Healthy Concepts

What is pediatric pelvic floor dysfunction?

Pediatric pelvic floor therapy dysfunction refers to a wide array of issues that occur when the muscles are weak, in spasm or too tight. Basically, the pelvic floor muscles are not working together efficiently with the bladder or bowel. These muscle problems can cause bladder/bowel leakage, daytime incontinence, nighttime incontinence (bedwetting) or dysfunctional elimination patterns (going too frequently or barely going at all). Children who experience dysfunctional elimination syndrome are at further risk for developing urinary tract infections, potentially evolving to bladder or kidney infections.

This dysfunction in children is relatively common but many people do not know there is effective treatment in physical therapy.

What are typical bladder and bowel habits in children?

  • Bladder: When a child is 1-3 years old it is typical to void 11 times per day. As they get older and the bladder capacity increases, this number goes down. By age 12, 5-7 voids per day is considered normal (the same as adults).
  • Bowel: Bowel frequency decreases with age. By age 4, bowel frequency should be similar to adults with 4-9 bowel movements per week.

Can my child benefit from pediatric pelvic therapy?

Millions of children suffer with pelvic floor dysfunction and are not getting the right help. Therapy can provide the noninvasive tools your family needs to take control of your child’s bladder and bowel functions. Typically, treatment is relevant once your child is 5 years of age or older, when dysfunction is considered to be a medical problem impacting quality of life.

Optimally, the bladder and pelvic floor muscles work opposite each other to successfully urinate. When the bladder contracts or the bowels need to empty, the pelvic floor muscles relax. Your child will learn exercises to relax and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles at the appropriate time, positioning to help void and empty completely, as well as learn to avoid bowel or bladder leakage.

How do you treat pelvic floor dysfunction in pediatric patients and what can I expect from a visit?

It is important to note that children are seen by a provider specially trained in pediatric pelvic conditions and every child is seen with a parent or guardian during the course of treatment. We cover a bladder schedule to help improve bladder habits as well as education on how bladder function relates to pelvic floor muscles. External biofeedback of the pelvic floor muscles may be used to help relearn how to strengthen, contract, and relax muscles. Additionally, we will develop a home program that your child can work on between visits. Children are normally seen for 6-8 visits over the course of treatment, with each visit lasting between 40-60 minutes. Moreover, we work with every child and their guardian to establish a plan of care that will best suit their needs, and make necessary adjustments as they progress through physical therapy. 

Who can benefit from a colonic or colon hydrotherapy? Anyone!

The process of colon hydrotherapy is cleansing the entire large colon to remove any matter. The cleansing helps the 200 lymph nodes in the colon. To begin a colon hydrotherapy session, a person will lay on the FDA-approved, Class 2 medical device. Then the tank water that is used to cleanse the colon is filled with hot and cold water controlled by a water mixing valve on the basin’s right topside. The proper temperature of the water falls between 99 and103 degrees Fahrenheit and is monitored by the temperature gauge visible on the front of the tower cabinet. If at any time the water rises above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature sensor will trigger the flow valve to shut off, stopping water flow to the client.

Once the water reaches 10 gallons it goes through two filters and an UV light. The person getting the colonic will then insert the nozzle into the rectum, water flow can be activated by turning On the Flow switch. Water flow can be stopped at any time by simply turning the Flow switch to the Off position. The tank line to the basin nipple has a backflow prevention valve as a permanent plumbing safety feature. It is located underneath the fiberglass basin and is connected directly to the basin nipple through an opening in the basin wall. It prevents water from flowing back into the line once it has passed through the basin nipple into the nozzle and into the client’s rectum.

The system utilizes the controlled pressure created by gravity as water exits the elevated tank in the tower cabinet as activated by the Flow switch. The procedure can be stopped at any time by simply turning off the Flow switch to stop the gravity-fed stream of water or by the person simply sliding back off the nozzle and resting on the basin.

