Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  A Healthy Lifestyle: Care Instructions
Facebook Tweet Email Share

Main Content

A Healthy Lifestyle: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

A healthy lifestyle can help you feel good, stay at a healthy weight, and have plenty of energy for both work and play. A healthy lifestyle is something you can share with your whole family.

A healthy lifestyle also can lower your risk for serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

You can follow a few steps listed below to improve your health and the health of your family.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Do not eat too much sugar, fat, or fast foods. You can still have dessert and treats now and then. The goal is moderation.
  • Start small to improve your eating habits. Pay attention to portion sizes, drink less juice and soda pop, and eat more vegetables and fruits. Follow Canada's Food Guide:
    • Half the plate is vegetables and fruits. Examples are broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, apples, oranges, and blueberries.
    • One-fourth of the plate is whole grain foods. Examples are whole grain bread, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole grain cereal.
    • One-fourth is protein foods. Examples are lean beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, tofu, eggs, beans, and lentils.
    • Make water your drink of choice.
  • Make exercise part of your daily routine. You may want to start with simple activities, such as walking, bicycling, or slow swimming. Aim for at least 2½ hours a week of moderate to vigorous activity. You do not need to do all 2½ hours all at once. For example, you can exercise 5 times a week for 30 minutes. Moderate exercise is safe for most people, but it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
  • Keep moving. Mow the lawn, work in the garden, or clean your house. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.
  • If you smoke, quit. People who smoke have an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, cancer, and other lung illnesses. Quitting is hard, but there are ways to boost your chance of quitting tobacco for good.
    • Use nicotine gum, patches, or lozenges.
    • Ask your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines.
    • Keep trying.
    In addition to reducing your risk of diseases in the future, you will notice some benefits soon after you stop using tobacco. If you have shortness of breath or asthma symptoms, they will likely get better within a few weeks after you quit.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink. Moderate amounts of alcohol (up to 3 drinks a day for men, 2 drinks a day for women) are okay. But drinking too much can lead to liver problems, high blood pressure, and other health problems.

Family health

If you have a family, there are many things you can do together to improve your health.

  • Eat meals together as a family as often as possible.
  • Eat healthy foods. This includes vegetables and fruits, protein foods, and whole grain foods.
  • Include your family in your fitness plan. Most people think of activities such as jogging or tennis as the way to fitness, but there are many ways you and your family can be more active. Anything that makes you breathe hard and gets your heart pumping is exercise. Here are some tips:
    • Walk to do errands or to take your child to school or the bus.
    • Go for a family bike ride after dinner instead of watching TV.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter U807 in the search box to learn more about "A Healthy Lifestyle: Care Instructions".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.