As the holidays round the corner, many of us reflect on the past year and decide what to work on or make changes to in the year ahead. Summa Health System’s health experts share their resolutions and tips for a fresh start to the New Year – and how to make them last the whole year through.
Give Some Time for Yourself
Remember to step back, breathe deeply and take time for yourself each day during this holiday season. Look for the joy and goodness around you and be sure to share some of your goodness with others. Focus on appreciating the healthy and positive people in your life and try to limit your exposure to negative and toxic situations as much as possible. Find healthy ways to reward you that avoid overindulgence in spending, eating or alcohol consumption.
Robert E. Larkin, LISW-S, Manager of Outpatient Behavioral Health
Catch Better Z’s
Getting a good night’s rest can be a great by-product of your other New Year’s resolutions. To help you sleep better, maintain a healthy diet by reducing heavy, sugary, and spicy food and limiting caffeine (even chocolate) at least 4 to 6 hours before bedtime. In addition, keeping a regular bedtime and wake time and limiting naps by staying active will not only give you a good night’s rest, but it will also help keep you healthy and fit!
Erin Farrer, Ph.D., psychologist specializing in Sleep Medicine
Drive Safely and Avoid Distractions
There are several driving safety precautions we should all take. Wear your seat belt and require it of your passengers, especially teens, who are known to wear it the least when driving. Don’t drink and drive, or drive while texting or if drowsy. Accidents are on the rise over holidays and during the severe winter weather, so please be mindful of yourself and others on the road.
Rebecca Wise, Summit County Safe Communities Grant Coordinator and Safe Teens Coalition Leader – Ohio Chapter
Shed the Pounds and Ask For Help if You Need It
Good health starts with maintaining a healthy body weight. If you are struggling with your weight, don’t be afraid to seek help. Most of us cannot do it on our own. It takes determination, motivation and support. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight decreases the risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and obstructive sleep apnea, to name a few. It helps us move more easily, sleep better and increases confidence. The benefits are truly endless!
Laura Ilg RD, LD, Bariatric Program Dietitian, Summa’s Bariatric Care Center
Schedule Your Mammogram and Check Yourself Regularly
After age 40, every woman should resolve to have a screening mammogram every one or two years depending on her physician’s recommendations. It is also important to do a breast self-exam at least every month. To schedule a mammogram at a Summa hospital, call (330) 375-7575.
Vivian E. von Gruenigen, M.D., Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology and System Medical Director for Women's Health
Exercise Using Your Time Effectively
“In 2012, everyone should resolve to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise or some combination of these. It’s also important to engage in muscle-strengthening exercises during two of your weekly workouts. Cardiovascular exercise is defined by reaching your target heart rate for at least 30 minutes. If someone is new to exercise or is worried about his or her age or other health conditions, it’s a good idea to talk to a cardiologist or primary care physician for exercise recommendations and help on calculating a target heart rate. Exercise not only improves a person’s heart health, but it extends his or her life, supports weight loss goals and can help a person manage stress and sleep better.”
Kenneth Berkotivz, M.D. Medical Director, Summa Cardiovascular Institute and Chair, Department of Cardiology
Quit Smoking and Reap the Benefits
The New Year is an excellent opportunity to make the resolution to quit smoking. It has life-changing benefits for you and your loved ones. By doing so, you can reduce your risk of cancer, most notably lung and head and neck cancer, and improve your cardiovascular health. Although this may be challenging, quitting is possible and can be overcome with the assistance your medical care provider and the American Cancer Society. Quitting now can potentially extend your life, save you a considerable amount of money, and protect your loved ones.
Susan Hong, M.D., Radiation Oncologist at the Summa Health Center at Lake Medina
Volunteer more to grow as an individual and help our community. If you already volunteer, but do it on a limited basis, make a resolution to find the time to volunteer more often. If you do not currently volunteer, decide what you have a passion for and then look for an organization in which you can experience that passion on a regular basis. Love animals? Volunteer at an animal shelter. Interested in educating young people? Volunteer at a local school. Do you enjoy helping patients? Volunteer at a hospital nearby.
Angela Hayes, Director of Community Reinvestment
Don’t Blame Everything on “Getting Older”
If you or a loved one is “getting older,” do not attribute new health problems to “I’m just getting old.” Issues such as memory loss, depression, falls and incontinence should never be considered normal due to aging. Make a resolution to keep an eye on the changing health of an older adult, whether it is you or someone in your life, and seek prompt medical attention to see if it can be resolved or improved.
Maryjo Cleveland, MD, Interim Program Director of Post Acute and Senior Services
If You or Someone You Know is an Athlete, Know the Signs of a Concussion
If you are a fellow athlete, tell your coach if your teammate may be hiding a concussion. An athlete should not return to the activity if he/she is experiencing any signs or symptoms of a concussion. Physical symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, visual and balance problems, sensitivity to light, dizziness or numbness or tingling. Other symptoms to look out for are mental fogginess, problems concentrating or remembering, irritability, sadness, drowsiness, or trouble sleeping more or less than usual.
Tom Bartsokas, M.D., Sports Medicine physician at the Summa Center for Sports Health and Team Physician for Ravenna High School and Kent State University Eric Moats, MS, Athletic Trainer at the Summa Center for Sports Health and Revere High School Athletic Trainer
About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter at www.twitter.com/summahealth.