A typical colon irrigation session lasts approximately 30-40 minutes and uses approximately eight gallons of water, which is the total volume capacity of the main tank. Usually, only one tank full of water is needed. At the end of the session, all three switches (U.V., Cycle, Flow) are turned Off and the client slides back off the nozzle so that it naturally drops away from the body. The client can now drain comfortably on the ergonomic basin, sitting up erect or leaning back in a lounge position to fully drain the colon. After this is done, the client can rinse off using the basin sprayer and its control valve located on the basin’s left topside. Tempered water is delivered to the sprayer by the same water mixing valve on the right topside of the basin that also sends water to the system tank. The client can then towel dry before dressing and leaving the privacy of the colon irrigation room. 


Submitted on behalf of 9th St. Wellness, 1028 Ninth St., Green Bay. For more information, visit www.9thstwellness.com.

Remember ROYGBIV? This mnemonic device is how many of us learned the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Nowadays I use the acronym to represent the colors of food I should be eating. March is National Nutrition Month, and “eating the colors of the rainbow” is one of the best things we can do for our health. Of course I’m not referring to the popular candy that encourages tasting these brilliant colors, I’m talking about fruits and vegetables!

Think about the average person’s daily meals. Breakfast may start with either cereal and milk, or eggs with pancakes and sausage. As one moves into the lunch hour, grabbing for a burger or sandwich sided with chips, fries, cookies and soda is pretty common. Lastly, envision a typical supper, which is usually based around some sort of meat with potatoes/rice/noodles, and a fan favorite “veggie” known as corn! Close your eyes and picture the colors that were just consumed on an average day — brown, white and yellow! Unfortunately some of the only vegetables that Americans eat are lettuce, tomato and onion — because they came with that burger!

The proof is in the pigment, everyone! And what a wonderful and easy way to protect your health — through eating! Consuming a diet rich in plant foods will provide a vast amount of phytochemicals, or nonnutritive substances in plants, that possess health-protective effects preventing and treating chronic disease. Phytochemicals are both anti-inflammatory and tissue-specific for the body. The best part? The benefits come from consuming mixtures of the fruits and vegetables, not just a single few, leaving us with many options to select from nature’s pharmacy! Challenge yourself to eat foods from each color every day. There is only so much benefit received from eating the same thing all the time; rotation and variety is key! The following are a few examples of where to find these phytochemical colors and their specific healing properties:

Red: Lycopene, or anthocyanins, help to reduce several types of cancer risks (especially prostate) and serve as powerful antioxidant protecting from cell damage.

  • Beets
  • Cherries
  • Red peppers
  • Red potatoes
  • Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Radishes
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Red grapes
  • Tomatoes
  • Red apples
  • Pomegranates
  • Watermelon
  • Red cabbage

Orange/Yellow: Carotenoids help to maintain healthy mucous membranes and eyes. They also may reduce risk of cancers, heart disease and can improve immune system function.

  • Butternut/yellow squash
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Yellow peppers
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Yellow apples
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Tangerines

Green: Chlorophyll, lutein, zeaxanthin and indoles serve to maintain vision health, atherosclerosis and also protect against some forms of cancer.

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce/spinach
  • Green onions
  • Peas
  • Green peppers
  • Limes
  • Zucchini
  • Avocados
  • Green apples
  • Green grapes
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi

Blue/Purple: Anthocyanidins are “anti-aging,” protecting one’s brain health and nerve tissue, and controlling blood pressure and heart health.

  • Purple kale
  • Purple cabbage
  • Purple potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Purple grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Raisins
  • Figs
  • Plums 


References: Lila, Ann .N.Y. Acad. Sci. 11143:372-380, 2007.

Walsh et al., Amer J Clin Nutr; 2007: 86:1687-1693.

St. Francis de Sales once said, “Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.”

Meditation has been growing steadily in popularity over the last two decades, but there are still plenty of people who dismiss the simple practice of mindfulness as nothing more than a waste of time. After all, with many of us leading such busy lifestyles, who has time to waste on, well, doing nothing but sitting around?

That’s just it. Meditation is so much more than “just sitting around,” and what many don’t realize is that a simple 15-minute meditation every day can do a world of good for your health, mentally and physically.

What is mediation and how does it work?

