When we talk about how to protect your income, we typically discuss it from the perspective of short- or long-term disability insurance.
But, just like anything in life, there are ways to prevent something bad happening to you by protecting your body.
Of course, there are accidents that can’t be prevented and some surgeries can’t be stopped, but—on the whole—if we take care of ourselves, it’s pretty likely we can avoid a one-in-four chance of becoming disabled.
Protect Your Body
Here are nine things you can do right now to protect your body and to protect your income.
- Quit smoking. It’s no secret that nicotine use has been linked to a variety of life-threatening illnesses, from cancer to heart disease and stroke. It’s not easy to quit and you’ve likely heard it all, in terms of the health benefits of quitting. But, if you need help kicking the habit, the American Cancer Society and SmokeFree can help. There are also apps on your phone that can help keep you motivated and hold you accountable.
- Get regular checkups. Think of your doctor as an ally who helps keep you well, not just the person who treats you when you’re sick. Regular checkups and screenings are vital, especially if you or your family are predisposed to certain medical conditions. Wondering about which screenings you need at different stages in your life? Ask your primary healthcare provider or visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Get regular cancer screenings. Early detection saves thousands of lives every month. Your family history and certain risk factors sometimes indicate that a person’s screenings should start at a younger age. Ask your doctor, or visit the American Cancer Society for more information.
- Watch your weight. Those extra pounds can cause big trouble. They strain your heart, raise your blood pressure, and significantly increase your risk of a heart attack. Eat more high-fiber, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, and fewer high-fat foods. For more dietary information visit Choose My Plate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Calculate your body mass index (BMI), to assess your personal situation, with this tool from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
- Get regular exercise. A healthy life requires periodic physical activity. To prevent heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and obesity, the Mayo Clinic recommends 150 minutes every week, or 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
- Avoid excessive drinking. While drinking in moderation is usually fine, heavy drinking can lead to liver damage and other serious health risks. There are varying reports on what “moderation” means, so this Forbes article outlines it all for you. If you limit to one drink a day if you are female and two if you are male, you are staying within the moderation lines.
- Become safety-minded. Disability-causing incidents spring up when you least expect them. Stay alert for possible dangers. Drive defensively. Wear your seat belts. At work or play, always use the recommended safety equipment. For more information, visit the National Safety Council.
- “Watch your back.” Back injuries and arthritis are the leading causes of disability. You can reduce your chances of injury by losing weight, doing gentle stretching exercises before a rigorous workout, and practicing sound weightlifting techniques. The Cleveland Clinic Health Information Center is an excellent source of information.
- Cultivate your mental and emotional health. Good relationships and a positive mental attitude really help. Maintain contacts with family and friends. Stay active and involved through work, recreation, and volunteer work in your community. Yes, we live in a 24/7 world, but no one can work 24 hours a day. Take time for relaxation and doing things that make you happy. That’s the only way to reduce stress and recharge. You’ll be more creative and reduce the likelihood of some physical illnesses. For more information, visit Mental Health America.
Protect Your Income
We all are busy. We all have 24 hours in our days. We all make priorities, as they relate to what’s important to us.
One of every four of your friends or family will end up out of work for three or more months during their working careers.
What are you going to do to protect your income—and your body—to prevent the same?