Topic: Lifestyle

Anti-Smoking Campaign

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Talk about an effective ad campaign! To learn about the current campaign to expose tragic health impacts of smoking, see the following news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Continuing with the success of last year’s national education ad campaign, “Tips from Former Smokers,” a second series of ads was launched recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ads, funded by the Affordable Care Act’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, feature compelling stories of former smokers living with smoking-related diseases and disabilities. The ads appear on
television, radio, and billboards, online, and in theaters, magazines, and newspapers nationwide.

“This campaign is saving lives and saving dollars by giving people the facts about smoking in an easy-to-understand way that encourages quitting,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. This campaign is effective. The increase in calls to quitlines after last year’s campaign shows that more people are trying to quit smoking as a result of these ads.

The messages in these new ads are emotional, telling the story of how real people’s lives were changed forever due to their smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. The ads feature smoking-related health conditions — including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, more severe adult asthma, and complications from diabetes, such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and amputation — and candidly describe the losses from smoking and the gains from quitting. The ads encourage smokers to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, a toll-free number to access quit support across the country, or visit www.cdc.gov/tips to view the personal stories from the campaign and for free help quitting.

“Smoking and secondhand smoke kill — and they also harm smokers and non-smokers. The Tips from Former Smokers campaign shows the painful effects of smoking through former smokers, in a way that numbers alone cannot” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “These are the kinds of ads that smokers tell us help motivate them to quit, saving lives and money."

The new ads feature Tiffany, who lost her mother when she was 16 to lung cancer, and recently quit smoking herself as her own daughter turned 16 because she did not want her daughter to suffer the way she did; Bill, a 40-year-old with diabetes whose smoking led to heart surgery, blindness in one eye, amputation, and kidney failure; Michael, who suffers from COPD, and is agonizing about how to tell his grandson he may not be around to share his life much longer; as well as Nathan, who suffered severe lung damage from secondhand smoke exposure at work. And, a new ad featuring Terrie, who appeared in last year’s ads showing what a head and neck cancer survivor has to do to “get ready for the day,” and who
wishes she had recorded her voice before she had to have her voicebox removed, since her grandson has never heard any voice but her current one.

Despite the known dangers of tobacco use, nearly one in five adults in the United States still smoke. Almost 90 percent of smokers started before they were 18, and many of them experience life-changing health effects at a relatively early age. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body. A “tip” from Bill, the ad participant with diabetes: “Make a list. Put the people you love at the top. Put down your eyes, your legs, your kidneys, and your heart. Now cross off all the things you’re OK with losing because you’d rather smoke.”

The ads that ran last year had immediate and strong impact. Compared with the same 12-week period in 2011, overall call volume to 1-800-QUIT-NOW more than doubled during the Tips campaign, and visits to the campaign website for quit help increased by more than five times.

More than 440,000 Americans each year lose their lives to smoking-related diseases, and for every one death 20 more continue living with one or more serious illnesses from smoking. Nearly 70 percent of smokers say they want to quit. This education campaign provides motivation, information, and quit help to those who want it.

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Positive Attitudes

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!


“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
– Winston Churchill

“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”
– Mary Engelbreit

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”
– Francesca Reigler

“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.”
– Author Unknown

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Attitudes are contagious. Are yours worth catching?”
– Dennis and Wendy Mannering

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New PBS Documentary Age of Champions

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The American Senior Fitness Association invites you, your friends, clients and colleagues to watch the new PBS documentary Age of Champions for free from April 18th – 28th at www.ageofchampions.org/premiere

Age of Champions tells the story of five competitors who sprint, leap, and swim for gold at the National Senior Olympics. You’ll meet a 100-year-old tennis champion, 86-year-old pole vaulter, and rough-and-tumble basketball grandmothers as they triumph over the limitations of age.

“All of the characters in the film have the conviction that the best in life still lies ahead of them. They show us how we can grow older with grace and good humor,” says Age of Champions director Christopher Rufo.

The film premiered to a standing ovation at the prestigious Silverdocs Film Festival, the Washington Post hailed it as “infectiously inspiring,” and it’s already shown at more than 1,000 venues around the world.

Share this resource with your friends, clients and colleagues by emailing them the following link:

AGE OF CHAMPIONS NATIONAL ONLINE PREMIERE
April 18th – 28th
Live Q+A with the filmmakers on April 25th
www.ageofchampions.org/premiere

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The Upside of Exercise

Monday, April 15th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

You may know SFA professional Caroline Anaya, MS, as author of the popular book The Curious Upside of Aging. She also offers a short video, The Upside of Exercise, that can be an effective recruiting tool for health-fitness professionals. It provides 29 inspirational testimonials in 30 minutes on DVD. These authentic and heartwarming testimonials have already motivated many seniors to move past their concerns, issues and mistrust regarding the benefits of exercise… and give it a go! For more information, visit www.Great-Senior-Fitness.com.

