Select Page

Know what symptums of a Stroke look like!

 

ASK MR. PEDOMETER & FRIENDS…

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, recently someone I know died from a stroke because those around him did not know what was happening. Can you please remind us of what symptoms to watch for?

A: I am sorry for the outcome for your friend.  Here is the easy-to-remember F.A.S.T. acronym to recognize and react if you or someone near you is experiencing a stroke:

  • F = Face: Drooping?
  • A = Arm: Weak?
  • S = Speech: Difficulty?
  • T = Time to call 911 if the above symptoms are observed, even briefly!

According to the to the American Stroke Association, as reported by Bobbi Dempsey in “Spry Living”

  • “Up to 80 percent of strokes could be prevented by lifestyle changes….
  • “The biggest risk factor is high blood pressure, so keep your blood pressure under control by
    • watching your diet,
    • getting enough exercise, and
    • taking medications, if necessary…. 
    • “And don’t forget that the guidelines for what is considered healthy blood pressure numbers dropped recently from under 140/90 to 120/80, so even yours has always been fine, it’s a good time to get it checked again.”

Mr. Pedometer hopes you never have to use the F.A.S.T. guidelines, but it always is better to be prepared.

EAT RIGHT,

MOVE MORE,

AND SLEEP WELL,

FOR A HEALTHY, LONGER LIFE!

 

Stay healthy while flying this summer

ASK MR. PEDOMETER & FRIENDS…

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, we will be on a very long flight to our summer vacation destination.  How can we avoid germs while flying?

A: I was surprised at the answer provided by Consumer Reports On Health: “Most illnesses contracted on a plane are picked up from surfaces, not through the air,” according to Mark Gendreau, M.D., a researcher who studies infection risk during air travel.  He offers the following tips:

  • USE HAND SANITIZER (one with at least 60% alcohol) before and after touching seatback trays and seatbelt buckles, where the bugs are plentiful.”
  • IF YOU SIT NEAR A PASSENGER WHO’S COUGHING OR SNEEZING, adjust the air vent above your seat so that the air flows away from your face.”
  • AND STAY HYDRATED: Dry cabin air can dehydrate protective membranes in your nose and mouth, leaving you more susceptible to infection.”

I hope those suggestions can help you arrive at your distant destination feeling healthy and ready to enjoy your vacation…once you adjust to the time change

EAT RIGHT,

MOVE MORE,

AND SLEEP WELL,

FOR A HEALTHY, LONGER LIFE!

Want to Boost Your Brain Power?

ASK MR. PEDOMETER & FRIENDS…

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, you offer good advice on how we should “move more” for wellness, but is there any way we could also help boost our brain power?

A: That’s a timely question, as June happens to be national Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.  Just in time, our local newspaper included a “Spry Living” insert, with a list of “brain-booster” tips, including the following:

  • KEEP MOVING! Yes, you’ve heard it before, but regular exercise tops the list of experts’ recommendations to stave off diseases like Alzheimer’s (dementia) and to stimulate the creation of more brain cells, according to Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D., a professor of neural science and psychology at New York University and author of Happy Brain, Happy Life.  “One study of older adults found that walking 40 minutes a day, three days a week, increased the size of the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, — effectively reversing age-related loss by a year or two.”
  • ENGAGE MULTIPLE SENSES – University of Iowa researchers found that our memory for sounds declines as soon as 4-8 seconds after we hear them. “Repeating something back immediately can help shore up your memory, but seeing the words works even better.”
  • CLOSE YOUR EYES – “University of Surrey research shows that shutting your eyes frees up brain power and helps bring back recent and distant memories. Respondents who closed their eyes scored 23 percentage points higher on a memory test.”
  • HIT RE-PLAY TO PRESERVE GOOD MEMORIES – “We tend to remember what we pay attention to,” says Suzuki. “The more you bring a memory back to mind, the stronger it becomes.” Repetition strengthens neural connections, allowing the memory to resist interference from other memories or general degradation.
  • DOODLE – “Unlike many dual-task situations, doodling while working can be beneficial,” says Jackie Andrade, Ph.D., author of a British study that found the activity can boost recall by nearly 30 percent.
  • ADD CINNAMON TO YOUR COFFEE [OR TEA] –“The scent boosted cognitive functions – including memory and attention span – in a study at Wheeling Jesuit University. The spice also contains two compounds that may help prevent the brain cell changes that lead to Alzheimer’s.”

Who among us has not had a so-called “senior moment,” perhaps when it comes to remembering a person’s name…or where we left our car keys? If any of the above can help reduce those foggy-brain feelings, they are worth a try!

EAT RIGHT,

MOVE MORE,

AND SLEEP WELL,

FOR A HEALTHY, LONGER LIFE!

