Skating Uphill - February 2019

Living a Healthy Lifestyle

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“Yes, we are renaming February.
Better, upward, and onward!”
– The Uphill Skater –

Rewriting history, renaming things, redoing old furniture, and so on is on trend in 2019, and I don’t want us to be left out. As such, please join me in renaming February: Checkup Month.

All the magazines and TV shows have featured reorganizing and resolutions in January, and we have all been there, done that, and we’re ready to roll, right? Perhaps, not quite. Therefore, let’s make February a time to do a genuine checkup of ourselves. I don’t mean one of those personality inventories we did in January to find out who we really are; I mean an honest and self-caring health checkup/check out of our personal well-being. This is pretty heavy—and important— stuff to think about it.

How long has it been since having a complete physical, including blood work? I bet it has been more than a year, and you are supposed to go yearly. Have you been checked for pre-diabetic symptoms? Do you know your family risks for heart attack, cancer, and high blood pressure? Have you had your eyes checked? Do you know the new blood pressure guidelines?

I did not know this, but my doctor told me recently that around the age of 50 or so women’s risk for heart disease begins to match the rate of men. I found that quite surprising. Do you know any symptoms? Some of them are unusual tiredness, shortness of breath, and painful breathing. Also, women suffering heart attacks have different symptoms than men. One example is women tend to feel pain in the shoulders, neck, jaw and upper back and arms, rather than the sharp chest pain common in men suffering heart attacks. There are several more symptoms that are different. (Learn more at the Hilton Head Hospital Go Red for Heart Pink Partini on Wednesday, February 13 at Ruby Lee’s South.)

As most of you know, I have had weight issues for a long time and have been on MANY diets. I also shared I no longer go on diets but look for healthy eating plans. Also, I no longer go to the gym, but attend the wellness center. Now, in addition to these ridiculous, in my humble opinion, vocabulary changes, there comes something that actually makes sense. The term goal weight, which is that illusive number that keeps appearing and disappearing on us, is now passé.  The new term, and might I tell you I just love it, is healthy sustainable weight: A weight span agreed upon by you and your doctor that you can maintain with a regular exercise program and a pattern of healthy eating. Generally, the range is about five pounds, and this is determined by how you feel about yourself, certain health factors, and test results. It is not just a weight you pick out, or a size you wore in high school, but a real, attainable and sustainable weight. This is a positive idea and makes a ton of sense. What do you think?

This is my final suggestion for Checkup Month: Doctors, scientists and test results all say that a huge factor in good health is happiness. A sense of general well-being and purpose can genuinely make you healthier! Find something to do you enjoy. Be with people you like, or if you would rather, be alone. Advice for feeling better, often encourages people to get “out there” and socialize. I do not think this is true for everyone; if you need time by yourself and are not the party type, that is certainly the way you are going to feel your best, isn’t it? I like to volunteer, and I do so at a local thrift store several times a month. The thrift shop benefits a home for elderly women, who have no place else to go. This work makes me feel great. I sell, stock, mop the floor, clean the glass cases, and generally do whatever is needed. I’ve read people who volunteer about four hours a week are 40 percent less likely to develop high blood pressure. Hey, I will take that, for sure!

Finally, checkup on and check out your faith life. Do a good deed, call someone shut in, take a friend to the doctor’s office, drop off a fruit salad for a sick friend.  Last—but surely not least—say a prayer for someone or something. Some days our earth can really use some prayers! Love, Judith

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