Hiking in North Carolina

Hiking in North Carolina

Whiteside Mountains

Whiteside Mountains

Personally I try to walk at least 10,000 steps per day, though my minimum goal is 6,000 steps. While staying in the Sapphire, North Carolina I had the opportunity of several days of hiking mountains trails at a variety of parks both state and federal.

Starting with Gorges State Park, the park is set in the midst of plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges. (no fees). You will find a welcome center that is worth a visit.

Offering rugged terrain that will challenge any outdoors enthusiast, visitors who traverse the steep, backwoods trails of Gorges State Park will be rewarded with views of dazzling waterfalls or perhaps an encounter with one of the numerous rare species of the park.

On this trip we hiked to Rainbow Falls and on another day the Raymond Fisher campground trail. Round trip 1.5 miles for the campground trail and 3 miles round trip to the water falls at Rainbow Falls.

On another hike we visited Whiteside Mountain (parking fee of $2.00)

This excellent loop, designated a National Recreation Trail, climbs to the top of Whiteside Mountain, with its spectacular 700′ high cliff walls lofting the hiker for amazing views. Take a camera, as the cliff-top views are lined with beautiful mountain laurel which blooms in mid-June. See relics from the past, when Whiteside Mountain was a tourist attraction. You’ll pass through some pleasant woods along the way.

Last day of my trip I visited Whitewater Falls on the Whitewater River is the last river in the Jocassee Gorge area just before you reach South Carolina. The hike to the falls is moderate walk and can be completed in less than 30 minutes, well worth the hike. Check out the video below of the waterfall at Whitewater falls.

Hiking is a great way to get in your exercise and see mother nature at it’s finest.

Dan

Eye Surgery – Cataracts

Cataracts

Cataracts

Cataracts

I was reading an article this past week about the 5 questions you should be asking before having Cataract surgery. I clipped sections below that I felt were especially important.

1) Do I really need surgery? This is especially true for the most common type of eye surgery, cataract surgery. The cataract should come out when you (the patient) feel you are having problems, not because your doctor wants to do surgery.

First, your doctor should do a “glare” test – with a bright light – before determining the need for surgery.

2) Do you keep surgical statistics and if so, what are they? Eye surgery is the safest surgery there is. Your surgeon should be able to tell you how many cases he has performed, what percent of those have had a complication (it should be less than 2%), and what percent required a different lens due to complications (it should be less than 1%).

3) Do you use the support of an anesthesiology team during the surgery? If your doctor says no, I’d go elsewhere. The last thing you want is a problem with your medication, heart, or breathing while your surgeon is working inside your eyeball.

4) Do you use antibiotics before and after surgery? Make sure your doctor uses antibiotics before and after surgery. A regimen of three days before surgery and a week or two afterward is the minimum. The worst infection you can get is one in the eye after cataract surgery – it’s a blinding infection. But it’s almost impossible to get if you take antibiotics.

5) How do you numb my eye? The answer might be “topical” or a “nerve block.” Topical means simply using eye drops on top and a little anesthetic inside. The nerve block requires a needle to inject anesthetic around the eye.

If your surgeon is up-to-date on his technique and skills, he has no reason to be sticking needles around your eye for surgery.

It’s your eyes, make sure you have asked the right questions.

Dan

Lose Stress in 5 Minutes

Controlling Stress

I read this numerous month ago in one of my magazines, thought I believe the publication is no longer being published.

  1. EAT A SQUARE OF DARK CHOCOLATE – Not only is it rich in healthy flavonols, but cocoa also causes the brain to release endorphins, the same feel-good hormones you get after a run.
  2. EMBRACE THE RUSH – Short-term stress can actually help memory and brain function. So use that initial burst of energy to make the deadline, then learn to just let it go.
  3. GIVE A BEAR HUG – A nice, big squeeze triggers the release of the warm and fuzzy love hormone oxytocin. No hug- worthy friends close by? Shaking hands works, too.
  4. TAKE A YOUTUBE – BREAK Just be sure to watch something funny (such as a pet video). A good belly laugh relaxes muscles, lowers blood pressure and releases natural painkillers.
  5. FIND A GREEN SPACE – Walking in nature relieves tension, decreases frustration and increases calm feelings. No time to get to a park? Even five minutes outside lifts mood.

The above techniques along with meditation or relax exercises will go a long way in improving your stress levels.

I hope this helps…. Dan

 

Top three exercises that just about anyone can do…

Exercises for Your Health

1.Walking – Walking is great exercise. It’s easier on your joints but still provides many of the same benefits as jogging or running. Walking directly lowers your blood sugar by bypassing insulin, researchers found that brisk walking for 30 minutes a week cuts your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30%.
To get the most benefit, follow the 20-20 rule – wait for 20 minutes after eating and then walk for 20 minutes. You’ll be surprised by how energized you feel.

2. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) – HIIT is a workout strategy where you mix short, intense bursts of effort with longer recovery periods. It’s intense, but it’s considered safe for anyone, even older folks and people just getting started with regular exercise.
HIIT is more efficient than regular aerobic exercise. It improves your body’s ability to burn fat and calories. A 12- to 15-minute HIIT workout is equivalent to an hour of steady aerobic exercise.

The key is to start with easier exercises and work your way up. And don’t overdo it

3. Yoga – Yoga reduces stress, and Yoga strengthens the brain. Studies have shown that yoga reduces blood pressure and heart rate equal to the decreases caused by aerobic exercise
Studies have shown that yoga reduces blood pressure and heart rate equal to the decreases caused by aerobic exercise.

If you are over 50; many gyms and yoga studios offer senior-focused practices as well. Instructors design these programs for folks over the age of 50 who may have trouble holding poses for too long or have joint or back problems.

The point here is to not overdo it, exercise can be fun, relieve stress and improve your daily life.

Check in your local area for a “Personal Trainer” if you find that you need motivation or additional activities to improve your overall health. You can find them at your local gyms or do a search on the internet.

How to be Happy

Staying Happy

Just read believe it or not an article from a financial guru about staying happy in your lifetime that I would like to share with you.

Happiness depends on several key factors like physical health, relationships, and your job satisfaction. Speaking of relationships, your choice in a life partner or (Spouse) will be the most important decision you will ever make and will have a major impact in your total happiness and possibly your wealth.

Overall, happiness and optimism made us better able to look forward to a positive future. That meant we anticipated better returns and consequently took more risks.

Here are three things you can do to be happier…

Exercise. Exercise does wonders for happiness. When you work your body, you produce tons of feel-good chemicals. About two and a half hours of exercise per week offers the peak benefit and personally I enjoy walking 10,000 plus steps per day while listening to a variety of audio clips from my MP3 player.

Walks during the day in the sun. Your body naturally converts sunlight to vitamin D, which helps lift your mood as well. So get out there and walk, it will improve your health and mood.

Meditate. I love meditation and its powerful effects. I made it a daily habit to meditate at least 15 minutes per day listening to a variety of mediation audio files that I have collected over the years.

Meditation will also help with health related issues such as coping with stress and helping your body regenerate itself.

Disconnect. Our obsession with the digital age feeds into negative thinking. So unplug your electronics and that includes your cell phones. So take some time each week to unplug. Try getting outside, for instance, and leaving the technology in the house. Might be a good time to exercise or take that walk I mentioned above.

Dan

Unclog Sinuses

Clogged Sinuses

There are probably numerous reasons for a clogged sinus, for me it’s allergies. Personally I use an air purifier in my bedroom and cleanse once a day with a Neti-Pot using a saline mixture.

This morning I read an article from Bottom Line – personal; below is a remedy that was listed.

“Combine in a pot a cup of tomato juice, a teaspoon of minced garlic, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Warm the mixture and then drink.”

The article didn’t mention how long until the remedy started to work or how long it lasted until the sinus problem re-appeared.

Another approach is to just boil water and breathe in the steam, though I found this remedy to be short-lived.

Medication is probably the worst solution, though for many the only short-term solution. I hate taking pills or using nose spray so I personally will stick with the Neti-pot to relieve my allergy symptoms.

Below is an ad on Amazon if you would like to buy a Neti-pot or you can find one at your local drugstore and at Walmart.

It takes a bit to get accustom to using the rinse method by after a few attempts you will find it easy solution.

Be sure to read the safety information if you buy a Neti-pot, do not use tap water and do microwave your Neti-pot before each use.

Give it a try.

Dan

Preventing the Common Cold

How Do You Catch a Cold?

Common Cold

Common Cold

The common cold is actually caused by a variety of viruses, not bacteria.

The most common way these viruses spread is by hand-to-hand contact. For example, if someone with a cold blows their nose and then shakes your hand or touches surfaces that you also touch, you’re more than likely going to catch a cold as well.

So, first and foremost, it’s crucial to wash your hands throughout the day to lessen your chances of catching the cold virus.

Getting Enough Rest

Over time, lack of proper sleep has been shown to lower what are called “T-cells.” Produced by the thymus gland, T-cells are a type of white blood cell critical to the immune system.

Eliminating Stress

Another direct effect stress can have on the immune system is through inflammation, which can show itself as redness, itchiness, swelling and pain.

Inflammation occurs when the immune system spots an infection. It is a vital first step in fending off disease. However, when it persists, it not only raises the risk of colds, but many other illnesses.

