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Exercise for men’s health

Men, they bear the social burden of having to be strong both mentally and physically. Yet the highest rate of depression is in men who are 40-59 years old, and 41% of men who live in high-income countries do not exercise enough. Being aware of these conditions might not change these numbers but it can help those who are affected by them. Here are ten facts about how physical activity helps improve mental health as well as overall health.

  1. Exercise releases feel good chemicals in the brain, this can ease depression
  2. Exercise can improve sleep
  3. Exercise can increase energy and stamina
  4. Weight loss may be achieved
  5. Self-confidence may be improved
  6. Reduce your risk of chronic disease
  7. Improve learning skills
  8. Helps boost decision making skills
  9. Decreases stress
  10. Strengthens heart as well as muscles

It is suggested that adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Exercise is a great way to boost mental and physical health but it is important that you check with your doctor before you being your mood improving journey. Physical activity is also a great way to get involved in the community, and build connections and support within families. If you or somebody you know is suffering from physical inactivity or mental health issues, there is no better way to show your support than by getting out there and exercising with them. How will you being your journey?

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Nick Page

 

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Staying stress free this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. It is a time when people come together, laugh, have fun and eat great food. Yet planning travel, cooking, family time, and the other million things that come along with the holidays can be very stressful. Below you will find tips and tricks on how to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy this Thanksgiving.

  • Get organized
  • Plan your shopping trips
  • Clean out your fridge
  • Prepare side dishes the day before
  • Thaw your turkey (in the fridge)
  • Ask for help preparing for guests
  • Set up your table first thing on Thanksgiving morning
  • Keep people out of the kitchen
  • Make notes for next year (bake the pie longer, double mashed potato recipe, etc.)
  • Don’t over indulge
  • Get some fresh air
  • Take a break
  • Tell a funny story
  • Put out games for entertainment
  • Make cleanup a group activity
  • Pack light if going out of town
  • Stay well rested

Mental, physical, and emotional health is very important. Hoping the tips above can help keep your Thanksgiving stress free. Also remember the holidays are about family and friends, the food is an added bonus. So even if your turkey is dry and your house gets messy just know that this time of year is about being thankful and happy as well as healthy, no dry turkey or cold stuffing can ruin that.

Trivia: Which president was the first to make Thanksgiving a national holiday? Comment your answers below.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Stacy Spensley

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National Diabetes Awareness Month – Are you at risk?

Not only is November men’s health month, but it is also National Diabetes Awareness Month. There are currently 29.1 million people who have diabetes and another 8.1 million people who are unaware of their condition. The American Diabetes Associations uses November to help spread awareness and raise funds to help find a cure. Here is what you need to know.

Facts

  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Insulin is naturally produced in the body and is used for energy.
  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the body no longer makes insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes begins with insulin resistance where the body cannot use insulin to produce energy.
  • Pre-diabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than normal and is a sign of type 2 diabetes.
  • 37% of adults (20+ years old) in the U.S have  pre-diabetes.
  • Having diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.

Risk of Developing Diabetes

  • 45 years or older
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Unquenchable thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Being tired all of the time
  • Blurry eyesight
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Fruity odor to the breath
  • Headache
  • Shaking, and weakness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Slow healing
  • Hunger
  • Pain or numbness in the hands or feet

It is important to understand your risk of developing diabetes. Even if you have the signs and symptoms that are listed above it does not automatically mean you have diabetes. These signs and symptoms may be caused by other medical conditions.  If you have any concerns it is important to get them looked at by your doctor. This November do your part and help spread awareness, it could help find a cure, save a life, and extend support.

Found out if you are at risk for type 2 diabetes by taking a simple risk test provided by the American Diabetes Association. Follow the link below.

American Diabetes Association Risk Test

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What is manlier than a well groomed moustache?

November is Movember, a month long campaign focused around men’s health. The Movember Foundation is an international non-profit organization that is all about spreading awareness and raising funds for men’s health issues. Their main areas of focus are on are prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health, and physical inactivity in men. Their cause is represented by growing a moustache (mo), getting active, or donating during the month of November. The Movember Foundation uses the funds that are raised to improve programs that save lives. Ladies are welcome to take part in the events as well, sign up and take the pledge to move  or donate during the 30 days of Movember. Below are facts about men’s health as well moustache facts, do your part and help spread awareness.

