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Health Update:

Flu Shots:

What You Should Know Your immune system fights infection by producing antibodies. Think of your immune system as a large memory storage unit. Within this memory storage unit is a list of which antibodies have successfully fought and killed different forms of infection. When new infections are introduced to your body your immune system searches this list to locate antibodies. When you get a flu shot, you are introducing a new strain of influenza virus to your body. The purpose is to force your body to fight against the virus. But what you should realize is that the flu shot contains the flu. This means when you get this shot, you will get the flu. Your body will start to produce the necessary antibodies to fight and kill this virus. Unfortunately it will take roughly a week for this to happen. In the mean time, you will get the flu.

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it will remember which antibodies to produce should you get the flu again. However, realize that this will only occur if you contract this specific strain of influenza virus. You are not protected against any other strain of influenza virus other than the one for which you received the shot. When the CDC makes the decision to distribute these flu shots they consider the three most popular strains of influenza viruses. These three are the only ones distributed. If you contract any

other strain, yes, you will get sick and no, you are not protected. These flu shots are not guaranteed protection against the influenza virus. They are merely a precaution to aid in preventing it. You should still take all necessary precautions. Wash your hands frequently. Cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue. Try to avoid other people who you know are sick with the flu. Take Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta carotene, zinc, and selenium.

Health Myth: Going Out With Wet Hair Will Make You Sick. According to studies, you will not catch any more colds going outdoors with wet hair than you will if it is dry. In fact, these studies show that it is not the cold that actually causes an individual to catch a cold. The common cold is transferred from one person to another by airborne pathogens. It is these pathogens or germs that cause the spread of the common cold. You can catch the common cold from touching a surface that was touched by an infected person also. To prevent contamination you should wash your hands frequently with antibacterial soap, avoid individuals with colds, and cover your coughs and sneezes. Spray surfaces that are used often with Lysol disinfectant spray.

What is good in regards to getting this shot is that once your body produces these antibodies,

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How To Improve Your Immune System Reduce Your Stress - Some stress can be a good thing. It’s your body’s way of preparing for a challenge, such as giving a presentation. But a steady stream of stress can be bad for your health. Studies show it can even weaken your immune system your body’s system for fighting disease and illness. Reduce your stress by avoiding whatever stressors you can. Take the time to relax and do things you enjoy. Get A Pet - Studies have found that having a pet can help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and improve heart health. One study showed that having a dog can help improve immune system development and may reduce the risks of allergies in children. Build A Strong Social Network - We all know friends are important, but strong social ties can also have a big effect on your health. A recent study found that people with strong relationships were 50% more likely to survive than those with poor social ties. To broaden your social network, try volunteering, taking a class, or joining a group that interests you. And be sure to nurture the bonds you already have.

immune system is by exercising. Getting regular exercise can also reduce stress and help lower your risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. You get the most benefit when you exercise at a moderate level a few times a week. Kick The Nicotine Habit - Here’s another reason to give up smoking - it weakens your immune system. According to the U. S. Surgeon General, even low levels of exposure to tobacco can cause health problems, including heart attack, stroke, and asthma. Wash Your Hands - One of the easiest ways to help your immune system fight illness is to wash your hands regularly. Be sure to use soap and clean running water, and wash for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol. Get a Good Night’s Sleep - Without enough sleep, your immune system may not have the resources it needs to fight off illness. Most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Keep A Positive Attitude - Positive thoughts can give your immune system a healthy boost. To increase your optimism, take time to savor the things you enjoy, look for the silver lining in difficult situations, and try not to dwell on negative thoughts. Be grateful for what you have. Avoid Empty Calories - Processed foods such as fast foods, snack foods, candy, and soda don’t provide much in the way of vitamins, fiber, or other nutrients. Instead, choose nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Keep Your Body Moving - One simple way to strengthen your For valuable coupons visit: mytownsbest.com • ©2012 Health and longevity • 1-888-816-2295


municate this to your therapist so that another approach may be taken. Most people feel very relaxed after a massage. Some experience freedom from long-term aches and pains developed from tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, many people often experience increased energy, heightened awareness, and greater productivity, which can last for days. Since toxins are released from your soft tissues during a massage, it is recommended you drink plenty of water following your massage.

