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So you’ve survived the silly season more or less intact and are, perhaps, getting ready to tackle another year and hopefully make some healthy changes. Below are 8 excellent health tips collected by WTOP that are sure to help you start the year off on the right foot!
1) Take charge of your health
According to Doctor Warren Levy, Chief Medical Officer at Virginia Heart, one of the absolutely essential things to take care of is your heart. And a good place to start is, if you are a smoker – STOP! Smoking is the single worst thing that you can do to damage your health and, as countless ex-smokers have proved, it is possible to stop. Also regarding heart health diabetics have to make sure they keep close check on their blood sugar levels. Actually everyone should pay close attention to their cholesterol and blood pressure stats because these are early warning of possible heart disease. By doing this, says Doctor Levy, “you can make a significant impact on improving your health and reduce your risk of heart disease.”
2) Look after your skin
Don’t wait until you need Botox or a facelift – if you look after your skin you’ll feel and look much younger. Doctor Adam Friedman, a dermatologist and associate professor at the George Washington University, recommends the following in order to combat dry and itchy skin. Make sure that you are using a mild soap and be sure to use a good moisturizer all over your body before drying yourself after a bath or shower. He also recommends using a humidifier in your bedroom to keep the air moist while you sleep.
3) Take your meds
According to Doctor Allen Taylor, chief of the MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute only half of all prescribed medications are taken correctly according to the prescriptions. He recommends that people should not hesitate to discuss prescribed medicines with their doctors especially if there are concerns about side effects. It is often the experience of side effects that cause people to stop taking medicine that they need instead of going back to their doctor and looking into alternative medication or perhaps things that can be done to ameliorate the negative side effects. If you are experiencing some side effects and are taking more than one drug then be sure to make a list when you visit your doctor because it is often the interaction of drugs that cause the worst side effects.
4) Don’t forget Vitamin D
If you’ve spent the holidays lazing on the beach or in your garden I’m sure you’ve got a lot of sun. That means you will have boosted your levels of vitamin D. Doctor Lee Firestone explains that vitamin D is the only vitamin that you can’t get from food. The body manufactures it from exposure to the sun. The problem is that once you go back to work, especially if you work long hours indoors, the body often no longer gets enough vitamin D from the sun. If this is the case there are some excellent vitamin D supplements available from chemists and health shops that will ensure you still get enough vitamin D. A shortage of will leave you feeling tired and can also cause bone fragility and weakness.
5) Don’t drink fruit – eat it!
Doctor Domenica Rubino warns that the big glass of juice that many people have with their breakfast contains just as much sugar as a fizzy drink like Coke and also has as much carbohydrates as four slices of bread! Eating fruit is far healthier as it is absorbed more slowly and utilized better by the body. You will also get fiber at the same time which is important for healthy digestion.
6) Get regular dental checkups
It’s not just about your teeth but it’s also important for your total health says Dr. Gary Hack of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. He gives the example of detecting diabetes early. If your dentist picks up problems with your gums this often indicates a problem in the levels of your blood sugar. If this is not caught early this can lead to the onset of diabetes. Also signs of plaque buildup in the mouth can indicate pending heart trouble. Also your dentist will be able to detect signs of oral cancers which, if caught early, have as much as an 80% survival rate.
7) Use sunscreen
Dermatologist Doctor Howard Brooks reminds us that sunscreen is not just something that you should think about when you are on holiday on the beach but is something that you should be applying throughout the year. He warns that although almost all other types of cancer are declining, skin cancer rates worldwide are continuing to climb. In addition to protecting yourself from getting skin cancer wearing sunscreen is one of the best anti-aging precautions that anyone can take. Sure the tan looks great – but the wrinkles, not so much!
8) Sit less, move more
Doctor William Kimbrough warns that just sitting for a long time can be as unhealthy as being obese or overweight. To avoid this please make sure you get up and move around at least once every 30 minutes. Doctor Assil Saleh also recommends that deciding to be more active should be on everyone’s list of New Year’s Resolutions. Ideally you should try to get to the gym two or three times a week but even if you can’t do this there are many ways to introduce motion into your everyday life. She suggests taking the stairs instead of the elevator and also parking your car a bit further from your destination to force yourself to get the health benefits of walking.
I hope you have found the above tips useful and put some of them into practice immediately. I wish you all a happy and healthy 2016!