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Last week we discussed the healthiest New Year’s Resolutions, however, given the fact that 80% of those who made resolutions will have failed by January 19th, this week I will recommend the use of technology to improve the odds…there is an App for that!

While some apps can be a waste of time, when you find the right app for you most polls show that it can be extremely helpful. They can be used for learning, socializing, calculating, writing, graphing, news, weather, music, school, money AND HELPING YOU KEEP YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!

According to “Per Statista,” the most common resolutions are as follows: save money (59%), exercise more (50%), more time with family and friends (40%), lose weight (35%), spend less money (26%), less time on social media (19%), and less job stress.

Apps for Saving Money

Goodbudget, YNAB (You Need A Budget), PocketGuard, and Quapital are some of the better budget Apps. Some of these Apps are free, while others require a nominal fee. In addition to tracking spending and saving, most allow you to set you own parameters and goals. Some helpful features are: moving money from checking into savings every time you buy a coffee.

Apps for Tracking Exercise

In addition to wrist trackers like Fitbit and Smart Watches, there are exercise equipment options with programs and tracking like Peleton, Norditrack and exercise mirrors like Tonal. However,  there are also specific Apps that help you set goals and see your progress. Some of these include: Fitness22, FitNotes, MyFitbnessPal and Strong. Some of these allow you to input your exercises and create graphs showing progress in body weight, fat percentage and more.  These Apps are especially useful for those who dislike going to the gym.

Apps for Prioritizing Time with Family and Friends

While distance-base technology such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom worked well to keep connected during the pandemic and after, there are other Apps that offer more personal ways. Cozi is one of the best as it offers a simple organizer that displays the schedule of the entire family to assist you in planning a get together. Cozi is a great option as a simple organizer that offers a clear visual representation of the entire family’s schedule. It not only shows when people are free but also tracks the amount of time you spend (or don’t spend) with these special people.   

Apps for Losing Weight

There are so many weight loss apps available that it is easy to get confused or overwhelmed. Some of the most popular with the best reviews are: Noom, Reverse Health, Perfect Body, WeightWatchers and MyFitnessPal. MyFitnessPal has the added benefit of tracking exercise and activity with a calorie expenditure report. Simply set a goal, enter food intake and exercise/activity output and the app calculates the rest. A bar-code scanner makes it even easier!

App for Bill-Tracking

Keeping a better eye on finances and expenses is a common resolution, especially as the holiday bills come in. Stax Bill, NetSuite, Paystand and Rocket Money are highly rated. These apps help you budget, save, provide an income analysis and credit scores, and disclose recurring fees.

App for Reducing Stress at Work and Home

Reducing stress is another common resolution and learning stress management techniques and incorporating them into our daily lives is vital. Some of the highly rated apps are: Personal Zen, Sanvello, The Mindfulness App, Headspace and Moodfit. These apps not only give you the tools for managing stress but also provide insights into your mood patterns and stressors. In addition to a “blue mood” you can also track gratitude and other feelings. Also, nutrition, sleep, and medications, which can affect your mood, can also be tracked. Once a pattern is established, tools can be applied to reduce and manage stress.

App for Reducing Time on Social Media

While at first glance it may seem odd that one might use an app to stop using another app but…don’t rule it out! OneSec is an app that creates a 10 second delay after you open an app to allow you time to pause and take a deep breath before you indulge. It will also tell you how many times you have opened the app in the last 24 hours…you might be shocked!

SOURCE: LIFEHACKER

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: mmptc@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice in Scranton and Clarks Summit and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

Holiday shopping is stressful to your body, as well as your wallet, having the potential for a backache afterwards. Driving from store to store, getting in and out of the car, bundled in a sweater and winter coat, the expert shopper carries package after package from the store, to the car, over and over again. Six, eight, or ten hours later, the shopper arrives home exhausted, only to realize that 15, or 20 packages must be carried from the car into the house. This dilemma is compounded by the fact that the rain turned to sleet, and the sleet to snow. Travel by car and foot are treacherous.

