Wednesday, January 14, 2009
This past weekend (January 10th and 11th) in downtown Washington, DC, I participated in a health, fitness, and nutrition expo at the DC Convention Center. It is an annual event (in its 16th year this year) that is a one stop spot for everything you need or want on the topic, including screenings (blood pressure, glaucoma, diabetes, skin cancer, cholesterol, periodontal disease, etc.) along with general health information, exercise tips, and more healthy ways of cooking and living. Doctors, nurses, and other health and fitness practitioners were there to provide a free service to the public.
In talking with some of the people that attended, I learned the number of people who attend (some attend with their whole families) only participate because they do not have health insurance, and that weekend is the only time they get to obtain this kind of health information and screenings and tests. Some people have gone many years without insurance, and they rely on this free public service for these tests for themselves and for other members of their families. Funny how I have insurance through my employer and I complain about the money they take out of my paycheck every two weeks. I'm sure many of those I talked with this weekend would be glad to trade places with me.
Getting regular check- ups are a crucial component to maintaining a healthy life. The earlier a condition is diagnosed, the more likely it is you can fix it. Most conditions are either curable or treatable Ė if you address them early.
If you are one of those people fortunate enough to have health benefits, you owe it to yourselves and to the ones who love you to get your check-ups . . and the older you get, the more vigilant you need to be about your health ... and if you have family history of viruses and diseases (such as diabetes, cardio pulmonary disease, hypertension, cardio vascular disease, and cancer), you should be doubly vigilant.
Your health is just like time. Once itís gone, you can never get it back. Itís gone. . . poof! Just like a puff of smoke.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
That's what many of us do every January. We start over. As the beginning of a new year unfolds, one thing many of us do is to develop renewed health and fitness goals. Here are my top three tips to add to your routine that I believe can exponentially contribute to your success. There is no need to go over the dos and doníts about watching calories and exercising. We know all of that. These three tips are extra tips on top of everything else you know you need to do :
Forget about the past
The worse thing you can do is think about how unsuccessful you have been. No matter what progress you may have made, you are the type of person to always focus on what you didnít do and the progress you wish you had made. Doing that will only keep you discouraged. Instead, donít dwell on the extra pounds you gained. Forget that you have been spending all of your free time on the couch or taking the elevator when you could have taken the stairs. Today is a new day and whatever you did yesterday doesnít matter now.
See yourself where you want to be
You have to see yourself where you are headed and not where you are. See yourself at the weight and size where you would like to be. Think of yourself as your desired image. Look past those extra pounds. Donít focus on the extra weight. Package up the image of yourself for the person you would like to become. Think of it in terms of a job interview. Before the interview, we fix ourselves up, making sure that our clothes are clean and pressed and our shoes are polished and our hair is just right. Doing this sets us up with the right attitude and mindset. Losing weight is the same way. We have to develop the right image and the proper vision.
Stick with it even when you donít see results
Lastly, donít give up. If you keep on doing what you know are the proper techniques and strategies, donít let the steady number on your scale deter you. Even though those numbers remain the same, your body is working hard on the inside for change. So, continue watching those calories and those fat grams; keep up with your exercise routine; pass on seconds at dinner; skip the cupcake the lunch social or the latte at Starbucks. Just because you don't see results doesn't mean that your body isn't changing.
You already know what it is you need to do. If youíre like most people, you have been working hard so far. Develop the right frame of mind and maintain your momentum. Whether you call it your New Yearís Resolutions or just renewed goals, you can achieve them with a little effort.
Friday, January 02, 2009
While watching the New Years Eve celebration, I saw Dick Clark and was reminded of his stroke a few years ago. His speech was slurred, just as was the case for the past few shows, and you could easily see the impact of his stroke. I decided to do a little research on strokes and the possible causes. I thought I would write up a brief primer so others who could be at risk might learn what I learned.
According to the Medical Encyclopedia of NIH, a stroke is caused when blood flow to the brain is blocked, either when a blood vessel breaks open or is blocked by a blood clot. The most common cause is deposits of fat and cholesterol on the walls of arteries. Over time, these deposits accumulate and harden, making it difficult for blood to circulate.
Drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking are risk factors. Symptoms of a stroke range from the subtle to the overt. The most common include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Slurred speech
- Lethargy and change in alertness
- Numbness and weakness
- Vision changes
The only way for someone to know for sure they have had a stroke is by a doctor. Did you know that many people have strokes and they don't even realize it right away. Sometimes, they are very mild, though even the mild ones can cause major damage. Prompt medical attention following a stroke is crucial to help ensure the effects are not permanent or long lasting. If you are someone with any of the risk factors mentioned above, check out the following websites for more information or consult your physician.
Getting more exercise and eating a diet that is high in fiber and low in fat decreases your likelihood of having a stroke. So, since the new year has begun, now is a great time to make those lifestyle changes to live a more healthy life.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sparkpeople New YOU Bootcamp.
To help you with achieving your goals, Sparkpeople has created the New YOU Bootcamp. It is a Spark team, which will only run from January 4 to January 31, 2009. There you can get support, motivation, and daily workouts and challenges to help give you a jump start toward yourgoal of getting in shape and improving your health. This will be particularly helpful for those who want to refocus their New Year's Resolution on health, fitness, and nutrition. As an added bonus, participants are eligible for weekly prize drawings, iPods, or cash.
If you are one of those people out there who need a little extra motivation, need some specific tips to help get you started, or in need of some diet and nutrition advice, this is the spot for you.
If you are interested and would like more information, read this article. Coach Nicole is heading this initiative up, and there is information in the article about how to join:
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Getting the proper amount of vitamins is important to your overall health. One often overlooked vitamin is Vitamin A. Vitamin A's benefits include good eyesight, healthy skin, protection against infections by boosting the immune system, and protecting against many forms of cancer.
To get adequate daily amounts of vitamin A, there are a lot of options available to you. They include carrots, cabbage, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, tomatoes, broccoli, greens (such as collards and kale), apricots, and carrots. These foods are good on their own or as part of a larger dish or casserole.
Some signs you are not getting sufficient amounts of vitamin A are dry skin, rough or blemished skin; dandruff; frequent colds; bad night vision, dry eyes, or other eye irritation; frequent respiration problems; or urinary tract problems. Having any of these things doesnít necessarily indicate a vitamin A deficiency; however it could be sign and you should bring them to the attention of your doctor.
For further information on vitamin A, review the following:
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