WASHINGTON — It’s a brand new year and a lot of us have resolved to ramp up our health and fitness. WTOP talked to the women of the Lady Docs Corner Cafe, a group of health professionals from Montgomery County, Maryland, who practice what they preach. They meet regularly to workout, share a nutritous meal and rededicate themselves to a healthy lifestyle. Here are their top tips for a healthy new year:
Wear your shades
It’s the No. 1 piece of advice from Dr. Holly Gross, an ophthalmologist in Rockville. She says, “It’s important to wear sunglasses all the time, even on cloudy days, because ultraviolet light can penetrate even the clouds.” Gross says sunglasses also help protect the surface of your eye from burns and other sun damage.
Walk after meals
Dr. Daphne Keshishian, a Bethesda internist, says a 10-minute walk after meals helps keep sugar spikes at bay. It works by activating muscles that use sugar as a fuel source. A brief walk after eating also aids in digestion.
Get probiotic benefits from the food you eat
Dr. Serrin Gantt, a gastroenterologist in Rockville, says skip the pills and rev up your diet instead to improve your gut health. She says regular plain yogurt with active culture is a great alternative to probiotic supplements. Another options is to focus more on high fiber foods that stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the colon.
Everything in moderation
Dr. Geetha Pinto says there is a lot of confusing information out there about diet and exercise, especially when it comes to protecting your heart. This Rockville cardiologist offers some simple advice, “Do things that have been known for years to be heart healthy, like moderate exercise, staying physically active and eating a well-balanced diet.”
Walk before you run
A lot of people launch an exercise program at the start of the new year. Would-be runners need to remember to take it easy in the beginning. Miriam Graham, a physical therapist with Restore Motion in Rockville, says “set realistic goals of time and distance.” She also suggests mixing walking and running until you build strength.
Don’t eat before shut-eye
Dr. Julia Korenman is a Rockville gastroenterologist who says it’s best to stop eating two to three hours before you turn in for the night. “This will improve the quality of your sleep,” she says. Korenman says it will also help if you have irritable bowel syndrome or bouts of acid reflux.
Stock up on produce
The benefits are huge, according to Dr, Marsha Seidelman, an internist in Silver Spring. She says, “You can decrease your risk of heart-attacks and strokes, decrease your risk of cancer” by adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to you diet. It is also, of course, good for your waistline.
Roll up your sleeve
Rockville allergist Rachel Schreiber says her top health tip “is to make sure your vaccinations and your kids’ vaccinations are up to date.” It’s easier for children, since the most important immunizations are required for school. But adults often forget that the shots they got when they were kids don’t necessarily provide protection forever.
Protect your brain
Dr. Thu Tran is a OB-GYN in Rockville. She is fascinated by the latest recommendations on preventing dementia. Tran says, “Adults should sleep seven to eight hours a night.” She says it is also important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and exercise 150 minutes each week.
Curb your sweet tooth and save your smile
Dr. Deepali Bhanot, a pediatric dentist in Germantown, says “start the year off right by eliminating high sugar snacks, especially like fruit roll-ups and other gummy candy, in our children’s diets.” She says they are the biggest causes of cavities in our kids.