You’ve bought a Fitness Tracker—now what?

You’ve finally decided to get into shape, need more motivation or just want another ‘toy’ to add to your growing list of fitness gizmos. So you begin to check out fitness devices. I started on-line and then decided to go to one of the big box stores to take a closer look. There are now so many of them on the market it can be daunting.
I was amazed at the variety of fitness trackers or ‘wearable technology ‘ as they’ re called on display. There are even trackers for pets and ones that will critique your tennis swing! I was totally lost. But quick relief, my daughter went online and bought me one!!! Whew, decision made.

Fitness Trackers. There are many different types and functions. Choose one that meets your needs

Fitness Trackers. There are many different types and functions. Choose one that meets your needs.

So the first step is to decide what you want to track?
Steps, calories, heart rate, fitness activities besides walking or running or a combination of some or all, you can even measure the amount of sleep and awake time. Do you want one to wear on your wrist or discreetly on your person—in your pocket or attached to your bra?
Once you’ve made the choice the next step is to wear it for the first week—if you don’t regularly exercise then just wear it for a week to decide what you normally do –that would be your baseline.
Now that you know your starting point, it’s time to get moving.
Set a reasonable goal. Your fitness device might have a default goal — often 10,000 steps a day.
From your baseline add 200-300 steps a day to increase your weekly total by 2,000. That’s an increase of about a mile a day. Keep building up until you get to 10,000.
When you look at calories burned, a reasonable goal is to increase by 250 calories a day. You can get that from 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise. Or you could burn that amount doing some extra moving during the day. Grocery shopping for instance burns about 100 calories an hour for a 175-pound person.
Remember, to lose 1 pound a week, you need to create a 500-calorie deficit each day. The best way to do this is by eating a little less and moving a little more.
Pay attention to how you feel. On a day when you walk 1,000 more steps than usual, you may notice you feel great and want to do it again the next day.
Transform wasted time into steps. Once you’re aware of your steps, the most boring parts of your day become opportunities. On hold with customer service? Pace your house. Waiting to pick up your kids from school, arrive a bit early and go for a walk. Take the stairs when you can instead of the elevator.
Healthy aging can begin with baby steps! And as always, it is one step at a time!

Disclaimer
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

New Intrauterine System- IUS –advances the IUD concept

IUS-New Hormonal Birth Control- Shaped like a T

IUS-New Hormonal Birth Control- Shaped like a T

More Choices Available for Long Acting Birth Control
Perhaps you may remember the IUD or the Copper T that was first introduced in the 1980’s. Now there’s a new birth control device called IUS or Intrauterine System. Like the IUD (Intrauterine Device) it’s placed in the uterus and made of soft flexible plastic in the shape of a T, only its smaller than the IUD’s of the past and releases a small daily amount of progestin hormone. The hormone thins out the lining of the uterus making implantation of a fertilized egg more difficult. The T shape makes it difficult for sperm to move through the womb to reach an egg.
For those that don’t want to think of birth control on a daily basis, the IUS could be an ideal solution. The hormonal IUS is a long-acting contraceptive method. It works for five years or three years, depending on the type and is approximately 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It is also a non-permanent form of birth control, meaning you can have it removed at any time by your healthcare provider and try to become pregnant right away. It may also provide for lighter periods

The CHOICE Project Research Findings –IUS Lowers rate of unwanted pregnancies
In a recent research project, the IUS was provided at no cost to teens as part of The CHOICE Project in the United States. The teen pregnancy and abortion rates were reduced dramatically; the teen pregnancy rate was 34.0 per 1,000 teens compared to the national average of 158.5 per 1,000 teens. Additionally, the abortion rate for teens in the CHOICE project was 9.7 per 1,000 teens compared to the national average of 41.5 per 1,000 teens.
Birth control is a personal choice. It is important to choose a method that fits your life. What is right for one woman may not be right for another. Sometimes that can be overwhelming and as always I would suggest you consult a health care professional to discuss your options.

Disclaimer

The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage

Top ways to protect prevent skin cancer

Be sun smart- apply a broad spectrum sun screen every two hours.

Skin cancer is on the rise. When out in the sun  apply a broad spectrum sun screen every two hours.

