06 February 2011

Tips for a Healthy 2011 at Home and On the Road

Tips for a Healthy 2011 at Home and On the Road ; Mondial Assistance and the American Heart Associations’ Mid-Atlantic chapter offer these tips for maintaining your health and safety at home and on the road, part of the 2011 Go Red for Women campaign

Henrico County based Mondial Assistance, the largest travel insurance provider in the world, and the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Mid-Atlantic chapter are teaming up for the 2011 Go Red for Women campaign and as part of the effort are offering these tips for women to ensure a healthy heart and a healthy vacation in 2011. Mondial Assistance is a “Healthy Lifestyle” Partner for this year’s campaign.

The following tips were developed by the travel assistance experts at Mondial Assistance and in conjunction with the American Heart Association:

Heart-healthy at home

First, know your risk. Did you know that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of American women?

Go Red for Women encourages women to know their numbers and take action to reduce their personal risk of heart disease. About 80 percent of heart disease is preventable by choosing to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. A heart-healthy lifestyle includes:

1. Regular check-ups with your doctor - A good doctor asks probing questions. So does a good patient. Keep a running list and don’t forget to bring it along and take notes. Good questions to ask your doctor include:

* What are my risk factors for heart disease?
* What are the warning signs of a heart attack?
* What should I do if I think I’m having a heart attack?
* What should I know about the effects of menopause on my health?
* Do I need to lose or gain weight for my health?
* What is a healthful eating plan for me?
* What kind of physical activity is right for me?

2. Healthy diet and nutrition choices – Love to eat out? Healthy options aren’t hard to find on most menus. And don’t be shy about making special requests. Share your entrĂ©e with your companion or ask your server to box half of it to go.

3. Exercise - Trying to squeeze 30 minutes of physical activity into a hectic schedule? Figuring out how to do that can be a work-out in itself. But you can break up your activity into shorter segments. Add up three 10-minute walking sessions or two 15-minute sessions of yard work and you’ve met your goal! Trying to lose weight or maintain your weight loss? Strive for 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Again, you don’t have to do it all at once.

4. Reduce stress - We don’t know if stress by itself can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, but it may affect other risk factors and behaviors, including high blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating. Learning to manage your reaction to stress may help make other lifestyle changes easier for you. One way to reduce stress is by taking time off and treating yourself to a vacation.

Before you head out on that stress-reducing vacation, review these tips from Mondial Assistance to ensure your trip is safe and healthy.

3-step vacation checklist from Mondial Assistance

1. Check your health

2. Proper trip preparation

3. Purchase the appropriate travel insurance for your trip

1. Check your health

1. Make an appointment with your primary physician for a general check-up. Take this time to make sure all of your vaccinations are up to date.

2. Prepare a first aid kit adapted to your particular trip (mosquito repellent, sun creams, etc.).

3. It’s also recommended to see your dentist, especially if where you’re travelling has few medical facilities. Ideally, any dental treatment should be completed several weeks before leaving.

4. If you suffer from a chronic illness (diabetes, heart condition, cancer, asthma, etc.) make sure you stabilize your condition prior to travelling. Ask your primary physician for a written medical report that recaps your situation (previous history, description of your illness, results of most recent tests and examinations) and mentions your routine treatment and its international name.

5. Make sure to keep up with your daily regimens when it comes to any medical treatment. Always carry a duplicate copy of your medical prescriptions that specifies the international names of all medications. This is helpful in an event that you have to replace them or find their local equivalents in another country.

2. Proper trip preparation

Make sure you do your homework! Read up about where you are going, especially if you are planning to travel out of the country. Know what is happening in that particular country or region, and inform yourself about the medical requirements and conditions.

If you are planning to fly:

* To avoid dehydration: Drink at least one liter of water every four hours, remove your contact lenses or moisten them regularly with saline solution, or apply anti-inflammatory disinfectant eye ointment recommended by your ophthalmologist.
* To insure adequate circulation: Make sure to where loose clothing while travelling and remove your shoes when you can. Get up and move around as much as possible to get the blood flowing. Do some exercises for your leg and calf muscles. Your doctor can also prescribe, according to your particular situation, support socks or stockings.
* If you experience air sickness: Try to sit near the middle of the aircraft. Avoid eating copious meals, and consuming large quantities of alcohol while in flight. Most importantly, try and get some rest.

Prepare your luggage and your trip:

* Don’t forget to bring along your eye glasses, reading glasses, or contact lenses. It’s important to pack a second pair of contact lenses just in case you misplace one or both.
* Choose well-adapted sunglasses with UV protection. The same goes for sunscreen, which should be appropriate for your destination, your skin type and a possible allergy.
* Take along a cervical cushion for long trips on the plane or in a car.
* Remember to bring: country and regional maps, city maps, guidebooks, a compass, flashlight, batteries, camera, and electrical adapters

The golden rule: Always have your passport, credit cards, travelers’ checks or cash and your medication on you at all times. Never place these items in your luggage or in the baggage compartment of the plane.

For physically active vacations

* Before leaving, get yourself in shape. This will enable you to choose the level of difficulty of your physical activity according to your physical condition.
* When possible test your equipment before leaving, particularly your walking shoes.
* Before discovering a new activity, take your time getting comfortable with the sport and the equipment. For example, if you want to try scuba diving, get used to an aquatic environment first (swim, look under water, etc.); this will help relieve any apprehensions.

3. Purchase the appropriate travel insurance for your trip

Mondial Assistance recommends purchasing a travel insurance policy that covers local medical coverage, repatriation if necessary and the advancement of funds for medical costs. Keep your policy number and the toll free emergency number on you at all times.

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