Live Your Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy tips that fit your lifestyle in Pennsylvania, powered by Geisinger Choice
~ Friday, September 19 ~
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Fitness Friday: 10 Desk Exercises You Can Do at Work

People use every excuse in the book not to exercise— “no time” being the biggest reason. But, what if you could exercise while at work at your desk? Perhaps you will no longer be that woman with robot-like stiffness or the man with repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. These few stretches and exercises will help keep you limber and feeling refreshed to get through the day.


10 Desk Exercises You Can Do at Work

1. Chair Raises
This works your core and arms. Sit in your chair with your legs crossed and your feet on the seat. Then place your hands on the armrests, suck in your abs (stomach muscles) and raise yourself a few inches above the seat, using your belly muscles and hands. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds. Repeat five times.

2. Tricep Desk Dips
This is for upper-body strength. This will help the backs of your arms. Place your rear on the edge of the desk, and then place your palms on the edge of the desk on either side of you. Keeping your feet together, bend at the elbows, and slide forward off of the desk and dip down a few inches, and then push back up. Dip to where your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Do this 20 times. For a more difficult variation, straighten your legs or put your feet on a chair.

3. Carpal Tunnel Reliever
Carpal tunnel syndrome shouldn’t catch up to you if you repeat this simple move every day. Stand at your desk with your arms straight, place your palms on the desk with your fingers pointed toward you, palms up. Lower your body slowly until you feel the stretch (you won’t have to go far). Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat as needed through the day.

4. Leg Raises
For lower-body strength: Sit in your chair, extend one leg out straight in front of you and hold for two seconds. Then raise it up as high as you can, and hold it again for two seconds. Repeat with each leg 15 times.

5. Desk Lunges
Stand tall with feet together by either your desk or chair. Put left hand on desk Take a big step behind you with your left leg, lifting your left heel off of the floor, keeping most of your weight in your right leg. Slowly bend both knees, lowering your body straight down until both knees make 90-degree angles, being sure to keep your front knee in line with your ankle. Push down through your front heel as you slowly stand back up. (Do 15 reps on both legs).

6. Shoulder Spin
This is a good move for flexibility. Sit tall in your chair and reach your left hand behind your back, between your shoulder blades, palm out. Then reach your right hand up toward the ceiling, bend it down, and try to touch your left hand. If you can reach it, great: Hold for 10 seconds. If not, grab onto your shirt and keep practicing. Switch arms and repeat.

7. Feet-Up Hamstring Stretch
To ease the hamstrings, lower back and calf muscles, push your chair away from your desk and put a leg up on the desk or short file cabinet or open a drawer. (Ladies, try this on a day you’re not wearing a skirt.) Flex your foot and lean forward slightly over your leg while keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds. Point your foot, lean and hold for five seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

8. Chair Squats
These squats from the chair are a strengthening exercise. They work best if you lower your seat as far as it will go. Stand in front of your chair with your feet a hip’s width apart. Place your hands on your hips and lower your butt until it’s just above the seat. Then sit down as slowly as possible. Do 20 repetitions. To make it harder reach your hands straight out in front of you like you’re reaching to the other side of the room. If you’re really feeling steady, try it on one leg. Once this is accomplished, go down as far as possible, but don’t sit down, come back up.

9. Seated Side Bends
This exercise creates a tighter tummy and stronger core. Side-to-side movement that twist the core help target your obliques, located on the sides of your stomach. Don’t limit stomach exercises to those that move back and forth. In addition to giving you a better look, stronger obliques can help you rotate your torso farther to help generate power from your core.

10. Desk or Wall Push Ups
These are for upper-body strength. Stand a yard or more away from your desk or a wall, with your feet together. Place your palms on the edge of the desk a shoulder’s width apart. Lower your chest to the edge of the desk, and push back up. Remember to exhale on the way up. Do 20 times.

Tags: fitness friday desk exercise get fit workout at the office
~ Thursday, September 18 ~
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7 Reasons Why You Should Have Health Insurance in 2015

Since the 2014 Open Enrollment Period closed, eight million people enrolled in a health care plan through public Marketplaces. But there are still 42 million Americans who remain uninsured as the 2015 Open Enrollment approaches. While some people will be exempt from paying the individual mandate fine (also known as the penalty), it is estimated that six million people will have to pay the fine in 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The good news is, you don’t have to be one of them and here are seven reasons why.

