Category Archives: Health

Good News Monday: 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Bones

Despite alarming statistics (during their lifetimes, 50% of women over 50 in the US will suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture), there’s a lot we can do.

  1. Lift weights. In addition to your usual strength training regimen, try HiRIT (High Intensity Resistance and Impact Training) twice a week for 30 minutes, lifting heavier weights more slowly in a variety of moves.
  2. Eat Mediterranean. The general rules of this diet: high amounts of fruits, veggies, grains and olive oil; moderate fish and wine; low meat and dairy. In research, postmenopausal women who ate this way were less likely to have lower bone mass.
  3. Go probiotic. Increasing “good” bacteria in your gut reduces intestinal inflammation, which is linked to bone degrading activity.
  4. Say hello to yoga. It improves overall strength, coordination, balance and range of motion. And in a 2016 two-year study of women whose average age was 68 when they started, daily yoga was more effective at improving spinal bone density than medication.
  5. Step to it. In another study, adding 1,415 extra steps a day increased bone density, especially in the hip.  And just a minute or two of daily weight-bearing activity triggers the release of chemicals that rebuild bone. Dance, run, jump rope or climb stairs to boost your heart rate as well as your bone density.
    selective focus photography of skeleton

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    (Adapted from September O magazine article by Karen Asp)

Good News Monday: Ailing Orchids

Admittedly, this is not everyone’s #1 healthcare priority, but I was amused to read about Chadwick’s orchid “hospital”, which restores problematic plants to their former glory.

For a $2.00 per month boarding fee, the Richmond, VA shop will nurture your sick orchid in their greenhouse until it blooms again. Each flower receives a “physical” when it arrives, and is checked for conditions such as excess sun exposure and overhydration. Repotting, if needed, may cost a bit more.

Chadwick’s top tip: Keep plants in indirect light and water them only with warm water. They are tropical, after all.

pink and white orchids

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Good News Monday: Even One Exercise Session Has Benefits

color colour fitness health

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A single exercise session that ups your heart rate can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, reduce anxiety and improve insulin sensitivity on the day you do it.

The big benefits such as lowering your risk of many chronic diseases and cancers start adding up within days or weeks of starting regular physical activity.  The current guidelines are:

  • Move more, sit less. Some physical activity is better than none.
  • Spread aerobic activity through the week. Aim for at least 2.5 -5 hours of moderate intensity or 1.25 – 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity.
  • Strength train at least twice a week. Your bones, joints and muscles need love!
  • Add balance training as you get older.  Yoga, tai chi and other activities help prevent falls.
  • Anyone with chronic conditions should be as physically active as
    their abilities and conditions allow.
  • Pregnant? Stay moderately active, per your doctor’s advice.

What’s moderate vs. what’s vigorous? Per the guidelines, moderate activity means you’re breathing hard and can hold a conversation, but you can’t sing. (OK, some of us can’t sing no matter what.) “Vigorous” means you can’t get more than a couple of words out without a breath.

Exercise with others and live longer! A recent Mayo Clinic study of more than 8500 participants found that playing team and partner sports added years to their lives vs exercising alone:

  • Tennis: +9.7 yrs
  • Badminton +6.2 yrs  (I am not making this up)
  • Soccer +4.7 yrs
  • Jogging +3.2 yrs
  • Gym +1.5 yrs
  • Group exercise classes or clubs also boost longevity
panoramic view of people in bicycles

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Good News Monday: Praise for Pinot Noir

Here in Oregon, we drink a lot of pinot noir, since there are so many wineries (more than 700 now) making delicious wine.

I was happy to discover that pinot noir is one of the healthiest wine options to choose, the caveat being, of course, “if you drink in moderation”.  (Spoilsports!)

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the much-touted healthfulness of red wine is largely due to its antioxidants. Resveratrol, part of a group of compounds called polyphenols, lowers the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease, among other benefits.

For you non-drinkers, resveratrol is also found in peanuts and berries.

Among red wines, pinot noir has the highest concentration of resveratrol. And, as a top sommelier explains in the article, “Although virtually all red wines have almost no residual sugar, pinot noir typically has a lower initial sugar level before fermentation, resulting in a wine with less alcohol and fewer calories than, say, your average cabernet. [With] its thin skin, pinot noir has fewer tannins, which, while they may have some health benefits of their own, can cause trouble for those susceptible to heartburn.”

Cheers to a great week ahead!

person pouring wine into wine glass

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Good News Monday: Software for Tough Times

13-year old techie Amanda Southworth had suffered from anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts for most of her young life.  When she couldn’t find an easy, affordable alternative to traditional modes of therapy, this brilliant coder invented it.

Three years later, her app AnxietyHelper has helped more than 68,000 people. The app provides information on mental health conditions, links to hotlines, and tools such as a stress relieving game to help its users cope with daily challenges.

Southworth hasn’t stopped there.  She’s created a safety app for the LGBTQ+ community, an app to help psychosis patients manage their hallucinations, and a social media platform for protest groups so they can mobilize more safely and efficiently.

Who knew downloading could be so uplifting!

birds flying over body of water during golden hour

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Good News Monday: There’s Always Something

Strictly speaking, this may not qualify as “good news” but it’s too entertaining to pass up. Found on a random site that specializes in sensational stories.

Huh? Was the Snickers bar IN the bar? Keep laughing this week… it’s good news for your health!

Good News Monday: There’s (A Bit) Less Secondhand Smoke In The Air

Belated good news, released late last fall: fewer Americans are lighting up these days. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control, cigarette smoking was down to 14%, versus more than 40% back in the mid-60’s.

Even the French have cut back.  2017 saw a drop of one million smokers, and there’s been a decline among teenage smokers as well.

I’m breathing easier just knowing this. Still, it’s hard to imagine that anyone still smokes these days, given the well-documented health risks. What’s happening in your country?

multicolored smoke

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