Daryl Hopkins, Minister of Recreation, offers Health Tips in the Taylors Rec monthly email.  Subscribe here.

Daryl is a minister and a specialist in the field of sports and fitness. His credentials include BS, MDiv, National Academy of Sports Medicine(NASM): Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist and Sports Performance Trainer.

Mistletoe and Moderation

Want to have a healthier holiday season?
Think: mistletoe and moderation.

Mistletoe legends go back millennia. The most popular legends deal with mistletoe as an agent of love and reconciliation. Want to have a healthier heart this season and all seasons? Demonstrate love and forgiveness on a daily basis.

Moderation. Do not set yourself up for failure with unrealistic goals for food during the holidays. Instead of saying, “I will not eat or drink any carbs, fats, sweets, fried foods, etc.” say “I will be moderate in everything I do eat or drink”.

Do these two things and your soul and your body will have a healthier holiday

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Faith and Health

Rob Moll, writing in RELEVANT Magazine, cited current research from Duke University and other notable research centers studying the relationship between the active practice of faith i.e. going to church, prayer, Bible reading etc. and its effect on health.

Some benefits from doing these things include:

  1. Lower blood pressure.
  2. Increased immune system function.
  3. Helping to stave off some effects of mental illness.
  4. Helping to encourage healthy behavior and attitudes.
  5. Reduced stress.
  6. Giving people a sense of meaning and purpose in life which is linked to a better life.
  7. Being a part of a faith community improves emotional health.
  8. Helping others improves life satisfaction.
  9. An openness to God’s ability to miraculously intervene in our life increases our ability to hope and thus improve our health.

One survey stated the three-fourths of Americans believe that prayer can heal and the same number of doctors believe in miraculous healing.

Research continues to validate the positive relationship between a strong faith and better health.

Ephesians 6:10 (NIV) – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

Moll, R. (2014). The Surprising Link Between Faith and Health. RELEVANT Magazine.

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Hydration

We all have a general knowledge of the need to stay hydrated. There are a number of formulas for the proper hydration amount needed. The one I use is half my body weight in ounces of water per day.
However, most of us do not pay a lot of attention to hydration, especially if we are mostly indoors or not involved in strenuous exercises that make us sweat.
We fail to realize that if we spend most of our time in an air conditioned or heated environment, our body fluids constantly diminish. We may think that because we do not feel thirsty or our mouth and lips are not dry, we are ok. This is NOT accurate.
Some of the benefits of proper hydration are:
1. Maximized physical performance.
2. Increased muscle and nerve function which also includes balance.
3. Increased energy levels and brain function.
4. Possible prevention and treatment of headaches.
5. A better functioning gastrointestinal system.
6. Improved kidney function which may help with kidney stones.
7. Improved sleep.
There are many more benefits of proper hydration and hopefully, this short list will help you explore how proper hydration can be a benefit to you.

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O,A,B,AB

Do these letters seem familiar? Maybe? Maybe not?

They are our blood types.

Years ago Dr. Peter d’Adamo wrote a book entitled “Eat Right 4 Your Type”. Due to the popularity of this book it has been recently revised and updated.

In this book Dr. d’Adamo proposes a diet/nutrition plan based on your blood type.

Different blood types are predominant in various parts of the globe.

Dr. d’Adamo believes that our bodies will function best when we eat foods native to the areas of our blood type origin.

To learn more or purchase the book go to www.dadamo.com

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Go Nuts This Summer!

You may or may not be a “nutty” person, but either way, here are five nuts you need to get acquainted with.

Walnuts have anti-inflammatory and probiotic properties. They also increase blood flow to the colon and reduce blood pH.

Almonds promote healthy bacteria in the gut and also have anti-inflammatory properties particularly helpful in relation to type II diabetes and heart disease.

Brazil nuts help boost brain performance and cognitive function. They also help lower LDL and raise HDL.

Pistachio help to improve blood pressure, decrease fasting blood sugar, and enhance insulin metabolism.

Pecans help with minimizing plaque build-up in arteries.

