Are you fit enough for surgery?

I have written a lot of words on the benefits of living a healthy life by eating intelligently and exercising regularly. We have the opportunity to live long healthy lives with our mental abilities functioning as well as our bodies do. We need only follow a few simple rules of good health. Our bodies are organic machines that need proper care and maintenance or they will fall into disrepair just like our inorganic machines, autos, refrigerators, etc., do.

Now the Wall Street Journal illuminates another aspect of fitness. The other side of good health, namely hospitalization and surgery.

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“In health care, we often bring patients into surgery without fully addressing their chronic medical conditions,” says Dr. Solomon Aronson, executive vice chair in the anesthesiology department at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C. By improving their health before surgery, he says, “we can significantly diminish the risk of complications.”

The item cites a seriously overweight man who had a knee replacement in 2013, but the hardware began to come apart leaving him hobbled and in pain. The failed knee had to be removed. The patient was warned about the dangers of his being overweight. “No one had ever mentioned to me that this might be a problem…”

“The reason many patients don’t do well is because they are already deconditioned as couch potatoes, and then they get a big operation which makes them even more frail,” says Michael Englesbe, a University of Michigan transplant surgeon and associate professor who led the study and directs the Michigan Surgical and Health Optimization Program. Dr. Englesbe says that the program “empowers patients to have control over their outcome,” and recommends all patients train for elective surgery, much as they would before athletic competition.

Maybe this will be the final reminder for folks who are currently letting themselves go physically. There is always hope. It is never too late to improve your physical condition. Your body will respond to good behavior and nutrition and you can begin to flourish again on your own and before you need medical intervention. The choice is still yours.

Tony

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9 Ways Eating Bananas Can Benefit Your Health

I have a banana in my smoothie every morning. It’s one of the excellent foods.

For more on bananas check out these posts:

20 Health benefits of bananas – Infographic

7 Amazing facts about bananas – Infographic

More good reasons to eat bananas – Infographic

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Tony

Our Better Health

If you’re like many people, no trip to the grocery store is complete until you add a bunch of bananas to your cart.

Bananas are inexpensive, tasty, and versatile, but the best reason to eat them is their health benefits. Read on to learn how this curvy, yellow wonder can help you stay well.

1. Tames Your Tummy
If you’ve ever had the stomach flu or food poisoning, you’ve probably been told to eat the BRAT diet during recovery. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Bananas are included in the acronym for good reason. They are bland enough to pass through the digestive tract easily, their potassium helps replenish lost electrolytes, and their fiber adds bulk to your stool to help calm diarrhea.

Some pregnant women report that bananas help ease morning sickness. It makes sense since bananas are high in vitamin B-6. One medium banana provides about…

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Harvard on resuming bike riding

This seems particularly timely as I wrote about my own cycling – Riding a bike on Chicago’s Lakefront on Chicago’s Lakefront yesterday.

The Harvard Health Publications has a nice positive blog post on starting cycling again presumably as a senior.

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor of the Harvard Health Letter, states that she loved riding as a kid, but now only rides occasionally.

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“It’s fun, it’s socially oriented, and it gets you outside and exercising,” says Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Plus, cycling is an aerobic activity, it’s easy on the joints, and it helps build muscle and bone. Continue reading

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Riding a bike on Chicago’s Lakefront

I have been writing in these pages for nearly seven years about riding my bike on Chicago’s Lakefront. But, I haven’t shared much with you in the way of photos. So, this post is my attempt to rectify that omission.

First of all, I have a You Tube video that I made back in 2010 when I was still new to my iPhone. You will see the Lakefront, Buckingham Fountain (with its rainbow!) 12th St. Beach, Northerly Island. The huge parking lot that I rode in was the Soldier Field parking lot where the Bears play. As you may guess, I am a big Willie Nelson fan, hence his music behind it.

The second video, just 20 seconds, is one I shot of a squirrel I was feeding. As you probably already know, I ride my bike with my dog in the front basket most of the time, when temps are over 4o F. So, I stop often and take her out of the basket to stretch her legs and have some treats. Although I live on Chicago’s Lakefront, I have a wonderful world of wildlife around me. You will have seen ducks in the first one. In this, I have a squirrel that I was feeding. Rabbits and geese also abound.

I usually ride early in the morning and often before the sun comes up. Here are some shots of the sun and clouds that I get over Lake Michigan.

This next is brand new, I shot it on the morning of September 27, 2016. It only lasts 29 seconds, but you get to see a rainbow in Chicago’s famed Buckingham Fountain.

 

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This was sunrise on 13 September 2016.

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Here is a shot looking south from the bike path just after sunrise. The buildings are illuminated by the risen sun.

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This is looking directly east as the sun is rising. Aren’t the clouds cool?

If you have enjoyed the photos and would like to see more, I invite you to my Pinterest Page  which has around 100 more pics.

I hope it is obvious that I get a lot more than just good cardio on my rides.

Thanks for your time.

