NOVEMBER 2012 | A SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT FROM
BEACON COMMUNICATIONS Overcoming Arthritis
Exercise options for people with arthritis
Kids & Exercise
How to encourage kids to be more physically active
Get Up & Go Simple ways to boost your energy levels
Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012 •
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How to make healthy school lunches for kids.........................................................p.5 Opting out of vaccinations potentially dangerous.........................p.6 Healthy alternatives to potentially unhealthy ingredients.........................p.9 Water essential to human health.......................................p.10 Make your diet work for you..........................................p.12 Let caution reign when beginning a new exercise program..................p.13 Practice safety and common sense when hiking.............................p.14
How to encourage kids to be more physically active
Exercises for people with arthritis
Simple ways to protect your bones..............................................p.16 New recommendations on dental X-rays could be on the horizon............................p.17 More effective cancer screenings.....................p.18 Enjoy dairy for good health.................................p.19
Simple ways to boost your energy levels
Dental care can help prevent periodontal disease.................p.20 Pros and cons to electronic health records............................p.21 Could your home be making you sick?.......................p.23
3 â€˘ Healthy Lifestyle â€˘ November 2012
Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012 •
How to encourage kids to be more physically active Kids who embrace physical activity from a young age are less likely to be overweight or obese as adults.
When today’s parents reflect on their childhood, many likely recall seemingly endless days spent playing outdoors. But when today’s kids become tomorrow’s parents, chances are their recollections won’t recall nearly as much time spent idling the days away under the sun. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 17 percent of American children and adolescents between the ages of 2 to 19 are obese. In Canada, where self-reporting data collection methods have made such statistics more difficult to quantify, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children is also on the rise, according to the Canadian Community Health Survey.
The rise in overweight or obese children is likely a byproduct of several factors, not the least of which is that many of today’s kids prefer to play a video game on the couch instead of going outdoors and being physically active. The potential ramifications of youngsters choosing a more sedentary lifestyle are dangerous, as it increases their risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, respiratory ailments and joint problems, among other things. What’s more, numerous studies have found that obese or overweight children are more likely to become obese or overweight adults, which highlights the importance of embracing a physically active lifestyle as a youngster. Parents know it’s not always This Ad Entitles You To A
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easy to get kids to be more physically active. But the following are a few tips parents might find useful when encouraging their kids to embrace a more active lifestyle. Give toys that encourage physical activity. Kids love toys, and their toys will often dictate how they spend their days. Instead of buying the latest video game console, give kids toys that encourage them to be active. This can include balls, bicycles, jump ropes, or even a backyard swingset. Kids who embrace these activities at a young age are more likely to continue doing so into adolescence and adulthood. Reduce time spent in front of the television. Parents who can effectively minimize the amount of time their child spends in front of the television, whether reducing
their time spent watching television or playing video games, will likely be more successful at instilling a love of physical activity as well. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents limit their child’s time in front of the television to one to two hours per day, and that includes the time children spend playing video games. To further reduce kids’ time watching TV, don’t allow televisions in their bedrooms, as that will only make it harder to monitor just how much time kids are spending in front of their TVs. Remember that physical activity should be fun. Not all kids are athletic, and some will likely bemoan participating in recreational sports leagues. But that doesn’t mean parents should give up on encouraging physical activity. Instead, find a physical activity that your child
finds fun and encourage his or her participation. This might be nontraditional kids’ sports like cycling or jogging or activities like dancing, hiking or even bird watching. Once a child exhibits a healthy interest in a physical activity that you have deemed safe, encourage it. Set a positive example. Kids, especially younger children, look up to their parents and often try to emulate what Mom and Dad are doing. Parents can make the most of that adoration by setting a positive example and being physically active themselves. Go for a nightly bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood with your youngsters in tow. Or put that elliptical machine in the basement to good use. Whatever physical activity you choose, you can bet your children will express an interest in it as well, and that’s a great way to make them more enthusiastic about having a healthy and active lifestyle.
Confrontations focusing on diet between children and parents have been around seemingly since the beginning of time. Many children start off as cooperative eaters, anxious to try different types of foods. As they get older, the number of foods they’re apt to eat diminishes, which can make choosing healthy items for lunches and dinners more difficult. It also can make packing lunches for school more challenging. Many initiatives have attempted to improve the quality of school lunches provided by school cafeterias. Government regulations to reduce the amount of fat and sodium in these lunches, and to introduce more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, are one such initiative. Parents of students who prefer to bring their own lunches from home may be left wondering how they can create healthy lunches their kids will eat. Considering school lunches must compete with far less healthy yet widely available alternatives, parents will need to be creative in their creation of homemade lunches. Here are some ideas to get you started. Purchase a new lunch container. There are many different new and innovative lunch containers that can make separating school lunches easy. Few kids want to dig into a brown paper sack and pull out something that has been so squashed it’s unrecognizable. Partitioned lunch boxes enable you to
pack different items together where they can be stored separately. The divisions also help you remember to include foods from the basic food groups, such as a fruit, vegetable, protein, starch and dairy item. Have your child make a list of his or her favorite foods. Once the list has been made, see how you can make the foods healthier. For example, if chicken nuggets make the list, prepare your own nuggets with white meat chunks that are baked, not fried. If there are a number of bread items, see if you can substitute whole grain breads instead of white, bleached varieties. Get creative. Children may not be inclined to eat loose pieces of fruit. But if the fruit is stuck on skewers or served with a low-fat dipping sauce or caramel, it may look more appealing. Look to “mini” foods, which tend to be more fun as well. Little sandwiches and little burgers may present an optical illusion, where kids think they’re eating only a small amount, but actually it’s a full serving. Hide healthy foods within others. There are entire recipe books that teach you how to mix fruits and vegetables into desserts to increase nutritive value. Everything from spinach to tofu to beets have been included in items like cake, cookies and brownies. So if kids are reticent to dig into their greens, try a clever hiding method. Cut foods into fun shapes. Kids may be more inclined to eat a turkey and cheese sandwich if it’s cut into star shapes or their favorite cartoon characters. Invest in a few cookie cutters so that lunchtime becomes fun time. Don’t let the time of day dictate what you serve. As long as kids are eating healthy items, it doesn’t matter when they eat them. If a child loves bagels, choose whole wheat bagels and add an egg on top for a nutritious lunch. Serve with a gelatin dessert that contains chunks of fruit and low-fat milk, and you’re set. There are many different ways to improve homemade lunches for the better.