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the definition of meditation, and there certainly are plenty of definitions that are thrown around. However, according to FreeMeditation.com, “In reality, meditation is a state of awareness, not an act of doing.”

Meditation, while it may look simple, can be a bit more difficult than you might think until you’ve learned to do it correctly. It’s more than just sitting with your eyes closed for 15 minutes. As FreeMeditation.com puts it, “Meditation is a state of profound, deep peace that occurs when the mind is calm and silent, yet completely alert.”

The idea of thoughtless awareness

Something important happens during thoughtless awareness — the stress-producing part of your mind is whisked away, and it happens without having any negative effects on your alertness, or on the effectiveness of your meditation practice.

As you sit and breathe, thoughts are still going to flood your mind. However, rather than engaging with them like you normally would, simply acknowledge them and let them float by. This thoughtless awareness enables you to focus on the present moment rather than dwell on the unchangeable past or undetermined future, and is said to be therapeutic both psychologically and physically.

That idea is what sets meditation apart from other activities like sleeping and relaxing. Meditation isn’t about focus, concentration, visualization or trying to escape your thoughts. It’s about the act of letting go and giving yourself to your inner silence for a while. You’re simply balanced, stress free (if only for a few moments) and enjoying the now, rather than focused on stress, your job, and the numerous other things that may be screaming for your attention.

Regular meditation practice and your health

Over the years, meditation has been found to support optimal health and wellness, both physically and mentally. In thousands of separate studies since the early 1930s, meditation has been clearly shown to offer a wide variety of benefits.

A sampling of research

  • “Meditation decreases oxygen consumption, heart rate, respiratory rate and blood pressure, and increases the intensity of alpha, theta, and delta brain waves — the opposite of the physiological changes that occur during stress.” (Dr. Herbert Benson, Harvard Medical School & Author of the Relaxation Response)
  • “Seventy-five percent of long-term insomniacs who have been trained in relaxation and meditation can fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.” (Dr. Gregg Jacobs, Psychologist at Harvard)
  • “It is estimated that 80-90 percent of all illnesses are linked either directly or indirectly with stress. By reducing stress, meditation can boost the immune system to reduce health care use.” (National Institute of Health)
  • “Meditation and yoga lifestyle intervention significantly reduced the rate of cellular aging in an apparently healthy population.” (Madhuri Tolahunase, All India Institute of Medical Sciences)
  • “In a study investigating the impact of meditation on inventories of happiness, depression and anxiety, meditation was found to significantly improve all three.” (Journal of Clinical Psychology)
  • “VA-sponsored meditation programs show promise for reducing PTSD severity in veterans receiving mental health services.” (Kathi L Heffner, University of Rochester Medical Center)
  • “Relaxation therapies like meditation are effective in treating chronic pain, and can markedly ease the pain of low back problems, arthritis, and headaches.” (National Institutes of Health)
  • “Meditation may slow aging. A study found that people who had been meditating for more than five years were physiologically 12 to 15 years younger than non-meditators.” (International Journal of Neuroscience)

With all of these health benefits, why wouldn’t you want to meditate? Just like with a regular exercise routine, there’s the same excuse from many people: “I don’t have time.”

Making time for your practice

The ideal time for most meditation practices is just 15 minutes twice daily (once in the morning and once at night). However, sometimes sticking to that 15 minutes can be hard. Here are some tips to try.

Rather than focusing on the full duration (especially if you’re new to the practice), start with just two or five minutes instead. When you start with a shorter amount of time, you’re more likely to stick with the practice entirely.

Instead of trying to fit meditation into your daily routine, do the opposite — make meditation your base and build your day around it. Try to meditate at the same time every day, and make sure you have a quiet place to do so.

Final thoughts

When you start to feel overwhelmed, meditate. You might not think that a few minutes of thoughtless awareness could ever help you feel better, but it can — and it’s great for your overall health, too! 

 

It’s March and it seems like every Facebook fitness ad and gym wants to ask you ,“Is your bikini body ready?” These messages are always accompanied by a six-pack fitness model or Victoria’s Secret Angel image. And I get so angry!

