Words of Wisdom from Jack LaLanne

This Wellness Wednesday, Polka Dot Tango would like to honor the fitness pioneer, Jack Lalanne. For those of you who don’t know who Jack LaLanne is, take a look at http://www.jacklalanne.com/ to see all that he accomplished in his life.  Just to give you an idea of how incredible this man is here is a little fact for you:

1984 Age 70: Handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 ½ miles.

Jack at 40 years of age.

Yes….impressive. Jack LaLanne was the first to bring health and fitness right into the homes of those who had a television at the time. He is a large part of American history! Jack LaLanne made living a healthy life possible for everyone and his words of wisdom continue to live on! Here is a list of those famous words!

LaLanneisms

Jack LaLanne fervently believes every human being can attain maximum body health and fitness if they will practice moderation, eat the most natural foods, and exercise on a regular basis. Over the years on national television, radio talk shows and in feature stories written about Jack, certain ideas stated by Jack have become little gems known as “LaLanneisms”

Here are a few of Jack’s words of wisdom:

  • Anything in life is possible if you make it happen.
  • Anything in life is possible and you can make it happen.
  • Your waistline is your lifeline.
  • Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.
  • Don’t exceed the feed limit.
  • The food you eat today is walking and talking tomorrow.
  • Ten seconds on the lips and a lifetime on the hips.
  • Better to wear out than rust out
  • Do – don’t stew.
  • People don’t die of old age, they die of inactivity.
  • First we inspire them, then we perspire them.
  • You eat everyday, you sleep everyday, and your body was made to exercise everyday.
  • Work at living and you don’t have to die tomorrow.
  • I can’t die, it would ruin my image.
  • If man makes it, don’t eat it.
  • If it tastes good, spit it out.
  • What’s it doing for me?
  • Your health account is like your bank account: The more you put in, the more you can take out.
  • If one apple is good, you wouldn’t eat 100.
  • It’s not what you do some of the time that counts, it’s what you do all of the time that counts.
  • Make haste slowly.
  • Eat right and you can’t go wrong.

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“Bone”-afied Important Health Information

Whether or not osteoporosis runs in your family, it is important to know what you can do to keep your structure healthy. Many times we decide to worry about the outside of our body, such as zits, split ends, or yellow-ish teeth, but we have to remember that our entire body is moving properly in huge thanks to our skeletal structure. On Health.com, I was able to find an article that offered facts and tips on keeping you “bad to the bone” or should I say “good to the bone”!

(Don’t) break a leg

By Alyssa Sparacino

It’s easy to take bones for granted until you break one or are diagnosed with bone-thinning in old age. In fact, you may not really consider your bones a resource that needs lifelong protection and nurturing.
But guess what? There are a few surprises lurking inside your bones, and youthful habits can even affect bones in old age. Read on to find out more about this living—yes, they’re alive!—tissue.

Your bones are alive

They may feel like rocks, but bones are living things. In fact, a group of cells (called osteoblasts) are constantly churning out new bone, while a second set (called osteoclasts) destroys bone by gobbling it up like Pac-Man. This constant tug of war between creation and destruction is called bone remodeling. It’s the reason bones regenerate after a break, grow rapidly during youth, and, unfortunately, decline later in life when the balance tips toward destruction.

Build your bone-bank account

Want your bones to earn interest? Start saving now!
Playing sports, lifting weights, running, and almost any activity that moves muscle will trigger your bones to lay down more minerals and get stronger and more dense. Since bone density peaks around age 30 and then starts to slip away, the more you build in youth, the more you’ll have to “spend” later. Think of it as your bone 401(k). “When you have more money in the bank prior to bone loss, you won’t reach a level of deficiency that sets you up for fracture,” says Felicia Cosman, MD, clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

No period? Big problem

For your bones, that is. Young women who stop having a regular period get a steep hormone drop that mimics menopause, which leads to bone loss. Anorexia in particular can harm bones by halting menstruation.
“If women don’t menstruate or under-menstruate, it’s like going through menopause in their 20s or 30s instead of their 50s,” Dr. Cosman says. And the associated drop in estrogen causes the bone remodeling process to speed up and become imbalanced. “The amount that dissolves ascends the amount that restores,” she says.

Bones are storage units

Want extra minerals? Check your bones. If you need calcium because you’re, say, breast-feeding, the body releases extra from your bones in a process that benefits baby and doesn’t hurt mom. The only problem is that sometimes toxic substances, like lead or mercury, can get lodged in the bone storage unit too. “Bone is a major storage pool for calcium and phosphate, and it stores substances like heavy metals in low levels for long periods of time,” Dr. Cosman explains. However, it is “very unlikely” that what our bones store—both good and bad—will at some point come out in large amounts and cause health problems, she says.

