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December 2017

Health & Wellness Inside... Four reasons to travel more The health benefits of avocados Staying in control of the holiday hoopla & more!

Published by The Press Newspapers, Millbury, OH


December 2017 Vitality

Four reasons to travel more often In addition to eating healthier, exercising more and getting more sleep, many people resolve to travel more at the dawn of a new year. Travel is much more than leaving one’s home. It’s about setting habits aside, escaping comfort zones and trying something different – and doing so in a different location. In its latest World Tourism Barometer, the United Nations World Tourism Organization found that 1.184 billion tourists traveled outside their countries’ borders for at least one night in 2015. Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas all recorded around a 5 percent increase in international arrivals that year. Europe was particularly popular, perhaps hedged by a weaker euro against the American dollar and other currencies. The U.S. Travel Association says that direct spending by resident and international travelers in America averaged $2.7 billion a day. Millennials may be leading the travel-enamored pack. The United Nations estimates that 20 percent of all international tourists, or nearly 200 million travelers, are young people, and that the millennial demographic generates more than $180 billion in annual tourism revenue. The U.N. also reports that millennials are more interested than older generations in traveling abroad as much as possible. Infrequent travelers or those who have never traveled may not understand why heading to parts unknown is so appealing to so many people. The following are just a handful of reasons why travel is so enticing. • Engage the mind. Staying mentally active over the course of a lifetime promotes long-term health. Navigating unfamiliar places or reading a foreign language while sitting in an international country can engage the brain and get synapses firing. The Mayo Clinic reports that higher cognitive activity


Seeing new things and meeting new people are just some of the many benefits of traveling. endows the brain with a greater ability to fend off brain pathologies, such as disease and dementias. • Connect with new people. Travel opens a person up to not only new experiences, but also new people. English poet John Donne penned the famous line, “No man is an island,” which underscores the importance of having friends and making new acquaintances. Research conducted by the University of Michigan found the act of talking with people in a friendly way can improve a person’s memory, suppress external and internal distractions, and encourage people to see things from another person’s perspective. It doesn’t hurt to broaden one’s social network,

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either. • Build confidence. Leaving one’s comfort zone can be a great way to bolster one’s self-esteem. Navigating cultural boundaries and overcoming those boundaries may be initially intimidating, but doing so can make a person more confident and more adaptable to change. • Develop opinions. Until a person visits a place in person, he or she only has third-party information to form opinions. Visiting a city or country for the first time can offer a more complete perspective. Travel gives people the chance to rest, explore, meet new friends, and make lasting memories.

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December 2017 Vitality 3

“No net gain”

You can make it to the other side of New Year’s By Frederick J. Garcia, PT, CWT P.T. Services Rehabilitation, Inc. The holiday season is upon us and once again many are wondering, “how am I going to make it through without putting an extra notch in my belt?” Although push-ups are beneficial, pushing away from the table can be the most effective form of exercise during this time. Here are a few other tips that you can use to make it to the other side of New Year’s with no net gain. Number one – Twenty total minutes of exercise. We are told in general that 20 minutes of exercise three to five times a week helps with strength, endurance, maintaining weight and overall health. But did you know that you can break your 20 minutes into four times of five minutes, two times of 10 minutes, five times of four minutes or 20 times of 1 minute. Break it up however you want, but 20 minutes of elevating your heart rate above its normal resting state is still 20 minutes and can be as beneficial as 20 solid minutes. Number two – “Seriously? Where am I going to find 20 minutes in my day to work out?” A few minutes first thing in the morning, (even one) is a great pick-me-up – as effective as caffeine, just not as tasty, in most cases. How about a few minutes on your work or lunch breaks? With the advent of Netflix and DVRing all of our favorite movies and shows, the likelihood of doing exercise during commercial breaks goes down substantially for most of us. However, why not make your own break? Truth be told, it’s less about “finding” and more about “making” the time, but hopefully this gives you a few ideas on how to make it a little more doable. Finally, work as many muscle groups as possible when you exercise. Every muscle you activate through

Just a few minutes of exercise each day can help you stay as trim as your holiday turkey or ham. exercise increases your overall metabolism, so, the more muscles you use, the more calories you potentially burn. So, while pushing away from the table does work the upper body, following that with standing up and walking away from the table becomes even more effective for a variety of reasons. In all seriousness, a simple routine of pushups (from toes or knees), planks, squats and walking in place (or pick your favorite form of self-inflicted torture) spread throughout the day in short bouts can help stave off those

holiday pounds and even help you get a jump on those New Year’s resolutions. Frederick J. Garcia received a bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy from Bowling Green State University in conjunction with the Medical College of Ohio. He has 23 years of experience, with special training in sports medicine, general orthopedics, neurological dysfunction, vertigo and geriatrics. For more info, call P.T. Services at 22020 W. SR 51, Suite A in Genoa at 419-8558301, or the new Oregon location at Horizon IV Professional Park, Building C, 2739 Navarre Ave., Suite 303, at 419698-3520.


