All posts tagged “moda health

Summer Jog
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Exercise triggers brain cell growth and improves memory

Recent studies by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) shed new light on a link between exercise and memory. By exercising regularly, you can increase your ability to retain learned and new information. Scientists examined the muscles during exercise to determine which proteins are released. The studies revealed that a protein called cathepsin B is released during aerobic exercise. The protein travels to the brain after being released. Cathepsin B triggers new brain cell growth, scientists believe this is key in the link between memory and exercise.

Researchers discovered an increase in the protein cathepsin B when examining mice who regularly ran on exercise wheels. The mice who exercised produced greater amounts of the protein than the mice that did not exercise. Further, mice that released cathepsin B displayed better results in memory tests than the mice that did not.

Dr. Henriette van Praag, a neuroscientist at the NIA states, “Overall, the message is that a consistently healthy lifestyle pays off.” In humans, the release of cathepsin B is also triggered by exercise. This means that simply increasing physical activity can aid in an individual’s ability to perform better on complex tasks and memory retention.

To read the full article click here

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  andreviebig

 

Disaster Kit
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The Great Oregon ShakeOut

When it comes to natural disasters, sometimes it feels like there is nothing you can do. So, why worry? Even though an earthquake cannot be prevented, shakeout.org has developed ways to help protect ourselves and loved ones during an earthquake. Shakeout explains that Oregon lies between two tectonic plates in a constant state of collision. The 600 mile long fault line known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone spans from California to British Columbia.  After years of pressure and slow movement the plates will rip apart causing massive earthquakes.

In order to protect ourselves during a large earthquake, shakeout.org has organized a worldwide earthquake drill. In 2015 over 43 million people participated in the shakeout.  This year on October 20th at 10:20 a.m. another worldwide drill is set to take place. At this time, over five million U.S. participants are signed up, and the numbers are growing daily! In Oregon alone, there are nearly 25,000 individuals registered for the drill. The top three participating areas are as follows,

1)      Washington County

2)      Marion County

3)      Multnomah County

How to Participate in The Great Oregon ShakeOut

Visit shakeout.org and enroll to participate with millions of others worldwide. Then, on October 20th at 10:20am follow the four recommended steps below.

1)      Drop, Cover and Hold on: Don’t waste time, Drop to the ground. Cover yourself; find shelter under a nearby desk or table. Hold on tight for one minute.

2)      Now, take a look around, imagine what would be happening around you in an actual emergency.

3)      (optional) Practice what your next steps would be following an earthquake.

4)      When you are finished, talk with coworkers, friends or family about what you learned, and your disaster plan.

Participation will be tracked through online enrollment. Individuals, as well as businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations can all take part in this amazing opportunity.

For more information regarding The Great Oregon ShakeOut and other useful disaster information click here.

 

  Feature photo by  Global X

A mother and child fast asleep.
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The connection between sleep and sickness

Sleep leading to sickness

Recent studies have confirmed what most people kind of already knew; sleep is good for you. Too little sleep can be directly related to cardiovascular, endocrine, and immune function as well as a lot of other health issues related to a lack of sleep. In a long term sleep study, over 22,000 participants reported their sleeping patterns in parallel with their health from 2005 to 2012. This study found that getting six or less hours of sleep per day had a direct correlation with experiencing sickness of flu-like symptoms and that the more sleep people got, the less they faced these negative health outcomes.

Sleep should be on the agenda

A lack of sleep isn’t just important to bodily functions, it also sets the tone for the rest of the day and many people don’t realize how much sleep may determine their plans and activities. As mentioned earlier sleep can cause a plethora of negative health issues but even more so is the lifestyle that usually comes with not sleeping enough. Turns out, short sleepers are also more likely to have negative health behaviors like not exercising and poor nutrition which in the long run can be detrimental to health. Creating good sleeping habits can translate into other positive health behaviors because of the increased energy and productivity that accompanies being well-rested.

Sleep is serious business

An interesting point Dr. Sanjay R. Patel of the Center for Sleep and Cardiovascular Outcomes at the University of Pittsburgh makes is that “society does not stigmatize the person getting in their car and driving after only four hours of sleep the way it does the person driving after drinking, even though the risk to others on the road may be the same.” Meaning that a lack of sleep can be just as detrimental to motor function and cognitive skills as drinking, but is largely overlooked and the seriousness of the matter is rarely emphasized. He goes more in depth about just how neglected the science of sleep is by mentioning how little physicians usually discuss sleep with their patients due to the lack of training and attention given to sleep in medical school.