5 • Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012
How to make healthy school lunches for kids
Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012 •
Opting out of vaccinations potentially dangerous Childhood vaccinations are issued to help prevent children from getting sick by building their immunity to diseases that were once prolific. But in the wake of confusing information regarding the safety of vaccinations, particularly the concern that some may be linked to the onset of autism, more and more parents are opting out of having their children vaccinated — sometimes with unfortunate consequences. Many diseases that are effectively prevented by simple vaccines have cropped up once more. This can be attributed to children simply not getting fully vaccinated. Nearly 80 percent of parents are uncomfortable about having their children vaccinated, according to a survey analyzed by
researchers at the CDC. Pain from the needle itself and uncertainty about the safety of vaccines is leading many parents to forego shots or delay certain vaccinations until their children are older. It is estimated that roughly 8 percent of American children are now not getting regular vaccinations or doing alternate schedules, and 2 percent are not getting shots at all. Some parents would like to have their children vaccinated but have postponed routine visits due to unemployment and subsequent loss of health insurance. Some areas have even fell victim to budget cuts that have led to shortages of necessary vaccines. In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert
regarding Haemophilus influenza type b, commonly referred to as Hib. Five children in Minnesota contracted the disease, three of whom who were not vaccinated. The CDC also reported that there were 17 outbreaks and 222 cases of measles reported in 2011. A disease that was essentially wiped out in North America is now showing up again and the numbers are rising. Dr. Jason Bowling, an infectious disease specialist, said that in 2011 the United States had the highest number of measles cases of any country in the last 15 years. Although it is likely that most of the cases were contracted outside of the country, kids who haven’t been vaccinated are highly susceptible to measles onset as a
7 • Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012
result, potentially leading to a greater number of outbreaks in the United States and Canada. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly infectious respiratory disease that was once considered eradicated but has also made a resurgence. Various states across the country have reported many whopping cough outbreaks, to the point that it has been labeled an epidemic once more. Health officials in Washington state have said that the number of outbreaks from spring 2012 are the highest since the 1940s. While whooping cough is usually not fatal among older children and young adults, it can be very dangerous for infants. Most health professionals agree that vaccinations are important to the wellbeing of the child and the community, providing the safest way to prevent certain diseases or reduce their severity. There are several recommended vaccinations that children should receive: • DtaP: Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis • Hepatitis A • Hepatitis B • Hib • Influenza • MMR: Measles, mumps and rubella • Pneumococcal • Polio • Varicella: Chickenpox • Smallpox Parents who have any concerns about vaccinations should speak to a physician to weigh the pros and cons of each vaccination.
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Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012 •
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When trying to get healthy, men and women rightfully place great emphasis on diet and exercise. A healthy diet and routine exercise make a great team. Many people don’t exactly jump for joy when adopting a healthy diet because they may feel the diet must be devoid of their favorite foods to prove effective. But a healthy diet isn’t necessarily one that lacks taste. In fact, changing a few ingredients is a great way to make some of your favorite dishes healthier while ensuring you still get to eat them.
The following are a few ways to substitute healthy ingredients in some your favorite recipes, courtesy of the American Heart Association. • Instead of whole milk, use fat-free or low-fat milk. • Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk or a combination of low-fat yogurt and plain low fat unsalted cottage cheese. • Replace sour cream with low-fat unsalted cottage cheese or fat-free yogurt; fat-free sour cream is also a healthier choice than regular sour cream. • Swap cream cheese with soft margarine that is low in saturated fat and free of trans fats and blend the margarine with unsalted fatfree cottage cheese. • Use margarine that is low in saturated fats and free of trans fats when a recipe calls for butter. • Choose egg whites instead of regular eggs. But healthy eating goes beyond ingredients. Many people find it difficult to avoid all of those delicious yet typically unhealthy snacks. But even snacks can be healthy and provide an energy boost throughout the day. All it takes is choosing the right snacks as opposed to those most readily available, which are often the most unhealthy. • Replace potato or corn chips with pretzels or reduced sodium low-fat potato chips. • Avoid high-fat cookies and crackers in favor of fat-free or low-fat options, including graham crackers, rice cakes, and fig or fruit bars. • Choose angel food cake over devil’s food cake. • Replace ice cream bars on hot afternoons with frozen fruit bars. • When making pudding, make it with fat-free or low-fat milk instead of whole milk. • Opt for toast instead of a doughnut or bagel. Fortunately, many restaurants have started informing customers about the ingredients in their offerings, and some establishments are even obligated by law to share calorie information with their customers. Still, the AHA notes that there
9 • Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012
Healthy alternatives to potentially unhealthy ingredients
are ways for customers to go one step further and make the meals they enjoy when dining out even healthier. • Replace cream-based soups with broths that boast lots of vegetables. • Request melba toast, pita bread or whole-grain rolls in lieu of bread, muffins or croissants. • Choose a baked potato or brown rice instead of french fries. • Request that your chicken be grilled instead of fried. • End you meal with nonfat yogurt, sherbet or fruit ice instead of a sundae or ice cream. A healthy diet doesn’t have to be bland. To learn more about how to enjoy the foods you love without putting your health at risk, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.
Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012 • 1
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Many adults have had the virtues of drinking enough water extolled on them since childhood. Though recommendations as to how much water a person should drink each day have fluctuated over the years, it’s still safe to say that drinking a significant amount of water every day is essential for your health. Water keeps the body healthy in a number of ways. But the body loses water in a number of ways as well, each of which is part of normal human function. For instance, a body loses water when a person breathes, sweats, urinates or has a bowel movement. The body must replace this lost fluid in order to stay healthy and avoid dehydration. In addition to fending off dehydration, water helps the body flush out wastes and maintain a healthy body temperature while reducing the risk of developing kidney stones or becoming constipated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, water also helps lubricate and cushion joints and protects the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues. The body needs water every day, but there are certain instances when the body will likely need more water than usual. If you spend ample time in especially hot climates, your body will need more water, just as it might during periods of physical activity. In addition, your body will need more water when suffering from certain ailments or conditions, including fever, diarrhea or vomiting. Though many people feel drinking caffeinated beverages, including coffee and sodas, dehydrate the body, experts say moderate caffeine consumption won’t dehydrate the body. A 2000 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that healthy people who consume moderate amounts of caffeine don’t lose more fluid than those people who abstain from caffeine. Overconsumption of caffeinated beverages might prove problematic, but moderate consumption can provide the body with the fluids it needs without causing harm. It’s best to consult a physician if you suspect you aren’t getting enough fluids, but there are also some indicators men and women can notice on their own. One such indicator is the color of your urine, which will be clear or pale yellow if your body is getting enough fluids. Urine that is dark yellow indicates the body needs more water. Constipation or hard bowel
movements may also be the result of a body that isn’t getting enough fluids. While it’s true there is such a thing as too much water, it is rare that a person drinks too much water. Endurance athletes are most susceptible if they only drink water during competitions. That’s because consuming too much water will dilute the amount of sodium in the body, creating an imbalance that can cause confusion, seizures and possibly even coma. That’s why many endurance athletes drink a sports drink that contains sodium, sugar and electrolytes during competitions. But even athletes who will be competing or exercising for more than an hour might want to choose a sports drink instead of just water to protect themselves and avoid an imbalance. Many people find they don’t drink enough water by accident. One way to combat that is to bring a bottle of water with you wherever you go. Another way is to drink water throughout the day at your office, which also gives you an opportunity to get up and stretch your legs over the course of the day. If you find water especially bland, add a slice of lemon or lime to give it more flavor. Drinking a sufficient amount of water each day helps the body function properly and fight off a host of ailments.
Constant fatigue, headaches, recurring upper respiratory infections. Do these symptoms sound familiar to you? If you are experiencing ongoing symptoms of some mysterious illness you may not be a hypochondriac at all — your home may be making you sick. It may be hard to believe that the place you call your sanctuary actually could be the breeding ground for unseen germs and other dangers, but there are many potential pathogens that could be taking up residence alongside you and your family. Kitchen The kitchen is one area of the home that could be teeming with microscopic invaders. According to researchers at New York University, the dirtiest place in the entire home is the kitchen sink. From discarded pieces of food to raw juices from meat, the kitchen sink comes in contact with many different substances, all of which may harbor bacteria. One may think that water constantly running in the sink would clean it effectively. This is not the case. Use a germicide or a bleach-and-water solution and a brush to scrub down the sink a few times a week. Do not use
a sponge used for washing dishes; otherwise you can transfer bacteria to silverware and plates, risking infection. Kitchen sponges should be discarded after about a week of use. However, if you are environmentally minded, the only ways to effectively kill bacteria hiding in porous sponges is to microwave them on high for a minute or run them through a dishwasher cycle. Building materials Unless you have purchased a new home and were involved with the building process, it could be difficult to know which building materials were used to construct your home. Certain materials once deemed safe are now banned. If your home was built between 1920 and 1978, there may be asbestos in the home. It was primarily used as an insulating material. Although asbestos in small amounts may not be harmful, breathing in high levels of asbestos over an extended period of time may increase your risk for cancer and respiratory ailments. Lead is also commonly found in older homes. Lead was a main component of paints in the past. Some homes even feature lead water pipes. Young children
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are highly susceptible to lead poisoning. The Environmental Protection Agency says that nearly 900,000 American children suffer from lead poisoning each year. Certain adhesives, carpets, vinyl materials, and varnishes can give off VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. Products that you use in your home every day emit gases that may be harmful, both right away and after extended exposure. These may cause anything from nose and throat irritation to memory loss. Allergens Water is a necessity to sustain life on this planet. While water can have many different positive attributes, water is also the culprit in helping to breed potentially dangerous organisms in and around the house. Water damage around the house may foster the growth of mold and other organisms. Inhaling mold spores can trigger allergies or increase the risk of illness. Insects and rodents also tend to gravitate to moist areas of the home, and waste from pests may lead to respiratory ailments and other serious conditions.
You can prevent many illnesses in the home by addressing any underlying water issues. Fix leaks and use a dehumidifier to dry out the interior of the home. Chemicals Home-cleaning products, pesticides, fertilizers and paints can each contribute to unhealthy air in the home. These items may also cause irritation to the eyes and skin. Look for alternatives to harsh chemicals in your household to limit the amount of items that could be polluting your living spaces. Many people assume illnesses are the result of outside factors. However, there are many things lurking inside the home that can contribute to myriad health symptoms.
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11 • Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012
Could your home be making you sick?
Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012 • 1
Make your diet work for you Daily exercise is a great way to stay healthy well into your golden years. When coupled with a healthy diet, a workout regimen becomes even more effective. For those adamant about working out but unsure of how to maximize their workouts, the answer might just lie in your daily diet. Fitness fans who learn how to make their diets work for them often find their workouts become even more effective, improving both how they feel and how they look. The following are a few tricks of the trade for men and women who want to make their diets work for them. Don’t discard breakfast. Many men and women prefer to workout in the morning, when temperatures might be more amenable to a morning jog or gyms might be less crowded than during peak hours. However, morning exercise enthusiasts should know that a healthy breakfast before working out can provide them with more energy, leading to a more effective workout. Men and women who don’t eat before their morning workouts are bound to feel more sluggish, as the majority of the energy from the previous night’s dinner has already been used up. A light breakfast of whole-grain cereal or bread paired with low-fat milk an hour before working out can provide the added boost your body needs and make your morning exercise routine that much more effective. Fruit, including bananas or a few apple slices, can
also do the trick. Just try to avoid working out on an empty stomach and give yourself enough time between eating and working out for the added energy boost to take effect. Don’t overdo it. A small meal prior to working out is generally the best way to go. You can workout after a large meal, but you’ll need to give yourself more time between eating and exercising, ideally several hours. If you like to workout after a long day at the office, eat a light snack, ideally an hour before you expect to begin your workout, so your blood sugar won’t be too low. In addition, a light snack before a workout might provide some extra energy that will come in handy when you hit that treadmill or start lifting those weights. Choose the right snacks. A snack before working is alright, just make sure it’s the right snack. A bag of potato chips, for example, is not an ideal preworkout snack, as it might produce an adverse effect, making you feel sluggish as you prepare to exercise. Fresh fruit, energy bars or drinks, granola bars or even a fruit smoothie will quell your hunger and help you maintain proper blood sugar levels. Find something to eat after you exercise. Eating after you exercise is also important. After working out, eating a meal with carbohydrates will promote muscle growth and recovery, restoring your fuel supplies that were lost during your workout.
