Health Promotion. Part 6

46. Communication “overload” can be very stressful. If you are surrounded by communications equipment such as multiple phone lines, computer screens, pagers, cellular phones and fax machines, create a couple of hours of quiet time per day away from these devices.

47. Research has shown that older adults can improve their higher brain functions by engaging in some form of physical activity. Any type of aerobic exercise appears to get blood pumping to the brain, makes people think more clearly, and improves functions associated with the “executive control processes” of the brain (making any new decisions, juggling tasks and learning new skills). Such brain functions are among those that show the greatest decrease in efficiency with age.

48. Stress causes the pulse to rise, the muscles to tense and the immune system to shut down. Learn to cope with and control the amount of stress at work. Avoid office gossip and people who are constantly negative, seek out someone who can provide encouragement when needed, set priorities and schedule tasks, remember that there is life outside of work, and take time off for a vacation or mental health day.

49. Generic drugs, in most instances, are just as good as their brand-name equivalents. Generics are required to contain the same active ingredients and release the drug in the body the same way that the brand-name version does, and are only different in the way the drug looks and in their inactive ingredients. Because you may be intolerant to an inactive ingredient in a generic, check with your physician or pharmacist before switching.

50. According to sleep researchers, most people need 60 to 90 minutes more sleep than they get daily (the average adult sleeps between seven and eight hours per day). If you need an alarm clock to wake up, find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning or are tired during the day, you probably need more sleep. To figure out how much sleep you actually need, go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual for a week. If you’re not more alert, add 15 more minutes a night each week until you start to feel well rested.

Make it happen

It’s important to understand what behaviors will lead to a healthy lifestyle and why, and then make those behaviors an integral part of your daily life. Mixing adherence to sound health, fitness and nutrition practices with a personal commitment to common sense is an appropriate recipe for improving and sustaining a healthier and more enjoyable lifestyle. In other words, “living smart” is a fundamental requirement for “living well.”

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