Keeping Kids Dressed With Respect

Have you ever had to deal with someone who can drive a perfectly healthy person insane by worrying over imagined ailments of their children?  I had a friend who’d call me every time her son had a bruise on his head, or a scuffed knee from falling off his skateboard.  It got so bad that I purposely didn’t give her my new smartphone number.

Even worse was her fear that others would judge her parenting abilities by how her children were dressed.  This lady was the only person I ever met who would buy her kids clothes just to wear on their doctor visits.  She’d get them the best items she could pick out from The Children’s Place, where they have a wide selection of items and clothing for youngsters from infancy up through puberty.  Her kids would have some of the best wardrobes in town from her youngest’s first wear to her pre-teen’s t-jacket and jeans that he wore faithfully on every trip to the local ballfield with his pals.  She’d use a Groupon promo code to get new items at a discount; then dress her kids in them when she took them in for their regular checkups.  The folks at the doctor’s office always said she had the best-dressed kids in his practice; they never wore the same clothes twice.

I did hear from my own kids that her children were somewhat embarrassed by all that special attention.  My third-grader told me the woman’s daughter once held a mini- “yard sale” at the school playground during their outdoor lunch – she either sold or traded off some of the less used items for things the other kids had in abundance, like toys, candy and similar stuff.  Her oldest boy would compare the value of his sneakers with those of his classmates.  He’d then explain that he only had his because his mother had been smart and used a Groupon to get them at a bargain price.  This made the other kids all start come home talking about Groupons and asking parents why they hadn’t been using them to buy their own clothes.  It didn’t create lasting enemies among the parents, but some advised her not to let her kids go talking prices with schoolmates and friends.

Tips to Improve to a Healthy Lifestyle

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Developing a healthy lifestyle is not something that merely happens overnight. But if a person takes positive, thoughtful steps towards what will benefit his or her life, then slowly a lifestyle will emerge that is well rounded and conducive to a healthy life. This is especially important since obesity and type 2 diabetes statistics on a frightening rise. If you are in any of these two categories, or if you simply want to start developing healthier habits so that medical issues related to weight do not arise in the future, here are five tips you can use to help develop a health lifestyle.

Exercise Regularly.
It is vital that you develop a regular exercise schedule to follow. Not only is this the time when your body gets to burn off some of those excess calories and fat that your body has, but you are getting your respiratory system and heartrate going at an elevated rate. If you are someone who has not exercised in a very long time then take it slow at first. Start with a daily walk for 30 minutes to an hour for a week or two. Once you have followed through with the daily walks, start jogging/running for 30 minutes to an hour every other day. After a month of this, your body will be able to handle more intense sports activities like basketball, tennis, racquetball, soccer, or even the at-home DVD workout programs. There are some very good options to get an awesome workout from the comfort of your home needing nothing more than a DVD player and a tv. Definitely look into this option if you want an effective workout program with a specific planned out schedule for you to follow. Really takes the difficulty out of needing to come up with your own exercise plan – all you have to do is pop the disc in, select the appropriate workout, and get to it! Take a look at the wide variety of options available for you right here.

Pack a Lunch for Work
When you have to run out to purchase lunch from a fast food spot or your workplace cafeteria, we often do not always select the healthiest options from these places. Yes you can probably find meals that would not be terribly detrimental to eat, but in all reality, how often do you do that? If you pack yourself a lunch every morning, or the night before, then you are guaranteed to have a lunch that will be healthy and appropriately portion sized. Portion size is often overlooked and unfortunately can be the most critical error when it comes to eating. Take into careful consideration how much actual “food” you need to eat in order to become nutritionally sound. That is why making an appointment to see your doctor or nutritionist can really help in determining what an ideal calorie count would be for your age, gender, weight, and body type.

