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Dear HCCUA Members:

Everyday life can be so consuming that most of the time we put ourselves last. Millions of adults are leading unhealthy lifestyles. Even though we are living in an age of medical advancements with treatments and drugs that can keep you alive longer, too many people ignore the importance of leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle. It is time you put yourself first.

It appears that the most common excuse people use is lack of time. It is unfortunate that time and health always seems to be at odds with one another. We find time in our busy schedules to work, eat, shop, or socialize with family and friends, but what do you do for yourself to help lead a healthier lifestyle?

It is essential that you consider all the factors of a happy and healthy lifestyle for yourself. This includes knowing your personal health risks, nutrition basics, physical activity, and levels of stress. Research has shown that if you are a happy, well balanced person, you can achieve a healthy lifestyle.

First and foremost, you know yourself better than anyone. Awareness of your own personal health risks and taking charge of them are imperative. Learn about your personal health issues and find natural ways to improve them. For example, if you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure you should consider a diet low in salt, saturated fats and cholesterol. You should consume a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.

As a HCCUA member, we provide for you a comprehensive wellness profile at no additional cost! These tests can help spot a wide variety of health problems, and early detection and treatment can save you money, prevent further health problems and even save lives. The profile consists of 50 individual tests that include a complete blood count, lipid profile, fluids and electrolytes, diabetes, liver profile, kidney panel, thyroid panel, and bone and minerals. We urge you to contact Member Services at 1-866-227-5400 to request your wellness panel today!

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are what you eat?” Mastering nutrition basics comes down to understanding the food groups and becoming more aware of calories and the roles that specific nutrients play in a healthy diet. You should include a variety of foods from the major food groups, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein, nuts, seeds and healthy fats. Provide yourself with guidelines for how much food to choose from each group foods that you can actually find in your local grocery store and that fit your taste, lifestyle and budget.

Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, reduce your risk of heart disease, help you lose weight and even boost your self-esteem. You should incorporate moderate aerobic exercise and strength training at least two to three times a week to strengthen your bones and muscles. Make sure to set goals for yourself and consider your personal barriers to fitness.

Life in itself can be stressful! High levels of stress can lead to serious health problems. The way that you manage your stress levels will prevent stress from having a negative impact on your health, relationships, or quality of life. Find techniques that work for you such as yoga, meditation, reading, etc.

As part of your HCCUA e-newsletter you will find an article on Ideas for Packing Healthy Snacks and Lunches for your Children to assist you during this school year and to help show your children how important it is to eat healthy meals. In addition, try this quick and easy recipe we found on Tasteofhome.com. A healthy breakfast choice, Apple-Raisin Baked Oatmeal Bars are a great way to start your day, especially when trying to rush out the door.

Kristine Eckardt, Director of Member Communications,

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