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December 2017 Vitality

Avocados offer many health benefits Food trends come and go, but one such trend that has seemingly enjoyed more staying power than other “flavors of the month” is avocado toast, a popular dish that might trace some of that admiration to how easy it is to prepare. The popularity of avocado toast has exploded in recent years, but it has actually been around for decades. Many trace the origins of avocado toast to Australia, though it’s hard for food historians to say with utmost certainty where the dish was first served. Avocado toast is easy to make. Just mash avocado and salt, pepper, and lemon juice and spread on toast. Many other ingredients may be added to “spice things up,” such as poached eggs, salmon, strawberries, garlic, tomatoes, capers, onions and feta. Avocado toast might be as healthy as it is popular. Avocados boast a host of health benefits, some of which might surprise even the most ardent devotee of avocado toast. • Avocados are loaded with vitamins. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Nutrient Database, avocados are a great source of numerous vitamins, including C, E, K, and B-6. Avocados also contain beta-carotene, which the human body converts into vitamin A that promotes healthy skin and a

strong immune system. • Avocados can benefit vision. Avocados contain lutein and zeaxanthin, a pair of phytochemicals concentrated in the tissues in the eyes. Lutein and zeaxanthin are believed to block blue light from reaching structures in the retina, thereby reducing a person’s risk of developing macular degeneration. In fact, studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the American Journal of Ophthalmology and The Archives of Ophthalmology found that diets high in lutein and zeaxanthin are associated with a lower risk of macular degeneration, which the American Macular Degeneration Foundation notes is the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. • Avocados can promote healthier bones. Because they’re high in vitamin K, a nutrient that is crucial for bone health, avocados may help reduce a person’s risk of

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developing osteoporosis, a condition characterized by bones becoming fragile and brittle due to loss of tissue. Vitamin K may help improve the intestinal absorption of calcium. That’s a significant benefit, as calcium deficiency has long been associated with a greater risk for osteoporosis. • Avocados may help fight depression. Avocados are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which benefit the body in myriad ways. One of those ways is by helping to reduce the symptoms of depression. Polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids are thought to antagonize inflammatory cytokines that can contribute to feelings of depression. Trendy foods come and go, oftentimes falling off the radar when their health benefits are overstated or proven dubious. However, the documented benefits of avocados may ensure the staying power of avocado toast.

December 2017 Vitality


Staying in control of the holiday hoopla The

Counseling Corner From the Association



The holidays – with their many temptations – are quickly approaching. Of course, the odds are pretty good you’ll survive the holiday season (unless you drink and drive; more on that later). How about a goal this year of successfully being in charge of yourself during the holidays, in charge in a way that lets you enjoy the holidays without feeling tired, overweight and guilty when January rolls around? One starting point to making the holiday season more manageable is simply to do some planning. If this is a season of gift buying for your family, make a list and stick to your budget. Holiday gift-giving can be fun and exciting, but January credit card bills can be depressing, especially if December spending was all last-minute impulse buying. And yes, homemade gifts, or truly thoughtful gifts, are always what will be the most

appreciated, and usually won’t break the bank. How about not letting holiday overeating this year be another source of guilt when you step on that scale in January? Most of us will face multiple temptation opportunities, from office parties to visits with friends, to family gatherings. Each event will usually offer plenty of chances to consume too many high-calorie treats. Should you avoid all the parties and those food temptations? Nope. That will just leave you feeling deprived and unhappy. Instead, enjoy all your favorite things, but do so slowly and in moderation. The main thing is to make sure you’re in control. One serving of holiday dessert is lovely, but two or three means the party is in control of you. And speaking of staying in control, the place it matters most is holiday drinking. One drink too many has led to countless DUI tickets, serious accidents, or even just a career disaster thanks to what was said or done at that office party. Don’t let the holiday spirits do you in. Soft drinks, a wine spritzer or just one drink slowly enjoyed throughout the party are all good choices compared to over-indulging. Enjoying the holiday season while

How about a goal this year of successfully being in charge of yourself during the holidays, in charge in a way that lets you enjoy the holidays without feeling tired, overweight and guilty when January rolls around?

staying in control is a nice formula for a good time without January regrets. “Counseling Corner” is provided by the American Counseling Association. Direct comments and questions to or visit

