Tag Archives: women’s health

The Road Ahead:  How I Stopped Making Excuses and Learned To Love, er, Like Running

Run.

I have a confession to make: I like running.

Not the most earth shattering admission, to be sure, but for me this is mind blowing.  You see, for most of my adult life I have had a love/hate relationship with this type of exercise and by that I mean mostly a hate relationship.  I have started running many times over the years, only to stop over and over for reasons ranging from tendonitis to a lack of time.  I have also invested in countless pairs of specialized shoes, fancy leggings, supportive bras and sweat-wicking socks.  Each of these also was a “culprit” for quitting.  The shoes just didn’t work with my plantar fasciitis, the leggings were too hot, the socks bunched up and the bras weren’t supportive enough.  You get the idea.

So what’s different this time, you ask?  I’ve been trying to figure that one out.  For starters, this past year I’ve packed on some unwanted pounds without changing much about my diet or lifestyle.  I’ve also been feeling sluggish and irritable and definitely not my usual perky self.  Added to all this is a general malaise and a desire for more challenge in my life.  I definitely want to recapture my energy and enthusiasm.  And while there is so much we can’t control, we can definitely control our exercise.  So off I went in search of some new physical challenge.

First in my quest was a personal trainer at the YMCA and a program of weight lifting and cardio, along with my regular Pilates regimen.  All went well for a couple of months and I really loved how my body was changing and becoming more toned and defined.  But one morning I awoke with neck pain so severe I could not move my head.  This continued for a couple of months and even with a lighter weight load, the pain and stiffness persisted.  So I stopped the weight training.

I have several friends who are runners and I began quizzing them on why they like it and how they train.  One friend calls running an “efficient” form of exercise.  She can accomplish some high level problem solving and planning while she runs.  Another runs so she can enjoy a foodie lifestyle with her husband.  Another just likes to sweat.  My weight trainer is also a runner and she didn’t start until after she turned 40.  She was my best cheerleader and encouraged me to just get out there and set small goals.

Once again, I invested in some great shoes, fancy leggings and a supportive bra and, joined by my new puppy Bentley, off I started.  The area around my house is very hilly and not much fun so after several weeks of hell, I headed to the local greenway, a flat nature trail that goes for miles.  The first day I decided to just run without tracking my speed or distance.  And I’m not going to lie, for the first 20 minutes or so I kept thinking of excuses to stop.  But I focused my gaze on the road ahead and kept going, Bentley at my side.  I’m not sure how far I ran that day before turning around and walking the last bit, but when I finished I felt great!  It was still hot and humid, but the feeling of accomplishment, of pushing myself to my limit, was exhilarating!

I’m now a couple of months into this running experiment and I have been tracking my speed and distance.  I’ve worked up to running 5 miles at a fairly good clip.  I’ve participated in two races, a 5K where I had my personal best time and a 5-mile where I ran and walked with my daughter.  I’ve lost weight, I sleep more soundly, I have found my energy and I feel like myself again.  I still spend the first mile or so thinking up reasons to stop, but so far I have been successful in keeping my gaze fixed on the road ahead, setting small goals to stay motivated and finishing what I started.  Efficient, challenging, good cardio; Sounds like life.

I really like running!

About Barbara Dab:

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She currently hosts two radio shows locally in Nashville, TN. Check out her website athttp://www.zoneabouttown.com.

Barbara is also creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation. Check it out at http://www.theperetzproject.com If you, or someone you know, is the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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Health Savvy: Don’t Forget the Easy Things!

Female Doctor 2

 

 

 

 

You know the regimen of taking care of yourself: each day you avoid processed foods, eat modestly, enjoying fresh fruits, vegetables and fish or lean meats; you get your body moving at least 30 minutes 5 days a week; you watch your blood pressure and risk of diabetes; you get your mammograms, colonoscopies and Pap smears; you get a good night’s sleep each night and make sure your family does, too. Right. Creating the conditions for your health to thrive is practically a full time job.

What if there was something easy you could do that requires just a few minutes once a year? What if you could lower the chances of debilitating and life-threatening diseases without a second thought? What if insurance would likely foot the bill? As a specialist in preventive medicine and public health, I remind people daily of one of the easiest and most under-appreciated ways to stay healthy as we age: immunization.  Below are listed a few vaccines routinely recommended for all adult women (and men) at different points in life. For more details, you can visit www.vaccineinformation.org or www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults

  1. Every woman, every year: Influenza (flu) vaccine. The only reliable way to cut your chances of catching the flu each season. How well it works depends on the season and on your immune system, but it’s inexpensive and widely available, so why not? It comes as a nasal spray, a short under-the-skin injection or a traditional injection: get whatever is convenient and appropriate for you. You cannot afford to get sick and spend a week in bed, or worse, so make this part of your annual self-care regimen. For efficiency, get any other vaccines you need at the same time.
  2. Every woman: Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster (“Tdap”). We all need a vaccine against tetanus and diphtheria every 10 years. If you haven’t had a Tdap yet, don’t wait 10 years…go ahead and get it now. It provides added protection against pertussis, or whooping cough, which has been on the rise in recent years because (regrettably) neither vaccine nor illness provides long lasting immunity. It causes a miserable cough illness that lasts weeks in adults and life-threatening illness in newborns.
  3. Speaking of newborns…All pregnant women should get 2 vaccines during every pregnancy: flu vaccine and Tdap. Influenza during pregnancy can be especially severe, and newborns can catch deadly pertussis from mom or others. By vaccinating during pregnancy, mom’s body shares her protective antibodies with her unborn child, helping protect baby in the earliest weeks of life.
  4. All women through 26 years: Human Papillomavirus vaccine (HPV). This vaccine prevents infection with strains of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancer and other types of cancers in men and women. It’s routinely given to preteens, but this vaccine is essential cancer prevention for any woman under 27 who hasn’t had it yet.
  5. All women 60 and up: Shingles (zoster) vaccine. Anyone who has had chickenpox can come down with shingles, a painful rash that develops from reactivation of the chickenpox virus inside a nerve. If you are 60 or older, your chances of coming down with it are 1 in 3. The shingles vaccine, given just once to everyone over 60, can cut that to 1 in 6. If you do get shingles anyway, you’ll be much less likely to experience the debilitating pain some sufferers endure for months.
  6. All women 65 and up (and some earlier): pneumococcal vaccine. The “pneumonia shot” is recommended once after turning 65, but watch this space! New recommendations for additional protection may be coming very soon.

This list just hits the highlights of routine vaccines. You may need others because of your health. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires your insurance plan to charge no deductible or co-pay if you receive them from an in-network provider. Coverage is a bit more complicated under Medicare, TennCare and “grandfathered” plans not yet subject to ACA. Ask your healthcare provider, insurance plan or pharmacist to see what your benefits are. The savvy woman doesn’t pass up the chance to optimize her health.

About Kelly L. Moore, MD, MPH

Dr. Moore is a public health physician, with a specialty in preventive medicine, who works to minimize the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases.

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