Category Archives: health

What About Germs in the Gym?

Going to ‘the club’ and sweating over the machines is supposed to be work – as in the first four letters of w-o-r-k-out. So it is likely that you and/or the person(s) before you have been sweating on those exercise machines. There is a bitter irony to the fact that you are working out to maintain your good health, so you shouldn’t be risking it in the bargain.

Gripping the handrails on the treadmill or the handlebars on the stationary bike is very natural. Ditto, handling the free weights in a strength-building session.

It is likely that you will rub a sweaty fist over your eyes or scratch some place.

In view of these simple facts you might find it interesting that the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (better known as MRSA), which can survive on surfaces as long as 30 days, has been found on health club machines in studies across the country.

According to WebMD “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It’s tougher to treat than most strains of staphylococcus aureus — or staph — because it’s resistant to some commonly used antibiotics.

“The symptoms of MRSA depend on where you’re infected. Most often, it causes mild infections on the skin, like sores or boils. But it can also cause more serious skin infections or infect surgical wounds, the bloodstream, the lungs, or the urinary tract.

“Though most MRSA infections aren’t serious, some can be life-threatening. Many public health experts are alarmed by the spread of tough strains of MRSA. Because it’s hard to treat, MRSA is sometimes called a ‘super bug.'”

I am not a health club member, but there is one in the highrise in which I live. We furnish paper towels and antiseptic sprays to wipe off the machines before you start and after you finish. It might be uncool to be spraying machines in a public health club, but I would carry some antiseptic handy wipes or something like that. Better safe than sorry.

As long as you are willing to sweat over a machine, the least you can do is try to leave the health club with no more germs than you came in with.

Eat less; move more; live longer. Words to live by.

Tony

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How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy

I have owned my Apple watch just under a month now. For the record, I am a big fan of Apple. I bought my first Apple II+ back in 1979 and upgraded to a Fat Mac in 1984. I bought the stock when it became available and I have continued to update my home Apple computer (both on my desktop and laptop) ever since.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

This is the band that I have. It is called Milanese and is totally adjustable to fit my skinny wrist.

Because I am 75 years old, there is a certain ‘old man resistance’ to new stuff in me these days. Nonetheless, I have taken to my Apple Watch like a duck to water. Despite my enjoyment, I can not say that I have mastered all its intricacies yet by any means. Like a good relationship, it keeps unfolding in the most delightful ways.

The Activity App is the one of the keys keeping me healthy. I will write some aspects, but, to really learn about it, click the link to go through the guided tour. The link has info on 20 aspects of the Apple Watch. For this post, please scroll down to the Activity one (with the three concentric circles) and Click on  “Watch the Guided Tour.” Apple created the tour and demonstrates actual usage of the App beautifully.

To begin using the app, the Watch screen prompted me to fill in a brief form with sex, age, weight and height. Now my watch knows me.

Next I had to indicate my personal activity level. This is what I estimate my activity calorie expenditure for the day to be. The watch then suggested a goal for me which you can accept or adjust it to a level I prefer.

I can track my activity through the day by tapping the icon or actually put an icon on my Watch face and track it from there.

There are three rings on the Activity app. The Movement one, in red, shows active calories toward my daily goal. BTW, these are calories which I burn as I move throughout the day. It does not include resting calories from lack of movement, like just sitting. The Centers for Disease Control reports that 78 percent of us are not meeting our basic activity requirements.

The Exercise ring, in green, shows how many minutes of exercise I have done toward a goal of 30 minutes per day. This tracks movement, not just health club stuff. Playing with your kids or dancing counts on the Activity app.

Finally, the Stand ring, in blue, shows how many times out of twelve hours that I have stood for at least a minute. If you aren’t aware of the dangers of prolonged sitting, please check out my Page – Do you know the Dangers of too much sitting? I have to confess that I am blown away by the fact that the Watch reminds me when I have been sitting too long. Many people are not even aware that prolonged sitting is bad.

The Stand reminder, by the way, is shown on the Watch screen and is accompanied by a little nudge on my wrist called a haptic. The Watch has sensors and other mechanisms on the part that touches your skin. That is where the haptic originates. It feels like someone gently poking your wrist.

In sum, the Activity App alone gives me the feeling that I am being watched over by a gentle and friendly robot that cares about me. Okay, I have a vivid imagination. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed being reminded to stand and also viewing my activity through the day as well as at day’s end. I have a better consciousness of my daily activity progress as a result. Every Monday, the Watch notifies me of the previous week’s results and I have the option of tweaking my daily move goal for the coming week.

I called this post How My Apple Watch Keeps Me Healthy, but of course, I am the one keeping me healthy by my commitment to good health. I think if you are a person less committed than I am, the Watch will be even more effective for you because it continually reminds you about your need to move. I would love to hear from readers who are also experiencing owning the Watch.

