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Archive for the ‘Healthy People’ Category

Last year was a very difficult year for my family, and 2019 has not started any better. Everywhere I turn I am forced to think about the challenges my family is facing. I know I am not alone in the way I feel. I also know that some of you may be living in your worst fear every day. I have spent the last several months trying to keep my head high and not talk about what is going on behind the scenes. I am a very private person when it comes to my family and I do not plaster my every thought on social media. However, keeping all of that inside of me has not been good for my health. I know how to recognize and control my stress but no matter what I tried, I could not escape it.Think Positive motivation

My family is one of the many dairy families across the United States experiencing farm stress. Living in the unknown of the farm takes away all of my positive energy and can be emotionally exhausting and draining every day. I have had to make a conscience effort to focus on the positives in my life and to let the negatives go. I was able to find an extremely wonderful handout from North Dakota State University Extension called 12 Tools for Your Wellness Toolbox in Times of Farm Stress. I had the amazing opportunity to hear Sean, the author, speak at a conference about rural stress. This resource not only applies to farm stress but to ALL stress that EVERYONE faces. The list focuses on the following physical, mental, emotional, personal, work, and financial wellness strategies, which will help enhance your mood, renew your energy and help you stay focused:

  1. Exercise 20 minutes or more daily (walk, swim, ride a bike, etc.)
  2. Get an annual medical checkup with a local health-care provider.
  3. Spend 10 minutes planning your day and priorities.
  4. Take regular 5- to 10-minute breaks in your day to relax and recharge.
  5. Write down 3 things that you are grateful for daily.
  6. Share concerns with a counselor or other professional.
  7. Take 15 minutes each day for uninterrupted conversation with a spouse or family member.
  8. Get involved or stay connected with a friend or group of friends.
  9. Discuss needs of the farm operation but do not let them occupy all other aspects of life.
  10. Seek constructive feedback on your farm operation and ways to grow or improve.
  11. Create a family budget and seek to live within your means.
  12. Select three healthy habits you will try to practice daily. Start today!

Which three healthy habits could you begin doing today? So many times, we try to handle things on our own and in reality, we end up doing more damage than good. I strongly encourage you to figure out who is in your support network. Who do you feel comfortable sharing your personal struggle(s) with? I started focusing on the goodness in this world and the amazing people that surround me. My coworkers and friends have been wonderful! They’ve given me endless amounts of humor to lighten my mood, been a listening ear on tough days and have sent words of encouragement. Don’t feel like you have to hold your thoughts in any longer. Open up and focus on the positive outcomes in your bumpy ride.

 

Brotherson, S. (2017, September) 12 Tools for your wellness toolbox in times of farm stress. Retrieved from https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/kids-family/12-tools-for-your-wellness-toolbox-in-times-of-farm-stress

Stefura, B. (2014, October 13). Don’t let stress get the best of you! Retrieved from https://livehealthyosu.com/2014/10/13/dont-let-stress-get-the-best-of-you/

 

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

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two hands with mittens holding a heart-shaped snowball
What comes to mind when you think of February? For many, it’s Valentine’s Day, others may think of a dreaded month of winter weather. Some may know February as Black History Month. Still others, like me, may think of American Heart Month. While all of these are accurate, one is nearer and dearer to my heart, pun intended.

You see, at the end of my junior year of high school, my dad had his first heart-related incident two days after his 37th birthday. He had to have angioplasty for a blocked artery. A month or so later, my dad’s brother John had to have open-heart surgery ON his birthday. My dad had already lost his oldest brother to a massive heart attack. Uncle Bill was in his forties when he collapsed after coming home from work. My dad’s brother Jim had suffered a heart attack and had a couple of heart procedure in subsequent years as well. My dad had another angioplasty when I was a freshman in college.

My dad attended cardiac rehabilitation after both of his angioplasties. The first time, I attended some of his sessions since I was out of school for the summer. While attending Ohio University, I learned about a program that would enable me to work in cardiac rehab. I never realized this was something I would be able to do without becoming a physician. I completed the program and was fortunate to find a position right away working for a cardiologist who had cardiac rehab as part of his practice. I worked there for 5 years before taking a position in a hospital cardiac and pulmonary rehab facility.

