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Prioritize health, together

10 tips to encourage your partner’s wellness.

Article Author: Juice Staff

Article Date:

Couples can help each by supporting healthy habits.

Why is it that when the check engine light flashes on the car’s dashboard, we take it into the shop for service, but when an internal warning sign goes off in our own body, we’re likely to ignore it?

Life can be hectic, and the reality is that our concern for our own health often takes a back seat to the well-being of others.

How to support healthy habits

So, how can we ensure we keep our health top of mind? One way is to make a pact as a couple to begin to make healthier choices, said Baptist Primary Care physician Shalaka Ghate, MD. “Having a partner to hold you accountable helps keep you motivated. I’ve noticed people are more successful in reaching their health goals when they work with a partner, family member or even a buddy.”

Here are Dr. Ghate’s top tips on how couples and families can support and encourage each other to stay healthy:

  1. Make healthy eating a group activity. Swap eating out for cooking meals at home, and make your trips to the grocery store a family affair. “Get everyone involved in planning weekly meals,” said Dr. Ghate. “Make your trip to Costco or wherever fun; enjoy the samples and have talks about nutritious eating as you shop.”
  2. Find time for exercise and enjoy the great outdoors together. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise a week. While that may sound like a lot, it’s not bad if you break it up into five, 30-minute sessions. And you don’t have to go to the gym, just take a walk and use the time to catch up with your partner. “I generally tell patients to take a walk first thing in the morning because being outdoors releases all the happy chemicals and the serotonin boost can keep you going throughout the day,” said Dr. Ghate.
  3. Watch your weight. Your primary care doctor can help you determine your ideal weight, and couples can encourage each other to meet their goals. Dr. Ghate advised using fitness apps to track your progress.
  4. Drink in moderation. Alcoholic beverages are not only often high in calories, but they can increase the risk of health problems like heart and liver disease, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.
  5. Avoid smoking. It can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer. If you have a loved one who uses any kind of tobacco product, encourage them to quit.
  6. Don’t skip important health screenings. Encourage your partner to talk to their primary care physician about which screenings are right for them based on age and risk factors. Women 40 years and older should have a mammogram every year.
  7. Know your numbers. An annual checkup with a primary care doctor can give you important information about your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, as well as your body mass index. “You can turn this into a healthy competition by keeping track of each other’s current and goal numbers, which should always be based on the doctor’s recommendations,” said Dr. Ghate.
  8. Take advantage of health care rewards programs. Many employers offer incentives to get annual checkups and health screenings. “You should aim to fulfill the requirements to get the health care rewards or dollars back,” said Dr. Ghate. “Not only can it save you money, but these health checks can alert us to conditions like high cholesterol and prediabetes that we can work on and prevent from turning into bigger problems.”
  9. Check in on each other’s mental health. According to Dr. Ghate, daily family dinners are a great opportunity to see how your loved ones are doing. “It’s a time to touch base to see how everyone’s day went. You may notice someone is a little quiet and this is your chance to find out what’s going on with them.” If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression, seek help from a professional. Mental wellness is just as important as physical well-being.
  10. Make time for life’s simple pleasures. It’s important to take advantage of all your area has to offer and fortunately, Jacksonville has a lot for couples and families. “I encourage patients to enjoy the beach or participate in seasonal activities like fruit picking at local farms,” said Dr. Ghate.

Good habits have a ripple effect on those around you. Prioritizing your health as a couple will benefit everyone in your family.

Looking for more support for your health?

Your primary care physician is your best resource to evaluate your overall health and make referrals for specialists, if needed. If you're looking for a primary care physician who is right for you, call 904.202.4YOU (4968) or fill out the appointment request form online.

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