The next time I will continue this by going into the Workout App which gives me wonderful coverage and assistance on my bike riding. Of course, it also covers walking, running, indoor and out, elliptical, rower and more. So it is excellent for specific exercises compared with the Activity App which is more general movement.

Stay tuned.

Tony

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Wealthy Habits vs Poor Habits – Statistical Data

So here is Ramsey’s quick comparison of wealthy habits versus poor habits (remember, wealthy is defined as household income exceeding $150,000 and poor as under $30,000):

In food we trust.

In food we trust.

I am reblogging this even though it focuses on money as opposed to good health or weight loss. I believe strongly that the same principles apply to living a healthy life as living a successful life financially. You need to take responsibility for your actions (and inactions).

TANSTAAFL – There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

As I said in a comment on this post by the original blogger. I think this post put the lie to the, “You didn’t build that” theory which is clearly intended to take away credit from individual’s achievements. We are absolutely responsible for our health, fiscal and physical.

Eat less; move more; live longer.

Tony

Dream Big, Dream Often

Dave Ramsey published a list of habits of the wealthy versus the poor.  I used it in part to compile my own list of positive life habits I wanted to adopt for myself.  I use the list from my previous post as a guide to success and kind of a mission statement to keep me in check.  Building wealth or success takes dedication beyond anything I have experienced in my life.

But as I am realizing, once you understand the formula it becomes easier to duplicate success in other areas of your life.  Millionaires will tell the story of losing millions several times over, yet start again from scratch and ascend like the pheonix.   Ever wondered how?  The answer is found in the formula I discussed in my first few posts: 1. determine what it is that you desire and state it, 2. determine what you are willing to sacrifice to get…

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What is the Secret Ingredient to a Healthy, Happy Life?

This is one of those great quotes like “Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life” that works perfectly. I have been lucky enough to find bike riding. Think about what might work for you. Do you like to garden? I have heard wonderful feedback from folks who do that. How about dancing, running, skiing, skating? The list goes on. If you are in a four season climate like me, you might have to find more than one for when Mother Nature says “Not today.”

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I confess the health club turns me off. Watching the folks on treadmills just makes me think of being in prison. The air even seems stale. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work out. You don’t need to go a health club to be healthy. Just Move Ya Body.

Of course you have to eat intelligently, too. Eat less; move more.

Tony

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Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings!

I hope this edible Christmas tree will give you healthy ideas about your eating this holiday season and in the coming year.

While you are thinking about it, don’t forget that you need to exercise, too. You won’t be exercising just to burn calories. Exercise benefits your brain and body in many ways. Check out the exercise tags at the right to read further on this.

I hope you will enjoy all the benefits of good food and exercise! Eat less; move more; live longer. Healthy eating is healthy aging and we all want that. Okay, we seniors are more aware of it than you younger folk, but keep at it and you will come realize and appreciate it too.

Best wishes for this holiday season!

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Tony

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Filed under aging, brain health, Exercise, health, Merry Christmas, Weight, weight control

11 Ridiculously Simple Tips to Improve Your Health

This is yet another really good list. I have posted on a number of these simple tips. Check out 7 Areas of the Body Affected by Sitting too Long – Infographic which I posted earlier this morning. Also, I have a Page on What’s Wrong With Soft Drinks?

Jumping

Tony

SMART Fitness

Sometimes we make things way too complicated when it comes to our health. Here are 11 Really Simple Things you can do TODAY to improve your health…

  1. STOP drinking soft drinks! This includes diet soft drinks too. Just STOP. You know it’s bad for you. If not, Google it.
  2. Eat more vegetables. Nothing new here, but choose wisely. Pick a green veggie like broccoli, spinach, or kale. Eat as much as you want.
  3. Add good fats to your diet with Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Sprinkle it on your veggies.
  4. Drink more water. Since you have given up soft drinks, this is the logical replacement. I like lime in mine.
  5. Eat more protein. Red meat is NOT bad for you like we were told several decades ago. Add some to your diet. Add some fish too.
  6. Stop sitting so much. If you sit at a desk…

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6 Reasons You Should Eat Bananas – Infographic

Banana

To read further on the brain check out:15 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Brain – Infographic, 5 steps to improve your brain health and my Page: Important Facts About Your Brain.

Tony

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December 7, 2014 · 6:05 am

The 11 Most Nutrient Dense Foods on The Planet

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Our Better Health

By Kris Gunnars 

There is only a limited amount of food you can eat in a single day.

In order to maximize the amount of nutrients you take in, it makes sense to spend your “calorie budget” wisely.

The best way to do that is to simply eat the foods that carry the greatest amount and variety of nutrients.

These are the 11 most nutrient dense foods on the planet.

1. Salmon

Not all fish is created equal.

