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health talk:
Nurse Mary: Is Shanghai a Dangerous Playground?

By: Mary A. Drobnak RN, BSN

While we expats come here to work and live we must remember we are not in college anymore, nor are we on a two year vacation. Taking care of ourselves while we are here is probably even more important as we are up against obstacles of a fast-paced lifestyle, added stressors of constant work, environmental temptations, atmospheric toxins and a lot of unsafe practices. Having said that, post Chinese New Year is the perfect time to start keeping ourselves in check, maintain a healthy lifestyle and indulge in moderation.

Begin by making a schedule. Make one day a week prep day that allows quick organization of two to three healthy meals for three to four days in your work week. Not only will you save money by not ordering or eating out, but more importantly you will be in control of unnecessary calories that go into your diet. Make snacks from veggies and avoid things like chips or bagged items. Lower your drink calorie intake or eliminate it from four to five days of the week. Many forget that drinks account for a large portion of the calories we consume, which can be alcohol for some and milkshakes, sugary fruit drinks or cola for others. Substitute with bottled water – a great way to flush daily toxins out of the body and essential for good skin, hydration and health.

Next, keep your body active. Commit to at least three days of some type of semi-rigorous or rigorous exercise that you prefer. If you are the typical person who walks everywhere in Shanghai that’s a good start, but not enough to burn calories or increase your heart rate for optimal cardiovascular health.

Additionally, don’t forget, Shanghai’s air quality is amongst the poorest in the world. If you smoke, start thinking about quitting – who needs cigarettes when every day we breathe Shanghai air and go to establishments that have an abundance of second-hand smoke?

Lastly, treat yourself. For every five to six days you stay on a good, healthy regime, choose one or two days a week that you allow yourself to cheat (a little) and have some fun. Remember yin and yang is all about finding that balance which allows for harmonious existence. Going into the Year of the Rabbit seek out this harmony that is conducive to a healthy mind and body.

Send Nurse Mary your health questions and concerns at [email protected]


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