Your Health: Focus on health

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Focus on health

Good health is much more than eating right, exercising regularly and going to the doctor. To be healthy, we have to balance all aspects of our lives - physical, social, mental, economic and spiritual. These complex factors all work together to determine our state of health and well-being.

To get the best out of life, start by making your health a priority. Not just your physical health, but all the factors that make your life satisfying and fulfilling. Try to find the balance that works for you and take action when that balance tips too far in one direction or another.

Risk factors for chronic disease
Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, are the leading causes of death and disability in North America. Usually, chronic diseases are caused by a combination of factors. However, there is clear evidence that certain lifestyle choices can increase your risk of developing a serious disease. These lifestyle choices include:

Smoking/exposure to second-hand smoke
oa major risk factor for cancer, respiratory diseases and cardiovascular (heart) disease
Physical inactivity
oassociated with high blood pressure, increased the risk of heart attack, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis
Unhealthy eating
oleads to obesity, which increases the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer and type 2 diabetes

Stress is another factor that has been linked to chronic disease. Repeated stress may trigger a physical response that can compromise your immune system and may lead to depression, heart attack or stroke.

Following healthy habits
If you take an active role in managing your health and keeping stress to a minimum, you'll be healthier and perform better at work and at home. Get off to a good start by following these steps:

Set your priorities - It can be challenging to balance your work, family life and health needs. Start by making a list of the things that are important in your life. Review the list and identify the highest priorities - then find time for them in your busy schedule.
Simplify your life - Reduce stress by delegating tasks or eliminating obligations that you don't enjoy. Focus on one thing at a time and try not to take work problems home with you.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle - Regular exercise is good for your body and mind. Not only does it strengthen muscle and bone, but it also relieves tension and stress. Healthy eating keeps your energy levels high, even on the most demanding days. And make a point of going to bed early. Sleep helps you handle the responsibilities of every day with more strength and focus.
Take time to renew and revitalize - If you let yourself get run down, you won't be effective at work or at home. Remember that your most important resource is - you! Take time to take care of yourself.
Build a strong support network - Family and friends can be a powerful resource during challenging times. Spend more time with the people you love and trust. And establish open and honest relationships with your colleagues and supervisors at work.

Access your workplace wellness programs- The Peel board is committed to workplace wellness. There are several employee assistance programs available to help you deal with personal problems, health issues or stressful situations.
For more information, visit the Employee Assistance Program and the Wellness Programs pages of this website.

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Good health is combination of many factors. The Take One Step website offers practical and useful information about all aspects of healthy living. Follow these links to find out more:

Diet and nutrition
Fitness and exercise
Work/life balance
Healthy workplace
Wellness programs

Learn to recognize the five signs of chronic stress.

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