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Published on July 21, 2020

Back On Track! Prioritize Your Health This Summer

With so much attention focused on the current health crisis, personal wellness issues can take a back seat, or be ignored altogether. However, it’s important to prioritize care for yourself—mind, body and spirit—perhaps now more than ever. Palos Medical Group family practice physician Andrius Kudirka, MD, has compiled some helpful tips to follow as we continue to social distance and limit exposure to the virus. Below are some healthy practices that you and those you care for can implement or continue in the weeks ahead.

Eat Healthy – While you may crave comfort foods right now (food with added sugar, calories, and unhealthy fats), be sure to include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins in your diet. Click here for some healthy recipes using fresh fruits and vegetables.

Exercise – The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults get 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. This can be accomplished through short 10-minute activity sessions that add up over the week. Incorporate strength and resistance training to round out a good physical activity routine. Walking is a great way to get moving with minimal impact on your body. It’s also low-risk and easy to start. Visit this site to learn how to get started with a basic exercise routine.

With any outdoor activity, it’s important to maintain a safe social distance. When going to forest preserves or hiking trails, follow proper trail etiquette by keeping six feet of space between you and the next hiker, give people room to pass, and wear a mask if you will be in close contact with other people. Consider going early in the morning or later in the evening when areas are less crowded.

Connect with Your Doctor – Don’t ignore any health concerns. Many doctors are offering telehealth visits for non-emergencies. Call 708.923.1000 to schedule a telehealth visit with a PMG provider. Always call 9-1-1 for emergencies.

Self-Exams – Women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel and should report any changes to a health care provider right away. If you are over 40, talk to your doctor about timing for your next mammogram. Men may want to do a regular self-exam for testicular cancer. Click here for guidance from the American Cancer Society, including what to look for and when to contact your doctor.

Make An Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a Palos Medical Group provider please call 708.923.1000. Telehealth visits are currently available, and in-person appointments may be scheduled at Palos Heights and Orland Park locations.

Don’t Smoke – Just one day after quitting smoking, the risk of heart attack begins to decrease. Oxygen levels rise, making physical activity and exercise easier to do, promoting heart-healthy habits. Need help quitting? The Centers for Disease Control has a webpage with tips and resources to help.

Maintain a Healthy Weight – Even minor weight loss is associated with delaying—or preventing—diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, You’ll also benefit from improved heart health. Virtual visits are available with Palos dietitians to discuss your weight and health goals. Call 708.226.2626 for more information.

De-Stress – Lockdown measures can bring new or added stress to your daily life, but may also offer opportunities to improve your mental health and well-being. Meditation, being outdoors when possible, and listening to music are just a few simple ways to relax when feeling overwhelmed. It may help to talk with family members and friends; keep in touch by calling or scheduling online video chats. If you need to talk to a professional, Palos has a 24-hour crisis hotline: 708.361.TALK.

Get Screened for Colon Cancer – People should begin screening for colon cancer at age 45. Talk to your doctor about the best screening test for you. Be sure to reach out to your doctor right away if you have symptoms including blood in or on your stool (bowel movement), stomach pain or cramps that don’t go away, or unexplained weight loss.

Drink in Moderation – Stress and/or boredom may have you reaching for an extra glass more often. However, it’s important to keep consumption in check. The CDC defines moderate alcohol use as having up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. If you are concerned about your drinking, Palos offers a free anonymous online screening.