Salmon, and other fatty types of fish, contain the greatest amount of Omega-3s.

Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for the optimal function of your body. They’re linked to improved wellbeing and a lower risk of many serious diseases.

Although salmon is mainly prized for its beneficial composition of fatty acids, it also packs a massive amount of other nutrients.

A 100 gram piece of wild salmon contains 2.8 grams of Omega-3s…

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Nuts and Your Health: What to Know

What’s more, researchers from Purdue University found that nuts are not linked with weight gain, despite their relatively high calorie count. An ounce of nuts has 160-200 calories, depending on the type.

walnuts

 

Our Better Health

By Kathleen Doheny   WebMD Health News   Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD     Sept. 10, 2014

Once viewed by some as a food too high in calories to enjoy on a regular basis, nuts are getting new respect.

Two recent studies have touted the benefits of nuts for blood sugar control. One, published in Diabetes Care, found that eating pistachio nuts daily may help people at risk of getting diabetes control their blood sugar. A second, published in PLOS One, found that tree nuts — including almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, and pecans, among others — may improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.

These are only a couple of many recent studies that point to the health benefits of eating nuts in moderation.

WebMD asked two dietitians to dish on what else we need to know about these crunchy treats.

What are some of the top…

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‘Apps for Health’ section hits App Store following Apple’s release of Healthkit enabled iOS 8.0.2

Apple is raising the bar in the health tracking arena. Here is a suite of apps where “…fitness app can talk to your calorie tracker, your doctor can be automatically notified of updates to your health data, and great apps work together for a healthier you.”

Must confess that I am an Apple Fan-boy. My first computin’ machine was an Apple II Plus in 1979. I have been a happy Apple customer ever since. Can’t wait for the Apple Watch to come out. Check out my post Sitting Too Much is Killing Us for more on that.
Tony

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A Decade-by-decade Guide to Optimal Nutrition for Men

Great ideas here. Good clear guidance on realizing where we are in life’s continuum and acting and eating accordingly.

Cooking with Kathy Man

Think your nutrition needs stay the same your whole adult life? Think again: Every decade has its own pitfalls and concerns, from weight creep to heart disease, and this changes what — and how much — you need to eat during each life stage. Check out our handy guide to figure out which foods will help boost your health no matter your age.

20s: High Energy

You’re no couch potato! In your 20s, you’re likely in college or working in your first job after graduating, and your spare time is filled with sports, hiking and other active pursuits. Savor the decade, because it means you can get away with downing more calories than your older brethren without piling on weight. “But just because you can eat a lot of calories doesn’t mean they should be empty calories,” says Keith Ayoob, EdD, RD, FADA, a former Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics…

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Does Crunchy or Smooth Texture Contain More Calories?

When researchers at the University of South Florida asked volunteers about calorie intake, they got some fascinating results.

“We studied the link between how a food feels in your mouth and the amount we eat, the types of food we choose, and how many calories we think we are consuming,” wrote study authors Dipayan Biswas and Courtney Szocs, both from the University of South Florida, and others, HealthDay reported.

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The folks in the study who had been asked about calorie count chose the crunchy brownies over the smooth. On the other hand, the majority of the non diet-conscious individuals went for the smooth ones.

“Understanding how the texture of food can influence calorie perceptions, food choice, and consumption amount can help nudge consumers towards making healthier choices,” the researchers concluded. Continue reading

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How About Some Granola Without any Grains?

Let me hear that, get me near that
Crunchy Granola Suite
Drop your shrink and stop your drinkin’
Crunchy granola’s neat ( Neil Diamond )


I agree with Neil about crunchy granola being neat. It has been a part of my diet for more years than I care to remember.

I know ‘Granola Without Grains’ sounds like something left over from April Fool’s Day. But it isn’t.  That’s why I was so surprised to discover Paleo Granola by CJK Foods of Chicago, IL.

“Granola,” according to Wikipedia “is a breakfast food and snack food, popular in the Americas, consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency. Dried fruits, such as raisins and dates, are sometimes added.”

So, clearly, grains are an integral part of granola.

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I must confess almost total ignorance of the Paleo diet. I just checked the web and the first thing I learned is that they don’t eat grains. They do eat grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds and healthful oils, like coconut oil. Lots of good eating there. So, the fact that you don’t eat grains explains why the Paleo Granola has no grains in it.

Before going further, I need to tell you that I bought it from my local grocer who had a girl passing out samples. I tried one and was blown away by the taste. A party in my mouth! I went right back and picked up a package. I am now on my third one.

Okay, so what is in Paleo Granola?

The ingredients are Organic almonds, organic sunflower seeds, almond flour, organic cashews, organic walnuts, maple syrup, organic flax seeds, organic coconut oil, organic raisins, vanilla, organic coconut flakes, spices and salt.

