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Posts tagged ‘prevention’

New Study: Exercise As Effective As Prescription Drugs

                                                           REJOICE! FANTASTIC NEWS IS HERE! 

As a physician who strives to provide the best treatments to all of my patients in my practice, I was incredibly overjoyed to read this week that researchers at Stanford Medical School were able to make an evidence-based conclusion that physical exercise can be as effective as prescription drugs in reducing the number of deaths caused by various common and serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

WOW! Now THAT is music to my ears!

*** IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE! Before we begin our discussion, as doctor of medicine, it is important that I emphasize that these findings do not change my belief the use of medications – all of my patients, clients and subscribers reading this should continue to take their medications as directed unless told otherwise by their primary care physician.

BUT!

Imagine a world where the power to improve and maintain our health was inside of our minds and bodies instead of a bottle of pills – what would that look like? For many who are already sick, sometimes a trip to the pharmacy is the only option. But, scientists already know that exercise is an extremely effective method of prevention for various chronic illnesses. So these new findings imply with significant data that with the right approach, engaging our bodies in regular physical activity may not only prevent but also help to cure certain illnesses without the use pharmaceuticals!

For some of you who aren’t very enthusiastic about physical exercise,

Here are a few reasons why the implications of this study are worth getting excited about!

  •  In 2013, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that Americans spend on average $1,000 per year on prescription drugs…..That’s A LOT of cash!  Not only that, each year Americans are spending 40% more on these medications than the rest of the world – and because of the high cost of these treatments, 1 out of every 5 Americans are not filling our prescriptions or are skipping doses to alleviate this financial burden. What would you do with your extra money?

 

  • A study conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1999 and 2000 found measurable amounts of one or more medications in 80% of the water samples drawn from a network of 139 streams in 30 states – showing that the pharmaceutical industry is a significant contributing factor to water pollution. As it is, the oceans of the world are already in a great amount of duress from millions of tons of plastic deposits and other pollutants – something every human should be extremely concerned about. Ridding ourselves of our dependency on pharmaceuticals will improve water quality and make the earth a greener place. 

 

  • Prevention should ALWAYS be the goal of a healthy lifestyle as well as the focus of any interventions conducted by physicians. NOBODY wants to get sick! Instead of treating our ailments with prescription pills, wouldn’t it be better to not have health problems at all? If you knew that exercising for 30 minutes a day would prevent you from contracting diabetes, heart disease or cancer – would you participate? Hundreds of studies on physical exercise and its use in the prevention of chronic illness have revealed a strong connection between working out and staying healthy throughout a lifespan. Think about it!

 

  • Unlike many prescription drugs which can result in an array of complications, exercising is a treatment method with very few negative side effects. So if exercise can be used as a treatment in the event that we do get sick – we’re not only treating the illness but also preventing stress, strengthening our skeletal system and boosting our metabolism! Do your medications have those positive side effects???

 

There are myriad of additional reasons why every single individual should engage in regular physical activity – the trick is to find those reasons that are most important to you. It is fairly common knowledge that exercise is a very empowering tool for our minds and bodies – these findings by Stanford University only serve to emphasize that evidence.

I hope I have made a convincing argument for putting some spring in your step and getting in some workouts this summer! For those of you who aren’t interested in joining a gym or paying for a workout program, I highly recommend checking out the YouTube Channel “FITNESS BLENDER”! FitnessBlender is a free service created by an adorable young couple from Washington State that has hundreds of FREE exercise videos of all kinds, from yoga to High Intensity Interval Training. My youngest daughter Mariella and I frequent these videos – and they have really inspired us to get fit from the comfort of our own homes! The couple, Dan and Kelli, do a fantastic job of inspiring their viewers and creating realistic fitness goals. All of their videos are quite doable by most able-bodied individuals.

Give it a shot! Here is one of our favorite total body routines for beginners:

 

For this Summer 2014 – I urge all of you to not only get fit with me but GET HEALTHY too in the process!

Dr Emily Nolfo

 

Weekly Inspirations: Engineer The Habit of Change

I was never a fan of New Year’s Eve resolutions.

Short, cold winter days are a tough time for me to get super-motivated. But in late September, when the weather starts to get cool at night, the sugar maple leaves start to turn crimson, and Macoun apples are at the farm stands, I feel inspired to clean up, clear out and make positive changes.

Maybe this is because it’s the time of year when the new school year starts. In New England, maybe it’s a helpful natural instinct that helps us rake up the leaves and get out the fall clothes. So, when we want to make a change, like losing summer pounds or quitting smoking  – what strategies can help us make the change happen and last?

I found a great blog on “engineering” successful change, by roadblocking the easy excuses and reducing the pain of the hard work you are trying to do. I’ll share some of it here, but it’s worth reading the whole of it. I am already using some of these strategies.  In my own life, I’m in the process of losing 10 pounds that sneaked up on me this year. I’m also trying to exercise more.

(See! I just used one of the Zen strategies: I  made my “goal” public, so I’ll have to let you know if I succeeded!)