Take a Little Time Out Massage is one of the oldest healing arts dating back over 3,000 years ago. Ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments. Today, the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching for not only physical rehabilitation programs but beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, depression, and more. Also, as millions of people will attest, massage also helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living.

One of the most common techniques used is the Swedish massage, which is often a baseline for practitioners. In a general Swedish massage, your session may start with broad, flowing strokes that will help calm your nervous system and relax exterior muscle tension. As your body becomes relaxed, pressure will gradually be increased to relax specific areas of tension in your body. Often, a light oil or lotion is used to allow your muscles to be massaged without causing excessive friction to the skin. The oil helps hydrate your skin. If you are uncomfortable in any way, you should immediately com-

There is no denying the power of massage therapy. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic), or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management); massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare program. Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. So why not Take A Little Time Out and pamper yourself with a massage... You won’t regret it!

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children spend a lot of time being inactive. For example, the average child spends approximately four hours each day watching television. As computers and video games become increasingly popular, the number of hours of inactivity may increase.

Childhood Obesity One in five children in the U. S. is overweight or obese and the number is continuing to grow. Children who are overweight are at a high risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes later in life. They are also more prone to develop stress, sadness, and low self-esteem. Children become overweight and obese for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. Today, many

If you have an overweight child, it is very important that you allow him or her to know that you will be supportive. Children’s feelings about themselves often are based on their parents’ feelings about them and if you accept your children at any weight, they will be more likely to feel good about themselves. It is also important to talk to your children about their weight, allowing them to share their concerns with you. It is not recommended that parents set children apart because of their weight. Instead, parents should focus on gradually changing their family’s physical activity and eating habits. By involving the entire family, everyone is taught healthy habits and the overweight child does not feel singled out. There are many ways to involve the entire family in healthy habits, but increasing the family’s physical activity is especially

important. Some ways to accomplish this include: 1.

Lead by example - If your children see that you are physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active for the rest of their lives.

2.

Plan family activities that provide everyone with exercise, such as walking, biking, or swimming. Be sensitive to your child’s needs. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable about participating in certain activities. It is important to help your child find physical activities that they enjoy and that aren’t embarrassing or too difficult.

3.

Make an effort to reduce the amount of time you and your family spend in sedentary activities, such as watching TV or playing video games.

Whatever approach parents choose to take regarding an overweight child, the purpose is not to make physical activity and following a healthy diet a chore, but to make the most of the opportunities you and your family have to be active and healthy.

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mind that there are ways to treat it. One encouraging factor is that seniors can improve balance and prevent falls with simple exercises. Below are some of these exercises. In the beginning, for safety, hold onto a table or chair with both hands. As you progress and your balance improves, you can decrease the amount of support by using one or no hands.

Balance Disorders In Seniors Having good balance means being able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you are moving or remaining still. An intact sense of balance helps you: 1) walk without staggering, 2) get up from a chair without falling and 3) Climb stairs without tripping. As people grow older, they may have difficulty with their balance and it is one of the main reasons older people fall. Falls and fall-related injuries, such as hip fracture, can have a serious impact on an older person’s life. If an older person falls, it could limit their activities or make it impossible to live independently. As a result, many older people often become more isolated after a fall. Balance disorders are caused by several different conditions. Disturbances of the inner ear are a common cause. Balance disorders may also be caused by heart problems, head injury, medication, or problems with blood circulation. There are many types of balance disorders. One of the most common is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV. With BPPV, you experience a brief, intense feeling of vertigo that occurs when you change the position of your head. You may also experience BPPV when rolling over to the left or right, upon getting out of bed in the morning, or when looking up for an object on a high shelf. BPPV is more likely to occur in adults 60 and older. In BPPV, small calcium stones in the inner ear become displaced, causing a person to feel unsteady. While the actual cause of BPPV is not known at this time, it is believed to be as a result of an inner ear infection, head injury, or aging. If you feel you have a balance disorder, you should consult with your doctor and bear in

Exercise One - Stand directly behind a table or chair and place your feet slightly apart. Lift one leg six inches out to the side. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat with the opposite leg. Exercise Two - Stand directly behind a table or chair and place your feet slightly apart. Slowly bend one knee toward your chest lifting your foot six inches off the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Exercise Three - Walk while placing the heel of one foot just in front of the toe of the other. Hold onto a table or counter while trying this. Exercise Four - While holding onto a chair or table, stand on one foot, then switch feet.

