Is your health ready for summer? Here's a handy checklist.
If you've already given up your New Year’s resolution, you’re not alone. In fact, studies show that of the 41 percent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, only 8 percent keep them.
Regardless of whether you set a resolution in January, the summer is a great time to reassess your health goals, says Dr. Jason Tibbels, chief quality officer for the virtual care company Teladoc Health, which last year delivered more than 20 million visits.
Dr. Tibbels, who is also a practicing family physician in Decatur, shares top tips for “summer-izing” your health routine:
Schedule a check-up with a primary care provider
According to a recent study by the University of Houston, nearly a quarter of Texans do not have a regular place to go for care.
To make matters worse, government data shows that just 9 percent of counties in Texas have enough primary care providers to treat their residents. That’s concerning, experts say.
“Striving for better health without the support of a primary care physician is a bit like going into a football game without your star quarterback,” says Dr. Tibbels. “If you don’t have a relationship with a primary care provider, it’s much harder to identify diseases early and ensure preventive screenings are up to date.”
In Texas, Teladoc Health has seen a dramatic uptick in demand for virtual primary care — more than doubling the number of visits over the past year.
In Teladoc Health’s Primary360 program, a primary care provider and dedicated Care Team coordinate all routine care and wellness screenings, help identify and manage underlying chronic conditions, and connect you to labs, specialists, mental health providers, and in-person care when needed.
Review your medications
Have you already been spring cleaning your closets, cupboards, and medicine cabinets?
“Now is a great time to go through your medications, check expiration dates, and safely dispose of any medications that are no longer needed or have expired,” says Dr. Tibbels.
If you need a refill or have questions about a medication, this is a great time to send a quick message your care team.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Texas, and exercise is one of the most powerful tools to reduce your risk.
“It’s important that you build a regular routine, with some type of activity each day,” says Dr. Tibbels. “Walking 10 or 20 minutes every day is better than one hour just once a week.”
Dr. Tibbles also recommends choosing activities you enjoy and that are safe for you to do. If you’re having fun, you’ll be more likely to exercise each day.
Add fruits and veggies to your plate
A healthy diet is important for all of us — it helps strengthen the immune system, reduces the risk of illness, and can prevent many chronic diseases. If you are struggling to make a change to your diet, Dr. Tibbels recommends reframing your thinking.
“Rather than focus on what you want to eliminate, focus first on what nutritious foods you can add to your plate each meal, like fresh fruits and vegetables,” he says. “By filling up on more nutritious foods first, it will be easier to slowly eliminate junk food and achieve a more balanced diet.”
Telehealth has made it easier to access support when you need it. In fact, Teladoc Health’s nutrition visits have jumped more than 30 percent in the last year.
The company provides a range of tools to meet people wherever they are on their nutrition journey, from access to registered dietitians to personalized recipes and expert coaching for chronic conditions.
Summer can be a busy and stressful time for many families. In addition to following a healthy diet and regularly exercising, digital health tools can help optimize care in a way that meets your unique needs.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to mental health — an individual’s needs often fluctuate in type and magnitude over time,” says Dr. Tibbels. “That’s why we believe so strongly in our whole-person care model, which brings all component aspects of care — physical and mental — together in one place, while harnessing the data to personalize the experience for each person we serve.”
Companies like Teladoc Health offer access to primary care, chronic care, dermatology, nutrition services, and more, all from one place to help you seamlessly keep up with every aspect of your health. To take control of your health today, check out what services you may be eligible for.