Tony

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Research Reveals How A Single Choice Affects Mental Health More Than Medications

Regular readers know that I have stressed the importance of exercise for the brain. So, it seems a logical corollary that food also affects the brain as well as the body.

nutrition

Tony

Our Better Health

“We need to get serious
about the critical role played by nutrition.”

– Julia Rucklidge, Clinical Psychologist

We pretty much all agree that good nutritional habits are vital to good physical health, yes? But what about mental health? Do good nutritional habits translate to a healthier mental state? On the surface, it would make sense. After all, the food that we eat contains nutrients – and these nutrients are transported throughout our entire body via our bloodstream. We already know that the brain requires nutrients to operate effectively…so, yeah, it makes sense.

But is eating right more important to mental health than prescription medicine?

Ah, this is a bit trickier. After all, pharmaceuticals are research-intensive and science-based products that have undergone extensive trial and error, often over a period of multiple years. These same products have earned the coveted “seal of approval” from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)…no easy…

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Walking an hour a day best for longevity – Study

I have written numerous times in these pages that walking is the Cinderella of the exercise world – totally unappreciated. I have an entire Page on the Why you should walk more so I was more than a little pleased to read the American Cancer Society study on the benefits of walking an hour a day.

“Researchers from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and others have found that getting 3 to 5 times the amount of recommended leisure-time physical activity results in the greatest benefit in terms of a longer life. The study was published online in JAMA Internal Medicine. One way to achieve this benefit is by walking an hour a day.

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“The US Department of Health and Human Services and the American Cancer Society are among organizations that recommend adults get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity or 75 minutes (1.25) hours of vigorous intensity activity each week, preferably spread throughout the week. Moderate-intensity activities are those at the level of a brisk walk. Vigorous-intensity activities increase your heart rate and breathing, and make you sweat. Continue reading

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“Super-aging” seniors retain healthy memory abilities – Study

Because I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family, I am extremely sensitive to this kind of news about the aging brain and memory. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to read further.

Some loss of memory is often considered an inevitable part of aging, but new research reveals how some people appear to escape that fate. A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators examines a remarkable group of older adults whose memory performance is equivalent to that of younger individuals and finds that certain key areas of their brains resemble those of young people.

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The study published in The Journal of Neuroscience is the first step in a research program aimed at understanding how some older adults retain youthful thinking abilities and the brain circuits that support those abilities. The program is led by Bradford Dickerson, MD, director of the Frontotemporal Disorders Unit in the MGH Department of Neurology and Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, MGH Department of Psychiatry, who are co-senior authors of the new study.

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Stop Letting Your Feelings Color Your Thoughts

In view of the upcoming elections, I thought this was a particularly timely post. Whether you want to trumpet the Donald or pillory Hillary, there are some worthwhile ideas here.

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Tony

Our Better Health

Imagine getting into a political discussion with someone who is highly passionate about their beliefs. If the conversation is a good one, those beliefs will likely, at some point, come under question. If their emotional PH is high enough, they’ll interpret that as not only their ideas being threatened, but their identities too. Soon, you’re not having a conversation anymore, but a back-and-forth defense match. It’s not about listening, it’s about being right. You reach for over-generalizations, they argue with singular, personal anecdotes, you make sweeping assumptions, cite studies you read once-upon-a-time, their faces widen with bewilderment at how you cannot possibly see what’s so logical and self-evident to them.

This is a really common example of what happens when people allow their emotions to color their thoughts.

Being passionate is fine. Feeling a lot is fine. But when you lose your ability to differentiate what you feel from what…

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Can Ayurveda Help with Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Because my family has suffered from both Alzheimer’s and dementia, I am especially sensitive to anything that might reduce my vulnerability to them. I really  liked the Tips to Nourish Your Brain at the end.

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Please be sure to check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) for more information.

Tony

STAYING HEALTHY WITH AYURVEDA

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia, a brain disorder affecting the parts of the brain controlling thought, memory and language. About 4.5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s and the number of cases are expected to quadruple by 2050. Ayurveda, the original health science of India, offers much needed knowledge on how to reverse aging trends, even in cases of brain deterioration such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Early detection provides a greater opportunity to delay or reverse the existing symptoms of aging disorders. Ayurveda, offers a comprehensive system of effective interventions.

A consultation with an Ayurvedic health expert using the ancient technique of Ayurvedic pulse assessment can help with early detection. Pulse assessment can help identify specific imbalances in the body which can predispose an individual to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. This individual diagnosis is a powerful tool for designing an individualized treatment program and…

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Pilates or Yoga? – Infographic

I dated a yoga teacher and practiced it for years. I think learning the breathing techniques alone are worth it. I am pretty ignorant about Pilates. I took one class, but had a bad teacher, so never went back. I do know that a lot of people I respect practice it. A trainer told me that if you want a longer, leaner line, go with Pilates; if you want to condition your mind and body, do yoga.

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Tony

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How much water should you drink? – Harvard

The key to staying hydrated is drinking fluids throughout the day

I have been writing about water and hydration since the early days of the blog. I will list at the end some links to previous posts.