Skin Cancer in Canada is on the rise While the rate of new cancer cases and death rates for many types of cancers are going down, Melanoma or –skin cancer- is on the rise.   It is the most common cancer in Canada affecting one in five people today. A tan especially among young people is associated with attractiveness and looking healthy, but there is no such thing as a healthy tan. Using tanning beds and getting sun burnt in childhood and |Some alarming facts from the Canadian Cancer Society

  • Melanoma is the most common and deadliest forms of cancer in young people between the ages of 15 and 29.
  • Using a tanning bed before the age of thirty-five increases your risk of developing skin cancer by 75 per cent.
  • UV rays from tanning beds can be five times stronger than the mid-day summer sun.
  • Tanned skin is damaged skin. Even when the tan fades, the damage is still there.While it’s wonderful to feel the warmth of the summer sun and enjoy the outdoors sun there are also risks. Here are a few ways to protect you from the Skin Cancer Foundation
  • The sun is most intense between 10 AM and 4 PM –so seek the shade between those hours.
  • Do not burn.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
  • Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens can be used on babies if needed, over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
  • See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
  • If you are a beach goer, remember the intensity of sun exposure is elevated. Both water and sand can reflect up to 80 percent of the sun’s rays, however, beach and pool activities can be enjoyed safely as long as people take some extra precautions if f you use plenty of sunscreen
  • For effective ultraviolent A (UVA) radiation protection, select products that have some combination of the following ingredients: avobenzone, ecamsule (a.k.a. MexorylTM), oxybenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

Everyday sun exposure counts…Sun Protection is year round While we mostly think about protecting ourselves against the sun during the summer months, protection should be year round to reduce your lifetime sun exposure. So make putting on sunscreen a daily habit. Disclaimer The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without

MIND diet may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53%

MIND diet study shows growing evidence that what you eat may affect your brain health
A new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago shows a diet plan they developed — appropriately called the MIND diet — may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent. Even those who didn’t stick to the diet perfectly but followed it “moderately well” reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s by about a third.

New findings add to a growing body of evidence that strongly suggests your overall dietary pattern matters more than single nutrients when it comes to Alzheimer’s prevention.
Eating a combination of healthful foods that deliver a wide range of protective nutrients while, at the same time, minimizing your intake of foods that may harm brain cells is what counts. While nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PhD, the lead author of the MIND diet study acknowledges, that genetics and other factors like smoking, exercise and education also play a role, she says the MIND diet helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect against Alzheimer’s regardless of other risk factors.
MIND diet recommendations
The MIND diet breaks its recommendations down into 10 “brain healthy food groups” a person should eat and five “unhealthy food groups” to avoid.It combines many elements of two other popular nutrition plans which have been proven to benefit heart health: the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. (MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.
MIND diet differs from Mediterranean and DASH & proved more effective at reducing Alzheimer’s risk.
The MIND diet also differs from those plans in a few significant ways and proved more effective than either of them at reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. The diet recommends frequent servings of green leafy vegetables. Kale, spinach, broccoli, collards and other greens are packed with vitamins A and C and other nutrients. At least two servings a week can help, and researchers found six or more servings a week provide the greatest brain benefits. The Mediterranean and DASH diets do not specifically recommend these types of vegetables, but the MIND diet study found that including greens in addition to other veggies made a difference in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s. All three diets, when closely followed, offered significant protection against Alzheimer’s. The Mediterranean diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by 54 per cent, the MIND diet by 53 per cent and the DASH diet by 39 per cent. But only the MIND diet, however, was shown to guard against Alzheimer’s when not followed strictly. Participants who followed the plan moderately well were 35-per-cent less likely to develop the disease compared with those with the lowest adherence scores.