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Cough, Be Gone!

Monday, March 4th, 2013 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies offers the following helpful advice for relieving the coughing that may well accompany colds this time of year:

Drinking lots of fluids helps keep one’s throat clear. Choose water and fruit juices over coffee or soda.

Using a humidifier to moisturize the air at home will make breathing easier. When one has a cold, dry air irritates the throat — and the air in one’s home can get very dry during the winter.

Sucking on hard candy or medicated throat lozenges can discourage coughing when one’s throat is dry or sore.

Having a little honey may be soothing. Stir 2 teaspoons of honey into a cup of warm tea or warm lemon water.

Elevating the head of one’s bed may improve one’s ability to rest. Raise it from four to six inches if the cough is due to a backup of stomach acid. Also eschew food or drink within two to three hours of
bedtime.

The Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies does not encourage using over-the-counter cough syrups and medications "because they aren’t effective." If a cough persists longer than two or three weeks — or if it is accompanied by fever, increased shortness of breath or bloody phlegm — contact a medical doctor.

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Introduction to Special Issue

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Dr. Karl Knopf, the author of many popular books on fitness topics, has been involved in the health and fitness of disabled persons and older adults for 35 years. A consultant on numerous National Institutes of Health grants, Dr. Knopf has served as advisor to the PBS exercise series "Sit and Be Fit" and to the state of California on disabilities issues. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and has written several textbooks and articles. Dr. Knopf coordinates the Fitness Therapist Program at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California. "Dr. Karl" — as his students affectionately call him — is a longtime friend of the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) and a member of the SFA National Advisory Board.

In today’s issue of Experience! we feature three of Dr. Knopf’s latest books. SFA likes these books both for lay readers and for professional fitness leaders. They are published by Ulysses Press (http://ulyssespress.com/?s=knopf), distributed by Publishers Group West, and available through book stores. The soft-cover publications are approximately 9 X 7.5 inches in size and have many black and white diagrams and photographs. More of Dr. Knopf’s new titles will be discussed in future issues of this newsletter.

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Time Marches On

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Below are some philosophical observations compatible with the themes in today’s newsletter:

"Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow."

– Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

"Good for the body is the work of the body, and good for the soul is the work of the soul, and good for either is the work of the other."

– Henry David Thoreau

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

– Theodore Roosevelt

"Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must."

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

On the bathing-tub of King T’ang the following words were engraved: "If you would one day renovate yourself, do so from day to day. Yea, let there be daily ovation."

– Confucian Analects

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More About the Brain

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Recent research undertaken at NYC’s State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, and published in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Neuroscience, indicated that worrying may have evolved in conjunction with intelligence as a critical survival mechanism in human beings.

Scientists compared research subjects who had generalized anxiety disorder with subjects who did not have the disorder. They discovered that worry as well as high intelligence were connected with specific brain activity, measurable by changes in the brain’s white matter. The results suggest that anxiety (worry) may have evolved right alongside intelligence as an important means of survival.

In a medical center news release, Professor Jeremy Coplan said: "While excessive worry is generally seen as a negative trait and high intelligence as a positive one, worry may cause our species to avoid dangerous situations, regardless of how remote a possibility they may be… In essence, worry may make people ‘take no chances,’ and such people may have higher survival rates. Thus, like intelligence, worry may confer a benefit upon the species."

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Myth Bustin’

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

An interesting investigation conducted recently by a University of Florida physician and his colleagues found that, contrary to popular belief, patients at teaching hospitals don’t fare worse when trainee doctors come on board. For details, see the following news release from UF&Shands Newsnet:

A University of Florida physician and colleagues have “mythbusted” a notion long held in medical circles: patients at teaching hospitals fare worse in July when new medical graduates start their residency training and older residents take on more responsibilities. A large national study revealed no such “July phenomenon” or “July effect” — at least not in the field of neurosurgery.

The findings were published recently in the journal Neurosurgery.

“If anything goes wrong in July, then everyone’s quick to say ‘Do you see? It’s because of the July effect’ — but we saw no evidence for that,’ said senior author Dr. Brian Hoh, the William Merz associate professor of neurological surgery at the UF College of Medicine. “This study will raise thoughts and ideas about how we can improve training for residents and improve safety for patients.”

The July phenomenon is infamous both among physicians and patients. Conventional wisdom has it that if you are going to be a patient at a teaching hospital, try not to go in July.

The graduate medical year starts on July 1, at which time recent medical school graduates start bearing responsibility for patients for the first time, and previous interns and residents move up a level, taking on new and unfamiliar tasks.

Previous studies of the July phenomenon in fields such as general surgery, obstetrics, gynecology and internal medicine have yielded inconsistent results, some finding an effect and others finding none. Hoh, a member of UF’s McKnight Brain Institute, wanted to see what happens in neurosurgery, where doctors train for many years to gain proficiency in complex and delicate brain surgeries. One earlier study of pediatric neurosurgery found no effect, whereas another study found a small effect.