While sleep may still be a little bit of a mystery it is clear that adequate sleep is closely related to good health. Not getting enough sleep is not only bad for the body, but also makes it harder to create and sustain other healthy habits, so get those Z’s!

For the full article, click here.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by  Sima Dimitric

 

Hiking in nature can be very beneficial both physically and mentally.
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How hiking helps the brain

Hiking kicks out negative thoughts

Rumination is defined as the tendency to continuously think about upsetting situations, causes, and consequences that might be burdening an individuals mind. Luckily, the National Academy of Sciences recently conducted a study which found that going on nature-filled hikes can significantly curb these thoughts, encouraging not only physical well being but also mental prosperity. By measuring neural activity and levels of rumination in the two different groups, researchers found that urban environments have distinct correlations with depression and negative disposition while the natural environments show to lower levels of rumination as well as neural activity in the part of the brain that is intimately linked to mental illness.

Hiking can boost brain power, and help keep you focused

Other studies contrasting urban vs. natural environments have found that not only can hiking in nature prevent negative thoughts, it can also greatly improve cognitive performance! Researchers realized that a nice long hike away from urbanization and technology can reduce mental fatigue, boost creative thinking, improve memory, and even remarkably reduce symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Along with all of these incredible benefits, it is proven that people who work out outside are much more likely to continue their routine rather than quit shortly after starting. Whether it’s for a minute or an hour, everyone should make an effort to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the tranquility of nature whenever possible. Good for the mind, body, and soul, hiking in nature is an excellent way to stay healthy and happy.

 

For the full article, click here.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Loren Kerns

 

 

16871668302_4dbd65047d_o
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7 facts about HPV for parents

Hey parents, did you know that your child is at risk of getting an STD (sexually transmitted disease)? It is estimated that nearly all sexually active individuals will get HPV (Human Papillomavirus) at some point in their lives.

Now we know what you are thinking… “My child isn’t sexually active yet!”

That may be true, but HPV is so common that the best protection is to get your child  vaccinated before they become sexually active. This will allow the vaccine to develop an immune response within the body. Currently there is a FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved series of vaccines (3 shots total) that are available for both preteen girls and boys around the ages 11 and 12.

It is important to note that a person with HPV has no symptoms. Studies also show that individuals with HPV also have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer. But keep in mind, prevention is possible!

Here are 7 facts about the HPV vaccine:

  1. There are 3 vaccines approved by the FDA to prevent HPV infection.
  2. The HPV vaccine can help prevent many types of cancer (such as vaginal, cervical, anal and throat).
  3.  The HPV vaccine can be given to females until they are 27 years old.
  4. Males can get the vaccine as well, up to age 22.
  5. Two of the HPV vaccines can protect against genital warts.
  6. No serious side effects have been shown to be caused by the vaccines.
  7. Protection from the HPV vaccine is long lasting.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and FDA continue to carefully study and monitor the HPV vaccine; these studies have continued to show that the HPV vaccines are safe and effective. Parents are encouraged to talk to your child’s doctor about the HPV vaccine and what they can do to make sure their child is protected.

Moda Health offers members with a pharmacy benefit HPV immunization services at select network pharmacies. For a complete list of network pharmacies or for questions, call Moda Health Pharmacy Customer Service at 888-361-1610.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by By: Agência Brasília

 

robin williams depression
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A tribute to Robin Williams and help for those with depression

When I heard the news of Robin Williams passing away yesterday, it broke my heart. When I was little my favorite movies to watch were Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire. I still watch these today and they never get old.

Robin Williams was a talented man, and even though he was famous, he suffered from depression. According to Williams’ representative,  he had struggled with this for a long time.  Depression is something that a lot of us go through, but some experience it at a longer rate than others. Robin Williams was one of those people.

There is help to those who need it. If you are suffering from depression, Moda Health has tools that can help you. There are health coaches and a behavioral health team ready to assist. They may even help with quitting tobacco or alcohol and pain management which often accompany depression. Check out the Moda Health depression flyer for more information.

