Stay Healthy This Holiday Season

January 1 rolls around, and suddenly we all regret the unhealthy habits we picked up over the holidays.

While this time of year is meant to be filled with friends, family, and food (and lots of it), it doesn’t mean that your health has to take the back burner. With these tips from the University of Maryland’s Baltimore Washington Medical Center, you can stay healthy this holiday season:

·         Exercise anywhere and anytime you can – The holidays are the busiest time of the year, which means many of us really start to slack off on our normal exercise regime. Between parties and preparations, it’s important to sneak in exercise whenever you get the chance. It’s not too difficult to fit in a 10 minute mini workout throughout your day!

·         Plan family activities – Take a walk or bike ride together to look at all of the beautiful holiday lights around your neighborhood or town. You could also plan some sports-related activities if you want to heat up the holidays with some friendly competition!

·         Eat something healthy before you arrive at holiday parties – This will keep you from stuffing yourself at the buffet.

·         Choose your favorite foods to indulge on – Since many holiday foods are only enjoyed once a year, it is important that you allow yourself to enjoy them. However, you need to enjoy them in a reasonable amount. Fill your plate (just one!) with a sample of all of your favorite holiday dishes so that you don’t feel deprived. Also, listen to your body when it says it’s full – try your hardest not to go back for seconds!

·         Don’t try to “prepare” for your holiday meal by skipping other meals – If you show up to the party starving, chances are you are going to make poor food choices. Eat small portions throughout the day to avoid binge-eating.

Just think – if you maintain your healthy habits during the holidays, you won’t have to make the dreaded “get healthy” New Year’s resolution that’s become a tradition in most households. You’ll be ahead of the game!

Six Travel Tips for the Holiday Season

It’s that time again!

No, I am not referring to the time of year for exciting family get-togethers and never-ending food. (Though it’s that time, too.) I am referring to that stressful time of year when anxiety takes over as you watch your bank account after shopping expenses and holiday travel costs have taken their toll.

Fortunately for all of us, it doesn’t have to be this way. Thanks to Harper’s Bazaar, we can all learn the best traveling tricks to help out our wallets.

These six travel hacks will be sure to save you money this holiday season:

  1. Book your trip 30 days out (or less). Hotels and airlines usually offer better prices closer to the dates in an effort to fill unsold rooms and seats. If you book too far ahead of time, you may overpay.
  2. Travel during the week. Plane tickets tend to be cheaper since many opt to travel on weekends.
  3. Book hotels and flights on Tuesday. Tuesday is reportedly the day to snag the lowest prices.
  4. Plan a city getaway for the holidays. Holidays are a slow time for bigger cities since many people are leaving. This could mean cheaper hotel rooms for you!
  5. Try out the unconventional tourist attractions. Exploring the smaller, less-crowded areas of cities could help you to save on your trip. Get to know the locals and their favorite hangs around the city!
  6. Book a Sunday night during your trip. While Friday and Saturday nights tend to be the busiest hotel nights for travelers, Sunday nights usually offer more availability and lower-priced rooms.

Simply follow these guidelines to travel smarter this year without having to dig too deep into your pockets. Holidays are meant to be a relaxing time spent with family and friends. Don’t let the cost of traveling bring down your holiday cheer!

Be Better Aware of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s October, which means you are most likely seeing more pink than usual. But pink has purpose.

This is the time of year we highlight the second leading cause of death and most common cancer among American women, breast cancer.

It is imperative that women — and men — understand the importance of early detection and treatment. Approximately 220,000 women in the United States alone will experience a breast cancer diagnosis this year. Unfortunately, more that 40,000 of these diagnoses will result in death. But women aren’t the only ones affected. Approximately 2,150 men also fight this cancer yearly.

Although the exact cause of breast cancer is unknown, there are some genetic and environmental risk factors to be aware of:

Genetic Factors

  • Gender: Women are 100 times more likely to be diagnosed.
  • Age: Two-thirds of women are diagnosed after age 55.
  • Race: Caucasian women are affected most often.
  • Family History: You have a higher risk for breast cancer if other family members have been  diagnosed.
  • Personal Health History: If breast cancer has been found in one breast, you are more likely to be diagnosed in the other breast.
  • Menstrual and Reproductive History: Having a menstrual cycle before the age of 12 and after the age of 55 puts you at a greater risk for breast cancer. You are also at a greater risk if you have never given birth or if you have a child at an older age.
  • Genome Changes: Specific gene mutations — which can be detected with genetic tests — increase your risk for cancer.
  • Dense Breast Tissue: Lumps are harder to find if you have dense breast tissue.

Environmental Factors (Avoidable)

  • Lack of Physical Activity: Not being active will put you at a higher risk for cancer.
  • Poor Diet: A diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in saturated fat can make contribute to a higher risk for breast cancer.
  • Being Overweight: Keeping your weight in the normal range can lower your risk for breast cancer.
  • Alcohol Consumption: Your risk is greater if you consume alcohol frequently.
  • Radiation: You can have a greater risk for breast cancer if your chest has been exposed to radiation therapy.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: This therapy (usually prescribed during menopause) can lead to a greater risk for cancer.

​Bottom line: Go ahead and get checked. You do have a say in the future of your health. Take the precautions you can to decrease your chance of breast cancer, and help put an end to this epidemic.