This week is National Women’s Health Week. It started on Sunday and is celebrated through May 18th.
National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health and its importance. It also empowers women to make their health a priority and encourages them to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:
- Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
- Get active.
- Eat healthy.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet, and texting while driving.
Monday (the 13th) was “National Check Up Day,” a nationwide effort, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, to:
- Encourage women to call and visit health care professionals to schedule and receive checkups; and
- Promote regular checkups as vital to the early detection of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health illnesses, sexually transmitted infections, and other conditions.
Yes, it was yesterday, but if you are a woman and haven’t either already had, scheduled or getting your head around getting scheduled for your annual check-up, do so today. If you are a man, encourage the women in your life to do so. Women often serve as caregivers for their families, putting the needs of their spouses, partners, children, and parents before their own. As a result, women’s health and well-being becomes secondary. As a community, we have a responsibility to support the important women we know and do everything we can to help them take steps for longer, healthier, happier lives. This isn’t about martyrdom ladies, it is about being in a position of good health in order to take care of those who depend on you. This is the rationale behind being on your oxygen mask before you help those around you put theirs on. You can’t help anyone if you are unconscious, ill or dead.
This is also about leading. Women are often the leaders in their families. (sorry guys … just true) They are usually their heart and nerve center of their families. I remember hearing the phrase, “if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” and not understanding it. But it is so true! In this case, if the caregiver isn’t well, she can’t provide care to anyone. Taking care of our own health is the first step in leadership.
This week also kicks off our Pathways to Leadership, our summer personal leadership development series. Tomorrow morning at Rennes Health & Rehab Anna Steinfest from U.S. Bank and AFF Research and Cassie Schuh from Zaptastic Professional Coaching will kick-off the series with sessions on Personal Leadership Philosophy and Personal Leadership Brand. This series is designed to help improve and grow the participants personal leadership and I’m very excited! Every group I’m in, both personally and professionally, often focus on leadership; but most people aren’t trained in leadership or in growing their own leadership skill-set and ability. When I typed “personal leadership” into my Google search, it returned 776,000,000 results! I’d say it is an important topic! I have multiple books in my office, in my home, on my Nook, on my computer and on my Kindle app about leadership. Two of the final classes I took last year to (finally) finish my Bachelors Degree had the majority of the classes dedicated to leadership: definitions, lessons in good & bad leadership and how to improve as leaders.
Be a leader in your life. You can join us to learn in our very hands on sessions of the next 3 months, you can read some great books or attend the myriad of leadership courses available online and in person. Hand-in-hand with that education, however, is making sure you are fit to lead (thanks Prevea and Western Racquet!). And you have to be healthy to do so.
So .. focus on leadership. Focus on learning. Focus on taking care of yourself. You can’t lead anyone anywhere worth going if you don’t!
This week is Occupational Safety and Health Week here in North America and since many of you come to our blog by way of our Chamber website, we are mostly connected with safety and health via the workplace. Our Live Healthy Brown County newsletter will come out tomorrow, as it usually does, but this week it will include a new feature – volunteer opportunities. You may be thinking that is because I’m always looking for volunteers for lots of things. And, I do that, yes – but we are including it because volunteering is good for your health! I was always told it helping others is good for the soul, but I’m thrilled to find it is more than that.
A few bits of information on this topic:
- Improvement of cardiovascular health. Being a volunteer can lower your blood pressure and improve heart problems. One study, done by the University of Michigan Research Center, showed that volunteers with a history of heart problems had reduced chest pain and lower cholesterol levels compared with non-volunteers.
- Lower risk of death. Another study on older adults who volunteer regularly demonstrated that those who spend time volunteering may enjoy a longer lifespan.
- Better mental functioning. Concerned about preserving your brain power as you age? An increase in cognitive (mental) functioning is yet another potential benefit of volunteering.
- Overall mind and body improvement. Volunteers have been shown to have reduced anxiety and depression and an overall sense of well-being. Volunteers have also been found to recover more quickly from surgery, sleep better, and have healthier immune systems compared to people who do not volunteer.
Volunteering provides many benefits to both mental and physical health.
- Volunteering increases self-confidence. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
- Volunteering combats depression. Reducing the risk of depression is another important benefit of volunteering. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation. Volunteering keeps you in regular contact with others and helps you develop a solid support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you’re going through challenging times.
- Volunteering helps you stay physically healthy. Volunteering is good for your health at any age, but it’s especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when considering factors like the health of the participants. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research has found a significant connection between volunteering and good health.