You are slipping and sliding all the way from the car to the house while carrying multiple packages of various sizes and shapes. The shopping bags get wet and tear, forcing you to tilt your body as you carry the packages. Of course, no one is home to help you unload the car and you make the trip several times alone. You get into the house exhausted and crash onto the couch. You fall asleep slouched and slumped in an overstuffed pillow chair. Hours later you wake up with a stiff neck and a backache from shopping. You wonder what happened to your neck and back.

Consider the following:

OTHER TIPS:

Plan Ahead: It is very stressful on your spirit, wallet and back to do all of your shopping in the three weeks available after Thanksgiving. Even though we dislike “rushing” past Thanksgiving to the next holiday, try to begin holiday shopping in before 

Use the Internet: Supporting local businesses is important. However, Internet shopping can save you lots of wear and tear. Sometimes, you can even get a gift wrapped.

Gift Certificates: While gift certificates may be impersonal, they are easy, convenient and can also be purchased over the internet.

Perform Stretching Exercises: Stretch intermittently throughout the shopping day…try the three exercises below, gently, slowly, hold 3 seconds and relax, repeat 5 times.

Chin Tucks – Bring head over shoulders
Shoulder Blade Pinch – Pinch shoulder blades together
Back Extension – Stretch backwards

Model: Paul Mackarey, PT, DPT, Clinic Director, Mackarey PT

Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.     

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

  This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

3rd of 3 Columns on Balance Disorders and Falls Prevention

Preventing a fall can not only save your independence but also your life! Preventing injuries from falls reduces the need for nursing home placement. Injuries from falls are the seventh leading cause of death in people over the age of sixty-five.

The following suggestions will assist you in minimizing your risk of a fall:

Following these helpful hints will keep you safe by preventing a loss of balance and a potential fall!

Contributor: Janet M. Caputo, PT, DPT, OCS

Medical Reviewer: Mark Frattali, MD, ENT: Otolaryngology /Head Neck Surgery at Lehigh Valley Health Network

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.

For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, visit our exercise forum!

2nd of 3 Columns on Balance Disorders and Falls Prevention

Last week we discussed the causes of balance loss. Today, we will discuss treatment for this problem. Two primary treatments are medication and vestibular rehabilitation.

1. Medication

Medication for dizziness and loss of balance requires a visit to your family doctor. In a more involved case, your family physician may refer you to a specialist such as an ear, nose and throat physician or neurologist. There are many medications available for loss of balance. While this can be complicated, the specialist will determine the most appropriate one for your balance disorder.

2. Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation for dizziness and loss of balance is a great adjunct to medication to manage your balance disorder. It is a comprehensive program that addresses a wide range of problems that may cause imbalance such as: addressing the inability to tolerate motion, visual changes, providing balance rehabilitation, instruction in repositioning techniques for BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), correcting postural dysfunctions, muscle weakness, joint stiffness, offering education for prevention, maintenance and self care after discharge. Through experience and motion, vestibular rehabilitation allows: formation of internal models (one learns what to expect from ones actions), learning of limits (learning what is safe and what is not) and sensory weighting (one sense, either vision, vestibular or somatosensory is selected in favor of another in maintaining balance).

In some minor cases, vestibular rehabilitation may be performed at home. However, more serious cases may require an evaluation by a physician specializing in the dizzy patient such as an ear, nose and throat physician or neurologist. These specialists will determine the nature of your problem and may enroll you in a more structured program under the direction of a physical therapist. ­Vestibular rehabilitation addresses not only vertigo (i.e. dizziness) but also balance problems.   

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BBPV)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and vestibular hypofunction (e.g. unilateral and bilateral vestibular loss) are two causes of vertigo that can be addressed by a vestibular rehabilitation. Your physical therapist will tailor a program designed to address your specific vestibular disorder (i.e. BPPV or hypofunction).

If you have been diagnosed with BPPV, your therapist may take you through an Epley maneuver. In BPPV, particles in the inner ear become displaced and get lodged in an area that produces vertigo. Vertigo is experienced with tilting head, looking up/down and rolling over in bed. The causes include: infection, head trauma and degeneration. During the Epley maneuver the patient is guided through positional changes which clear these particles from the symptomatic part of the ear.

