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Why Water is Your Workout Buddy


To Your Health







(Family Features) If you think drinking water during a workout is just about keeping your mouth from drying out as you pant your way through 12792_aeach set, think again. In addition to keeping you comfortable, staying hydrated is a necessary aspect of any healthy workout.

Your body is composed of 60 percent water, but on average, you lose 2-5 percent of your body weight from water loss every time you work out.

Once you get into your workout groove, you may find it hard to stop, even for a water break. What you may not realize is that water is an essential nutrient that keeps your muscles primed, blood flowing and the nerves in your brain firing. Taking a break to replace what you lose while exercising is actually a good way to keep your workout going.

The evaporation of sweat helps cool the body during exercise, but this diminishing hydration can lead to poor performance and even possible injury. Make the most of your workout and stay fit with these helpful hydration tips from the Army National Guard’s Guard Your Health campaign:

* Cool, plain water is the best drink to replace the fluid lost as sweat and help regulate your core body temperature.

* Plan to drink water before, during and after exercise to prevent dehydration and help enhance performance. Sip a 16-ounce bottle of water every hour while working out.

* Outdoor workouts require extra hydration, even during cooler weather. The water content in your skin helps it perform its protective functions, including limiting damage from the sun. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after any time spent in the sun.

* Learn to recognize signs of dehydration, so you can take steps to reverse it. Early signs include muscle cramps and fatigue, while a dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, slurred speech and confusion all signal advancing dehydration. If your extremities become swollen or you become feverish, medical attention is necessary.

* Another way to check your hydration level is by monitoring your urination. Urine should be clear or light yellow, and you should urinate every two to four hours.Hydration Infographic_072015

* If you find yourself dehydrated and water isn’t available, a melon, orange, celery, cucumber or bell pepper can help replenish your body’s water content.

* Make it a post-workout practice to replenish electrolytes with a banana, dates or coconut water.

It’s important for everyday health to keep well-hydrated away from the gym, too. Staying properly hydrated helps regulate your body temperature, weight and mood. Keep a refillable bottle of water with you wherever you go, and if you need a touch of flavor, add lemon, lime, pineapple or cucumber for a refreshing twist. Aim to drink 50-75 percent of your body weight in ounces of water each day to stay hydrated.

For more health-related tools and information, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (man working out)
Source: Army National Guard

September 2, 2015 |

Study Finds Cataract Surgery Leaves Patients Satisfied


To Your Health







(Family Features) By 2030, 38 million Americans will suffer from cataracts, a number that will increase to 50 million by 2050, according to the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The most common treatment for cataracts is surgery, and new research suggests its benefits are strong.12824

A study of patient satisfaction surveys revealed that almost all patients who undergo cataract surgery are satisfied with their vision and quality of life post-surgery. The study, from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) Institute for Quality Improvement, showed that 99.7 percent of patients would recommend the procedure to friends or relatives suffering from cataracts. Ninety-six percent of patients reported that their vision was better post-surgery, and 98 percent said they were comfortable during the procedure and post-discharge. What’s more, 96 percent returned to normal activities of daily living within one week of the procedure.

“The data clearly shows that patients find value in cataract surgery and are generally very pleased with the outcomes of the procedure,” said Naomi Kuznets, Ph.D., vice president and senior director for the AAAHC Institute for Quality Improvement.

Cataracts occur when protein builds up on the lens of an eye, making the person’s vision cloudy. According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, common symptoms of cataracts include clouded, blurred or dimmed vision, increasing difficulty with vision at night and sensitivity to light or glare. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should consult an ophthalmologist to see if they are candidates for cataract surgery.

“The satisfaction numbers in this study show how worthwhile cataract surgery is for so many individuals,” said Kris Kilgore, R.N., AAAHC Institute board member and administrative director of Grand Rapids Ophthalmology Surgical Care Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “Every day we hear from patients who have improved quality of life thanks to this procedure. This study bears out empirically the wonderful anecdotes we hear from patients every day.”

