Healthy Ways

I was in the drugstore the other day and had to kill some time while my mom did a little shopping. I decided to go check out the magazines and there it was … it caught my eye right away: A headline that seemed too good to be true shouted “Take 10 Years Off Your Body.”

Although I know that only exercise and healthy eating are the natural ways to keep those extra years from being too obvious, I was still curious. Could there be a way to look like I am only 35? You know, 10 years younger than my current age. … Of course I am dreaming – I’ve confessed before that I am 56 and proud of it, but who wouldn’t like to look like they were only 35?

So, I decided to pick up that magazine and check it out. But what caught my eye next was even more interesting. Right below the headline touting how you can look 10 years younger was another headline: “America’s Best Pies.” I wondered what they were trying to tell me, that if their ideas about taking 10 years off your body did not work for me I could just whip up a few delicious pies and that would make me feel better?

I guess the magazine editors, in all their wisdom, were just giving us women what we wanted- to have a great body, and to have our “pie” and eat it, too! I decided to check out both articles, in the spirit of good investigative journalism!

My first move was to look at the article on how I magically would look younger. To my pleasant surprise it was excellent. No hocus pocus, no gimmicks, just some great information on the fact that there really is NO magic fountain of youth and that exercise is the closest thing that scientists have found to slow the natural aging process. From outlining aerobic exercise to strength training to stretching, it gave some great tips that we could all use. And yes, don’t we all know that these things are good for us? But sometimes we must hear something over and over before it finally sinks in or we are finally ready to put that exercise plan into motion.

Now you might wonder, how was the article on “America’s Best Pies”? I must say the pictures were very good and the pies looked just yummy. But, you know you are in trouble when they do NOT list the calories and fat grams per serving. Sort of scary, like when they don’t list the price on a menu at an upscale restaurant.

The good news is that I have never been much of a pie maker and I wasn’t really tempted. The only time I think I ever made a pie from scratch was when I was a young mother and had two small children and no car to go to the store. We had this brainy idea that I would get the older one to go out in the back yard and collect apples after I threw a basketball – several times – at the apple tree located next to our back deck. Well, the kids laughed and laughed and it took us forever to collect enough apples. We did make a big apple pie and I don’t think it was really very good, but they had such a good time in the process that no one complained!

I don’t have any apple trees in my back yard anymore, and I won’t be baking any of the pies found in the magazine!

But, I do love to read magazines and after checking several of them out I came to the conclusion that magazine editors are marketing to us women who need to lose weight and like to eat! Just check out some of the titles of different articles:

“Four Week Ab Makeover”

“Great Thanksgiving Recipes”

“New Weight Loss Laws”

“The New Dessert Diet”

So, whether your goal is to lose weight, flatten that belly, make great pies, cook the best Thanksgiving dinner ever, or just look younger, you can probably find an article that fits your need. Just remember that if they say they have an easy fix for your health or wellness issues, it probably IS too good to be true.

Mary Velez is director of Employee Wellness and Volunteer Services at Ohio Valley Medical Center and East Ohio Regional Hospital. She obtained a master’s degree from West Virginia University in community health education. She has a bachelor’s degree from West Liberty State College in physical education and special education. Sehe taught school for nine years.

Healthy Ways

One of the most common questions parents of preschoolers ask us concerns behavior.

While there are many different types of behavior therapy for this age group, they all have a common goal: to change the child’s physical and social environments to help them improve their behavior.

Although no approach works for all children, here are some general tips that many parents find useful.

Set specific goals: Concentrate your effots in one area at a time. Don’t try to fix everything at once.

Provide rewards and punishments: Give specific rewards for appropriate behavior and provide some form of punishment for bad behavior.

Keep the child on a daily schedule: All children do better if there is an established routine. Try to keep the time your child wakes up, eats, goes to daycare, comes home and goes to bed the same.

Cut down on distractions: Keep TV viewing, loud music, etc. to a minimum and off during mealtime.

Organize your house: If your child has specific places for his or her toys, clothes, etc., he or she will be less likely to lose them.

Set small goals: Aim for slow progress rather than instant results. Be sure that your child understands that he or she can take small steps toward learning better control. Take it slow.

Limit choices: You can help your child learn to make good choices by giving only two or three options at a time.