Is Summer Sun Healthy?

ASK MR. PEDOMETER & FRIENDS…

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, isn’t it dangerous to be exposed to the summer sun on daytime walks?

A: That depends:  As Consumer Reports on Health noted in their June edition,  “While getting too much [sun] damages the skin, letting some sun in may be good for you.”  Here’s why:

  • “Sun exposure’s best-known benefit is vitamin D synthesis, which occurs in the skin in response to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.” Vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium, which helps keep bones strong.
  • “The research is ongoing, but so far studies show that UV exposure might
    • Lower blood pressure (which helps to protect against heart attack and stroke)
    • Curb appetite (which can reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and possibly certain autoimmune diseases)
    • Extend longevity (by 6 months to two years, according to a study in Sweden that monitored 30,000 women for 20 years)

However, those same UV rays can cause sunburn, which is a major risk for skin cancer.  The key is limiting unprotected sun exposure (no sunscreen) to 10-12 minutes TOTAL per summer day.  In general, doctors recommend that we

  • Apply sunscreen to face and hands
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Limit exposure to arms and legs – and then only if you are NOT taking a medication (such as certain diuretics and antidepressants) that increase your risk of sunburn.

The East Bay Times includes a UV index on its weather page, indicating at what time of day the highest risk is for sun damage to the skin.  Usually, morning walks avoid the highest risk time.

EAT RIGHT,

MOVE MORE,

AND SLEEP WELL,

FOR A HEALTHY, LONGER LIFE!

Drinking Coffee is Good for YOU!

ASK MR. PEDOMETER AND FRIENDS…

Q: Mr. Pedometer, is starting the day with coffee an unhealthy habit?

A: As one who drinks coffee throughout the day, I am glad to tell you that there are some health benefits to that habit, according to medical research.  Here are some coffee facts, as reported by Leigh Weingus of the Huffington Post:   

  • Worldwide, 50 BILLION cups of coffee are consumed every year.
  • Women who drink 4-5cups of coffee per day cut their risk of depression by 20 percent compared with those who drank decaf coffee, tea, soft drinks, or other less-caffeinated beverages.
  • Dark roast coffee has less caffeine than light roast coffee because caffeine is burned off during the roasting process.
  • Similarly, if you order “cold brew (not to be confused with plain old iced coffee, which is just hot coffee poured over ice), you’ll get less caffeine out of the deal – 165 mg caffeine in cold brew compared to 330 mg in the same size cup of dark roast.
  • Wait until 10 a.m. for your first cup of coffee. “…Cortisol (the hormone associated with both stress and waking up the body) levels peak right after you wake up, [so] if you want to get the most of the caffeine in your coffee, wait a while.”
  • Coffee lowers your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. “People who drink three to five cups of coffee [per day] have 20 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s, according to research presented at the 2014 Alzheimer Europe Annual Congress.” That same amount of coffee may also reduce the risk for heart attack and Type 2 diabetes.

Isn’t it nice to know that not everything you enjoy is bad for you?  (-;

EAT RIGHT,

MOVE MORE,

AND SLEEP WELL,

FOR A HEALTHY, LONGER LIFE!

Worried about rattlesnake sightings?

 

Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

Q: Mr. Pedometer, should we be worried about rattlesnake sightings on trails in this area?  

A: While it is true that warmer weather brings out snakes (as well as humans), there is no cause for alarm.  The East Bay Regional Park District recently posted the following reminders:

  • “Spring and summer are active snake seasons in parks and open spaces. As the weather heats up, rattlesnakes especially become more active. They, like humans, like to explore when the weather gets warm.”
  • “Always hike with a friend so you can help each other in case of an emergency.”
  • “Look at the ground ahead of you as you are walking.”
  • “Look carefully around and under logs and rocks before sitting down.”
  • “Avoid placing your hands or your feet where you can’t see clearly.”
  • “Check the area around picnic tables, campsites, and barbecues before using them. If you   encounter a rattlesnake in these areas, notify park staff.”
  • “Bring plenty of water for yourself and your pets, as many parks do not have direct water supply.”
  • “Keep pets on the designated trails and away from snakes if they see them.”
  • “Snakes are an important resource in the natural environment. They are the primary controlling   agents of rodent, insect, and other reptile populations.”
  • “It is illegal to collect, kill, or remove any plants or animals from the East Bay Regional Park   District.”

Keep in mind that snakes want to avoid us as much as we want to avoid them. They usually will slither away if they sense approaching people. Don’t let worrying about snakes prevent you from enjoying walking on local trails.

EAT RIGHT,

MOVE MORE,

AND SLEEP WELL,

FOR A HEALTHY, LONGER LIFE!