This will come in handy tomorrow when you want to work out again. Eating protein after a workout is also important. Doing so is beneficial when trying to build muscle, and protein also promotes muscle repair. Many fitness experts feel the meal after a workout is the most important meal of the day, but just be sure yours contains both carbohydrates and protein. Don’t forget fluids. Fluids are part of your diet as well, and they’re especially important when exercising. Whether your typical exercise routine is vigorous or not, you are going to lose fluids when working out, sometimes a large amount of fluids. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends men and women emphasize drinking fluids, ideally water, before, during and after their workouts. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day, but it’s very important to begin a workout with adequate fluids in your body and to replenish those fluids during and after your workout as well. Water is adequate for those whose workouts are 60 minutes or less, but choose a sports drink if you workout for more than an hour at a time. The sports drink will help you maintain your electrolyte balance and give you more energy as you’re working. Diet and exercise make great bedfellows, and men and women can use their diets to make their workouts that much more effective.
An exercise regimen can be even more effective when paired with the right diet.
Exercise is an essential component of any plan to get healthier. Men and women who want to lose weight or change their lifestyles to reduce their risk of falling into poor health know that diet and exercise go hand in hand. As intimidating as beginning a new exercise regimen can seem, it can also be dangerous, especially when individuals fail to approach physical activity with a degree of caution. Effective, long-lasting results won’t come overnight, so there’s no reason to throw caution to the wind when starting a new exercise regimen. Patience and prudence should reign at the onset, and there are several precautionary measures to take that can ensure a commitment to a healthier lifestyle starts off on the right foot. Speak to a physician. No matter what is motivating you to get healthier, speak to a physician before beginning a new exercise regimen. Your physician will likely want you to get a full physical just to make sure you don’t have any existing conditions that might preclude you from certain activities. Part of proceeding with caution is knowing if you have any limitations, and certain health
to exercise. Discuss certain dietary tips with your physician to determine if there’s anything you can eat after a workout to aid in muscle recovery. Work with a professional. Personal training sessions can be costly, but they’re also worth it for beginners who have never worked out before or who haven’t seen the inside of a gym in a while. Technology is constantly changing, and weight training and cardiovascular machines are included in those changes. You may very well enter a gym and not recognize any of the machines, much less know how to use them. A personal trainer can walk you through these machines and help
People young and old should exercise caution when beginning a new exercise regimen. is that such a visit might reveal something that won’t necessarily preclude you from exercise, but help you gear your regimen toward addressing a certain situation before it progresses to something worse. For example, if the doctor finds you have high cholesterol, he might point you toward a regimen that includes more cardiovascular activity. Be patient. Patience is essential when beginning an exercise regimen. Many people grow discouraged if their workout routine doesn’t produce jaw-dropping results overnight. But an effective and healthy exercise regimen will gradually produce results, leading to longterm health, as opposed to an overnight fix with minimal long-term effectiveness. When beginning the regimen, do so slowly and allow for gradual progress. As your body grows more acclimated to physical activity, you can begin to challenge yourself more and more, and that’s when the results are likely to be most noticeable. Learning to rest is also part of being patient. The body needs time to recover between workouts, so don’t expect to exercise every day at the start. Initially, you should be giving your body at least one day to recover between workouts, and then you can take less time off between workouts as your body grows more acclimated
you tailor your workout to match your goals. Many gyms offer free or discounted personal training sessions to new members, so take advantage of those offers when starting out. If a personal trainer is simply beyond your budget, then solicit a friend or family member for help, ideally one who works out regularly. This person can accompany you to the gym and act as a spotter or just go with you to make sure you stay committed. The buddy system is highly effective among people hoping to get healthier, so don’t be shy to ask for help. Focus on form. The right form when performing certain exercises can make all the difference, while poor form can greatly increase your risk of injury. When beginning an exercise regimen, particularly one that involves weightlifting, master the form of each exercise with low weights. At this point in the routine, the primary goal should not be to strengthen your muscles, but rather to master the form of each exercise. Form includes everything from how you breathe during the workout to your posture to how smoothly your body moves during the exercise. Master the form first, even if it means lifting without any weight, before you start focusing on adding more weights and strengthening your muscles. Caution should reign supreme for men and women beginning a new exercise regimen.
13 • Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012
Let caution reign when beginning a new exercise
conditions can prove quite the hurdle to an exercise regimen. If the doctor detects any conditions, then the two of you can work together to devise an exercise regimen that’s both safe and effective. Another benefit to visiting the physician
Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012 • 1
Practice safety and common sense when hiking A warm breeze, the sound of a bubbling brook and the fresh smell of pine in the air are just some of the draws of hiking. There’s nothing quite like getting outdoors and enjoying nature. Although hiking isn’t inherently dangerous, being at the mercy of the elements does imply some risk. As a result, it pays to be prepared when embarking on a hiking trip. Even novice hikers know to avoid bug bites and apply sunscreen before heading outdoors, but there are also some lesser-known potential hazards on the hiking trail. Heeding these tips can keep a person safe. Plan ahead. Understand the terrain and the trails before you begin the hike. Visit the park or area’s official Web site to access
detailed, printable trail maps and other information about the area. Make note of ranger stations, portable bathrooms and any other places you may want to use as pit stops along the way. Give a copy of the trail map to someone staying behind, marking your planned place of entry. In the event you get lost, the person at home can alert authorities to your approximate location. Know your environment. Hiking trails can be found all around the world. Some may be arid and barren areas, while other areas may be lush and tropical. Each of these regions brings with them their own share of plants and animals. It is wise to know which species you may encounter along the way so you will know how to treat a bite or a brush with a
poisonous plant in the event of an emergency. Be mindful of the weather. Before going on the hike, get the latest weather report from a few different sources. This way you will have an average picture in your head of what the weather will be, and you can choose your footwear, clothing and other essentials based on that forecast. Few things can spoil a trip faster than unpredictable weather and failure to be ready for it. Pack a supply kit. It’s easy to go overboard on gear, but there are some basics that should be hiking essentials. Include a first aid kit, a Swiss Army Knife, matches or a lighter, aspirin, a flashlight, and toilet paper in your supply kit.
