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Warmer weather provides an opportunity to create new healthier habits

SALEM – As warmer temperatures and brighter days return for spring, the change in seasons also offers an excellent chance to start new healthy habits that can help you to live longer.

Chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer are among the leading causes o f death in the U.S.

“The good news is that many of these conditions can be prevented by making some simple lifestyle changes,” said Anna Orlando, D.O., an internal medicine physician affiliated with Salem Regional Medical Center’s (SRMC) medical staff and SRMC Primary Care-Lisbon.

Orlando suggests adopting the following healthy habits to reduce your risk of chronic diseases:

Get Moving

“Warmer weather and longer days provide a great opportunity to get active outside,” she said. “Regular physical activity can improve your overall health and help prevent many chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”

She added, “It’s recommended that most adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week. Aerobic exercises are activities that increase your heart rate and breathing, such as brisk walking, bicycling or swimming.”

Before starting a new exercise program, Orlando urges people to speaking with their health care provider to determine how much and what type of exercise is right for you.

Rethink Your Diet

“Spring is a perfect time to lighten up your diet and add more fresh foods to your meals. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains and lean meats, can help you to manage your weight and lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.”

So, how can you be sure you’re eating a healthy diet?

“One way to ensure you’re eating a well-balanced diet is to incorporate more colors on your plate. Colorful fruits and vegetables contain many essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients that help keep us healthy. Most adults should aim for up to five servings of both fruits and vegetables daily.”

Protect Your Skin Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is the leading cause of skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the U.S. UV rays from sunlight are greatest during the spring and summer months in North America.

“Before heading outdoors, reduce your risk of skin cancer by applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) rays. Other ways to protect yourself from the sun include wearing loose-fitting, tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs; sunglasses with UV ray protection; and a wide-brimmed hat,” Orlando said.

Get More Sleep

An estimated one in three adults doesn’t get enough sleep on a regular basis.

Insufficient sleep of less than seven hours a day has been linked to the development of several chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression.

“You can get on the path to a better night’s sleep by maintaining a regular sleep schedule and making some simple adjustments to your lifestyle. Be physically active during the day, which can help you to fall asleep more easily at night, and try to avoid large meals, caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. In addition, keep your bedroom comfortable and dark, while limiting your use of digital devices in the hours before sleep,” she noted.

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Anna Orlando, D.O., Internal Medicine, sees patients ages 18 and older at SRMC Primary Care-Lisbon, located at 38506 Saltwell Road in Lisbon. Appointments with Orlando can be scheduled by calling 330-424-1404.

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