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning it requires no overnight hospital stay. During cataract surgery, a surgeon makes a small incision to remove the cloudy lens, and then replaces it with a clear, manmade lens. To reduce the costs of the procedure and for patients’ convenience, surgeons commonly schedule cataract procedures at surgery centers, which are small surgical facilities that may be on a hospital campus or offsite.

The safety of these facilities is overseen by government regulators and by accrediting bodies such as AAAHC. During an accreditation evaluation by AAAHC, a trained medical professional visits a surgical facility to personally verify its adherence to patient safety, quality care and value standards.

If you are a candidate for cataract surgery, visit to find a local AAAHC-accredited facility.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Institute for Quality Improvement

August 26, 2015 |

Manage AFib Risk for Better Health


To Your Health







(Family Features) Approximately 1.5 million American women live with atrial fibrillation, a heart disorder commonly known as “AFib” that can lead to deadly or life-impairing stroke. For an undiagnosed woman living with AFib, knowing symptoms and risk factors can help mitigate this serious health threat. Women living with AFib can also take steps to manage this condition and their risk for stroke.  12813

AFib is a heart rhythm disorder in which the atria – the two upper chambers of the heart – beat rapidly and irregularly. Women with AFib are more likely than men with AFib to have a stroke. And, after the age of 75, an overwhelming majority of people with AFib – 60 percent – are women.

Diagnosing the condition
Up to a third of women with AFib don’t feel symptoms. Others feel tired and experience heart palpitations, which may feel like a fluttering or flopping sensation in the chest or the feeling that the heart is beating too quickly. A woman experiencing AFib may also feel dizzy or short of breath. Some feel chest pain or feel faint.

Certain health and lifestyle risk factors make women more susceptible to AFib. Along with age and an existing heart condition, high blood pressure and obesity are major risk factors. Women who drink more than 10 ounces of alcohol a day are also at risk. Other risk factors include diabetes, overactive thyroid, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, lung disease, smoking, caffeine and stress.

With or without elevated risk factors, a woman experiencing symptoms should schedule a consultation with a doctor to determine if these symptoms are caused by AFib.

Living with AFib
Women living with AFib can manage their condition and associated risk for stroke by adopting healthy lifestyle behaviors. Increasing physical activity, adopting a diet that is low in fat, sodium and cholesterol, avoiding alcohol, and moderating stress and blood pressure levels are all necessary to manage AFib and avoid more serious health problems. AFib patients should choose caffeine-free coffee and herbal tea over caffeinated drinks. Moderate exercise such as walking, biking, swimming, yoga and strength training, combined with good hydration, can significantly improve AFib symptoms and reduce stroke risk.

Isolation is a common feeling for women living with AFib. Resources such as WomenHeart’s new Virtual Support Network can help address the need for education and emotional and psychosocial support for women living with AFib. The Network is free and open to all women living with AFib and their caregivers.

Learn more about WomenHeart’s free patient support services for women living with heart disease, including AFib, and register to receive free online heart health information at

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: WomenHeart


August 19, 2015 |

Good Vision Helps Children Excel in School


To Your Health








12800(Family Features) With children heading back to school soon, parents’ to-do lists keep getting longer – shopping for clothes, shoes and supplies, going to the doctor for yearly physicals or checkups, and making appointments at the dentist, among other things. What is easily forgotten or put off is a yearly eye exam.

According to a survey conducted by KRC Research on behalf of Think About Your Eyes, about 60 percent of parents do not consider eye exams as a necessary part of children’s health checkup schedule. However, skipping these exams means children run the risk of being unprepared for school with an undiagnosed vision problem or eye disease.

While a cough or hurt ankle might trigger you to take your child to the doctor without hesitation, eye problems are difficult to notice without proactive measures. In fact, 84 percent of parents in the same survey admitted they wait for a child to complain of a vision issue before taking them in for an eye exam. Children, however, especially those who have had vision problems for an extended amount of time, aren’t always able to recognize the problem themselves.