Men’s Health Facts

  1. 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime
  2. Men 65 years and older are at a higher risk for prostate cancer
  3. 1 man out of 38 diagnosed will die of prostate cancer
  4. Half of testicular cancer cases are in men 20-34 years of age
  5. Most cases of testicular cancer can be treated and cured
  6. The highest rate of depression is in men 40-59 years of age
  7. 41% of men do not exercise enough

Weird Moustache Facts

  1. Mo is Australian slang for moustache
  2. There is a World Beard and Moustache Championship competition
  3. The average moustache has 600 hairs
  4. Albert Einstein had a moustache for over 50 years
  5. A man touches his moustache an average of 760 times a day
  6. Facial hair grows half an inch a month
  7. The world’s longest moustache is 14 feet long

There are lots of ways to grow, give and move for men’s health in November. Help raise awareness about conditions like prostate cancer, mental health and physical inactivity. Since 2003, Movember has raised $650 million and funded more than 1,000 men’s health programs around the world. Let us know in the comments below how will you grow, give, or move this Movember.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Anna Gearhart

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Recognize the signs of breast cancer

With October coming to a close, we have one last post on the topic of breast cancer awareness. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Knowing the signs and symptoms can help in early detection. Below are some common symptoms related to breast cancer.

  • A new lump in the breast
  • A new lump in the armpit
  • Swelling or thickening in part of the breast
  • Dimpling of the breast skin
  • Irritation of the breast skin
  • Pulling in of the nipple
  • Pain in the nipple area
  • Nipple discharge (other than milk)
  • Change in shape or size of the breast
  • Pain anywhere in the breast

If you are showing any of these symptoms it does not automatically mean you have breast cancer. These signs and symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions. It is important to be looked at by your doctor should you have any concerns.  On the other hand, some women have no symptoms at all. Even if you are not showing any signs of breast cancer it is important to get regular screenings.

Comment below how you plan to stay on top of your health. Also how will you share this information with others?

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  North Charleston

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Does meat cause cancer? Here is what we know

Bacon, everyone’s favorite processed meat, but does it cause cancer?  Over the last few days chaos has ensued over the recent information that was published by The World Health Organization (WHO) regarding red meat and processed meat.  But what are the actual facts? Here is what we know…

What is considered red meat?

  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Mutton
  • Horse
  • Goat

What is a processed meat?

Processed meat is any meat that has been transformed to enhance flavor and preserve the meat by ways of salting, curing, fermentation, or smoking. Some example include:

  • Hot dogs
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Sausages
  • Corned beef
  • Beef jerky
  • Canned meat
  • Meat based preparations and sauces

What is a carcinogen?

A carcinogen is a substance that is capable of causing cancer in living cells.

The WHO has classified red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans, what does this mean?

There have been studies that have shown there is a positive link between eating red meat and developing colorectal cancer.  However this new classification of red meat was based on limited evidence, but none the less the evidence does show a correlation between red meat consumption and cancer.

Processed meat has been classified as carcinogenic to humans, what does this mean?

Studies have shown that there is a strong association between eating of processed meats and the development of colorectal cancer. This is due to multiple things, such as meat containing chemicals that form during the cooking process that are thought to be cancer causing.

Is eating bacon as bad as smoking?

No, bacon (processed meats) and tobacco are within the same category but that does not mean they are equally dangerous. When a substance is placed in a category it is looking at the amount of scientific evidence that proves it (in this case processed meat) causes cancer. It does not assess the level of risk.

Should I stop eating meat?

You do not have to cut out processed meats or red meats from your diet.There is evidence that proves eating meat is beneficial for humans.  As with most things moderation is the key component. However not only do processed meats have carcinogenic properties but they have been shown to increase risk for diabetes, and heart disease. Having a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle with some indulgences every now and again is perfectly fine.  Let us know in the comments below what you think about the recently published information.

Source: WHO

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Breast self-exam, do you know how?

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; it is intended to encourage women to take steps towards awareness, prevention, and early detection. Breast self-exams are vital to early detection, and should be done once a month 3-5 days after your period starts. Becoming familiar with your breast health may help you notice if changes occur. Below is information on how to complete a breast self-exam.