Seniors... Are You A Couch Potato? Exercise, and the lack of it, is a crucial factor in determining the level of well being among our 35 million older Americans. Physical inactivity is a national epidemic among all ages, but for seniors it leads to debilitation, depression and decreases in energy, strength and self-esteem. Years of sedentary living contribute to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, and osteoporosis. But even a moderate exercise program can bring improvements to all these conditions. And it is never too late to start one. Physicians recommend regular exercise to patients who suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia and other conditions that lead to stiffness. Heart disease is the most expensive outcome of physical inactivity for seniors and it is the heart that health experts tell us most needs to be exercised regularly. Cardiovascular fitness can be achieved through a daily habit of 20 minutes of vigorous activity, 30 minutes of moderate activity, or 60 minutes of light activity.

work at a higher rate to supply oxygen to muscles. Examples are: brisk walking, jogging, swimming, biking and dancing. More moderate types of aerobic activity include yoga, calisthenics, Tai Chi, water aerobics and even vacuuming. If your schedule won’t permit 30 minutes of solid exercise, the same health benefits can be gained through several short periods throughout the day that add up to a half hour. Every day include some stretching exercises. When done consistently, stretching allows you more freedom of movement in all your daily activities. For each one, stretch slowly, hold for 30 seconds, and then relax. As you become more comfortable doing stretches you will want to push yourself a little farther, but never to the point of pain. The form of exercise program you choose is less important than the time you choose to begin: NOW! Check with your physician before embarking on a program, and then create a routine that addresses cardio respiratory fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. Remember to increase your intake of water or other non-caffeinated beverages when you increase your exercise. Adequate hydration is important all year round, not just in warm weather. Start out with realistic goals, exercise moderately at first, then build up to longer periods and more challenging activity. Over time you will notice improved stamina and strength, higher energy levels, and elevated moods. If you need to be pushed a little, find a partner to exercise with. Having a regular walking buddy, for instance, is a good way to motivate you to enjoy the easiest and cheapest form of healthy exercise there is. Results take time, so don’t quit before you have the chance to experience the rewards of increased fitness, better health, and enhanced mental well being. Make real exercise something you do without question, a daily habit as important as brushing your teeth. Still sitting on your couch? What are you waiting for? Get moving!

Aerobic exercises make the heart and lungs

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Fitness Update:

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The Joy of Meditation Meditation is a way of relaxation and a path to enlightenment. If we dissolve our attachment to the outside world and bring our minds to rest, well-being, positivity and enlightenment (inner happiness) will be our reward. All negativity vanishes; we think positively again and suddenly we can live in the light. We see the positive in the world in our fellow man, and in ourselves. We are in harmony with ourselves and our lives. The following will guide you on your meditation journey: 1.

Prepare - Sit in your meditation seat (cross-legged, heel seat, chair, etc.) and in your meditation posture, i.e. back erect, put your hands on your legs or on your lap. Have your eyes closed; breathe in and out; calm down and relax.

tate on your questions. Listen to the answer inside. What does your inner wisdom say? What answers your inner wisdom? You can feel the answer. Let the answer appear in you and think the answer several times as a mantra. 6.

Say the Mantra - Put your hands in your lap. Keep your back straight and your stomach relaxed. Bring your mind completely to rest. Think the mantra “Om” in your head, chest, abdomen, legs and feet. Think in the earth and in the entire cosmos: “Om Shanti, Om Peace.....”

7.

Again, stop thinking - Stop every thought for a minute. When thoughts come, always push them away. Relax completely, slacken your body. Peace and harmony are within you. Be positive - Go forth positively in your day knowing that the light is with you.

2.

Stop Thinking - Stop all thoughts for one to three minutes....rest and relax.

3.