Find activities at which your child can succeed: All kids need to experience success to feel good about themselves.

Use calm discipline: Use consequences such as time out, removing them from a particular place, situation or distraction.

Sometimes it is best to simply ignore the behavior if the child is not in danger. Physical punishment is usually not helpful. Discuss undesirable behavior with your child when you both are calm.

Many parents are concerned that their toddler’s inappropriate behavior may lead to attention-deficit/hyperactivitiy disorder when they start school.

It is true that during ADHD evaluations, the history sometimes reveals behavior problems early in childhood, but this is true in only a small percentage of children.

Every child is different and often behavior is related to environment.

They are just exploring and learning what is expected of them. They still need close supervision and direction. Your neighborhood library has books that discuss children’s behavior in more detail.

While some children’s behavior may need intervention by a child psychologist, your primary care provider will be able to offer some guidelines that help.

Be sure to discuss your concerns with the child’s physician.

And remember, take it slow when introducing strategies to improve your child’s behavior.

Larry R. Darrah is a certified pediatric nurse practitioner for Wheeling Hospital’s Center for Pediatrics in Martins Ferry, under the direction of Dr. Judy Romano.

Healthy Ways

Autumn is here! The weather and leaves are changing. As the seasons change, so do our exercise needs. As we may have enjoyed our fitness outdoors over the summer, many of us begin to relocate to the warmth of our indoor fitness facilities and gaze out the windows at the cooler temperatures outside.

However, there is a way to enjoy these few weeks of fall in the outdoors while incorporating some fun fitness activities. One of the best ways to appreciate our changing seasons is by going for a hike.

Hiking can be done almost anywhere by almost any fitness level. It is fun, good for the heart and lungs, stress relieving and can burn quite a few calories. A moderate hike in cooler temperatures can burn more than 200 calories an hour depending on the level of exertion. Your hike can be as simple as a 30-minute walk through the woods to be extremely beneficial. However, there are all kinds of variations to add and get an even better workout during your hike.

You can make your hike as creative and enjoyable as you like; however, I will add my recommendations to get started.

Hiking is generally considered a cardiovascular exercise, but adding in a few sets of interval training can give you the added benefit of strength and muscle conditioning. Building muscle also adds to the number of calories burned during the workout.

Interval training is simply varying your hike by adding a few minutes of weight-bearing activity between periods of walking. The beauty of the interval is that you need no equipment, only your body weight.

Here’s how to start: Begin your hike with a warmup of slow to moderate walking for approximately five minutes. Gradually build your speed to a moderate pace. (I highly recommend wearing a heart rate monitor, stopwatch or pedometer to track your progress.) The first interval will be for the legs. After about 10 minutes of hiking, add 30-60 seconds of leg lunges as you continue moving forward. Stop and add 30-60 seconds of squats while standing in place. Then find something to hold your balance (a tree works well) and add 30-60 seconds of calf raises.

Continue your hike at a moderate pace for approximately 10-15 minutes.

The second interval will be for the chest, back and arms. Ideally, a tree or park bench works best for this interval, but in a pinch, drop to the ground. Add 10 pushups, pushing against a tree with the arms and legs about 3 feet away. If using a park bench, place the hands on the bench with feet extended as far away as possible. Lower the upper body toward the bench and press away with the arms. If dropping to the ground, pushups can be done with the knees down or make it more challenging by keeping the knees off the ground.

Continue your hike at a moderate pace for approximately 10-15 minutes.

The third interval is for the abdominal muscles (core muscles). Again, a park bench works best; however, this exercise can be done on the ground. If using a bench, lay flat on the bench on your back with legs lifted to the sky. Slowly lower the legs while holding the abdominal muscles tight. Continue lowering legs until they are parallel to the ground, and then slowly begin to raise legs back toward the sky. Repeat this exercise 10-12 times.

Continue your hike for 10-15 minutes at a moderate pace.

Be sure to incorporate deep breathing throughout your workout to calm the body and increase lung capacity. Also, don’t forget to pack a bottle of water to keep the body hydrated.

Toward the end of the hike, be sure to spend 5-10 minutes walking at a slower pace. This will work to slow down the heart rate.

