Health Benefits

I am 42 years old, work at a computer screen all day, exercise "occasionally," feel stressed "frequently" and, in general, still eat like I'm in college. My doctor probably would not like hearing any of this, but I can't recall the last time I've actually been to see her.

All these things are bad. I'm reminded of them at our company's annual health day, where we get our weight, blood pressure and cholesterol checked, a nutritious breakfast, a new toothbrush and pamphlets about healthful living. But while I appreciate the banana and yogurt, the reading material usually ends up in the recycling.

Now, none of this means I don't want to change my ways. I'd love to make some lifestyle improvements. I just need the proper motivation.

So I've recently taken on a new health coach. It's not some specialized trainer or nutrition expert. I need something more immediate, more high-tech, less judgemental.

Yes, I've turned to Twitter, the best health advice you can get in 140 characters or less. Don't laugh (actually, go ahead, one of our experts says it really is good for you). I follow the local hospitals, as well as Men's Health, Eat This Not That, and, for good measure, Health, the women's magazine. And I find a good mix of daily inspiration, practical tips and new research to apply to my everyday life.

What have I learned? you may ask. Well, Men's Health (@menshealthmag) told me: "Snack on #pistachios! They fight weight gain by reducing the expression of an inflammatory gene by 78%. #weightlossfact." Awesome, I love pistachios.

A few hours later I learned about "4 things that are making you FAT — and how to change your ways." Apparently, late nights playing Call of Duty are partially to blame. That's unfortunate, because I thought the simulated violence was helping with my stress levels.

And I've even discovered from Health (@goodhealth) that I am doing some things right: "Yet ANOTHER reason to stop smoking. New research finds lighting up can increase cognitive decline in men." Since I don't smoke, you can't just dismiss my current health strategy as utterly stupid, right?

Then again, my habits show I'm probably not the best example. So this month's issue offers 15 physician tips for better living and almost 1,200 medical professionals rated tops by their peers. #TakeTheirAdviceNotMine

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