A year ago I came across some advice that I am going to share with you here. Believe me, I am all for keeping things simple and beginning any changes in life with baby steps. If you lay out an entire grand plan you are probably setting yourself up to fail.
I already shared the 90 second changes you can make in your lives that can make a difference so here are some more suggestions that could add some years to your lives.
1. Drink at least five-8 ounces of water a day.
2. Laugh! Do you know children laugh 300 times a day or more and adults only laugh 15 times per day on average? Start watching more comedy TV-laughing improves blood flow to the heart.
3. Stay home from work if you are sick. You should not be spreading the germs and staying in bed and resting is what your doctor would advise.
4. Got heartburn? Treat it, do not ignore it. When acid levels rise in your throat the incidence of blocked blood flow to the heart also rises. Furthermore acid reflux can lead to cancer of the esophagus-treat it!
5. Eat that chocolate! Make it dark and you get the benefits of anti-oxidants – remember though everything in moderation. I eat 10 dark chocolate M&M’s after dinner.
6. Open your pantry doors and feed the kid cereal you love to the trash can. This is a new year and it is time to eat whole grain and more fiber. I personally like AllBran-I took John McEnroe’s challenge and it works.
7. Burn more calories each week. It is not hard to do. Take the steps instead of the elevator at work. Park your car at the end of the parking lot at the grocery store, grab your cart and then walk the perimeter of the store first. ALL the food that is good for you is on the perimeter. Ignore the end caps and the candy in the check out line and push that cart back out to the last parking space – unload your own groceries. Get the picture? You have burned calories.
8. Bad eating habits? Add a multivitamin and help prevent DNA damage that can cause cancer.
9. Small workouts work. I am not asking you to hit the gym for an hour a day. You can break up your workout time and still receive the benefits of lowering your blood pressure which in turn can lower your chance of strokes and heart attacks. Short spurts can also stabilize your blood sugar if that is a concern in your life.
10. Set a limit on alcohol. The recommendations are 1 drink for women and 2 for men per day. I hate that one too especially since I live in Tampa Bay and we have the Super Bowl this year.
11. Got chest pain? This is serious. Any pain in your chest, shoulder, neck and/or arm should be treated NOW. Do not ignore it but do take an Alka-Seltzer rather than popping an aspirin because it will work 3 minutes faster than a pill. Women have different symptoms then men, WebMD has done a study and these are the heart attack symptoms a woman has:
“Women commonly have symptoms of shortness of breath, unexplained fatigue, or pressure in the lower chest, so they easily mistake it as a stomach ailment.”
I personally had a bout of chest pain and was taken to Northwestern University in Chicago. Thankfully it was not a heart attack BUT what if it had been? When I arrived at the ER (by cab when I should have used an ambulance) and told the woman at the front desk I was having chest pain she told me to take a seat. I am an RN, I worked triage in a big ER. I raised my voice several decibels and said “I AM HAVING CHEST PAIN AND NEED TO BE SEEN NOW!”
Do not EVER take a seat – if you think you or a loved one is having a heart attack say exactly what I said and loudly.
I was seen immediately. I had an IV, blood work, an EKG and chest film in the next 10 minutes.
12. Eat your veggies. Don’t like them, well Campbell’s has made it easy to get more in your diet by hiding them in a fruit juice drink. Counting calories or watching your sugar, get a juicer. Yesterday I concocted an 8 ounce glass of veggie juice by running 1/2 cucumber, 2 carrots, 3 kale leaves and 1/2 green pepper through my juicer. I was impressed. I had to add Mrs. Dash for a little pizazz but this drink filled me up for 2 hours.
Here is a wonderful site that will give you the calories, carbs and water content in your veggies. Remember veggies are carbs and good carbs are needed by your body for fuel.
