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September 11, 2020 CancerHealth & Wellness

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. To increase awareness and spread potentially life-saving information, we are going to explain some of the main causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment options for men with Prostate Cancer. Remember that the survival rate for Prostate Cancer is extremely high and that most men who contract it will not die from it. The most important thing to do is to educate yourself and/or the men in your family. Awareness is key! Although it can be scary to undergo screening or to even speak with your doctor about the potential risk of having Prostate Cancer, early detection and treatment have a much more favorable outcome than allowing cancer to progress. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prostate Cancer is the second most common form of cancer among men in the United States. It is second only to non-melanoma skin cancer and is the fifth leading cause of death worldwide. While it may seem surprising that there are more cases of Prostate Cancer in developed countries, risk factors for the disease include overall health, diet, weight, and exercise. Considering the rate of obesity, the mass consumption of fast food and junk food, and the sedentary lifestyle primarily found in the first world, perhaps the prevalence of Prostate Cancer here isn’t so surprising after all. Genetics also have a heavy hand in determining a person’s potential risk. Studies have shown that men of African descent (in the Americas, the Caribbean, and in Europe) possess a genetic disposition that makes them more prone to both developing prostate cancer, and also at a younger age than men of other races.

What is the Cause of Prostate Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, “Prostate Cancer is caused by changes in the DNA of a normal prostate cell.” It can be caused by DNA mutations or other changes that can lead to the overgrowth of cells. These changes, or mutations, can be inherited from generation to generation (which causes hereditary cancer), or they can be acquired throughout a man’s lifetime. While certain risk factors, such as age, race, and genetics cannot be controlled or mitigated, there are things that you can do to lower your risk.

In studies conducted by the American Cancer Society, obese and overweight men were found to be at more risk of developing prostate cancer. They are also more prone to develop advanced prostate cancer which patients are less likely to survive. In order to mitigate this risk factor, men are advised to both maintain an adequate amount of physical activity, and to adhere to a healthy diet. Several studies have also linked a higher risk of prostate cancer with over-consumption of dairy products and calcium. It is important to eat a balanced diet, full of nutrient-dense foods, and dietary fiber. Avoid consuming sugars, processed foods, and “empty” calories.

Related:
How to Help the Senior in Your Life Make Healthy Food Choices

Signs & Symptoms of Prostate Cancer

Perhaps the scariest thing about Prostate Cancer is that more often than not, it can go completely undetected without a formal screening by a medical professional. For that reason, it is important to talk with your doctor about when and how often you need to be screened. That being said, in the rare cases where symptoms are apparent, they may resemble those of a urinary tract infection (UTI).

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, they may include the following:

  • A need to urinate frequently, especially at night, and sometimes urgently
  • Difficulty starting or holding back urination
  • Weak, dribbling, or interrupted flow of urine
  • Painful or burning urination
  • Difficulty having an erection
  • A decrease in the amount of fluid ejaculated
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Pressure or pain in the rectum
  • Pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, pelvis, or thighs.

If you or any of the men in your family are experiencing these symptoms, be sure to speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment of Prostate Cancer can save lives.

Prostate Cancer Treatment

You may be wondering what treatment options are available and what they entail. The treatment and prognosis (AKA, chance of recovery) are dependent upon a few factors. The first determining factor is what stage of cancer the patient is in. Early stages are obviously much easier to treat and eradicate from the body. In cases where the cancerous cells have vastly multiplied and spread to other parts of the body (by way of tissue, the lymph system, or blood), treatment becomes more intense or may not even be possible. Treatment options will also depend on the age of the patient and whether the cancer is a new diagnosis or is recurring. It may be more difficult to treat Prostate Cancer for a second or third time.

The main treatments for Prostate Cancer include surveillance, surgery, radiation therapy or radiopharmaceutical therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or bisphosphonate therapy. The proper mode of treatment will be determined by a healthcare professional and will depend on the patient’s specific set of circumstances. Clinical trials for new treatments are underway. They include cryosurgery, high-intensity-focused ultrasound therapy, proton beam radiation therapy, and photodynamic therapy. Many of the available treatments may cause side effects. It is important to ask your doctor about any potential complications.

Remember, most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. There is a very high survival rate (nearly 100% of 5-year Localized and Regional cases). All SEER stages combined boast a promising 98% survival rate. The most important things you can do to mitigate your risk are to ask your doctor for regular screenings and to maintain a healthy diet and exercise plan. The sooner Prostate Cancer is detected, the greater the chances are of survival.


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According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), chronic pain affects approximately 50 million U.S. adults. High-impact chronic pain (i.e., interfering with work or life most days or every day) affects about 20 million U.S. adults. The management of these symptoms may involve medications. However, there are several alternative and holistic methods available to treat chronic back pain and other ailments. With September being Pain Awareness Month, we will discuss some of the ways you can manage such pain. 

In the western world, pain management often involves taking pharmaceuticals, which may be a slippery slope, even when prescribed by a doctor. As a nation, we are facing an opioid crisis. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 2.1 million U.S adults are addicted to prescription pain medication. An additional 467,000 are addicted to heroin. While opiate-based pharmaceuticals may offer temporary relief from chronic pain, the repercussions involved with addiction are likely to be far worse than the pain they were intended to treat. Luckily, alternative methods and healing arts can be instrumental in treating pain and enriching your life and health.

Physical Therapy

Chronic pain can be a severe interruption to your day-to-day life, activities, and even your career. But, what is classified as chronic pain? In the medical field, it is any pain that has been present for more than 12 consecutive weeks. A physical therapist is trained to evaluate your range of motion and capacity for mobility.

Related:
The Benefits of Physical Therapy

Once you have been evaluated, your therapist will treat you with a customized care plan tailored to your specific needs. They will help you regain mobility and work with you to relieve the pain you are experiencing. Treatments could involve mobility exercises, hot or cold compresses, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), or even ultrasound technology. Physical Therapy can help people experiencing pain in areas such as the back, neck, knees, shoulders, hips, and wrists.

Click here if you are in need of Physical Therapy services.

