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Health


DAY
31

Maintain Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D levels vary among individuals based on body type, diet, and sun exposure. Levels are typically lower in the winter months when we have less direct sunlight exposure. Vitamin D levels can be easily measured by a simple blood test and your level can be used to help your healthcare provider tailor a vitamin D dose specifically to your needs. – David L. Weinstein, MD, chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology, Missouri Baptist Medical Center

DAY
30

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Sneak fruits and veggies into other dishes to consume the recommended portions each day. Try fruit in cereal, salads, on yogurt or even on meat or poultry. Veggies work nicely in omelets, sandwiches, snacks, or combined with pasta, rice, barley, or quinoa for a side dish. – Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis

DAY
29

Take Yourself (and Your Kids) to the Doctor

Schedule a yearly well visit. It’s important for children to visit once a year when they’re healthy so that children will be more comfortable with the doctor. – Paula Losito, Call-Line Nurse, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

DAY
28

Gain Weights

Weight-bearing exercise forces you to work against gravity. Weight-bearing physical activity causes new bone to form, which makes bones stronger. When muscles push and pull against bones during physical activity, bones and muscles become stronger. Examples include walking, jogging, weight training, tennis, and dancing. – David L. Weinstein, MD, chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology, Missouri Baptist Medical Center

DAY
27

Keep Up Your Dental Care

Dental care and preventing cavities can help prevent illness. If you have kids, their first visit should be between 6 and 12 months. They should go in yearly for cleaning so they’re less scared when they have to go in for a problem. – Paula Losito, Call-Line Nurse, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

DAY
26

Take Your Vitamins

Vitamin D is the new “hot topic” in women’s health. In addition to helping the body absorb calcium, thereby strengthening our bones, vitamin D is believed to have a beneficial effect in reducing the risks of heart disease and depression, strengthening the immune system, helping to regulate blood pressure, and maintaining colon health. – David L. Weinstein, MD, chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology, Missouri Baptist Medical Center

DAY
25

De-Stress

Avoid undue stress if you can—fighting and argue adds stress to everyone and can increase children’s chance of illness.. – Paula Losito, Call-Line Nurse, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

DAY
24

It's Never Too Early to Start Thinking About Bone Health

Make sure our children, tweens, teens and young adults have an adequate calcium intake. In the years of peak skeletal growth, teenagers build more than 25 percent of their adult bone mass. By the time teens finish their adolescent growth spurt, 90 percent of their adult bone mass has been established. Recommended guidelines for calcium intake vary by age, but after age four the recommended daily calcium intake is at least 1,000 mg. This should ideally be obtained through a diet with adequate amounts of milk and dairy. Pitch the soda and replace it with milk! Specific age recommendations for calcium intake can be found here. – David L. Weinstein, MD, chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology, Missouri Baptist Medical Center

DAY
23

Keep Track of What You Eat

Food records or journals – whether an app or on paper – can help you be more aware of what you are eating, why you are eating, if portions are appropriate and which food groups you are missing. Start today to record what, when and how much you eat. – Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis

DAY
22

Wash Your Hands

Teach your kids good hand-washing—one of the number one ways to prevent the spread of illness. Have them wash for about 15 seconds, singing “Happy Birthday” to keep track of the time. – Paula Losito, Call-Line Nurse, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

DAY
21

Stay on Top of Immunizations

Keep immunizations up-to-date can definitely prevent illness, not only for your children, but also infants who have not been immunized. – Paula Losito, Call-Line Nurse, St. Louis Children’s Hospital

DAY
20

Eat Your Grains

Switch to more whole grains to boost your nutrition and your satiety. Whole grains, like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread or popcorn, take longer to digest so you feel full longer, helping you control the portions at your next meal. – Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis

DAY
19

Don't Skimp on Protein

Plan for all meals and snacks to include some protein (meat, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, seeds, or dairy foods) and some carbohydrates (fruits, grains, or veggies). This combination helps you feel full longer than just carbohydrates alone. – Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis

DAY
18

Space Out Your Meals

Space meals and snacks three to four hours apart. Spacing each time you eat helps keep your blood sugar from dropping too low, which often then leads to overeating. – Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition, Washington University in St. Louis