Here’s the truth. Unless you are already well on your fitness and healthy eating journey you aren’t going to look like a fitness model by the start of summer without doing something extremely drastic (and likely extremely unhealthy!). That isn’t to say you shouldn’t try to get healthier before summer, you absolutely should! Taking a step toward a healthier version of us is always a great idea — no matter the time of year. But you need to set realistic goals for your “healthier you journey” because if your goal is to look like the next Gisele, you’ll probably get discouraged and quit. And that won’t get you anywhere. If your goal is instead to find a physical activity you enjoy, then you’ll look forward to going to classes every week! You’re worth taking the time to have a healthy diet and wonderful physical activity schedule! So focus on making healthy life choices and not about the end result of a specific size or look. If you think you need to look like the pictures shown in the ads before you can wear a bikini, most of us would never wear one. And then we’ll miss out on pool parties, days at the beach, making sandcastles with our kids, learning to water-ski and soaking the sun’s rays. I, for one, am unwilling to miss those things just because I also enjoy wine and cheese.

So where does that leave me? First I’m going to set a realistic workout schedule because I like to see what my body can do. For me that is swimming laps once a week, going for a hike in the woods once a week (yes, even in the cold) and doing pole and aerial tricks three times a week because I love getting stronger and defying gravity. Second, I’m going to set reasonable nutrition goals. For me that means eating more vegetable (boo) and less fried food (double boo). I’m not going to go for broke and quit fried food all together but if I normally eat something fried three times a week I’m going to try to cut it back to once. Why? Because this could actually be sustainable. And that is the goal. To create a lifestyle that I love and can keep doing. I don’t just want to look good for a few months in the summer, I want to feel good all the time.

Then I’m going to start working on the one thing that I can dramatically change between March and June — how I feel about myself. Have you ever listened to the thoughts in your head? If you’re like most of the women I know, they aren’t nice. They sure as heck aren’t things you’d say to a friend. Start paying attention to what you’re saying and then if it isn’t something you’d say to a friend, say, “Be nice to my friend.” And rephrase/completely change. Because you need to be your best friend.

I was recently in Ecuador and saw women walking around that were “bigger” strutting around in “tiny,” really tight-fitting outfits. And you know what I noticed? They were happy. They turned men’s heads. They were confident. And they looked beautiful. Because that’s the real thing that matters, how you feel in your own skin and how you project that to the world. If you walk out in a bikini and you’re constantly pulling at it to try to get it to cover more, to those looking you’re going to seem uncomfortable and that is how they will then view you. If you walk out with what ever hanging where ever, and you’re comfortable because that is you, the people around you will see you as confident and beautiful. How we project our opinions of ourselves is one of the bigger things people will pick up on.

So my goal is to accept my body and — gasp! — maybe even love it by summer. Wear the bikini. Do the activities you want. Enjoy your body because that will help you enjoy your life.

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.

My father served as Special Forces in the Vietnam war. He served three tours of duty and each tour ended with an injury severe enough to call for a MedEvac helicopter to take him out of the field. Although the war had long ended by the time of my birth in 1981, in my father’s mind it still raged on. The effects of this war shaped not only my experience of childhood, but in many ways it also shaped me. It was from this that a commitment to living peace was born in my heart. Living peace begins in the mind and results in its presentation in the relationships and circumstances of our life.

Peace in the mind is determined by our perception. It comes with the choice to let go of judging the conditions and people in our lives. It is giving up our thoughts that say things should be different than what they are in this moment. In her book, “Loving What Is,” Byron Katie puts it this way: “When I argue with reality I lose… but only 100 percent of the time.” Reality, or what is, already happened. It’s here. It’s over. To not accept this just brings misery. So to attain peace, we must allow life to unfold just as it is. You see, our judgements keep us from the experience of peace and because for the most part on the physical plane things are as we believe them to be, our judgements literally come true. They make our reality. When we find ourselves not at peace in any circumstance, the remedy is to stop judging, stop finding fault, stop imposing our expectations and then sit back and watch what happens.