Seeking a clearer view, Hoh and colleagues at UF and Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital analyzed more than 850,000 teaching hospital admission and patient-outcome records from a database called the National Inpatient Sample. They assessed the rates of patient deaths and surgical complications in July compared with all other months, from 1998 to 2008.

The researchers evaluated four brain conditions that were representative of diseases commonly treated at teaching hospitals: nontraumatic hemorrhage, central nervous system trauma, central nervous system tumor and hydrocephalus.

After taking variations in patient demographics and hospital characteristics into account, the researchers found that the risk of death or complications at teaching hospitals was the same in July as in other months. The results reflected those at nonteaching hospitals used for comparison.

“If you’ve got new physicians on the job and you’ve got physicians that have just been promoted to a new level, it’s sort of the perfect storm for medical errors — it makes intuitive sense, but for a variety of peculiar reasons it’s just not the case,” said Dr. Hunt Batjer, the Lois C.A. and Darwin E. Smith Distinguished Chair in Neurological Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and chair of the Residency Review Committee for neurological surgery of the
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the body that certifies post-medical school training for the entire U.S. Batjer was not involved in the study.

The authors say multiple layers of supervision seem to more than compensate for the inexperience of young physicians, providing a safety net for patients.

“Maybe in July, that oversight is heightened because supervising physicians pay more attention to what new residents and interns are doing,” said Hoh, who practices at Shands at UF medical center.

Still, the researchers point out, there might have been near misses in which errors or complications were averted, but there was no way to identify from the database whether such occurrences increased in July compared with other months.

“In some ways, I hope people continue to talk about the July effect or the August effect,” Batjer said. “It will force us to remain vigilant.”

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Men Who Hate Seeing the Doctor

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 45-year veteran of the health-fitness industry and an internationally recognized fitness consultant. Today Jim talks common sense to an older gentlemen who, for his own good, needs a reality check.

DEAR JIM: I’ve had a sharp pain in my lower abdomen for the past several months. It hurts like the dickens, but it comes and goes, so I haven’t been too worried about it. My wife keeps telling me to go to the doctor and have it checked, but I’ve managed to get by without seeing a doctor for the past 20 years, so why should I start now? I’m 72, and I already know I don’t take very good care of myself. I’m an overweight couch potato and proud of it, and I enjoy my TV, a good cigar and a cold beer before I go to bed every night. My wife says I’m just an old fool, and maybe she’s right, but as long as I can still tolerate the occasional pain, why should I worry? It can’t be that bad if it hasn’t killed me yet, right? Ha, ha! OLD FOOL IN FARGO

DEAR OLD FOOL: I have to agree with your wife on this one. You really are an old fool, aren’t you? Worse, a stubborn old fool. However, you’re in good company with a lot of other old fools — and young ones too. There’s a reason why women outlive men on the average, and you’re the proof.

A national survey by Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (LUCSSM) found that women were three times more likely than men to see a doctor on a regular basis. In fact, the study indicated that "trying to get a man to a doctor can be harder than pulling teeth." Come on! I’m a guy, but even I don’t understand that kind of nonsense. Why do you hate going to the doctor so much?

"There could be as many answers to that question as male patients that I see, but more often than not it’s that it’s not a priority for them," says Timothy Vavra, DO, Loyola University Health System physician and associate professor of internal medicine at LUCSSM. "They’re not willing to make a lifestyle change, so they think it’s a waste of time listening to a doctor tell them to change the way they eat, to start exercising and stop smoking if they’re not going to do it anyway."

According to Dr. Vavra, this kind of obstinate thinking just doesn’t add up. "The longer a person puts off seeing a doctor, the more likely they’ll have to see a doctor on a regular basis," he says. "Prevention isn’t a hundred percent, but we can address issues and keep an eye out for warning signs. I have patients that, if they would’ve seen me more regularly, we could have made little changes that would have helped prevent them from having a medical crisis that resulted in a complete lifestyle change."

Are you afraid that if you see a doctor you might find out something is wrong with you? Well, the longer you wait, the more that just might turn out to be true.

"If you wait until you have a health crisis, it’s no longer preventive care," adds Dr. Vavra. "It’s secondary care, and that may include surgery and/or hospital stay. Instead of making a simple change in diet and lifestyle, a person will have to make significant changes and often be on medications. Having to see specialists, paying for procedures and taking daily medications can really affect a person’s financial health."

And, what kind of example are you setting for the young men in your family who look up to you as a parent, grandparent or relative if they see you neglecting your health and making lame excuses about not going to the doctor. My advice is to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. If you do find something wrong, deal with it. If you don’t find anything wrong, change your lifestyle and move forward so that your next appointment won’t be so traumatic. Either way, you’ll be glad you did. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your wife.

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