Exercise

Another way to help prevent pain or to treat existing pain is to exercise. Yoga is a fantastic way to heal your body from the inside out. Many types of Yoga, such as Yoga Nidra and Hatha Yoga are very low-impact and are restorative, relaxing, and have a strong focus on breathing and meditation.

Connecting your mind and body can be a powerful way to release pain and work through physical and emotional trauma. When you breathe heavily, you increase blood flow and oxygen levels within your entire body. This can be extremely beneficial to areas where you are experiencing pain. Regular stretching and movement can also increase your flexibility and overall mobility.

Related:
Yoga Physical Therapy: Healing From Within

If Yoga isn’t appealing to you, any form of exercise is beneficial. Swimming is low-impact for joints and can be incredibly healing. Even adding walking into your daily routine can help get your blood and oxygen levels pumping. Whenever possible, aim to walk or ride your bicycle instead of driving.

Click here if you are in need of Yoga Physical Therapy services.

Healing Arts

While often available in a spa setting, healing arts are not only for people on vacation or on #selfcaresundays kicks. Healing arts such as massage, acupuncture, Chiropractic adjustments, and Reiki, have tangible and measurable impacts.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has recognized that massage therapy has been demonstrated to alleviate chronic pain symptoms. Harvard Medical School acknowledges massage as a legitimate therapy for some painful conditions. Therapeutic massage may relieve pain by relaxing muscles, tendons, and joints. Their publication explains that, “It can also relieve stress and anxiety, helping to, ‘close the pain gate,’ by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.’

Speaking of stimulating nerves, acupuncture works specifically with the nervous system. Practitioners utilize very small needles, heat, and pressure on the skin to stimulate responses. Trigger points are accessed with the small needles, causing a release of chemicals into the spinal cord. The chemicals are similar to those found in opiates and pharmaceuticals that are used to treat pain (such as hydrocodone or morphine), but they are naturally occurring in the body and therefore don’t pose the threat of addiction.

Acupuncturists may also stimulate the release of neurotransmitters (AKA hormones) that regulate nerve endings. In other words, an acupuncturist may be able to actually “shut off” the sensation of pain by stimulating certain trigger points within your body.

Chiropractors work primarily with the skeletal system. They are trained to make adjustments to realign the spine and surrounding muscles. If your job is sedentary, your back and neck may fall easily out of alignment from sitting for hours each day. Conversely, if you are extremely physically active, your spine may also be pushed out of proper alignment. Many women experience a spinal misalignment after giving birth. The coccyx can be pushed out of place when delivering a baby, which may lead to chronic sciatic and lower back pain if left untreated. A chiropractor can be extremely helpful in pushing the coccyx (AKA the tailbone) back into place. This can often lead to an immediate sense of relief.

While Reiki healing may sound a bit more on the esoteric side, it is a practice with an ancient lineage that originated in Japan thousands of years ago. The most current form of Reiki was officially developed in the 1920s by a Japanese Buddhist. The healing practice involves a practitioner holding his or her hands above an effected area and transferring healing energy to the patient. Reiki is based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient through touch, activating the natural healing processes of the patient’s body, and restoring physical and emotional well-being. The root of the practice is the ability to tap into a universal current of Chi (or energy) and transfer it to stimulate flow and release. Much like how Yoga asanas help someone release or shift the flow of blocked energy through movement, Reiki accomplishes the same thing by way of touch. The result of either practice is the relief from trauma or pain.

 


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August 22, 2020 Health & Wellness

Just like every other organ in the body, the brain grows, develops, and declines with every stage of human life. The brain is easily the most complex organ in the body, as it functions as the control center, the memory, and the ultimate epicenter and perceiver of the entire human experience. When brain functionality is compromised for any reason, including disease, old age, or injury, every facet of life may become more challenging. Those who experience compromised brain health may experience memory loss, anxiety, and changes in mood or typical behavior. Day-to-day tasks, such as eating, driving, and bathing may become difficult or impossible for one to manage on their own. Luckily, there are preventative and restorative exercises for brain health that can be done to maintain optimal condition.

According to the American Heart Association, a whopping 3 out of 5 adults will develop a brain disease in their lifetime. Many factors may contribute to optimal brain health and performance, including eating a well-balanced and nutrient-rich diet and getting ample sleep each night. Additionally, staying in good physical shape and actively engaging parts of the brain with mental exercises (AKA neurobic exercises) can improve cognitive function and help to ensure the longevity of this major organ. If you would like to learn more about the best exercises for brain health, read on for our top five recommendations.

5 Best Exercises for Brain Health

1. AEROBIC EXERCISES

Cardio and aerobic exercises are some of the best exercises for brain health. Getting your blood and lungs pumping can truly be a game-changer for your entire body, and your “command center” is no exception. If you are wondering what exactly does aerobic exercise do for the brain? The answer (according to an article published by Harvard Medical School), is that increased blood flow can boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning.

Resistance training, balance, and muscle toning were not shown to have the same effect. So, anything that increases your heart rate is also going to help your brain stay healthy. Going for walks, jogging, HIIT training, and swimming are all great ways to promote brain health. Engaging in cardio-centric activities can also help with clearing, “brain fog.” These exercises will help you think more clearly and quickly.

2. DRAW A MAP FROM MEMORY

In addition to physical exercise, there are brain-specific neurobic exercises that can help strengthen and preserve memory and cognitive function. One of these activities is to draw a map of your town from memory. Don’t cheat by looking at a map or cell phone app. Include your house, any major landmarks, streets, intersections, or places you frequent. Try to be as specific and detailed as you possibly can. When you are finished, compare it with a store-bought or digital map.

You will likely be surprised by seemingly obvious features you may have missed. Anything that exercises your memory-recall functionality can actually improve your overall memory function. As an added bonus, use your non-dominant hand to draw the map. Skip down to number four on this list to learn why.

3. LEARN A NEW SKILL

Learning something new, such as an instrument, a sport, or a foreign language definitely takes commitment and discipline. The reward, however, transcends the knowledge of simply knowing a new skill. By actively engaging in challenging new patterns and routines, you are creating brand new connections between parts of your brain.