Plan Out Your Meals In Advance
If you take the time to actually plan out a weekly/monthly meal schedule you will find that not only can you plan out a menu that will be as healthy as you would like, but you can also save money on the amount of money you spend each week/month on food. Another benefit to having a planned out schedule is because it will also help cover the need to ever have to make the random trip to the local fast food chain in order to pick up dinner, or lunch while at work. When your meals are planned, there will be no need to spend extra money purchasing fast food which probably wouldn’t be a healthy choice anyways.

Drink Plenty of Water
Water is often neglected by many people, and definitely shouldn’t be especially when you are exercising regularly in order to lose weight. Your body needs water, period. Your body is comprised of about 70% water which is evidence enough that it needs water in order to survive and maintain peek performance. Try and get into the habit of always having drinking water at hand throughout the day. A travel water container or plastic water bottles are an extremely handy way to always have water right there at arms reach. At lunch, try to opt for water instead of the large coke or sprite drink option. The absence of those calories and sugar will do your body good. At dinner, choosing to have water instead of that beer or glass of wine can literally save you calories and a ton of money at the same time.

Use Restraint When Dining Out
Going out to eat at a restaurant or fast food spot can really pack on the calories, sugar count, and literally every other kind of negative statistic you can think of, unless you use restraint and choose healthy options. With a 2011 average of 4.8 restaurant meals (dine in or take-out) for Americans, that’s almost five times per week restraint must be kept in mind or that will be five times per week you may possibly be eating in an unhealthy manner. If you did not maintain restraint when eating out, it would be terribly difficult to lose weight each and every week. Therefore have some self-control when you dine out. Choose a healthy option if at all possible. Another tip is to ask for a “to-go” box (doggie bag) and as soon as your meal arrives put half of it away for take-home. Tie it up and place out of sight or even give it to your server to hold until the end of your meal so the temptation is out of sight. Doing this you will be immediately cutting out half of the calories, and at the same time have an awesome leftover meal for the next day.

How to Secure Foundation Grants For Your Organization

Today, there is infinity of private institutions continuously supporting their own domains. There are institutions that focus on education, some on health; many are all about the children or their race and culture. Each of them has their own agenda and their own methods of carrying them out. A common method among such institutions is providing foundations grants. While a good majority of them provide services as a means to accomplish their goals, many offer foundation grants to qualified individuals or organizations with the same goals.

Money can, in fact, open a lot of doors and the foundations have them exactly for the purpose of opening those doors to those who are can’t open them on their own and are willing to work for it. The most common of foundation grants are educational support for exceptional students and unfortunate youth. Many college graduates and professionals are the products of scholarships largely funded by foundations. It’s basically giving people the rod, line and hook to learn how to fish instead of spoon-feeding them the fish in order to live. Another commonly known foundation grant is funding for scientific research on medicine, ecological conservation and even prototypical technologies. Many of these researches often result to a streamlined, inexpensive and less invasive medical procedure, the latest mobile phone craze or the future of energy-efficient fuel.

Many foundations are the outcome of a business endeavor that grew to millions which gave birth to more charitable and humanitarian efforts, much to the likes of Microsoft and now philanthropist Bill Gates. Some foundations are built by governing bodies themselves, such as the United Nations Foundation. With all the existing foundations all over the world, their efforts are already coordinated by a nationwide body such as the Council of Foundations for the US and the Association of Charitable Foundations in the United Kingdom. This as a collective, resources and efforts are better distributed to have a more efficient output. These foundations of various sectors in society always have grant programs available for their own people or communities to utilize.

In a larger perspective, the purpose of foundation grants is not only to provide financial aid. Grants are mere mediums to a larger effort. In the process of funding a research on how to better harness kinetic and solar energy, for instance, encourages and affects technological progress. It actually provides the means to reach the ultimate goal of producing cleaner and more sustainable technology. By affecting the means of living, they also affect the cultural response to change. It thus, opens the minds of people that may be hesitant to change.

Today, there are continuous progress in literacy and health through foundation grants from local or worldwide charities. Children from poverty-stricken areas are learning to read and write. Adults are learning to be more open and are becoming more aware of what’s happening around the world. With this knowledge, humanitarian efforts have a larger participation now as they have gathered more and more support over years. People outside charitable institutions are able to see and experience the possibilities these foundations and their programs can achieve in a society, all assisted through foundation grants.