Pack snacks. Bring along lightweight snacks, such as granola bars, dried fruit and nuts. Avoid sugary or starchy snacks that your body will burn up in no time, leaving you feeling hungry again. Keep food in tightly fitted containers so aromas won’t lure curious animals in close. Embark early. The temperature is lower in the morning, and the sun is less intense in early morning as well. In addition, starting early reduces the chance you will be hiking in the dark.
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Be aware of your surroundings. Although most animals will be content to avoid a hiking party, if they are provoked or caught off guard, they may defend themselves. Watch where you are walking and avoid going off the trail. If scaling rocks, be careful where you put your hands. There may be snakes or small rodents lurking in crevices. Carry a field guide. Refer to a field guide to help identify plants, trees and animals you may have seen. Take plenty of photographs. Most hikers want to document the sights around them. Capture the moments with photos and be sure to make prints later. Carry out only what you carried in. Litter can ruin a natural landscape and put animals in danger. Always bring a trash bag and remove your spent items. Also, leave nature as you found it. Resist the urge to take flowers or saplings or any other samples of the environment.
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Arthritis can make physical activity more difficult. In spite of that difficulty, exercise is an important part of staying healthy for men and women with arthritis. Even moderate physical activity can strengthen bones and muscles and increase joint flexibility, making it easier for arthritis sufferers to perform daily tasks. According to the Arthritis Foundation, men and women with arthritis should commit to regular exercise that includes three types of activities: flexibility exercises, strengthening exercises and cardiovascular exercises. Consult a physician before beginning any exercise regimen, and discuss any limitations your specific condition might place on your physical abilities. Such limitations might diminish as your exercise regimen progresses, but it’s important to exercise within those limitations at the onset to avoid injuries. It’s also important to consult your physician should you experience a flare-up of arthritis before, during or after exercise. Such flare-ups might require you to alter your routine, and your physician can help with such alterations. Flexibility exercises: Perform flexibility exercises every day, as they will protect your joints by reducing injury risk. Flexibility exercises, which are often referred to as range-of-motion exercises, help your body warm up for more strenuous exercise. Once you’re comfortable doing at least 15 continuous minutes of flexibility exercises, you’re likely ready to add strengthening and cardiovascular exercises to your routine. Many people with arthritis find yoga is an especially effective flexibility exercise, as it strengthens and relaxes stiff muscles and even aids in weightloss efforts. Just don’t push yourself too hard when starting out with yoga, as the exercises are more difficult than they might seem.
Strengthening exercises: Strong muscles reduce stress on the joints, something that’s especially helpful to arthritis sufferers. Strengthening exercises, also known as resistance exercises, build the body’s muscles so they’re more capable of absorbing shock and more effective at preventing injury to the joints. When performing strengthening exercises, you will use weight or resistance to make the muscles work harder and grow stronger. Isometric strengthening exercises tighten the muscles without moving the joints, while isotonic strengthening exercises strengthen the muscles by moving the joints. The Arthritis Foundation recommends performing strengthening exercises every other day and always in conjunction with flexibility exercises, which can be performed before and after strengthening exercises. Cardiovascular exercises: Walking, dancing, swimming and bicycling are examples of cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercises, which many people find the most enjoyable way to exercise. Cardiovascular exercises make the heart, lungs, blood vessels and muscles work more efficiently while improving endurance and strengthening bones. Initially, cardiovascular exercises might be difficult for arthritis sufferers who have not exercised in a while. However, you can gradually build toward 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to four times per week, and you will notice your endurance improves the more you commit and stick to your routine. Include cardiovascular exercises as part of your larger routine, performing some type of aerobic exercise after strengthening exercises. More information on exercising for people with arthritis can be found at www.arthritis.org.
15 • Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012
Bring water. Water is essential when going on a hiking trip. By the time you are feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Bring at least 1 to 2 liters of water per person. Keep in mind that this may mean adding 3 to 4 pounds to the pack. When necessary, trade excess weight in other supplies for water, since water is most essential. Drinking from springs or lakes is not adviseable. Animals bathe and relieve themselves in that water, and it might be teeming with bacteria.
Exercises for people with arthritis
Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012 • 1
Simple ways to protect your bones
As men and women age, many take steps to improve their overall health. These steps can be as simple as cutting back on dinner portions or as significant as joining a gym and committing to an exercise regimen. One of the best things men and women can do to improve their health, as well as their quality of life, as they age is to protect their bones. Though some are aware of the importance of protecting their bones, which weaken as the aging process progresses, leaving older adults susceptible to fractures, many might not know that protecting their bones is
quite simple. What’s more, many of the roughly two million bone fractures caused by osteoporosis, a medical condition in which the bones become brittle from loss of tissue, are preventable. Men and women who heed the following tips to help protect their bones can reduce their risk of fractures as they age. Get your calcium and vitamin D. Calcium and vitamin D promote bone health, and many people are aware of those effects. However, a 2005 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocriology found that 52 percent of postmenopausal women on osteoporosis treatment had insufficient levels of vitamin D, despite being told by their doctors to take both vitamin D and calcium. If your diet does not include adequate vitamin D, which can be found in fortified dairy products, egg yolks, and fish, then vitamin D supplements can help meet your needs. Calcium can be found in a variety of products, including fortified cereals and juices, dark leafy greens like broccoli,
almonds and a host of dairy products. Visit your physician. Few people might know that bone health is actually measurable. A bone density screening can assess your bone health, while FRAX®, an online tool developed by the World Health Organization, evaluates a individual’s risk of fracture based on a host of factors, including age, weight, height and your medical history. FRAX® models give a 10-year probability of fracture, which can help prevent injuries down the road for those people whose risk might not be immediate. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends all women begin receiving bone density screenings at age 65. However, women with additional risk factors, including smokers, those with low weight or a thin frame, family history of osteoporosis, late onset of menstrual periods, and a history of anorexia or bulimia, should consult their physician about screenings regardless of their age. Get out and exercise. Exercise is another great way to protect your bones.