Think of your brain as a city full of rivers and valleys. By repeating new patterns, you are building bridges. Once the bridges are in place, you can travel throughout the city with far more efficiency than you could before. Learning new things is, by far, one of the best exercises for brain health.

4. USE YOUR NON-DOMINANT HAND

Similar to drawing a map from memory, completing tasks with your non-dominant hand (such as eating or writing) can be a powerful neurobic exercise. In training your “opposite” side to do what is otherwise familiar, you are actually changing the relationship between the right and left hemispheres of your brain. You are intentionally building another “bridge.”

Ambidexterity can certainly be learned. If you primarily work from a desktop computer, consider switching your mousepad back and forth to either side once in a while. If you are an athlete, consider switching which hand you pitch with, which leg you kick with, or which side you hold your golf club. Writing is another way to train your non-dominant side. An added bonus to learning ambidexterity is that in case of an injury on your dominant hand, you will have a back-up solution ready to roll.

“Put me in, coach!”

5. MEDITATION

Who would’ve thought that intentionally silencing the mind can actually strengthen the power of the brain? It doesn’t seem likely, but mindfulness meditation has a myriad of benefits, including brain cell regeneration. According to a study conducted by Harvard, engaging the body’s relaxation response (even just a single time) can reduce the body’s response to inflammation and strengthen DNA stability.

In addition to the direct correlation with brain functionality, meditation often also involves breathing exercises. As discussed earlier, anything cardio-related helps to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. This improves cognitive function and longevity. The benefits of meditation are actually far greater than those of sleep. If you have to choose between the two, an hour of mindful visualization and breathing will have a greater impact on your overall health than an hour of sleep.

Related:
Yoga Physical Therapy: Healing from Within

Similar to any major organ in the body, exercising, preserving, and protecting the brain is extremely important. When the brain begins to decline, day-to-day life may become increasingly more challenging for an individual and anyone around them. In addition to ample exercise, be sure to get enough sleep each night and eat a well-balanced diet. The habitual consumption of supplements may also help to increase brain health. Consider adding fish oil, folic acid, vitamins B6 and B12, and vitamin D to a nutrient-dense diet.

Related:
How to Help the Senior in Your Life Make Healthy Food Choices


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Senior citizens are often stuck at home for several days on end. When they have outlived their spouses, or don’t have family nearby, they are more prone to becoming bored and depressed. Luckily, there are a number of senior activities that can help them stay active and engaged.  

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), physical activity is vital for healthy aging and can reduce the risk of premature death. Adults 50 and older are especially at risk for chronic diseases, and physical activity is helpful in the prevention of these. In order to maintain their mental health, activities for seniors should also stimulate their brain, engage their creativity, and activate their problem-solving skills. Anything that fosters a sense of community is especially beneficial for maintaining their quality of life. If you are wondering what activities are good for seniors, read on for our top ten list.

1. SWIMMING

Water-based exercise can decrease the risk of chronic illness. It is also helpful for those who suffer from arthritis. Because movement in water naturally provides resistance, swimming and water aerobics are ideal cardio exercises for seniors. The weightless sensation in water makes these movements low-impact on joints, which is especially helpful for aging adults with chronic pain. Many community centers, senior activity centers, and YMCAs have indoor pools and offer senior programming.

2. SHOPPING

While shopping may seem like a chore to some, it is a great way to get seniors out of the house and in a more stimulating environment. With COVID-19 still present and considered a major risk for our more vulnerable population, indoor grocery stores may not be the ideal choice for a recreational shopping trip with your mom or dad. In this case, consider searching for and visiting outdoor flea markets, farmer’s markets, or craft fairs. Search the local newspaper for yard sales in your neighborhood as well.

Related:
COVID-19: Social Distancing Tips for State Re-Openings
Senior Isolation During the Coronavirus Pandemic

3. SCENIC DRIVES AND ROAD TRIPS

Sometimes all it takes to combat boredom and isolation for an elder is to change up the scenery. When limited mobility is an issue, consider taking them for a scenic drive or road trip. If you live in an area where the leaves change color in the fall, they will enjoy driving through nature to see the beauty. If you are in the Boston area, consider taking them on a day trip to drive up to the top of Mount Greylock. It is the highest point in the state, and the summit is accessible by car. The views from the top are incredible and they can enjoy fresh, clean, Berkshire air.

4.CHAIR YOGA

If you aren’t quite sure how to motivate seniors to participate in activities, consider setting them up with a chair yoga video at home. Since in-person classes are largely minimalized due to the pandemic, and many seniors are staying in whenever possible, they can easily enjoy this low-impact activity from the comfort of their own living room. There are many health benefits of practicing yoga. Contrary to popular belief, the student does not need to be at all flexible or athletic. Much of this ancient practice is done through breathing and meditation, making it accessible to older adults.

Related:
Yoga Physical Therapy: Healing From Within

5. GOLF

Golf can be a fun and exciting way to get your senior outside and with friends. They can walk from hole to hole or ride a golf cart if mobility is an issue. Sunshine and fresh air can do wonders for mental and physical health at any age but is especially important for seniors who may be stuck indoors for long periods of time. Golf is also a sport that can help exercise and refine gross motor skills, which naturally decline with age.

6. INDOOR GARDENING

Even when space is limited, seniors may enjoy the creation and caretaking of a small herb garden in their kitchen. It can be rewarding to nurture new life. Plus, who doesn’t love the flavor of fresh herbs in their cooking? Herb gardens can also be healing and aromatic in the home. Many herbs and small plants are easy to find, grow, and maintain.

7. COOKING

Once the herb garden has matured, seniors will enjoy cooking with their new, home-grown ingredients! This can be a fun and creative way to incorporate healthy life-preserving habits into their routine. If the seniors in your life don’t know about Pinterest, this can be a phenomenal resource for finding unique and exciting recipes. It may also be a great gateway to introduce unfamiliar technology.

Related:
Get Tech Savvy: 3 Best Apps for Seniors

8. SCRAPBOOKING

Scrapbooking is one of the best craft activities for seniors. Nostalgia is common for the elderly population. Compiling old memories, photographs, and keepsakes into beautifully curated pages may bring joy to those who spend a lot of time alone, indoors, or sedentary.