In any circumstance in my life where I am not at peace I consider this: I may think I have it all figured out, that I know what is going on, that I know who did what, who said what and why, but all that knowledge hasn’t made me happy. My knowledge and my judgements are not bringing peace or fulfillment. So why not set them aside for a while? Give life a chance. Can I just let go and experience it without deciding what it should be? When I do this, it’s amazing how my problems resolve. My relationships move on course. I begin to see that my life starts to work on its own. All because I gave up the idea that I know what everything is about. Releasing judgement leaves a space, an opening, where peace enters in. You see, we are not trying to get peace, we are simply allowing peace to come. We are making room for it.

Our commitment to allowing peace into our hearts and lives is so important. Peace with others, within ourselves and in the circumstances of our lives is where peace in our communities, our nation and our world begin. It begins with us and then extends outward. We who know that we are spiritual beings having a human experience must truly be the leaders of peace. Our world needs us. I heard a talk in which someone explained how a herd of gazelles “decide” to travel to another watering hole. It begins with one member of the herd turning in the direction of a new body of water. One by one, each gazelle turns their head in the same direction. The moment the number is just one over half, so for example in a herd of 100, when the 51st antelope turns its head in the new direction, all of the herd takes off in that instant as one unit to the new oasis.

I believe that peace in our world will happen in this same way. As each of us, one by one, turn in the direction of peace there will come a moment when as one human family we reach it together.

Just two months ago, Dr. Ron Bredesen, MD, UCLA released his much awaited book titled, “Reversing Alzheimer’s Disease,” which is the product of decades of research and over 150 peer reviewed medical journal articles.

We probably have all met a cancer survivor, or an HIV survivor, but we have never met an Alzheimer’s disease survivor. Thankfully, with the work of Dr. Bredesen, and the help of the Institute for Functional Medicine, that is all about to change.

The methods Dr. Bredesen recommends to reverse Alzheimer’s disease is not a new drug therapy, nor combination of drug therapies, but is really and truly a functional medicine approach to brain health. His research on how to reverse Alzheimer’s disease is comprehensive, thorough, and centered on finding the right combination of nutritional support along with personalized therapeutic lifestyle changes for each patient.

Dr. Bredesen has determined that there are three different types of Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. The first type is referred to as “HOT” in which inflammation is the primary driving force. Inflammation is seen all the way down to the nucleus of the body’s cells, causing a dysregulation of metabolic factors including insulin resistance and other hormone abnormalities.

The second type is referred to as “ATROPHIC” or “cold.” This type of Alzheimer’s disease is identified by having the APOE4 genotype. Characteristically, this type presents with the loss of ability to form new memories, whereas the ability to speak, write and calculate are retained.

The APOE genotype has profound influence on risk factors of Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. Each of us receive one APOE gene from each parent. The possible outcomes are either APOE2, APOE3 or APOE4 with any combination of the two since each parent provides one gene. Research shows that having one APOE4 gene means having a 30 percent chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. However, research also shows that a double APOE4 genotype, which is the APOE4 gene from each parent, means having a 90 percent chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment. This is the single biggest factor in determining risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment and the only effective way to manage it is through mindful living. There is no medication that counteracts the APOE4 gene.

The third type of Alzheimer’s disease is referred to as “TOXIC” or “vile.” High blood levels of mercury, mycotoxins and other toxic chemicals produced by molds are found, and often are diagnosed. Often these patients have low zinc and high copper and thus a high ratio of copper to zinc. This type typically has the APOE3 genotype, and Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t run in their family, and if a relative did develop the disease, it usually occurs after age 80 or so. This type of Alzheimer’s usually strikes at a relatively young age with symptoms beginning in the late forties to early sixties, often following great stress. Rather than starting as memory loss, it starts with difficulties involving numbers or speech or organizing. While the first two types can be described as factory downsizing, the third type is like tossing grenades into the building — everything is at risk.

There is also a version called “GLYCOTOXIC” or “1.5,” which is when types 1 and 2 occur together. Inflammation, glucose and insulin levels are chronically high.

What is happening in the brain to cause Alzheimer’s disease? Basically, the brain is destroying synapses faster than it is creating them. The brain’s various proteins and precursors to proteins all play a vital role in managing the balance of synapse production and synapse destruction. This process is present in both Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment.

