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How to Stay Fit and Healthy

Author: Karen Hart
February, 2018 Issue

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? That’s the question once posed by Satchel Paige, who became a legend in his lifetime, known as perhaps the best pitcher in baseball history by his longevity in the game and for drawing record crowds whenever he pitched. At age 42 in 1948, he was the oldest major league rookie while playing for the Cleveland Indians. Paige believed age was a question of mind over matter and is still a good example of how you can feel your best at any age. Here are some practical tips from North Bay physicians to help you develop good habits for health and wellness.

Exercise Daily to Prevent Dementia

There is no medication to prevent Dementia but daily exercise (such as walking 30 minutes, five days aweek) and eating a plant-based diet have been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing this condition.––Jonathan Artz, M.D.,medical director, stroke services and cognitive disorders, Kaiser Permanente, San Rafael

Take Vitamins to Prevent Skin Cancer

Anyone who’s had skin cancers in the past (that’s one in five of you) is at very high risk for getting new skin cancers. To lower the risk, you should of course be careful about sun exposure. What many peopledon’t know, though, is that if you take the vitamin niacinamide (a well-tolerated form of vitamin B3) 500 mg twice a day, you will lower the risk of getting new skin cancers by almost 25 percent. And no side effects. This was shown in a large randomized study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2015.—Peter Brett, M.D., medical oncologist, Sutter Medical Group of the Redwoods

Review Medications

Avoid taking more medications than minimally required. As you grow older, you are more likely to develop long-term health conditions that require taking multiple medications, prescribed and over-the-counter (OTCs). Over time, these medications can accumulate and increase your risk of overmedication and unwanted or adverse drug reactions. Note that some OTCs (such as diphenhydramine or Benadryl) and supplements can cause serious side effects in older adults. At least once a year, ask your primary care physician to review your list of medications, supplements, and vitamins. Ask whether you still need to take each one at its current dose. Make a list and keep it updated! Take the list with you to each medical appointment, and carry the list with you at all times, in case of a medical emergency.—Wynnelena Canio, MD, Geriatric Medicine, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa.

Be Fully Present

Put away your digital device, fully engage with your family, friends and nature. Real social connections are essential for optimal health.—Catherine Gutfreund, M.D., Family Medicine, Kaiser Permenente, Santa Rosa


Exercise More During the Holidays

My number one tip is to exercise extra when you know you are going to be eating extra. Face it, we enjoy the holidays and we enjoy our vacations, and we enjoy the food that goes with them. Plan ahead to include more than the usual exercise rather than letting things slide.—Sal Iaquinta, M.D., head and neck surgeon, Kaiser Permanente

Be Mindful of Your Diet

Be mindful of the side effects of food on your body. Pay as much attention and research into the foods you consume as you would a prescription medication that your doctor prescribes. For example, calcium from dark green leafy vegetables are better absorbed by your body than dairy sources of calcium. Bok choy has the most calcium of off all the vegetables!—Rajina Ranadive, M.D., internal medicine, Annadel Medical Group, medical director of the Petaluma Post-Acute Rehab.

 Exercise 150 Minutes Per Week

I always recommend at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. This is essential for good overall health, and it can really help manage stress and extra calories you may have consumed around the holidays.—Lori Selleck, M.D., internal medicine and assistant physician-in-chief for health promotion, Kaiser Permanente, San Rafael

Foster an Attitude of Gratitude

To reduce stress, foster an attitude of gratitude; step outside and be enthralled with nature. Try to relax and take in the sky, the sun, the hills, etc.—Reginina Sullivan, M.D., medical director, maternal child health, obstetrics/gynecology, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Rosa










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