9. KNITTING OR CROCHETING

Knitting and crocheting are also some of the best craft activities for seniors. Patterns can be as simple, free-form, or as complex as they would like. Creating something beautiful and functional from a single strand of yarn will likely feel rewarding. There is nothing more comforting or sentimental than a hand-made blanket from someone you care about. By requesting that they make these items for you and other members of your family, you are likely to give your elders a sense of purpose.

10. VISITING THE LIBRARY

Our final activity is to bring your mom or dad to the library. A membership card is free and will give them access to thousands of books, articles, and in some cases public computers with internet and collections of DVDs and videos for rent. If they aren’t gung-ho about social media or reading the news online, they may enjoy a low-key outing to the public library. There they can potentially join book clubs and connect with other seniors with common interests.


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When assessing pain, trauma, or injuries, Yoga Therapists are trained to ask a very different set of questions from any other kind of medical or wellness professional. This is because Yoga practitioners are trained to understand the connectedness between the mental, physical, and spiritual centers of a human being. Unlike standard Physical Therapy, a Yoga Therapist may find that an external physical ailment is actually caused by an internal energetic blockage or illness, due to their holistic approach in treating an injury. If this sounds too esoteric or far from your comfort zone, we urge you to keep an open mind. Yoga can change your life.

An Overview of Yoga Physical Therapy

According to Yogic philosophy, every single experience you have ever had is retained and imprinted within the fibers and tissues of your physicality. From a holistic standpoint, you are essentially a vessel, and energy travels through various paths within your body. The way in which it flows can be manipulated by how you move, how you breathe, and how you think. Yoga originated in India and many Eastern religions have a similar understanding of energy as the life force or vitality of a human being. In Chinese, the word for this is, “Chi.” In Japanese, it is “Ki.” In India (and in the Yoga discipline), the word is “Prana.” (“Prana” is also the word for breath, which in Yoga, is inherently linked to your life force.)

When the energy (or Prana) that is meant to flow freely through your vessel gets stuck, it manifests in physical ailments of the body. So, for example, in Western medicine, and in standard Physical Therapy, when someone has an injured hip, physiotherapy will likely involve targeting the muscles around the hip joint and mobilizing the joint itself. A doctor may prescribe pain medication or a steroid to combat inflammation. When a Yoga Therapist treats a hip injury, he or she will not only aim to mobilize the injured area with yoga poses (known as Asanas), but will also incorporate breathing and meditation exercises that target the hip and the second or Sacral Chakra. This is the home of one’s emotional self, sensuality, sexual relationships, and creativity.

Understanding the Chakras

A major difference in approach between Yoga and Physical Therapy is that a Yoga Therapist will likely treat a physical injury with sequential poses that target specific Chakras. Here is a fun fact: the word is pronounced “chah-krah,” not, “shah-krah,” as you will often hear in the Western world. “Shah-krah” actually translates to, “cucumber,” which would sound very silly in this sort of context. Imagine if your therapist came in and told you that today you would be doing a series of poses to treat your hip cucumber. Not exactly what you had in mind, right?

There are seven chakras within the human body. They are centers of energetic vibration, which cannot be shown anatomically but are aligned from the base of the spine through the crown of the head. When a Yoga Therapist moves a client through an Asana practice, they are helping that person to access and heal these pivotal centers, which are directly connected to the emotional and spiritual parts of their being. By intentionally breathing into and visualizing the release of these parts of ourselves, we are able to heal holistically, from an internal and universal space.

A Yoga Therapist will almost always say that for any physical ailment that a client may have, there is far more to the story. The story could be as direct and obvious as physical abuse or trauma. It could also be as esoteric as a car accident-related injury. In the latter case, the Yoga Therapist may conclude that the client got into an accident because he or she was rushing and has taken on too much. The remedy for the physical ailment may, therefore, involve releasing and healing energy in the solar plexus Chakra, which is where the ego lives and where we hold on to how we are perceived by others, especially in our careers and professions.

Make no mistake, however. Yoga Therapists are highly knowledgeable in anatomy and physiology. To even obtain the most basic yoga certification, one must undergo 200 hours of training and education. Typically, at least 50% of that is rooted in anatomy. Depending on the school or program, it could be much more. Yogis must have a comprehensive understanding of anatomy, injury prevention, and modifications for various medical indications (including but not limited to pregnancy).

The Health Benefits of Yoga

According to the CDC, yoga and meditation can help manage stress and can improve your memory. It also has many physical benefits, such as strengthening and toning of the muscles and improved flexibility. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are several other reasons to practice yoga, such as relief of menopause symptoms, management of anxiety disorders, clinical depression, or PTSD, and even weight loss.

Related:
The Benefits of Physical Therapy

While it may appear at first glance to mostly attract women, yoga was actually created by ancient Indian men. In fact, many of the poses (or Asanas) have been slightly adapted by Westerners to better suit the female body, given that the centers of gravity differ between genders. The benefits of yoga for men are plentiful. In addition to the aforementioned advantages, men may enjoy improved overall sexual function from a regular practice. Those who suffer from premature ejaculation (PE) may find that they have better control when adopting a consistent and habitual yoga routine into their lives.

The Western world is extremely plagued by a disconnect between body, mind, and spirit. When we ignore any of those major parts of ourselves, we become ill or injured. Yoga is a powerful practice and tool to unite the planes of human existence. The word yoga literally translates to “to join,” or “to unite.”

If you have never tried yoga because you have preconceived notions that it is just for flexible people, or only upper-middle-class housewives do it, or it is all too “woo woo crunchy granola,” think again. Yoga is for everybody and every body. It can be life-altering in the most positive of ways. Namaste.


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It can be challenging to see your parents’ health in decline. A normal part of the aging process involves changes in diet, which all too often results in malnutrition. When senior citizens consume less food, they can easily miss out on important nutrients that will help them to stay healthy, strong, and energized. Vitamins and supplements can be helpful in an effort to replace and replenish, but when it comes to bioavailability, there is really no substitute for ensuring that proper senior nutrition is achieved. With some advanced planning and careful consideration of ingredients, disease-causing dietary deficiencies can be managed or avoided. Read on to learn more about foods that will boost memory, immunity, and energy levels in order to optimize recipes for your elderly parents. 

