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December Awareness
December: Destress Month

During the holidays stress levels can easily reach their max. Getting gifts for everyone, seeing all the family, attending every single Christmas party you have scheduled, it can all get quite overwhelming. A little bit of stress can be a good thing; however, chronic stress can lead to headaches, insomnia, and even high blood pressure. Stress management could be the difference between a silent night and a holiday disaster.

Sleep is extremely important in stress management. Refrain from phone or computer use 30 minutes prior to bed and avoid caffeine within several hours of bed time. Plan ahead, get gifts as early as possible, try utilizing a planner to keep up with your schedule. Anticipate big holiday meals to ensure you don’t over eat and prepare meals ahead of time to reduce the need to go out to eat.

Finally, don’t neglect physical activity. Even as little as a 10-minute walk can do wonders for reducing stress, heart health, and burning off a few calories. Not only will it help reduce stress levels but physical exercise will make you feel strong and ready to face those ugly sweater parties.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




November Awareness
November: Healthy Lungs Month

An obviously necessary part of human life is breathing! The efficient transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide is essential to life and is something we shouldn’t take for granted. Every time you smoke a cigarette thousands of chemicals bombard your lung cells and cause damage, tissue gets inflamed, mucus builds up, and, over time, simply breathing will become more and more difficult. According to the CDC “more than 10x as many US citizens have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all the wars fought by the US during it’s history.”

Quitting smoking, exercising, and avoiding pollutants are all imperative for lung health. Exercise makes your lungs stronger and helps increase the amount of oxygen delivered, helping you last longer during exertion and be healthier. With stronger lungs you resist the effects of aging and diseases much better.

Pollutants and toxins can damage the lungs severely. Avoid smoking, extended time around exhaust fumes, and take all necessary precautions and use all PPE if work demands contact with chemicals. Change air filters, keep homes clean and clear of mold growth, and always safely store cleaning chemicals. Happy, healthy lungs are essential to living a good life.

For more information on lungs and keeping them healthy go to https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




October Awareness
October: Health Education Month

Knowledge is power and that statement holds especially true when concerning our health. Social media outlets can put out a large amount of information, however, not everything is true or based on science. When it comes to your decisions regarding your health, you owe it to yourself to ensure that you act only on evidence-based science.

  • Always go to the source of an article/publication
  • Verify that the source is reliable, scientifically backed, and primary
  • Read the full paper, if possible, don’t just go off an abstract or cursory summary
  • Fact check whenever in doubt

Sites such as:

are all good sources to help find peer reviewed and science backed health information. Take the time to ask and understand why your doctor recommends a course of action. An Instagram post or Netflix documentary shouldn’t be your source of vital health information. Invest in your health and self-education.

The CDC and FDA put all vaccinations through rigorous tests that take years of examination and perfecting to ensure that the vaccines are safe and effective.

For information on what your doctor said check out https://www.mlanet.org/p/cm/ld/fid=580.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




September Awareness
September: Suicide Prevention Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Spreading awareness of the alternatives that are available is very important. #BeThe1To is a social push by Suicide Prevention Lifeline to be the person that steps up to ask if someone is ok or having thoughts of suicide. It is our responsibility to help those around us especially during trying times. #BeThe1To ask, keep them safe, be there for them, help them stay connected, and follow up. Always take every reference to suicide very seriously and pay attention to others during trying times in their life. Many times, suicidal individuals do not want to take their own lives but can’t find a way out. They may give warning signs or indicators such as:

  • No hope for the future
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Statements such as: “I wish I hadn’t been born”, “I’d be better off dead”
  • Self-hatred
  • Preoccupation with death

If you suspect potential for suicide in others, let them know they are not alone, be an ear to listen, seek professional help if possible, never leave someone suicidal alone, and continue your support over time to try and avoid relapses.

If you or anyone you know may be going through a period of difficulty and needs to talk 1-800-273-8255 is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Veterans can have a hard time reaching out to civilians, so the Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. Always know that you are not alone, and someone will always be willing to help.

