Wellness

Good health is vital to balancing the demands of work, home, school, church and community. You don’t have to make sweeping changes overnight to start becoming a healthier version of yourself. Learning something new and adjusting what you’re already doing can offer immediate rewards and long-term benefits. We hope you find our wellness tips helpful during your travels and beyond. 

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How to live well longer

We’ve all heard the stories. A coworker was diagnosed with cancer. Someone at the gym had a stroke. A neighbor suffered a heart attack. It may seem health problems are inevitable as we age. But there’s actually a lot you can do to live well – and live longer. And it may not be as difficult as you think.

Some of the biggest health issues men face today, such as heart disease and cancer, share many of the same risk factors. These include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and low physical activity. Although genetics play a part, most of these risk factors can be prevented or managed with simple lifestyle changes. 

In addition to seeing your physician regularly for preventive screenings and exams, taking steps to live a healthier lifestyle is vital for long-term quality of life – Every effort adds up, no matter how small. 

Eat well
Focusing on good nutrition is key to staying healthy. Experts suggest filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Protein, like fish or lean meat, and whole grains, like brown rice, should make up the other half. Whenever possible, limit processed or prepared foods like canned soups, boxed dinners and drive-through meals. They tend to lack nutrition and contain ingredients that can harm our health. One of the biggest culprits? Sodium. Items like some breads, cold cuts and cured meats, and pizza top the charts when it comes to sodium content. 

Many people only think about the saltshaker when trying to limit sodium. But most sodium comes from processed foods. When in doubt, read food labels. Try to keep sodium intake at 2,300 mg or less per day to help prevent high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for many health problems. 

Drink responsibly 
Research suggests that moderate alcohol intake may bring health benefits. But drinking more than the recommended limits can negatively affect your health. Heavy drinking can have toxic effects on the heart, liver, stomach, brain and peripheral nerves! 

The National Institutes of Health recommends that men limit their alcohol consumption to two or fewer drinks a day. If you have a hard time sticking to this limit, talk with your physician. 

Ease stress 
Stress can sometimes be beneficial. It can help you prepare for action – whether asking your boss for a promotion or running a 10K. But too much stress can cause significant health problems such as heart disease, trouble sleeping, depression and obesity. 

To soothe stress, experts suggest taking a walk, mediating or listening to music. Most adults already cram too much into each day. Instead of scheduling time or activities to help reduce your stress, start by taking things off your calendar. It’s health for our minds and bodies to have free time. 

Get advice

Get advice tailored specifically for you. Your primary care physician can help you assess your current health and suggest changes that offer the most benefit to you. For help finding a primary care physician, visit CHIMemorialMedicalGroup.org and click find a physician.

More wellness tips

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Improving your heart health

The average middle-aged adult has about a one in three chance of developing heart disease, finds alarming new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But there’s a silver lining: Control your risk factors right now, and you can delay its arrival by as long as 14 years or prevent heart problems altogether. Start with these simple steps

  1. Stop sipping on sugar. Drink just one less can of regular soda per day to reduce both the top and bottom numbers of your blood pressure. That’s good news, since hypertension affects one in three adults in the U.S. – and it’s one of the leading causes of heart attacks and strokes.
  2. Learn to love legumes. Chickpeas, pintos, lentils – take your pick. People with type 2 diabetes who ate one cup of beans per day had better control of their blood sugar and reduced their heart disease risks, according to study in Archives of Internal Medicine.
  3. Fill up on fish. Grill or bake fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring. People who eat fish two to four times per week are 20 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 6 percent less likely to have a stroke. That’s compared with those who dine on seafood less than once weekly.
  4. Stand up. Separate yourself from your chair. Being sedentary most of the day more than doubles your risk for heart attacks and diabetes and increases your risk for cardiovascular death by 90 percent—even if you exercise. Walk around during phone calls and ask your company to have more casual days.  Research shows employees move more when they’re not in business attire. These minor changes can add up to about two-and-a-half hours of light activity each day, and a 20 percent boost in your calorie burn.
  5. Nosh on nuts. Almonds, pecans and pistachios do more than make good trail mix. They also reduce harmful blood fats when eaten instead of less healthy foods. Eating about two-and-a-half ounces of nuts per day—a little less than one-third of a cup—dropped both total and LDL (lousy) cholesterol levels after three to eight weeks, researchers report.

To learn more about heart care at the Guerry Heart & Vascular Center, click here.

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Make sleep a priority

Make sleep a priority. It’s often easier said than done, but getting enough rest allows your body to carry out essential tasks. Unconsciously you’re storing memories, rebalancing hormones, rearming your immune system against infections, and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of rest for good health. Chronic sleep deprivation makes you more likely to gain weight and contributes to inflammation throughout your body, high cholesterol and high blood pressure—all risk factors for heart disease. Lack of sleep also increases your risk of getting type 2 diabetes or makes it harder to control if you already have it.

Trouble sleeping? Check out CHI Memorial's fully accredited sleep center

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Be label savvy

Learn how to apply what you read on food labels. Go beyond calorie and fat counts to make healthier all-around choices. For example, “Percent DV” (for “daily value”) indicates whether a food is high or low in nutrients, such as fiber and calcium. Foods are considered high in a nutrient if they have a 20 percent DV or higher. They’re low in a nutrient if they have 5 percent or less.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration offers information about understanding food labels. Read up

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Hydration

When flying, try to to drink 8 oz of water for every hour you're in the air. When flying, try to to drink 8 oz of water for every hour you're in the air. 

Water is crucial to your health. It makes up, on average, 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water.

Lack of water can lead to dehydration, a condition that occurs when you don't have enough water in your body to carry on normal functions. Even mild dehydration — as little as a 1 percent to 2 percent loss of your body weight — can sap your energy and make you tired. Dehydration poses a particular health risk for the very young and the very old. 

Signs and symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Little or no urination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends women consume approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water - from all beverages and foods - each day, and men an average of approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water. 


CHI Memorial physicians and clinicians discuss a variety of health topics.



CHI Memorial Doctor Talk is our blog dedicated to helping you live well.