Archive for Health Planning

Insurance Additions/Alternatives

Health insurance is a large part of keeping your body healthy. If you ask any Presidential candidate, they feel that not enough Americans are insured. The obvious reason why so many Americans are uninsured is cost.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the U.S. is projected to spend over $2.2 trillion on health care in 2007, or just under $7,500 per U.S. resident. Health spending in 2007 is projected to accountfor 16.2% of GDP

In 1970, U.S. health care spending was about $75 billion on health care, or $356 per resident, and accounted for 7.2% of GDP.

Health care spending has risen about 2.4 percentage points faster than GDP since 1970.

CMS projects that by 2016 (nine years from now) health care spending will be over $4.1 trillion or $12,782 per resident, and account for 19.6% of GDP.

The primary reasons for the increase include longevity increase, inflation, and population growths.One insurance alternative is healthcare discount plans. These plans cost a low monthly fee and provide discounts with medical providers in your area. One such plan is AmeriPlan®

AmeriPlan® is not a health insurance plan, but a discount program. The company has a network of thousands of doctors and providers that have agreed to offer their services at discounted prices to members of the program. AmeriPlan® offers a variety of plans starting from $20 each, and plans can be purchased ala carte to customize your needs.

 

Plans like this are also very nice for additions to your health insurance. For instance, if your plan offers medical but not dental and vision, you can purchases a discount vision and medical plan.

 

These plans also work well for college aged students who no longer have coverage by their parents, but are in great health and have few health care needs.

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Ideal Waist Measurements

What are the “perfect” measurements? What is the human average waist size? Is my belly healthy? We have all heard that a woman is sexy when she is 36-24-36. This may not always be the case. Your body’s measurements should be viewed as ratios. Every person has a unique starter build (bone structure). From that we can build into our own version of what we perceive as healthy bodies.

For most of us it will be how large our waist is. There is no accurate answer for the “average” waist size. A person who is 6’2″ could have the same waist measurement as a person who is 5’4″, but be far thinner. What you need to measure is your waist hip ratio.

Waist Hip Ratio is calculated by dividing your waist measurement by your hip measurement. (Hips are the widest part of your butt).

Ideally, women should have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.8 or less.

Ideally, men should have a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.95 or less.

From a non measurement stand point, if your waist is smaller then your hips, you have a healthy waist line.

Let’s look at our 36-24-36 woman. Her waist to hip ratio is:

 24/36=.6666.   

She is well below the .8

Some factors to consider, if you have very large hips, the test is still useful for determining your heart health. Having an apple shape (carrying extra weight around the stomach) is riskier for your health than having a pear shape (carrying extra weight around your hips or thighs). This is because body shape and health risk are linked. If you have more weight around your waist you have a greater risk of lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than those with weight around their hips.

Monitoring your body shape is a very important factor in a healthy lifestyle.

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Calculating Weight Loss/Gain

The only assured way of losing weight, in a healthy manor, is to control your calorie consumption. I have compiled a chart to show you some great activities for losing weight and how many calories per minute you burn while performing these activities.

About 3,500 calories adds up to about 1 pound of fat. This applies whether they are food calories coming in, or calories (burned by exercise) going out. If you eat 3,500 calories more than your body needs, you will put on about 1 pound. If you use up 3,500 calories more than you eat, you will lose about 1 pound in weight.

How to use this chart:

1. Pick your activity of choice (for the example I will use volleyball)

2. Find the Calories per minute under your weight, (I will use 200lbs so 11.6CPM)

3. Now take 1 pound of calories (3500) and divide by your CPM (3500/11.6=302)

4. You will have to exercise for 302 minutes to burn one pound (or 5 hours)

Many factors affect this. How hard you play will increase your CPM. 3500 is just the average number of calories to burn one pound, your body may need more or less.

Exercise will also increase your muscle mass and you may have a net loss/gain of 0 lbs, but be thinner as muscle is 4 times denser then fat.

When you plan your routine, a chart like this will help you decided what activities you must do to meet your goal. Some of the more strenuous activities require less time to burn the same number of calories.

