Saturday, August 29, 2020

Why you should prioritize exercise if you have a chronic disease

Man and woman walking on a hillside in sunlight
Couple walking

Persons with chronic diseases—such as pain in the back or joints, heart disease, asthma, cancer, dementia or diabetes—can gain important health benefits from an exercise program. As always, it is important to consult with your doctor before starting to exercise; ask for advice on what exercises you should be doing and what precautions to take while exercising. The point of exercising when you have a chronic disease is to help you manage your symptoms and improve your overall health. Exercise is medicine!

Types of exercise and their benefits

  • Flexibility exercises increase the range of motion of your joints.
  • Balance and stability exercises help reduce the risk of falls and broken bones.
  • Strength exercises, in addition to obviously improving your strength, aid endurance, making daily activities easier to do. They slow the progression of certain muscular diseases and also stabilize your joints.
  • Aerobic exercises improve heart health and endurance. They also aid in weight loss. Aerobic activities can be done at low- and high-intensity; high-intensity exercise takes less time to achieve exercise goals. You can also alternate low- and high-intensity aerobic exercise; this is called interval training.

Disease-specific benefits of exercise

  • Pain in the back - Low-impact aerobic exercise and core exercises for the abdominal as well as back muscles strengthens muscles around the spine that affect your posture. They increase the endurance of your muscles and improve their function.
  • Arthritis pain in the joints - Specific exercises increase muscle strength around joints, which reduces joint stiffness and pain. Exercise increases the quality of life for persons with arthritis by improving their physical functioning.
  • Heart disease - Exercise benefits include slowing disease progression and remodeling heart muscle damage. Interval training is generally well tolerated by persons with heart disease. Exercise helps people with high blood pressure lower their risk of dying of heart disease, and decreases the risk of heart disease progression.
  • Asthma - Regular exercise controls the frequency and severity of asthma attacks for many individuals.
  • Cancer - Regular exercise lowers your risk of death from breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers. Those recovering from cancer report improved fitness and higher quality of life when they exercise.
  • Dementia - People with higher activity levels have less risk of developing dementia or age-related cognitive impairment. For people who have dementia, exercise has been shown to improve cognition.
  •  Diabetes - Exercise works well to increase the effectiveness of insulin in lowering blood sugar levels in persons with Type 1 diabetes. It also increases your energy and helps you lose weight. For persons with Type 2 diabetes, exercise decreases the risk of dying from heart disease.

Safety Precautions

While your doctor will discuss this with you as you plan your exercise program, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind. Your doctor may refer you to a physical or occupational therapist to help you design a safe exercise plan.

Finding time to exercise

Your exercise goal is 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity at least 5 days a week. Especially when just beginning an exercise program, it can be difficult to fit it into your daily schedule. Most likely this is a motivational challenge, so put exercise sessions on your calendar! Activities that appear as part of your formal daily plan are more likely to get done. You can also put “exercise” on your daily TO DO list; it feels good to cross that one off.

Getting started

Your doctor will help you create a plan with a starting point and a goal for exercise. Especially if you have not been active in a while, it is important to start an exercise program slowly and build up the length and intensity gradually. Remember, any activity is healthier than none at all. Sit less and move more; even an hour total a week is beneficial.

The best news is that you don’t need to set aside a full hour for a complete workout. Research has shown that exercising in short bursts works as well. Start with small sessions a few times a day, and soon you will be meeting your exercise goal and improving your overall health and wellbeing.

Staying motivated

Your doctor may recommend exercise programs for persons with your condition that are run by a local hospital or health club. Some insurance plans support these organized exercise programs.

Exercising with a friend can help you stick to your routine. So can choosing activities that are fun for you, and adding in additional enjoyable physical activities such as an occasional hike. It is OK to take an “exercise vacation” for a day, but try to get back on track the next day.

The most important exercise advice is to set realistic goals given your current health condition. Be sure to celebrate your successes as you reach health improvement milestones.


Things To Do - Volunteer to Help Seniors and Persons with Disabilities in Your Community

Picture of many different-colored hand prints
Volunteer Hands


During a pandemic, the elderly and persons with disabilities are often at the greatest risk. To protect themselves, they may become isolated and unable to access basic services or meet their daily needs for food and supplies. Isolation and loneliness have negative impacts on overall health and wellness. If you feel safe offering assistance, there are three areas in which you can volunteer. 

Delivering Meals or Groceries

Organizations that deliver food to the needy include Meals on Wheels and Feeding America. Contact local service agencies as well as the large national ones to see if they need drivers willing to bring food and groceries to needy isolated persons.

If you live in an area not served by any of these agencies, you can use social media to let people know that you are willing to shop for and deliver groceries, or run other errands such as picking up and delivering prescription medications. 

Technology Assistance

Help older family members or elderly community members stay up to date with information and keep connected with loved ones through technology. Sometimes the easiest way is to phone and talk the person through how to use their existing electronic tools, including smart phones.

Consider writing (or making a video) and sharing tutorials for downloading eBooks or audio recordings from the local library collection, or directions for emailing or for downloading a podcast. Create step-by-step written instructions for using video conferencing tools.

Remember to include tips for safe experiences online. Seniors and the disabled are frequent targets of online scammers.

If you are unsure how to start creating these educational materials, check out the free materials provided by Generations on Line

Social Support

Loneliness has large impacts on health and is increased during times of enforced isolation. Check with local civic organizations and churches to see if they can match you with a person who would benefit from a regular phone call “just to check in.”