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December 2017 Vitality

Four steps to treat your dry skin By Gina Sares ProMedica Health Connect Do the colder seasons make your skin too dry? Dr. Todd Francis, ProMedica Physicians, says it’s the change in the air that’s to blame. “As the cold air comes in, it tends to be drier and doesn’t hold as much moisture. It’s actually pulling moisture out of our skin,” he explains. Spending more time inside doesn’t help either, as forced air tends to be drier as well. Cold air can be especially brutal on the hands and feet, which can become cracked and rough. “Hands and feet don’t have the same oil glands that the skin on other surfaces of our body do,” Dr. Francis says. “It’s also the skin that takes the bigger beating from hand washing and use.” Dr. Francis offers the following tips to help keep your skin moisturized and healthy: Stay hydrated. “It actually starts with hydrating the skin from inside,” he says. “Keep your skin as hydrated as possible so it doesn’t dry out as fast.” It

may take days or even weeks to repair a fluid deficit, but boosting your fluid intake will help. If you’re not a fan of water, try infused water or unsweetened coffee. Use an oil-based moisturizer. “In general, these tend to be better at locking in the moisture,” says Dr. Francis. “This prevents the loss of moisture, as opposed to actually putting moisture into the skin.” A hypo-allergenic moisturizer may be best for those with eczema or other skin conditions. The best time to moisturize is right after the shower when your skin is still damp. There are even some products available for use in the shower – just be careful if it makes your shower surfaces slippery. Avoid hot showers. It’s the time of year when you want to warm up in the shower, but curb your temptation to turn up the heat. Dr. Francis says that this actually accelerates the process of drying out your skin. Watch for damage or infection. Deep cracks in your skin, inflammation and signs of infection mean that it’s time

As the cold air comes in, it tends to be drier and doesn’t hold as much moisture.

to call your doctor. He or she may recommend a petroleum-based steroid ointment to treat the skin. Dry skin is common during the winter months, but if your home remedies aren’t working and your skin condition worsens, reach out to your primary care provider for help. For more healthy tips, visit

Planning: the antidote to a stressful retirement “Into the great unknown” is a wonderful phrase to set up a big-screen sci-fi thriller or a dramatic novel, but seeing your retirement through this lens can cause many people to shudder a bit – and for good reason. Investing three or four decades into a career and amassing savings to support yourself through a non-paid retirement of similar length can be downright terrifying. Consider the unknowns for the typical retiree – rising healthcare costs, inflation, historically low interest rates, a precipitously inflated stock market…it’s no wonder people are feeling stressed. Given all of these variables that are seemingly beyond our control, I present to you the very antidote to a stressful retirement: a retirement plan. As a retirement planner, I have the unique vantage point of having seen hundreds of families’ retirement savings strategies, goals, objectives, hopes and dreams. While each of these families has very different dynamics, one common thread runs through all of them: do we have enough saved, and are we prepared for a changing future? And sadly, many people are stepping into their retirement – into the great unknown – without a plan. This lack of a written, stress-tested plan is what causes many people to lose sleep at night when contemplating their retirement readiness. It simply doesn’t

Beyond the Money by Adam Cufr have to be this way. Imagine for a moment that you’ve organized all of your financial statements, including investment and retirement accounts, annuities, Social Security benefit estimates, pension options, life insurance policies, long-term care policies, bank account statements, estate planning documents – all of them, in one place. Then consider having these all analyzed to ensure you’re taking the appropriate amount of risk for your circumstances, that you’re paying reasonable fees for the services rendered, you have adequate income to last a lifetime, your vulnerabilities are properly insured against, and all of this is documented in a planning construct that makes it begin to make sense to you. Can you imagine how that might reduce your stress when making the decision to walk away from paid employment? Yet, it’s much rarer than I care to think about. The old adage, ignorance is bliss, really holds little water for the aspiring

retiree. Sure, if you don’t know about something, how can you fear it, but what if you now know that you should know? Well, many people have invested money into financial products with little knowledge of how those investments are to be used to get them retired and keep them retired. More often than not, account statements that arrive in the mail or by email, get scanned quickly with the hope that everything just works out somehow because nobody ever put those numbers into proper context. In other words, that money lacks a plan for how to best utilize it. Want less stress in retirement? Then I’d encourage you to plan for a less stressful retirement by planning for each dollar that you’re worked so hard to save to work as hard as possible for your benefit. It may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a little effort on the front end will likely save a lot of worry and stress on the back end. A small investment in time can reap huge rewards in peace of mind. Adam Cufr, RICP®, a Northwood native, is the owner of Fourth Dimension Financial Group, LLC in Perrysburg. He is a retirement planner, a columnist for Retirement Advisor Magazine, and the author of “Off the Record – Secrets to Building a Successful Retirement and a Lasting Legacy.” To learn more, visit

December 2017 Vitality 7 -

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Vitality December 2017  

Vitality December 2017

Vitality December 2017  

Vitality December 2017