Advancing the Next Big Idea in Animal Health

Smallpox, polio and even influenza-these deadly diseases once ruled the earth, killing by the millions. Today, thanks to scientific research, their impact is far less. The same holds true for animal diseases such as canine parvovirus and feline leukemia. One day, a host of other diseases that affect humans or animals, and sometimes both, may meet the same fate.

When major medical breakthroughs happen, such as the promising bone marrow treatment for humans with sickle cell anemia announced last December, we often don’t realize the time and effort behind a new prevention, treatment or cure. The reality, though, is that medical advancements usually take years, even decades, to come to fruition-and along the way hundreds of ideas are attempted before one of them opens the doors. Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) is committed to finding and funding the next big ideas in animal health research.

We know that a novel idea goes nowhere without proper funding-and funding for the unknown is often tough to come by. The Foundation is one of the few organizations helping cutting-edge scientists gather data and test promising concepts that could one day lead to major health breakthroughs for animals.

Innovative Ideas Take Flight:
Through its pilot-study program, MAF provides funding up to $10,800 for one-year studies that test a new idea and gather preliminary data to determine if the idea merits further investigation. This program provides timely funding for innovative ideas, speeds up scientific discovery and advances the Foundation’s mission to improve the health and welfare of animals.

“Pilot research study grants are designed to support innovative research ideas and early-stage projects where preliminary data may not be available,” says Dr. Wayne Jensen, MAF chief scientific officer.

One benefit to the pilot-study program is that MAF accepts these study proposals multiple times per year rather than through the traditional grant cycle of once per year. As a result, the program helps researchers respond more rapidly to emerging diseases and contemporary questions in animal health research.

Funding for pilot studies is desperately needed to advance veterinary medicine for companion animals and wildlife. Dr. James Moore, chair of the Foundation’s large animal scientific advisory board, explains that most funding agencies only support proposals that already contain a sufficient amount of preliminary data to suggest that the expected outcomes will be achieved. But scientists need funding to gather preliminary data. So it was no surprise that MAF received an overwhelming response-161-to its two 2009 calls for proposals. Yet the Foundation can fund only 12 to 18 projects each year.

“The greater than expected response to the request for proposals for pilot studies suggests that there are a lot of good, untested ideas out there,” Dr. Moore says.

A History of Funding Health Breakthroughs:
The Foundation has a long history of funding breakthrough projects. For example, in 1999, MAF was the first to fund research to look at why California sea otters were dying off. Over the next decade, we funded several grants looking at disease risks in sea otters. What scientists learned from these projects helped them win a $1.86 million grant from the National Science Foundation. In an interview for AnimalNews 6.4, lead researcher Dr. Patricia Conrad noted that, “the Morris Animal Foundation grants were critically important. Without that support in the project’s infancy, we wouldn’t have been able to compete for bigger grants.”

Beyond uncovering information about the infectious diseases that were killing sea otters, these studies also led to increased state legislative protections for the playful creatures and trained numerous up-and-coming wildlife health researchers.

A current study funded by our Canine Cancer Campaign is testing a new drug therapy for bone cancer in dogs. This major project encompasses multiple facets and institutions and could eventually save the lives of thousands of dogs-yet it began as a small pilot effort. Additional pilot projects may soon lead to a promising treatment for eye cancer in horses, improved nutrition for brook trout and better pain management for reptiles.

Current pilot studies address gastrointestinal problems, urinary infections and heartworm in dogs; osteoarthritis pain in cats; laminitis in horses and overpopulation and drug-resistant infections in pets.

“Pilot studies like these are important for moving veterinary medicine forward, primarily because they can be accomplished relatively quickly and relatively inexpensively,” Dr. Moore says.

