There are many things we don't have control over when it comes to health care. For example, the number of specialty doctors in your region, out-of-pocket expenses, proximity of medical treatment facilities, amount of time it takes to see your healthcare provider, and more.
Luckily, health is more than just good health care. It's about the decisions and choices we make every day. Most health decisions do not happen in the doctor's office or hospital. Instead, they are made when people are at work or at home with their families. It is in this "Lifespace" where the daily choices people make impact their health.
So make this upcoming year "your year" to empower yourself and know that each day you can make a difference in your quality of life. No matter who you are, how old you are or what you do, you need a balance of sleep, activity and nutrition to build and sustain great health. This triad of sleep, activity and nutrition was initiated by the Army surgeon general in 2012 and is called the Performance Triad. In the spring and summer of 2014, installations Army-wide will be deploying the Army Family Performance Triad Campaign. The campaign aims to bring Soldiers and retirees, their families, and civilians the tools and resources needed to make better sleep, activity and nutrition choices to improve their health and performance.
To kick-start your own healthy habits, Army Medicine experts in sleep, activity and nutrition have provided some daily targets to start impacting performance and health. These daily targets for adults are:
•Get at least 7--8 hours of sleep each night.
•Remove all electronics from your bedroom.
•Take 10,000 steps during your everyday routine. Consider getting a pedometer, using your smart phone or using a personal fitness device to track your steps each day.
•Get at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity activity and two days of muscle-strengthening activity per week.
•Build your plate with whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy at each meal.
•Make half your plate a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
•Refuel every 4--5 waking hours; don't skip meals.
•Make water your first choice for hydration.
If you don't know where to start, have an injury, or would like additional one-on-one support no matter your current fitness level, contact your primary-care manager at your medical treatment facility or contact an Army Wellness Center. Army Wellness Centers, or AWCs, provide an invaluable wellness service to Soldiers and retirees, their families, and Army civilians at NO COST:
•Weight Management and Metabolic Testing
•Exercise Testing and Exercise Prescription
•Stress Management Education and Biofeedback
•Body Composition Analysis
To locate the AWC nearest you, visit: http://phc.amedd.army.mil/organization/institute/dhpw/Pages/ArmyWellnessCentersOperation.aspx. If you don't have an AWC near you, you can contact your local MTF to learn about the wellness services they provide.
So here's to a new year and a "healthier you." You have the power to improve sleep, activity and nutrition and maintain or take back control of your health and future.