Calories per minute of exercise (CPM)

Weight (lbs) 100-125 125-150 150-175 175-200

Basketball full court 9.8 11.2 13.2 14.5
Bicycling -Stationary 10 mph

5.5

6.3 7.8 8.3
Bicycling -Stationary 20 mph 11.7 13.3 15.6 17.8
Bicycling – 10 mph 5.5 6.3 7.8 14.5
Dancing – Rock & Roll 3.3 3.8 4.4 4.9
Jogging – 5 mph 8.6 9.2 11.5 12.7
Running – 8 mph 10.4 11.9 14.2 17.3
Sex – active 3.9 4.3 5.6 5.9
Skating – fast 8.1 9.3 10.9 12
Skiing – down hill 7.8 10.4 12.3 13.3
Skiing – cross country 13.1 15 17.8 19.4
Snow shoveling – light 7.9 9.1 10.8 12.5
Snow shoveling – heavy 13.8 15.7 18.5 20.5
Swimming – 20 yds. a min. 3.9 4.5 5.3 6.8
Swimming – 60 yds. a min. 11 12.5 14.8 17.9
Volleyball 7.8 8.9 10.5 11.6
Walking 4 mph 4.5 5.2 6.1 6.8

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Men’s Health

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, men can make a few small changes that could have a tremendous impact on their health.

  • Eat Healthy. Balancing your diet with fruits and vegetables could help you lower the risk of conditions such as heart disease.
  • Maintain a weight that is healthy. Waist measurement can help you determine whether or not you are at risk for high blood pressure and stroke.
  • Exercise. Over 50% of both men and women do not spend enough time being active. Changing your daily routine to include at least 30 minutes a day of exercise could be beneficial.
  • Get routine exams. Men are at risk for cancers of the skin, prostate, and colon. Making an appointment with your doctor could help you identify the warning signs of these cancers early on and prevent them.
  • Get vaccinations.
  • Lower your stress. Are you too focused on things that stress you out? Try to change the way you approach these things in your life or eliminate them.

For fun you can test your knowledge about men’s health.

Resources

CDC: Men’s Health
http://www.cdc.gov

National Library of Medicine
http://www.nlm.nih.gov

Science Daily: Men’s Health News
http://www.sciencedaily.com

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Is Bottled Water Really All That Good?

Of all the things you do during your journey to above average health, the most important is regulating your water levels. Here are a few facts about water you may not have known:

  • Water serves as a lubricant
  • Water forms the base for saliva
  • Water forms the fluids that surround the joints. (reducing joint pain)
  • Water regulates the body temperature, as the cooling and heating is distributed through perspiration.
  • Water helps to alleviate constipation by moving food through the intestinal tract and thereby eliminating waste- the best detox agent.
  • Water is an appetite suppressant.
  • Our body is over 70% water and our blood over 90%
  • Regulates metabolism

As for your source of water, The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) released a four year study on “bottled” water:

http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/bw/bwinx.asp

What does this MASSIVE study tell us? That bottled water is not better, and in some cases worse then tap water. One finding showed that 25-30% of all bottled water comes from cities “tap” water and is not treated any further. (1)

Bottled water companies are now required to state if their “spring water” comes from municipal water. The exceptions are with companies that label their water “purified water” such as Aquafina (Pepsi) which is municipal based water.

The most interesting part is the chart that has the source of the bottled waters and the contaminated found in each one. If you have a favorite bottled water brand, be sure to check it out and see if it really comes from a natural source and if there is any unhealthy containment:

http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/bw/appa.asp

(1) L. Allen & J.L. Darby, “Quality Control of Bottled and Vended Water in California: A Review and Comparison of Tap Water,” Journal of Environmental Health, vol. 56, no. 8, p. 19 (April 1994), citing FDA; accord, “Bottled Water Regulation,” Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Serial No. 102-36 102nd Cong., 1st Sess., p. 3, (April 10, 1991); accord, Ibid. p. 152 (Statement of William F. Deal, CEO, International Bottled Water Association). In a recent interview with the head of the FDA bottled water program, FDA confirmed that they have no reason to believe that this percentage has changed substantially since 1991. Interview with Terry Troxel, FDA, September 18, 1997.

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Pre-Pregnancy Health

It is key to make sure you are healthy before you become pregnant. Pregnancy can be very rough on a healthy body. Being unhealthy before you become pregnant could complicate the pregnancy and be dangerous for you and your unborn child. It is important that you are up to date on all health check ups such as yearly physicals, dental exams, breast exams, pap smears, etc. Now is not the time to find out you have a medical condition that could cause problems for your pregnancy.

Once you determine that you are healthy enough to become pregnant it is important to stop any bad habits such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, any drug usage, etc. It is also very important to eat healthy meals and avoid a high caffeine intake. Keep in mind that most women do not realize they are pregnant right away so it’s important to stop these things before you try to conceive as everything you ingest also goes to your baby. It is a good idea to start taking prenatal vitamins as well. They can provide important vitamins essential for you and your baby.