DAY
17

Get Screened

Nowadays, it’s recommended to have your cholesterol and blood pressure screened in your 20s if you have any family history of heart disease where your mother or father had heart disease. I would recommend going 20 years before the age that your parent was diagnosed, because it’s a lifelong process of developing. –Dr. John Mohart of St. Clare Health Center

DAY
16

Build Up Lean Body Mass

Lean body mass (muscle) burns more calories at rest than fat. –Ryan DeGeeter, physical therapist, Washington University Medical Center

DAY
15

Be Aware of Heart Attack Signs for Women and Men

Heart attacks in women are often different from men because they can be silent. They’re not the classic signs of this crushing chest pain. The symptoms of a heart attack and acid reflex and heartburn are very similar. So if you’re having those types of symptoms, you have to consult with your doctor because the mind often can’t tell the difference between a heart attack and heartburn. — John Mohart of St. Clare Health Center

DAY
14

Reduce Anxiety

Women are much more prone to anxiety disorders than men. Stress is a component of heart disease, and exercise could be a solution. You can go for yoga and aerobics. Yoga is a lot like meditation. It gives your muscles enough stretching and increases blood and oxygen flow. — Dr. Jeanne Cleveland, Mercy cardiothoracic surgeon

DAY
13

Beat High Blood Pressure

There is some evidence that resistance training can raise good cholesterol and lower blood pressure. —Ryan DeGeeter, physical therapist, Washington University Medical Center

DAY
12

Put Out the Fumes

Smoking should be avoided since it has been proven to be associated with atherosclerosis, which is the build up of fatty deposits in the heart arteries. —Andrea Moyer, St. Luke's Hospital cardiologist

DAY
11

Assess Your Knowledge

Assess your capabilities and knowledge, like if you would benefit from a personal trainer or if you would rather exercise from home.” —Ryan DeGeeter, physical therapist, Washington University Medical Center

DAY
10

Set Clear Goals

Do you want to feel better during the day, or fit better in a new bikini? Set a goal and design a program around it. You really want to have a well-rounded exercise regimen—you don’t want to focus on one body part or muscle group. —Ryan DeGeeter, physical therapist, Washington University Medical Center

DAY
09

Keep Yourself Challenged

Continually challenge your workouts, whether it’s the number of reps or sets you do or how many times per week, because if you only do the same thing, you won’t get any stronger. —Ryan DeGeeter, physical therapist, Washington University Medical Center

DAY
08

Add Antioxidants to Your Diet

Eating a healthy diet rich in antioxidants found in fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding saturated and trans fats found in fried foods is vital to heart health. —Andrea Moyer, St. Luke's Hospital cardiologist

DAY
07

Embrace Resistance

For resistance training, 2 or 3 times a week is a good start. If you’re just beginning, one set of 8-15 reps will increase your strengths in the major muscle groups: arms, back, core muscles, gluteal muscles, and legs. —Ryan DeGeeter, physical therapist, Washington University Medical Center

DAY
06

Check Your Heart

Take advantage of a free heart disease risk assessment. Visit stlukes-stl.com. —Andrea Moyer, St. Luke's Hospital cardiologist

DAY
05

Stay Focused

Don’t let one slip up derail your New Year’s resolution. Try to stay positive and focused on the big picture. If your resolution is to quit smoking and you have a cigarette, don't give up. Start fresh the next day. —Rupal Trivedi, SLUCare family physician

DAY
04

Stay Heart-Healthy

See your doctor regularly to screen for and treat heart-related medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. —Andrea Moyer, St. Luke's Hospital cardiologist

DAY
03

Build a Support System

Surrounding yourself with people who will help you achieve your goals is the most important thing you can do to increase your chance of success. Find an exercise buddy to make workouts fun. Your family physician also can help you set reasonable goals and ensure that any medical concerns are addressed prior to starting a new program. —Rupal Trivedi, SLUCare family physician

DAY
02

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Countless studies support exercise as a way to prevent heart disease and to improve your quality of life. For people with joint pain, you can benefit greatly from non-weight-bearing exercise such as water aerobics and swimming. —Andrea Moyer, St. Luke's Hospital cardiologist

DAY
01

Make Your Goals Attainable

Unreasonable goals set people up for failure. Set small monthly weight loss goals, or start with simple lifestyle changes like cutting out soda or working out three times per week for 30 minutes. —Rupal Trivedi, SLUCare family physician