If you have been diagnosed with either unilateral or bilateral vestibular hypofunction, your therapist will most likely design a program to “retrain” your vestibular system with special exercises, including:

If you have a vestibular problem that primarily manifests as loss of balance, exercises to stimulate your balance responses, strengthen your legs, and enhance your joint position sense may be helpful. These exercises encourage reliance on vestibular and/or visual input. The exercises are performed on unstable surfaces (i.e. tilt boards, balance beams, and foam) and include a variety of tasks from simple standing to more complex arm and leg movements requiring coordination.

Other Vestibular Treatment Options:

In addition to the above mentioned treatments, Posturography and Virtual Reality Training are computerized programs that may be used by your therapist to address your vestibular and/or balance problem. Also, Recreational Activities that involve using your eyes while head and body is in motion (i.e. dancing, golfing, tennis, walking while looking from side to side) are shown to be helpful in stimulating balance and vestibular responses. Furthermore, you may consider Alternative Balance Activities (i.e. Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates) which incorporate slow gentle movements to improve strength, balance and posture as well as relaxation techniques for the anxiety that accompanies dizziness/off-balance.

Whatever you do, just DO NOT give into your dizziness. People that just “give up” become sedentary. A sedentary lifestyle further denies your body the necessary stimuli to challenge your vestibular system and make it stronger. Eventually, these people end up in a vicious cycle because the more they sit the dizzier and more off balance they get which only makes them sit more! 

Remember, one fall increases your risk of another fall. It is imperative to determine what caused your fall and take action! Ask your physician or physical therapist to assess your fall risk.                                                                                             

Contributor: Janet M. Caputo, PT, DPT, OCS

Medical Reviewer: Mark Frattali, MD, ENT: Otolaryngology /Head Neck Surgery at Lehigh Valley Health Network

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog: Next Monday Part III on Balance Disorders and Falls Prevention

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate clinical professor of medicine at GCSOM.

For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles, check out our exercise forum!

TAKE THE TEST!

Northeastern Pennsylvania is home to a large elderly population and many of the medical problems we expect to see are age related. Dedicated medical practitioners are in constant search for new knowledge and information to prevent or delay many age-related problems. One of the most devastating problems associated with aging is the risk of falling and falling.

Loss of balance causes falls. Falls are a leading cause of injury and death. Thirty percent of women and thirteen percent of men over the age of sixty-five will fall. Twenty to thirty percent of these individuals suffer moderate to severe injuries. Preventing falls is not an easy task. A good understanding of the causes of loss of balance and knowledge of a few fall prevention suggestions can enhance your balance and reduce your risk of a fall.

The Falls Risk Self-Assessment below allows and individual to determine their risk of falling to take the appropriate steps for prevention and treatment. The next three weeks will be dedicated to this topic to educate and inform readers and their families to make good decisions.

The Falls Risk Assessment is from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

WHAT IS YOUR RISK OF FALLING?

  1. I HAVE FALLEN IN THE PAST YEAR.
    • People who have fallen once are likely to fall again.
  2. I USE OR HAVE BEEN ADVISED TO USE A CANE OR WALKER TO GET AROUND SAFELY.
    • People who have been advised to use a cane or a walker may already be more likely to fall.
  3. SOMETIMES I FEEL UNSTEADY WHEN I AM WALKING.
    • Unsteadiness or needing support while waking are signs of poor balance.
  4. I STEADY MYSELF BY HOLDING ONTO FURNITURE WHEN WALKING AT HOME.
    • This is also a sign of poor balance.
  5. I AM WORRIED ABOUT FALLING.
    • People who are worried about falling are more likely to fall.
  6. I NEED TO PUSH WITH MY HANDS TO STAND UP FROM A CHAIR.
    • This is a sign of weak leg muscles, a major reason for falling.
  7. I HAVE SOME TROUBLE STEPPING UP ONTO A CURB.
    • This is also a sign of weak leg muscles.
  8. I OFTEN HAVE TO RUSH TO THE TOILET.
    • Rushing to the bathroom, especially at night, increases your chance of falling.
  9. I HAVE LOST SOME FEELING IN MY FEET.
    • Numbness in your feet can cause stumbles and lead to falls.
  10. I TAKE MEDICINE THAT SOMETIMES MAKES ME FEEL LIGHT-HEADED OR MORE TIRED THAN USUAL.
    • Side effects from medicines can sometimes increase your chance of falling.                       
  11. I TAKE MEDICINE TO HELP ME SLEEP OR IMPROVE MY MOOD.
    • These medicines can sometimes increase your chance of falling.
  12. I OFTEN FEEL SAD OF DEPRESSED.
    • Symptoms of depression, such as not feeling well or feeling slowed down, are linked to falls.