Here is the nutrition breakdown:
Serving size 2 ounces, 57 grams
Calories 295
Total fat 23 grams
Saturated fat 8 grams
No Trans fat
Sodium 16 mg
Dietary fiber 4 grams
Sugar 11 grams
Protein 7 grams

A quick comparison with a regular granola, puts Paleo slightly higher on calories, a lot higher on total fat, due to the nuts and coconut, way down on sodium and higher on fiber and protein. Not a bad tradeoff, I think.

Although I am a big granola fan and have a bowl almost every day. I have found that I like the taste of this Paleo mixture so much that I use it as a snack and sometimes take chunks of it with me for energy breaks when I ride the bike.

While I usually refrain from writing up local products that are not available to readers of an international blog, I did this one because I thought you might enjoy being exposed to the concept of granola sans grains. Also, resourceful readers might even try to make it on their own with a little experimentation. You have all the ingredients.

If anyone does try to make their own, I hope you will share your experience with the blog.

For Neil Diamond fans, here is the best audio version I could find on You Tube:

Tony

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Filed under breakfast, eating, energy, energy bars, Exercise, fresh fruit, granola, health, healthy fats, healthy living, meat, nutrition, nuts, Paleo Diet, protein, salt, saturated fat, snack foods, Snacking, Weight

Tips from the National Kidney Foundation for March – National Kidney Month

Following are four tips from the  National Kidney Foundation to help us to protect ourselves in this National Kidney Month:

kidney-stone-symptoms
•    Drink fluids! Ideally, 2-3 liters daily.
•    Water is best. Water is the best fluid to drink. Another option is sugar-free fresh lemon or lime juice mixed with water.
•    Eat fruits and veggies. In general, eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, moderate in low fat dairy and low in salt and animal protein might prevent kidney stone formation. Most Americans eat more than the recommended amounts of animal protein and salt.
•    Stick to a treatment plan. After a kidney stone, work with a doctor to create an individual treatment plan that considers fluid intake, diet and sometimes medication.

Tony

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Heavy Smokers Should Get CT Scans

Regular readers know I am strongly opposed to smoking. You can check out my Page How bad is smoking at the top for all the reasons in detail. But, this is still a free country and you can do what you want, So, I thought it wise to pass on the words of Rob Logan, Ph.D. Director of the U.S. National library of Medicine.

Young woman smoking cigarette

“The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends annual computer tomography (or CT) screening for smokers between age 55-80, who currently smoke or have smoked an average of a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years. Low dose CT scans also are recommended for adults between age 55-80, who smoked an average of a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years — and quit within the past 15 years.

“Michael LeFevre M.D., the Task Force’s co-vice chair, told the Wall Street Journal (after the recommendations’ release) the recommended screening could prevent as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths annually. Dr. LeFevre told Health Day: ‘That’s a lot of people, and we feel it’s worth it, but there still will be a lot more people dying from lung cancer. That’s why the most important way to prevent lung cancer will continue to be to convince smokers to quit.'”

“The Task Force’s report notes about 160,000 Americans die from lung cancer annually and about 230,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Lung cancer is the third most common and deadliest of all cancers and impacts both men and women. The Task Force’s report explains about 37 percent of adults are current or former smokers.”

Anecdotally, my father smoked cigarettes all his life and quit at age 55. He died of lung cancer at age 76. It seems the doctor’s recommendation might have been helpful in his case.

Tony

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Where Do I Find Hidden Sugar in My Diet?

Sugar, like other damaging white powders, salt, cocaine, can often be found in the most unlikely places. Locking down the top of your sugar bowl isn’t enough to save you from consuming too much of this sinful sweet.

WebMD has a super quiz that tests our “Sugar Smarts” which I recommend that you take as soon as possible.

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“Soda, fruit drinks and juices, sports drinks, energy drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages are the No. 1 source of added sugar in American diets. (Emphasis mine) A recent study found that drinking one or two sugary drinks a day raises the risk of Type 2 diabetes by 26 percent compared with those who limit sweet drinks to just one a month.

“But sugar alone isn’t to blame for diabetes. Diets that are high in calories from any source, like sugar or fat, lead to weight gain — and being overweight raises your chance of Type 2 diabetes,” the quiz says in answer to its fifth question – where do added sugars hide? That’s all the spoilers I’m going to give you.

The American Heart Association recommends a total of six teaspoons of sugar a day for women and nine for men. In fact, Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons a day. Those teaspoonsful have little nutritional value but load you up with empty calories. For more on empty calories, check out my Page – A Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s – NOT.

Is it any wonder that 60 percent of us are overweight and 30 percent obese?

Please take the WebMD quiz and learn more about this very damaging ‘nutrient’ in our daily diet.

Tony

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