1. You will stay out of debt

Health care can be expensive, especially if you fall seriously ill, have a chronic disease or become injured. Many uninsured Americans end up in debt or filing for bankruptcy because they can’t pay their medical bills. Having health insurance can help you avoid financial ruin.

2. You may be eligible

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many people will be eligible to receive low-cost health care coverage through the Marketplace. The main provisions are that you must be a U.S. citizen and you currently cannot be in prison. If you are under the age of 26, you can actually stay on your parent’s health plan. And if you’re 65 or older, you can enroll in Medicare, so you won’t even have to go through the Marketplace to receive coverage.

3. You can afford it

Health insurance is more affordable than you think. Depending on your income and family size, you may receive a premium tax credit, also known as a subsidy, to help offset the cost of health care. If your income meets the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), you may be eligible for additional cost savings as well. 

4. You have more health plan options

While the public Marketplace at HealthCare.gov is one of the first places many people will go to for health care coverage, you can also shop for health plans in private Marketplaces. These online systems are set up by private insurance carriers like Geisinger Health Plan, to provide other health care options that may not be available on public Exchanges. 

5. You will receive more health benefits

The Affordable Care Act not only increases access to health care, it provides more health benefits. Patients can no longer be denied health coverage based on pre-existing conditions, insurers cannot charge you more based on your gender, and health plans are required to cover annual checkups. You will also receive these 10 essential health benefits: preventive and wellness services, ambulatory services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, pediatric care, laboratory services, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs and rehabilitative and habilitative services.

6. You can avoid paying the penalty

Since health care reform became law, individuals who opt out of having health insurance will have to pay a penalty fee which will increase every year. In 2015, the penalty will be $325 or 2% of yearly income for a single person (whichever is greater). The fee will be taken from your federal income tax return the following year. In 2016, the fee will increase to $695 or 2.5% of yearly income.

7. You can improve your health

With increased access to care at affordable costs, you will be able to improve your overall health. This is especially true for individuals who suffer from chronic diseases that require frequent medical intervention. Having health insurance is a great way to reduce serious illnesses and live a longer, healthier life.

No matter your age, gender or current medical condition, it’s important for you to have some type of health insurance in 2015. Open enrollment starts November 15, 2014. Learn more about health care reform here. Geisinger Health Plan—making health care reform work for you.

Photo Credit: Kzenon/Shutterstock

Tags: health care health insurance affordable care act ACA
~ Tuesday, September 16 ~
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Tasty Tuesday: National Food Safety Education Month

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. Like any raw fresh foods, naturally occurring bacteria in fresh fruits and vegetables can cause food poisoning. Follow these safe handling tips to consistently protect yourself and your family when you enjoy fresh produce and fresh-squeezed fruit and vegetable juices.   

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CHECK fresh produce for signs of cuts or bruising, where harmful bacteria can breed. 

Check that the fresh fruits and vegetables you buy are not bruised or damaged. When choosing pre-cut fruits and vegetables like packaged salads and sliced melons, check that the product is refrigerated or on ice.

CLEAN hands, surfaces and utensils to prevent contamination. 

Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling fresh fruits and vegetables. Clean all surfaces and utensils with hot water and soap, including cutting boards and knives, before and after preparing fresh fruits and vegetables.

RINSE fresh fruits and veggies just before eating. 

Just before use, rinse under running water only the fruits and vegetables you plan to eat, including those with skins or rinds that are not eaten. Firm-skinned fruits and vegetables should be rubbed by hand or scrubbed with a clean brush while rinsing under running tap water. Packaged fruits and vegetables labeled “ready-to-eat,” “washed” or “triple washed”  do not need to be washed. Dry fruits and vegetables with a clean cloth or paper towel. Do not use soap or bleach to wash fresh fruits or vegetables. These products are not intended for consumption.

SEPARATE produce from raw meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and household chemicals. 

In your shopping cart and in bags at checkout, separate fresh fruits and vegetables from household chemicals and raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs.

In your refrigerator, keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs. When preparing food, keep fresh fruits and vegetables separate from raw meat, poultry seafood, and eggs. Do not use the same cutting board or utensils without cleaning with hot water and soap before and after preparing fresh fruits and vegetables.