My dad had his first open-heart surgery shortly after he turned 44. Yes, you read that right. My dad’s oldest living brother Bob, had open heart surgery a couple months later the same year. My dad had his second open-heart surgery 2 days prior to his 57th birthday, which he celebrated in the hospital. A month or so prior to this, my uncle by marriage had to have a stent. He attended cardiac rehab at the hospital where I was working. When my dad had his second open-heart surgery, he started cardiac rehab 2 weeks after his surgery because he was recovering so well and my uncle was able to drive him. This was an interesting experience for me. The person who had always taken care of me, was now in my care. It was also a relief because I knew he was getting the best of care.

My dad will turn 67 at the end of May. I am happy to say that he is doing fairly well. He finally quit smoking once and for all. Yes, he quit each time he had a heart event, but he eventually started back. He takes his medications as directed. Stress is really not an issue for him. He could stand to be more active and eat a little better, both of which would help his weight. Overall, everything considered, he is fortunate. I am also happy to report that I turned 46 in August and I have no signs or symptoms of any heart-related conditions.

As you may have figured out, heart disease is very near and dear to me. I obviously learned at a young age that I have a strong family history. So, I have taken steps to try to help reduce my risk for developing heart disease. While we hear about all sorts of other diseases and conditions, heart disease has been and still remains the number one killer of men AND women in the United States. So, if you have not been taking the best care of your heart, it’s not too late to start. What better month than February to begin?!

10 Things You May Not Know About Heart Disease [Infographic]

Written by: Misty Harmon, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Photos:

https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/heart-facts-infographic

https://pixabay.com/en/heart-snowball-gloves-winter-hands-1416344/

Sources:

American Heart Association, (2019). Found at: https://www.heart.org/

American Heart Association, (2019). Cardiovascular disease affects nearly half of American adults, statistics show. Found at: https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/01/31/cardiovascular-diseases-affect-nearly-half-of-american-adults-statistics-show

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2015). Preventing Heart Disease: Healthy Living Habits. Found at: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/healthy_living.htm

CNN Staff, (2019).  Meet the man who created Black History Month. Retrieved from: https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/01/us/history-of-black-history-month-trnd/index.html

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, (2013). Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes. Retrieved from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-healthy-lifestyle-changes

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Learn more about heart disease. Retrieved from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-month/learn-more-about-heart-disease

Office of Women’s Health, (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.womenshealth.gov/heart-disease-and-stroke

 

 

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Do you give sweets to your ‘sweetie’ on Valentine’s Day? According to the National Confectioners Association, 83% of Americans will give chocolate or candy on Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is the third largest holiday for the consumption of chocolate, trailing behind Christmas and Easter (US Food Market Outlook 2018). 58 million pounds of chocolate will be purchased the week before Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of extra calories, fat and sugar.

picture of strawberries, grapes and melons

My son’s birthday happens to be on Valentine’s Day. Knowing there would be an abundance of sugar at classroom Valentine parties we have always tried to bring a healthy treat to share for his birthday. Pictured here is one of my favorite birthday treats we have shared with classmates. It’s simply fruit cut into heart shapes and arranged in a heart-shaped pan. And you know what? The class has always devoured the fruit! Consider sending a healthy treat for your child’s classroom… fruit, pretzels, raisins… or a non-food item like pencils or stickers.

Maybe the best way to say I love you… is with a gift that promotes health. Here are some gift ideas that say Happy-Healthy Valentine’s Day:

  • Flowers – buy local and save money!
  • Pampering gifts – bath salts, scented lotion, candles
  • Make or purchase a fruit bouquet
  • Homemade gifts from the kitchen – soup mixes in jar, granola, or flavored popcorn
  • Coupons for quality time together
  • Plan an active date – ice skating, skiing, dancing, hiking, bowling,

Of course you can still enjoy a little chocolate… just do so in moderation and balance it with physical activity and smart food choices the rest of the week. Feel free to share your favorite healthy gift idea in the comments below.

