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The Many Negative Effects of Stress on Health

Nobody likes stress. We’d all just as well live without it if given the choice. But it’s not all that easy to avoid. Our modern culture is plagued by stress. Even in retirement, seniors worried about health or financial issues are likely to experience stress. And caregivers of seniors are especially prone to high levels of stress. The bottom line is, stress affects health.

At the risk of giving you one more thing to worry about (sorry!), stress isn’t just unpleasant. It can be extremely harmful to your health.

43% of adults have experienced the negative health effects of stress. And a whopping 75-90% of doctor’s visits are believed to be related to stress.

Ways Stress Is Physically Bad for You

We all know that smoking and junk food are bad for us, but fewer of us think about the toll stress takes on our bodies.

Short-Term Effects of Stress

Small bouts of stress – things like a hard day at work, impatience sitting in traffic, or the stress of running to the hospital with a loved one having a health emergency – cause a whole slew of problems.

Digestive issues – This can take a range of forms. Stress eating – grabbing at junk food when you’re feeling stressed out – can cause health and digestive issues. On the other extreme, stress can cause people to lose their appetites and not eat enough. And stress can also lead to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which means you don’t digest what you do eat effectively.

Breakouts and rashes – Stress can cause acne breakouts, hives, and rashes.

Loss of hair – On top of the effects on your skin, stress can make your hair fall out.

Headaches – Lots of people know the experience of a stress headache. At the moment when we feel we need our brain most, it punishes us for working too hard.

High blood pressure – Stress is frequently a contributing factor in high blood pressure, which causes its own share of health problems.

High blood sugar – For anyone with diabetes, the increase in blood sugar that comes with stress is a particular concern.

Trouble sleeping – Many people have had the experience of a sleepless night while awaiting something they’re nervous about the next day. It’s just one more problem stress causes.

Makes asthma worse – For anyone with trouble breathing, it can cause more frequent or severe asthma attacks.
There’s not one thing on that list your life wouldn’t be better off without.

Long-Term Effects of Chronic Stress

The short-term effects of stress are bad enough, but if you experience ongoing stress for a long period of time, your risks become even more serious.

Heart disease – Having high blood pressure over a long period of time vastly increases your risk of serious heart disease. Stress could end up eventually causing a heart attack or stroke.

Cancer – While the research is still inconclusive on stress causing cancer, it can make your body’s reaction to cancer worse, causing cancerous tumors to grow faster and cancerous cells to spread further.

Weak immune system – A weakened immune system increases your risk of just about every disease, virus, or sickness out there. If your body undergoes serious stress for too long, it will have a much harder time fighting off sickness.

7 Realistic Ways to Reduce Your Stress

Now that we’ve given you plenty more to stress out about (again, sorry), you should take a deep breath and know that you have more control over the stress in your life than you may think.

You probably can’t eliminate the factors that cause stress, but you can work on techniques to manage the stress and reduce it when it arises.

  1. Visit a therapist.
    Therapists are specifically trained to help you work through anything in your life causing you stress or other emotional trauma. A good therapist will equip you with techniques to deal with stress more effectively as it arises.
  2. Meditate.
    Meditation has been proven to help reduce stress. It’s not too hard, it just requires a small time commitment, even just 10 minutes a day. You can find videos and a number of apps to help you learn the basics.
  3. Exercise.
    You’ve heard recommendations to exercise more than a hundred times, for more than a hundred different reasons, but here’s one more. Research has found that physical activity has a noted effect on reducing stress levels.
  4. Do yoga.
    One particular type of exercise has especially earned a reputation for helping to reduce stress. Yoga is both good for helping the body learn to respond to stress more effectively and fighting a lot of those pesky short-term effects of stress we mentioned before. It can bring your blood pressure down, lower your heart rate, and ease breathing issues. And it has a general positive effect on overall mood.
  5. Schedule you-time into your day.
    Caregivers should especially take advantage of this advice. If you’re spending your days constantly devoted to taking care of others, you run the risk of forgetting to take care of yourself. Start scheduling time into your days for something you like to do or find relaxing. Maybe it’s one of the things on this list, like yoga, maybe it’s time in front of the TV or long walks in the morning. It’s up to you, just make sure it happens.
  6. React to anger by walking away.
    Anger’s not the only emotion that fuels stress, but it’s a significant one. Train yourself to respond to anger by taking a minute to cool off. Don’t yell. Don’t let it build. Take some deep breaths and let your heart rate slow before you face whatever it is that’s making you angry.
  7. Find your support network. 
    Having people around who support you is crucial for so many things, but it can make it easier to take some of the load off when you’re feeling stress. Whether it’s because you have people around to ask for help, or because you have someone who’s willing to listen to you complain and get it all out when it gets to be too much. Make sure that whatever else you do, you make room in your life for the people you care about and can count on.