CHILL cut fresh produce within two hours to prevent bacteria growth. 

Keep your refrigerator at or below 40°F. Refrigerate all cut, peeled or cooked fresh fruits and vegetables within two hours of preparing.

THROW AWAY bruised, damaged or potentially cross-contaminated produce

Throw away any fresh fruit and vegetables that have not been refrigerated within two hours of cutting, peeling or cooking. Remove and throw away bruised or damaged portions of fruits and vegetables when preparing to cook them or before eating them raw. Throw away any fruit or vegetables that have touched raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs. If in doubt, throw it out!

Source: Partnership for Food Safety Education

Tags: fresh produce food safety produce safety National Food Safety Education Month food contamination
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5 Ways Busy Parents Can Relieve Stress

Being a parent is a rewarding and fulfilling life experience, but the demands of parenthood aren’t without challenges, especially at the beginning of a new school year. Between picking up and dropping off the kids at school, going to work, after-school and weekend activities, and household responsibilities, the daily grind of being a parent can bring a great deal of stress. 

A national poll found that more than 1 in 4 Americans reported having a great deal of stress in the previous month. As you know, stress can take a toll on your health. When the body is stressed, you may experience headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, sleep problems, chest pain and/or an upset stomach. To help reduce the amount of stress in your life, use these simple, yet effective tips:

Talk it out: Sometimes we all just need to vent and let go of our frustrations. Talk to your spouse, a close friend or a family member about anything that’s weighing on your mind. Addressing your stressors head-on may help you work through them without the hefty price of a therapist.

Meditate: If you don’t want to share your feelings with a loved one, meditation may be another option to help clear your mind. Even with a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to find time to meditate. All it takes is 15 minutes of complete silence. You can try meditating first thing in the morning before the kids are awake, or right before bed after the little ones are tucked in.

Invest in scents: Aromatherapy is another great and inexpensive way to de-stress after a long day – or week! Invest in scented candles or massage oils that contain lavender, chamomile, or vanilla to increase relaxation and reduce anxiety. Let the scents fill your home so the entire family can reap the benefits.

Chew gum: That’s right. Studies have shown that popping a stick of gum can help improve mood, reduce fatigue and lower anxiety levels. Fresh breath and reduced stress? Who knew?!

Laugh out loud: Laughter truly is the best medicine when it comes to stress relief. A good, hearty laugh stimulates blood circulation, lowers stress response, and increases muscle relaxation, resulting in a calm and positive mood. So turn on your favorite TV sitcom or check out the latest comedy to laugh the stress away.

Some other methods of stress relief include:

  • Dancing
  • Yoga
  • Tai-chi
  • Running
  • Getting a massage
  • Listening to music
  • Taking a nap
  • Writing in a journal
  • Getting a pet

Choose the methods that work best for you to help manage anything that your busy life has to throw at you.

A healthy lifestyle starts with making healthy choices, like choosing the right health insurance. Get with the plan and choose Geisinger Health Plan today.

Photo Credit: Alliance/Shutterstock

Tags: stress stress management relaxation stress free healthy lifestyle
~ Friday, September 12 ~
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Jump! For Strong Bones

Jump around, jump around. Jump up, jump up and get down. Now do that 10 times, twice a day.

Jumping up and down provides greater bone-building benefits than running or jogging.  According to a research in American Journal of Health, jumping like this can strengthen bones. Based on a study of women ages 25 to 50, the study showed that women who jumped several times throughout the day significantly increased their hip bone density, while non-jumpers lost bone mass. How does this work? Jumping creates an immediate stress on bones, causing bone cells to regenerate. So, Jump! Jump! Jump!

Tags: bone health bone density exercise GHP Life
~ Thursday, September 11 ~
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The Continued Growth in Popularity of Private Marketplaces

With the debut of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last year, there has been a huge shift in the health insurance market. Acting as a catalyst for health care reform, this policy has increased access to affordable health care to everyone nationwide. This new law has also introduced a public health care Marketplace, or public Exchange, which allows individuals and small businesses to shop online for health insurance.  

However, a growing number of individuals are considering purchasing health plans from private insurance Marketplaces. These online systems are separate from public (state and federal) health insurance Marketplaces and health plans can be purchased directly from insurance carriers like Gesinger Health Plan.

