Winter sunshine can improve your mood

winter sunshineGet outside!

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t take sunny days for granted, especially during our perpetually gray and wet winters.

Yesterday we were lucky enough to enjoy a beautiful, sunny day! It was really cold, at least by our standards, but a friend and I still bundled up and ventured out for a long walk along the beach.

And we weren’t alone. With the blue skies and the crowds of people, it seemed more like a summer day. Perhaps they read the same article I did a few weeks ago: Here’s a Major Health Reason to Get Continue reading

Prevent a bunion from getting bigger

what is a bunionAn ugly problem with an ugly name—hallux valgus

Last summer I noticed I had the beginning of a small bunion.

Horrified, I wanted to find out if there was anything I could do to keep it from becoming bigger, uglier and more painful.

Anything except surgery. The last thing I want is foot surgery.

I also wanted to know how to prevent a bunion from developing in my other foot.

But I had to admit that I knew next to nothing about the lowly bunion, so I had to do a little research first.

Who gets bunions?

A bunion … Continue reading

How to prevent osteoporosis

prevent osteoporosisMay is National Osteoporosis Month

I can’t let May and the NOF’s awareness campaign pass without giving a shout out to the best way to prevent bone loss or osteoporosis.

It’s not taking enormous calcium supplement tablets every day or occasionally choking down a couple of chalky TUMS.

It’s a combination of eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods and exercising every day.

Actually, no one can prevent bone loss altogether. That’s like saying you can prevent wrinkles. As we age our bones lose strength and flexibility. But we can slow the process down and prevent it from turning into significant Continue reading

How accurate is your Fitbit?

fitbitIt’s OK for steps, but not much else

I was feeling really good about myself the other day when I came home after finishing a 6,000 step walk that burned—according to the Fitbit Zip in my pocket—720 calories.

Woo!

I boasted about this to my husband, who immediately burst my pride bubble by saying, “There is no way you burned that many calories in a 40-minute walk. Think about it.”

He was right. I knew in the back of my mind that 720 calories was just too high. Have you ever run on a treadmill for 15 minutes and felt … Continue reading

Dormant Butt Syndrome

dormant butt syndromeDo you suffer from DBS?

As far as I know, Dormant Butt Syndrome (DBS) isn’t really a disease, but rather a phrase coined by a physical therapist at a medical center in Ohio.

Millions of Americans (myself included) suffer from knee, hip and/or lower back pain. Therapist Chris Kolba, PT, PhD, MHS, blames too much sitting, which is weakening our gluteus or butt muscles.

The entire body works as a linked system, and a lot of times when people come in with knee or hip injuries, it’s actually because their butt is not strong enough. The rear end should

Continue reading

Exercise for brain health

brainThe wellness blog in the New York Times had an article about brain health that has strengthened my resolve to exercise every day.

Walk, Jog or Dance: It’s All Good For the Aging Brain

It turns out that regular walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and even gardening may substantially reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

The author is referring to a recently published study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study looked at 10 years’ worth of lifestyle data, including exercise levels, on 900 men and women over the age of 65. Over the course of those 10 years, the … Continue reading

Prevent sports-related eye injuries

eye safetyIt’s spring and sporting equipment is coming out of the closets!

That’s why April is designated Sports Eye Safety Month.

If you and/or your kids play a sport that involves fast-moving balls, frisbees or sticks, the American Academy of Ophthamology (AAO) wants you to take steps to prevent eye injuries.

Every year, more than 42,000 people are seen in ERs with sports-related eye injuries, and 13,500 suffer some degree of blindness as a result.

Common sports eye injuries include corneal abrasions, lacerations and bleeding in the eye. Basketball players tend to get poked in the eye with fingers. Tennis and

Continue reading

What is shallow water blackout?

Last week a young college student drowned.

Normally I wouldn’t have paid much attention to the media surrounding this tragic event—Dartmouth swimmer dies in pool mishap on vacation—but sadly the young man happens to be the son of friends.