By Kristen Hicks:

The Y can help. We offer many classes specially for older adults and many class instructors show alternate forms of exercise for all levels of ability. Use our Class Schedules to find some you are interested in trying or ask wellness staff at your hometown Y.

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Have you given up on exercise? A lot of older people do — just one out of four people between the ages of 65 and 74 exercises regularly. Many people assume that they’re too out-of-shape, or sick, or tired, or just plain old to exercise. They’re wrong. Let’s bust some exercise myths!

Exercise is almost always good for people of any age. Exercise can help make you stronger, prevent bone loss, improve balance and coordination, lift your mood, boost your memory, and ease the symptoms of many chronic conditions.

Here are some common myths that stop older people from exercising — along with some expert advice to get you started working out.

  1. Exercise Myth: Trying to exercise and get healthy is pointless — decline in old age is inevitable. 
    There’s a powerful myth that getting older means getting decrepit – It’s not true. Some people in their 70s, 80s, and 90s are out there running marathons and becoming body-builders. A lot of the symptoms that we associate with old age — such as weakness and loss of balance — are actually symptoms of inactivity, not age.
    Exercise improves more than your physical health. It can also boost memory and help prevent dementia. And it can help you maintain your independence and your way of life. If you stay strong and agile as you age, you’ll be more able to keep doing the things you enjoy and less likely to need help.
  2. Exercise Myth: Exercise isn’t safe for someone my age — I don’t want to fall and break a hip. 
    In fact, studies show that exercise can reduce your chances of a fall, says Dutta. Exercise builds strength, balance, and agility. Exercises like tai chi may be especially helpful in improving balance. Worried about osteoporosis and weak bones? One of the best ways to strengthen them is with regular exercise.
  3. Exercise Myth: I’m sick, so I shouldn’t exercise.
    On the contrary, if you have a chronic health problem — such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease — exercise is almost certainly a good idea. Check with a doctor first, but exercise will probably help. Exercise is almost like a silver bullet for lots of health problems, for many people, exercise can do as much if not more good than the 5 to 10 medications they take every day.
  4. Exercise Myth: I’m afraid I might have a heart attack. 
    We’ve all heard about people who had heart attacks while exercising. It can happen. However, the many health benefits of exercise far exceed the small risk. Being a couch potato is actually more dangerous than being physically active. That’s true for the risk of heart disease and many other conditions.
  5. Exercise Myth: I never really exercised before — it’s too late to make a difference in my health. 
    It may seem too late to atone for a lifetime of not exercising. That’s absolutely not true. Studies have found that even in people in their nineties living in nursing homes, starting an exercise routine can boost muscle strength. Other research shows that starting exercise late in life can still cut the risk of health problems — such as diabetes –and improve symptoms. It really is never too late to start exercising and reaping the benefits.
  6. Exercise Myth: Exercise will hurt my joints. 
    If you’re in chronic pain from arthritis, exercising may seem too painful. Here’s a counterintuitive fact: studies show that exercising helps with arthritis pain. One study of people over age 60 with knee arthritis found that those who exercised more had less pain and better joint function.
  7. Exercise Myth: I don’t have time. 
    This is a myth that’s common in all age groups. Experts recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. That might sound like a lot. Actually, it’s only a little over 20 minutes a day. What’s more, you don’t have to do it all in one chunk. You can split it up. For instance, take a 10-minute walk in the morning and pedal on a stationary bike for 15 minutes in the evening — you’re done.
  8. Exercise Myth: I’m too weak to start exercising. 
    Maybe you just recovered from an illness or surgery and are feeling too weak even to walk around the block. Maybe you only get out of the chair each day to go to the bathroom. If so, start there. Decide today to get in and out of your chair 10 times. As you do it more, your strength will increase and you can set higher goals.
  9. Exercise Myth: I’m disabled, so I can’t exercise. 
    “A disability can make exercise challenging, but there really is no excuse for not doing some sort of exercise,” says Arbaje. If you’re in a wheelchair, you can use your arms to get an aerobic workout and build strength. Even people who are bedridden can find ways to exercise, she says. Talk to a doctor or a physical therapist about ways you can modify exercises to work around your disability.
  10. Exercise Myth: Exercise is boring. 
    If exercise is boring, you’re not doing it right. Exercise doesn’t even have to feel like exercise. Remember that any physical activity counts. Whether it’s catching up with a friend while you walk the mall, or taking a dance class, or chasing your grandchildren, or bowling, or raking, or gardening, or volunteering at your local school system or park, it’s physical activity. The key is to figure out something you enjoy doing and do that. When you get tired of it, try something new.
    The type of exercise doesn’t matter. The best exercise is the one that you actually do.

