50% Increase In People Using Walking Aids.

50% Increase In People Using Walking Aids.

This week I noticed an ENORMOUS number of people with walking canes in NYC. I thought I was having that “new word” experience, i.e., you learn a new word and then you suddenly see it everywhere. But, in researching this topic, I found the use of walking aids did, indeed, jump 50% over the last decade.

Here’s how this trend got on my radar in the first place

On my weekly treks to Chinatown, I’ve found myself increasingly sharing the sidewalk with elderly Chinese using walking canes – I’d estimate at least one-third of the adults I encounter are using a walking stick of some kind. Another more recent development is the use of mobility scooters. I now encounter at least one or two every time I head to Chinatown.

The homeless. I’ve also been noticing increasing numbers of homeless men on the Bowery using walking canes – especially the men utilizing the services of the Bowery Mission. These men, I’ve also noticed, tend to be overweight and arthritic.

Art lovers. My most recent sightings, last Friday, were in Chelsea. As I was heading to the Yayoi Kusama show, I ran into at least a dozen people gallery hopping, cane in hand. Says a lot about the age of the collector class.

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5 Tips On How To Best Live With Osteoarthritis

5 Tips On How To Best Live With Osteoarthritis

Over the last few months I’ve had some major breakthroughs with my osteoarthritis. I’m more limber, my gait is better and the day-to-day discomfit has eased significantly. I know there is no such thing as remission but I’m definitely on the path to improved mobility.

It’s also important to point out that these tips are preventative measures that I wish I had been aware of years ago.

“By age 40, 90% of people have some level of osteoarthritis in their weight-bearing joints but they may remain asymptomatic until they are older. “

Verywellhealth.com

Osteoarthritis is the most frequently experienced joint disease among Americans and yet it is largely preventable. Had I been aware of it when I was in my thirties or forties, I would have done everything possible to nip it in the bud then as opposed to dealing with it now.

Here are 5 tips that have made living with osteoarthritis easier for me
1. Exercise/ Gym

If there’s one thing an individual with osteoarthritis should do every day, it’s exercise. It strengthens muscles and improves flexibility and balance. It not only helps ease pain and stiffness but also improves overall health.

Harvard medical school

I’ve gone to the gym for years and have worked with my trainer, David Luis, for several years. Over the last six months, however, we’ve focused specifically on building up my hip flexor muscles to compensate for the joint weakness I have in that area.

I train with David one day a week but I’ve incorporated many of these new exercises into my daily regimen. It’s making a huge difference.

My daily workout consists of 30 minutes on a stationary bike (which is better for arthritis than the treadmill), plus an additional 30 minutes working on flexibility and muscle strength.

A side benefit of my gym is its community. I get a lot out of my fellow gym-goers, especially the older Chinese men and women who are all in their late ’70s and ’80s. They work out every day, are in great shape, and are living “the life.” They absolutely inspire me.

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Botox Before And After. But Is It Worth It?

Botox Before And After. But Is It Worth It?

I’ve had two deep furrows in my forehead for years. A result of too much squinting and frowning. I decided to give Botox a try.

A friend recommended his dermatologist and I arranged a visit. It’s a very easy procedure, the doctor was great and at $360.00, the cost is not outrageous.

The treatment I got on my forehead is for two very deep frown lines between the brows, known as glabellar lines. They are caused by the force of overactive glabellar muscles. As the skin ages and loses collagen and elastin, the skin can no longer resist the force of these muscles and gives in by forming wrinkles.

Twelve days after the procedure, I do see some improvement on my forehead but I’m not sure I care enough about it to do this on a regular basis. That said, all week long I’ve been getting incredible compliments from people who say I’m “glowing.” However, I also had my keratin done this week and my hair has looked phenomenal (thank you, Rodrigo Padilla). In other words, I’m not entirely sure what’s eliciting the compliments: the botox or the keratin?

Bottom Line.

I do notice a difference but I am not 100% convinced I need to do this every 6 months (versus the keratin which I absolutely cannot live without).

Scroll down if you’re curious to see photos of my forehead from day 1 to day 12.
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Why Is Giving Up Salt So Darned Difficult?

Why Is Giving Up Salt So Darned Difficult?

“Unhealthy diets are a leading cause of death globally and excess salt consumption is the biggest culprit, estimated to have caused over 3 million deaths globally in 2017.”

Dr. Norm Campbell, former President of the World Hypertension League
Tobacco-Style Health Warnings

Which is why we may soon see salt shakers carrying tobacco-style health warnings like this.

Excess sodium can cause high blood pressure and promote stomach cancer. Limit your use.

Salt and High Blood Pressure

My doctor has warned me about high blood pressure for years. I refused to be medicated for it so the salt had to go (and a daily exercise regime entered my life). The salt habit I replaced with copious amounts of pepper and sometimes, hot sauces.

This past week, however, I found myself salting a piece of buttered bread while out to dinner. That’s been my favorite way of eating bread since childhood! Why did I revert to that behavior? So bad – but so tasty!

Anybody else addicted to salt? I don’t know why I love it so much but I must cut it out because high blood pressure is no joke.

Bottom Line.

Over the last few years, by cutting out salt, I’ve been able to bring down my blood pressure to the 121/78 range from around 144/96. All accomplished naturally with exercise, losing weight, cutting out salt and dialing back the drinking. Zero medication involved.

And hereis the article from Medical Xpress about adding health warnings to salt packaging sold in supermarkets as well as salt shakers at restaurants.

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Get Your Flu Shot! It’s Forecast To Be A Horrid Season.

Get Your Flu Shot! It’s Forecast To Be A Horrid Season.