The stats

This year alone, a booming 3 million people have signed up for health coverage through private Marketplaces offered by employers – that’s three times the number estimated last fall. This significant increase was mainly driven by small and mid-sized companies with less than 1,000 employees.  Surveys also show that 9 to 45 percent of employers intend to implement private Marketplaces in the future.

For individual consumers, it is forecasted that private Marketplaces will pass public exchanges in 2017 with 1 in 5 Americans buying from a private Exchange. In a survey from the RAND Corp., it is estimated that 7.8 million people nationwide bought health insurance between September and mid-March 2014 directly from a private insurance Marketplace.

Why choose private?

Private Exchanges offer more flexibility and qualified health plan options for consumers to choose from. Unlike public Exchanges, private Exchanges offer a broader range of products, including dental, vision and various voluntary benefits.

Health plans offered by private insurers must adhere to the Affordable Care Act requirements, which prohibits insurers from denying coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition and charging women for gender-specific services.

The main difference between public and private health Marketplaces is that you may not be eligible for a tax credit (subsidy) from the federal government through private exchanges. However, while many private health insurers do not offer eligibility for a tax credit, Geisinger Marketplace is one private Exchange where you can apply for financial help.

Geisinger Health Plan—making health care reform work for you. Learn more here before open enrollment starts November 15, 2014.

Photo Credit: Rob Marmion/Shutterstock

Tags: marketplace health exchange health care reform affordable care act ACA
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My Vacation, Part 2: The DeSantis family tackles Disney World!

I think they knew something was up, despite the top-secret, spy-ring manner in which we went about our planning. Kids are sharp these days, and at nearly 8 years old and a little over 4, my daughter and son don’t miss much, even when you think they aren’t listening, and they remember everything!

Through the entire experience, I was constantly amazed by one thought: How did this place ever operate before computers, networks and Wi-Fi? The good news is, once you are in the system, it’s really hard to get lost. They find you, put you back on track, and keep you there. I think they would actually send someone to lead you by the hand, if you asked.

From the first time I got online to start looking at options, I knew it would be a little daunting. First, there are tons of options and choices to make, from hotels to meal plans to plane tickets to FastPass selections – FastPass, if you don’t know, is about one of the greatest services ever. More on that later.

Choosing a hotel was fairly easy. My family had once stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort, so I knew the rooms and food court were nice. The pool is also very cool, an island fort theme. We lucked out in that our room was just a couple-minute walk from both the food and pool. Otherwise, shuttle buses would have played a big part of our days!

Hotel…check.. Plane tickets were next I know that I probably could have found better deals elsewhere, or by piecing things together, but booking everything through the Disney Travel Company seemed like the way to go, especially for our first family trip of this magnitude. They really do make it easy, laying out all the options, including buses to and from the airport, luggage service all over the place, and other little things that just made the trip a little smoother.

We were going to be in the Philadelphia area for a family wedding, so it was an easy choice to fly out of Philadelphia. I’ve heard stories of bad experiences there, and I can see how that would happen, but luckily our experience was smooth and uneventful. Both kids had a great first plane ride.

Plane…check. Meals…wow. As part of the whole package, you can select different levels of meal plans, depending on how long you’ll be there, whether you want fast food type service, table services, snacks, etc. We landed on having enough credits for a fast food meal and a table service meal each day, which worked out well, and although it sounds like a lot of food, it was just about right without having to spend a lot of extra money on snacks and drinks.  They also gave you as part of the deal a travel mug that could be refilled for free and the kids loved them!

Choosing the meal plan was one thing; making reservations was another. Lesson learned – when they say you can start making reservations six months in advance, do it!  By the time we got around to it, about two months before our trip, restaurant choices, and more importantly time choices, were at a premium. A lot of places could only offer before 4 p.m. or after 8 for dinner. Three hours on the web site finally got us some decent times at fun restaurants, including Tony’s from “Lady and the Tramp” the Coral Reef at EPCOT, and the House of Blues.  

Hotel; plane; meals. We were on our way now. The travel itself was pretty standard.  Getting around the airport, waiting, some more waiting, up and down, and you’re there. The Orlando airport really seems primarily designed to get Disney travelers to their destinations.  Go ahead, get on the bus, we’ll bring your luggage to you later.  And it all works out.  It really is just amazing.  