The report shows that volunteers have greater longevity, higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease. The report is available by clicking here.
“Volunteering makes the heart grow stronger,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation. “More than 61 million Americans volunteer to improve conditions for people in need and to unselfishly give of themselves. While the motivation is altruistic, it is gratifying to learn that their efforts are returning considerable health benefits.”
The Health Benefits of Volunteering documents major findings from more than 30 rigorous and longitudinal studies that reviewed the relationship between health and volunteering, with particular emphasis on studies that seek to determine the causal connection between the two factors. The studies, which were controlled for other factors, found that volunteering leads to improved physical and mental health.
Research suggests that volunteering is particularly beneficial to the health of older adults and those serving 100 hours annually. According to the report:
- A study of adults age 65 and older found that the positive effect of volunteering on physical and mental health is due to the personal sense of accomplishment an individual gains from his or her volunteer activities.
- Another study found that volunteering led to lower rates of depression in individuals 65 and older.
- A Duke study found that individuals who volunteered after experiencing heart attacks reported reductions in despair and depression – two factors that that have been linked to mortality in post-coronary artery disease patients.
- An analysis of longitudinal data found that individuals over 70 who volunteered approximately 100 hours had less of a decline in self-reported health and functioning levels, experienced lower levels of depression, and had more longevity.
- Two studies found that volunteering threshold is about 100 hours per year, or about two hours a week. Individuals who reached the threshold enjoyed significant health benefits, although there were not additional benefits beyond the 100-hour mark.
“This is good news for people who volunteer,” said Robert Grimm, Director of the Corporation’s Office of Research and Policy Development and Senior Counselor to the CEO. “This research is particularly relevant to Baby Boomers, who are receiving as well as giving when they help others. Just two hours of volunteering a week can bring meaningful benefits to a person’s body and mind.”
Volunteering in America: 2007 State Trends and Rankings in Civic Life, a report that includes numerous measures on volunteering and civic engagement. The Health Benefits of Volunteering report builds on that by showing states with higher volunteer rates also have better health and that there is a significant statistical relationship between states with higher volunteer rates and lower incidents of mortality and heart disease.
“There is now a convergence of research leading to the conclusion that helping others makes people happier and healthier. So the word is out – it’s good to be good. Science increasingly says so,” said Dr. Stephen Post, a professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and co-author of the forthcoming book “Why Good Things Happen to Good People: The Exciting New Research That Proves the Link Between Doing Good and Living a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life.”
This follow-up report issued today brings more evidence that volunteering produces significant health benefits. Those who gave social support to others had lower rates of mortality than those who did not – even when controlling for socioeconomic status, education, marital status, age, gender, and ethnicity, the report stated.
So, look for the column tomorrow to find ways to volunteer and we will give you links for even more ways to volunteer. In fact, here is the link to the Volunteer Center of Brown County’s community database to search for more!
I personally have hit a new low yesterday in my health journey with a new weight low since I’ve been an adult. (No, I won’t repeat it each time I now weigh in and that number creeps down; only when I hit goal!) So, today’s guest post from Karin Jennings, co-owner of xo fitness struck home for me. The post talks about literally watching what you are eating. Being completely mindful of what goes in your mouth — and why. Even if you aren’t trying to lose weight, gain weight, or even maintain your weight, knowing what you are eating, why you are eating it and paying careful attention to how you are fueling your body is very important for the overall quality of your health.
And with that intro:
If you’re trying to lose weight and not succeeding, part of the problem might be that you are eating mindlessly. Mindless eating means that what, when and how much we eat runs counter to both the body’s true needs and our own health goals.
Learn below how you can switch from mindless to mindful eating to support weight loss. Kelly McGonigal, PhD, health psychologist and yoga teacher at Stanford University, shares her insights.
From Mindless to Mindful Eating
Mindless eating is a major saboteur of weight loss. “In many cases, it’s not the meals we eat that cause weight gain,” says Susan Albers, PsyD, author of Eat, Drink and Be Mindful (New Harbinger 2009). “It’s the snacking, the mindless eating while watching television, when we’re on autopilot and not really aware of what we’re eating. Plus, the majority of food decisions have nothing to do with hunger. They have to do with stress, anxiety, sadness or frustration.”
Mindfulness can help. Mindfulness means paying attention, both to inner cues (thoughts, emotions and sensations) and to your environment. When applied to eating, this can mean the difference between one more failed diet and lasting weight loss.
