Take control over your health

As we grow up, we learn about how to life a healthy lifestyle. We all know what we need to do: eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, get plenty of fiber, drink plenty of water, limit sugar, and get at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week or more. This is all well and good, and seems fairly straightforward, but living a healthy lifestyle requires dedication in order to reap maximum benefits. But what about things that are out of our control? What environmental factors outside of your control might impact your health? Is it possible that you have less control over your health than you thought?

Consider your diet. For the most part, once we enter adulthood and gain independence, we choose what we eat. Even if your spouse does most of the food prep in your household, you probably still have some influence in making decisions about meals and may even fix your own meals and snacks from time to time. Of course, when you go to a restaurant or are invited to dinner at a friend’s house, you have little or no control over the ingredients in your food. When you prepare a meal, however, you have a great deal of control over what goes into it. Growing your own food or buying from a local farmer gives you the most control, while buying from a supermarket may leave some doubt. Even then, a careful reading of the ingredients list and nutrition information allows you to choose products that don’t use ingredients you don’t want to consume.

Let’s also consider exercise. No matter what your feelings are about exercise, outside of illness or injury that makes it difficult, you have full control over what kind of exercise you do and how much you get. When it comes to exercise, people span the spectrum from making exercise a central part of their lives to avoiding it at all costs. Most of us, however, have to work to motivate themselves to exercise, then being glad they did. Whether you compete in a triathlon, sit on the couch all day, or something in between, exercise is certainly part of a healthy lifestyle that is fully in your control.

Unfortunately, there factors that can influence your health that are much less controllable. Your environment, perhaps surprisingly, is far harder to control than diet or exercise. If your home wasn’t thoroughly cleaned up and repaired from water damage, there may be mold lurking in the walls and under the flooring. Mold releases spores into the air that can cause respiratory difficulties, watery eyes, and stuffy or sniffly noses. Most people chalk these symptoms up to allergies or asthma. If you’ve been suffering from symptoms like these, especially if they get better when you are away from home, you could have mold in your home and not know it.

Healthy diet and exercise are vital to good health, but it’s also important to be aware of how your environment may be affecting your health as well.

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