The MIND diet for Optimal brain health.
While we wait for other studies to confirm the protective link between the MIND diet and Alzheimer’s risk, Leslie Beck a registered dietician based at the Medisys clinic in Toronto says there’s no reason to delay adopting this brain-friendly eating pattern. Follow the food guide below to earn the highest MIND diet score.
Leafy green vegetables: At least 6 servings/week One serving: ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw (e.g., salad greens) Eating plenty of vegetables has been linked to a slower rate of cognitive decline in older adults, but leafy greens (e.g., spinach, kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, collards, rapini, broccoli, arugula, Romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce) seem to offer the greatest protection. Leafy greens are excellent sources of vitamin K, folate, beta-carotene and lutein, nutrients thought to help preserve brain functioning. (You’ll get more beta-carotene and lutein if you eat your greens cooked rather than raw.)
Other vegetables: At least 1 serving/day One serving: ½ cup cooked or raw vegetables In addition to salad greens and green leafy vegetables, include other green vegetables (e.g., asparagus, green beans, green peppers), orange (e.g., carrots, sweet potato, butternut squash), yellow (e.g., yellow peppers), red (e.g., red peppers, tomato, beets), purple (e.g. eggplant, purple cabbage) and white/tan (e.g., onions, garlic, cauliflower, mushrooms) to consume a wide range of protective phytochemicals.
Berries: At least 2 servings/week One serving: ½ cup Berries are rich in polyphenols, phytochemicals that protect brain cells by fighting free-radical damage, reducing inflammation and removing toxic proteins that accumulate with age. Blueberries and strawberries appear to be most potent in terms of brain health.
Nuts: At least 5 servings/week One serving: 1 ounce, about ¼ cup Nuts (all types) help lower elevated blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol and guard against Type 2 diabetes, factors that contribute to memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease. Nuts are a good source of vitamin E; higher vitamin E levels are linked to less cognitive decline as we age. Walnuts may be the king of nuts when it comes to brain health. Research suggests eating more walnuts can help improve memory, concentration and the speed at which your brain processes information. Walnuts deliver polyphenols (like berries) and an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha linolenic acid.
Legumes: At least 4 servings/week One serving: ½ cup cooked Lentils and beans (e.g., kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas), packed with low glycemic carbohydrates, provide a steady stream of fuel (glucose) to the brain. Plus, adding beans to your diet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Whole grains: At least 3 servings/day One serving: 1 slice 100-per-cent whole-grain bread, ½ cup cooked brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain pasta, oatmeal, 1 cup 100-per-cent whole-grain, ready-to-eat breakfast cereal Foods that promote a healthy cardiovascular system, such as whole grains, are also good for your brain. That’s because your heart and blood vessels supply nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood to the brain. If your brain doesn’t get the blood flow it needs, it can impair your memory and thinking abilities.
Fish: At least 1 serving/week One serving: 3 ounces cooked Oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines and herring are plentiful in DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid essential for brain function. A higher intake of DHA is thought to slow brain aging and improve memory and thinking skills. It may also help prevent the build-up of an Alzheimer’s-related protein called beta amyloid.
Poultry: At least 2 servings/week One serving: 3 ounces cooked As part of a healthy eating pattern, eating more poultry – and less red meat – is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Olive oil: Use as your primary cooking oil
Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fat, the type that helps reduce inflammation and prevents blood-vessel dysfunction. Extra-virgin olive oil also contains oleocanthal, a phytochemical that may boost production of two key enzymes believed to be critical in removing beta-amyloid from the brain.
Wine: One serving/day One serving: 5 ounces Studies suggest that one glass of wine per day helps preserve memory and reduces Alzheimer’s risk. Low levels of alcohol are thought to have anti-inflammatory effects in the brain. Too much alcohol, however, can damage the brain.
Limit ‘brain-unfriendly foods’ To get a top MIND diet score you must also limit butter/margarine to less than 1 tablespoon/day, fast or fried food less than once/week, red meat fewer than four times/week, cheese less than once/week and pastries and sweets less than five times/week.

Disclaimer

The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

 

 

Why A Company Health and Wellness Plan is Good for Employees and Your Bottom Line

In today’s times, it’s astonishing to learn that a whopping 5 million Canadians do not have a family physician. It’s even more alarming when you learn that nine out of ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease or stroke. (smoking, high alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and or diabetes)
More Alarming Statistics:

  • Only 16% have it treated and under control
  • An estimated 2.4 million Canadians have diabetes
  • Almost 40% of Canadian adults are classified as having high blood cholesterol levels
  • 19% of Canadians (4.6 million) age 20-79 are hypotensive
  • Another 20% (4.8 million) are pre-hypertensive

Will things get better?
With the population of baby boomers aging and people experiencing hard economic times, more workers are delaying retirement and working well into their 60s—this means that better benefits are required to retain talent. Meanwhile, governments are actively looking to pass on healthcare costs to private sectors. That means fewer services and higher employer costs. However, the bottom line is that over 70% of all healthcare costs in Canada are related to chronic diseases, many of which can be prevented or better managed through more appropriate lifestyle choices.
How health and wellness initiatives add value to companies
By implementing these types of programs, the benefits to companies are indisputable. The programs help contain cost since an aging population means higher employer spending; they help the company compete for talent, especially considering that 61% of 30-year-old Canadians believe their employer has an obligation to assist them in maintain a healthy lifestyle; and they help to target health spending by measuring its returns on investment.
Why should companies care?
Our research shows that companies are more interested in the benefits of creating a culture of corporate wellness rather than the hard dollar costs. The following benefits may not be as measurable as reducing drug and disability costs, but employers rate them higher than cost:

  • Issues around productivity
  • Employee satisfaction
  • Loyalty, employee engagement, recruitment
  • Corporate reputation
  • Attracting talent

Initiatives don’t have to be costly. It could be something as simple as bringing in Weight Watchers, creating a joint program with a local gym, or offering healthy options in the company cafeteria.