When specific diagnostic testing is done to determine which form of Alzheimer’s disease a patient has, then a personalized treatment plan can be developed to begin reversing the cause directly at the source.

If I were to describe Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment as holes in a roof that need to be patched, then there is no one compound that can patch the holes, but we can patch all of them with the right combination. 


References: Bredesen, Dale E. “The End of Alzheimer’s: the First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.” Dale Bredesen. Avery. 2017.

It all started in 2003. I thought my eating habits, at that time, were healthy for me and my family, which included three growing boys! Then a small natural food store opened in my hometown. I felt I wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of organic, but felt strongly that this was the way to help my family become healthier and rid ourselves of the “fast food.” As I started to patronize this store, which was owned by two friendly and knowledgeable women, as well as their staff, I began working at the store six months after they opened. Now I was on my journey learning how to budget buying organic products for a family of five. What was positive was being able to buy in bulk, items such as grains, beans, legumes, and pasta, as well as spices and teas. Buying in bulk at a reduced cost allowed me to use the extra money to purchase other packaged foods. The journey had me explore eating more organic vegetables and fruits as main meals, but as one can imagine, growing boys used to fast food didn’t always buy into this change. I decided to start adding organic grass-fed beef, organic free-range chicken, as well as wild caught salmon — this list being added to the menu a few times a week. After making the initial change to eat more vegetables, the decision for me was to become a vegetarian, allowing the rest of the family to eat organic meats and meat alternatives.

As mentioned, eating organic foods on a budget was a challenge for a busy family with the boys being involved in sports. Because of the time factor, I did allow fast food, but started cutting back on what was eaten by choosing what I believed were healthier fast foods. And we do know that kids like to eat what they see advertised on TV and what their friends are eating, so I started secretly taking certain foods out of their packages before the kids could see what I was cooking, and exchanging for organic items. I wouldn’t tell them what they were eating was natural or organic until after they were done eating! The objective was to prove to them that natural or organic was the better way to eat, that this is what was eaten years ago before processed, packaged foods existed. Now the three boys are grown and make their own choices, some healthy and some not, but the “seed was planted” and the education is with them.

Over the years, I began to believe that learning to prepare healthy meals, using natural, organic foods and spices is a positive move to help people start to really eat healthy. Studies are out showing that eating healthy food may help a person to live a longer life. Assisting this thought is having natural supplements in our daily living, but not the only way to get nutrients as food is truly medicine.

My advice is that when someone wants to make changes to their eating habits, start small. I suggest to my clients/customers to make one change a week, or a month, by trying a new vegetable, grain, or healthy recipe. This is a journey and learning will continue every day. Any change should not be stressful if done in moderation. My individual journey has continued every day since 2003 and I experience excitement in the new challenges I have yet to discover and learn.

Your own personal journey begins by having a positive attitude and compassion in where you are going on your journey. Enjoy a new and healthier life! 

Months spent indoors avoiding the harsh weather outside makes winter a difficult season for people who love the great outdoors. While skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports make it possible to get some fresh air even when that air is frigid, many people find it difficult to consistently get outside when temperatures drop. That difficulty no doubt contributes to the popularity of spring, a season widely seen as a time of rebirth and rejuvenation.

Time spent in the great outdoors is often its own reward. But taking measures to be eco-friendly while spending time outside can make such leisure time even more rewarding. People who want to get out and be eco-friendly at the same time can try the following activities.

Cycling: Cycling is a fun activity that’s also great exercise and incredibly eco-friendly. While it’s certainly an enjoyable leisure activity, cycling also can provide a great alternative to more popular modes of transportation like driving. According to Bay Area Bike to Work Day, a movement dedicated to promoting cycling as a means of commuting to and from work, drivers of small vehicles (those that get 35 miles per gallon of gas) who commute 10 miles per day, five days a week can expect to consume 68 gallons of gas in a typical year during their commutes. During those commutes, their vehicles will produce 0.7 tons of CO2. SUV drivers will consume nearly double that amount of fuel while their vehicles produce nearly three times as much CO2 emissions. Cycling to work won’t consume any fuel or produce any emissions, and cyclists won’t be forced to sit idly in rush hour traffic.