Three Components of Mindful Eating
How can you eat mindfully? Albers breaks mindful eating into three areas.
- 1. Mindful Eating in the Moment. Get rid of distractions like reading, watching television or eating on the go and really taste, smell and enjoy your food. Practice knowing what it feels like to be hungry or full, and learn to honor those signals.
- 2. Nonjudgmental Awareness of Eating Habits and Beliefs. Keep a food journal to get a clear sense of your eating habits, including where you keep food and how you go about food shopping. Also, notice how you talk to yourself about food. Common self-defeating beliefs include not wanting to waste food and putting foods into “good” and “bad” categories.
- 3. Nonjudgmental Awareness of Environmental and Emotional Triggers. A bakery case of pastries may trigger a craving that was not there a moment ago. That craving has nothing to do with the body’s true needs and everything to do with the eating environment. A mindful approach can help you become aware of the difference. When you are aware of your personal triggers, it is easier to avoid them or to pause and make a conscious choice. Also, mindfulness can help you recognize when you are eating for emotional reasons and can allow you to develop other strategies for self-soothing or celebrating.
SIDEBAR: Mindful Eating Exercises
Susan Albers, PsyD, suggests the following simple exercises:
1. As you eat, pay close attention to all your senses. Use your tongue to feel the texture of the food. Gauge its temperature. Take a whiff of the aroma. Ask yourself, “How does this really taste? Is this something I really want? Does it satisfy my taste buds?”
2. Change how you eat and slow down. For example, use chopsticks, eat in a new location or include new foods in your diet. Put down your fork intentionally at least three times during a meal to give yourself a moment to pause.
3. When you eat, just eat. Try turning off the television while you eat and avoiding other distractions to keep you focused on your food. Even if it is just for a few moments, put down whatever you’re doing and focus on your snack.
4. Pay attention to the cues your body is sending. How does it let you know you are hungry? Have a rumbling stomach? Or low energy? Before you take a bite, ask yourself, “How hungry am I on a scale of 1–10?”
5. When you have the urge to eat, ask yourself if you are physically or emotionally hungry. If you are emotionally hungry, set a timer for 2 minutes and find an activity to distract you, or another way to soothe yourself. At the end of the 2 minutes, ask yourself again. This will help you slow down the rush to eat in order to fix your feelings.
Guest article from xo fitness! Thanks so much for your contribution.
Want to lose weight? Want to have more energy? Want to feel good about what you are eating? March is National Nutrition Month, so here’s the plan of action: Eat whole foods whenever possible and cover half your plate in fruits and vegetables at every meal.
I often work with clients who want to lose weight and expect that working out with a trainer for a few hours a week will offset their bad habits the rest of the week. It’s actually the time outside the gym, when a person isn’t working out, that counts the most toward weight loss. You must embrace a healthy lifestyle to keep the gains you make from all the hard work of exercise. An active, healthy lifestyle will help you maintain a healthy weight and live your life to the fullest. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your personal path to a healthy lifestyle.
Step 1: Clean out your pantry
Ask yourself: Is it FOOD or is it a FOOD PRODUCT? Take a look at the foods in your home. If they have more than 6 ingredients it’s probably a food product, despite all the healthy labeling. If your grandparents wouldn’t recognize it or its ingredients, THROW IT OUT! Would you rather feel guilty about throwing something away or about eating junk? Keep in mind that it is much easier to toss it than to burn off the excess calories. Consider that a person who weighs 150lbs will have to walk nearly an HOUR just to burn off six Oreo cookies!
Step 2: Go shopping
Now that you’ve removed all the junk, your kitchen may look a bit bare. Your assignment: Go shop the border of the grocery store and choose a week’s worth of fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy. Note that most of the food products are in the aisles.
Reading labels at the store may seem very time consuming, but once you have discovered what not to buy you can save a lot of time and money. You will be able to skip certain areas of the store completely! For example:
- Skip the cracker & cookie aisle: There’s zero FOOD there.
- Skip the liquid calorie aisle of juices and soft drinks (not FOOD!)
- Skip the cereal aisle except to get old fashioned oatmeal
- Skip most of the frozen foods department…it’s mostly food products.
Step 3: Cover Half your Plate in Vegetables and Fruits
This is the new “keep it simple” message from the USDA and eatright.org. It is much easier than counting how many servings you have eaten or measuring each serving. Here are some ways to eat more:
- Put vegetables/fruits on your plate first and cover half your plate with them
- If you have seconds, be sure that you reload your plate the same way (or just have more vegetables)
- Make it a habit to eat a fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.