Foods to Boost Memory

According to AARP, Vitamin E may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Findings from a study involving more than 600 patients revealed that a daily high dose of vitamin E extended participants’ ability to accomplish everyday tasks (such as getting dressed, bathing, or eating) independently by an average of six months. When you are considering food options for your elderly parents, there are some vitamin E and omega rich ingredients that you should considering including.

Unrefined oils (like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil) are a nutrient-dense option. They can be added into salad dressings, used for cooking, or drizzled on top of meat or veggies for extra flavor and boosted senior nutrition. Avocados are a superfood as well as a source of vitamin E. Bonus! They require very little preparation. This is great news for those short on time who are tasked with planning make-ahead meals. If the senior in your life is picky or gets bored easily when it comes to dining, consider preparing them seafood. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are high in omega-3s and can be prepared in a variety of ways, so you can easily switch it up each week.

Nuts, seeds, and whole grains are healthy additions to diet plans for the elderly as well. Whole grains are rich in fiber and are usually easy to chew and swallow. Oatmeal is a perfect breakfast choice when it comes to senior nutrition. It is somewhat of a blank canvas and therefore an opportunity to provide some variety in flavors every morning. Fruits, nuts, and seeds can be added to oatmeal. If they cause difficulty in the digestion process, nut and seed butters are not only potent for brain health, but also beneficial for the heart.

Related:
“Am I Having a Senior Moment or Could it be Dementia?”

Immunity-Boosting Foods 

Perhaps now more than ever, we are aware of the vulnerability of the senior population. With the pandemic at the forefront of every news broadcast and every social media feed, the awareness and desire to protect our elderly population is greater than ever. Even prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, it was understood that when it comes to older adults, nutrition guidelines must include immune-boosting ingredients. There is a strong connection between the body’s immune system and the body’s gut health. Keeping the perfect balance of healthy bacteria can make or break a person’s defense to common colds, the flu, or any other predatory invasion of the biome.

The consumption of probiotics can be a gamechanger in promoting gut health and efficient digestion. Chances are, your parents or grandparents already have to take a fair amount of medications. Rather than adding in probiotic supplements, you can add yogurt into their meal plan. Many brands of yogurt on the market are loaded with sugar, preservatives, and other additives. This can weaken its potency, or worse, be detrimental to the health of the consumer. You are better off sticking with plain yogurt and adding it to smoothies or nutritional drinks for seniors. While you are preparing the blender, add in some elderberry, which is loaded with antioxidants (and delicious flavor), pomegranate juice, which is high in vitamin C, and wheat germ, which is high in zinc.

Another staple for make-ahead meals for seniors should be sweet potatoes and carrots. They are easy to prepare and keep without spoiling for a long time. These beta-carotene providers will help remove free radicals from the body. You can sprinkle them with sautéed garlic for flavor, and to aid in fighting bacteria and viruses.

Related:
The Importance of a Strong Immune System

Foods to Boost Energy Levels

Senior nutrition can play a critical role in how much energy a person has, how often they need to sleep, and for how long. Many older adults take prescribed medications that cause dehydration. An obvious dietary choice (though not a food) is to consume more water. However, another – perhaps more enjoyable – way to hydrate is to eat watermelon. This miracle fruit is a potent antioxidant and can help alleviate muscle soreness. It is also rich in vitamin C and lycopene, which can boost immunity and heart health.

Walnuts are another prime source for a quick energy boost, carrying an abundance of protein and fiber. Experts say that foods are helpful in maintaining the health of the body parts that they visually resemble, and walnuts resemble a human brain in that they are a similar shape. Improved cognitive function, memory, and mood can be achieved by adding walnuts to diet plans for the elderly.

The old adage, “You are what you eat,” may have been written to teach children about food choices, but it still holds validity in a nation that is (according to the health.gov Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020) rampantly exceeding the recommended intake of added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that dietary factors correlate directly to diseases common in our senior population. Because the elderly population tends to operate at a lower caloric intake, it is exceedingly important to ensure that their calories count. By cutting out the junk and including an abundance of nutrient-dense foods that boost memory, immunity, and energy levels, you can prolong and optimize the health of your loved ones.


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July 17, 2020 Health & Wellness

The life of an athlete is intense and rewarding. Physical limits are often pushed, with hours of training every day. Professional athletes typically have to endure extensive and grueling travel schedules to compete at sporting events. In many cases, their pay and/or sponsorships are on the line at games or meets. Adrenaline surges with everything at stake and in front of a large crowd or on live television. Even novice or hobbyist athletes can attest to physical strain after training, competing, or playing for recreation. When victory is achieved, there is usually a celebration (read: a night out drinking), which can also be physically taxing. With the help of modern technology, there is a fast and effective way to prepare, sustain, and replenish your body before and after physical exertion.

Enter IV Therapy! How does IV Therapy work? This revolutionary treatment involves receiving a liquid mixture of vitamins and minerals intravenously. When you take vitamins orally, they travel through your digestive system, which ultimately lowers their efficacy. With IV Vitamin Therapy, the potency of the solution is preserved and injected directly into your bloodstream, making it readily available for use by your body.

Vitamin IV Therapy for Athletes & Fitness Enthusiasts

While many different mixtures have made their way to the market, we are going to tell you about the five optimal components of IV Therapy for athletes. After pushing your body to its limit, it is important to replenish your system with the proper elements for recovery. With these ingredients, the patient will experience relief from fatigue, nausea, and pain. They will also receive an immune system boost and replenished hydration. Read on to learn more.

1. Normal Saline (AKA Sodium Chloride Solution)

When you train hard or play hard, you produce sweat. This intensifies if your sport of choice takes place outdoors in a hot climate. When this happens, your body loses a lot of electrolytes, and you can quickly become dehydrated. By adding saline to your IV Hydration Therapy treatment, you replenish your lost fluids and electrolytes. Consider how many times you have been told that drinking Gatorade will improve your sports performance. The reality is that Gatorade is basically a solution comprised of sugar and electrolytes. The concept of IV Therapy is similar, but far more potent, and sans the sugar (which is actually detrimental to your sports performance).

