Did you know that the Great American Smokeout has Minnesota roots?

November 17th, 2011 · No Comments

The Great American Smokeout is an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society that is held on the third Thursday of every November.  The event challenges smokers to give up smoking for the entire day on that Thursday, which may provide the smoker the strength and incentive to kick the habit for good.

This year it will be held this week, on Thursday, November 17th.

Did you know that the Great American Smokeout was inspired by a fellow Minnesotan?

The “Don’t Smoke Day” (or “D-Day”) was promoted back in 1974 by Lynn Smith of Monticello, Minnesota, who was the editor of the Monticello Times.  He published the names of 300 people who pledged to quit smoking for one day (January 6, 1974).  The idea caught on, leading to a statewide “D-Day”, and 2 years later to a similar event in California.  In 1977, the national association (American Cancer Society) spread the event nationally with the first official Great American Smokeout day.

Enjoy the Great American Smokeout this week, and, at the same time, enter Healthy Living Rochester’s Quit and Win 2011 to be eligible for cash prize drawings!

For more information about how you can enter Quit and Win 2011 go to www.healthylivingrochester.org.

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monticello,_Minnesota:  Accessed November 8, 2011

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_American_Smokeout:  Accessed November 8, 2011

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Living Tobacco Free: Health benefits of quitting smoking

November 9th, 2011 · No Comments

As you kick the tobacco habit, you will be the beneficiary of a number of health benefits, including the following:

At 20 minutes:

  • Your pulse rate drops
  • Your blood pressure decreases
  • Your hands and feet have better perfusion.

At 8 hours:

  • Your exhaled carbon monoxide drops to normal
  • Your oxygen level comes back to normal

At 24 hours:

  • Your risk of a heart attack is already lower than in a smoker

At 48 hours:

  • You are able to smell and taste better – and it will improve much more

At ten days:

  • Your gums and teeth have circulation like in a non-smoker

At three months:

  • Your lung functions are approximately 10 percent better than before

At one year:

  • Your risk of a stroke is now about half compared to people who smoke

Quit and win!

For more information about how you can enter Quit and Win 2011 and be eligible for a cash prize drawing, go to www.healthylivingrochester.org.

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Living With Heart Disease

September 23rd, 2011 · No Comments

Fifty years ago, many people did not survive heart attacks and didn’t have many of the treatment options available today. Early detection of heart problems and improved treatments have helped to dramatically reduce death rates from heart disease. Heart disease is a chronic disease with no cure. When someone has coronary artery disease, it is important that they take good care of their heart for the rest of their life. This is especially true if the individual has had an interventional procedure or surgery to improve blood flow to the heart. Procedures do not cure coronary artery disease. It is up to the person with the disease to take the necessary steps to stop the disease from progressing.

There are key steps a person can take to stay healthy when they have heart disease. Avoiding all tobacco use and exposure is important, coronary heart disease and stroke are the primary types of cardiovascular disease caused by smoking and are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. Smoking-related heart disease results in more deaths per year than smoking-related lung cancer.

Regular exercise is also important in people with heart disease. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, can strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system, improve circulation and help the body use oxygen more efficiently, improve heart failure symptoms, increase energy levels, increase endurance, lower blood pressure, and help reduce stress, tension, anxiety and depression.

With heart disease a good diet is essential. Things like eating more fish, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are a step in the right direction to help reduce risk for those with heart disease. It’s also good for individuals with heart disease to lower cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol can raise blood cholesterol levels, especially in high-risk people. Limiting dietary cholesterol has an added bonus of cutting out saturated fat, as cholesterol and saturated fat are usually found in the same foods.

Sometimes, medications may be needed to help prevent or control coronary heart disease and so reduce the risk of a first or repeat heart attack. But, if medications are needed, lifestyle changes still must be undertaken. Some medications that may be prescribed are; Aspirin, which helps to lower the risk of a heart attack for those who have already had one. It also helps to keep arteries open in those who have had a previous heart bypass or other artery-opening procedure such as coronary angioplasty. Digitalis, makes the heart contract harder and is used when the heart’s pumping function has been weakened; it also slows some fast heart rhythms. An angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor stops the production of a chemical that makes blood vessels narrow and is used to help control high blood pressure and for damaged heart muscle. It may be prescribed after a heart attack to help the heart pump blood better. It is also used for persons with heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body’s needs. There are many more types of medication used in connection with heart disease.

With heart disease it’s important that people visit their doctors regularly. Only a doctor can diagnose and treat heart disease. When a healthy lifestyle is adopted early it can help reduce the risk of heart disease all together.

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Tips for Getting Better Sleep

September 13th, 2011 · No Comments

It’s important that you get enough sleep every night. Poor sleep habits can cause a number of problems in your life including low energy, bad mood, and increased stress. A regular sleep schedule may be all you need to avoid these problems. Going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday, including weekends, can get your body into a rhythm and make it easier to fall asleep at night. But if that’s not enough to help you fall asleep and get a restful night’s sleep please review the following tips.

Don’t eat or drink too much before bed.  Have dinner at least two hours before you plan on going to bed and avoid spicy or fatty foods if possible if you regularly experience heartburn as these could trigger your heartburn and make it more difficult to sleep. Drinking caffeine will severely decrease the quality of your sleep and increase the amount of time it takes for you to fall asleep because it takes many hours to eliminate this chemical stimulant from the body and allow sleep to occur.

Get plenty of exercise. Physical activity can help you prepare your body for the rest you need. Aerobic exercise can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful. If exercising right before bed makes it more difficult for you to sleep try doing your workout earlier in the day.  You may find the benefits from this will be just as good.

Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible. Do whatever you need to do to make your room the best environment to get rest in. An ideal sleeping environment is dark, cool, and quiet, so black out curtains and a fan might be all the help you need. Some people may prefer a white noise machine or the radio on low to help them fall asleep; those things are fine as long as they don’t disturb your partners sleep. Also be sure your bed is comfortable enough for you because a bad mattresses and poor pillows will affect the quality of your sleep greatly.

Daytime naps can steal hours from your nighttime sleep. If you need a nap during the day try not to sleep for more than a half hour in mid afternoon. If you work nights try to keep all sunlight out of your room as sunlight automatically adjusts the body’s sleep cycle. If you sleep at night and work in the morning but still have trouble getting up try leaving the curtains open, the sunlight coming in may help wake you up.

Sleeping pills should only be used as a last resort, and even then they cannot be relied on for long term usage. Try some of these simple tips listed above to improve your sleep; you might be surprised at the results.  Look on our website for more helpful tips.

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Healthy Fast Food Choices

August 26th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Eating at fast food restaurants is quick, cheap, and convenient. If you can avoid eating fast food very often, you should, but with the busy lifestyles of today and a struggling economy it’s easy to forget to think about healthy eating and grab a quick burger and soda. You can find lists of calorie and fat content online for most restaurants, but this can be more work than many people are willing to do, when tempted by fast food. Common sense choices like making a nutritious meal at home may be the best way to avoid unhealthy meals, but if you are going to be eating fast food, there are some healthy choices available.

Restaurants like Subway advertise themselves as being a healthy alternative in the fast food world, but the truth is unless you make good decisions while ordering, sandwich shops can be just as bad for you as any other fast food establishment. A foot long sub is usually a bad choice, it’s more food than you need and when you add cheese and sauces like mayo or ranch dressing, you’re making it even less healthy. Instead try a six inch without cheese and mayo, more vegetables, and on whole grain bread.

When eating at a burger place, smaller portions are the key. A super sized burger meal with fries and a soda usually has around 1,700 calories, but a single patty burger, small fry, and water has closer to 500 calories. You could even try enjoying a veggie burger smothered in grilled onions and mushrooms. Or if you want a large beef burger, then skip the fries and soda and have a side salad and water instead.

When getting a fast food meal to take home for the family, chicken is often a popular choice. Fried chicken has as much trans fat as other fast food and is just as bad for your diet. Try grilled chicken instead, or take the skin off your chicken to make it a bit healthier. Small portions are a factor here as well. It’s a good practice, to stop eating before you feel full and wait to see if you really do need more food. Most fast food restaurants serve enough food for two or three meals disguised as a single serving.

It’s best to eat fast food rarely, but if it is a major part of your diet try using this common sense approach to help cut down on the negative effects a poor diet can have on your body. For more nutritional information check the websites of your favorite fast food restaurants. Healthy Living Rochester has more information on how to put nutrition in your diet.

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Getting Active Outdoors

April 26th, 2011 · No Comments

The sunshine and warm weather are just around the corner and it is time to come out of hibernation mode! There are many opportunities Rochester and Olmsted county residents can take advantage with in walking distance or a short bike ride from home.

• The first thing that should come to mind is the 85+ mile Rochester Trail System. There are many places to hop on to get started…just check out the following link!

http://rochestermn.gov/departments/park/trails/index.asp

• You could take this trail system on your way to one of the two Frisbee Golf Courses located at East Park and Slatterly Park or have some fun on the Zumbro River by renting a boat or tandem bike from the vendor at Silver Lake.

http://www.silverlakefun.com/

• When done visiting either of these locations and need to cool off then head to one of the pools or outdoor swimming areas. They are easily accessible from anywhere in Rochester and require very little cost to use them.

http://rochestermn.gov/departments/park/facilities/Pools_Beach/index.asp

• Now if one wanted to take their family on a mini vacation and get out of the city for the weekend with little travel time then head east on Highway 14 to St. Charles and go North on Highway 74 and in 25 minutes you are at Whitewater State Park with so many things to offer that it would take more than one trip this summer to experience it all!

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/whitewater/index.html

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Good Nutrition Reading List

April 12th, 2011 · No Comments

March is National Nutrition Month.  There are many sources of nutrition information on the internet, but not all of them are reliable.  One of the best is from the American Dietetic Association.  This is the link to their Good Nutrition Reading List recommendations.  Just click on the category of nutrition you would like more information about once you open the link.

http://www.eatright.org/gnrl/

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Healthy Living Rochester Resources

March 21st, 2011 · No Comments

If you are looking for a way to give your life a jump start in the right direction, visit Healthy Living Rochester Resources. The resources are designed to help people live healthy lives.

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Be Active Resources

March 7th, 2011 · No Comments

In order to grasp hold of your life and become healthy, you must become active. Health experts constantly rely on our current public health guidelines when giving information to individuals seeking to live healthy lives. The guidelines estimate that around one hour of physical activity is needed every day for children and teenagers, while a minimum of two hours and thirty minutes is needed every week for adults. The point is that whether you are a forty-seven year old or a five year old, it is essential for you to live an active lifestyle in order to remain healthy.

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Eat Healthy, Live Better

February 21st, 2011 · No Comments

Eating proper foods is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. There are numerous benefits of healthy eating, many of which can help you live a long and healthy life. With all of the good foods out there today, there is no reason to eat poorly. Just keep the following benefits in mind to ensure that you implement healthy eating in your daily life.

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