Baltimore County Now
Dave Sayler, Wellness Specialist, Baltimore County Department of Aging
Research has determined there is a direct link between the likelihood of healthy aging and the amount of exercise older people do. And it is never too early or too late to start! Even if you wait to begin being physically active around retirement age, you still will enjoy significantly better health later in life. Simply put, exercise is one of the best health boosters you can do for yourself. Just moving for 30 to 60 minutes three to five times a week boosts your health in eight impactful ways.
Every time you exercise, you…..
1. Lower your stroke risk. Studies show walking is associated with reduced risk of stroke.
2. Protect against osteoporosis. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, promotes the build-up of new bone reducing your risk of osteoporosis and broken bones.
3. Increase your metabolic rate. After exercising you still continue to burn calories, even if you are relaxing in a chair. But it won’t work unless you exercise first!
4. Prevent, and even reduce, high blood pressure. Physical activity helps to lower the levels of stress hormones circulating in your blood. This helps to reduce your blood pressure.
5. Alleviate depression. Exercise can directly affect your mood and increase your overall happiness and life satisfaction.
6. Reduce your risk of developing cancer. Research has proven that as little as three hours of moderate exercise per week, such as walking, can reduce the risk of cancer.
7. Lower your blood sugar. Walking can improve your body’s use of insulin and prevent insulin resistance and diabetes.
8. Reduce your risk of falls. Exercise strengthens your core muscles which helps prevent falls.
Exercise Is Time Well Spent
Every moment spent exercising is time well spent. If you don’t know how to get started exercising, and you are over 60 years of age, the Baltimore County Department of Aging provides wonderful opportunities to engage in fitness and wellness activities. To explore these options, visit http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/seniorcenters.
Help Seniors and Have Fun
Register you, your friends and your family members in Baltimore County Department of Aging’s eighth annual “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk / 1 Mile Walk” on Sunday, September 21, 2014. This family-friendly event will be held at the CCBC Essex campus, conveniently located near I95 and I695 off of Rossville Boulevard. Let yourself be caught up in the fun and enthusiasm for an event that promotes a great cause: older adult fitness and wellness.
Participating in the Run/Walk can result in financial rewards too! Walgreens has generously sponsored the “Fitness Pays” Grand Door Prize Drawing of $500. To qualify to win the $500, or any of the other wonderful door prizes, simply register for the “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk / 1 Mile Walk” either at www.getreadygetsetgetfit5k.com or a Baltimore County senior center. Once registered, show up at the event (you must be present to win) and turn in your bib tab (the small square on the bottom of your bib number) at the “Fitness Pays” table. The first 50 people to turn in their bib tab will receive a free SweatSTR towel.
So if you want a longer, healthier life remember to add exercise to your day!
For more information on the “Get Ready! Get Set! Get Fit! 5K Run-Walk/1 Mile Walk” or senior center fitness programming, call 410-887-2040 or visit www.baltimorecountymd.gov/seniorcenters.
Intern, Baltimore County Communications Office
As I continue to make the transition into adulthood, I often find myself taking trips down memory lane. I recall racing home from school and flying through my homework so that I could get outside to a game of touch football or pick-up basketball with the other neighborhood kids. Before we knew it the sun would vanish and we’d all be heading in, ready to do it all over again the next day. Those were the good days, as many older adults might say.
But it seems as though today’s youth has a different idea of what makes a day good. Hours upon hours of fast-moving images on a screen with accompanying sound effects have replaced carefree outdoor play. It’s hard to believe that the average American child today spends only four to seven minutes per day in unstructured outdoor play, according to the National Wildlife Federation and their “Be Out There” initiative. While it may appear to be cool to spend hundreds of dollars on and obsess over the latest gadgets, the real expense is our nation’s declining health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than a third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2012. The fact is, the lack of outdoor physical activity decreases physical fitness levels, increases the frequency of ADHD, and increases stress levels in children. The National Wildlife Federation notes some surprising benefits to outdoor play which include:
· Healthier bodies with increased levels of Vitamin D, which helps to fight off serious health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.
· Improved distance vision and reduced chance of nearsightedness.
· Improved performance on standardized tests and critical thinking skills.
· Stress levels have been shown to drop within minutes of “green time,” and free play with others helps with emotional development and lessens the chances of children developing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you ask me, it sounds like a pretty simple solution to such a growing problem. Encouraging kids to go out and play in the fresh air creates fun childhood memories while helping to build the body, spirit and mind.
Linda Grossman, M.D., Chief, Bureau of Clinical Services
Baltimore County Department of Health
As the lazy days of summer come to an end, many parents with school-age children are beginning their “back to school” preparations. If you’re among them, be sure to include your child’s pediatric check-up and/or annual immunizations on your list.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a list of recommended vaccinations (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html) your child should receive— as well as when they should receive them. New this year in the State of Maryland is a law requiring specific vaccinations for children who are entering kindergarten and seventh grade for the 2014-2015 school year. The law requires that students entering kindergarten this fall must have two varicella vaccinations. Meanwhile, students who are entering seventh grade must have one Tdap (Tetanus-diphtheria-attenuated pertussis) and one meningococcal (MCV4) vaccination.
Immunization is a key part of protecting your child’s health. Millions of lives have been saved and untold cases of diseases have been prevented because of people getting vaccines to help them develop immunity to serious infections. Diseases that used to affect many people, such as polio, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), and meningitis, now are rare thanks to vaccines. It’s important to note that the germs that cause these illnesses continue to exist, so continued immunization is critical to the health of your child.
Additionally, immunization isn’t just good for your child’s health; it’s also good for those around him or her. When you immunize your child, you help protect the health of others including those who are too young to be vaccinated, those who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical reasons, and those for whom a vaccine may not be effective.
As you enjoy your final days of summer and begin your back-to-school shopping, please include your child’s health among your plans. Here’s wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and safe school year!
The Baltimore County Health Department will be offering free, recommended vaccinations for eligible children ages five through 18. Find a date and location: http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/health/healthservices/children/immunizations.html
Dr. Linda Grossman is a pediatrician in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her medical degree from University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and has been in practice for almost 40 years.