Sources:

Garden-Robinson, J. & Henneman, A. “FREE Holiday Food Mixes in a Jar PowerPoint, Recipe Handout and Online Slide Show.” University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 2019. https://food.unl.edu/free-holiday-food-mixes-jar-powerpoint-and-recipe-handout

“Heart Health and Candy Hearts?” American Heart Association. 2013. https://www.yourethecure.org/heart-health-and-candy-hearts

US Food Market Outlook 2018. https://www.packagedfacts.com/Food-Outlook-11000243/

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

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I pick “kind”… will you?

I work in Pickaway County, Ohio and the selection for our “One Book, One Community” campaign this year is Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I’ve seen the movie twice and now I am enjoying the book. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I encourage you to do so. This book is a touching read that highlights how people respond to and interact with others who are different from them. It may just open your eyes to what others experience in life.

Why are wonder, kindness and compassion the topics of this blog? We interface with many people every day. How we interact with others not only affects our lives and happiness but it affects others. I encourage you to look at the way you respond to people and situations and to react with kindness and compassion.

Let’s look at some definitions of the word “wonder” when it is used as a noun:

  1. From the English Oxford dictionary: A feeling of amazement and admiration, caused by something beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar.
  2. From the Merriam-Webster dictionary a cause of astonishment or admiration.
  3. From the Cambridge dictionary: a feeling of great surprise and admiration, or someone or something that causes such feelings.

These dictionaries define “wonder” as a positive way to view things we might see or experience in life. In the book and movie Wonder, many people viewed the character Auggie as someone very different from them. His face looked different and he was not used to interacting with kids. He faced these challenges with heart.

I encourage you to look with wonder at people and places and to share kindness with those you meet. If someone is different from you – or unfamiliar to you- embrace the interaction with fresh eyes and be open to their friendship. A simple smile goes a long way towards breaking down barriers. Take a moment, pause and treat others how you would like to be treated.

If you have seen the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, you know that this classic film highlights the life of a character named George Bailey. Throughout the movie, George is encouraged to look at the positives in his life and explore how his life touches others in his “everyday” actions. Clarence, another character in the movie, shares this thought: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

Movie Marquee - It's a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life

Many people watch this movie around the holidays, but I think it is a great movie to watch anytime. It provides a gentle reminder to embrace life and look for positives, even when we are experiencing challenges.

As you pass through your life, will you pick kindness, compassion and wonder? These virtues will enrich your life. If you need tips or strategies to grow compassion, check out the article Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People from The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Additionally, the Integrative Medicine department of the OSU Wexner Medical Center offers free heart-centered mindfulness recordings to help foster kindness, compassion and gratitude. These resources, exercises and strategies may help you become a more compassionate person.

If you have a story to share, leave a comment or email me at treber.1@osu.edu.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Franklin County, Ohio State University Extension, lobb.3@osu.edu

Sources:

Jazaieri, H. (2018). Six Habits of Highly Compassionate People. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/six_habits_of_highly_compassionate_people

OSU Wexner Medical Center, Department of Integrative Medicine. Heart-Centered Practices. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/integrative-complementary-medicine/heart-centered-practices

Palacio, R.J. Wonder. https://wonderthebook.com/books/wonder

 

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Cupboard with different types of teas

January is National Tea Month, and what a great time of year to enjoy a hot, steamy cup! These past few cold days have called for us to find hot drinks to warm us up, from the inside out. A hot, steamy cup of tea is perfect for any time of day.

According to the Tea Association of the USA, tea is nearly 5,000 years old. It was purportedly discovered in 2737 BC by the Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung, aka “The Divine Healer”. As legend tells us, some tea leaves accidentally blew into the Emperor’s pot of boiling water and created the first tea brew. According to Chinese tea scholars, the Emperor, as a botanical explorer, accidentally poisoned himself some 85 times, each time being cured by this wonderful tea brew.