Day 1: Magic Kingdom 

Really just a cool place for both kids and adults. Again, the complexity of the Disney machine is amazing.  The “behind the scenes” stuff is practically invisible.  Even the staff blend into the crowd until called on.

Thank goodness for FastPass. You can choose up to three attractions at a time, and basically just skip the line. You get some nasty looks from some people, but I think it’s available to all.  I was almost not going to do, preferring to just float around and see whatever was available, but a friend strongly recommended making the choices; even if you didn’t use them, at least you had the option.  Good call. Some lines were an hour or more long. Two hours for the “Frozen” princesses.  Our time for Anna and Elsa: five minutes.  There is also a smartphone app that shows nearby attractions and wait times, which I made a lot of use of. 

We covered a lot of ground on day one, but it was a great day, including a huge character parade through Frontierland, dinner at Tony’s, the Jungle Cruise, and of course, meeting Anna and Elsa. When we got back to the hotel, we wondered how many miles an average guest walks in one day in the parks. Google estimate: 8-14. We earned that ice cream!

Day 2: EPCOT

EPCOT was more attraction-oriented than I remembered. Not nearly as many rides as Magic Kingdom but lots of cool things to see.  Spaceship:Earth was a big hit, as well as the Coral Reef restaurant, the international pavilions, and a huge light and firework display in the evening.

Day 3: Pool! 

Knowing we would need a break, we planned for a day of swimming and resting, followed by dinner at Downtown Disney. The pool at our hotel was a fort theme, with towers and fountains, and couple nice waterslides that my daughter really enjoyed. My son was content to float around and play in the fountain, although he wouldn’t go near the kid’s pirate-theme area! By mid-afternoon, we got ourselves ready and jumped a bus to Downtown Disney, which is an area of stores and restaurants, and would have been much nicer if about half of it wasn’t under construction. Nevertheless, we had a good dinner at House of Blues, visited the LEGO store (very cool place where you can get just about any LEGO set imaginable!).  As the World Cup had recently started, there was a lot of soccer in the air, including a shop at Downtown Disney which sold jerseys, and I’m kind of kicking myself for not picking up a Germany or Orlando City shirt.

Day 4: Magic Kingdom

We knew Animal Kingdom or MGM probably wouldn’t hold much interest for the kids, plus there would be plenty more to see at Magic Kingdom. It’s a Small World, Tomorrowland Raceway, and the Carousel of Progress (which, surprisingly, my daughter cited as one of her favorite stops). Another good day, but by this time we were all feeling the heat, food and exhaustion, so we were moving a little slower (and my son feel asleep multiple times, as soon as we stopped moving!).  We tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible, including in the Hall of Presidents (another surprising favorite) before an early dinner and back to the hotel for a quick swim.

Heading home

Again, smooth sailing. The Disney machine really is incredible. From hotel to airports to home, we were lucky to not hit a single snag. Just a great trip, the kids were great, and above all else, we have memories that will last them a long time. I think we hit the ages just right; much younger than 4 and I think my son would have just been along for the ride, but they were both very engaged in everything. Again in a few (or ten?) years!

Tags: GHP Wellness Geisinger employee blog We Are GHP disney world family vacation Summer
~ Tuesday, September 9 ~
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September 9 – National Celiac Disease Awareness Day

Gluten-free is the latest food frenzy to take over social media websites, food magazines and grocery stores. But most are unaware of what gluten sensitivity really is.

Gluten sensitivity is the result of a condition known as celiac disease (CD), a genetically linked autoimmune disorder. People with celiac disease are unable to properly absorb the series of amino acids known as gluten that is found in wheat, rye, oats and barley.

Unless you are diagnosed with celiac disease, there is no reason to eliminate the protein gluten from your diet. In fact, avoiding gluten eliminates other key nutrients that you can only get from whole grains. Whether you need to eliminate gluten due to sensitivity or you are looking to switch up the grains in your diet, here is a list of safe, gluten free alternatives.

Gluten free grains and flours

  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Montina
  • Flax
  • Potato
  • Sago
  • Soy
  • Sorghum
  • Tapioca
  • Teff
  • Cornstarch
  • Any flour made from nuts, beans, tubers, or legumes
Tags: Gluten-free diet gluten free celiac disease CD gluten sensitivity amino acids National Celiac Disease Awareness Day
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National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month which is dedicated to educating people about prostate cancer and the importance of cancer screenings and prevention. Prostate cancer is the slowest growing form of cancer, and sometimes does not grow at all. However, it is the second most common cancer in America. This year, 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Here’s what you need to know about prostate cancer and its warning signs.