Disclaimer:
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content.  However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider.   As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

How to stay healthy and vital over 65

Research shows that people are living longer. Today a man who is currently 65 can expect to live another 17.4 years, a woman, 20.8 years*. Whether you are edging towards sixty-five or beyond or have parents that are aging, modifying risks will increase your chances of staying healthy and vital as you age. We know that physiological changes occur as we age, but there are areas of health that can be modified and will improve your health and reduce your risks for physical and mental disabilities.
There are both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors that affect healthy aging. The non-modifiable risks includes aging, gender and genetics. The major modifiable risks that we can change include an unhealthy diet, inactivity and tobacco.
The most recent research on diet, points to an increase in diagnosed diabetes to almost 2. 4 million Canadians by 2016. While almost 40% of Canadian adults are classified as having high blood cholesterol levels. You can help reduce your risk by eating a balanced diet that reduces total fat intake, controls weight, with limits to alcohol and caffeine. Studies show that there is no best diet among the most popular high profile diets, but that the best diet is the one you adhere to.   I would suggest using the Canada Food Guide to Healthy Eating as your roadmap.
Obviously much has been said about tobacco and its proven links to cancer. Quitting smoking is non-negotiable. It will make a big difference in your long term health and ability to engage in an active lifestyle.
Diet and exercise go hand in hand. Being active most days and exercising with purpose is essential. This means, focusing on exercise as an activity itself, walking to do an errand is always good, but exercising with the single purpose of Increasing aerobic capacity is more effective.   Exercise can be categorized as Light activity – 1 hour a day, moderate activity – 30-60 min a day, and vigorous activity – 20-30 min a day
You may wish to mix and match your activities, varying your level depending on your time, your energy and your circumstances.
As always consult a healthcare professional before starting an exercise program. Exercise is an important ingredient to staying active and healthy. Exercise is also the single most important activity people can do to reduce the risk of age-related brain decline.
Here are a few other suggestions.   Check your vaccination records to ensure they are up to date for vaccinations such as tetanus.   Get a flu shot every year, and over sixty-five, a pneumococcal vaccination. Anyone over fifty? Consider getting the shingles vaccine as shingles, the disease increases with age.
And finally, you need to stay socially connected to remain vibrant, healthy and active. So whether you are working or retired, enjoy your interactions, your commitments, your interests and stay connected, learning new things on a daily basis!!

* Statistics Canada 2005

DISCLAIMER
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content. However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider. As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.

Osteoarthritis: A rising epidemic as baby boomers age. Signs, Symptoms and Solutions.

Arthritis consists of more than 100 different conditions, which range from relatively mild forms of tendinitis and bursitis to crippling systemic forms, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The common denominator for all these conditions is joint and musculoskeletal pain, often as a result of an inflammation of the joint lining.
Establishing an early diagnosis is critical to the outcome of the disease, since it only gets progressively worse and therapies work best when started as early as possible.
Consider this:
• Over four million Canadian adults have arthritis and the numbers continue to grow.
• By 2036 it’s estimated that almost one in five Canadian adults will have arthritis, an irreversible degeneration of the bone.
• Two out of three Canadians affected by arthritis are women
WHAT CAUSES OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis starts when the cartilage, that tough elastic material that covers and protects the ends of bones that acts as a cushion-like shock absorber, starts to break down and wear away. Joints become bigger as the body tries to heal itself, and bones start to rub together, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling. And as we get older, our risk of developing osteoarthritis increases. Other risk factors include obesity, a previous joint injury and a genetic predisposition that researches believe may have something to do with the shape of your bones and the way they fit together.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Understanding the signs and symptoms as well as treatment options can help to slow the progression of the disease which is an important step in living with Osteoarthritis:
Common signs and symptoms
• PAIN
• STIFFNESS
• JOINT DEFORMITY
• JOINT INSTABILITY
• LIMITED RANGE OF MOTION
TREATMENTS
Treatments are divided into non-medical therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, bracing and splinting, education, weight loss and exercise. All of which can lead to improving function and biomechanics. Dietary supplements including chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine can be taken up to three times daily in doses of 400 mg and 500 mg respectively. While the medical evidence for these products is inconclusive, most rheumatologists do not feel they do harm and may, indeed, be helpful.
Depending on the severity, medical treatments may involve the use of acetaminophen anti-inflammatories (NAISD’s), topical non-steroidal naproxen, opioid analgesics such as codeine or morphine under careful doctor supervision. Joint injections with corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid for knee osteoarthritis can also be used. The most invasive option is joint replacement involves surgery.
Whatever your condition and treatment goals, it is important to heed the signs and symptoms and take action as soon as possible because osteoarthritis while not curable, is manageable, with the goal of keeping you active, engaged in activity, and pain free.

DISCLAIMER
The material contained in this blog is for informational and educational purposes. Great efforts have been made to maintain the quality of the content. However, it is strongly recommended that the treatment/management of any medical conditions mentioned here, should not be used by an individual/visitor of this blog, on their own, without consulting competent persons such as your doctor, or health care provider. As always we encourage your comments on this blog or any others and hope you will join discussions.