Use Yoga as a Model - Put your hands together in your lap. Visualize yourself as a Buddha or Goddess. Move your toes a little and think the mantra: I go the way of peace; I live in peace.

8.

4.

Visualize the cosmos around us, a universe full of stars - Make large circles with your arms and think: “I take things the way they are. I let go of my false desires. I live in the unity of the cosmos. I flow positive with my life.”

5.

Question - You can now ask a question. Think about your life. What are your goals? What is your way of a wise life? Medi-

In conclusion, try to stay in a calm, relaxed mood while doing these exercises so the muscles are relaxed and more flexible for the exercises. Burning a candle or listening to relaxing music can help.

Squats:

For a Taut Tush

Step 2: Inhale as you bend your knees and lower yourself toward the floor.

Studies have proven that squats are the best exercise to shape and sculpt your gluteus medius and maximus. Instead of performing traditional squats which place a lot of stress onto the back, use an exercise ball for support.

Step 3: Exhale while squeezing your glutes as you rise back up to standing position. Repeat Steps 1-3 until you have completed at least 10 reps. Increase reps as you become comfortable with the exercise.

Step 1: Stand shoulders width apart. Place your exercise ball level with your lower back leaning against the wall.

This workout is great for slimming and contouring your thighs. It is another step to becoming swimsuit ready. Follow these steps to a slimmer you.

Step 2: Bend your knees into a squat with your knees in line with your toes. Position your body in a ninety degree angle.

Step 1: Stand behind a chair while holding onto the back of it. Push your shoulder blades back and downward.

Step 3: Push your weight into your heels as you return to your starting position.

Step 2: Rise up onto the ball of your left foot, lifting your right leg.

Step 4: Perform 3 sets of 16 squats at least three times a week.

Step 3: Pull your abs inward and bring your right leg across your body, in front of your left leg.

Plie Squats

Outer/Inner Thigh Kick Workout

The Swimsuit Thigh Exercise

Step 4: Swing your right leg out to the right, while flexing your toes outward.

Step 1: Start by spreading your feet so that they are 2 times the width of each hip apart. Turn your feet outward in 45 degree angles. Hold a small dumbbell so that it is centered between your legs. This is called standing position.

Step 5: Repeat 10 reps following Steps 1-4. Step 6: Repeat Steps 1-5 switching legs.

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Love You Honey The Benefits of Honey What if you could find a magic potion that would sweeten your tea, create mind blowing delicious cakes and dramatically improve your health? You may be surprised to find that bees create this amazing elixir in the form of honey. That’s right, raw honey is nature’s oldest sweetener and it also promotes true, radiant health. Thousands of years before the invention of white sugar, people used honey to enhance their food and support their bodies. But don’t be fooled by the sticky jar that is sitting in your cupboard. Most honey is highly processed, over heated and chemically refined, leaving it lifeless and free of any benefits. Excessive heating destroys the valuable enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, as well as unique nutrients that make honey the super food that it is.

You may be surprised to discover that raw honey contains many of the same antioxidants as green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and broccoli. This isn’t to say that it is a replacement for veggies, but it is certainly worth adding to your diet as a way of fight aging and disease. Honey has been shown to have an antimicrobial effect against bacteria and other unwanted invaders. Raw honey is being used by doctors in the UK to treat mouth and throat cancer patients to reduce their chances of contracting bacterial infections. Many medical studies have found that honey can help heal ulcers, as well as offering relief from insomnia, sunburn, and sore throats. It also boosts energy levels and keeps you from getting colds, the flu and other illnesses. It promotes the growth of “good” bacteria in your intestinal tract. Raw honey is loaded with vitamins and is particularly high in minerals which are vital for maintaining health including calcium, iron,

zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, chromium, manganese and selenium. Amino acids are contained in honey, which are nature’s building blocks. Incredible plant compounds are found in honey that gives the immune system a giant boost. This magic potion is also highly alkalizing and helps the body maintain a balanced PH. A study was conducted in order to find out if raw honey could stop the growth of tumors. They injected mice with cancer cells and discovered that those mice who took honey orally before the injections were less likely to form the tumors and tumors appeared to shrink after being injected with bee venom. Researchers suggest that bee products may cause cell suicide, which helps the immune system fight the development of tumors. Raw honey is also food for the heart since it reduces homocysteine levels and promotes circulation. It can also help calm, soothe, and promote a good night’s sleep, not to mention sweetening your tea and transforming your cakes!