Booze is bad for bones

Too much alcohol hurts your liver, brain, and other parts of your body, and alcohol can also be a big problem for bones. Heavy drinkers tend to lose bone density, and when these levels gets low enough, it’s called osteopenia. This is a milder condition than osteoporosis, but alcoholism or habitual heavy drinking over time can cause calcium deficiency and the more severe bone thinning known as osteoporosis. Smoking, too, is a known risk factor for osteoporosis.

Extra weight may help bones

It seems counterintuitive, but excess weight—which is bad for your health in many ways—may actually make bones stronger, though research has been conflicting.
Just as exercise and moving muscle can build stronger bones, your body may respond to extra weight by laying down more bone minerals to support that weight.
There’s one problem—if you gain weight in your belly, this actually boosts your bone-thinning risk. Read on.

Belly fat harms bone

How can a spare tire hurt your bones? Research suggests that premenopausal women who carry extra fat in their midsection are at increased risk for osteoporosis. That’s because belly fat is different from the stuff that cushions your thighs or butt. “[Abdominal fat] is really bad fat and very metabolically active,” Dr. Cosman says. “It produces all kinds of hormones that can increase inflammation in the body, and the end result of inflammation is increased bone dissolution.”

Bone-building drugs help—to a point

There are many bone-strengthening medications on the market. But they’re not for everyone. Bisphosphonate drugs (Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Reclast) reduce fractures, but they can be tough on the stomach and have been linked in rare cases to fractures and serious jaw problems, Dr. Cosman says. (Dr. Cosman is a paid consultant for the makers of Fosamax and Reclast.) She recommends getting reevaluated after three to five years to make sure you still need the medication. Changing drugs or dosages are options. Low-risk patients can even stop the regimen, Dr. Cosman says, but they have to be monitored very closely.

Your dentist could diagnose you

Bone loss can strike anywhere in the body, and the jaw is not immune. If the jawbone deteriorates or loses density, the result may be loose (or lost) teeth, receding gums, or ill-fitting dentures.
Dentists can pick up on osteoporosis by checking your regular dental X-rays and watching for related health problems, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Food can be good for bones, even sans calcium

Calcium-rich food is great for your bones. And even though milk is a good source, it’s certainly not the only one. Dr. Cosman recommends yogurt and cheese, fortified foods, and calcium-rich foods like almonds and green veggies. “Some highly fortified foods and drinks have as much—or more—calcium per serving as milk,” she says. Even fruits or vegetables without that much calcium can benefit bones (though research on this topic isn’t conclusive). Fruits and veggies might help buffer acids in the body, and high acid content isn’t good for bones, Dr. Cosman says.

Supplements may not be best

It’s a better bet to get calcium from your diet rather than supplements, says Dr. Cosman. The pills have been linked to kidney stones and studies suggest that heart attack risk is higher in older adults who take calcium than in those who do not.
A 2010 Institute of Medicine report suggested that most people in the U.S. are getting enough vitamin D and calcium in their diet without supplements.

Hip fractures more likely than cancer

Although breast and other cancers top most women’s health-worries list, osteoporosis-related fractures should also be a major concern. In fact, a woman’s risk for an osteoporosis-caused hip fracture is the same as her breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer risk combined. A broken hip, which is most common in people older than 65, can be a potentially life-changing or even life-threatening event, and may require surgery and long recovery times. Some never fully recover from a broken hip and have to use a walker or wheelchair.

Breaks don’t strengthen bone

The old saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger isn’t true when it comes to broken bones. When a bone breaks, it doesn’t end up any stronger than before the trauma, Dr. Cosman says. But that’s not to say a broken wristbone won’t be back to fighting shape after recovery. “Even with osteoporosis fractures, the bone can be just as strong as before the break after it heals,” she says. “These fractures generally heal just as well.”

Ethnicity affects bone strength

While anyone can develop osteoporosis, your risk is much higher if you are white or Asian. If you are black or Hispanic, your risk of developing the bone-thinning disorder is lower overall.
A survey found that between 13% and 18% of women older than 50 in the U.S. had osteoporosis in their hips, and that included about 20% of non-Hispanic white women, 5% of non-Hispanic black women, and 10% of Mexican-American women. Men have a lower risk of osteoporosis, but the risk is still higher in white and Asian men than in those with other ethnic backgrounds.

Fill out this questionnaire to see how your bone health stacks up!