Hiking: Hiking is another eco-friendly outdoor activity that can pay dividends for both the planet and the people who call it home. Lawmakers in towns and cities with thriving hiking communities may be encouraged to support legislation that preserves hiking trails and parks and prevent potentially harmful construction from taking place. And individuals can reap a number of benefits from hiking through the great outdoors. A study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that outdoor exercise such as hiking can decrease feelings of tension, confusion, anger, and depression. In addition, hiking provides a great full-body workout that might appeal to people who have grown tired of more traditional gym-based fitness regimens.

Fishing: Fishing devotees tend to be wildly devoted to their craft, but one need not be an expert angler to enjoy fishing and help the planet. According to the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, fishing supports wildlife and fisheries management. The DGIF notes that anglers help to set seasons and creel limits, ensuring that wildlife populations remain stable and even flourish. Many anglers also find fishing is a great form of stress relief that provides a peaceful escape from the daily grind.

Running/walking: In lieu of running or walking on a treadmill indoors, men and women can get outside and do their jogging or walking in the great outdoors. While treadmills are not necessarily big energy consumers, running or walking outdoors consumes no energy and provides a great opportunity to spend time outside, especially for professionals who spend most of their days in office buildings.

The great outdoors comes calling for many people when temperatures begin to climb. Answering that call can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your mood.


Source: MetroCreative Connection.

If the recent financial turmoil has taught us anything, it’s that maybe we should pay attention to the age-old clichés that our parents and grandparents passed on to us. “Take it one day at a time” is the new reality for most Americans when it comes to financial recovery. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” — a poster child for diversification.

You get the idea. So keeping the “what’s old is new again” mantra in mind, here are some famous clichés from generations before that we think could serve us well this year and beyond.

1. Don’t cry over spilled milk. The recession is over and it is time to start putting the pieces back together. It might take a while (patience is a virtue after all), but you need to start somewhere.

2. Save for a rainy day. Call it an emergency savings fund, rainy day fund or what you will. The idea is simple, but changing our behavior is not. Money is easy to spend and there’s no question that there is still plenty of “gotta have it now” in us all. It’s time to slow down on spending and start saving.

Next, resist the temptation to raid your savings! While most Americans have plenty of credit card debt (and the issue needs to be addressed as part of your financial picture), resist the temptation to raid the savings to pay it all off immediately. Also, resist the desire to raid the savings for cash purchases. If you succumb, whenever the fund is used, the amount withdrawn should be replenished as soon as possible.

3. A penny saved is a penny earned. For an emergency savings fund, a standard savings account or money market account should meet your needs. However, thinking even longer-term, consider certificates of deposit (CDs). CDs help force you to commit your money for a period of time, so they can help you start to make your savings a more permanent habit. It should be noted that the money is not accessible for the term.

4. You’re walking on thin ice. The economy got bad enough that some of us had to sacrifice the standard financial protection that we always took for granted. If you terminated your life insurance contract, now is the time to begin shopping around for a new one. It’s hard to think about, but if something happened to you would your family be able to maintain their current lifestyle? Could they stay in the house so the kids would not have to move and switch schools? The time to protect your family is now. And, you know what they say, never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

5. Home is where the heart is. It’s also where much of your equity probably is too. Look into home equity loans to help you consolidate debt and get back on your feet. Lending standards are now tighter, but banks want your business and will work with you to meet your needs.

6. Another day, another dollar. Unless you are sick as a dog. While your savings should help protect you if you lose your job, what happens if you get sick or injured and cannot work for a period of time? Consider disability income insurance to help cover living expenses and protect your savings should that happen.

7. Lend a helping hand. Reach out to others in need through charitable giving and by volunteering your time and talents. There is plenty of need out there right now and every little bit helps.

8. Stop and smell the roses. We have all been through a lot the past several years, virtually none of us untouched by the financial turmoil. Perhaps your most important investment is time spent with family and friends.

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