The Y can help. We offer many classes specially for older adults and many class instructors show alternate forms of exercise for all levels of ability. Use our Class Schedules to find some you are interested in trying or ask wellness staff at your hometown Y.

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We all want to be happy, and often we strive for that new car, bigger house, or promotion at work in order to find the elusive goal of a happy and satisfied life. However, often the car or house or new position come, but doesn’t bring the happiness we expected. The following goals and changes can be relatively easily attained and can bring increased and lasting happiness. Now is the time to start incorporating them into your life!

  1. Find More Time For Yourself — The feeling of not having enough freedom to pursue quality time with our families, revitalizing solitary activities, or other things that would nurture us can leave us feeling stressed and unhappy. If you would like to increase your level of happiness and life satisfaction this year, one of the best changes you can make is to find more time in your schedule for a life that reflects what you’d really like to be doing.
  2. Make Smart Money Choices — Many people think they’ll be happier if they can just get their hands on more money. However, once beyond the poverty level, more money doesn’t usually bring more happiness, because with increased means often come increased desires. A more helpful solution is to make the money you already have to feel a greater sense of freedom and satisfaction in life.
  3. Take Care of Your Body — If your health fails, it can overshadow everything else that’s going on in your life. From major health problems to minor aches and pains, health can really impact happiness and stress levels. Making a commitment to taking on healthier habits this year can have a far-reaching payoff: you’ll feel better in everything you do
  4. Adopt Stress Relievers That Work For You — There are many things that contribute to a happy and satisfied feeling about life, but excess stress can put a damper on even the best conditions. If you’re in a state of chronic stress, it’s much more difficult to enjoy life. Find some stress relievers you can use and you will feel more at peace when things get hectic
  5. Get Involved In A Cause That You Believe In — People are generally happier when they’re living a life of meaning. And while you may not be able to cast off all of your worldly possessions in search of the true meaning of life, you can get involved in a cause that’s important to you with minimal time, effort or cost. And even though you can get tax breaks, new friends or a cleaner house out of the deal, what you find in the way of life satisfaction will be the real reward. While you’ll be helping others, you will truly receive more than you give.

The Y can help. We offer many classes specially for older adults and many class instructors show alternate forms of exercise for all levels of ability. Use our Class Schedules to find some you are interested in trying or ask wellness staff at your hometown Y. The Y is a cause, if you are already a member, ask about volunteer opportunities.

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Eating well is vital for everyone at all ages. Whatever your age, your daily food choices can make an important difference in your health and in how you look and feel.

