Healthy Concepts

Keeping children healthy throughout the school year is a daunting task. Infections spread rapidly at school. Beleaguered parents often feel like their kids come home the first day of school with sniffles and a dry cough that lingers throughout the year. Do not despair! With a little planning, parents can support their children’s immune systems with a high quality, nutrient dense diet, pleasurable exercise and simple routines. Your kids will have the resiliency to fight various infections, and the adults in the household will be healthier and happier too!

The first line of defense against illness is a healthy, nutrient dense diet of whole foods. Emphasize fruits and vegetables at all meals, along with quality protein sources such as meat, fish, beans, nuts, seeds, cheese, yogurt and milk. Include whole grains and quality oils and fats, such as avocados, olive oil, organic butter, nuts, and nut or seed butters. During fall and winter include warming foods in the diet. Plenty of soups, stews, cooked greens, seasoned with healing herbs and spices, will strengthen the body for cold and flu season. Monitor sugar consumption and try to avoid processed junk food or sugary beverages. Make meal preparation a shared family time. Invite kids to help set the table and choose their own fruits and vegetables. Give them simple tasks such as washing and slicing produce or stirring the soup. There are many cookbooks and internet websites parents can turn to for healthy recipes and fun snacks to keep children interested in eating healthy food. For picky eaters, patience is key! Keep exposing kids to new foods multiple times and let them take charge of how much they are willing to try. Eventually, children get on board and learn to enjoy a wide range of healthy foods, especially when their parents model eating in that manner.

Adequate rest is key for everyone in the family. Poor or inadequate sleep patterns inhibit immune response, increase vulnerability to infection, decrease healing, and may lead to more frequent infections and prolonged sickness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that children 3-5 years old need 10-13 hours of sleep per night. Kids 6-12 years of age need 9-12 hours, and adolescents 13-18 years of age need 8-10 or as much as 12-14 hours per night. 

Use of electronics or hunger often interfere with sleep for kids. Establishing a “no electronics rule” at least one hour before bed helps develop healthy sleep patterns. Serving a quality protein and carbohydrate with dinner will keep bellies satisfied and allay any hunger before bed. Chamomile, lavender, lemon balm or catnip tea included in an evening routine, is an excellent way to relieve any stress or anxiety and promote relaxation. All these herbs are safe for children.

Consider the routines you have in place during the school week. Are they working for your family? Children are less stressed and tired when they have a consistent routine with realistic expectations on what they need to accomplish in a day. We live in a fast-paced world with a lot of demands placed on our kids. Plan for how homework will get done and negotiate the number of activities your children will be involved in outside of school. Prioritize family time each evening and include relaxing activities such as reading books together or sharing tales of the day’s adventures. Scheduling free time each evening can be especially helpful in noticing early signs of sickness. Take time to slow down even more to let the body heal.

Finally, exercise plays a vital role in our overall health. With the emphasis on academics, children are getting less physical activity at school than in years past. Ideally, children should spend 1-2 hours per day engaged in fun physical activities. Exercise helps keep the lymph and detoxification systems moving, which is important to prevent chronic health issues. Compelling studies show that sufficient outdoor and activity time is equal to antidepressants! There are plenty of activities to be enjoyed during the fall including walking, hiking, biking or outdoor games like hopscotch and jump rope. When the weather gets cold, turn up the music and have a dance party in the house. This is a super fun way both kids and adults can attain exercise and stress relief benefits! 


References: “How Much Sleep Do I Need?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html.

“Healthy All Year.” Romm Enterprises. www.healthiestkids.com. Aviva Romm.

 

Do you ever have one of those days, maybe even a few days, where life just seems a little harder? I am not talking about days when we are experiencing a genuine loss or dramatic event in our lives. I am talking about those days when the thoughts in our head feel less cheerleader and more judge and jury. Those days when our body feels less attractive, our relationships seem hard, our life is going nowhere and every decision we make feels like it is the wrong one? Yup! Those days where nothing seems to be going our way. I have decided to call those days “The Sucks.”