Here is my favorite snippit From the blog ZenHabits:

“Engineer the habit change …Think of it from an engineer’s point of view: When negative feedback outweighs positive feedback, habit change fails. To make the habit change successful, positive feedback has to outweigh negative feedback. The solution: increase positive feedback and/or decrease negative feedback until the ratio favors the habit change. Think of it this way: if you want to take a certain path in the snow, put obstacles along all other paths so that it’s difficult to go anywhere but the path you want to take … and have the path you want to take shoveled, so that it’s easy to take that path. You can engineer your habit change so that it’s harder to quit than to do the habit. You have four options in your custom engineering solution. In each, I’ll give some ideas, but you’ll have to come up with ideas of your own to fit whatever habit you’re trying to change… 3. Increase negative feedback for not doing the habit. You want to make it hard not to do the habit. As hard as humanly possible. So to do that, you need to put all kinds of negative feedback on yourself for not doing the habit. Some ideas: If you join a forum or a real-world group or give people you know regular updates, or update your blog readers (see ideas in #1 above), you will face the embarrassment of having to tell people you didn’t do the challenge. Get a partner or coach or trainer, or your spouse, to make sure you do the habit, and to nag you if you don’t. If you’re trying to develop the reading habit, remove all other temptations. If you’re trying to exercise, get rid of the TV and Internet and make your house uncomfortable, until you do your exercise. Once you exercise, get your cable TV box or Internet modem back from your neighbor who was holding it for you. If you’re trying to quit smoking, tell your kids not to let you smoke. I’m sure you can think of many others — get creative!”

The homework assignment for all my followers out there is to read and absorb this entire article! I truly believe it puts in perspective perfectly the ways in which we can take control of our habits to help endure a healthy – and most importantly, happy, lifestyle.

As always, have a fabulous weekend!!! And stay tuned! We have lots of great things in the works for my readers, patients and clients….If you’d like to join our practice, click the “Get A Free Consultation” link above.

Remember: you DO NOT have to be from Connecticut to join our wellness program!

Thanks,

Dr. Emily Nolfo

Safer Fun in the SUN!

 

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“SAFER FUN IN THE SUN”
July 26th, 2013

Here in the Northeast, it’s been a tough summer. We’ve had a lot of rain and blazing hot days keeping us indoors. Today it’s rainy chilly! So when a beautiful sunny day finally comes along, we all want to be on the beach, at the lake, or just taking in the sun.

BUT!

You need to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun. The most important of these of effects to be aware of is skin cancer. 1 out of every 5 Americans will get skin cancer in a lifetime. 

Sun exposure also causes premature aging of your skin, including wrinkles:



 
Sunburn


Don’t believe it? Well, this past June, my professional association The American College of Physicians,  published in their highly respected journal a well-do(no pun intended!) study that concluded:

“Regular sunscreen use retards skin aging in healthy men and women.”

Still don’t believe me? 

Here’s a picture of two twins. One spent a lot of time in the sun, one didn’t. Can you see the difference? 

Wrinkles

 Here is a picture of a trucker who doesn’t use sunscreen. The left side of his face is exposed to sun on a regular basis all the time he’s driving. 

Trucker

 
Convinced Yet? Here are ways to keep your skin young!

#1)   Don’t Go To Tanning Salons:

+ Tanning booths mainly emit UVA, as much as 12x that of the sun! 

+ It’s a myth that UVA doesn’t cause skin cancer. People who use tanning salons are 2.5x more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma, and 1.5x more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma.

+ First exposure to tanning beds in youth increases melanoma risk by 75%

#2) Wear sun-protective clothing: 

+ Clothes are the best protection against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. C’mon, didn’t you see what Laurence of Arabia wore in the movie?

+ Not all clothing provides equal protection. The type of fiber, tightness of the weave, color and amount of skin covered all affect the level of protection they provide. The level of sun protection provided by a garment is indicated by its UPF, or Ultraviolet Protection Factor. This indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation is absorbed.

+ A fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass though. This means that the fabric will reduce your skin’s UV radiation exposure significantly because only 2% will get through. 

You can read more here:
http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/clothing/get-in-on-the-trend
http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/natural-sunscreens-460608?click=main_sr#slide-1
http://www.ewg.org/2013sunscreen/

#3) Use Sunscreen! It’s only effective when you use enough!

+ Apply a full ounce (two tablespoons) to the body, including a nickle-sized amount to the face, 30 minutes before heading outdoors. Reapply every two hours outside and immediately after swimming, towel-drying or heavy sweating. 

+ Sunscreen may be labeled “broad-spectrum” if they provide protection against both UVA and UVB radiation 

+ Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity use a water-resistant broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with a SPF of 30 to 50. Be sure to reapply even if you use a high SPF – you can still be getting cancer-causing skin damage even if you are not burning. 

+ Water-resistant sunscreens protection lasts just 40 minutes – and they should be reapplied immediately after getting out of the water. 

#4) Use a Non-Toxic Sunscreen

In my blogs I am going to remind you often that up to 70% of cancers are preventable and an important part of that prevention is removing toxins from our lives. 

Ironically, though one of the most important reasons for using sunscreen is cancer prevention, some sunscreen ingredients are carcinogenic or hormone disrupters. This is especially important for children

AVOID:

+ Oxybenzone
+Vitamin A and other retinoids
+ Spray Sunscreens (get in lungs and mucous membranes)
+ Powders, especially powders with “nano” ingredients. These very tiny particles can get in the lungs and little is known about their saftey.
+ Sunscreens with insect repellant. They need to be applied on different schedules – use a separate one. 

Look For: 

+ Zinc Oxide
Titanium Dioxide
Avobenzone
Mexoryl SX

Natural sunscreens can be pricey, but here’s a site that willl tell you the most cost-effective brands:

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/natural-sunscreens-460608?click=main_sr#slide-1

Please feel free to comment with any questions.

HAVE FUN IN THE SUN! 

Dr. Nolfo



 

 


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