Although some schools perform yearly vision screenings, it is important for parents to know that these tests only gauge a child’s ability to see at a distance. A full vision screening from an eye care professional is needed to evaluate how well a child’s eyes function and how well they focus on items closer to the face. With increased up-close reading, such as that required when using a computer, this information is becoming more critical.

The American Optometric Association estimates that as much as 80 percent of what children learn – reading, writing, computer work and day-to-day observation – happens through sight, so it’s more important now than ever to have children tested by an optometrist. According to the American Optometric Association, by age six (before they start school), children should receive at least three eye exams.

If you find that your child does need glasses, the experts at Essilor offer these tips for selecting the right eyeglass lenses:

* Bright reflections and glare can cause irritation, eye strain, discomfort and damage to your child’s eyes. In addition to the right prescription, it is important to purchase lenses that protect against these visual distractions. Lenses such as Crizal Kids UV lenses offer protection from glare caused by sunlight, whiteboards, fluorescent lights, computer screens and video games.

* Skin isn’t the only part of the body that needs protection from the sun’s harsh UV rays. Choose lenses that shield the eye from UV exposure, in addition to taking other preventative measures against sun exposure.

* Just like anything else you buy for your child, glasses need to stand up to the test of time. Sturdy frames are important, but the lenses inside your child’s frames are vulnerable and need protection as well. Lenses that are scratch and impact resistant will help ensure a clear line of sight. Some lenses for children, such as Crizal Kids UV No-Glare lenses, also help repel water and smudges, making it easier to weather everyday wear and tear.

With the variety of options available, you can easily find the right lenses for your child’s vision needs. Visit to find an eye care professional and give your child a boost in the classroom this school year.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Essilor

August 12, 2015 |

Healthy Living Can Be as Easy as 1-2-3


To Your Health






(Family Features) When it comes to your health, it’s not the time to test your luck. Taking proactive steps to limit your risk and help prevent disease is a better bet for overall wellness.

From heart disease and high blood pressure to diabetes and high cholesterol, there are dozens of diseases and health problems that can slow you down. Fortunately, research has shown that the risk for many of these health problems can be reduced through healthy lifestyle habits. What’s more, some of these medical issues can also be effectively managed so you can continue to enjoy all that life has to offer. The key is to understand your risk and take action early.

These three steps are the foundation for building a healthier you:sb10064307h-001

1. Refuel the right way. During warmer weather seasons, cravings tend toward lighter, less dense foods, and dishes that are cool and refreshing. Summer is the perfect time to nosh on nutrient- and vitamin-rich foods straight from the garden. Crunchy fresh veggies, plump berries and even juicy melons all offer a delicious array of vitamins and antioxidants that do your body good. You may be surprised by all the palate-pleasing ways you can find to enjoy a healthier diet, from a crisp salad drizzled with a tangy vinaigrette dressing to an icy cold smoothie made from your favorite fruits. And don’t forget to reward yourself with a taste of dark chocolate indulgence. Research suggests that flavanol-rich cocoa beans (the main ingredient for chocolate) can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

2. Invigorate with exercise. If getting started on a new get-moving routine seems overwhelming, remember that it’s perfectly okay to ease into a new workout regime. In fact, it’s better to start slow and build up your endurance so you don’t burn out mentally and physically. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity at least five days a week. If you need to, start out by splitting up your sessions into two 15-minute workouts and bump up your time and intensity as your stamina increases.

3. Identify obstacles early. Get a jump on disease by getting appropriate screenings so you are informed and know your risk factors. A recent study published in the American Heart Association’s journal underscores the importance of early detection. The study, which included men and women in their 40s and 50s, revealed that 63 percent of participants had evidence of clogged arteries – despite having no known symptoms. Preventive health screenings, such as those provided by Life Line Screening, are designed by doctors and administered by trained professionals to help detect hidden health issues. Risk factors including family history, age or pre-existing health conditions determine the medical screenings right for you, and within a couple of weeks, you can receive easy-to-understand test results to share with your doctor so you can work together to prevent serious problems before they start.

