Monthly Archives: October 2013

Reflections on An Active Lifestyle

I am part of the over 50 generation and as I think back to my childhood, I remember being active. I walked to school 6 blocks each morning, home for lunch, back to school and home after school. That would be the equivalent of about 2 miles a day. Activity didn’t stop then because after school the neighbor kids got together for informal games from kickball to ghost in the graveyard, biking and roller-skating. (It was skates then and not roller blades.) We also had recess which in the afternoon meant organized activities and just running around on the playground in the morning.

All of the above activities were enjoyable. It was not a boring exercise routine.

What changed as I became an older adult? I don’t get recess at work so that is gone and it is a bit far to walk to work each day and there is no more ghost in the graveyard.

What is the key to keeping active as an older adult? I believe the key is to find activities that you enjoy and do them and don’t be afraid to check out something new. I still like to walk during my lunch hour and on my days off and it enables me to get in shape and is a great stress reducer. Another activity I still enjoy is biking. In nice weather, it is a fun way to check out local rummage sales and keeps one from getting those big items. Winter brings the opportunity for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

The Benefits of Walking

There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It’s the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.

Ginny Nyhuis of the Alzheimer’s Association points out any activity or diet that helps your heart also reduces your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:

• Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease

• Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels

• Improve blood lipid profile

• Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity

• Enhance mental well being

• Reduce the risk of osteoporosis

• Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer

• Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

There really are so many benefits for such a simple activity!

Sole-Mate: A Friend By Your Side

The thought of being alone can be enough to keep some people from walking. The best way to solve this is by finding a friend to walk with. You can plan walking paths that are convenient for both of you, or map out routes that take you places you’ve never been before. It’s a great way to exercise and spend time with friends!

For those of you who can’t out in the winter and walk, consider checking out the Fond du Lac Senior Center’s (151 E. First Street) walking videos with Leslie Sansone each Monday and Thursday at 3:45 p.m. It is a good mile exercise routine and only a $.50 donation is requested.

Jean Holzman

Senior Wellness Coordinator

Fond du Lac Senior Center

 

Men and Depression

 

Depression is a serious but treatable medical condition — a brain disease — that can strike anyone, including men.  In America alone, more than 6 million men have depression each year.

Whether you’re a company executive, a construction worker, a writer, a police officer, or a student; whether you are rich or poor; surrounded by loved ones or alone; you are not immune to depression. Some factors, however, such as family history, undue stress, the loss of a loved one, or serious illnesses can make you more vulnerable.

If left untreated, depression can lead to personal, family, and financial difficulties. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment, however, most people recover. The darkness disappears, hope for the future returns, and energy and interest in life becomes stronger than ever.

Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms; some people suffer many. The severity of symptoms varies among individuals and also over time. To read about the symptoms of depression and to hear what real men say about their experiences with them, click through the list below:

Depression is a treatable illness.  The majority of people with depressive disorders improve when they receive appropriate treatment. The first step to getting treatment is a physical examination by a doctor to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms. Next the doctor should conduct a diagnostic evaluation for depression or refer the patient to a mental health professional for this evaluation. Depending on the type of depression that you may be suffering, various treatments are available, including medication and psychotherapy

If these signs and symptoms describe you or a man that you care about, talk to your healthcare provider.  (Source – http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/men-and-depression/index.shtml)

For additional resources and information:

Fond du Lac area mental health providers – http://csifdl.org/counselor.html  and http://www.csifdl.org/sft638/accessingmhservicesbookdec132012.pdf

NAMI – http://www.nami-fdl.org/

Information – http://www.nmha.org/

 

 

 

“Smoking Alcohol”; A Lethal Trend

Recently doctors have become very concerned about the recurrent trend of “smoking alcohol” that appears to have gone viral and spread among the youth.  Smoking alcohol is an innovative and alternative method to drinking alcohol that works by applying high pressure to a drink which creates alcoholic vapors.  Alarmingly numerous self-posted videos can be accessed on social media sites that display young people inhaling these alcoholic vapors from homemade devices.

Drug Free Communities of Fond du Lac County along with several doctors are strongly urging people to avoid smoking alcohol because of the many associated dangers involved.  According to Dr. Robert Glatter, emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, smoking alcohol is much different than drinking alcohol.  When a drink is consumed, it slowly passes through the stomach, then the intestines, and enters the bloodstream through a process known as absorption. The alcohol is metabolized and broken down.  Alternately, when alcohol vapors are inhaled, the metabolic breakdown pathways are bypassed and the alcohol moves directly into the lungs, bloodstream and ultimately the brain.  Because of this, smoked alcohol is much more potent and an individual will feel it’s effects within seconds.

Doctors also note that smoking alcohol significantly increases the probability of alcohol poisoning. “The normal sensation when you drink and are getting drunk is to vomit: It’s your body’s way of expelling alcohol,” explained Dr. Glatter. “However, when you inhale alcohol, your brain has no way of expelling it.” He also points out that there is no possible way to accurately measure the amount of alcohol being inhaled which constitutes a dangerous game of chance.

It is important to identify the common myths about smoking alcohol to stop it from spreading.  First, several people believe that smoking alcohol can help with weight loss because it omits the calories that are otherwise consumed from sugary mixed-drinks. Doctors indicated that alcohol’s side-effects are clearly present when smoked; therefore, the calories are still being consumed.  Second, some young adults believe that smoking alcohol will help hide their intoxication from parents or police officials.  Again, the calories are still absorbed as well as the active ingredients that cause the effects.  No matter how the alcohol is consumed, it will be able to be detected by a breathalyzer that checks your blood alcohol content (BAC).

Dr. Brett Roth, medical director of the North Texas Poison Center in Dallas, recognized that there have been a number of alcohol fads in the past decade which all led to sobering consequences. With education and community prevention initiatives, we can hope that this lethal trend will soon become another alcohol fad of the past.

Prevention Steps:

  • Inform your friends and family about the dangers of smoking alcohol
  • Encourage others to refrain from smoking alcohol
  • Find healthy alternative activities instead of smoking alcohol
  • Know the symptoms and side-effects of alcohol poisoning