Summer Months Can Help Rid Barriers to a Healthy Lifestyle National Study of Healthcare Professionals Reveals Top Barriers to Americans' Health

WASHINGTON, July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- According to research from the "Life...supplemented" Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study, more than nine in 10 nurse practitioners and registered dietitians agree that a major barrier to Americans being healthy is the stress of their daily lives caused by demanding jobs and hectic lifestyles. Luckily, the summer months offer warm weather, opportunities to take vacations and a plethora of recreational activities to help people counter the stress they face every day in trying to remain healthy.

"The average American probably doesn't realize they're not setting aside enough time to focus on developing and maintaining smart health and wellness habits," explains Cheryl Forberg, R.D., registered dietitian to NBC's "The Biggest Loser" and consultant to "Life…supplemented," a consumer wellness program. "The summer months offer an opportunity to turn this around—by taking advantage of the warmer weather and slowing down with a vacation—both of which can motivate people to embark on the path to good health."

With barbecues, family vacations and weekend street fairs, summertime offers Americans many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, take a nap or just breathe deeply, all good lifestyle habits that—when combined with the three pillars of health: healthy diet + supplements + exercise—can help consumers overcome some of the obstacles to wellness. This summer, "Life…supplemented" is encouraging Americans to reduce their stress and live healthier lives with a few simple tips.

According to the 2009 Healthcare Professionals Impact Study, 96 percent of nurse practitioners and registered dietitians believe that stress in daily lives is caused by demanding jobs and hectic lifestyles.

  • Since most of us work on tight deadlines, put in long hours and have tiring commutes, we should use the summer months as an excuse to slow down, relax and take a vacation. Whether it's a long weekend spent with family at home or a vacation trip you've been planning all year, the time you spend away from the office can help you de-stress and regain commitment to healthy lifestyle practices. These practices include adhering to a well-balanced diet, taking a multivitamin daily as well as other supplements and engaging in regular exercise. Remember to eat three to five small, healthful meals to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day, and as often as possible, incorporate fresh summer fruits and vegetables into your diet. And, don't forget to take your daily multivitamin because it contains helpful B vitamins, which support adrenal gland functions that are directly affected by stress.  Finally, take the opportunity to be active during the summer whether at home or on vacation by enjoying outdoor walks, swimming or working out or dancing during the evening when out on the town.

Ninety-five percent of registered dietitians and 94 percent of nurse practitioners believe not getting enough rest is a major barrier to living healthy.

  • While the amount of sleep each of us needs varies, getting the right amount is important because it helps promote a healthy body and strong mind. When our body tells us that we've been pushing ourselves too hard, get to bed early or relax for a bit longer in the evening than you normally would. Being on vacation is also the perfect time to sneak in an afternoon nap.  Listening to your body's needs will help you get the right amount of rest this summer and, importantly, can carry you into the fall when schedules get busier. Regular exercise helps improve the quality of your sleep because research has shown that 20 to 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises four to five times a week will help you sleep better and give you more energy. There are also several botanical supplements that can help relax the mind and prepare the body for sleep such as lemon balm, passion flower, chamomile and Hops. These botanical supplements can be used year-round to improve your resting patterns. Finally, it's also important to practice good "sleep hygiene" such as sleeping in a dark room and turning off the television an hour before bedtime. 

Eighty-nine percent of registered dietitians and nurse practitioners say staying indoors and not getting enough physical activity because the weather is too cold or too hot is another major barrier to being healthy.

  • Regular exercise is important year-round, but the summer months allow more opportunities for enjoying recreational activities outdoors. Be sure to maximize the beautiful weather and go outside for a jog, ride a bike or take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. While outdoors, be sure to have proper sun protection such as wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen.  Keep in mind that sunscreen, while important, prevents the body from absorbing enough of the sun's rays—which the body needs to synthesize Vitamin D—so you might consider taking a Vitamin D supplement to ensure you are meeting the recommended daily intake. Finally, stroll through your local street fairs or farmers market on the weekends, and avail yourself of the bountiful fruits and vegetables available during summer. Eating healthy meals is important year-round, but the summer presents special opportunities for improving your diet with fresh and delicious produce.

For Americans who want to make their health and wellness a priority this summer, "Life…supplemented" has a fun and interactive tool to help them get started. My Wellness Scorecard, allows consumers to determine where they fall on the wellness continuum, ranging from OhWELL to AlphaWELL, and to monitor their progress long after the season changes.

For more information on the survey methodology, please visit http://www.lifesupplemented.org/supplements/healthcare_professionals_impact_study/methodology.htm.

"Life…supplemented": "Life… supplemented" is a consumer wellness campaign dedicated to driving awareness about the responsible use of dietary supplements as an integral part of an ongoing, proactive regimen that combines healthy diet, supplements and exercise. The campaign is managed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the leading trade association for the dietary supplement industry, under its affiliated 501(c)(3), the CRN Foundation. The dietary supplement category includes products such as vitamins, minerals, botanicals, sports nutrition, weight management and specialty supplements. More than 150 million Americans use these products each year to promote and maintain good health. Find out more about AlphaWELLs, WELLs, WannabeWELLs and OhWELLs by clicking on My Wellness Scorecard at www.lifesupplemented.org.

SOURCE Life...supplemented



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