Eating Well Promotes Health

Eating a well-planned, balanced mix of foods every day has many health benefits. For instance, eating well may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia. If you already have one or more of these chronic diseases, eating well and being physically active may help you better manage them. Healthy eating may also help you reduce high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, and manage diabetes.

Eating well gives you the nutrients needed to keep your muscles, bones, organs, and other parts of your body healthy throughout your life. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water.

Eating Well Promotes Energy

Eating well helps keep up your energy level, too. By consuming enough calories — a way to measure the energy you get from food –you give your body the fuel it needs throughout the day. The number of calories needed depends on how old you are, whether you’re a man or woman, your height and weight, and how active you are.

Food Choices Can Affect Weight

Consuming the right number of calories for your level of physical activity helps you control your weight, too. Extra weight is a concern for older adults because it can increase the risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease and can increase joint problems. Eating more calories than your body needs for your activity level will lead to extra pounds.

If you become less physically active as you age, you will probably need fewer calories to stay at the same weight. Choosing mostly nutrient-dense foods — foods which have a lot of nutrients but relatively few calories — can give you the nutrients you need while keeping down calorie intake.

Food Choices Affect Digestion

Your food choices also affect your digestion. For instance, not getting enough fiber or fluids may cause constipation. Eating more whole-grain foods with fiber, fruits and vegetables or drinking more water may help with constipation.

Make One Change at a Time

Eating well isn’t just a “diet” or “program” that’s here today and gone tomorrow. It is part of a healthy lifestyle that you can adopt now and stay with in the years to come.

To eat healthier, you can begin by taking small steps, making one change at a time. For instance, you might

take the salt shaker off your table. Decreasing your salt intake slowly will allow you to adjust.
switch to whole-grain bread, seafood, or more vegetables and fruits when you shop.
These changes may be easier than you think. They’re possible even if you need help with shopping or cooking, or if you have a limited budget.

Checking With Your Doctor

If you have a specific medical condition, be sure to check with your doctor or registered dietitian about foods you should include or avoid.

You Can Start Eating Well Today

Whatever your age, you can start making positive lifestyle changes today. Eating well can help you stay healthy and independent — and look and feel good — in the years to come.

The Y can help. We offer many classes specially for older adults and many class instructors show alternate forms of exercise for all levels of ability. Use our Class Schedules to find some you are interested in trying or ask wellness staff at your hometown Y. The Y is a cause, if you are already a member, ask about volunteer opportunities. And our wellness staff and FitQuest can help with nutrition.

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Both my daughter and I admit to being frequent fallers. We’ve missed a step, gotten knocked over, and she even once fell up a hill. I should have paid more attention to the curb. Her heels were too high. We can blame it on various things but the bottom line is that our sense of balance could be better.

Have you checked yours lately?

Stand with your arms at your sides, lift one foot up about 6 inches and count to 30. Did you start to wobble? Balance, the ability of your body to maintain equilibrium when you are carrying out our daily activities, starts to decline with age. By age 65, one in three people will have potentially serious falls.

The key to maintaining balance lies with three major sensory contributors. Vision provides you with a sense of where you are in relation to your environment and gives you clues that keep you from tripping over obstacles.  Nerve receptors in the fluid-filled semicircular canals of the inner ear send balance messages to the brain when your head moves side to side or up and down.  The third contributors to good balance are proprioceptors, which are nerves embedded in muscles and tendons that tell the brain when a movement occurs so the body can shift to maintain its equilibrium.

When one or more of these systems malfunctions, your balance can be affected.

Here are just a few reasons for balance issues:

  • Seasickness or motion sickness. Occurs because your eyes tell you the boat or car is steady but your inner ear senses the rocking or motion.
  • Vertigo. A sudden sensation of unsteadiness or spinning, sometimes causes by inner-ear problems.
    Postural hypotension. A drop in blood pressure when you’re rising from a bed or chair that can cause lightheadedness.
  • Neurological conditions. Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, strokes, and other conditions that can contribute to balance problems.
  • Nerve damage in your feet. Associated with type 2 diabetes and other causes of neuropathy.
  • Medications. Many have dizziness or vertigo as a possible side effect.
  • Preventing loved ones from falling is a constant preoccupation for caregivers. Try these exercises to help you and those you care for stay on your feet.