The reality is that on those days, most of the time, not a significant thing is different than on that last great day we had. Our body is the same, our face is the same, our life circumstance has not changed dramatically and our decision making skills are not any less capable. So what then is this? 

As humans, we always have a tremendous amount of thoughts running through our head. Most of the time, we are not even aware of those thoughts or we identify those thoughts as being our reality. If you were to become aware of your thoughts on the good days, you would likely notice that the reason you are feeling so well is that subconsciously you are tuned into your authentic self and the thoughts running through your mind are positive and uplifting ones. Of course it is easy to have positive and uplifting thoughts when life is going well. Maybe you got a promotion, maybe you lost the weight you were hoping to lose, maybe your child is happy and doing well. 

What happens on days that maybe are not going so well? When life seems inexplicably harder, relationships are tense, our self-concept is a bit shaky. Oftentimes on those days, we have very negative thoughts accompanying us through the day. If you were to become aware of your thoughts, you would notice the inner judge, the “nay-sayer” and the doubts. The wonderful news here is that as soon as you have identified the thoughts as being separate from you, you step into a new state of being. Becoming aware of your thoughts, you then have a choice to say “those are only my thoughts, they are not my reality.”

Awareness of our thoughts is only the first step. Although noticing our thoughts is a wonderful step, it is only the first step because it does not change whatever our current situation is. It only helps us to notice that we are judging ourselves and making a difficult day more painful for ourselves. So, then what? What should you do when you are stuck in a difficult day? 

There are some wonderful ways to work with difficulties:

  • Become crystal clear on what it is you are telling yourself. Sometimes that can be trickier than it sounds. I find that 15 minutes of sitting in silence often makes that inner critic pretty clear. Sitting in silence takes away the ability to numb or ignore your inner thoughts. Asking yourself, “what story am I telling myself right now?” often opens the flood gates and makes conscious the thoughts feeding your difficulties.
  • Don’t personalize! Often we make any difficulty worse by making it about us. If things are not working out as planned, that does not mean that we did something wrong. If we are experiencing tension in a relationship, it does not mean that it is about us. 
  • Avoid “snowballing.” What do I mean by that? Taking one aspect of your life that maybe is not going your way and transferring that to every aspect of your life. All that does is make the problem feel insurmountable and makes you feel even worse. It becomes a big vicious cycle.
  • Stay away from attaching permanence to a difficult moment, day or week. Avoid using words such as always and never. No situation is permanent. Life is in a constant ebb and flow. What may be painful now will not always be painful. If something is not an option for you now that does not mean that it will never be an option. Again, attaching permanence makes any situation feel unbearable. 
  • Lean in to “The Sucks.” Acknowledge that you are experiencing difficulties. Have compassion for yourself in times of trouble. Feel whatever emotion is wanting to come up. Our feelings always demand to be felt. I caution you though to not “jump in the river.” By that I mean, feelings are real. The stories we attach to them are not. If you pay attention to your stories, they likely start with always and never. So go ahead, cry, scream if you need to and you will notice how quickly feelings actually move through us once we stop being afraid to feel them.
  • Take exceptional care of yourself. Drink plenty of water. Eat in a way that nourishes and honors your body. Take a walk in nature. Get plenty of rest. Reach out to friends for support. Self-care becomes even more critical during times of stress. 

By leaning in to our difficult times, and taking positive steps on our behalf, we build resilience. We also start noticing that difficult times don’t last — that the next moment could offer great joy and that what seems insurmountable in the moment is often the jumping off point to a new way of being in this world. Each time we move through difficulties in a consciously connected way, we create a success story for ourselves. That way the next time we are stuck in “The Sucks,” we recognize it for what it is, taking positive action on our behalf and moving through it with resilience and grace.

If you are having difficulty in your life, if identifying your thoughts and separating from them is beyond your current ability, if you are afraid to lean in to your pain because you worry that you will get stuck there, I would love for you to contact me. I can support you as you are learning these new life transforming skills. There is so much waiting for you on the other side of fear. 