For a good list of potential discussion topics for talking with seniors, please look here: https://www.griswoldhomecare.com/blog/senior-conversation-starters-discussion-topics-for-elderly-adults/

If you feel too shy to volunteer in this way, consider sharpening your interpersonal skills. Here is a helpful list of tips on how to engage in small talk: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinapark/2015/03/30/an-introverts-guide-to-small-talk-eight-painless-tips/#74f0b662574a

Volunteering helps others, but helping others also benefits you. You will be less likely to feel depressed and will experience increased overall well being. Where can you volunteer safely?

Things To Do - Learn Some History

Picture of sneaker with green shoelaces
History of Shoelaces


If your experience of learning history ended in school, with memorizing a list of dates and the names of kings and presidents and generals, you are missing out on discovering some intriguing facts. Why not take some time while we are sheltering in place to learn some other aspects of history.

Have you ever considered that common everyday objects may not have always been the same as we encounter them nowadays? Check out this history of everyday household objects, such as chopsticks and forks, playing cards and pillows.

Ever wondered when doorknobs came to be? How long has mankind used shoelaces? Who invented ladders?

Foods are interesting to explore. How did the iconic European breads like Dutch tiger bread, German pretzels, and French baguettes come about? What’s the story behind fruitcake? Even candy has a sweet history.

How was the Eiffel Tower built in 2 years, 2 months and 5 days? Find out about this marvel of engineering.

Some engineering feats are being lost to the advance of civilization. Learn how the Inuit used to build igloos.

Be sure to share the fun facts you learn with your friends. Curious minds want to know.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Things to Do - Tour of the virtual Peale Museum!

The Peale Museum in Second Life
The Peale Museum in Second Life
 

Tour of the virtual Peale Museum!
August 15, 2020  (8-11am SLT) 
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/The%20Peale%20Museum/128/100/22

Rembrandt Peale’s Museum and Gallery of the Fine Arts opened in downtown Baltimore, Maryland, on August 15, 1814. It  was the first purpose-built museum in the United States, and is now a US National Historic Landmark. As of today, The Peale is the newest museum in the virtual world Second Life!

Current highlights of the virtual museum include the 3D interactive Peale Museum building and the virtual world exhibition, “Redefine/ABLE: Challenging Inaccessibility.” 

At 9am SLT, a panel of accessibility experts will discuss how historic buildings can be made accessible, in RL and SL.

Please feel free to explore inside the museum, pop through the door at the top of the stairs to see the accessibility exhibit. There are fun things to discover inside and outside the museum.

Read the Press Release from Linden Lab: https://www.lindenlab.com/releases/the_peale_opens_new_extension_in_the_virtual_world


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Financial Literacy Tip - Shop for School Supplies Tax-free This Weekend in These Ten States

Tax Free glass window display


Schools may or may not open in the next week in your state, but if you live in ten particular states, you will be able to shop for school supplies this weekend (Aug 7-9) without paying regular sales tax on those items. These states are:

  • Florida
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Texas 
  • Virginia

Typically included on the list each state has designated as tax-exempt items are school supplies, clothing and shoes, and in some states computer equipment is also on the list. Check this article for further details and links to the states’ tax sites.

NOTE

Check this article - https://www.kiplinger.com/taxes/state-tax/601174/tax-free-weekend-savings-from-august-7-to-9.


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Reducing Risk Factors for Esophageal Cancer Works!

Green ECG graph with green human stick figure


The two types of esophageal cancer are the seventh leading cause of death for US men. Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.

The two types of esophageal cancer are esophageal adenocarcinoma and esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.  Both appear to be caused by irritation of the lining of the esophagus which causes cellular changes in DNA. The exact cause of these cancers is unknown.

Adenocarcinomas (EAC) begin as changes in the music-secreting glands lining the esophagus, typically in the lower portion where it empties into the stomach. In the US it affects primarily white men.  Two-thirds of esophageal cancers in the United States are EAC. It is usually associated with obesity and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) occurs in the thin flat cells lining the interior surface of the esophagus. It occurs mainly in the upper and middle portion of the esophagus tube, and is the most common esophageal cancer worldwide. It is most commonly associated with smoking and drinking alcohol.

A 2018 research study has shown that the incidence of ESCC in the US decreased significantly from the 2001 level to 2015. The same research also indicated a significant increase in EAC between 2001 and 2006.While the incidence of EAC was highest in Midwestern states, it increased the most rapidly in the Northeast.

It is suggested that the decrease in ESCC may be due to a rapid decrease in smoking. What this means is that reducing one of the risk factors for esophageal adenocarcinoma worked. EAC is treatable, and early detection can make a big difference in survival rates. For more information on esophageal cancer detection and treatment: https://www.cancer.gov/types/esophageal/patient/esophageal-treatment-pdq

Prevention always has better outcomes than treatment. Let’s make a better effort to reduce the risk factors for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma by treating GERD adequately and reducing obesity.

Things to Do - HealthInfo Island - 8 displays!

The three displays and five exhibits for this month are as follows, starting by the bridge from Virtual Ability island and working around to the top of the waterfall.
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Minority donor awareness
  • Overdose awareness
  • Hangovers 
  • Healthcare for the homeless
  • Neuropathy
  • Psoriasis awareness
  • Stock your fridge and pantry for better health