Unless you suddenly embrace competitive weightlifting, exercise won’t increase your bone density, but it will help you maintain the bone density you already have. Something as simple as walking can help maintain bone density, as can other weight-bearing activities like jogging. Cardiovascular weight-bearing activities can be coupled with strength training, which recent studies have found may improve bone mineral density, something that could delay the onset of osteoporosis and reduce your risk of fracture. A gym will likely have all of the strength-training materials you will need, but you can also purchase some hand weights or additional resistance training products to ensure your bones are getting adequate exercise. Consult a physician before beginning an exercise regimen, especially if you have recently had a fracture. More information about protection your bones is available at www.nof.org.
New recommendations on dental X-rays could be on the horizon A visit to the dentist often involves a check-up and a routine cleaning. Many dentists prefer to do annual X-rays as part of preventative care — helping to diagnose oral problems that cannot be seen by the naked eye. However, new developments may change the frequency of dental X-rays. The American Dental Association has reviewed recent studies that link yearly or more frequent dental X-rays to an increased risk of developing meningioma, the most commonly diagnosed brain tumor. The ADA’s longstanding position on X-rays is that dentists should order dental X-rays for patients only when necessary for diagnosis and treatment. In addition, steps must be taken to safeguard patients against radiation while the X-rays are being taken. Care and diligent records keep patients safe Since 1989, the ADA has published recommendations to help dentists ensure that patients’ exposure to radiation is as low as possible. The association encourages the use of abdominal shielding (e.g., protective aprons) and thyroid collars on all patients. In addition, the ADA recommends that dentists use E or F speed film, the two fastest film speeds available, or a digital X-ray. In some cases, dentists ask patients when their most
recent dental X-rays were taken, especially if the patient is new to the practice. This happens frequently thanks to changes in dental coverage that force employees to choose a different dentist who accepts the new insurance. But relying on a patient to recall their most recent X-rays is flawed. Studies have shown that the ability to recall information is often imperfect, and, as a result, patients may get more frequent X-rays than is necessary. Terefore, carefully document when and where dental X-rays were given. X-ray studies accuracy raise concerns, questions While studies linking X-rays to brain tumors may have some basis in truth, the ADA has said that studies that look at the prevalence of X-rays and rates of cancer can be flawed if patient information is included based on the individuals’ own recall of when X-rays took place. The type of X-ray the patient received also needs to be given consideration. X-rays taken decades ago relied on heavy concentrations of radiation. While research into the medical ramifications of frequent X-rays seems promising, the ADA encourages further research about the possible link between X-ray exposure and patient safety.
X-rays do serve a purpose Although X-rays put the body in the path of radiation, the data collected from X-rays is important. Dental X-rays are valuable in helping dentists detect and treat oral health problems at an early stage. Many oral diseases can’t be detected on the basis of a visual and physical examination alone, and dental X-rays can fill in the blanks about certain conditions, such as early-stage cavities, gum disease, infections or some types of tumors. How often dental X-rays should be taken depends on the patient’s oral health, condition, age, risk for disease and any signs and symptoms of oral disease that the patient might be experiencing. Patients should talk to their dentists if they have questions about their dental treatment. Patients also have the right to refuse X-rays or question their necessity at a dental visit.
17 • Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012
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More effective cancer screenings Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer in women. Certain screening methods are quite effective in reducing cancer rates.
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A more comfortable and less invasive screening method for colorectal cancer is helping to reduce the rates of new cases and deaths as a result of the disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. Research sponsored by the National Cancer Institute revealed that colorectal cancer mortality (deaths) was reduced by 26 percent and incidence (new cases) was reduced by 21 percent as a result of screening with a sigmoidoscopy over a colonoscopy.
How the procedure works A doctor will place you lying down on your left side on the examination table. Then a long, flexible, thin, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope is inserted in the anus and slowly guided through the rectum and sigmoid colon. The colon is inflated with air to give the doctor a better view, and images are sent to a computer screen. Special instruments can be passed through the scope to take tissue samples or remove polyps. The entire examination takes about 20 minutes.
What is a sigmoidoscopy? Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure used to see inside of the sigmoid colon (the last one-third of the colon) and rectum. This procedure is typically used to observe ulcers, inflamed tissues, abnormal growths and early signs of cancer. Sigmoidoscopy only enables doctors to see the lower part of the colon, which is generally why the procedure is less invasive than colonoscopy.
About colorectal cancer Colorectal cancer is the secondleading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and it is the second most common cancer in women and the third most common in men across the globe. In the past fecal occult blood testing, or FOHB, was the primary tool for detection. However, now sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are believed to be more sensitive tests for detecting potential cancer-causing polyps. Among volunteers who underwent sigmoidoscopy procedures and follow-up over a course of 12 years, those who had the sigmoidoscopy screening had a 21 percent lower incidence of colorectal cancer overall and a 26 percent lower rate of colorectal cancer mortality than participants in the usual care group.
Preparing for the test Before getting a colonoscopy, an individual must refrain from eating solids for several hours to a day prior to testing and drink a specialized laxative that will clear the entire colon of waste. With a sigmoidoscopy, the patient uses an enema about 2 hours before the procedure to only remove solids from the sigmoid colon. The enema may take the form of flushing water, a mild soap solution or laxative. In some cases, a more thorough colon cleansing and a restricted diet may be necessary. Because a sigmoidoscopy doesn’t typically require an extensive amount of uncomfortable prep work, more people are inclined to undergo the procedure.