To assess your health online or find a health screening clinic in your community, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Source: Life Line Screening

August 5, 2015 |

Have a Feel-Good Summer


To Your Health







(Family Features) For many, making better-for-you food decisions and staying physically active go hand in hand with maintaining a quality lifestyle.

According to an article published by the Mayo Clinic, those who engage in regular physical activity enjoy the benefits of improved mood, more energy, better sleep and much more. For consumers who want to maintain healthy lifestyles, the NuVal(r) Nutritional Scoring System, which is found in grocery stores across the U.S., is easy to use for identifying summer snacks and meal items to energize fitness activities.

“Consumers deserve to get the most nutritional bang for their buck,” says Mike Nugent, NuVal General Manager. “That’s why NuVal scores were developed – to support healthy lifestyles. The scores analyze the nutrition facts on food labels boiling them down to a single 1 to 100 score. With 100 being the most nutritious, higher scores mean better nutrition, allowing consumers to make at-a-glance nutrition comparisons as they shop.”

Developed by a team of recognized experts, the scoring system was created as a direct response to America’s rapidly rising rates of obesity and diabetes in both the adult and child populations.

Displayed directly on shelf price tags in the grocery store, scores are determined by an independent team of nutrition and medical experts who analyze more than 30 nutrition factors such as vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, saturated fat and calories. The experts do the research, so consumers can feel better about their food choices. The scores do not tell consumers what to buy or eat; but simply reflect the overall nutritional quality of a food making it easy for consumers to compare nutrition as they do price.

“No matter what their food plan, the scores guide people in shopping for anything from produce and dairy to snacks and packaged goods,” adds Nugent. “If you can count to 100, you can use the system to shop, cook, eat and feel better.”

Step up to summer fitness
While it’s important to be physically active all year, many people simply find themselves more active in summer – both because the outdoors beckons and there is more time for recreation. This creates an opportunity to fit in more daily physical activity, which generally means some potential to build lean muscle mass, lose excess body fat and get more fit.

According to Dr. David Katz, M.D., M.P.H. – founding director of Yale University’s Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and the principal inventor of the science behind NuVal scores – the more active you are, the more performance fuel your body needs.

“The increased activity level of summer is a perfect time to think about trading up food choices, improving overall diet quality, and establishing a foundation for better overall health and vitality,” says Dr. Katz.

For optimal fueling, Dr. Katz offers the following tips:
* Pick foods with dual duties. Some foods are ideal for meeting the needs of high quality nutrition, as well as concentrated fuel for an active lifestyle. Some great food options include nuts, seeds and nut butters; fresh and dried fruits; beans and lentils; and whole grains. Protein sources are dairy (think non-fat Greek yogurt), eggs and lean meats.
* Embrace seasonal dishes. Summer is a great time for salads. Options are almost limitless. Consuming an abundance of vegetables is always a great place to start; but also consider a good protein source to provide the energy you need. Bean and lentil salads are a great fuel-up option.
* Know when to eat. Before exertion, avoid eating too much, so blood flows to working muscles rather than to digestion. Before workout, eating some fresh, seasonal fruit might be ideal. Post workout, replenish what exercise has burned with fruit, nuts, whole grains and a protein source.
* Snack small and often. Small portions of nuts and dried fruits, separately or together, make a great snack. Snack bars made from nuts and dried fruits – and little else – are a good option as well, and especially convenient when on the go.
* Be active at any age. If older and new to exercise, ease in and build up gradually. Walking, biking on relatively flat terrain, and swimming are excellent activities. All motion is good motion, so it is essential to find what you like. Dancing counts; so does yoga or anything else that has you up and going.
* Hydrate. As for hydration, water is generally best. Invest in a quality water container to have with you throughout the day – and during your workout.