Saline is an isotonic solution, which means that it has the same density as blood. Because of this, other ingredients, such as vitamins, may be mixed with saline when administering an IV. Not only is it beneficial on its own, but it can also act as a sort of base or medium for other essential vitamins and minerals in the treatment process.

2. Vitamin C

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), Vitamin C has several benefits, including (but not limited to), the generation of antioxidants, wound healing and ridding the body of free radicals. Because of its potency and immune-boosting properties, studies are being conducted to determine whether Vitamin C might prevent or delay certain cancers and cardiovascular disease. According to an article published by the US National Library of Medicine, medical professionals are treating Coronavirus patients with high doses (1500 mg, three times per day) of Vitamin C intravenously. These patients fared significantly better than those who did not receive the same treatment.

When athletes receive Vitamin C IV Therapy, they may experience faster recovery from sports-related injuries, improved energy levels, restored immune function, and less muscle cramping and pain. This enhances not only their recovery time but also their athletic performance.

3. Multivitamins

In a perfect world, everyone would eat well-balanced meals with all of the essential vitamins and minerals needed to maintain optimal health. And, sugar and fried foods wouldn’t be delicious, and caffeine wouldn’t be addictive. Unfortunately, the world we live in, especially the Western world, is far from perfect when it comes to dietary habits. Americans consume a lot of empty calories, preservatives, and carcinogens, often allowing these toxic ingredients to replace nutrient-dense, whole foods. Because athletes typically have a higher level of body awareness, perhaps their habits aren’t quite as grave. However, everyone slips up now and again, and almost everyone can benefit from a potent dose of all of the essentials.

The NIH suggests that a dose of multivitamins increases the intake of essential nutrients, which may account for a lack due to dietary choices. Adding a multi-vitamin to an IV Therapy treatment can amplify the potency of the dose, which provides both immediate and long-term benefits to your health and recovery from exhaustion.

4. Toradol

Toradol is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Adding it to an IV Therapy treatment can be beneficial for sports-related injuries. It is indicated for the treatment of pain and may aid in the comfort of the patient as they recover from torn muscle tissue or inflammation due to physical exertion. If you have ever trained so hard that it hurt to perform basic, everyday tasks like walking up and down the stairs or opening the lid of a jar, you can imagine the benefit of immediate pain relief. Also, if your pain is managed, you won’t have to skip the gym or the practice that day.

5. Zofran

Perhaps your soccer team won last night, and you had a few too many drinks with the team to celebrate. Thankfully, there is a quick fix for the queasy feeling you may be left with this morning. Zofran is a brand name for ondansetron. It is used for the treatment of nausea and vomiting. Professionals are calling Zofran the “instant hangover cure.” By adding this to your IV treatment, you don’t have to suffer for your victorious celebration.

With these five key ingredients, you can opt for a speedy recovery from the physical toll of being an athlete. Because IV Therapy is injected directly into your bloodstream, the potency vastly exceeds oral administration. And, the effects and relief are felt instantly. Faster recovery time means more time on the field or in the gym, and an overall enhanced sports performance.


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From sports-related injury and congenital disabilities to age-related conditions, aches, and pains, the benefits of Physical Therapy are abundant. Because there are many indications and treatments within the field, most therapists have a practice rooted in a niche focus.

Modern Physical Therapy (PT) originated in Europe in the 19th Century and is rooted in massage and manual muscle manipulation. The practice made its way to the United States to help with the treatment of Polio. Patients were able to strengthen and use what was left of their declining musculature to accomplish functional mobility. With the success of the treatments, therapists were then trained to work with the military. Soldiers returning from WWI with battle wounds were rehabilitated. While their treated conditions were a result of fighting in the war (i.e., amputated limbs, spinal cord injuries, and head injuries), Physical Therapy began to find more common applications.

The United Nations stated that one-sixth of the global population suffers from neurological disorders. The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that one in two adult Americans live with a musculoskeletal condition. That means that more than half of our adult population could potentially benefit from Physical Therapy!

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy (AKA Physiotherapy) is a healthcare treatment that helps patients maintain, improve, or increase functional mobility. Physical Therapists utilize a variety of techniques, instruments, and exercises to treat illnesses or injuries that prevent their patients from achieving a full range of motion or performing physical functions.

Types of Physical Therapy

Everyone is susceptible to enduring an injury, and most of us will lose at least some of our mobility as we age. Many people are born with or develop illnesses that affect their movement. All these factors contribute to the vastness and diversity within the field of PT. To better understand the many different types of treatments and exercises therein, the field can be broken down into five distinct areas of practice.

1. Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy:

Anyone who suffers from heart disease, heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, or asthma can benefit from cardiopulmonary physical therapy. Many stress- and anxiety-related mental disorders and trauma affect the respiratory system as well. Given the pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) anticipates that these conditions are on the rise. Anyone suffering from hypo or hyperventilation can also benefit from cardiopulmonary therapy treatments. There is a range of exercises used by professionals in the field, many of which focus on expanding the patient’s lung capacity and endurance.

2. Geriatric Physical Therapy:

As we age, we become more vulnerable to conditions that affect our functional mobility. While not exclusive to the elderly, issues such as joint replacements, balance disorders, and arthritis are more common among the senior demographic. According to the CDC, an adult (age 65 and older) falls every second of every day. Specialized Geriatric PT can play an integral role in treating these conditions, restoring a patient’s ability to balance, and in providing our elderly population with the tools and treatments needed to increase mobility and reduce pain.

3. Neurological Physical Therapy:

Therapists in this niche specialize in treating patients who experience movement limitations due to injury or disease of the nervous system. Among the many indications commonly treated in this area of practice are Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, and brain or spinal cord injuries. Patients will often be given Physical Therapy exercises to improve arm, leg, and foot mobility.