Australia, often a precursor for what kind of flu season we’ll get in America, just reported the highest number of confirmed cases in the country’s history – more than 270,000, compared to 60,000 in 2018.

This is my loving annual PSA begging everyone I know to get their flu shot – and to do it NOW. This weekend!

Most of my friends do not bother and it drives me crazy. As I’ve previously written, I had a nasty experience with the flu on a business trip with a slew of major presentations scheduled. All canceled and me stuck in a hotel for over a week. I have been a firm believer in flu shots ever since. And I have not come down with the flu since I started getting vaccinated. I still get bad colds but never the flu.

Another sign that this will be a bad flu season:

Earlier this month, a four-year-old boy in Riverside County, California died from the flu. Public-health officials announced the case as the county’s first pediatric flu-related death of the 2019-2020 flu season and worry that a death so early in the season is a harbinger of a particularly bad flu season to come.

So do not delay one moment more.

Get that flu shot – it takes about two weeks to kick in and the flu season typically runs October through February.

Carry on.

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How Did Forest Bathing Suddenly Get So Trendy?

How Did Forest Bathing Suddenly Get So Trendy?
Forest Bathing in Kyoto in 2017 (with National Geographic)

Anyone else noticing stories on “forest bathing” or “Shinrin-Yoku” popping up everywhere?

I first experienced forest bathing in Kyoto’s Arashiyama Bamboo Grove on my 2017 National Geographic trip. I thought it was a little hokey and touristy and hadn’t given it much thought since.

Over the last month, however, it’s been on my radar non-stop:
  • Most recently, an email from the Life Is Beautiful Music Festival. In partnership with the Sierra Club, they’re adding a “Forest Bath” art installation for festival-goers. It will be located in the Western Hotel in downtown Vegas and curated by Albie Alexander from 29 Rooms. Forbes Magazine even covered it.
  • It’s the hottest trend in Colorado (forget weed!). This writer from the Daily Beast describes the experience.
  • The Sacred Wilds in Oakland California is offering a Forest Bathing Walk with Hana Lee Golden, a certified forest bathing guide. It’s also available at the Mohonk Mountain House in Upstate NY.
  • Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) is being touted by health and wellness experts all over the world as a new/old way to heal stress and reprogram our overstimulated minds and bodies. It’s recently been featured in the South China Morning Post, on NPR, and in hundreds of blogs including Better This World and Spirituality Health.
  • There’s even an International Forest Bathing Day (September 7, 2019).
Bottom Line.

Forest Bathing’s popularity appears to be fueled by the mindfulness and eco movements. It’s also being adopted by the spa and wellness industries.

It’s practiced around the world after starting in Japan in the 1980s. But it seems to really be taking off in Colorado and the Western States.

Followers of the movement often talk about it as a detox, an antidote to our stressed-out, always-on, always-connected urban lives.

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Feeling So Good – And Here’s Why.

Feeling So Good – And Here’s Why.

 

Three health tips. All part of my daily routine and all having a major impact on how I feel, physically and mentally.

 

Let’s start with blueberries!

They’re my go-to with my cereal, every morning. Sometimes I mix it up with strawberries, but unless Whole Foods is out of them (or I’m traveling), blueberries are integral to how I start my day. I find them very tasty.

I wasn’t even aware of their health benefits, e.g., blueberries have the highest quantities of antioxidants, as well as other phytochemicals that are believed to lower blood pressure, improve memory, and make aging a healthier process.

Per SlashGear:

A total of five studies on blueberries were recently published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

The research looked at different health effects associated with eating blueberries, including changes in inflammation, memory, and avoiding age-related diseases.

Who knew those blueberries packed so much goodness?

 

Read on below for an update on how I’m doing with my shift to “mindful” drinking plus the latest on how walking and weight loss have been shown to keep Alzheimer’s at bay.

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Medicaid Made Ambulances Cheaper Than Uber. Guess What Happened?

Medicaid Made Ambulances Cheaper Than Uber. Guess What Happened?

 

I find this to be a very peculiar turn of events. But that may be because I’m terrified of ambulances. Living in NYC, I see people getting carted away in them daily and it looks very unpleasant.

 

And yet, ambulance dispatches for minor injuries like abrasions, burns and muscle sprains rose by 37% in New York City after ACA provided health insurance to previously uninsured people.

Just because you can get an ambulance for $3 under your Medicaid plan doesn’t mean you should call one for all your minor ailments. People are so weird!

It’s gotten to be so commonplace, there’s even an acronym for it – PNR (see above).

 

Per Medical Xpress:

When ambulances (at $3) are cheaper than an Uber, researchers found a massive spike in ambulance calls for minor ailments.

The exact opposite of previous research which found that when Uber shows up in a city, the usage of ambulance services dropped off.

Medicaid patients, in particular, have incredibly low out-of-pocket responsibility for ambulances. The most an ambulance ride covered under Medicaid costs the patient is three dollars. If there’s a low-cost alternative to Uber to get the hospital, you’re going to take it.

However, dispatches for more severe injuries (such as chest pain, compound fractures, and unconsciousness) remained unchanged.

In response to these unnecessary calls for ambulances, a handful of major U.S. cities are implementing 911 nurse triage call centers to address non-emergency calls and redirect those patients away from ambulances.

NYC—and most U.S. cities—don’t do that yet, but as dispatches for scrapes and sprains tie up emergency responders, that may soon change.

 

Bottom Line.

I find this all so so incomprehensible. I would be so embarrassed (mortified really) to call an ambulance for anything less than imminent demise. Where do you all stand on this?

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