For more tips to feel your best and get the most out of those summer months, visit

Break a sweat                                                         12591_aPO
Incorporate these summer activities into your schedule and enjoy new ways to boost your fitness routine:
* Biking/ mountain biking
* Canoeing
* Hiking
* Kayaking
* Running
* Swimming
* Walking
* Tennis

12591_bPOPerfect pairings
Consuming a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables throughout the day is a great way to fuel up physical activity and add nutrients vital to keeping cells healthy and protected. Here are some summer produce picks, along with NuVal scores. (Higher scores equal better nutrition.)
* Apricots (NuVal 100)
* Avocados (NuVal 88)
* Bananas (NuVal 100)
* Blueberries (NuVal 100)
* Broccoli (NuVal 100)
* Cantaloupe (NuVal 100)
* Carrots (NuVal 100)
* Cucumbers (NuVal 100)
* Green beans (NuVal 100)
* Iceberg lettuce (NuVal 94)
* Mangoes (NuVal 100)
* Peppers (NuVal 100)
* Tomatoes (NuVal 100)

Photos courtesy of Getty Images
Source: NuVal Nutritional Scoring System





July 29, 2015 |

Find the Silver Linings in Life


To Your Health







Bestselling author, nurse and breast cancer survivor shares advice for healthy living

(Family Features) Every year, approximately 250,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer. As a vegan-eating, marathon-running, mother in her 30s with no family history of breast cancer, Hollye Jacobs was unexpectedly diagnosed with the disease. Now, the nurse turned New York Times bestselling author of “The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer” has partnered with Allstate to help everyone impacted by cancer receive a free guide with practical tips, important information and inspiration to inform and support people from diagnosis, through treatment and recovery, and into life after cancer.

“I am honored to partner with Allstate to empower women with knowledge to take control of their health and encourage each other along the way,” said Jacobs. “I hope we can all be there for each other and find the silver linings in life.”

12737_AAs a follow-up to her successful book, Jacobs offers this inspiring advice on how to find the silver lining and feel your best in any situation:

* Dress the part: Dress to feel your best no matter where your day takes you, from school to work to chemotherapy. Invest in pieces that make you 12737_AR feel comfortable and confident. During her chemotherapy experience, Jacobs found that cotton scarves were the easiest to tie and most effective at staying comfortably on her head when out and about.

12737_B* Exercise: Pace yourself and set reasonable goals to take control of a healthy lifestyle. Begin slowly but consistently to establish a positive habit on which you can build; even a slow stroll can be transformative for your health.

* Healthy eating: Like exercise, good nutrition helps offset exhaustion that comes with the weight of daily stresses and fatigue. A balanced and healthy diet doesn’t have to be expensive. Incorporate nutrient-dense foods like avocados and nuts, and drink plenty of water. Whenever possible, avoid alcohol, sugar and processed foods.

* Encourage each other: Jacobs’ biggest life lesson from her experience with cancer was that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you think that you could benefit from professional or spiritual support, pursue it. Celebrate positive thinking and remember that everyone reacts to life’s unexpected struggles and pain differently. Be kind and patient with others and, most importantly, yourself.

* Express yourself: For Jacobs, writing was cathartic. Her book evolved from her blog,, which unexpectedly reached audiences far beyond her circle of friends and family. She encourages people to write down at least three silver linings each day, from noticing the color of a flower to petting an animal.

* Educate yourself: Be an active participant in your health by learning from trusted sources and resisting the urge to blindly search online for information. When learning anything new, be patient, open, flexible and assertive to find what works best and most comfortably for your routine.

The free Silver Lining Companion Guide is available for download or for pick up at participating distribution centers and select Allstate agencies nationwide. Download or find the nearest participating distribution center at

(woman with flowered head scarf)
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Messina

(two women running)
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Source: Allstate

July 22, 2015 |
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