For more information go to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




August Awareness
August: Immunization Awareness Month

This month is National Immunization Awareness Month. Vaccines are a key component to prevent diseases and maintain a healthy society. They are the number one public health advancement in the last century. We encourage everyone to stay up to date on their recommended vaccines in an effort to keep everyone healthy and disease free. Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider to determine which ones may be right for you and your family. By getting yourself vaccinated you not only protect yourself, you help protect others that may not have the ability to get vaccinated due to extenuating circumstances such as cancer, immune disorders, or vulnerable infants.

The CDC and FDA put all vaccinations through rigorous tests that take years of examination and perfecting to ensure that the vaccines are safe and effective.

For more information on vaccines go to https://www.vaccines.gov/.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




July Awareness
July: UV Safety

Now that we are heating up for summer and spending time outside, it is important to remember UV safety!

There are three different types of UV rays:

  • UVA Rays: These are the weakest rays. They can cause damage to cells’ DNA but are mainly linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles.
  • UVB Rays: These rays have more energy than UVA rays. These are the rays that damage cells’ DNA directly and cause sunburns and most skin cancers.
  • UVC Rays: These rays have the most energy, but because of our atmosphere, they do not reach the ground. These rays are not usually a risk factor for skin cancer, but can come from certain man-made sources.

It is not recommended, or possible, to avoid sunlight completely but there are other ways to protect yourself from UV rays. UV exposure is highest during midday hours. It is best to limit your exposure during this time or try to stay indoors or in shady areas. You can also protect your skin with clothing, hats, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the skin that is exposed.

Remember that UV rays do reach the ground all year long, even on cloudy and hazy days. UV rays can reflect off snow, sand, and water, even reaching below the water’s surface. You can check the UV index for your area to determine how much protection you need each day at: https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




June Awareness
June: Charitable Giving

Although December is typically the time of giving, we would like to extend that time to the rest of the year! In 2017, Americans gave $410.2 billion to charities. That is an incredible number. Generosity and volunteerism are some of the most powerful tools we have in helping make our world a little bit better. Not only does volunteering help others it can have a positive impact on ourselves as well. Volunteering is shown to:

  • Enhance social connections
  • Increase self confidence
  • Provide a sense of purpose
  • Provide stress relief
  • Reduce depression
  • Enhance job skills and bolster resumes

There are so many opportunities to volunteer all around us. Volunteers are needed more than ever in food banks, animal shelters, Habitat for Humanity, The Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, retirement homes, youth organizations, the list goes on and on. It doesn’t take a huge amount of money or time investment to make an incredible impact on the lives of those less fortunate.

To find more opportunities to volunteer check out https://www.volunteer.gov/.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




May Awareness
May: Arthritis Month

This month is Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis is very common, but can be misunderstood. It is a catch-all word to refer to the over 100 different types of joint pain or disease. Arthritis affects 1 in 4 American adults and can be very debilitating. The best ways to manage its symptoms are::

  • Regular Physical Activity
  • Trying cold/hot therapies
  • Maintaining a Healthy Weight
  • Strengthening the Muscles Around the Joint
  • Avoiding Excessive High Impact Activities

Being physically active is essential “to preserve joint function, mobility and quality of life” (arthritis.org). Low impact exercise has been shown to “reduce pain and improve physical function by about 40%” (CDC). However, 1 in 3 adults with arthritis are still inactive. The CDC has several physical activity programs that those with arthritis can utilize to maintain physical health and safely, but effectively, manage symptoms. Also, if you have recurring joint pain and/or swelling, ask your physician about the steps you need to take to help manage your symptoms.

For more information on arthritis and healthy living, visit https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/detail?content=healthyliving&_ga=2.238353216.1174564959.1588605661-1148642678.1577736321.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




April Awareness
April: Outdoor Activity Month

This month our focus is Outdoor Activity. Being outside has far too many health benefits to pass up! Spending time outside is proven to:

  • relieve stress
  • strengthen immunity
  • lower blood pressure
  • Increase Vitamin D

Taking hikes through the forest or climbing mountains can both be excellent outdoor activities but a simple walk outside or short visit to the park could be all you need to start improving your health. It doesn’t take a lot of equipment and is free or very inexpensive typically.