Who knows where this year’s pilot projects may lead. Perhaps they will give veterinarians a tool to help them diagnose and manage osteoarthritis in cats or an inoculation that prevents certain strains of Escherichia coli from causing recurrent urinary tract infections in dogs. Or maybe equine veterinarians will get an inexpensive method for treating laminitis, a painful, life-threatening condition.

The possibilities for advancing animal health are truly endless as long as we continue to support pioneering scientists with innovative ideas. These promising projects may one day change the face of veterinary medicine and help create a healthier tomorrow for animals.

Learn more about the current pilot studies.

Eiro Research Foundation Business

Eiro Research is a multilevel or network marketing opportunity based in the health an wellness industry. The company opened its doors in the early fall of 2009 under the guidance of its founders who tak with them over 20 years of experience in the multilevel marketing industry. So is Eiro the right opportunity for you?

Eiro’s primarily carries four main products as of now verses the two they began with less than a year ago. The mission statement behind the products is “provide our associates with the foundation and the tools to make themselves whole – physically, financially, personally, and in their communities.” The products themselves are based on nutritional drinks, powder mixes and nutritional supplements (tablets) and all containing high quality ingredients.

The compensation plan of course is based, as many MLM opportunities are, on bonus levels attained through a personal volume met by you and your down line. The retail aspect however is different in which the individual will collect the difference between the actual wholesale and retail cost of the product(s) themselves. With the bonus levels comes the fact that to attain the personal volume the need to create autoships will be very important.

Starting in your warm market will of course be needed especially for those without the knowledge of Internet marketing. As for Eiro Research, this is still a new company and as the numbers speak many companies in this specific industry have a usual shelf life of less than five years usually due to the lack of proper management. Eiro does seem to have a solid managing team that could possibly carry them over that threshold. There are a few tools offered by many companies like ER and replicated sites are the ‘norm’. These sites however do not guarantee any traffic to the site and that training or, learning curve will need to be learned.

Learning how to market online and offline will be vitally important, especially online as most individuals are surfing the Internet more than ever today for these types of products. Of course many individuals jump into opportunity after opportunity with the root problem being either lack of a good sponsor, or a truly defined compensation plan. It is important to always do your due diligence before investing into any online or offline opportunity.

Innovative Animal Health Research Identifies Links Between Nutrition

“You are what you eat,” so the saying goes. And just as your diet affects your health, what your pets eat also influences their disease risk.

Morris Animal Foundation’s (MAF) founder, Dr. Mark Morris Sr., recognized the connection between health and nutrition in the early 1940s, long before diet and nutrition were everyday topics. In fact, he was one of the first veterinarians to use diet to control disease. His innovation led to nearly 100 Foundation-funded studies-so far-that have improved the dietary health and decreased disease risk for pets, horses and wildlife.

One of Dr. Morris’s first patients was Buddy, who was among the first guide dogs in the United States. Buddy suffered from kidney failure, and his owner, Morris Frank, then the national ambassador for the Seeing Eye, sought Dr. Morris’s advice. Dr. Morris created a special diet for Buddy that dramatically improved the dog’s health, and soon he and his wife, Louise, were canning the food in their kitchen. When they couldn’t keep up with escalating demand, they partnered with the Hill Packing Company to produce what later became the first Hill’s Prescription Diet.

Dr. Morris used the royalties from that diet to create MAF, and the first two studies MAF funded in 1950 looked at nutrition in cats and dogs. Since that time, hundreds of scientific animal research studies-funded by MAF and others-have proven what Dr. Morris suspected so long ago: nutrition and disease are inextricably linked.

“The role of health and nutrition has infiltrated the media-hardly a day goes by without a report on the latest research about how nutrition causes or prevents disease in people,” says Dr. Kathryn Michel, one of only 54 members of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. “As people become more educated about the importance of a good diet for themselves, they transfer that knowledge to their animals.”

Dr. Michel notes that insufficient nutrients in a pet’s diet can cause serious health conditions, such as orthopedic and neurological issues. She adds that veterinarians see cardiomyopathy in cats that is related to deficiency of the amino acid taurine as well as in dogs that don’t get the right amounts of essential amino acids. MAF has funded a number of studies that have looked at the role of amino acids in maintaining good health.