  • In the shower: Using your three middle fingers move in a circular motion from the outside of your breast in towards the nipple. Make sure to check the entire breast as well as the armpit, repeat on other breast. Notice any lumps, hardening knots or thickening, as well as any other changes.
  • In front of a mirror:  With your arms at your side visually inspect your breasts. Most women’s breasts are not identical. Look for any dimpling, puckering, indentations, or skin that looks like an orange peel. Also note if your nipples turn inward. Next raise your arms overhead and look for any swelling or other visual changes. Lastly placing your hands on your hips, press firmly to flex your chest muscles, look for any visual changes such as those mentioned above.
  • Lying down: While lying down place a pillow under your left shoulder, and place your left arm beneath your head. Using the pads of your fingers on your right hand, make small circular motions inward along your left breast, start from the armpit and work in towards the nipple. Make sure to cover the entirety of the breast. Notice any lumps, hardening knots or thickening, as well as any other changes. Next gently squeeze the nipple looking for any discharge, irritation, or redness. Repeat on other breast.

Early detection is crucial in fighting breast cancer. Breast self-exams help women notice changes in their breast that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. For women who have gone through menopause make sure to complete your breast self-exam on the same day each month. Most women have some lumps in their breast; the goal of breast self-exams is to notice anything new or different. If you do notice any changes make sure to contact your health care provider. Together, we can bring the numbers down on breast cancer.

Comment below on how you have, or plan to help spread awareness about breast cancer.

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Halloween should be silly and fun without impacting your health. Here are 25 non-candy alternatives that kids are sure to enjoy in their treat bags.
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25 non-candy items this Halloween

Okay, we all know “that” house that doesn’t give out candy on Halloween.  Maybe they give out raisins or toothbrushes or other non-candy items. Well we are here to tell you that it is okay to be “that” house! Just because you don’t hand out candy doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.  This year, try something new.  Here are 25 fun alternatives you can hand out on Halloween that are sure to get some smiles.

  1. Glow sticks
  2. Bubbles
  3. Stickers
  4. Tattoos
  5. Crayons
  6. 100% juice juice boxes
  7. Pre-packaged fruit and nuts
  8. Coloring books
  9. Bottles of water
  10. Play-Doh
  11. Festive pencils and erasers
  12. Small bags of microwavable popcorn
  13. Yo-Yo’s
  14. Whoopee cushions
  15. Granola bars
  16. Silly putty
  17. Puzzles
  18. Stress balls
  19. Confetti poppers
  20. Sidewalk chalk
  21. Rubber ducky’s
  22. Chap stick
  23. Gum
  24. Bouncy balls
  25. Gold fish crackers

Halloween should be silly and fun without impacting your health. Pick and choose your favorites from this list and see what happens, you may be surprised!  Have a happy, healthy, and safe Halloween.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Michael Bentley

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.
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10 facts you need to know about breast cancer

As you may know it is that time of year when we start to see football players, basketball players and athlete’s alike wearing pink during their games, and for good cause! October is known to many as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is an annual campaign to increase awareness about the disease. Prevention starts with awareness, here are 10 facts you need to know.

  1. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  2. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide.
  3. Even though it is rare, breast cancer can occur in men.
  4. Exercise at least 150 minutes a week to reduce your risk of breast cancer.
  5. Healthy lifestyle choices can help reduce the risk of breast cancer and other diseases.
  6. Minimize alcohol intake to control risk, no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
  7. Complete a breast self-exam once a month.
  8. Stop smoking to support overall health.
  9. Make your mammogram appointment a priority.
  10. Early detection and treatment is key in fighting breast cancer.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month aims to encourage women to take steps to early detection. Together, we can bring the numbers down on breast cancer. We’re rallying with the Portland Trail Blazers during Moda Health Months to spread the word.

Join us in keeping breast cancer top of mind. Follow us at #modahealthmonths on Facebook and Twitter.

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8 habits to improve your brain flexibility

September is national Age Gracefully month.  The media will drive you to focus on the physical aspects of aging, but what about your brain?  Does it age?  YES!

BrainHealth.gov says “Your brain changes as you age. But the central mission of your brain never changes.  Its job is to help you make sense of the world and oversee your daily operations of life.”   When the brain ages its called “brain plasticity” and it’s normal.  However, there are a few simple ways to help with improved cognitive function.

Here are 8 habits to improve cognitive function:

  1. Physical activity
  2. Openness to new experiences
  3. Curiosity and creativity
  4. Social connections
  5. Mindfulness meditation
  6. Brain-training games
  7. Get enough sleep
  8. Reduce chronic stress.

It’s just as important to focus on brain health as it is to focus on physical health.   Does the list seem daunting?  Choose one per month as a focus and in no time you’ll be on your way better brain flexibility.

 

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Allan Ajifo