The good news is that balance is a motor skill that can be maintained and even improved with exercises that keep your hips, knees, and ankles strong. When you feel comfortable enough doing these exercises with your eyes open, try them with your eyes closed to stimulate your vestibular system. Always have a sturdy object such as a chair within reach just in case you feel wobbly.

  1. One-leg stands. Stand straight. Raise one leg, bending your knee to 45 degrees. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times and then switch legs. Try one-leg stands while waiting in lines, washing dishes or watching TV.
  2. Heel-to-toe walking. Walk with the heel of the front foot touching the toe of the back foot as you take 10 steps forward.
  3. Side-stepping. Step to the right, then bring your left foot to meet your right foot. Advance to cross-stepping, where you side-step to the right and cross your left leg behind, then side-step to the right again and cross your left leg in front. Continue this pattern as you walk sideways across a room.
  4. Unassisted standing from a chair. Sit in a firm chair and stand without using your arms for balance.
  5. Tai chi or Yoga. Try a tai chi or yota program, both are excellent for promoting balance.
  6. Ankle pumping when you get out of bed. If you are prone to dizziness when rising from your bed, sit on the edge of the bed for a few seconds and pump your ankles before you stand up. Before you move, take a deep breath, get your bearings (as my grandmother would say), and then step forward. Many of us get up too quickly and start to walk too soon.

By Lynda Shrager

The Y can help. Classes that strengthen your core (abdominal and back muscles) help promote balance. Use our Class Schedules to find some you are interested in trying or ask wellness staff at your hometown Y.

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June 20, 2017 6:18 PM, Judith Lowery, The Daily Press

Some people say age is just mind over matter, as in, if you don’t mind, it does not matter. But for those who exercise on a regular basis, it’s a lifestyle.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that exercise prevents diseases associated with aging. As little as two and a half hours a week is all that is needed to help prevent ailments such as arthritis and heart disease.

Some health centers are aware of the health benefits of routine physical activity for those 55 and older as they have sought to tailor fitness programs to the aging population. One such program that helps with this process is named the Silver Sneakers.

Silver Sneakers has many partner fitness affiliates across the Peninsula and Hampton Roads, including the Hampton YMCA, which has the highest participation rate on the Peninsula.

“Silver Sneakers is not just a fitness program — it’s a community. It is the most successful program that I have seen for mature adults in this area,” said Nichola Diaz, director of healthy living at the Hampton YMCA.

Diaz said the program is so successful that some have been turned away because there were too many people wanting to attend a fitness classes with limited spaces.

Diaz also said the popularity of the Hampton YMCA Silver Sneakers is centered around fitness instructor Robbie Koll. Koll retired 13 years ago as a photographer at Fort Eustis and has been teaching fitness ever since.
“I teach yoga, swimming exercises and chair aerobics. The exercises they participate in has a positive effect on their overall quality of life,” said Koll.

Koll, 72, instructs participants that include baby boomers and at least one centenarian who is 100 years old. Koll has seen remarkable improvement over time for seniors once they start the program. “I have seen those who need a cane in the beginning of the program and are gradually able to stop using them. I have seen participants be able to use their hands again,” Koll said. “As a consequence, they become more independent and become more social.”

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YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Transitioning from active duty to civilian life is not always easy. For some, injuries make it all the more difficult. But a family in York County wants to make that transition a little bit easier. That’s why they’re bringing adaptive sports to the area.

This family says their main goal is to have a place where anyone — whether they’re injured or disabled — can go and play sports. More than that, they want to create a community where people can encourage each other, giving some a new purpose in life.

Five years ago, Emily Cain’s husband was injured while fighting in Afghanistan. His skull cracked in 11 places and it wasn’t an easy recovery.

