt intake. The CDC reports that 9 out of 10 Americans eat too much salt. On average we consume 3,300 mg of sodium per day. Current dietary guidelines recommend that adults should consume no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day.  Guidelines further limit consumption to 1500 mg per day if you are over the age of 51, African American, have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease.
  • Limit saturated fats: Saturated fat, found in meat, poultry and dairy products, increases unhealthy LDL cholesterol. Instead, use polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
  • Cut out sugary drinks from your diet.
  • Eat more nuts and legumes.
  • Choose complex carbohydrates.
  • Ensure that you are meeting the daily-recommended requirements for vitamins and minerals. Supplements are okay – but natural sources are best.

Get Active

  • Exercise! Get a minimum of 40 minutes of exercise, at least 4 days a week. Find something you enjoy doing.  Hiking, biking, gardening, can all count towards those goals.  If you need inspiration to get started, try a jumpstart program like the physician prescribed Fit Beginnings program through the Columbia Association or the online Couch to 5K running program. Don’t forget to consult a physician if you are beginning an exercise program for the first time in a while.
  • Discover the benefits of gentle motion classes like yoga or Tai Chi. In addition to increasing flexibility and range of motion, these classes are great for relieving stress. The Wellness Centers offers yoga and tai chi classes. Register online or call 410 740-7601 for information.
  • Activate your brain.  Puzzles, Sudoku and Trivia aren’t just for children, completing mentally stimulating activities help optimize your memory.
  • Incorporate walking and exercise into your daily activities. Park further away, take the stairs, and walk to your local errands.
  • Don’t forget to warm up and stretch adequately before undertaking vigorous exercise.

Achieve Your Ideal Weight

  • Know your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a good indicator of how much of your body is composed of fat.  A BMI of between 25 and 29 is considered overweight and anything over 30 is considered obese. To calculate your BMI, multiply your weight x 703 to get your first number. Multiple your height in inches by your height in inches to get your second number.  Now divide the first number by the second.  Or, BMI = (weight in pounds x 703)/(height in inches x height in inches)
  • Read nutrition labels.  The first step to following dietary guidelines and reducing fat, sugar and salt intake is learning to interpret labels so that you can calculate your average daily consumption.
  • Determine your daily caloric need and stay within that range to maintain weight. Reduce your daily calorie allowance to lose weight.  Keep a log or better yet…  there’s an App for that!
  • Consult a nutritionist to help you develop an individualized plan.

Be Prepared

  • Take a CPR/AED class so that you can be prepared in the event of a life-threatening emergency.
  • Keep a list of your current medications on hand.
  • Keep your immunizations up to date and get your annual flu shot.
  • Follow your medication instructions exactly. Take the right does at the right time for the prescribed amount of time.
  • Safely discard unused/unwanted medications.
  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF-30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every two hours. Avoid the midday sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Family history is a powerful screening tool.  Take time to collect and organize your family medical history using the. Surgeon General’s web-based Family History tool.
  • Create a fire safety and evacuation plan for your household. Check out the United States Fire Administration website at FEMA for more information.
  • Wear your seat belt.
  • Have an Emergency Preparation kit on hand- just in case.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Childproof your home. Secure unsafe objects, lock up drugs, put cleaning supplies out of reach.
  • Prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Practice safe sex.

Keep your heart healthy

  • Cholesterol- HDL, LDL and triglycerides- know your numbers!
  • Control your diabetes or pre-diabetes. If you need help- consider a hospital refresher course at the Wellness Center Living with Diabetes classes.
  • Optimal blood pressure in 120/80 mm Hg. If your systolic pressure is greater than 140 mm Hg or diastolic pressure is greater than 90 mm Hg; consult your physician.  If hypertension is detected early and treated properly, the prognosis is good.
  • Quit smoking.  Try a smoking cessation class. Register online or call 410 740-7601 for information.
  • Maintain good dental health through regular checkups and good oral hygiene. Clean teeth are good for the heart.
  • If you snore, or think you might have a sleep disorder – get a sleep study to get the facts. Visit the HCGH Center for Sleep Disorders.


In a vast majority of diseases, patients fare better when the disease is detected early so stay up to date with your health screenings including:

  • Vision screenings for glaucoma and cataracts.
  • Colon cancer screenings with a baseline colonoscopy at age 50.
  • Regular skin cancer screenings – especially if you were exposed frequently to the sun as a child.
  • Talk with your gynecologist about pap smears – when and how frequently do you need them?
  • Don’t forget your mammogram! To schedule a mammogram and to review current mammography guidelines, visit our Breast Center website.