Excerpted from “Advance Wellness Newsletter” by Dr. David Blyweiss, M.D., May 2018

I hope you have a healthy summer!

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Watermelon

Nothing says summer in the South better than watermelon! The crisp, sweet, juiciness of a fresh watermelon is hard to beat.

But did you know that watermelon is a powerhouse of health?

Some health benefits are:

  1. Lycopene for stronger heart and bones
  2. Antioxidants
  3. Beta carotene as an antioxidant for skin and eye health
  4. Vitamin A for increased immunity
  5. Improved digestive health
  6. And many more!

As you enjoy your next scrumptious bite of watermelon, you can delight not only in its flavor, but all of its benefits.

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Think About It

Last month I wrote about “Want to Want to,” an article about wanting to have a heartfelt desire for better health.

We live in a world of feeling and impulse. Bettering our health is about lifestyle and/or discipline.

The question is “How do I get from one to the other?”

The answer is in the first part of Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinks within himself, so is he.” Another translation says, “As a man thinks, in his heart so is he.” Either translation points to the truth that it is our thoughts that change our heart (desire). Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote:

Sow a thought, reap an action.

Sow an action, reap a habit.

Sow a habit, reap a character.

Sow a character, reap a destiny.

Thought – “I need to take better care of myself.”

Action – “I will begin today to do something for my health.”

Habit – “I will put on my personal calendar what I will do every day for the next six weeks which will create a habit.”

Destiny – “Whatever life has in store for me, I will be better able to deal with it successfully.”

Thoughts:

  1. Set realistic goals. Pounds lost, increasing walking distance, better fit of clothes, number of workouts per week, etc.
  2. Celebrate your successes.
  3. 11th Commandment (mine) – Thou shalt not compare yourself to others.
  4. Forgive yourself when you blow it and then move on.

As you progress you will remember more of your successes than failures. Your cravings for unhealthy things will diminish and your desire for better lifestyle habits will grow. Soon, you will have a better ability to be and to do what God desires you to be and to do.

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Want to Want to

This past October I met a man at our basketball league registration who was representing another church. I spoke to him as he came in Taylors Rec Center and he asked, “Do you remember me?”

I said, “no.” He smilingly asked, “Are you sure?” To which I replied that I was pretty sure.

He then asked me if I remembered a man coming to me about five years earlier who had been recommended to him by a friend who thought I could help him lose weight. At the time he was thirty-three years old and weighed over 450 pounds (He could not find a scale that would go higher). I offered to meet with him daily for a year and we would work on the weight together. I never heard from him again.

…until last October. The reason I didn’t recognize him was because he now weighs 220 pounds. I asked him to tell me how. During our first conversation we talked about prayer and weight loss. I told him that people often say to God, “I want to lose weight.” But in reality that is not accurate.

For most people, a more accurate prayer would be “God I want to want to lose weight but I am not there yet.” He told me that after he broke off contact with me, he undertook his own self-improvement plan. He began to exercise, continued to pray “I want to lose weight” and nothing happened. This went on for months. One day as he frustratingly prayed, “I want to lose weight” God spoke to him with the thought, “That’s not true. If you really wanted to lose weight you would do what it takes.” He thought about it and agreed. He was willing to do some things but not all the things he needed to do to lose weight.

He, in his heart of hearts, did not want to do what was necessary. From that point on he prayed “God, I want to want to do what I need to do to lose weight but I don’t have the will or discipline. Help me to let you change my desires.” From that point on Philippians 2:13 became his strength, “…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

Perhaps as you consider some changes in your lifestyle this prayer is appropriate for you.

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Walk This Way

For those who walk and those who are thinking about starting a walking routine, here are some ways to add diversity to your walk and improve your strength, flexibility and stability at the same time.

