Like many people, you might view the new year as the perfect time for a fresh start—an opportunity to nix your bad habits and establish some positive new ones. If you are inspired to make lifestyle modifications to better your health, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, good for you! Recognizing that change is necessary is your first important step toward achieving your best possible health.
Your next step is to have a routine physical examination performed by your doctor. Why? Since everyone is at a different point on their health journey, a medical professional can help you measure your starting point and develop a safe plan to achieve your health goals.
Understanding Your Health Baseline
After completing a comprehensive medical assessment, your doctor can establish your health baseline, which is essentially a snapshot of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being at a given point in time.
To determine your baseline, your doctor will perform and coordinate various tests to evaluate your current health status and seek information about any previous medical issues you may have had. Additionally, your doctor will ask about your family medical history, nutrition, exercise routine, occupation, social activities, and lifestyle. This information can provide valuable clues about your health risks. During your physical exam, your doctor may also detect early and subtle signs of certain medical conditions that you are unaware of, allowing you to take proactive steps to address them before they worsen.
Your Journey Toward Good Health
Using your baseline, your doctor can work with you to set realistic, clearly defined, and easily observable goals to help you achieve and maintain your optimum health. Additionally, your doctor can recommend safe and effective strategies to help you get there. Here are some examples:
- If you eat lunch at a restaurant every day while at work, you might prepare nutritious brown-bag meals at home, where it is easier to focus on healthy ingredients and right-sized portions.
- If you would like to lose weight, shift your focus to fitness; e.g., instead of setting a goal to lose a certain number of pounds, you might set a goal to exercise for one hour at least three times per week.
- Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy so you will be more likely to stick with it. You might walk your dog, bike to work, do some gardening, go dancing, or take a tai chi class—there are many ways to be physically active, and not all are a grind!
- To make exercise more enjoyable, you might work out with a friend so you can support and encourage each other while you spend quality time together.
Your baseline can serve as a starting point for effectively measuring and tracking your progress toward your health goals over time. That way, you will be well-positioned to make powerful and lasting changes to enhance your well-being.
The Importance of a Yearly Physical
Although you already understand the importance of seeking prompt medical attention for an illness or injury, you might wonder if you really need to see a doctor if you are generally healthy. What many people don’t know is that you can benefit from an annual physical examination or wellness checkup in many ways. In addition to setting your health baseline, an annual physical is an excellent opportunity to:
- Check your vital signs, including your blood pressure, pulse, and body temperature
- Assess your heart rate and respiration rate
- Receive routine lab testing, such as blood work and urinalysis
- Be screened for certain health conditions that may not cause noticeable symptoms
- Get a flu shot and update your other immunizations as needed
- Review your medication and supplement use
- Discuss any non-urgent medical concerns you may have with your doctor
- Keep your medical records up to date
- Establish and maintain a trusted doctor-patient relationship
Because your health is influenced by multiple factors every day, the best way to stay on top of it is to see your doctor at least annually for a wellness checkup. That way, you can regularly revisit your baseline and evaluate the progress you have made toward your health goals.
Preventive Care on Your Schedule
Jovive Health offers preventive health care services on a walk-in basis, which means you do not have to schedule an appointment for a physical exam (although we do accept same-day reservations at all locations).