Who should get screened? It is recommended that all individuals age 50 or older should opt for a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy to detect for abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms like changes in bowel movements, pain and bleeding, may want to discuss the option of having a sigmoidoscopy at an earlier age.
Nutrients in dairy products can be good for your health.
To some people, dairy’s reputation for contributing to high cholesterol and weight gain is a misconception that’s hard to let go of. But dairy’s detractors should know the right dairy products enjoyed in moderation can actually be good for your health for a variety of reasons. Consuming dairy products as part of a nutrient-rich diet is important for individuals of all ages. Dairy products have many nutrients and vitamins essential to good health. Calcium, protein, phosphorus, potassium, and supplemented vitamins A and D are all nutrients the body needs. Calcium, for example, is necessary to build and maintain strong bones. Osteoporosis, a condition wherein the bones weaken and are more susceptible to injury, can affect anyone, but it is particularly common among women age 50 and older. The National Institutes of Health say as many as half of all women and a quarter of men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. To keep bones strong, health professionals
recommend eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D — both of which are found in dairy products. Eating low-fat dairy products can reduce a person’s risk of developing cancer. Studies have shown that populations that eat a high amount of calcium-rich foods have a lower incidence of colorectal cancer. According to child health authority Dr. Sears, calcium controls the multiplication of epithelial cells lining the colon. Fast multiplication of these cells increases a person’s risk of developing cancer. The best sources of calcium include bony fish and dairy products like yogurt. Dairy products, especially milk, are also essential for different health benefits. Drinking milk helps protect the enamel surface of teeth against acidic substances. This helps prevent tooth decay and weakening enamel. Milk and other dairy products might also help maintain healthy skin. Dairy also plays a role in digestive health. Consumption of milk products may help in reducing acidity in the
stomach. Yogurts with active cultures have been known to promote healthy digestion and alleviate occasional irregularity. Individuals with lactose intolerance, a food sensitivity where there are inadequate levels of lactase in the body necessary to break down the lactose sugar in dairy products, may avoid dairy foods. However, information from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board says that those with a lactose intolerance can still handle at least two cups of milk a day if taken with food and spread throughout the day. Research also indicates that consuming small amounts of lactosecontaining foods may improve lactose tolerance over time. Dairy products, like milk, cheese, yogurt, creams, and even ice cream, can provide much of the daily recommended allowances of vital vitamins and minerals. Low-fat dairy products are important components of a healthy diet.
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19 • Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012
Enjoy dairy for good health
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Dental care can help prevent periodontal disease Routinely visiting the dentist for cleanings and other checkups is one way to prevent periodontal disease, which is usually unrecognizable in its early stages. Kids often lament daily dental care. Mom and Dad might insist kids brush their teeth each morning and before bed, but that doesn’t mean kids enjoy these daily dental rituals. While it’s notoriously difficult to get kids to take dental care seriously, many adults also approach dental care with something less than an enthusiastic effort. Dental hygiene routines or visits to the dentist might not be welcomed with open arms, but their importance, especially with regards to preventing periodontal disease, is paramount. To understand that connection better, it can help to get a firmer grasp on periodontal disease, its potentially negative consequences and how to prevent it. What is periodontal disease? Periodontal disease is commonly referred to as gum disease. An infection of the tissues that surround and support the teeth, periodontal disease is a major cause of adult tooth loss. According to the American Dental Association, periodontal disease is often painless, and many adults may have it without even knowing it. What causes periodontal disease? Periodontal disease is caused by a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. This film is called plaque, and the bacteria that forms creates toxins that can damage the gums. Are there signs of periodontal disease? There are signs that indicate the presence of
periodontal disease, and anyone who notices these signs should see a dentist immediately. Indicators of periodontal disease include: • gums that bleed when your brush your teeth • red, swollen or tender gums • persistent bad breath • pus between the teeth and gums • gums that have pulled away from the teeth • loose teeth Can periodontal disease be prevented? As harmful as periodontal disease can be, men and women should know it can be prevented. Taking good care of your teeth and making those dental appointments, no matter how much you might fear the dentist’s chair, are great ways to prevent periodontal disease. Keeping gums and teeth healthy requires a daily commitment, but that commitment is easy to make. The following are a few daily routines that can help prevent periodontal disease. • Brush twice per day. Brushing twice daily removes plaque and reduces the risk for damaged gums. When brushing, the ADA recommends a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpastes that contain fluoride, which strengthen the teeth and help prevent decay. • Clean between the teeth every day. Floss or interdental cleaners remove bacteria from those areas a toothbrush just can’t reach, such as between the teeth. Flossing is important, as the ADA notes that early periodontal disease can be reversed by daily brushing and flossing.
• Don’t skip dental visits. Fear of the dentist’s chair is not uncommon. Be it kids or adults, many people harbor a fear of going to the dentist, no matter how irrational that fear might be. But skipping dental visits is a recipe for disaster. When detected early, periodontal disease is rather easily reversed. But the longer men and women go between dental visits, the more time periodontal disease has to advance, and serious damage can result. When gum disease has progressed to an advanced stage, this is known as periodontitis. At this point gums can be seriously damaged, possibly resulting in loose teeth or tooth loss. So no matter how much you might fear the dentist’s chair, those trips are necessary. Periodontal disease often goes unnoticed, placing great emphasis on the individual to be proactive and take care of his or her teeth while visiting the dentist at least twice annually. More information on periodontal disease can be found at www.ada.org.