Wellness Wednesday: Quit Smoking


If you haven’t seen this commercial yet, it just shows you there are other terrible ways that smoking can effect you other than cancer.

According to Center of Disease Control and Prevention smoking can cause the following cancers:

  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cancer of the cervix
  • Cancer of the esophagus
  • Kidney cancer
  • Cancer of the larynx (voice box)
  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer of the oral cavity (mouth)
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Cancer of the pharynx (throat)
  • Stomach cancer

Along with these problems, there is also cosmetic changes to your skin, teeth, and hair. Wrinkles, age spots, damaged teeth, bad breathe, hair loss and more.

Here are 20 tips from Quitsmoking.com to help you quit:

1. Believe in yourself. Believe that you can quit. Think about some of the most difficult things you have done in your life and realize that you have the guts and determination to quit smoking. It’s up to you.

2. After reading this list, sit down and write your own list, customized to your personality and way of doing things. Create you own plan for quitting.

3. Write down why you want to quit (the benefits of quitting): live longer, feel better, for your family, save money, smell better, find a mate more easily, etc. You know what’s bad about smoking and you know what you’ll get by quitting. Put it on paper and read it daily.

4. Ask your family and friends to support your decision to quit. Ask them to be completely supportive and non-judgmental. Let them know ahead of time that you will probably be irritable and even irrational while you withdraw from your smoking habit.

5. Set a quit date. Decide what day you will extinguish your cigarettes forever. Write it down. Plan for it. Prepare your mind for the “first day of the rest of your life”. You might even hold a small ceremony when you smoke you last cigarette, or on the morning of the quit date.

6. Talk with your doctor about quitting. Support and guidance from a physician is a proven way to better your chances to quit.

7. Begin an exercise program. Exercise is simply incompatible with smoking. Exercise relieves stress and helps your body recover from years of damage from cigarettes. If necessary, start slow, with a short walk once or twice per day. Build up to 30 to 40 minutes of rigorous activity, 3 or 4 times per week. Consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

8. Do some deep breathing each day for 3 to 5 minutes. Breathe in through your nose very slowly, hold the breath for a few seconds, and exhale very slowly through your mouth. Try doing your breathing with your eyes closed and go to step 9.

9. Visualize your way to becoming a non-smoker. While doing your deep breathing in step 8, you can close your eyes and begin to imagine yourself as a non-smoker. See yourself enjoying your exercise in step 7. See yourself turning down a cigarette that someone offers you. See yourself throwing all your cigarettes away, and winning a gold medal for doing so. Develop your own creative visualizations. Visualization works. Quit smoking hypnosis programs are a form of guided visualization.

10. Cut back on cigarettes gradually (if you cut back gradually, be sure to set a quit date on which you WILL quit). Ways to cut back gradually include: plan how many cigarettes you will smoke each day until your quit date, making the number you smoke smaller each day; buy only one pack at a time; change brands so you don’t enjoy smoking as much; give your cigarettes to someone else, so that you have to ask for them each time you want to smoke.

11.Quit smoking “cold turkey”. Many smokers find that the only way they can truly quit once and for all is to just quit abruptly without trying to slowly taper off. Find the method that works best for you: gradually quitting or cold turkey. If one way doesn’t work do the other.

12. Find another smoker who is trying to quit, and help each other with positive words and by lending an ear when quitting becomes difficult. Visit this Quit Smoking Forum and this Quit Smoking Chat Room to find a “quit buddy.”

13. Have your teeth cleaned. Enjoy the way your teeth look and feel and plan to keep them that way.

14. After you quit, plan to celebrate the milestones in your journey to becoming a non-smoker. After two weeks of being smoke-free, see a movie. After a month, go to a fancy restaurant (be sure to sit in the non-smoking section). After three months, go for a long weekend to a favorite get-away. After six months, buy yourself something frivolous. After a year, have a party for yourself. Invite your family and friends to your “birthday” party and celebrate your new chance at a long, healthy life.

15. Drink lots of water. Water is good for you anyway, and most people don’t get enough. It will help flush the nicotine and other chemicals out of your body, plus it can help reduce cravings by fulfilling the “oral desires” that you may have.

16. Learn what triggers your desire for a cigarette, such as stress, the end of a meal, arrival at work, entering a bar, etc. Avoid these triggers or if that’s impossible, plan alternative ways to deal with the triggers.

17. Find something to hold in your hand and mouth, to replace cigarettes. Consider drinking straws or you might try an artificial cigarette called E-Z Quit found here: http://www.quitsmoking.com/ezquit.htm

18. Write yourself an inspirational song or poem about quitting, cigarettes, and what it means to you to quit. Read it daily.

