Have you heard the joke about the wife who was asked if her busy executive husband believed in life after death? "I don't know," she replied, but as far as I can tell, he doesn't believe in life after dinner!"
Sad to say, this description applies to many hard-driving people who find themselves running out of steam at the end of the day. If you or your spouse are one of these "no life after dinner" types, we would like to offer a [WORD ILLEGIBLE]-part plan to put new life into the after-word hours. Once converted, the formerly "too tired" individual should not only be healthier but happier.
Take a long hard look at your alcohol intake. Many people rush home from work, have a drink or two, and are then too groggy to do anything more than eat and watch a bit of television for the rest of the evening. Instead of cocktails, try a walk before dinner, especially with the longer, warmer days.
Study your exercise patterns. Many people, including those who watch what they eat, pay no attention to their exercise. Yet regular physical activity is just as important to good health as good nutrition is. That is particularly true if you are striving to achieve or maintain proper weight. Summer is an ideal time to step up your exercise to at least one hour of vigorous activity a day. For starters, try an hour's walk each day. If you have access to a pool or the beach, a regular swim is an ideal way to exercise. Bicycling, tennis, weekend hiking all are good possibilities. Discover what you enjoy most and practice it regularly. You'll soon find you have more energy - and fun!
What about your food consumption? Did you gain a few extra pounds over the winter? If so, now is the ideal time to take them off. A few dietary adjustments may suffice. For example, if you drink your coffee with cream and sugar, you can save 30 to 50 calories per cup by switching to unsweetened iced tea with a dash of lemon juice. Limit desserts to fruit - a painless way to cut calories and still enjoy tasty and nutritious seasonal favorities, such as melon, grapes, cherries and peaches.
Purposefully reduce the serving size of meats and other main dishes while increasing the portion size of the salads and fresh vegetables. Most people eat less during the summer, and a little extra attention to menu planning can result in an easy approach to dieting.
Many people find that summer is the best time to stop smoking. There are more diversions during June, July and August, which makes smoking seem less important. Also, many people hesitate to stop smoking for fear that they will eat more and gain weight. But since we tend to eat less and exercise more during the summer, the stop smoking weight gain is less likely to occur.
Besides providing for a more enjoyable life, this four-part regimen promises big health dividends. Take the middle-age executive who is often overweight and is also likely to have elevated blood pressure, for example. A number of studies have shown that simply by losing weight and increasing exercise, many cases of mild hypertension can be brought under control. And, as a recent Swedish study has shown, those people who take preventive steps to bring their blood pressure under control early have a markedly lowered incidence of coronary artery disease - and live longer and are far happier - than those who do not take preventive measures.