“We just felt very alone,” Emily Cain said.

They found the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program and suddenly were part of a community. Through the program, they learned about adaptive sports and decided it was time to bring that to York County.

“It’s so easy after an injury to be discouraged and feel like you have no purpose and you can’t do things,” said Cain. “But the adaptive sports show that you can do things.”

They’re partnering with the Victory Family YMCA in Yorktown. Every Sunday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., they have the court reserved for “seated volleyball” — which Cain says is much harder than it looks.

“It looks super easy and then you get out there and you realize it’s hard to not come off the ground,” she said.

The seated volleyball games are open to anyone — injured, disabled, military or not.

“It’s just a weekly fellowship to have recreation and to encourage and support each other,” Cain said. “Because a lot of people, they don’t have a reason to wake up in the morning, and this gives them a reason, a purpose, you know something to look forward to each week.”

They’re hoping the program catches on so they can work to bring more programs to the YMCA, like wheelchair basketball. They’re also hoping the program gives people a new outlook on life.

“Your life is not over, there is hope,” Cain said.

If you’re interested in getting involved or playing seated volleyball, contact the Victory Family YMCA.

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Your age-by-age plan for keeping your ticker strong and healthy

By: Abby Lerner

The latest findings on heart disease are nothing unexpected: It’s the number one killer of American men, claiming a life about every 30 seconds. Most young, fit guys shuffle statistics like these into a mental file titled, “Doesn’t apply to me.” But no matter how old (or young) you are, the only way to stay on top of your game is to know your risk factors and take the right steps to avoid problems down the road. We talked with two heart experts to find out everything you need to know to guarantee your ticker stays stronger longer.

In Your 20’s

“There’s a common problem among men in their twenties,” says Dr. Eric Topol, M.D., a practicing cardiologist at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California. “They don’t know they’re vulnerable [to heart disease].” Your twenties are the perfect time to establish heart-healthy diet and exercise habits that’ll extend your expiration date. That means 30 minutes of exercise five times a week and maintaining a healthy weight and cholesterol level.

Every 20-something average Joe needs an annual physical to evaluate HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting lipid profile, blood pressure, and family history. If the checkup goes well, one appointment is enough to clear your conscious. But if you’re an athlete or you hit the weight room more than five times a week, ask your doctor for an echocardiogram to ensure you don’t have a heart abnormality.

“If you have a silent aneurism (one that doesn’t cause you to feel symptoms), you’re susceptible to internal splitting of the aorta,” Dr. Elefteriades says. An echocardiogram is the only way to detect this problem. The test also spots dilated cardiomyopathy (a condition of heart failure in which the heart gets stretched too big and too thin) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (an inherited condition where the heart muscle is overgrown).

Your 20’s Checklist:
  1. 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
  2. Annual physicals
  3. Echocardiogram
  4. Cholesterol: LDL less than 130 mg/dL and HDL greater than 40 mg/dL
  5. Blood pressure: 119/79 mm HG or lower
  6. Lipid profile: Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL

In Your 30’s

Although most heart conditions are strongly hereditary, they don’t always manifest as early as your twenties, Dr. Elefteriades said. So along with your standard health check, schedule another echocardiogram 10 years after the first one—especially if you’re regularly weight lifting, wrestling, playing football, or participating in any sport with short bursts of activity.

Men older than 35 should also have an electrocardiogram (EKG), which traces the electrical waves of the heart, every 5 years. This test may show evidence of hardening of the heart’s arteries (arthrosclerosis)—a preventable and treatable condition that restricts blood flow and may cause a blood clot.

