African American professionals are dying to make it to the top4literally. Their lives are being stamped out by the leading causes of death in the black community, which include heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and HIV-AIDS. The biggest tragedy here is that each of us has the ability to avoid or overcome these illnesses by making better lifestyle choices. “Change that I’m going-to-die-of-something-anyway attitude and stop continuing to do things that are detrimental to your health,” insists Dr. Javette C. Orgain, a primary physician (see our list of leading physicians in “The Doctors Are In,” August 2001). “A number of patients come in, don’t receive treatment [early] even with a recommendation, and die at an early age.”
Are you ready for a change? For starters, maintain a regular exercise program, eliminate high-salt and high-fat foods from your diet, cut down your sugar intake, abstain from tobacco and drug use, limit alcohol consumption, practice “safer” sex, and take measures to reduce your stress. Also, get regular checkups at least biannually at your general practitioner and dentist and seek advice early if you have a particular complaint. That said, use these tips to start on a healthier climb to the top.
STAY HEALTHY WHILE YOU TRAVEL
Maintain a proper diet. While you shouldn’t skip breakfast while traveling, you should avoid those tempting breakfast buffets that contain fatty foods because they’ll only make you feel sluggish. Also, choose restaurants carefully and survey the menus before you’re seated. When making your selection, pass on greasy foods. Instead, consider steamed vegetables, salads, and baked or grilled meats as a main dish, then order a fresh fruit plate for dessert. Further, take time to pack fruit and water, daily, in a carry-on bag to avoid snacks that are high in sodium and sugar.
Stick to your exercise program. Call the hotel in advance to find out if you’ll have access to workout facilities and ask if there is a safe place for you to do an early-morning run or power walk. Exercise while you’re sitting by contracting and releasing every muscle in your body. Start with your toes and work your way up to stimulate blood flow, which increases oxygen to the brain.
Wash your hands often. This can greatly reduce the chance of catching a respiratory infection. Colds and flu are actually picked up from surfaces, such as armrests and washroom basins, not from recirculated air, as many people believe. Carry on antibacterial hand sanitizer so you don’t have to keep leaving your seat to wash your hands.
Manage your stress.When flying, double-check your reservations. Arrive at least two hours early for domestic flights, and three hours early for international flights. In addition, wear light fibers and avoid tight clothing. You should also dress in layers, so, as cabin temperatures change, you can easily adjust.
Drink water frequently. Avoid alcoholic beverages or caffeine when flying. In fact, you should only drink water during the length of the flight. As a general rule, drink at least eight ounces of water for every