There is a great deal of research about the benefits of drinking hot tea. Below are five common benefits:

  • Tea is packed with antioxidants. These help keep our bodies “young” and protect them from toxins.
  • Tea has less caffeine than coffee. The kinds that contain caffeine usually have about 50% less than coffee, which means you can drink it without affecting your nervous system.
  • Research shows a correlation between tea and heart health. A recent study says people who drink tea have a 20% lower chance of having a stroke or heart attack than those who don’t.
  • Tea may help with weight loss, especially when paired with a well-balanced diet and exercise. Tea is usually calorie-free, and it can give you energy and cause your body to burn more calories throughout the day.
  • Tea may protect your immune system. Studies show that tea helps immune cells reach their targets more quickly.

The Daily Tea suggests drinking hot tea all throughout the day. Here are some of the guidelines for what kind and how it might help your health:

Early Morning: To start your day off right, try white tea first thing when you wake up. It’s gentle on a stomach that has been fasting (which we do when we sleep) and has a light, aromatic quality. For a caffeine boost first thing in the morning, choose a high quality white tea and boil with extremely hot water to bring out the caffeine.

Mid-Morning: Around 10:00 or 11:00 in the morning, move to a green tea. This will help give your metabolism a kick start, and it has a very light, uplifting, approachable flavor.

Lunch: Black tea is recommended at this time of day for a few reasons: it’s widely available and easy to find if you’re out and about to grab a mid-day bite to eat, it’s great paired with food, and you can choose your level of caffeine depending on how your energy levels are that day.

Post-Lunch: Pu-erh tea is a great choice for after lunch, because it only has a small amount of caffeine – enough to help ward off that afternoon slump, but not so much that you’ll be up all night. It’s a perfect follow-up to a healthy, well-balanced lunch.

Evening: There are several great options for nighttime tea. Varieties such as chamomile, valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, and passion flower do not contain caffeine, and they may help calm you down and promote a good night’s sleep. Give them a try, do a little experimenting and figure out which you prefer.

 

Sources:

Edgar, J. (2009). Types of Teas and Their Health Benefits.  WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits#1

Harvard Men’s Health Watch (2014). Tea: A cup of good health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/tea-a-cup-of-good-health

Tea Association of the USA. Tea Fact Sheet 2018-2019. http://www.teausa.org/14655/tea-fact-sheet

The Daily Tea (2018). A Cup of Tea for Every Time of Day. https://thedailytea.com/taste/a-cup-of-tea-for-every-time-of-day/

 

Written by: Brenda Sandman-Stover, Extension Program Assistant, 4-H and Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Greene County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County; and Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences.

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plants on windowsill

Some of you long time American Idol fans may remember seeing an older contestant in 2010 rapping to a song he wrote called “Pants on the Ground.” I’m going to take a little artistic license here and encourage you to get some “plants” on the ground. The reason for the push is because you need the health-promoting benefits of real plants in your home and office.

As our homes become more airtight, they conserve energy, but they also trap synthetic building materials that emit VOC’s (volatile organic chemicals). Those VOC’s can cause illness and breathing problems.  Products such as paint, carpeting, insulation and formaldehyde, and personal products such as deodorant, hair spray, tobacco smoke, and perfume all release VOC’s.

At work, it could be those products in addition to copy machines and printers; even your computer screen can emit harmful chemicals. The problem has become so severe that scientists have nick-named it “sick building syndrome.”

Dr. William Wolverton, a NASA employee, has been able to show through research that plants protect us from VOC’s by emitting oxygen, which in turn absorbs toxins and carbon dioxide. In addition, if you surround the base of your plants with activated charcoal, you can remove even higher concentrations of chemicals through the plant roots.

One house plant can clean approximately 100 square feet of floor space. All plants work, but there are a few that clean better than others.  Spider plants, ivy, bamboo, palms, dracaena, philodendrons, pothos, and spathphyllums (peace lilies) are considered to be top performers.

So what are you waiting for? Go to a home improvement, garden, or grocery store and get some plants for your home and office.  Or get a start from a friend.  I have a few spider plants at home, and they are loaded with “babies” that you can root in a glass of water.