It is very important that you have a regular exercise routine that you follow. This does not have to be anything extreme but a routine that will keep you healthy before, during and after pregnancy. You should always discuss your exercise routine with your doctor while you are pregnant to make sure you are not doing too much or anything that could be harmful. If you establish an exercise routine now and are able to follow some sort of routine throughout your pregnancy there should be no problem getting back to a normal weight after your pregnancy.

Resources:

Family Planning Fact Sheet
http://www.fpahealth.org

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The First Day

The First Day

Welcome to your first day of fitness. And believe me when I say that today is the easiest of all the fitness days. So far you should have defined your goals for your future fitness, decided the best workouts for you, and developed your support group.

Today you will set the precedent for all of your future workouts. The level of commitment you show yourself today will motivate or de-motivate you in future sessions. Before we begin there are a few things you should consider doing.

First, take a picture of yourself in your bathing suit. This is your first day, this is the beginning, and this is what we want to improve on. This picture will be used for comparison in the following weeks. Six weeks from now when you’re ready to take that day off from your workout or splurge from your diet you can look at this picture and look at yourself in the mirror and compare your progress to your “old body.” To accompany this picture measure your entire body, every part. Bicep size, waist size, thigh size, neck size, hat size, everything. Create a table to track these on a weekly basis. These numbers will not change daily, but weekly you will notice a change.

The next step is to create a fitness spreadsheet. This sheet should have dates on the first row and exercises on the column. This will be used to track your progress.

Sally Wally 8/20/07 8/21/07 8/22/07 8/23/07

Leave some space for comments at the bottom and leave several blank rows for adding exercises you discover.

As each day comes and goes mark what activities you completed and measure your success. After a few days you may have this as your table:

Sally Wally 8/20/07 8/21/07 8/23/07 8/24/07
Run 2 miles 16 min   2 Miles 16 min  
Stretching 15 minutes 20 minutes 18 Minutes 20 Minutes
Water 20 Ounces 18 Ounces 24 Ounces 22 Ounces
Rest   XXXXXXXX    
Sit-ups 50     120
Swim     10 Laps 15 Laps
Sleep 8.5 hours 8.75 hours 8.2 Hours 8.5 Hours

Comments: The water in the fountain at the city park is not very tasty, bring a water bottle.

Our table here has added a few new exercises as we discovered them. I want you to notice the big ugly “X” in the “Rest” row. We did not do any exercise on that day. We are telling ourselves that this was not a very healthy day for us compared to what we want to be doing, and making that day stand out in hopes of not having many more. At least we still stretched that day. Stretching is something you must do every day. Doing so improves flexibility and endurance. Proper stretching can also increase muscle mass and usability.

We also added our water and sleep totals. This is important as well. Water and sleep help fuel and rebuild our muscles to improve our health.

Our sheet also shows comments. We discovered that the public fountain at the park is substandard, we will need to bring our own supply of water. This is your sheet, take ownership of it. Write down what is important to you.

Begin your diet today if you have not already. The correct food will help your body feel energized and comfortable. Soda and junk food is the enemy. These things actually make you feel less energized and complicate your work out. Water and natural foods are our friends.

Make sure to stretch before and after your workout to help remove the lactic acids from your muscles. The stretching not only prevents injuries, but also helps ease you into your work out and makes it more enjoyable, and less painful. I can not over emphasize the value of stretching. An effective stretch when you wake and one before you sleep will improve your total health feel and sleep cycles.

For your goals for your first day I offer two. The first is “do not quit,” you will surprise yourself by pushing past the pain tolerance you have learned and accomplishing more. When you want to quit, when you “think” you are tired, go a few minutes more. You will like your self better that first day for what you have accomplished. You will feel more energized and read for the next day.

Your second goal is very simple; it will be our mantra for all of our workouts, “All you have to do is Breathe.” Keep breathing; keep focusing on your breath. Take your mind off of your workout and listen to your marvelous body breathe. All your body wants to do is breathe, so let it. Feel the rhythm and let it take over your body. During any workout there is one constant, breath. If it’s during a competitive sport, make your self breathe. During your run, feel it come in your nose and out your mouth. The good goes in… The bad comes out. From this day forward you will know and think one thing for every exercise:

“All you have to do is breathe.”

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