  • Power Walk – Walk with a weight in each hand and raise your hand above heart level as you stride. Improves cardio-vascular strength and shoulder strength.
  • Lunges – Pick a short section of the course you walk. When you get to that section, with each step you take squat down as far as you can until you have gone through the selected section. Strengthens thighs, knees, hips, and lower back.
  • Side Step – Pick a section of your course or determine how many steps you want to take and simply walk sideways. Make sure to use both legs as the lead leg.
  • Walk on an uneven surface such as a park, nature trail, etc. Walking on uneven surfaces challenges your sense of balance and strengthens it. It also strengthens your ankles and helps prevent falling.

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Soup-er Fitness

Most of us are constantly going to or through our kitchens. While you are there, why not take a few minutes to do some “soup-er” exercise.
Take a can of soup (or any other identical foods) in each hand then do the following:

  • Circles – extend your arms to the side at shoulder height. Do front and back circles, small at first then larger as you feel looser. Do 10 each way.
  • Side lift – hold arms at your side and lift sideways to shoulder height 10 times. Go slow returning to the starting point.
  • Overhead – start with your elbows bent and the cans at shoulder height. Together or separate, extend your arms directly overhead as far as possible. Repeat 10 times.
  • Horizontal – starting with the cans in front of your chest push forward (like a boxer punching) and back 10 times each arm.
  • These “soup-er” exercises will add stability, flexibility and strength to your shoulders. Try to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise every day.It truly only takes a few minutes and your shoulders will thank you.

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Take Note

Want to maintain or sharpen your memory? Write a note.

Typing notes enables you to jot down more material, but you are more likely to remember them if you write them. According to Indiana University’s Dr. Towfigh, “To learn something means to have processed it. And when you make handwritten notes, you ‘process,’ learn or remember more information.”

I have sticky pads, notebooks and note pads everywhere – home study, kitchen, office, truck and shed. When someone or something pops into my head, I write it down. This step locks it into my head until I can act on it. If I forget, the note reminds me. It’s a win-win.

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More is Less

A snack is generally considered 250 calories or less. Therefore, we think that 100 calorie snack packs and other low calorie snack items can be acceptable as part of a nutrition improvement plan.

Regrettably, because these types of snacks are made up of highly processed carbohydrates and sugars, they will make you hungrier sooner because they are so quickly absorbed by the body. Therefore, you will get hungrier more frequently and you will reach for the snacks more often thereby increasing your total daily calorie count, not decreasing it.

At snack time always have something with protein in it because this choice keeps your hunger at bay longer. Examples include nuts, peanut butter with an apple or other fruit, jerky, etc. You may take in more calories initially, but less over the course of the day.

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Works for Me

Years ago while leading a youth wilderness backpacking trip, I came down with a severe case of bronchitis while out in the boondocks. I came across an old man collecting herbs to sell and he suggested I try apple cider vinegar the next time I felt like I was coming down with something.

I had always been plagued by spring and fall allergies which turned to bronchitis, which were starting to turn to pneumonia.

So, the next time I felt flushed, with scratchy throat and coughing, I tried what the man said: two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in 6-8 ounces of water with a teaspoon of honey. I took it morning and night until the symptoms ended, usually only a day or two.

It still works for me to this day.

For other benefits, search the internet for “benefits of apple cider vinegar.” You will be amazed.

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Water

Water, Water, Water! It is generally recommended that we drink in ounces daily, half our body weight in pounds. For example if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water each day. For beneficial reasons to drink water, search the internet for “benefits of water.”

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Get with the Program

According to the Mayo Clinic, starting a fitness program may be one of the best things you can do for your health. Click here to learn more.

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Resist

“Age-related muscle loss (3% to 8% per decade) initiates a cascade of undesirable physiological responses, including bone loss, metabolic slow down, and fat gain that are associated with many prevalent diseases and disabilities. Resistance exercise has been shown to be effective for reversing muscle loss, increasing bone density, recharging resting metabolism, decreasing body fat, improving glycemic control, reducing resting blood pressure, improving blood lipid profiles, facilitating physical function, enhancing mental health, reversing aging factors, and attenuating low-back pain and arthritic discomfort. Resistance training health benefits may be attained by performing 2 or 3 weekly workouts of 8 to 10 multi-joint exercises using loads that permit 8 to 12 controlled repetitions.” – American College of Sports Medicine

