Archive for Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Start 2010 on the right foot with some healthy new habits

December 30, 2009

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Q: Do you have any “words of wisdom” to kick 2010 off right?

A: Let’s think about how we can have a Healthy H-A-P-P-Y N-E-W Y-E-A-R by following these recommendations:

H - ealth: Make health a priority this year. Health should be more than the absence of disease.

A - ttitude: A positive attitude may not cure a disease. However, thinking positive can help you deal with misfortune, make the most of your situation and enjoy life more.

P - hysical activity: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends for adults: “Most health benefits occur with at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. Additional benefits occur with more physical activity. Both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are beneficial.” (For more information and for guidelines for children: www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx.)

P - eople: Numerous studies indicate social networks, whether formal (such as a church or social club) or informal (such as meeting with friends), make people less vulnerable to ill health and premature death. Be wary, however, of social support that drains you through people being too demanding or encouraging you to engage in harmful behaviors.

Y- our body: Schedule physical checkups as needed: eyes, teeth, mammogram, colonoscopy, general physical, etc.

N - O! Rather than adding "take a time management class" to your "to do" list, consider starting a "don't do" list. You may discover doing LESS can bring MORE enjoyment to your life. Especially if doing less allows you to spend time doing more to contribute to your health and happiness and that of family and friends!

E - at healthy. MyPyramid.gov recommends: “To move to a healthier weight, you need to make smart choices from every food group. Smart choices are the foods with the lowest amounts of solid fats or added sugars: for example, fat-free (skim) milk instead of whole milk and unsweetened rather than sweetened applesauce. Also, consider how the food was prepared. For example, choose skinless baked chicken instead of fried chicken and choose fresh fruit instead of a fruit pastry.” Need a quick reference for food information, food groups, calories and comparisons? MyPyramid.gov has a new tool to help. MyFoodapedia reveals calories and food groups for one food or you can compare two foods. This helps take the guesswork out of calorie counting. It also compares foods from fast-food restaurants. Take a look at www.myfoodapedia.gov.

W – isdom. Take time to listen to your own body. Rather than set your goals based on how fast other people walk or jog, how little sleep others can get by on or how much someone else eats, concentrate on what makes YOU healthy.

Y - our hands. "Keeping hands clean is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here’s how to wash your hands with soap and water from the CDC.

  1. Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
  2. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
  3. Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend.
  4. Rinse hands well under running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.

E - nough sleep. According to the 2009 “Sleep in America” poll by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF): The number of people reporting sleep problems has increased 13 percent since 2001. In the past eight years, the number of Americans who sleep less than six hours a night jumped from 13 percent to 20 percent, and those who reported sleeping eight hours or more dropped from 38 percent to 28 percent. Lack of sleep is creating a major public safety problem as well — drowsy driving. The 2009 poll finds that more than one-half of adults (54 percent) — potentially 110 million licensed drivers — have driven when drowsy at least once in the past year. Nearly one-third of drivers polled (28 percent) say that they have nodded off or fallen asleep while driving a vehicle. For more information about the survey and tips to help you sleep can be found at www.sleepfoundation.org.

A - void portion distortion. Rather than worry so much about “what” you eat, consider “how much” you eat. Downsize your portion sizes. Serve food on smaller plates. Eat from plates and bowls rather than packages and bags, so you see how much you’re eating.

R - eading materials Consider the source before starting a new drastic diet or exercise plan. Beware of plans that:

• Promise quick, dramatic results

• Charge large fees for consultations, equipment, supplements, etc.

• Rely solely on testimonials and statements from “professionals” with unusual-sounding degrees.

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