Men, listen up!

Men, this week (June 9 – 16)  is for you!

The week leading up to Father’s Day focuses on YOUR health. When it comes to a healthier body and mind, prevention is critical. Many of the risk factors for disease are preventable. Learning what to look for and what changes to make, can help lower those risks.

I encourage the men in my life to keep scheduled checkups, learn their risk factors and start or maintain a healthy lifestyle. I know scheduling screenings as recommended will help them detect disease early, making intervention possible.  Learn more about Men’s Health Week at www.menshealthmonth.org.

Walking as a workout

It’s good to speed up during everyday activities like grocery shopping or taking your dog out, but you should also incorporate power walking into your official training plan. That’s because walking makes a routine full of HIIT, sprints, and other demanding sessions more well-rounded and, unfortunately, athletes don’t do it enough. That’s important: working your heart rate at varying intensities on different days is crucial for improving performance, avoiding plateaus, and dodging injury for all athletes.

A new study shows that metabolically, moving at a cadence of 100 steps per minute (or 3 mph) counts as moderate intensity training. Raise your pace to 130 steps per minute (about 4 mph), and researchers say you’re likely logging a vigorous workout.

Try to swap one or two steady-state runs or active recovery workouts per week with a power walk of 30 to 60 minutes each—aim for up to 4 mph on the treadmill or a heart rate between 130 and 150 if walking outside.

Fast Walkers Live Average Of 20 Years Longer Than Slow Walkers

It can be relaxing to take a leisurely stroll, but the next time you go for a walk, you might want to pick up the pace.

We’ve all been there, you’re walking around with a group, half is lagging behind while the other half is racing forward. Fast and slow walkers have been at odds since the dawn of man, but now there may be a good reason to catch up.

According to a new study out of the University of Leicester in England, which researched a pool of almost 500,000 people, the study found that fast walkers lived an average of 20 years longer than their slow-paced counterparts.

Experts say it boils down to fast walking is an indication of better physical fitness, regardless of weight or even height for that matter.

Of course, any walking is better than no walking, so fast or slow, a good stroll is a step in the right direction.

So let’s get moving.

Lower your risk of falling

National Safety Month

Did you know that falling can lead to broken bones, trouble getting around, and other health problems – especially if you are age 65 or older.

As people age, poor balance and weak muscles can lead to falls and fractures. Most falls happen when older adults are doing everyday activities, like walking. Not only do these fractures and broken bones cause pain and disability they can also have an impact on your ability to do everyday activities without help, like cooking a meal or taking a shower. Sometimes vision problems or medical conditions such as diabetes which can reduce feeling in the feet, or a stroke which can affect your balance, will make a fall more likely.

Some conditions that can lead to a fall include: having fallen in the past year; disease; trouble walking; getting up from a chair; or stepping up onto a curb; medications—especially medicines to help you relax or sleep or vision problems such as cataracts or glaucoma

Use this checklist to find out if you are at risk for falling.

Did you know that half of all falls happen inside the home?
It may be time to do a walk through to find the possible danger areas in your home.
It may not seem like much, but there are quite a few things you can do to make your home safer for yourself, family and guests.

  • Have railings put on both sides of all stairs inside and outside of your home.
  • Have grab bars put inside and outside your bathtub or shower and next to the toilet.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub or shower.
  • Remove small rugs or use double-sided tape to keep rugs from slipping.
  • Use bright lights throughout your home, especially on the stairs.
  • Keep stairs and places where you walk clear of clutter. Pick up or move things you can trip over, like cords, papers, shoes, or books.
  • Keep kitchen items you use often in easy-to-reach cabinets or shelves.

Improve your balance, increase your safety
Exercises that improve your balance can help prevent falls. For example, tai chi (“tie chee”) is a mind-body exercise that can help with balance. Check with your local community or senior center for physical activity classes that can help your balance.

Do strengthening activities at least two days a week to make your legs stronger. These include lifting weights or using resistance bands (long, stretchy rubber strips).

There’s a lot your doctor can do to help keep you safe from falls. If you are worried about falling, talk to your doctor or nurse about how balance exercises and physical therapy can help. Review all medicines with your doctor or pharmacist. Some medicines can make you dizzy or sleepy and cause you to fall. Get your vision checked by an eye doctor every 1 to 2 years. Update your glasses or contact lenses when your vision changes. Make your home safer. For example, add grab bars inside and outside your bathtub or shower – and put railings on both sides of stairs.

Use this checklist to make your home safer.

It’s National Running Day

Since 2009, the first Wednesday in June has been designated as National Running Day Designed as a day for runners to reaffirm their passion for running, it’s also a good day for beginners to begin a life-changing commitment to running.

For some, running is a daily routine. The moment the runner awakes, their mission is to complete a set distance. They may have a partner, or they go it alone.  Others fit in a run when time allows or at the end of their workday. The marathoner will train on a schedule, and the dedicated runner knows they have to take care of their feet, knees and eat right to maintain their bodies for the road.

Whatever the distance, National Running Day is about placing one foot in front of the other and setting a pace. Whether you run a few miles or just around the block, by yourself or with a friend or three, this is a perfect day to go for a run! For more information visit globalrunningday.org.

Are you ready for Men’s Health Month?

This month, focus on improving the male lifestyle. The goal is to increase awareness of the leading health concerns men face. It’s important to encourage the men in our lives to get regular checkups and be aware of the risks for their age, ethnicity, and lifestyle and how to take steps to create healthful habits.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading causes of death among men are heart disease, cancer, and accidental death.

If you are male it would behoove you to make a commitment to have a health checkup. If you’ve recently had one and you are at risk, consider making changes to your lifestyle to improve your health and talk to your physician about the proper steps to take.

Even if you are not a male, it is a good idea to talk to the men in your life—father, brother, husband, son, friend or co-worker— about making an appointment for a checkup.

What can you do to help them get on a healthier track? You can take a walk together, cook up  healthy meals and encourage healthier behaviors.

Learn more about Men’s Health Month by participating in Wear BLUE Day the Friday before Father’s Day (June 14).

For more information visit www.menshealthmonth.org.