There are so many fun things to do on the internet.  Years ago I took a test along with my whole family to determine what kind of dog I would be if I were a dog, totally silly and very fun.  Or have you ever gone to a site that predicts your perfect Hollywood star date.  OK, this one was very disappointing; I am changing my answers and trying again.

Fortunately, you can also find tons of accurate helpful information on the internet.  For instance is up in a tab almost continually while I am at work.  And I have often searched for gardening advice about my roses, or how much a fence should cost.

But whether it is the start of a new year or maybe for you it is just a brand new day ripe with possibilities and you don’t want to waste a minute you want to feel better, look better and overall improve your health.  The internet can help!

How do you learn about your specific health needs?

Where are your weak spots?

What habits need changing?

What can you change to improve your health the fastest?

How do you determine what checkups you need?

When it comes to your health where are you succeeding and where are you failing?

Let’s go to the internet.  First, you want to look for a health risk assessment and luckily this should be free.  Isn’t technology wonderful and isn’t this more helpful than knowing what kind of dog you would be?

A health assessment questionnaire will ask you:

Demographic questions

Lifestyle questions

Medical history questions

Physiological data (blood pressure, cholesterol numbers, etc.)

Measures your willingness to change
Don’t panic if you don’t know some answers just answer the questions as accurately as possible.  For instance, maybe you don’t know your blood pressure numbers but you do know that last time you were at the doctor he said your numbers were in the normal range.  The normal range is good so you can report that.

The beauty of the internet as soon as you hit submit up pops your individual report.  It is accurate and specific to you and you alone.

Great!  Now you have a snap shot of your health and a baseline from which to improve.

Now let’s look at the results. 

Let’s say you scored poorly on the amount of time you are exercising.  We all know exercise improves our health.  So concentrate on adding some additional time each week to spend on getting active.  This does not mean you need to join an expensive gym.  Put on some music that motivates you to move and dance around your house for ½ an hour.  Look at you, great job!  Or during every commercial of your favorite show get down on the floor and do sit ups through the commercial time.  Most hour long shows are actually 42 minutes.  That means during those commercials you can increase your exercise time by 18 minutes.

Just as a side note, both cardiovascular workouts (workouts that get your heart pumping) and strength training workouts (lifting weights, doing sit-ups) should be part of any good exercise program.

What if your weight wasn’t where it should be?  The majority of Americans struggle with overweight issues, you are not alone.  Your health risk assessment report will provide you with a weight range that you should fall into.  What is it going to take to lose the weight?  Finding out how many calories someone of your height and weight should consume per day is a good place to start.  You want to find an online Basal Metabolic Rate calculator (BMR calculator).  You use this calculator to see how many calories you should consume each day to maintain your weight.  Now you can determine how many calories you need to not consume in order to drop those excess pounds.

Good online calculators to help you get healthy:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or Daily Energy Expenditure – This will calculate how many calories your body needs to function properly.

Ideal Weight – Use this tool to determine your healthiest weight.

Calories Burned – Find out how many calories you burn doing your favorite activities.

Calories to Lose Weight – Use this calculator to determine how many calories you should eat each day to responsibly lose weight and minimize risks.

Body Fat Calculator – This calculator will give you an idea of your body fat percentage.

Your health assessment questionnaire results may also tell you that you are behind in some basic routine preventive care checkups.  When routine checkups are recommended by your doctor it has been statistically shown that these checkups improve your chances of stopping disease and illness early.  So if you are behind schedule your appointments.  These recommendations also can change as new health statistics are tabulated.  So you may want to take a new assessment yearly and see what the new recommendations are.

One of the best reasons for using an online tool is that the recommendations for weight, blood pressure or doctor visits, unlike printed media, can instantly be adjusted as they change so you are always getting accurate up to date information.

Now that you have answered a health risk assessment questionnaire accurately and have a true baseline report, why not play around with the numbers a little?  Just like when I went back and redid my celebrity date you can re input your data.  For instance let’s change our answers and drop your weight by 10 lbs.  What is your new wellness score?  Wow did it go up.  Then dropping those 10 lbs. may be the first thing you want to work on.  Or are your blood pressure numbers to high?  Then let’s work on that first and see what happens to your score when you get your numbers in the normal range.

There are some things that you just can’t change.  Like your mother had breast cancer, or your sister has diabetes.  These family history questions and your age you just can’t get around.  But even if your family history is putting you at a greater risk for some diseases or illness the knowledge that you need to be aware of watching for indicators or signs of a problem is good to know.  This will help you know when to give a heads up to your doctor if you are noticing any warning signs of developing these same issues.

What if you scored poorly in some of your everyday habits?  For instance, maybe you drive too fast, drink alcohol more than you should or forget to wear your seat belt.  Sometimes it is some very small habits you need to watch out for.  You can easily put a post it note or tie a ribbon around your steering wheel to remind you to buckle up. Or if you are always running behind and then speeding to get to where you need to go, that adds to your chances of a traffic accident and can hurt your wellness score.  Start out earlier and pay attention to those posted speed limits.

If your results tell you that you are drinking more than you should.  Pay attention to the recommendations they suggest.  Alcohol does increase the risk for several illnesses.  A glass of red wine may be good for you but a gallon of red wine will defeat the health benefits.

There are many sources you can use to learn about your health and online assessment tools should not be over looked.  The sites you use should:

Should be free.

Should offer up to date information that comes from scientific studies.

Should be secure and not sell any of your personal information.

Should produce an easy to read report.

Using the internet is a great tool for determining your current wellness and improving your overall health.