Your 30’s Checklist:
  1. 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
  2. Annual physicals
  3. Echocardiogram, 10 years after the first
  4. Electrocardiogram (EKG), if older than 35
  5. Cholesterol: LDL less than 130 mg/dL and HDL greater than 40 mg/dL
  6. Blood pressure: 119/79 mm HG or lower
  7. Lipid profile: Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL

In Your 40’s

When you hit 40, your doctor should start monitoring the overall degree of inflammation within your body with C-reactive protein (CRP) testing. The higher your CRP level, the higher your risk of cardiovascular disease. But there’s no need to make an extra appointment for this one—the same simple blood test that checks your cholesterol levels measures CRP levels. The best way to keep CRP levels in check? Regular exercise and being at the right body weight.

Your 40’s Checklist:
  1. 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
  2. Annual physicals
  3. Echocardiogram, 10 years after your last one
  4. EKG, 5 years after your last one
  5. Cholesterol: LDL less than 130 mg/dL and HDL greater than 40 mg/dL
  6. Blood pressure: 119/79 mm HG or lower
  7. Lipid profile: Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL
  8. C-reactive protein: Less than 1 mg per liter

In Your 50’s

Fifty is the typical age when some men can develop coronary heart disease, according to Dr. Topol. The prevention prescription? An exercise stress test. This test, sometimes called a treadmill test, monitors how well your heart handles work. As you walk or pedal on an exercise machine, the electrical activity of your heart and your blood pressure are measured. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen, so the heart must pump more blood.

The test will help pick up subtle arteriosclerosis (blockage of the coronary arteries), and determine the cause of any chest pain and the exercise capacity of your heart.

Your 50’s Checklist:
  1. 30 minutes of exercise five times a week
  2. Annual physicals
  3. Echocardiogram, 10 years after your last one
  4. EKG, 5 years after your last one
  5. Exercise stress test
  6. Cholesterol: LDL less than 130 mg/dL and HDL greater than 40 mg/dL
  7. Blood pressure: 119/79 mm HG or lower
  8. Lipid profile: Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL
  9. C-reactive protein: Less than 1 mg per liter

At Every Age

If you experience chest pain or shortness of breath due to exertion, get to the hospital right away. These are the two primary symptoms of heart disease and should never go unchecked. “Men are deniers,” Dr. Elefteriades says. “It’s usually someone else in their lives—wife, girlfriend, mom—that forces them to confront symptoms.” Other warning signs to speak up about are light-headedness and heart palpitations (an abnormal heart beat).

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If asked, most parents can immediately rattle off a list of basic life skills they instinctively know their children must learn to be safe and healthy. These lists usually include habits like looking both ways before crossing the street, washing hands with soap and water (timed by singing the “Happy Birthday” song) and eating the correct daily serving of fruits and vegetables.

But for too many parents, safety around water is not on the list; and that’s something we need to address.

Fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. And, the problem is particularly acute among minority communities. African-American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than white children of the same age.

According to a recent national study conducted at Ys by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis at YMCAs, 64 percent of African-American and 45 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, compared to just 40 percent of Caucasian children. Equally concerning, 87 percent of those swimmers with no or low ability plan to go to a swimming facility at least once during the summer months and 34 percent plan to swim 10 or more times.

The Y is committed to making swimming part of the list of basic life skills and reducing water-related injuries, particularly in communities where children are most at risk, through the Safety Around Water program. This program focuses on teaching parents about the importance of water safety skills and provides more children with access to water safety lessons. These lessons teach youth valuable skills for when they find themselves in the water unexpectedly, a scary situation every child should be equipped to handle.

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Posted by Sue Thrash, Community Contributor, May 12, 2017

Langley Federal Credit Union donated $10,000 to the Peninsula Metropolitan YMCA for support of their Summer Learning Loss Prevention initiative and Bright Beginnings back to school event. The donation will help provide scholarships for 100 children to attend the 10 week day camp and participate in the YMCA’s Bright Beginnings back to school event at the end of the summer.

As part of the donation, Langley also sponsored The Bright Beginnings back to school event which will be held the third week of August. Children are paired with a volunteer shopping buddy. Together, they shop for two outfits, shoes, socks, underwear and a warm sweater or jacket. Backpacks provided for each child are filled with grade-appropriate school supplies.
This item was posted by a community contributor.

Copyright © 2017, Daily Press
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