GateHouse News Service's weekly Health Watch with tips on healthy winters, ways to increase children's activity levels, and options for veterans with hearing loss.
Dreaming of spring despite the cold weather outside? You're not the only one. Many people start thinking of warmer temperatures as soon as the mercury drops. Instead of sitting inside this winter, use these tips to "think spring" so you'll be ready when the thermometer rises again.
Try a smoothie
Nutrition has an incredible impact on wellness, and incorporating whole foods into your daily routine can help you stay fit through the winter months. A quick and easy way to begin incorporating more nutrient-packed foods into your diet is with fruit and vegetable smoothies. Try making a Fruit Salad Smoothie in your blender to start your day. Simply toss whole fruits and vegetables into the machine, and you'll get a smooth, on-the-go treat that tastes great and gives you natural energy. You can find smoothie recipes online by Googling the phrase, or check out vitamix.com.
Exercise is essential to staying healthy, especially during winter, when it's tempting to hibernate. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control recommend that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities twice a week. One way to get moving while having fun is to exercise with a friend. You could join a dance or fitness class together, go hiking, cycling or cross-country skiing in a nearby park, or try rock climbing.
Even if your hectic schedule doesn't leave much room for daily trips to the gym or local park, you can still incorporate exercise into your regular winter routine. Playing outside with your dog or kids, keeping dumbbells at your desk, walking down the hall to deliver messages in-person versus via email, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator are just a few examples of how you can get moving despite inclement weather. Even doing your daily chores -- like getting outside to shovel snow -- is a great way to build physical fitness and endurance.
Set a goal
Planning a vacation for springtime can give you something to look forward to through the cold winter months and is great motivation for remaining committed to a healthy lifestyle. Organize an exciting adventure with your family or friends - like hiking, mountain biking or kayaking - to take your mind off the dreary weather outside and keep you inspired to stay in shape. Plus, you can find some great travel deals during the offseason.
Remember to laugh
Don't let the overcast weather bring you down. Smiling and laughing are good for your health any time of year. Recent Stanford University research suggests that a good giggle fit can actually lower stress and act as a mini-workout. Try grabbing your friends for a game night or to watch a funny movie. Besides making you feel better, laughter is also contagious, so you just may make those around you feel better, too.
Although spring may seem light-years away, you can use these tips to help you "think spring" now and commit to a healthy winter lifestyle. That way, when the trees start to bloom and the air feels warm again, you'll be ready for whatever comes your way. Try this delicious smoothie recipe to get you started.
Fruit Salad Smoothie Recipe
1/2 cup red or green grapes
1 medium orange, peeled, halved, seeded
1/2-inch thick slice pineapple, core included
1/4 cucumber, peeled
1 carrot, halved
1/4 medium apple, cored, seeded
2 cups ice cubes
Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid. Select Variable 1. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High. Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients down.
Requiring a daily physical education class could help children be active for 23 minutes a day, a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found. This would be more than a third of the amount of physical activity recommended for children. The study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also suggested standardizing physical education curriculums to increase active versus inactive time and modifying playgrounds to include equipment that encourages active play.
The Beverage Institute reports that the average adult in the U.S. gets a significant portion of their calories from beverages, mostly in the form of carbohydrates. Avoid drinking sugary sodas, juices and alcohol, and replace these with water.
-- Family Features/Atkins Diet
Number to Know
26.5 million: Number of adults (nonintitutionalized) in America with diagnosed heart disease, according to the CDC.
As our nation's heroes continue to return home from the fronts of two major wars, it is a great time to recognize the tremendous toll service to our country can have on the brave men and women who selflessly choose to protect our freedoms throughout the world.
While there are many devastating effects of war, there is one that has enormous impact across all our armed forces - hearing loss. Some studies suggest that one in 10 soldiers today suffer from severe hearing loss and it has been said to be the No. 1 disability in the war on terror. In fact, veterans are 30 percent more likely to have severe hearing impairment than non-veterans.
In many cases, traditional hearing aids won't sufficiently restore hearing lost in battle. And yet, these brave men and women deserve to have every opportunity to live a normal life, after so many years of sacrifice. The good news is that there are advanced hearing solutions that may be able to give our nation's heroes a renewed sense of hope.
For those veterans who have a moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears, a cochlear implant may help. Unlike a hearing aid that amplifies sound, a cochlear implant is an implantable hearing solution that delivers sound straight to the hearing nerve. For those who can only hear from one ear, or who have chronically draining or malformed ears, there is another implantable device that can help. The Baha System conducts sound through vibrations in the bone allowing people to hear.
Lieutenant Commander Bill Kreceman, a veteran who resides in Memphis, Tenn., describes how he struggled and triumphed over his hearing loss during his time with the United States Navy.
During his active duty, Kreceman was diagnosed with a cholesteatoma, a growth in his ear. Luckily, it was able to be removed during an operation; however it severely damaged his hearing. For the next 30 years, he wore behind-the-ear hearing aids to the point where he was no longer receiving benefit from them. During this time, he was aboard the USS Saratoga and later serviced with the Marine Corps and at other various duty stations, including hospitals and clinics, and had to rely heavily on his lip reading skills just to get by.
It wasn't until one of his routine visits at VA Hospital Memphis that Kreceman found out about the Baha System, which involves placing a small titanium implant in the bone behind the ear. He received his first Baha implant and then received his second shortly thereafter.
Now, he is a tireless volunteer raising awareness for advanced hearing solutions among other veterans struggling with hearing loss. "The procedure changed my life," he says.
For more information about implantable hearing solutions, visit CochlearAmericas.com or ask the professionals at your local VA Hospital for more information.
GateHouse News Service