Holiday health tips: Cardiovascular Institute of the South

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Newly released numbers show that the state of Mississippi still ranks at the bottom when it comes to many health issues. In some cases, the numbers for Alabama are not much better. To address these problems, a new group has formed in Meridian.

It's made up of nine local cardiologists who are teaming up with the Cardiovascular Institute of the South. The group has opened a center on Anderson Hospital's south campus in downtown Meridian. The purpose for the center is to provide state-of-the-art, streamlined cardiovascular services for locals. As part of an effort to improve the health of locals during the holidays, the newly formed group is offering some suggestions.

"Really, you have to plan ahead," is what cardiologist, Dr. Jennifer Rodriguez, says is the key to staying or getting healthy over the holidays.

"This includes staying ahead when it comes to your shopping," says Rodriguez. "Make a list. Stick to your budget. Try to really streamline your shopping so it doesn't really seem overwhelming, and so that you don't go over budget because when that happens you can really suffer some anxiety, and maybe even depression."

For people who are shopping, Dr. Rodriguez says this activity offers the perfect opportunity to exercise.

"Maybe make a few laps. Park further away than what you usually do. If you're going to be traveling, maybe take a video or travel exercise equipment with you if you can."

With so many sweet holiday treats to eat, Dr. Rodriguez says planning ahead is very important for that as well.

"Try to accommodate for that in some of your other choices that you're making, but it should not be a six week, free-for-all food-fest!"

Finally, she says getting proper rest is crucial.

"Usually what I recommend is that everybody start today," says Rodriguez. "Pick one thing that you know you can do better with, and master that change. Change it this week, and next week when you have it mastered, pick the next thing."

The Cardiovascular Institute of the South's Center in Meridian is open on Mondays through Thursdays from 7:30 each morning until 5 in the afternoon, and from 7:30 until noon on Fridays.