If you are the parent of a college-bound student, you may soon face a whole new world of an empty nest, financial aid and questions about doing laundry. What you might not realize, though, is that with this new transition, there are some important considerations you need to keep top of mind, specifically life insurance and the updating of legal documents.

Below are some important tips (besides never mix your whites and darks) as your kids leave the nest. 

Life insurance needs

Although it may not be top of mind during this exciting time, it is important to make sure you have the right level of life insurance coverage. 

  • No one wants to think about the unthinkable, but you might want to increase your own life insurance coverage or obtain coverage on your student if:
  • Your current coverage would not be sufficient to pay off student loan debt and meet the surviving spouse’s other financial needs, too. 
  • You take out a Parent PLUS or home equity loan. 
  • You co-sign with your child on a student loan. 

Legal document needs

Strange as it may sound, if a college student age 18 or older is hospitalized while at school and is unable to communicate, the parents might not automatically have the right to tell doctors and hospital staff what medical procedures to use or not use. Also, if the adult student is not able to communicate for an extended time, parents might not be authorized to move funds from the student’s accounts. As legal adults, students over the age of 18 need their own advance medical directives, health care agent form and durable power of attorney for financial management, naming those who could legally act on their behalf. Below are some key terms and ideas to discuss with an attorney to ensure you’re prepared in the event that your child is incapacitated. 

Important definitions

  • Advance medical directive – Allows you to plan your health care before you may be unable to make sound decisions yourself.
  • Health care agent form – Allows you to appoint another person to make your health care decisions for you if you are unable to communicate them yourself.
  • Durable power of attorney for financial management – Gives someone the right to make financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

Leaving for school opens up a whole new world for both children and their families. By taking a few minutes to review your financial and legal situation now, you will be prepared for this new stage of your life. 

On Tuesday, September 26, Dan Bellerud of Thrivent Financial will present a college planning workshop. This free 90-minute college planning workshop will help attendees learn how academics, admissions and financial strategies can work together to help save money on college — without jeopardizing the financial and retirement strategies of parents. The workshop will take place from 6-7:30 p.m. at Liberty Hall, located at 800 Eisenhower Drive in Kimberly. To reserve a spot, call Stacie at 920-628-3700 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yet again, summer has flown by and kids are heading back for what we hope is a healthy new school year. Parents can help to make this a reality by following these timely health and nutrition recommendations. 

Start the Day off Right

Studies show that children who eat nutritious breakfasts function better. They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. So, what makes a good breakfast for children? 

Protein, healthy fats and fiber are the most important food groups at this time of day. They will leave your child feeling satiated for several hours instead of creating peaks and valleys of energy. A good example of this would be an egg, a slice of whole grain toast with nut butter, a piece of fruit, and a glass of organic milk or small glass of juice. 

Lean meat, whole-grain cereals with nuts and high protein/high fiber bars are also good filling choices at breakfast. The protein and fiber from the whole grains will keep your child satisfied until lunch time. And if your children aren’t fans of typical breakfast foods, think about serving leftovers. Chicken, a turkey sandwich and even pork tenderloin are better at the early hours than a breakfast without protein. Scrambled egg burritos may be a fun option to try.

Avoid giving your child options like sugary breakfast cereals, white-flour pancakes and syrup, instant oatmeal, donuts, white bread toast with jam, toaster pastries and fast food, all of which will leave your child hungry and tired halfway through the morning. Although kids may disagree, eating sugar on an empty stomach will only increase their cravings for sweets. If your child tends to get hungry in the middle of the morning no matter what, send an apple, whole-grain crackers or cereal, veggies, nuts or cheese snacks rather than sugary cookies or white-flour crackers.

Get ReFueled with a Healthy Lunch

If you prefer not to pack lunches every day, you can refer to your child’s school cafeteria menu and plan to send food from home just on days when the main courses are not particularly healthy or are dishes that your child prefers not to eat.

Encourage your child to eat a balanced diet including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy products (or other calcium sources), and healthy fat sources such as olive oil, nuts, and seeds. Start with a sandwich: whole-grain bread with nut butter, turkey, string cheese or another type of lean protein. Try making a mixture of fruits and vegetables — carrots, dried cranberries and grapes — in one container for a fun, colorful mealtime treat. 