On the flip side, too much food can harm. Sadly, an estimated 30 to 40 percent of pets are overweight, and 25 percent are considered obese, according to the American Animal Hospital Association. Those extra pounds cause a host of additional health issues.

Dr. Joe Bartges, professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Tennessee and former chair of the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, says obesity is directly or indirectly linked to respiratory problems, diabetes, osteoarthritis, ligament tears, hypertension, urinary stones, surgical and anesthetic risks, heat intolerance and even cancer.

Perhaps most important, extra weight shortens lives. Results of a 14-year study, published recently in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, showed that Labrador retrievers fed 25 percent less than their siblings lived about 15 percent longer, and the age at which they required medical treatment for osteoarthritis or another chronic condition was delayed by two to three years. This study showed, for the first time, that even a few extra pounds have detrimental health effects. The good news is that proper nutrition can combat disease.

A recent Purdue University study showed that Scottish terriers given vegetables, such as baby carrots, at least three times a week had a 70 percent lower chance of developing bladder cancer. An MAF-funded study earlier this decade showed that a high-protein diet could help cats with diabetes lose weight and reduce or eliminate their need for insulin. Other studies MAF has funded linked nutritional factors to diseases in many species or determined the optimal levels of certain nutrients.

For example, Dr. Bartges is currently using Foundation funding to evaluate whether a high-fiber diet supplemented with potassium citrate can prevent the development of a painful type of urinary stone whose frequency is on the rise. Another study at the University of Minnesota is looking at whether cats with increased concentrations of purine metabolites are more likely to develop urate stones. The information would help to develop more effective therapies.

“There is absolutely no question that health is directly affected by diet, but we still have a huge amount to learn,” Dr. Michel says.

That’s why MAF will keep funding research that gives veterinarians and pet owners the information they need to make good nutritional decisions for their pets-and helps wild animals lead longer, healthier lives.

Can Babies in the Womb Feel Emotion

Four years ago a young woman brought her baby to Susan Mwangi of AMREF’s Kenya Disaster and Bomb Unit. The mother was worried because her child seemed abnormally scared by loud noises. Susan, who trained as a nurse and midwife, reassured her that this was normal for babies and sent her on her way. Shortly afterwards another of Susan’s patients remarked that her baby cried and clung to her all the time. Susan reassured this mother too and thought nothing more of it. But when the third mother came to her with concerns about her baby’s nervous disposition, Susan began to wonder if there was more to this than coincidence.

There was one common circumstance linking the babies. Susan ran a program of follow up care for 1,402 Kenyans who had been wounded by terrorists in the 1998 Nairobi bomb blast at the U.S. Embassy. Over a four-year period the Disaster and Bomb Unit coordinated the physical and psychological recovery of these survivors through a rehabilitation program that began in July 1999. The anxious mothers who had come to see Susan were all part of this group. Significantly, they had all been pregnant at the time of the bombing.

Typically, physical rehabilitation involved reconstructive surgery, hearing aids for those deafened by the blast, and fitting prosthetic eyes and limbs. The smoke and flying particles of cement and glass had caused extensive eye damage: over 200 people were prescribed glasses for damaged eyesight. The victims suffered extensively from trauma as well. They were counseled for post-traumatic stress, which commonly manifested itself through stress-related symptoms such as peptic ulcers, hypertension, panic attacks and hormone imbalances.

“If we hadn’t been there for them, none of these people would have received good quality care. Two thirds of the victims were manual laborers or had semi-skilled jobs. They were in no position to pay for medical treatment. In assisting the survivors, the program eased the psychological pain of the entire nation,” said Susan.

“Our concern and care instilled a positive attitude amongst the survivors that speeded up their recovery. We held discussion groups where they learned how to cope with and better understand their disabilities. They began to understand why they experienced continual stress. Our culture is not open to counseling so it was an important breakthrough.”