Robin Williams was a man of many jokes and funny words but also inspiring ones as well. I will leave you with a quote on Robin Williams explaining his passion for acting. “All the new people you meet, it’s pretty amazing. The vampire needs new blood. And there is still a lot to learn and there is always great stuff out there. Even mistakes can be wonderful.”

caption-arrow  Feature photo by BagoGames

 

Tory2
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Tory Burch + Fitbit = Love

A new era of fitness bands have arrived! Earlier this week, popular fashion designer Tory Burch released a new accessory collection that will work with the Fitbit Flex. For the first time ever fitness trackers and fashion are now in perfect harmony.  I couldn’t be more excited!

As part of the collection there is a brass necklace, a brass bracelet (as seen in photo) and two decorative print silicone bands. The Fitbit Flex sensor simply pops into the jewelry and is concealed. When wearing it throughout the day it will track your daily steps, calories burned and even  your sleep cycles. Nobody will know that you are wearing a fitness tracker. It will be great for those that would like a little extra privacy in monitoring their health. As much as I love my Fitbit it gets a little bulky to wear it every day. I have a feeling that this jewelry fitness combo will be the first of many!

You can view all designs and preorder on either the Fitbit or the Tory Burch websites.  The Tory Burch line starts at $38 and goes up to around $195.  The FitBit Flex will continue to be sold separately for $99.

What do you think of this trend? Will you get one?

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Tory Burch 

 

Join us in Bend, OR - 
March 22-24, 2015
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Spring Break 2015 – Oregon School Employee Wellness Conference in Bend, Oregon

Save the date for the fourth annual Oregon School Employee Wellness Conference! Join us for 3 days in beautiful Bend, Oregon to mingle with school employees, public health experts, medical carriers and community members who are passionate about school employee wellness. 

The Oregon Education Association Choice Trust in partnership with other organizations hosts a free two day conference that focuses on creating a culture of wellness in the school setting. This conference isn’t for you if you like to sit in a lecture hall and listen to talking heads.  This conference is all about putting into practice what you learn. The OR SEW Conference is an opportunity to learn best practices to promote health and wellness in the school, learn strategies to reduce stress and foster resiliency and fuel your passion for health.  Physical activity and movement is incorporated into all of the presentations. Yoga, tai chi, runs and walks are also part of the agenda. Plus, doesn’t it always seem to be sunny in Bend, Oregon?

For more information, go to www.oeachoice.com/news-events.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Robert Ashworth 

my apple a day oatmeals
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In search for healthier foods

Over the past week I have been on a mission to eat real, whole foods. By this I mean fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and dairy products. It’s amazing how processed our food has become when you take a step back.

Much of the food we eat today contains refined grains (white flour), refined sweeteners (sugar, corn syrup, cane juice, artificial sweeteners) and are often deep fried or considered “fast foods”.  Basically, we think our food magically comes from a package. And on that package, we can’t even begin to pronounce the ingredients. Combine that with clever marketing skills and we are all in trouble.

Just this week alone, I’ve fallen for a few traps myself. I will admit that this morning I was running late for my day and picked up Quaker’s Real Medleys instant oatmeal. While the ingredients looked somewhat healthy…

Whole grain rolled oats, multi grain blend (whole grain rolled oats, rolled barley, whole grain rolled rye), brown sugar, whole grain rolled wheat, dried fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, nonfat dry milk, natural flavor, salt, citric acid

I knew from first bite that there had to be a lot of added sugars. In researching this later there may be up to 10 grams of added sugar in this oatmeal. And that made me feel taken advantage of. Why do food companies feel that we need added sugars, fat and chemicals to make us happy?

In reflecting on this topic, I urge you to join me. Take a look at the food you are consuming this week and ask yourself if it is made up of real, whole foods.

And if you find any sneaky foods along your journey this week, feel free to share below in the comments.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Rachel Hathaway

dog
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Get your walk on – Just 10 minutes at a time

Many of us spend the majority of our day indoors in an office. That means sitting at a desk for up to 8 hours or more each a day. And this makes it difficult to exercise.  We know we are supposed to exercise, but when do we have the time?

Studies show that adults need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (or 150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. I know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but you don’t have to do it all at once.

Go for a 10 minute brisk walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week. This will give you a total of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity. How about you take a stroll to your favorite coffee shop on your morning break? Or host a walking meeting with your coworkers in the afternoon? Do you have a dog? I bet Fido wants a 10 minute walk too.

Give it a try! Write down a list of ways that you could accomplish just 10 minutes of exercise at a time. Makes this a goal for the week and report back here next week to let me know how it went.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Skirt PR