4. Orthopedic Physical Therapy:

When we first hear the term, “Physical Therapy,” we most likely picture athletes who are rehabilitating after suffering from sports-related injuries. This widespread perception of the field falls under the category of Orthopedic PT. Professionals who specialize in this use various techniques such as endurance, resistance, and strength training, joint mobilization, and stretching to heal, preserve, and protect the musculoskeletal system.

5. Pediatric Physical Therapy:

This area of practice is focused around children (typically anyone under the age of 18.) Disabilities are often (and ideally) diagnosed in the early and developmental stages of childhood. The severity level can range from a child who misses or is delayed in achieving developmental milestones outlined by the World Health Organization, or one who suffers from a genetic disorder (such as Cerebral Palsy). Pediatric Physical Therapists also treat children who suffer from acute injuries, muscle diseases, and head trauma.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

The long list of PT benefits would be difficult to summarize in just a few paragraphs. In an ever-developing field that serves so many different parts of the population, the benefits are exceedingly abundant. Below are some of the most significant advantages, though the list is not exhaustive.

1. An Effective Alternative to Higher-Risk Options. Because Physical Therapy is an efficient way to manage or eliminate pain, it can potentially help a patient avoid surgery. Even if surgery is needed, routine treatments before an operation can strengthen the patient and reduce post-op recovery time, often lowering the overall cost of the procedure. In other cases, patients are prescribed addictive medications, such as opiates. Since PT can give a patient the necessary tools and exercises to manage and reduce pain, they may be prescribed a lower dose of medication or none at all. Many muscle groups, such as the lower back, respond very well to non-invasive treatments, rendering Physical Therapy exercises very effective.

2. Helps to Restore Functional Mobility. Physical Therapy exercises can help patients regain their full range of motion through techniques focused on stretching and strengthening their muscles. Whether injuries are related to sports, trauma, or age, PT greatly benefits the outcome of a movement-limiting injury. With one-on-one care and attention, a therapist can assess a patient and prescribe a customized plan to strengthen the necessary muscle groups and re-align or stabilize the skeletal and postural systems. With these processes combined, patients are often able to achieve restored functional mobility.

3. Helps in the Management of a Wide Variety of Medical Indications. Whether due to old age, congenital disabilities, or disease, Physical Therapy is used to treat an expansive range of conditions. Beyond those discussed earlier, many physical therapists are also qualified to treat Vertigo, concussions, urinary incontinence, and Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ). In many cases, PT is preventative of a medical condition getting worse, becoming intolerable, or completely debilitating a patient.

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Quarantine Pains: Staying Active During Self-Isolation

More often than not, Physical Therapy involves a very personalized care plan. Due to the vastness of the field, there are therapists who specialize in specific areas of focus. It may take a bit of research to find the right match, but ultimately it will be worth it to find a professional who can customize a plan that meets your particular needs. The benefits of the practice can be preventative, preservative, or restorative.


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June 11, 2020 Health & Wellness

It is hard to believe it is June already, which means Father’s Day is just around the corner! June also happens to be Men’s Health Awareness Month. What better gift to give your dad and other significant men in your life, than the gift of encouraging awareness and the relevance of their health.

National support and education for women’s health issues, namely breast cancer, has been more widely recognized in the United States than men’s healthcare matters. In 1985, October was established as Breast Cancer Awareness Month to promote advocacy and awareness for early detection and improved breast cancer treatments. In large part, the number of women who died from breast cancer decreased by 40% from 1989 to 2007 due to increased awareness and support by a compelling cause, symbolized by the identifiable pink ribbon.  

Men’s Health Awareness

How many of us knew there is a month dedicated to men’s health? We are willing to bet that not as many of us are familiar with June being recognized not only as a time to celebrate and honor fathers, but a month to celebrate men’s health. In 1994, Congress passed a bill establishing June as Men’s Health Month, a month dedicated to education and awareness on the health and wellness of men and boys, symbolized by a blue ribbon.

Men live shorter lives than women by an average of 5 years. In fact, American men have lower life expectancy rates at all ages and die at higher rates from most illnesses such as cancers, heart disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease, and suicide. 

Why the disparity between men and women? Men have been said to have a predisposition to higher risk behaviors like heavy drinking and smoking, and are more likely to take more significant risks when it comes to driving and recreational activities. Also, men have a history of serving in wars and are more likely than women to hold higher-risk jobs with workplace hazards in occupations such as emergency response, including firefighters and police, construction, manufacturing, agriculture and forest, mining, and military occupations.

When it comes to physical and emotional well-being, women are far more likely than men to keep annual physical appointments and seek professional medical advice when not feeling well. A survey of 500 men, ages 18 to 70 across the US, found that only 3 in 5 men get an annual physical, and only 40% will go to the doctor if they are concerned about a severe medical condition. 

Why are men skipping medical appointments? Researchers shared in an article in the Wall Street Journal that the idea of masculinity and “manly” stereotypes may contribute to the notion that it is weak to seek medical advice. The idea that men should be strong, self-reliant, vital, tolerant, and manage emotional self-control may have a negative impact on eventual health outcomes.

Men also reported in a 2016 survey that 20% were uncomfortable with the idea of prostate and rectal exams, and 21% were afraid to hear bad news from those exams. The biggest reason men said they did not keep regular medical appointments was that they were too busy to go.

So, how can we encourage men to think differently about their health care? How can we dispel the notion that it is not weak to talk about health concerns or seek medical advice? Engaging in conversations about health can lead to taking action regarding your loved one’s health and well-being.

The Men’s Health Month movement is about awareness, just like the Breast Cancer Awareness movement. Its purpose is to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.” More knowledge and recognition of this event and its purpose could have the potential to narrow the mortality divide between men and women.

Knowledge is Power

This year, the week leading up to Father’s Day is when communities across the country will promote Men’s Health Week. This is the perfect opportunity to generate conversations about the health issues that are the biggest threat to men. Accompany the special guy/s in your life to an event and learn more about men’s health care. The chances are good that something is happening in your community to support this vital cause. Take a look at this website to see more examples of events.

