On Staying Healthy   4 comments

Health & Fitness for Busy People – What little things do you do to stay healthy? Food, exercise, special vitamins, clothing, shoes, etc. What do you do that could help someone else.

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I have a full-time job and an author gig on the side. I have a husband and a son who still lives at home. I also do things in my community, primarily through my church. So, I am busy.

I’m also blessed. For whatever reason, I have a very strong immune system. I always have. But I’m half-way through my 50s in a family that regularly sees their 90s, so I’m trying to stay healthy for the long haul.

I typically wear flats or shoes with only a slight heel. It’s easier on your knees and back. The downside is plantar fasciitis which I developed for a while, but I started doing some exercises and it seems to have stopped.

Image result for image of walking in sunlightBecause the streets of Fairbanks are often covered with ice and snow, I go to the gym to work out. Some weeks I only make it once, other weeks I make it 3-4 times. I don’t do anything really spectacular. I ride an exercise bike or rotary trainer for an hour. Sometimes I lift weights. I don’t try to go fast and I’m not trying for any power-lifting records. I’m just trying to stay flexible and strong and to counteract the affects of living in a climate that doesn’t get enough sun in the winter.

So in addition to doing weight-bearing exercise, I don suncreen and use a suntanning booth once a week from October to April. I don’t strip all the way to bare. My goal is to get enough time in the “sun” to stimulate Vitamin D production. Like everyone else here locally, my Vitamin D production drops as the winter goes along, but tests show it doesn’t drop as much as many of my neighbors. That could be because of my Swedish blood (Swedes have adequate D levels, according to Alaska Fit), or because we eat a lot of salmon, but I suspect it has something to do with not being afraid of tanning booths. Cousin Rick, the immune system doctor, suggested it, with proper precautions.

D production is not just about bones. Deficiencies have been linked to daytime sleepiness, depression, autoimmune disease, insulin resistance, complications during pregnancy, muscle and joint pain, obesity, and problems with the thyroid to name a few. To top it all off, it’s been found that low vitamin D levels increases your risk of death by 26%. Wow. If you catch a cold several times a winter, it might be because you are Vitamin D deficient. It’s also important for blood clotting, thyroid function, and heart health.

So why don’t I just take pills? I do take 1000 mg (in the winter), but you have to take closer to 2000 mg a day on the 64th parallel to get as much Vit D as a 15-minute daily stroll in the sun on the equator would provide and 2000 mg a day — well, it has effects on my bowels and as bowel cancer runs in the family, but skin cancer does not, Dr. Rick suggested I spread my risk around. So, I enter the tanning booth with a tank top and shorts on, coating the exposed parts of my skin with SPF16, and I only do 10 minutes once a week. I’m not trying to get a tan (and I don’t), but to provide my body with some “sun” exposure when it is impossible to get because of the latitude I live at. It works, according to my blood serum tests.

Other things that I do to stay healthy —

Image result for image of a balanced mealI try to eat right. My diet includes a little bit of meat and a lot of vegetables. That’s not easy here in Alaska because our food must be imported, so veggies arrive here essentially flavorless, having been in suspended animation for two weeks. We buy a lot of frozen vegetables. Frozen carrots actually taste like carrots, by the way. I do eat carbs – bowel cancer runs in the family, whole grains are necessary. I don’t care for fluid milk, but I eat cheese and yogurt. We also have to eat frozen and canned fruit a lot, but we grab fresh fruit when it is in the stores and affordable and actually smells like something. If it has no fragrance, it’s going to be tasteless. You probably don’t have this problem.

I try to stand on one foot and on my toes for at least five minutes each every day. Sometimes that’s 1-minute five times a day for each. This helps with balance and core strength. My daughter the ballerina once stayed on her toes with arms in first position for 20 minutes to show the football team that they weren’t that strong.  One football team member made it 19 minutes, but he needed assistance to keep his balance after two minutes. Mere ordinary people get a lot of benefit from five minutes a day.

I also do Kegel exercises at least once a day, about 20-50 of them depending on time. What are they? Google them. If you’re a woman and you want to maintain bladder control into your 90s, they’re a good thing to do. I’m just saying …. And, there are side benefits, but I’ll let the Internet inform you of those.

Drink lots of water. Most Americans are dehydrated and we often eat because we confuse thirst for hunger. And, no, sodas don’t count, but coffee does (though it’s only about 90% effective compared to tap water). Also know that distilled water lacks the minerals your body is craving when it tells you its thirsty. Filtered tap water is okay, but distilled water is really pretty useless. Read the label of your bottled water. Some of it is useless and some of it is worthwhile. In the US, tap water is almost universally safe … (provided some idiot muni doesn’t try to save money by not including a corrosion inhibitor in a town with lead pipes, but I think Flint’s woes have put all the others on notice).  You notice I don’t mention taking calcium supplements. Fairbanks water is loaded with calcium and iron.

One final thing I do is rinse my nasal passages occasionally. The winter air here is very dry, so many Alaskans have sinus problems. I discovered that using a low-flow, high-volume saline rinse opens up my nasal passages, allowing my sinuses to drain, preventing headaches and reducing colds and allergy symptoms. It will also substantially shorten a cold’s symptoms. I use a squeeze bulb so I can remain upright. The netti pot is too much like self-waterboarding to me, but your experience may vary. If you live in a dry climate or fly a lot, I highly recommend it.

Statistically speaking, people who are part of a regular faith community tend to be healthier than those who are not and those who laugh a lot also tend to have fewer health problems. I’ve got those covered too.

Posted August 21, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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4 responses to “On Staying Healthy

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  1. Wow – you do much more than I do to stay healthy! I’ve also heard about the importance of Vitamin D supplements, but I find too high a dose gives me palpitations. Shame about your tasteless veggies – does anybody grow their own?

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    • We do. I grow a garden every summer and the veggies are delicious … for about a month. I know people who try to grow tomatoes and lettuce indoors in the winter, but it costs a lot of money for the electricity to run the grow lights because we only have 2 hours of daylight mid-winter. I actually know some indoor farmers who were under federal investigation because their electric bill was so high … the feds assumed they were growing pot. We laugh about it now that Alaska has legalized it, but it was kind of scary for them at the time … they had an FBI informant befriend them and everything … for growing veggies indoors in the winter.

      There’s no way I could justify $400 a month electric bills for better tasting vegetables. We

      So except for herbs, which have the light requirement of house plants, we don’t try to grow veggies in the winter. Frozen vegetables are a close approximation to fresh and we just season up the fresh that we buy. Tasteless tomatoes seasoned with oregano and garlic are pretty delicious.

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  2. My doctor has me on a daily D vitamin to help with this too.

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