Also, spend a few moments stretching the body. Easy stretching will keep you from becoming too sore from the intervals and will keep your muscles warm.

This interval hike will give you a good 60- to 70-minute workout while burning as many as 300 calories and building strength and muscle tone. Interval training also helps to get you in shape faster because it challenges the body to adapt quickly to utilizing muscles in a new way.

In addition to the fitness benefits of interval hiking, you will gain stress relief and calmness while enjoying the beautiful changing seasons.

Carrie J. White has 25 years of experience in the health and fitness industry as a club owner, manager and personal fitness trainer. She is a consultant in fitness club liability and risk management and is associate professor of the business administration in the College of Business at West Liberty University.

Healthy Ways

From a reader’s e-mail:

Dr. Velez: Last month’s visit to my dentist’s office for cleaning, exam and x-rays indicated everything was in good shape. However, for the past two weeks I have been experiencing sensitive teeth and pain in the upper left cheekbone area. Please explain to me the cause of this pain even though no cavities where found. – LB.

Dear L.B.: First, you might want to schedule an appointment with your dentist to identify the source of your current signs and symptoms. Secondly, not having clinically examined you and not being able to review your X-rays and medical/dental histories, I can only provide a causal explanation based on personal treatment of similar cases.

Occasionally, I’ll see a patient with facial pain on one side or the other. The diagnosis is usually straightforward when the examination reveals a severely decayed or fractured tooth with some other underlying conditions. However, facial pain can also occur for dental and/or medical reasons involving any area in the face.

Most causes of facial pain are not life threatening, but a few are serious. Two medical conditions that come to mind are trigeminal neuralgia, a type of nerve pain that occurs without known reasons, and temporal arteritis, an autoimmune condition of the facial blood vessels that can lead to blindness if not treated. These conditions require medical attention and can be managed with surgery and medication.

The facial pain you describe probably involves dental and medical causes that are sometimes involving many factors confined within a limited anatomical area. For example, the facial pain in the upper left side and teeth sensitivity could be caused by a combination of sinus infection, a clenching and grinding habit, possible wisdom tooth impaction, and temporamandibular joint dysfunction.

The cause of your pain can be partially explained by the delicate balance between anatomy and the state of health. Chronic sinusitis is a good example of the tipping point of this delicate balance.

For example, the root tips of our upper teeth lie just below the cheek sinuses. Bacteria, viruses or allergies can cause inflammation that can lead to a severe sinus infection with pressure.

As the infection intensifies, the pressure from the sinus wall presses down against the root tips. This increased pressure on the teeth is erroneously interpreted by the brain as a tooth abscess which then triggers a pain response.

Treatment, if the sinus infection is the only culprit, consisting of taking an over-the-counter antihistamine/decongestant, an analgesic for pain and application of warm moist towels to the area should provide relief.

A tooth clenching and grinding habit (bruxism) could also be contributing to your pain and sensitivity. Keep in mind that stress, anxiety and chronic sleep disorders are linked to bruxism. These underlying conditions should be medically diagnosed and treated.

Sensitivity associated with a group of teeth, without evidence of decay or fractured fillings, is an indication of trauma caused by bruxism. Pain to touch indicates damage to the bone and soft tissue around the root tips; pain and sensitivity to cold, warm or sweets indicates the presence of micro enamel cracks.

To further complicate matters, excessive clenching can also cause facial muscle spasms which could lead to greater localized pain.

The temporary use of over-the-counter bite guards is acceptable to keep the bite separated, allowing muscle relaxation. For sensitive teeth, the use of specially formulated desensitizing toothpaste can be applied for a week or two with good results.

However, the diagnosis and treatment for bruxism should be under the supervision and care of a dentist.

In addition to the pain caused by a sinus condition and bruxism, your facial pain could also be exacerbated by the presence of an impacted wisdom tooth.

An impacted tooth is a condition caused when the tooth does not erupt completely, but rather remains totally or partially within the jaw bone. In this case, the impacted tooth could be in a slanted positioned pushing up against the root of the adjacent tooth. Normally, this scenario results in pressure and pain.

Manny Velez received a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from West Virginia University School of Dentistry in 1983 and is in private practice in Wheeling. He was also professor of oral medicine for 15 years in the Department of Health Sciences, West Liberty State College.