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Baystate offers tips for staying healthy in 2010

SPRINGFIELD Are you practicing a healthy lifestyle? Do you know what you can do to improve your life this year? Baystate Medical Center's Dr. Paul Medrek, Director, Occupational Health, offers the following "healthful" tips to maintain your physical and mental health and to lead a healthy lifestyle in 2010. "Make 2010 the year you start eating better, exercising more, stressing less and feeling better about your lifestyle," said Dr. Medrek. Eat Right Eating right can make you feel and look better and increase your energy. Try eliminating high calorie, low-nutrition side dishes and snacks, such as French fries, chips and mashed potatoes from your diet, and add more fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, eating small meals every three to four hours can help keep your energy level up and prevent hunger. If you're hungry, you're more likely to overeat. Drink Right Watch what you drink, and opt for beverages rich in antioxidants, which are anti-aging, anti-inflammatory agents. Examples include pomegranate or cranberry juice and green tea. Dark hot chocolate is also full of antioxidants called flavinoids. Swap cocktails for red wine, which contains substances that prevent aging and benefit the heart. White wine does not have the same benefits. Cut down on alcohol and caffeine because they are dehydrating. Also, drinking too much alcohol can release free radicals into the body. Free radicals are atoms in the body that can attack cells and cause damage in the body. Always drink plenty of water. Exercise Exercise is beneficial in many ways. It can add years to your life and prevent disease. Start small by walking at a brisk pace for a few minutes a day, and gradually build up to 30 minutes a day. This will help you feel better, while helping ward off problems such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Strength training, both upper and lower body, is also important, especially for women in preventing muscle and bone loss with age. Lift weights or perform other resistance training 20 minutes a day, two to three times per week. Enjoy Life More Life can be stressful, so make sure to take time out to do the things you enjoy. For example, spend more time with family and friends. Bringing balance to your mind, body and soul is also very important. Consider trying something new you're never too young or too old for a new hobby. Get Out of Debt Money is a huge source of stress for many people. Budget yourself and spend only what you can afford. This will help you keep out of debt. See a financial counselor if you can't seem to dig out from under your debt. The financial counselor may cost you money, but the results can repay themselves many times over. Keep Stress Under Control Learning how to manage stress is essential. It is advisable to regularly practice stress management skills. The following is a list of ways to manage your stress: Be realistic. No one is perfect. Do your best, and if you need help with something, just ask. Get an adequate night's sleep. Eight hours of sleep are necessary to keep you alert and healthy, and can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and boost memory. Keep an upbeat outlook. Your outlook, attitude, and thoughts influence the way you see things and how you feel, and can help you make the best of stressful circumstances. Do not over schedule yourself. Consider cutting things out from your schedule so that you have some time for yourself, your hobbies, and for things you enjoy doing. Keep Domestic Violence in Check Domestic violence is not considered a private matter. The most important thing neighbors, friends, or family can provide is to be supportive of the victim. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. To talk with someone about your options, call SafeLink at 1-877-785-2020 or TTY 1-877-521-2601. SafeLink is a 24-hour, free and multi-lingual hotline for programs in Massachusetts. See Your Doctor Regularly Prevent health problems such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes by seeing your doctor regularly and catching them at an early stage when they can be treated most easily. Prevention your doctor can help you recognize unhealthy aspects of your lifestyle, and can be a great source of advice on how to make the right choices for lifelong health. Screening your doctor can find health problems early and get you on track with the screenings most appropriate for you. "We live in a stressful day and age. Practicing a healthy lifestyle with proper food, drink, rest, and stress management can help you to maintain your health and life balance," said Dr. Medrek.

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