Bike rides, visiting parks, and outdoor games are all great ways to get the whole family involved and outside as well. Running, hiking, trail biking are excellent activities for those looking for a bit more of a challenge. Whether it’s climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or taking a stroll around the neighborhood, getting outside is great for your health!

For more information check out https://www.greatoutdoorsmonth.org/.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




March Awareness
March: Caffeine Awareness Month

This month is Caffeine Awareness Month. It doesn’t get much better than waking up to a hot cup of coffee to get the day started. However, too much of a good thing can be bad. Consuming more than the daily recommended maximum of 400 mg of caffeine a day can increase anxiety, insomnia, dehydration, blood pressure, and, in some cases, cause heart palpitations.

One cup (8 oz.) of coffee has about 95-150 mg of caffeine while a single Bang energy drink has 300 mg of caffeine. Caffeine is powerful enough that habitual drinkers can experience withdrawal symptoms 12-24 hours after the last dose. These symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, fatigue, and depression.

Caffeine does have benefits such as increasing energy levels or helping physical or mental performance but keep it under the recommended 400 mg, about 4 cups of coffee. So, next time you decide to pour that 5th cup of coffee or get another energy drink, take some time to drink water and examine sleeping habits instead.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Team at (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




February Awareness
February: Cancer Screening

According to the American Cancer Society, over the past 25 years the cancer death rate has fallen 27% from its peak in 1991. That means that over 2.6 million deaths were avoided between 1991 and 2016. The ACS attributes this incredible drop to the reduction in smoking, advances in treatment, and, early detection screening.

Preemptive cancer screening can be a truly lifesaving intervention through the early detection and treatment of possible cancers. Often, when symptoms actually start showing, the cancer may have already begun to spread and become more difficult to treat. A few of the main preemptive screenings the CDC recommends are:

  • Mammogram
  • Pap Smear test
  • Colorectal screening
  • Lung screening

Consult with your doctor to determine if these tests are right for you.

Not only are these screens important, but, being familiar with your body and the signs of possible issues can be critical in detection. Everyone should perform regular self-inspections to become familiar with our bodies and more easily detect if something is out of sorts. During these self-inspections be on the lookout for and inquire about:

  • Lumps
  • Abnormalities
  • Moles
  • Skin conditions

Stay vigilant, educate yourself, and take an active role in your health!

For more information on cancer check out https://www.cancer.org and for skin self-checkup tips try https://www.cancer.org/healthy/be-safe-in-sun/skin-exams.html.

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Coordinator (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




January Awareness
January: New Year's Resolutions

The New Year is the perfect time to start new challenges. These resolutions can be an excellent kickstart to make changes happen and help motivate ourselves to improve in some area of our lives. The key is to make it stick! For every goal you have, find a way to break it down into more bite sized steps. For example: Losing 50 lbs. can seem like a daunting task but trying to lose 1-2 lbs. each week is a more realistic task. Do this for 3-4 months, and the pounds will add up. When trying to improve your diet, take a gradual approach. Try not to start with drastic changes; simply add some greens to each meal while still eating your favorite foods. Steadily reduce portion sizes to prevent overeating. When trying to exercise, it’s common to start out with a high intensity with the expectation of the best result. This, however, can lead to extreme soreness, potential injury, and discouragement due to high levels of difficulty. Ease into the workouts for a gradual build-up, expect some soreness, and try roping a friend in to add the comradery.

Resolutions are fun and exciting but true change lies with consistency. Start with smoking one less cigarette, drinking one less coke, working out for just 30 minutes every other day, and eating slightly smaller portion sides. Commit to yourself, stay consistent, and become a healthier and happier you!

For more healthy lifestyle tips, goal-setting techniques, and general health and fitness related questions, please e-mail Vantage’s Wellness Coordinator (VantageWellness@vhpla.com).




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