- Keep a fruit bowl in plain sight instead of a candy dish.
Step 4: Follow the 80/20 rule
Nobody’s perfect, so follow the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time, eat whole foods. The rest of the time, eat things that are as whole as possible. For most of us it simply is not possible to prepare a “from scratch” meal like Grandma used to make each and every day. Here are some suggestions for healthy, quick meals:
- Old Fashioned Oatmeal (less processed than the instant stuff) add nuts and dried fruit
- Hard-boiled egg and fresh fruit
- Scrambled eggs are quick too; add left-over veggies and/or canned beans to increase fiber content and get that first serving of veggies for the day.
- Whole wheat bread with at least 2.5 grams of fiber/slice to make your sandwich.
- Lean lunch meats are fine, just look for the least processed ones.
- Peanut butter (go natural)…no added sugar.
- Be sure to include lots of fresh fruit, raw vegetables
- Broiled fish or chicken (one quarter of your plate)
- Brown Rice/Quinoa/Potato (one quarter of your plate) Prepare enough for two meals to save on time later in the week
- Steam your vegetables until they are al dente (still firm) and cover half your plate!
- Fresh fruit and a handful of nuts make a heart healthy snack.
- Make your own trail mix with walnuts and dried fruit.
Cleaning out your pantry and creating a healthy relationship with food is a critical step toward your healthy lifestyle. It may seem like a lot of work up front, but focusing on improving the foods you and your family are eat, will give you more energy, and best of all, you’ll naturally lose weight.
Karin Jennings owns and operates XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere with her husband, Ryan. She has been a certified personal trainer since 1996. XO Fitness specializes in personal and small group training. They focus on helping people reach their health & fitness goals through exercise and lifestyle changes
Due to the fun of our blizzard last Wednesday, the De Pere Health Department had to cancel the shot clinic scheduled that day. No worries! It has been rescheduled!
De Pere Health Department H1N1 Vaccination Clinic
- Who: Anyone wishing to be vaccinated
- Cost: Free of charge
- When: Friday, January 8, 2010 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm Walk-in, no appointment needed
- Where: De Pere Community Center, 600 Grant Street
Upper level, West side entrance
Just received this from the Brown County Health Department:
WHEN: Tuesday, December 8th 3:00 to 6:00 PM
WHERE: Brown County Veterans’ Memorial Arena, 1901 So. Oneida St., Green Bay, WI 54304
Main entrance. Free parking.
- Pregnant Women
- Persons who live with or provide care for infants younger than 6 months
- All individuals 6 months through 24 years
- Individuals 25 through 64 years who have medical conditions
- All healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
COST: No charge
NOTE: Nasal mist or injection vaccine is provided based on age and health history
ANYONE WHO IS ILL WITH FLU-LIKE SYMPTOMS SHOULD NOT COME TO THE CLINIC.
From the Green Bay Press Gazette today:
Public health officials are hoping for a stronger turnout at today’s clinic than their first offering.
The Brown County and De Pere health departments had 3,000 swine flu vaccinations on hand for a clinic aimed at certain high-risk groups Thursday at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena in Ashwaubenon. Officials estimated Friday they administered about 900 doses.
“We were disappointed in the turnout,” Brown County health director Judy Friederichs acknowledged. “We really encourage people to come out (today). Maybe we’ll have more since people won’t be working, and kids won’t be in.”
She said she suspects people may have stayed away from Thursday’s clinic for fear of long lines.
“Even if there is a line it moves very quickly,” Friederichs said. “And we have lots of room to accommodate strollers or wheelchairs.”
About 125 workers and volunteers helped visitors get through the clinic in 10 to 30 minutes, she said. The departments plan to make minor adjustments to staffing for today’s clinic.
The vaccines are given free of charge to a target group, which includes health-care workers, pregnant women, people who live with or care for infants, children ages 6 months to 4 years and older children with certain medical conditions.
The Oneida Tribe of Indians hosted a similar clinic Friday. They will host another clinic today, spokesman Phil Wisnesky said.
The clinic is open to the general public, not just tribal members, he said.
Take it from someone who got H1N1 before shots were available – get the shot! The bug is nasty, nasty, nasty!! It is MORE than worth the temporary discomfort of the shot and the inconvenience of having to go get it. Believe me, an hour is MUCH better than 8 full days (or more) down!