13. Monitor your blood sugar. I have insulin resistance. I count carbs. I eat good carbs. Whole grains, veggies, some fruits, lean meats, whole wheat pastas (and I measure). I could become a Type 2 diabetic. I do not want to-but I could it runs in my family. I test my blood sugar at home and I am doing all the right things because it is very close to normal.
14. Kick the stress and the anger out of your life. That is all I will say here because you know that both of these things can kill!
15. Love fruit? Eat more berries. Make a breakfast smoothie with non-fat yogurt and add cranberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. Studies show that berries are so good because they are chock full of antioxidants.
16. Get off your back! I mean when you sleep. If you snore, if your partner snores these are signs of sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation can lead to falling asleep when you don’t want to fall asleep – like in traffic while driving. Weight loss helps but when all else fails talk to your doctor about this because it is treatable.
17. You stopped smoking or never smoked but your partner does, what now? Well time to make some rules. Exposing yourself to second hand smoke not only increases your chances of lung cancer but also raises the risk of diabetes the same as a smoker. Living in a cold climate is no excuse either, my daughter-in-law who smokes lives in the snow belt of Ohio and only smokes in her garage. It is your life too, you have the right to live in a smoke free environment.
18. I am about to make you laugh with this visual. Remember #2 was laugh so here goes. The National Weather Service confirmed that a lightning strike within 60 feet of your home can not only get in to your house and destroy your appliances, it can also get into your plumbing lines. Keeping this in mind, get off the pot during a thunderstorm.
19. Get yourself one of those rubbery mats that you place on the dashboard of your car to hold your cell phone in place while driving. Too many accidents happen when you take your eyes off the road to retrieve your precious cell phone. For you parents with driving teenagers it was announced last week that a device will soon become available that when they remove their car key, jams their cell phone with blue tooth technology until they stop the car and remove the key. It is going to cost about $50 and should be available in about 6 months. You can program their phone to 911 or your phone in case of need. It also jams text messaging. We just lost two lovely 18 year old girls who hit head on while texting. One was pregnant, 3 lives snuffed out unnecessarily.
20. Every year our home owner insurance carrier sends us new smoke detector batteries. How nice of them right? We replace them-not everyone can or does. If you cannot please hire someone to do so. Smoke inhalation is what kills most fire victims.
21. Cross the street at intersections only. I have already said I live in the Tampa Bay area. Here in Pinellas County on US 19 we have the distinction of being the deadliest highway in the country. 77% of all pedestrians killed crossing the road are not at intersections. I have a feeling it is higher in Pinellas.
22. Lowering stress (and anger) as spoken about previously is easy but you have to want to do it. Think positive thoughts. FInd time to exercise. As little as 20 minutes a day can reduce your chances of a coronary event. Take slow deep breaths in through your nose, out through your mouth. Exercise outdoors-nature will give you a natural high. Cut back on your carbs and eat the good ones, veggies, fruits and whole grains. Your diet should consist of your carb choices being 40% of your daily caloric intake.
23. The fear of falling is scary. I learned to ski at Taos when I was in my 40′s and I was terrified of breaking something. My ski instructor gave me the best advice ever. As I was reaching the bottom of the slope I was having problems slowing down to stop. He yelled this; “Poles up, ass down on the ground.” It worked, and I did not break anything other than my pride was a little wounded. That advice works if you are on a flight of stairs and sense a fall coming on, get your ass down. Crouch down and land on it. While you may hit several steps you will avoid a potential fatal fall.
24. Feeling tired mid day? Take a 15 minute power nap. Research shows that people who nap reduce heart damaging stress. I know it may be difficult – my husband runs a noisy fabrication shop so he goes to his car and naps on his lunch break.
25. Pass this article on to people you know might benefit from these suggestions. Then start implementing them yourself.
We are all on our way to a better 2009 and none of these suggestions are difficult to do but you have to want to do them. Good luck!
I would like to thank WebMd, Wikipedia, weightlossforlife.com, MSNBC and of course the National Weather Service (LOL) for providing me with ideas and suggestions.