Here is what Harvard has to say on the subject, “You probably know that it’s important to drink plenty of fluids when the temperatures soar outside. But staying hydrated is a daily necessity, no matter what the thermometer says. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t getting enough to drink, especially older adults. “Older people don’t sense thirst as much as they did when they were younger. And that could be a problem if they’re on a medication that may cause fluid loss, such as a diuretic,” says Dr. Julian Seifter, a kidney specialist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Image: Female athlete drinking water

How we use water
Water keeps every system in the body functioning properly. The Harvard Special Health Report 6-Week Plan for Health Eating notes that water has many important jobs, such as: Continue reading

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U.S. Seniors need to move more – CDC

I write regularly here about the benefits of exercise on both the body and brain. Because we are, in fact, organic machines, I believe the law of the body is use it or lose it.

Here’s a summary of what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has to say in its latest Morbidity and Mortality Report.

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“Physical activity has health benefits for persons of all ages. When adults are not able to meet guidelines because of factors such as age, chronic disease, or disabilities, they should engage in physical activity according to their abilities; adults who participate in any physical activity will gain some health benefits. Communities can provide supports that help everyone become more active by using recommended evidence-based strategies.
What is added by this report? Continue reading

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Exercise is Not Optional

I think that probably the most widespread misconception about being healthy in general and losing weight in particular is that exercise is optional. It isn’t. As I wrote in an earlier post, you need to Move ya body. A skinny body with no muscle tone is not a healthy body. Also, and most importantly, exercise excites important activity in the brain. In a lot of ways the brain benefits as much as the body from exercise. Check out Important facts about your brain (and exercise)

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Following is an excerpt from my Page – How to lose weight (and keep it off)

You need to exercise. Exercise is your two-edged sword. You do it to work your muscles and remain in top physical and mental condition. AND, you can do it to burn calories and help in weight management.

According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services:
Adults 18 to 64 should get:
2.5 hours/wk of moderate intensity exercise.
OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
. Or Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week.

Be careful using free weights. Seniors: If you weigh 150 pounds, you should not exercise with more than 60 pounds of weights because as you age, the spinal discs are not as flexible and the risk of a back injury increases. Check out my post on How Much Should You Lift? here.

Have a lovely day!

Tony

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Want to cut your doctor bills? – Move – AHA

Everybody alive knows that medical bills go up every year. But, what to do about it?  The American Heart Association has a healthy suggestion – exercise.

Getting recommended levels of exercise weekly may help keep down annual medical costs both for people with and without cardiovascular disease, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Nitric oxide reduces blood pressure.

Although it’s well known that regular moderate exercise reduces risk of heart disease, stroke, and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, “our findings also emphasize the favorable impact on how much you pay for healthcare,” said Khurram Nasir, M.D., M.P.H., senior author of the study and director of the Center for Healthcare Advancement & Outcomes and the High Risk Cardiovascular Disease Clinic at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables. Continue reading

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Activity protects seniors’ motor functions – Tufts

Because I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family, I am extremely sensitive to news about the brain. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to read further.

Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter reports, “Physical activity helps preserve mobility and motor skills as you age—and not just by keeping your muscles in shape. A new study suggests that activity also maintains mobility by protecting your brain. Even in people with signs of brain aging called white matter hyperintensities (WMH) associated with movement issues, being more active seemed to allow the brain to compensate.

brain

“Tammy Scott, PhD, a scientist at Tufts’ HNRCA Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory, says of the findings, “Although the study cannot determine causality because of its cross-sectional design, their results are consistent with a number of other studies that have shown that increased physical activity protects mobility.”“BRAIN SPOTS AND MOBILITY: The study, published in the journal Neurology, subjected 167 people without dementia, ages 60 to 96, to a battery of tests. They had MRI scans of their brains, wore activity monitors for up to 11 full days, and underwent 11 motor-performance tests, such as grip strength, finger tapping and lower-body function. Continue reading

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What is a Healthy Resting Heart Rate?

One of the most important measurements we can know about ourselves is our resting heart rate. Yet most people don’t know it. They can give you their cholesterol count (usually the total, not the breakdown of HDL and LDL see  post – How to Improve your cholesterol numbers), but unless the person has recently visited his doctor he will be stumped when it comes to his resting heart rate, or its relevance to his overall health..hwkb17_071

WebMD reported, “For most people, a normal resting heart rate is between 60 and 90 beats a minute,” according to Edward F. Coyle, PhD. The professor of kinesiology and health education at the University of Texas at Austin and director of the university’s Human Performance Laboratory, says. “Athletic training can lower that rate by 10 to 20 beats per minute.heart-rate-carotid

“Regular aerobic exercise makes your heart stronger and more efficient, meaning that your heart pumps more blood each time it contracts, needing fewer beats per minute to do its job.”

Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist puts the normal resting heart rate between 60 and 100 beats per minute. “Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness. For example, a well-trained athlete might have a normal resting heart rate closer to 40 beats a minute.”

The upper end of the range is relevant. Gordon F. Tomaselli, MD, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, told WebMD, “A number of studies have shown that, even within the normal range, a high resting heart rate is associated with an increased risk for ischemic heart disease, stroke, and sudden cardiac death.”

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