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(Chester County Moms - August 17, 2011)
1. Know Nutrition - What you choose to eat or not eat, and your level of activity can influence your risk of developing a variety of illnesses. Eating a diet made up of mostly vegetables, fruits and whole grains is good for your health and can help reduce your overall health risk factors. Seem overwhelming? Actually, eating five or more servings of vegetables and fruits every day is do-able when you know how small one serving is:
Studies show that starting your day with breakfast is an important tool for successful weight management and cardiac health - don't skip this important meal!
2. Fit in Fitness - To add spark to your routine, try ZUMBA, an aerobic dance class set to a South American beat. It is easy and fun! Or, get in front of the TV...really. With in-home video exercise packages or on-demand cable programs offering yoga to belly dancing, you have convenient options right in your living room.
3. Don't be S.A.D. this fall - Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD) troubles many women during the cooler months. Changes in the amount of daylight and lack of outdoor activities contribute to this condition. Call your primary care physician if you are experiencing long periods of sadness, lack of appetite and fatigue.
4. Sleep right for a good night - Try these easy steps for a restful night's sleep: a) Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. b) Avoid caffeine and alcohol several hours before going to bed. c) Get regular exercise, no later than 3 to 4 hours prior to going to bed. d) Try reading or listening to soft music before going to bed. e) Avoid daytime naps.
5. Wash'em Well - It is not just the type of soap/alcohol-based hand gel you use to wash your hands that will prevent infection; it is how you wash them. About 20 seconds or singing "Happy Birthday" two times is ample time to do the job, especially as flu season approaches. Plus, stay on top of flu news and vaccination information.
6. Scan your skin - Get a full-body check from your dermatologist once a year. Know your moles and beauty marks, and note any changes over time. And, don't forget the sunscreen, in both the warm and cool months!
7. Go out on a limb - Ask your family members what concerns exist in your family tree's health history. Educate yourself about how to break the chain for any chronic conditions that may exist in your heritage. Take charge of your health, know your risk factors, and sign up for a screening or two to get to know your body better.
8. Brush it off - Affected by allergies? While many allergy sufferers find seasonal allergies keep them indoors, others get no relief from the dust within their own homes. In addition to vacuuming often and washing the curtains, take a swipe at these hiding places to rid your house of dust: ceiling fans, door frames, blinds, air vents, electronics and the coils of the refrigerator.
9. Take it slow - Making changes in life is never an easy task. We recommend starting small and keep it simple. Set a few realistic goals and see how you do. If you are finding obstacles in the way, readjust your goals and try a different approach. If you achieve your initial goal, take the next step and set some new ones. Once you start to see results, you will be motivated to keep moving forward.
10. Trust your instincts - If you feel that a health concern is looming - whether you just don't feel like yourself or a new ailment has presented itself - have it checked out by your physician. If you don't have a physician, then do some research and find a doctor* who best meets your needs.
* The Chester County Hospital and Health System offers a Physician Referral phone line (610.738.2300) and a Find a Doctor service on its website http://www.chestercountyhospital.org/.
Last Updated: 9/11/2012