19. Keep a picture of your family or someone very important to you with you at all times. On a piece of paper, write the words “I’m quitting for myself and for you (or “them”)”. Tape your written message to the picture. Whenever you have the urge to smoke, look at the picture and read the message.

20. Whenever you have a craving for a cigarette, instead of lighting up, write down your feelings or whatever is on your mind. Keep this “journal” with you at all times.

Get To Steppin!

Click on the image to see more amazing photos of stairs.

Every morning my dog Marty and I hit the pavement and walk for 30 minutes. Not only does it help me wake up in the morning and make Marty extra happy, but it keeps us healthy. With high cholesterol running in my family, I need to pay extra attention to myself! This means taking care of my body and a good start to achieving that is by walking. Walking has been highly recommended from all around, such as friends, magazines, the internet, moms, pretty much everywhere. Below is an article I grabbed from acefitness.org that seemed to have pretty sound advice for those who are looking to get into a healthier lifestyle and even those who are already committed to an active lifestyle.

The popularity of walking as a fitness activity has grown by leaps and bounds. Low-risk and easy to start, walking has proven its health benefits in numerous studies. An eight-year study of 13,000 people found that those who walked 30 minutes a day had a significantly lower risk of premature death than those who rarely exercised. In addition, research has shown that regular walking can decrease total and intra-abdominal fat and reduce your risk of developing diabetes or breast cancer.

A regular walking program can also:

  • Improve your cholesterol profile
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Increase your energy and stamina
  • Boost “couch potato” bone strength
  • Prevent weight gain

Experts at the CDC and National Institute of Health recommend that every American adult engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity just about every day of the week. One way to meet this standard is to walk 2 miles briskly (about 4 miles/hr). If this is too fast,choose a more comfortable pace.

Get Ready

A walking program is simple to start. All you need are comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. Layer loose clothing, keeping in mind that brisk exercise elevates the body’s temperature. Shoes specifically designed for walking or running are best. Make sure you have a little wiggle room between your longest toe (1/2″) and the end of the shoe. Avoid cotton socks since they retain moisture and can promote blisters. To warm up, walk at an easy tempo for the first several minutes.Then gradually adopt a more purposeful pace.

Get Moving

  • Begin with short distances. Start with a strollthat feels comfortable to you (perhaps 5-10 minutes) and gradually increase your time or distance each week by 10-20% (add just a few minutes or blocks). If it’s easier on your joints and your schedule to take a couple shorter walks (10-20 minutes) instead of one long walk (30-40 minutes) each day, do it!
  • Focus on posture. Keep your head lifted, tummy pulled in and shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms naturally. Avoid carrying hand weights since these put excessive stress on the elbows and shoulders. Don’t overstride. Select a comfortable, natural step length. If you want to move faster, pull your back leg through more quickly.
  • Breathe deeply. If you can’t converse or catch your breath while walking, slow down. Initially, forget about walking speed. Just get out there on a regular basis and establish a habit of activity.

Listen to Your Body

If you experience foot, knee, hip or back pain when walking, STOP and check with your doctor to find out the cause. You may need special exercises or better shoes. If you have osteoarthritis and experience increased joint pain lasting an hour or two after walking, consider an alternate activity like stationery cycling or water exercise. Don’t stop exercising altogether!

Get Fit!

When you can walk 30-40 minutes easily, incorporate some brisk intervals into your walk. For example, walk one block fast, two blocks slow and repeat several times. Gradually add more fast intervals with shorter recovery periods. Concentrate on increasing your speed while maintaining good posture. Walking hills is a great way to tone the legs. The use of Nordic walking poles can boost the calorie-burning value of your walk while promoting good posture and overall muscle endurance. Treadmill walking, while not as scenic, can be a convenient option during inclement weather.

The end of your walk is an ideal time to stretch since your body is warmed up. Stretch your hamstrings and calves (important walking muscles) as well as your chest, shoulders and back. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.

Listening to lively music while you walk is a great way to energize your workout. But if you wear headphones, keep the volume down and watch out for traffic that you may not hear. Find a pleasant place to walk: a beautiful park, neighborhood or shopping mall (without your wallet!). Get a friend, co-worker or family member to join you and get in shape together.

Track your progress. Although experts recommend that you walk a minimum of 30 minutes a day, there are no hard and fast rules. If walking is part of your weight loss plan, more is better. Walking 60 minutes/day and brisk intervals will help you burn more calories. Fit walking into your schedule whenever you can. That may mean three 10-minute walks over the course of a day. The best schedule is one that keeps you walking and keeps you fit!

Happy Trails!