Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Is In the Air - Up Next Summer!!

It's that time - the leaves return, the flowers are blooming, the birds chirping, the flies are flying, the bees will soon be buzzing and the ants will be back on track. While everything in nature prepares to take their natural course, we prepare to take on our own track of getting in shape.

There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors while working out. It is a refreshing way to become one with mother nature. Taking in the fresh air, listening to the birds chirp, looking at the trees or flowers blooming - a beautiful sight. Now it's a perfect opportunity to ride your bicycle, roller blade, play basketball, soccer, soft ball, jump rope, hula hoop or swim.

Some may decide it's time to get to the gym while others may decide to take to the park/track field, or jog in their neighborhood. Whatever you decide, be sure to take it easy. The body should never be taken for granted. It's so easy to forget that the body needs to warm up before beginning any form of physical activity. Stretching is essential. My husband and I would go for runs at the park, signing up for various organized races through the New York Road Runners Club among other work out alternatives. Whenever we return to the track to begin our spring workout routine, we usually walk a lap or two before run our laps. At the end of our run we would also walk a lap and then stretch a bit more.

Move at your own pace - progress begins with a move. Get out and enjoy. Hydrate, hydrate. Take advantage of spring and when summer arrives, it will all be worth it in the end.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What To Do???

So you are not a lover of fish or you may have an allergic reaction to eating fish but you really want to maintain a healthy balanced life. You've heard that Omega 3 is exceptionally good for you with outstanding benefits and it's found in fish. It lowers blood pressure although slightly but albeit lowers is a good thing, it also lowers triglycerides; slows the build up of plaque that hardens the arteries; reduces the risk of stroke in people with cardiovascular disease; a noticeable reduction in heart attacks, stroke and dangerous abnormal heart rhythms, most importantly - death.

The good news - all is not lost, you heard medical experts and researchers say that you can still enjoy the benefits by taking the fish oil supplements. You run out and purchase the products, may have read or glimpse at the label and have taken them with the confidence that you are well on your way to a healthy life.

Every now and then the news reports on health topics that they feel should keep the consumer aware of the products that may be dangerous or not forthright with their claims on the labels. Have I ever had fish oil pills? Yes, I have. In fact, I have those Nature Made products and I was shocked and appalled to see the following:

Did You Take Your Vitamins reminds you that everything may not be necessary for you.

Let us continue to do our best by eating fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, drinking water, whole wheat products, exercise -- all with a balance and pray that it works!

Monday, March 1, 2010

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer that begins in the colon is called colon cancer. If the cancer is found in the rectum, it is called rectal cancer. However, cancer that is found in either of these areas are also called colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer occurs when there are tiny growths/polyps of abnormal cells that lines the wall of the colon or rectum. The colon and rectum are both found in the large intestine. The symptoms may include bloody stool, abdominal pain, bleeding of the rectum or feeling tired due to anemia. Sadly in most cases, there are no symptoms.

Here's the deal - colorectal cancer advances with age. In fact, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths within the United States. However, with screening and early detection - lives are saved. The recommended age for screening begins at 50 but if you have a family history with colorectal cancer you may want to discuss with your physician.

There are several forms of screening. You really need to engage in a discussion with your physician. Find out which test will work best for you. Many have heard of the ever intrusive and some call it the dreadful colonoscopy. Dare I say, it may be considered dreadful only because it is inserted in the anal cavity and there is a bit of pre-colonoscopy preparations that must be completed. However, it accomplishes a great deal in detecting any abnormalities within the colon/rectal area and you wont have to take the test for another 10 years.

Another option would be the flexible sigmoidoscopy which a thin flexible tube known as a sigmoidoscope that is inserted into the rectum. The sigmoidoscope has a small video camera at the tip of the tube and it records the sights of the colon up to 2 feet of the large intestine. A plus for this procedure would be the ability to take tissue samples for further tests through this method and it is recommended for screening every 5 years. On the other hand, the sigmoidoscopy cannot pick up areas further along in the colon.

The fecal occult blood test is non invasive and is given annually. There is no intrusive procedures all you have to do is to smear your stool on to the cloth, pad or card which is chemically treated. The goal is to look at the results for a change in the color. If it turns blue that indicates that there is blood in the stool. Now blood in the stool can be an alarm for concern. However, it may not be cancer related therefore further tests may be ordered.

A CT scan X-rays the internal organs to make detailed pictures; a dye may be used to highlight the areas of concern. The good old reliable enema is also an option - the double contrast barium enema uses air to expand the colon which aids for better images along with the barium.

Colon cancer is one that may be prevented with a healthy well balanced diet which includes foods rich in high fiber, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Exercise is key to maintaining a healthy weight . Avoid processed meats, red meats, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Nothing is ever certain but the old saying 'an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure' really fits well right here. March is the colorectal cancer awareness month perhaps it is time to march on over to your doctors office and discuss your options.