If you decide you want a full-grown specimen, just make sure to coordinate your purchase with Mother Nature.  You don’t want to be hauling your palm tree out to the parking lot when it is 15 degrees outside. And while you’re making your purchase, you can hum my version of “Plants on the Ground” to yourself:

 

Plants on the ground,

Green all around,

Lookin pretty smart with your plants on the ground.

Stress goes down,

Sound goes down,

Rooms lookin’ lush with your plants on the ground.

Sick air gone,

Headaches gone,

Reduce your carbon footprint with plants on the ground.

 

Written by:  Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, green.308@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Sources:

https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19930073077.pdf

https://learn.eartheasy.com/articles/the-top-10-plants-for-removing-indoor-toxins/

https://fifthseasongardening.com/want-to-improve-your-indoor-air-quality-get-houseplants

https://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/arts/television/19arts-THEBACKSTORY_BRF.html

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As I write this article, I am 36 weeks pregnant, sore and achy. Throughout my pregnancy, I have experienced occasional leg cramping in my calf muscles. I try my best to stay hydrated and take a daily multivitamin to help prevent these cramps, but sometimes they come anyway. Whenever my muscles feel especially tight or achy, I turn to a tennis ball, of all things, to help alleviate the pain! I use a tennis ball for myofascial release, a self-massage technique that helps loosen tight muscles.

assorted foam rollersI chose a tennis ball for this technique because it is a small, portable tool I already had at home. However, foam rollers are the most common tool used for myofascial release, as they are designed specifically for this purpose. If you belong to a gym, perhaps you have seen people using foam rollers, or maybe you have tried using one yourself! Increasingly, foam rollers can be found among the equipment available for use at gyms and fitness facilities, as people like to use them in their pre- or post-workout stretching routines. They can also be purchased for home use at a reasonable cost; the one-time purchase of a foam roller is no more than the price of a single professional massage!

Regular foam rolling has many benefits. In addition to soothing sore muscles and relieving pain, it can increase your range of motion, improve flexibility, increase circulation and blood flow, contributing to faster recovery after strenuous activity.

The OSU Health Plan offers the following four tips for beginning a foam rolling routine:

  1. Ease into it. Foam rolling can be painful at first, so only go as long as you need with the pressure necessary to loosen muscles without causing discomfort. Work an area for 30 seconds to two minutes or until you feel your muscle(s) begin to relax. If the area is especially tender, start by rolling just five to ten seconds at a time, resting a day in between sessions. You may also choose to start with a softer roller and slowly progress to a denser roller as you become more accustomed to the process.
  2. Use slow and controlled movement. Give your muscles time to adapt to the pressure you are applying to them by focusing on slow, gentle movements. Aim to cover no more than one inch per second.
  3. Avoid joints and your lower back (lumbar spine). Apply pressure only to muscle tissue to prevent injury and further discomfort.
  4. Prioritize. If you have multiple tight areas, focusing on all of them every day may be time consuming and unrealistic. Start with the areas you deem most beneficial to work on first, following the tips listed above. Gradually work in other areas as you become more comfortable in your routine.

Finally, keep in mind that foam rolling may not be for everyone. If you have range-of motion issues, a heart condition, chronic pain, or if you are recovering from an injury or procedure (such as a hip-replacement), consult a doctor, personal trainer or physical therapist before foam rolling.

 

Sources:

Bauer, B. (2018). Myofascial release therapy: Can it relieve back pain? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/expert-answers/myofascial-release/faq-20058136

Ignite Peer Fitness Trainer Program (2016). Mobility Rollers. https://cdn1.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/143/2016/10/8_2016-Mobility-Rollers.pdf

Martin, M. (2015). Foam Rolling 101. American Council on Exercise. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5624/foam-rolling-101

Schebek, S. (2018). Four Tips for Foam Rolling. OSU Health Plan. https://osuhealthplan.com/content/four-tips-foam-rolling?place=holder&utm_source=osuwmc_marketing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20181101__yhpenews

 

Written by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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