Symptoms of prostate cancer

The prostate is small gland that sits under the bladder and is important for reproduction. When functioning properly, the prostate supplies substances necessary for fertilization and sperm transit. So how do you know if you have prostate cancer?  Here are a few warning signs to look out for:

  • Need to urinate frequently, especially at night
  • Difficulty starting urination or holding back urine
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Difficulty  having an erection
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs

Because these symptoms can signal other diseases or disorders, like prostatitis, you should check with your doctor for further diagnostic testing.

Common risk factors

Some of the most common risk factors for prostate cancer are:

  • Age:  65% of all prostate cancer diagnoses occur in men over 65 years old
  • Race:  African American men are most likely to develop prostate cancer
  • Family history: A man with a father or brother who developed prostate cancer is twice as likely to develop the disease
  • Where you live:  Men living in the U.S. have a 17% chance of developing prostate cancer
  • Activity level: Lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle
  • High calcium intake
  • Agent Orange exposure (herbicide used during Vietnam War)

If you have a genetic predisposition, or any of the high-risk factors listed above, speak with your doctor about how often you should get screened for prostate cancer.

Getting screened

There are two ways to get screened for prostate cancer:

  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test
  • Digital rectal exam (DRE)

The PSA test, the most common screening for prostate cancer, has been proven to reduce deaths from the disease by at least one-fifth. However, many factors can affect PSA levels, including certain medications or an enlarged prostate. That’s why it’s best to have your doctor interpret your PSA test results.

The DRE detects tumors in the lower rectum, pelvis and lower belly. During the test, your doctor feels for lumps and other abnormalities. There is no preparation for the test, and you can go about your day’s activities afterward.  If something is found, you may need to take additional tests.   

The guidelines on screenings are controversial as there are differing opinions in the medical field. While there is no set recommendation, it is most commonly advised that men begin screening after age 50; however, high risk individuals may want to start screening as early as age 40.  These screenings are no longer necessary after a man turns 75, due to the cancer’s slow growth rate. Your screening period is a personal decision that you make with your doctor.

There are many treatment options available for prostate cancer, and new medicines are being introduced to the market. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is possible to treat and beat prostate cancer, especially if it is caught early.  For your father, your brother, and even yourself, it’s important to stay educated, healthy and proactive. To learn more visit the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

A healthy lifestyle starts with making healthy choices, like choosing the right health insurance. Get with the plan and choose Geisinger Health Plan today.

Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Tags: prostate prostate cancer men's health
~ Friday, September 5 ~
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When’s the best time to exercise on hot days?

Thinking about exercising in the late summer heat? Maybe you should think again.

At least avoid exercising between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the hottest time of the day. Remember to dress for the temperature and the activity. Whether you are a seasoned fitness guru or a family walking around an amusement park, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Take frequent rests and water breaks, especially if exercising longer than 60 minutes.
  • Drink water before you feel thirsty. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.  This is especially true as you get older or if your blood pressure tends to run low.
  • Drink 8 to 12 oz. of water 20 to 30 minutes prior to exercise, plus 6 to 10 oz. additional water every 30 minutes of exercise to prevent dehydration. 
  • Water is an acceptable fluid replacement if exercising for less than an hour and half of moderate exercise, or less than an hour of more intense exercise. After an hour or hour and a half, a sports drink would be recommended.
  • Avoid beverages with alcohol and caffeine because these can cause dehydration.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing made of breathable fabric in light colors. Choose shady areas when possible.
  • Reduce speed or distance as needed.
  • Exercise indoors during ozone alerts, extreme heat and very high humidity.
  • If allergies are a concern, watch for pollen alerts.
  • Use sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.
  • Listen to your body.  Stop if you feel chest pain, short of breath, dizzy, lightheaded, weak, very fatigued, nauseated, or that your heart is pounding.  Get to a cool place. If these symptoms continue for more than 5 minutes, call 911!
Tags: exercise summertime exercise dehydration heat stroke heat exhaustion beat the heat