Eating a proper lunch will give your child the fuel to be an effective student the rest of the day. These healthy foods can help students perform better in the classroom and improve overall health. Scientists have also established a link between student behavior and nutrition, noting that access to proper nutrition can help students maintain psychosocial well-being and reduce aggression. This can have a positive effect on students by avoiding discipline and school suspension.

Stay Hydrated

Always be sure that your child has access to plenty of pure water throughout the day. It is the best option for both children and adults. Some kids may enjoy a glass of organic milk at times, but keep an eye on “juice” drinks, many of which can be high in sugar and empty calories. Stick with 100 percent fruit juice as a more healthy option for your family. Discourage your child from drinking caffeine, as it stays in the system for an average of seven hours. This means an after-school coffee drink can interfere with their much-needed sleep at night.

Support a Healthy Immune System

There are also nutrients that can help support your child’s resistance to seasonal health concerns that arrive during back-to-school season. Vitamin C is probably the best-known nutrient for supporting the immune system, but there are others as well. Probiotics, or “friendly” bacteria, are good for not only digestive system health, but also supporting the body’s natural resistance to viral and bacterial infections. And, omega-3 fatty acids, known for supporting the brain, are believed to support the healthy activation and number of T-cells in the body. 

If your child does not consume the recommended daily amounts of these nutrients, you may choose to address these gaps with supplementation. Just stop by Natural Healthy Concepts in Appleton or Fond du Lac, and our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be ready to help. Oh, and back to our opening question: is good nutrition important for good learning? In one word, yes! 

It happened at 3 a.m. and something that you never expected. But two trips to the hospital emergency room over three days and a $34,000 bill later, the question is what was more painful: the kidney stone or the bill? 

Who would have thought that going to the emergency room could cost that much?

The $34,000 bill was reduced to $19,000 by insurance discounts, but your $5,000 deductible with a $7,150 maximum out-of-pocket (MOOP) limit can put the hurt on anyone.

What should you do when pain hits? 

On the second visit when the ER urologist suggested a procedure of inserting a stent to help remove the stone, your initial reaction is to do it, but what about cost? If you knew the cost was over $30,000, would that change your decision to proceed? Years ago, when you paid less and insurance paid more, this decision would be easy, but not anymore. You want to know your cost, health care benefit and risk. Until you reach your $7,150 limit, you will pay much of the bill. 

Using this example, see what you pay and what insurance pays as follows:

Individual pays

Insurance pays

$34,000

$15,000

(Billed charges)

(Insurance discount)

$19,000

 

(Approved amount)

$5,000

(Deductible)

$14,000

(Balance)

$2,150

$8,600

(20% co-insurance)

(80% co-insurance)

 

$3,250

 

(Balance due)

$7,150

$11,850

(Total you paid) 38%

(Total insurance paid) 62%

Now that you’ve reached your maximum out-of-pocket for the calendar year, your health insurance plan will pay 100 percent of approved medical charges for the rest of the year. Hopefully the kidney stone did not occur in December, because in January your deductible and MOOP start all over again. When pain hits, you want to ask questions about your options to best address the root cause of it at the best cost.

In regard to cost, you want to know your insurance out-of-pocket costs in the form of deductibles, co-insurance and co-pays. It is these costs that make up your annual MOOP limit. In the hospital, your MOOP limit can be reached very quickly. Tell your doctor or other health professional right up front that you have a higher deductible and need to know the approximate procedure’s cost, expected benefit and risk for doing a certain procedure, and on the flip side what is the cost, benefit and risk for not doing it or doing a different approach. 

Also, always ask what you can do to manage your condition better at lower cost. This is something that frustrates doctors because many people will not actually follow recommended options to manage or reverse a health condition. The kidney stone episode is a learning experience on cost, benefit and risk. 

Understanding more about your health care and insurance is more important as these costs are shifted to us, the consumer. It requires a greater awareness about all this and lots of questions to stay in control of your decisions. Once you have greater control, you can do more to help yourself improve health, lower cost and save money. 