Try relaxation exercises or meditation

Get Plenty of Exercise

There is evidence that regular, moderate exercise can reduce your risk for respiratory illness by boosting your immune system. In fact, one study found that people who exercised regularly (five or more days a week) cut their risk of having a cold by close to 50%.

And in the event they did catch a cold, their symptoms were much less severe than among those who did not exercise.

Walking is great exercise and you can do it just about anywhere, shoot for a minimum of 10,000 steps a day if you are under 65 and 6,000 for 65 plus individuals.

Vitamin D

In the largest and most nationally representative study of its kind to date involving about thousands of Americans, people with the lowest vitamin D levels reported having significantly more recent colds or cases of the flu. The risk was even greater for those with chronic respiratory disorders like asthma.

It’s better to get your vitamin D naturally, that means staying outdoors for 30 minutes a day when the sun is shining. Be sure to ware sunscreen to avoid getting sun burned.

Quote of the Week – “Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without spiritual life.”

Dan

Where to Find Hearing Aid Bargains

Hearing Aid Bargains


If you have never shopped hearing aids, you will be shocked as to how expensive they can get, If you are in the market to buy one, the question you may be asking is “where to find hearing aid bargains?”

Medicare part A and B along with Medicare supplemental policies do not cover hearing aids, though some Medicare part C plans might.

In addition, most private insurance plans don’t cover as well, though a few do.

Best place to start your search is online; check with EmbraceHearing.com and Audicus.com. Price ranges from as little as $400 plus the cost of an exam from a local audiologist that might run between $50 and $300.

Review prices also with the warehouse chains like Sam’ s Club or Costco.

From an article I read recently, Costco offers the best price 30% to 50 % less than other retailers and the good news is the fact that you don’t even need to be a member.

Costco often provides special hearing aid events to demonstrate the latest technologies.

In addition, you can also without being a member get your prescriptions filled and purchase optical glasses and contacts.

You can fill new prescriptions, refill existing prescriptions, or transfer prescriptions at the Costco Pharmacy. Even better, you don’t even have to leave your home to use Costco Pharmacy services.

Don’t forget to check with Amazon.com as well, they do sell hearing aids and I saw them less than $400 recently. You can get an Amazon app for your PC that will keep track on just about any product and alert you when and if a product prices has dropped.

As I have mentioned numerous times before, never take any one source as being the best value for your dollar, do your homework and do a bit of comparison shopping.

Quote of the Week – “To understand everything is to forgive everything”

Dan

 

Health and Travel

Travel Clinics

Many travelers including myself fail to get the proper health vaccinations before going overseas. The last time I had even to think about preventive health issues was a trip I planned to Egypt back in the late nineties.

Many travelers especially in the United States do not realize how prevalent diseases are outside of the US.

It is recommended a visit to a travel clinic four to six weeks before an international trip or your local health professional such as your family doctor.

Be sure to give your doctor all the information needed to make recommendations. Examples of these factors include:

  • Where you are traveling within a country,
  • The length of your trip,
  • What types of activities you might do,
  • Other personal matters such as your age, medical and vaccine history, and current medical state.

Health Organizations –      Click on the link to your left for further information.

These organizations provide directories of travel clinics in the United States:

•International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) (travel medicine specialists)

•American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) (infectious disease specialists who may or may not practice travel medicine)

If yellow fever vaccine is recommended for or required by your destination, you’ll need to go to an authorized vaccine center. Many yellow fever vaccine centers also provide other pre-travel health care services.

Dan

How Get Rid of Pain Without Pills

Relieve Pain Without Pills


I was reading yesterday about the dangers of taking over-the-counter pain pills especially Acetaminophen which you will find in numerous forms, including pain relievers like Tylenol, and cold, flu, and allergy drugs like Nyquil and Theraflu.

Every single year, more than 30,000 people are hospitalized due to an acetaminophen overdose.

So do be careful when taking any pain pill to avoid over dosing, Read the ingredient labels of all your medicines and make sure that you know what you’re taking.

Three alternatives you should consider:

  1. Meditation – meditating is simple and it only takes 10-12 minutes a day. You can sit in a chair or lie in bed, relaxing your body while you concentrate on taking deep breaths. During meditation, our brain waves convert to a pattern that is as deep, and in some ways deeper than, sleep. And it is more restful and recharging than a nap.
  2. Massage – massage decreases inflammation and modulates the immune system. That means less aches and pain.
  3. Music: If such a thing as a “miracle cure” exists, music comes close. Music can boost immune function, reduce chronic pain, and reduce pain after surgery. Children cannot tolerate medications as well as adults, so reducing the amount of “pain meds” is safer.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Dan