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whole grains, such as brown rice, they make a virtually fat-free complete protein. Listed below is a recipe for Bean Burgers which is fast, easy and healthy all rolled into one: Ingredients: 1 16 oz. can of black beans, mostly drained and mashed until smooth 1 egg beaten 1/2 cup bread crumbs 1/4 cup onion, chopped 1/4 cup low-fat cheese Dash of salt 1/2 tsp. cumin (optional)

Put Protein In Your Diet Protein gives us the energy to get up and go - and keep going. Protein in food is broken down into the 20 amino acids that are the body’s basic building blocks for growth and energy, and are essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. A lack of protein in our diet can slow growth, reduce muscle mass, lower immunity, and weaken the heart and respiratory system. Protein is particularly important for children, whose bodies are growing and changing daily. The following are guidelines for including protein in your healthy diet: Try different types of protein. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, trying different protein sources such as beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu and soy products, will open up new options for healthy mealtimes. • •

Black beans, navy beans, garbanzos, and lentils are good options. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are great choices.

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Soy products such as tofu, soy milk, and veggie burgers are great for a change Avoid salted or sugary nuts and refried beans.

Downsize your portions of protein. Most people in the U. S. eat too much protein. Try to move away from protein being the center of your meal. Focus on equal servings of protein, whole grains, and vegetables. Focus on quality sources of protein, like fresh fish, chicken or turkey, tofu, eggs, beans or nuts. When you buy meat, chicken or turkey, try choosing meat that is free of hormones and antibiotics. Black beans are extremely high in cholesterol lowering fiber. They also are comparable to grapes and cranberries for their anti-oxidant properties. When eaten with

Directions: 1. Mix all ingredients together 2. Form into patties and place on a slightly greased cookie sheet (or onto a frying pan or skillet) 3. Broil (or fry) until one side is brown and slightly crisp 4, Carefully flip and broil (or fry) the other side until it is also brown and crisp 5. Enjoy with all the usual hamburger fixings!

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Pica’s Role in Anorexia Pica, like anorexia, is an eating disorder. It causes a psychological need to eat non-food items that range from chalk, clay, dirt, and ice. The last of which will be the main focus of this article. Anorexics do one of two things. They either starve themselves or they take or eat something that will cause the ingestion of any food to pass through their bowels rapidly. The overall goal is to lose as much weight as possible until the individual believes they are thin. Unfortunately in most cases the psychological need to be thin morphs into a physiological need to repeat the behavior. This combination leads to medical illnesses including death. In light of this need to please both the psychological and physiological, you have a growing number of men and women with both anorexia and pica. With this particular population, there is a new way to satisfy both needs without outside detection. This new method is eating ice and only ice. Aside from doctors and other individuals stating to the affected individual that they may have iron deficiency anemia, no one notices this combination. Among the non-food items associated with Pica, eating ice is the least drastic to the untrained eye. In fact it is socially acceptable, especially in the summer months. What outsiders do not realize is that eating ice is just as dangerous as any other form of Pica. It is not an indication that someone may have iron deficiency anemia. It is a sign that they are

causing themselves to develop iron deficiency anemia. Sadly this is not the only illness that eating ice will cause. To fully understand the health risks you should understand what happens during this process. An anorexic, with Pica that eats ice, consumes as much as, ten pounds of ice in a day. The consumed ice creates the illusion of being full. So these individuals eat very little actual food if any at all. With this level of ice consumption, it will cause diarrhea. Over a long period of time, this individual will become frail thin and sickly. However, with the combination of illnesses they will believe they are eating healthy due to the massive weight loss.

a doctor as having anemia due to blood loss. The lack of nutrients will also cause potassium deficiencies on top of this anemia. Eventually if this individual does not ingest these necessary nutrients they will die due to a lack of potassium. Their muscles will begin to tighten up, go into spasms until they cannot move, and then they will slip into a coma. Some signs to look for if you believe someone you love may have this combination of illnesses include: • •