“I am not a body, I am free. For I am as God created me.”

How audacious is this statement to our human minds? It’s one thing to affirm a belief; it’s altogether different to live it doubt free. Actually, as a Spanish philosopher wrote many years ago, “the battle of faith is to doubt.” So doubting isn’t the enemy of faith. Doubt simply causes us to go deeper in our reflections — reflections that include mind and heart. Mature belief or faith isn’t about mindless acceptance; rather, it’s about a heart-filled encounter with the awesome mystery of life.

Even so, we faith-filled believers remain rooted in the dominions of time and space, materiality, and endless tasks and obligations. Earth born reality has its own measures of what works and what doesn’t, what’s important and what’s not and what’s good and what’s bad. We’re all judged by performance, appearance and attitude in this earthly plane. It’s no surprise, then, that having learned to be judged while growing we easily judge as adults often without awareness.

As humans we quickly learn how to fit in and how to stand out. Indeed, we humans learn easily and absorb an immense amount of ideas and data, values and behaviors. We probably wouldn’t have survived all these millennia had we not.

Yet all of these virtues to master earth reality typically create stumbling blocks to accept faith beliefs, which go way beyond the measurable and the rational. Doubts naturally come about when we consider a capital reality beyond a small reality that’s reflected seemingly everywhere on earth and throughout the endless array of galaxies in our universe.

Consequently, it’s quite natural to desire ever greater confirmation of what is referred to as spiritual. Doubts born of being immersed in the physical dominated domain of earthly life are natural and, as noted, actually can serve to deepen our beliefs in the awesome mystery of spirit.

So it was for me when recently I asked spirit for “evidence” of love as the basis of both reality and of reality. For decades I have affirmed something my heart knew and told me: love is the heart of all. But, like probably all of us, my human brain so well-grounded in earthly matters, wants further evidence. If love is, indeed, the heart of reality and reality, then coming to know it with even greater conviction would be fantastic.

The Bible tells us, “Ask and you shall receive.” So, I asked. But before I share what happened, here’s a caveat: doubts of our human trained minds can conquer knowing originating in our hearts. With those whose doubts hold sway, nothing may persuade differently. Yet for me that answer to my question was clear, affirmative and powerful. Here it is. About fifteen minutes after asking I opened a mailing from Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest. The lead article was on Sr. Julian of Norwich, a devout Christian mystic hundreds of years ago. She fully opened her heart to the deepest truth of reality. And that reality revealed its center an awesome, infinite, unquenchable love. To me that was my answer, my evidence. Know where, know when is love not. Love is all in all. So I know you and I are not our bodies. We’re free. We’re love in human form regardless of human reality. Wow! 

Quantum Neuro Reset Therapy (QNRT) focuses on the adverse emotional experiences that have a direct link to physical concerns and unwanted behaviors. QNRT helps the brain become more balanced, less stressed and unburdened by negative life patterns that lead to physical concerns and high risk behaviors. 

Doctors can quickly determine which parts of the brain are out of balance and then work with the client to reset those nervous system pathways to experience and achieve optimum health. 

How it works

QNRT is based on the foundational principle that the brain and the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions of the body. Any unresolved emotional stress, past or present, is understood to affect the nervous system in an adverse way that may lead to physical, mental, and emotional breakdowns. This fact is critical in understanding QNRT.

Most of us have experienced an “adverse emotional stress” either directly or indirectly during our lifetime. QNRT associates common experiences such as sleeplessness, anxiety, nervousness, fatigue, soreness and gastrointestinal complications with past adverse emotional stress events. This is a prime example of the mind/ body connection.

The principals of QNRT are supported by the findings of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study as it relates to future symptoms, behaviors and illnesses.

The QNRT experience

The best way to learn about QNRT is to experience it yourself and feel what it can do for you!