1. YES (2) NO (0)

2. YES (2) NO (0)

3. YES (1) NO (0)

4. YES (1) NO (0)

5. YES (1) NO (0)

6. YES (1) NO (0)

7. YES (1) NO (0)

8. YES (1) NO (0)

9. YES (1) NO (0)

10. YES (1) NO (0)

11. YES (1) NO (0)

12. YES (1) NO (0)

SCORE YOUR RISK OF FALLING.

Add up the number of points for each YES answer. If you have scored 4 or more points you may be at risk for falling.

Accordingly, 0-1 = Low Risk; 1-2 = Moderate Risk; 3-4 =  At Risk; 4-5 = High Risk; 5-6 = Urgent; > 6 = Severe

Low    Moderate     At Risk     High Risk   Urgent   Severe

0          1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8         

Listen to your body and talk to your doctor.

EVERY MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” via Blog

Next Monday Part II of III on Balance Disorders and Falls Prevention

EVERY SUNDAY in "The Sunday Times" - Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” in hard copy

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate clinical professor of medicine at GCSOM.

For all of Dr. Paul's articles, check out our exercise forum!

Fall in NEPA is one of my favorite times of year. For outdoor enthusiasts, there is nothing more refreshing than activities in the bright sunshine and crisp, clean air. The hot humid summer weather can be a deterrent to outdoor activities and this time of year provides an opportunity to get fit by beginning a walking program. For many who have not maintained an active lifestyle or have health issues, it is challenging to know where to begin. Moreover, beginning without a good plan can lead to injury and leave you discouraged. For example, those overweight and de-conditioned should not start a walking program too aggressively. Walking at a fast pace and long distance without gradually weaning into it will most likely lead to problems.

WALKING FOR HEALTH

There is probably nothing more natural to human beings than walking. Ever since Australopithecus, an early hominin (human ancestor) who evolved in Southern and Eastern Africa between 4 and 2 million years ago, that our ancestors took their first steps as committed bipeds. With free hands, humans advanced in hunting, gathering, making tools etc. while modern man uses walking as, not only a form of locomotion, but also as a form of exercise and fitness. It is natural, easy and free...no equipment or fitness club membership required!

BENEFITS OF WALKING

“There’s no question that increasing exercise, even moderately, reduces the risks of many diseases, including coronary heart disease, breast and colon cancer, and Type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Jennifer Joyce, MD, professor of family medicine at GCSOM. “Research has even shown that you could gain two hours of life for each hour that you exercise regularly.” According to the American Heart Association, walking as little as 30 minutes a day can provide the following benefits:

PLAN AHEAD

SET REALISTIC GOALS

Anything is better than nothing! However, for most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. Also aim to do strength training exercises of all major muscle groups at least two times a week.

As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you can't set aside that much time, try several short sessions of activity throughout the day (3 ten or 2 fifteen minute sessions). Even small amounts of physical activity are helpful, and accumulated activity throughout the day adds up to provide health benefit.

Remember it's OK to start slowly — especially if you haven't been exercising regularly. You might start with five minutes a day the first week, and then increase your time by five minutes each week until you reach at least 30 minutes.

For even more health benefits, aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Once you are ready for a challenge, add hills, increase speed and distance.

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration. Record these numbers in a walking journal or log them in a spreadsheet or a physical activity app. Another option is to use an electronic device such as a smart watch, pedometer or fitness tracker to calculate steps and distance.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Make walking part of your daily routine. Pick a time that works best for you. Some prefer early morning, others lunchtime or after work. Enter it in your smart phone with a reminder and get to it!

FIND A WALKING PARTNER

 Studies show that compliance with an exercise program is significantly improved when an exercise buddy is part of the equation. It is hard to let someone down or break plans when you commit to someone. Keep in mind that your exercise buddy can also include your dog!