After a long period of time, the individual will have hairline fractures in all of their teeth. But what happens to their teeth is a far cry from what happens internally. Over time diverticula develop in the colon. This is a sign of diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is the presence of diverticula in the colon. Basically this means there are mucus pockets in your colon. Food products can become trapped in these diverticula causing them to close and cause infection. If left untreated, this infection can transform into gangrene and cause the colon to perforate causing a condition known as diverticulitis. This infection is then dumped into your abdominal wall and spreads throughout your body. If this occurs the individual has a short amount of time to seek medical help before dying. Eating ice will also cause ulcerations within your colon. These too are dangerous as they will bleed. The individual will be diagnosed by

• • • • •

The individual always has a cup that consists of primarily ice, if not completely filled with ice. They may request a specific brand of bagged ice. They will become angry, frustrated, and emotional if they cannot eat ice. The individual will eat small portions of actual food. If they eat any actual food at all. If you suggest that they eat, they will insist that they are full. They will have frequent bouts of diarrhea. The individual will suddenly lose a large amount of weight within a week or two. They will continue to lose weight, the longer they continue this behavior. They will produce excuses for why they are eating these large quantities of ice. Usually that they are anemic.

If you suspect that someone you love has this combination of illnesses, you need to find a way to convince them to get help. Realize, however, in order to get help they must want help.

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Healthy Facts • Women have a better sense of smell than men. • The human brain has the capacity to store everything that you experience. • When you take a step, you are using up to 200 muscles. • Your ears secrete more earwax when you are afraid than when you aren’t. • The adult human brain weighs about 3 pounds.

• Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue. • Our right lung takes in more air than our left lung. • Stress can result in more headaches as a result of the body rerouting blood flow to other parts of the body. • Men are twice as likely to be binge drinkers as women. • Dieters who sleep more take off more fat than those who sleep less. • Wearing headphones for an hour increases the bacteria in your ear 700 times.

• Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing. • It takes approximately 12 hours for food to entirely digest. • The lifespan of a taste bud is ten days. • Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least 6 feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. • Men get hiccups more often than women. • Your stomach produces a new layer of mucus every two weeks so that it doesn’t digest itself.

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Low Back PAIN Low back pain can affect a patient anywhere below the ribs and above the legs. The lower back is the connection between the upper and lower body. It bears most of the body’s weight and is easily injured when you lift, reach or twist. Almost everyone has low back pain at one time or another. The good news is that most low back pain will go away in a few weeks with some basic self-care. If your pain is severe or lasts more than a couple of weeks, you should see your doctor.

Low back pain is often caused by overuse, strain, or injury. For instance, people often hurt their backs playing sports or working in the yard, being jolted in a car accident, or lifting something too heavy. Aging plays a part too. Your bones and muscles tend to lose strength as you age, which increases your risk of injury. In some people, low back pain is the result of arthritis, broken vertebrae (compression fractures) caused by bone loss (osteoporosis), or illness. Often doctors don’t really know what causes low back pain however, it is more likely to become long-lasting (chronic) if you are under stress or depressed. Most low back pain can get better if you stay active, avoid positions and activities that may increase or cause back pain, use ice, and take nonprescription pain relievers when you need them. When you no longer have acute pain, you may be ready for gentle strengthening exercises for your stomach, back, and legs, and perhaps for some stretching exercises. Exercise may not only help decrease low back pain, but it may also help you recover faster, prevent re-injury to your

back, and reduce the risk of disability from back pain. Exercises to reduce low back pain are not complicated and can be done at home without any special equipment. It is also important that you don’t let the fear of pain keep you from trying gentle activity. Too little activity can lead to loss of flexibility, strength, and endurance, and then to more pain. Exercises that may help reduce or prevent low back pain include: Aerobic exercise conditions your heart and other muscles, maintains health, and speeds recovery. Strengthening exercises, focusing on your back, stomach, and leg muscles. Stretching exercises keep your muscles and other supporting tissues flexible and less prone to injury. Before you commit to any type of regular exercise program, it is always a good idea to consult your doctor to make sure you are on the right path.

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