QNRT focuses on three main areas of therapy:

  1. It works to release the individual adverse emotion experiences that have been identified through evaluating the stress factors of the brain/ body connection.
  2. It works to reprogram the coping mechanisms that have been built from the adverse emotional experiences. These ancillary patterns are ways of surviving emotional traumas by using false beliefs, negative life patterns and/or unwanted core drivers.
  3. It works to reset the brain and neurological pathways to all areas of the body so that the individual can break free from the tangle that has been created in the nervous system. This is one of the most important discoveries in helping clients overcome the individual hurdles and make long lasting positive changes.

The benefits of the wellness experience

QNRT is in clinical practice internationally and in the U.S. During this time, thousands of individuals just like you have experienced the multiple life changing benefits of ongoing QNRT therapy.

Our anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that for 95 percent of clients, unburdening the nervous system will:

  • Reduce the total body and emotional stress load
  • Regulate stress hormones
  • Relieve joint and muscle discomfort
  • Restore vitality and positive outlooks
  • Support resiliency of the brain
  • Empower the individual to make positive changes
  • Support memory, focus and acuity
  • Support energy and overall well-being
  • Support the quality of sleep
  • Support the immune system
  • Resolve background fears, anxieties, worries and anger 

Many scientific studies in the past have confirmed the negative impacts associated with hearing loss: depression, anxiety and social isolation. There are positive impacts associated with hearing solutions, as well. A study conducted by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) supplies overwhelming data about how much of a difference hearing devices can make.

The study surveyed more than 2,000 hearing loss patients who use devices to enhance the sense of sound. Of the sample group, 82 percent of patients indicated they would recommend hearing devices to their friends, and 70 percent reported an improved ability to communicate. The data also shows more than four out of five people who use a device to hear better are satisfied with their solution.

“This survey clearly reveals how dramatically people’s lives can improve with the use of hearing devices,” BHI Executive Director Sergei Kochkin, PhD said. “In this comprehensive study of more than 2,000 hearing device users we looked at 14 specific quality-of-life issues and found today’s hearing devices are a tremendous asset to people with even mild hearing loss who want to remain active and socially engaged throughout their lives.”

The study also concluded up to a third of patients saw improvements in their romance, sense of humor, mental, emotional and physical health. Further, roughly 40 percent noted improvements in their sense of safety, self-confidence, feelings about self, sense of independence and work relationships. 

Additional studies yield similar results. Overall, two thirds of hearing device users report their quality of life is either “better” or “a lot better.” While effectiveness of communication ranks as the biggest benefit to wearing hearing devices, a significant portion of respondents cite improvements unrelated to hearing, such as enhanced mental/cognitive skills and the ability to join groups. 

These results are the most significant of their kind because they show a clear potential solution to many of the draining feelings patients with hearing loss suffer. Many of the positive responses are attributed to changing technology that has led to smaller and less visible hearing devices, resulting in a decrease in the societal stigma associated with wearing devices in day-to-day life. Those who are hesitant to wear them for fear of looking older should keep in mind hearing loss can occur at any age, and half of all American adults with hearing loss are between 45 and 74 years old. 

New devices are more intelligent and offer many improvements over older generation models. Many offer wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, and several manufacturers have introduced iPhone-compatible devices. BHI’s Kochkin believes the first step to preserving your future enjoyment in life is to make an appointment with a hearing health professional and get your hearing checked. 

 

A chronic disease, as defined by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, is a disease lasting three months or longer. About 40 million Americans are limited in their usual activities due to one or more chronic health conditions.

Chronic diseases cannot be cured by medicine nor do they just disappear. A person with a chronic disease needs to manage and treat it all the time. 

Our population is aging

Eighty-eight percent of Americans over 65 years of age have at least one chronic health condition. Individuals age 65 years or older were numbered at 46.2 million in 2014 (the latest year for which data is available). The segment of our U.S. population aged 65 and older is projected to increase by 104.2 percent by 2030.

These projected demographic shifts greater underscore the need to prevent or delay the onset of age-related chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. 

The power of prevention

Chronic diseases are among the most common and costly of all health problems; however, many chronic diseases are preventable. By making changes in lifestyle habits people can lower their risk. 