He was a life-long swimmer and was on his university’s swim team; the least likely person, you would think, to drown.

But I learned something about a potential danger to young swimmers, and want to help raise awareness about  “shallow water blackout.”

Experienced and competitive swimmers are most at risk, as they may challenge themselves or others to do … Continue reading

I love my Fitbit Zip!

fitbit zipI’m not a gadget person, and I don’t embrace the “quantified self” movement, which seeks to keep track of everything measurable about the human body—weight, body mass index, blood pressure, heart rate, calories consumed, miles walked, jogged, biked, etc.

But ever since I wrote the post Why sitting is bad for your health I’ve been more committed to racking up 10,000 steps every day.

Now, the 10,000 steps a day recommendation is not an exact science, but it’s a reasonable goal for a healthy adult. Also, to reach that goal, I have to move a lot throughout the … Continue reading

Why sitting is bad for your health

I sit too much. I always have.

By nature, I guess, I am a sedentary person. I’m not fidgety. I can sit for long periods of time reading a book or working at the computer.

I exercise every day, going for a long walk or working in my garden or doing yoga, and I thought that was enough.

But I just watched an episode of the excellent HealthCare Triage series ominously entitled: “Sitting vs. Standing. Is Your Sedentary Life Killing You?”

 

Wow, I need to move a whole lot more!

We all understand that … Continue reading

Yoga for neck pain

Chronic neck pain can be, well, a pain in the neck.

Usually caused by overuse, poor posture, tension or arthritis—or a combination—neck, shoulder and upper back pain can interfere with almost all routine activities.

But some simple yoga moves can help, and I think this particular YouTube video is great. The moves are well explained, and they can be done either standing or sitting at your desk. And it’s short, only 4 minutes, so these exercises can be done almost any time if your neck muscles are feeling tight or painful.

The Clinical Journal of Continue reading

Want to live longer? Think young!

My husband sent me a link to a short Ted Talks video about aging. After watching it, I’m wondering if I’ve been going about aging the wrong way.

The video is about an inspiring woman, Olga Kotelko, who took up amateur track and field at the age of 77. At age 91, she was competing in the long jump! She had more than 50 world records!

How did she think about growing old? And how might our own perceptions or biases about aging affect us physically?

What if age is just a state of mind?

Treat headaches with diet and exercise

Earlier this year, I posted about the study out of Harvard that showed headaches are being overtreated in America.

Over a 10-year period, the number of patients being referred to specialists, or sent for special diagnostic tests, has doubled.

With more CT scans and MRIs, and more prescriptions medications, headaches are costly. Also, all the extra tests and drugs don’t necessarily help, and they might just cause more problems with side effects.

Related post: Home remedies for headaches

Luckily, some headache specialists are leaning away from the trend to overtreat, and are prescribing exercise and dietary changes instead of drugs. … Continue reading

Exercises for snoring and sleep apnea

It’s no secret that as we age we have to be more diligent about exercise to keep our muscles toned and flexible, and maintain a healthy body weight.

The same is true of the tissue inside our throats. Flabby throat muscles and fatty tissue cause snoring and sleep apnea. Poor quality sleep affects not only the patient, but anyone sleeping (or trying to) within hearing distance.

The typical solution given to most patients seeking help is the CPAP, a bulky machine that applies air pressure through a nasal mask as you sleep. It keeps the airways open so you can … Continue reading

Cancer risk and lack of exercise

Huh. Sitting down too much increases our risk of cancer.

A new study out of Sweden tells us that women who have sedentary jobs and don’t get enough exercise outside of work have the highest increased risk of breast and uterine cancer.

This study looked specifically at those two cancers, but other similar research has linked the lack of exercise to other types of cancer, as well.

And heart disease. And diabetes. And depression.

I don’t need a study to remind me that I probably sit too much in front of my computer and it would benefit me physically and … Continue reading