While the mothers had been treated for their own injuries and trauma, no one had thought to consider the effect of the bomb blast on the fetuses in their wombs. Thirty-seven of the bomb blast victims were pregnant at the time of the attack. -The African Medical and Research Foundation

A psychologist and a psychiatrist monitored the post-traumatic stress levels of both the children and their mothers to see if the mothers’ stress levels had a direct effect on their children. They measured three areas of stress manifestation in the mothers: re-experiencing the bomb blast, anxiety and avoidance of talking about the attack. The children were monitored for stress through behavior such as hyperactivity, potential for creativity, their attention spans and social or antisocial behavior. At the same time, a control study was conducted with a similar age group of children born to non-traumatized mothers.

Results showed that stress levels of the mothers were declining slowly with time. However, their children had very high levels of hyperactivity and depression and corresponding challenges in creativity, attention span and social behavior compared to those in the control group.

The tests imply that in-utero stress induced by war, domestic violence or disasters can adversely affect the fetus by impairing psychological development.

“A traumatic experience triggers adrenalin that throws you into a survival state of fight or flight. The physical effect is to cut short the blood supply to the womb,” explained Susan. “Our findings reinforce a theory that a pregnant mother’s emotional experiences can be passed on to the child she is carrying.”

How a Healthy Lifestyle Can Help Your Skin

Your skin is both tough and delicate, being sensitive to some things and able to stand up to others. For an organ this versatile, it makes sense that a diverse, healthy lifestyle is best for it. Here are some tips on how a healthy lifestyle can promote younger-looking skin.

1. Getting Enough Sleep

Getting at least eight hours of sleep a night is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, and the amount of rest you get (or don’t get) each night does, according to experts, affect your skin. Haggard, baggy skin and under-eye circles may result from a lack of sleep.

Also, night-time is when skin heals and repairs itself. Forcing your skin to keep going without that crucial repair time may result in tired, weak skin cells that look aged. Weak skin cells are also less resistant to stresses such as sun exposure.

2. Stress Reduction

Many people lead a healthy lifestyle in order to help reduce stress. That may include Yoga, Pilates, meditation, or other methods to achieve peace within. Many health experts and even religious leaders point out that inner peace is reflected outwardly in the face. Stress has been known to cause “worry lines” and an overall tired look on the face.

3. Exercise

Have you ever noticed your face being flushed after a workout? Regular exercise is a part of a healthy lifestyle, and it promotes circulation all over the body, including the skin. Circulation is how the body removes toxins and delivers oxygen, and that’s important for healthy, young-looking skin.

4. Nutrition

Good nutrition is another vital part of being healthy. Some vitamins are specifically good for the skin, such as vitamins A, C, D and E. Some forms of vitamin D are actually manufactured in the skin in response to moderate sun exposure.

Taking a supplement may be necessary for some people to get enough of these key vitamins. But those who practice a healthy lifestyle usually adopt a well-balanced diet that includes lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which work together to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Antioxidants and healthy fats and oils are also key components of a healthy lifestyle. Fish oil in the form of supplements or fatty fish (salmon, sardines and arctic char for example) provide some of these important fats that help strengthen cell membranes. Olive, canola, and flax oils are also important sources of healthy fats. Snacking on nuts and seeds is another way to get these key nutrients into your body and, ultimately, onto your skin.

Healthy Living by Following Healthy

Healthy eating tips are a requirement in a healthy lifestyle that is structured around a well-balanced proper diet. These strategies can help you become one step closer to living this healthy lifestyle. Healthy living requires a life-long commitment so these tips will make the transition of unhealthy behaviors into healthy behaviors easier. Gradual changes can lead to success on your goals for living and promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy eating tips should encompass your whole diet. To ensure adequate protein, choosing lean meat for each meal should be paramount.

Eating protein can help satisfy hunger and you will be less likely to overeat. The most common mistake that people make that you need to watch out for is portion size. A normal protein serving should only be three to four ounces.