  • Focus on healthy foods – Follow a healthy, balanced diet. When grocery shopping, shop the perimeter of the store where you will find less processed food choices. 
  • Move your body every day – Find an activity you like and get moving. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Take small steps and build from there. For example, focus on walking 250 steps every 60 minutes throughout your day. 
  • Work toward a healthy weight – Reducing your body weight by 7 percent (about 15 pounds for someone that weighs 200 pounds) can reduce your risk.
  • Be a non-smoker and avoid second hand smoke – If you smoke, get help to quit. It’s never too late to quit and reduce your risk.
  • Monitor blood pressure – Have your blood pressure checked regularly to ensure you are keeping it under control.
  • Reduce stress – Take time to relax. Stress can have a negative impact on our overall health and well-being making us more susceptible to chronic disease.
  • Schedule physicals and screenings – Schedule your annual physical. Don’t be shy or silent during these appointments. You know your body best so be your biggest advocate when it comes to your health. Share any changes you are noticing in your health. In many cases the earlier a problem is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Even if you already have diabetes, heart disease, arthritis or another chronic condition, eating healthy foods and getting more exercise can help you better manage your illness, avoid complications and prolong your life.

“The function of protecting and developing health must rank even above that of restoring it when it is impaired.” —Hippocrates 


References: “Summary Health Statistics for the U.S. Population: National Health Interview Survey.” National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/series/sr_10/sr10_259.pdf 2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“A Profile of Older Americans.” https://aoa.acl.gov/Aging_Statistics/Profile.

 

According to the United Stated Census Bureau, the number of Americans 65 and older will grow to 72 million by 2030, up from 40.2 million in 2010. With an aging population growing at an unprecedented rate, many local colleges and universities are offering programs that provide a transition into a healthier, active and more educated lifestyle in retirement.

With that said, it’s time to throw away the misconceptions we’ve held regarding retirees and what they are interested in doing in retirement. If you think this age group wants to stop working, separate from society and sit around doing nothing, you’re in for a big surprise. 

Studies show that older adults want active, intellectually stimulating and intergenerational environments while being socially engaged. In fact, maintaining social connections throughout retirement is a large factor in sustaining physical and mental health. 

Courses at local community colleges and universities provide retirees with experiences that are fun, provide a social outlet, offer an opportunity to learn a new skill, and provide cultural and travel experiences beyond the classroom. Classes from cooking, poetry, Tai Chi, essential oils and pickleball to financial planning are just a few examples of what retirees are demanding.

Staying healthy in retirement

A recent study conducted by Merrill Lynch indicates that baby boomers know how important physical activity is for a healthy retirement with the most important factors being diet, exercise and having interests to keep them active. In fact, many gyms and wellness facilities cater to retirees by offering classes during the day with appropriate fitness programs designed to keep older adults active and socially engaged. 

The best advice for retirees

  • Learn something new every day! Education shouldn’t stop once you are out of school or when you have finished working. Open your mind to new possibilities, beliefs and interests by taking classes, attending theater and traveling to places you’ve never been.
  • Meditate regularly. Meditation improves memory, attention, mood, sleep and creativity.
  • Exercise often! According to WebMD, many difficulties of aging are linked to an inactive lifestyle. Daily exercise can improve your chances of remaining less dependent on others and is important for heart health, physical stamina and mood.
  • Travel and learn about other cultures. Do this and do it often!
  • Choose natural remedies when possible. With the guidance of a holistic health specialist, herbal supplements, a balanced diet and essential oils can be very healing and have fewer serious side effects than most medications. Do this in consultation with your primary physician.

For those looking to be active in retirement, local community colleges and universities may be one solution retirees can look to for meaningful programs that deliver intellectual stimulation while allowing for physical activity and social connections.

Fit at Fox is an excellent example of one such program. Thain Jones, Continuing Education Fitness Instructor and high school track and cross country coach, has been teaching Fit at Fox at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley since 1986. Fit at Fox is a 17-week exercise class geared toward mature adults, but open to all ages. Participants work on maintaining functional strength, balance, nutrition and flexibility, but Jones frequently boasts about the social relationships formed during the class often meeting the group for breakfast once a month. 

 

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