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Draw It In

Lower abdominal “pooching out” is a concern for many. It is caused by lack of muscle tone in the lower abdomen generally attributed to a sedentary lifestyle, child birth and weight. The under used muscle is not a movement muscle but one that functions as a cummerbund for our internal organs. When this muscle is not toned, it allows for abdominal distension. What to do? “Drawing in” is the name of the exercise that tones this muscle and gives support for the lower back. 1. Place your hand over your navel. 2. Without moving your hand, draw your abdomen away from your hand and hold 10-15 seconds, release. Repeat at least 10-15 times a day. This movement can be done from any position – sitting, standing, walking, driving, etc.. Note: this exercise is not “sucking in” where you take a deep inhale and hold it. When you “draw in” you should still be able to breath and talk.

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In The Zone

In the health and fitness world there is a phrase called the “heart rate zone.” It is the pulse rate where improvement in cardio/respiratory health can be gained. The puzzle has always been, “How do I accurately measure my pulse while exercising?” There is a simple way to measure! It is called the “talk test.” It is a self evaluation of how difficult it is to talk while you exercise and how that measure translates into the heart rate zone of improvement.
On a ten-point scale, the zones of improvement (levels 4-6) are as follows:
Level 4: I am starting to sweat, but effort is relatively easy; I can carry on a comfortable conversation.
Level 5: It is a little above comfortable, I am sweating more, but can still talk continuously with ease.
Level 6: The effort is becoming challenging as is my breathing; I now talk in shorter sentences.
Using this method can be a simple means to measure the quality of your exercise.

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Posture

In this day of high mobile device usage, we are seeing more and more posture imbalances which can lead to numerous problems such as headaches, back aches, poor oxygen uptake when breathing and a host of others.
The most common postural distortion we see is the head forward and down position while looking at a cell phone or computer.
A simple solution is the head retraction exercise. Begin seated, or standing, looking forward with shoulders back, head up. Attempt to draw head directly backwards, tucking the chin. Maintain level head position. Do not tilt head up or down. Hold for two seconds. Return to start position. Beginners should start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions.

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Go Bananas

Instead of hitting carrot cake (not a vegetable) and other seasonal sweets, try a banana. Bananas are the #1 snack food in the world. They are a good combination of carbohydrates, simple sugars and dietary fibers which provide energy for physical activity. Also, this snack is a good source of potassium which helps with stimulation of muscle, nerve and brain cells. My daily breakfast: 1/2 banana with a bit of peanut butter and a cup of black coffee.

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Stand Up – Sit Down

If your lifestyle or vocation has you sitting for large amounts of time, your muscles can become weak, your posture sag and your weight rise. A big help is to practice standing and sitting slowly.
For standing, sit on the front edge of chair, couch, etc. Try to rise slowly without slinging yourself forward or using your hands. This technique makes your thighs do all the work, which will increase your calorie burn and strengthen your thighs. This exercise will help your stability and balance and help prevent falling.
From a standing position, practice squatting slowly. Initially, only go down as far as you feel comfortable and hold for 3-5 seconds then rise. Ultimately, you want to squat till your thighs are parallel to the floor, but don’t rush it.
These movements can be done in home, office or elsewhere and do not have to be done all at once. For those in a working environment, these exercises can be done through the course of a day without breaking a sweat.

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Playing Footsie

One of the leading causes of falling as we get older is loss of side-to-side strength in our ankles. This weakening is why we hear of people stepping on an acorn or pebble and falling over. Our ankles have lost the strength to correct the off balance we experience when we step on an uneven object.
To help offset this problem, do simple ankle rocking. Sit on the front edge of a chair, couch, etc. Place your feet flat on the floor, parallel to each other and a natural distance apart. Simultaneously, rock both feet to the right side, hold a few seconds and then rock to the other side.
Do this movement for a couple of minutes several times a day. It will not only make your body more able to respond to a change in your walking surface, it will also increase the strength and flexibility needed to respond effectively and prevent falling.