Fruits and vegetables are very important in a well-balanced diet. Eating five to ten servings a day of fruits and vegetables will help you follow the daily requirements for vitamins and minerals, not to mention the other beneficial properties in providing key nutrients to maintain adequate body functioning. The benefits of adequate intake of fruits and vegetables are endless.

Nuts and seeds should be utilized as healthy snacks. They provide protein and can help lower cholesterol in the bloodstream.

One of the most important healthy eating tips to follow is eating foods that are all natural. Preservatives are unhealthy and have been linked to certain cancers. When you do your shopping, shop the perimeters of the store. This is where the meat, dairy, and produce are located. You’ll be less likely to buy “junk food”.

Healthy eating is much easier when you plan your meals. It also makes shopping easier when you have to take fewer trips to the store. By planning meals, you are able to stick with a healthier, well-balanced diet. There is not any guesswork when it comes to your meals and what you are going to eat.

These are only a few healthy eating tips. When you follow these tips, you will be on the fast track to a healthier lifestyle and a healthier body. With the benefits of a nutritionally sound plan to maintain a life-long commitment in adequate diet, you will reap the benefits for years to come.

Healthy Living Tips on a Budget

LIFESTYLE TIPS

The basics of a healthy lifestyle are fairly simple in principle, but tough to attain in practice for many of us. Any improvement you can make in this area will have a positive impact on your overall health.

These are all things you’ve heard before and you may roll your eyes as you read it, but if you are serious about making change in your life, you will realize it’s time to start here.

  1. EXERCISE

We all know that we should exercise. Many of us don’t – including me several years ago. I was relatively young, healthy, thin, active and far too tired after a long day. Then I got cancer. For the first time I considered exercise a critical component of healthy living. It helps all the bodily functions operate at peak performance, which supports a strong immune system that helps ward off illnesses.

You don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment. Cardio exercise is free if you walk or run – and even more enjoyable if you do it with a partner. Many of us already have bicycles sitting in the garage that we can dust off to ride. I like to zone out in front of the TV while I exercise and I use a $30 trampoline – my typical routine involves running in place during a TV show and doing jumping jacks or twists during the commercials.

Any good routine also contains strength or core exercises. Simple things like a few push-ups, sit-ups, or crunches fit the bill. I love Pilates – the exercises can suit a beginner and still provide a vigorous workout for experts. My cable TV has an Exercise on Demand feature that allows me to try a variety of exercise routines from the comfort of my own home and at any time that is convenient for me.

The best exercise is the one you are most likely to keep doing, so find what works best for you and just do it.

  1. SLEEP

I touched on sleep briefly in a previous segment and I’m covering it here again because it’s one of the basics that is too often overlooked.

The body cannot function properly when it doesn’t have the opportunity to rejuvenate for at least 6 hours each night. We all have times when we get too little sleep, like when raising a newborn baby, but as a routine practice, one should not overlook the importance of sleep.

When deciding your priorities each day, it’s easiest to forego sleep. But that’s not a smart long-term strategy. If you regularly sacrifice sleep, you should re-think your priorities if you are serious about your health.

  1. STRESS REDUCTION

If you thought the other lifestyle changes were hard, wait till you get to this one! Our lives are full of stress. In fact, some of us thrive on it. But chronic stress is terrible for our health and if we are serious about our well-being, we need to find ways to manage it.

There are many stress-reduction techniques. As with exercise, the most effective method is the one you will actually use, so take some time to find out which work the best for you. Following are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Deep Breathing
  • Keep a diary
  • Join a support group
  • Read
  • Soak in the bathtub
  • Meet with friends
  • Take up a hobby
  • Surround yourself with positive people and keep others at arm’s length
  • Accept the fact that you can’t fix everything, including other people
  • LET GO of past hurts
  • Do not let people take advantage of you
  • Change jobs

I was fortunate to be able to change jobs to get myself out of a situation causing me detrimental chronic stress. It was not an easy decision and impacted our finances. We’re all faced with choices and the decisions that we make will either help or hurt our health and well-being. I hope you choose the healthier options, even if they are tough.