The ability to offer reliable, relevant and accessible patient information to health professionals is a goal of the healthcare industry. Paper medical files have long been the standard, but electronic medical health records, or EHRs, may help to change the way patients’ health information is shared. Thanks to managed healthcare systems, people are switching doctors more so than in the past. Many patients switch doctors because of ever-changing health insurance plans. Perhaps a doctor is no longer part of an in-plan list, or the patient has been forced to switch insurance plans due to costs or changes made at work and the new plan is not accepted at a particular practice. There are other reasons that patients choose to switch doctors, including problems with a particular practice, wait times to see a physician, lack of confidence in the doctor, a doctor’s poor bedside manner, or feelings of being rushed. Patients are also increasingly turning to online reviews of medical doctors and asking for personal referrals so they can track down diligent physicians. The trouble with frequently switching doctors or having to be referred to many different specialists is that individuals’ entire medical records often do not make the move. It is often up to the patient to request existing medical records from past doctors and then hope they are sent over. EHRs may help change the way records are shared. As with any new technology, there are
different pros and cons to EHRs. Advantages One of the main advantages to EHRs is accessibility. It’s much easier to send a digital file from one office to another rather than a large folder of paperwork. It also cuts down on the time required to transfer files. Accuracy is another advantage. According to Peter Holden and Company, a healthcare insurance firm in Georgia, it is estimated that one in seven patients has been hospitalized unnecessarily when their medical records were not available for review. Doctors with access to electronic records are more readily aware of a patient’s medical history and therefore more likely to make a more accurate diagnosis. When stored electronically, medical records are also readily available to patients themselves. This helps men and women take a more active roll in their health. Far too often medical records are viewed as something for doctors’ eyes only, and patients may feel uneasy about asking for copies of test results or notes for fear of upsetting their doctors. However, health records are also the property of the patient, and no one should feel uncomfortable about reviewing their information or requesting another opinion. Other advantages to EHRs are they’re more environmentally responsible and take up much less space than traditional files. EHRs can be stored on secured computer servers instead of crowding up doctors’ offices or file
rooms, making it easier to store them long-term. Doctors may find that EHRs reduce errors, including misinterpretation of handwriting or missed information from condensing records. Some EHR systems are designed to assist with collecting and disseminating information to assist the medical professional in decision making. While it will not replace a doctor’s knowledge, this service can be an asset in making diagnoses. Disadvantages One of the key disadvantages to EHRs is compromised privacy. Easier access to medical records, and by a growing number of people in the health field, potentially puts personal information in the hands of dishonest people. It’s much easier for sensitive material to be leaked or altered to someone’s advantage. With so many people
capable of accessing the records, there may be no way to monitor how the information is accessed or if alterations are made to the data. There’s also no guarantee that medical information won’t be hacked. Although records should be stored and uploaded through secured sites, inventive people are constantly finding ways around security systems. Cost is a major disadvantage to EHRs. There are some healthcare offices that simply cannot afford to switch over their records system to something electronic. Furthermore, EHRs require a compatible system across the board. If one doctor is using Type A system and the other is using Type B system, there may be issues of incompatibility and errors. EHR technology is still in its infancy, but many physicians are starting to convert to or investigate the possibility of going digital.
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21 • Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012
Pros and cons to electronic health records
Healthy Lifestyle • November 2012 • 2
SIMPLE WAYS to boost your energy levels
A low-calorie bowl of cereal in the morning can help improve energy throughout the day.
No one is immune to random bouts of fatigue. For many people, fatigue is most common around midafternoon, when the workday starts to drag and that hefty midday meal has inspired thoughts of catnaps. Though an episode of fatigue here or there is likely nothing to worry about, adults who find themselves routinely struggling to muster any energy, whether it’s to finish a project at work or play with the kids at night, might be surprised to learn that boosting daily energy levels is relatively simple. The following are a few easy ways to boost your energy levels and make the most of each and every day. Get regular exercise. Many adults know the value of exercise but simply can’t find the time in the day to squeeze in a little time on the treadmill or at the gym. But the American Council on Exercise notes that as little as 10 minutes of moderate or vigorous exercise at a time each day can boost your energy levels and improve mood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, including at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities, each week. If that’s a problem, particularly on weekdays, squeeze in 10 minutes here or there when the
opportunity presents itself. But the more committed you are to regular exercise, the more your energy levels are likely to improve. Treat yourself to a massage. Many people find their energy levels are adversely affected by stress. Too much stress can make you physically sick and cause both physical and mental fatigue. There are many ways to more effectively cope with stress, and treating yourself to a massage is one of them. A massage can relieve stress and help overworked muscles recover, boosting energy levels as a result. Treat breakfast with the respect it deserves. When you wake up in the morning, even after a great night’s sleep, your body’s energy reserves are almost entirely depleted. Consequently, men and women who don’t eat a healthy breakfast are almost certain to struggle with their energy levels throughout the day. Something as simple as a bowl of lowcalorie cereal or some oatmeal with fruit can help restore your body’s energy levels and lay the groundwork for a productive day. Skipping breakfast entirely will make you feel sluggish in the morning and increases the risk that you will overeat come lunchtime, adversely impacting your energy levels for the rest of the day.
Focus on maintaining steady energy levels throughout the day. Lacking energy over the course of a typical day might be a byproduct of your eating habits beyond the breakfast table. Numerous studies have found that eating three large meals per day is not an effective way to maintain steady energy levels over the course of a typical day. Instead, smaller, more frequent meals coupled with healthy snacks can stabilize blood sugar levels and help maintain sufficient energy levels, improving both mental acuity and mood. Instead of a large omelet platter for breakfast, choose a small bowl of lowcalorie cereal and follow it up three to four hours later with a healthy snack of fresh fruit. When lunchtime arrives three to four hours after your mid-morning snack, choose a small lunch with ample protein and follow that up a few hours later with a healthy snack of yogurt. The specifics of your diet should be discussed with your physician, but you will likely find that eating smaller, more frequent meals and healthy snacks will drastically improve your energy levels throughout the day. Drink more fluids. Your lack of energy might not be the result of an unhealthy breakfast or a lack of exercise. Some people simply don’t drink enough fluids to stay hydrated and feel sluggish as a result. Symptoms of dehydration mimic those of hunger, leading many to purchase unhealthy snacks when they might just need to drink more fluids. Those snacks can compound the sluggishness you feel from being dehydrated, zapping your energy levels even further. So if you daily routine does not include drinking enough fluids, try having a few glasses of water each day and your energy levels might just improve.
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