  • A conference provided by the Marine Corps for 3,000 individuals in the military on testicular cancer 
  • The Franklin Baptist Church of New Orleans offered free screenings for vision, cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure, and seminars on colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, and tobacco use risks.
  • Edwards Air Force Base, hosts “Ask-a Doc” where fathers and families learn about hypertension, sleep apnea, and skin cancer prevention
  • San Diego Black Health Associates announced its “Steppin’ to Health” project designed to encourage men to get a check-up.

Fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers will live longer, healthier lives when they pay attention to their health and see a primary physician on a regular schedule. Age-appropriate screenings such as blood pressure screenings, EKG’s, PSA tests (for prostate health), and chest x-rays, are just a few preventive measures that, if followed, can improve health and reduce premature death and disability. A relationship with a healthcare provider will determine what is best for you or your loved one. 

It may be easier to talk about having a healthy diet, exercising, or getting enough sleep to support a healthy lifestyle, but not going to the doctor should not be an option. 


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Our health and the health and well-being of our loved ones have been top-of-mind as we’ve endured the last three months of a nationwide pandemic. We are practicing social distancing, and have become diligent practitioners of good hygiene in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus while protecting ourselves and the livelihood of others. 

Currently (June 2020), there is no specific cure or treatment for COVID-19, however, immunization and infectious disease specialists are working intently to deliver a potential vaccine. In the meantime, it is now more important than ever before to incorporate positive lifestyle habits that will help you stay healthy and support your immune system, which is command central for your body to fight infections and viruses.

Based on what we know today, people who are at higher risk of infection from COVID-19 are older adults and anyone with underlying medical conditions. People who are immunocompromised are among those who are more susceptible to infection and are at higher risk for severe illness and potentially fatal outcomes.

Being immunocompromised means having a weakened immune system, which reduces the body’s ability to fight infections and other diseases. Many conditions can cause a person to have a suppressed immune system, such as:

  • People who are undergoing cancer treatment
  • Bone marrow or organ transplant recipients
  • Smokers
  • People who have used steroid hormones or other immune weakening medications for a prolonged period

If you do have a compromised immune system, it is particularly essential to practice healthy lifestyle habits to help ward off illness and infection.

What is the Immune System?

The immune system is a complex network of organs, cells, proteins, and tissues that work together to protect the body against infection to maintain overall health. It plays an essential role in protecting the body against harmful germs and substances that could cause illness, infection, or disease.  

Several organs make up the immune system including your spleen, adenoids, lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, tonsils, and bone marrow. Together, these cells work to create immune cells, otherwise known as white blood cells which are responsible for detecting and killing foriegn substances such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. This process creates antibodies that can discern good cells from bad cells, eradicating them, and protecting the body against infection. 

There are two subsets of the immune system that work in concert with one another in a healthy and properly functioning system. Innate Immunity is something we are all born with. This system recognizes an invader, which stimulates an immune response eliminating bacteria, viruses, or any other foreign matter. This innate immunity includes the skin and mucous membranes of the throat and stomach. If a pathogen manages to evade the innate response, the adaptive or acquired immunity will take over.

Our Adaptive (Acquired) Immunity develops over time as we are exposed to various types of bacteria, fungi, or viruses, either through exposure to an infection or through vaccination. Over time, the body develops antibodies specific to certain pathogens based on the body’s memory to past exposure. 

Can I Strengthen My Immune System?

Keeping your immune system healthy year-round is essential in preventing infection and disease. Healthcare providers, nutritionists, scientists, and others have endorsed lifestyle improvements, healthy nutritional habits, and positive mental health as contributors to an efficient immune system.

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How to Manage Coronavirus Anxiety in this Unprecedented Time

With our concerns about the infectious nature of the coronavirus, we may be more concerned than usual about staying healthy and strong. For those of us who are not in the best physical shape, or at our healthiest before the virus, we may be wondering how to get healthy fast.  

The notion of “boosting” your immune system quickly is appealing, particularly during a time of increased vulnerability to an infectious virus.  We are bombarded daily with advertisements claiming certain vitamins and herbal supplements as effective ways to strengthen our immune system and improve our health. Supermarkets have entire aisles dedicated to vitamins, supplements, and magic powders enticing consumers looking for ways to manage day-to-day health. 

Not so fast! There is little scientific support to the efficacy of supplements or herbal preparations in improving overall health or having the ability to enhance the immune system. Researchers have found that vitamins may be beneficial to people who are malnourished, but that the average American adult is not. And, if you were relatively healthy before, supplements will do little to sustain that health. So what can we do to strengthen our immune system?

Healthy Living For A Healthy Immune System 

A healthy lifestyle as a whole has always been the best defense against the flu, viruses, and disease. Every part of your body will function better, including your immune system when you follow basic healthy habits. Some recommendations from Harvard Medical Health are below: 

Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands: Germs typically start off by being airborne, but can survive for periods of time on certain surfaces. Germs and bacteria can be transmitted by contaminated hands to your eyes, nose, and mouth. Be conscious of what you touch, try not to touch your face, and always practice good hygiene. If you cannot wash your hands immediately, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  

Maintain a healthy weight: Eating fruits and vegetables will naturally provide the body with essential nutrients such as vitamins C, E, and D as well as antioxidants which will support the immune system. Zinc is known to boost white blood cells and can be found in nuts, beans, and lentils.  

Exercise regularly: According to the American Heart Association, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week to gain health benefits. With stay-at-home restrictions and social distancing practice, this may feel like a lot. Take a 30-minute walk or another activity, 5 times a week and you’re there.

Keep stress at bay: Living during a pandemic is stressful. And stress does have a negative impact on our immune system. If it is possible to avoid stressful situations, do so. If you feel stressed, try practicing meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises to help alleviate these feelings. 

Get vaccinated: Staying up to date with vaccinations is probably the best defense against the flu and viruses. In getting a vaccine for the current flu or viruses, our bodies will recognize the pathogen if you are exposed.

Whether you practice healthy habits or rely on over the counter vitamins or herbal supplements, it is always recommended you maintain regularly scheduled medical appointments and discuss any vitamins you are taking with your physician to be sure they are appropriate for you.  


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