USE EFFICIENT WALKING TECHNIQUE

Like everything, there is a right way of doing something, even walking. For efficiency and safety, walking with proper stride is important. A fitness stride requires good posture and purposeful movements. Ideally, here's how you'll look when you're walking:

Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.     

Sources : Sapiens.org; WebMD; Mayo Clinic 

NEXT MONDAY BLOG and in print in THE SUNDAY TIMES TRIBUNE – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”  

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. For all of Dr. Paul Mackarey's articles, check out our exercise forum!

Part I of II: Prevention of Hand Injuries Associated with Gardening

Farmers and gardeners in NEPA always say that Memorial Day, the “kick off” day for planting without the fear of frost, however, it is not too early to start to prepare…not only the beds but your body! While gardeners are anxious to work in their gardens and enjoy the fruits of their labor, a relaxing and enjoyable activity can turn dangerous quickly. Precautions are necessary as repetitive stress injuries such as shoulder and elbow tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome can stem from raking, weeding, digging and pruning. Additionally, simple scrapes, blisters, and bites can turn into serious problems if not treated appropriately.  Since prevention is the best approach, the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) promotes warm-up exercises and injury prevention tips to help all levels of gardeners avoid serious and long-term injuries while enjoying this popular outdoor activity.

ASHT recommends following these upper extremity warm-up exercises prior to gardening:

Note:  These exercises should never be painful when completing them.  You should only feel a gentle stretch. Hold 10 seconds and repeat 5 times. Should you experience pain, please consult a physician or hand therapist.

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3

1. Forward Arm Stretch: Fold your hands together and turn your palms away from your body as you extend your arms forward.  You should feel a stretch all the way from your shoulders to your fingers. (PHOTO 1)

2. Overhead Arm Stretch: Fold your hands together and turn your palms away from your body, but this time extend your arms overhead.  You should feel the stretch in your upper torso and shoulders to hand. (PHOTO 2)

3. Crossover Arm Stretch: Place your hand just above the back of the elbow and gently push your elbow across your chest toward the opposite shoulder.  This stretch for the upper back and shoulder and should be performed on both sides. (PHOTO 3)

ASHT recommends the following guidelines to prevent injury and foster healthy gardening practices:

Professional Contributor: Nancy Naughton, OTD, CHT, is an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist practicing in NEPA. Model: Heather Holzman

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”  Next Week: “Prevention of Gardening Injuries” Part II of II.  

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM. Access of all of Dr. Mackarey's articles at our Health and Exercise Forum.

PART III OF III

This is the third of three columns dedicated to healthcare for college students. Please find these “10 Tips to Keep Yourself Healthy in College” helpful. However, no discussion regarding the health and wellness of college students would be complete and thorough without addressing what health care and university experts consider the two most dangerous behaviors on college campuses across the nation: binge drinking and unprotected sexual activity. While it is not my intent to offend the religious and moral values of any reader, it is my purpose to provoke direct and meaningful conversation between parents, religious leaders and students. To prevent serious health problems in college, parents must share their experience and discuss their values regarding sexual activity and alcohol consumption with children before they leave home to live independently in college. If you are unable to have a direct conversation about these issues, consider doing what several readers have done; mail a copy of this column to your child!

10 Tips to Keep Yourself Healthy in College

  1. Sleep – somehow, despite a busy academic and social schedule, you MUST get enough rest. Lack of sleep may be the single unhealthiest habit of a college student. It can lead to many negative consequences such as lack of concentration, poor emotional stability, and vulnerability to germs and disease. While one may get by on 3-4 hours sleep for short periods of time, eventually, your body will take control and shut down. Do your best to develop a regular sleep pattern and factor in short naps to catch up on needed rest if necessary.
  2. Diet – the “freshman fifteen” is no joke, it is the real thing. Skipping breakfast, “pigging out” on junk food, late night eating, and drinking high calorie soda and beer all factor into weight gain and poor dietary habits. Make time to eat breakfast, snack on yogurt, fruit and nuts. Fill up on a healthy salad. Avoid a constant diet of fried foods and sweets.
  3. Water – even adults forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Carry a water bottle and skip the soda.
  4. Get regular check-ups – see your doctor when home on semester break for an annual check-up or more often if needed. Many college health centers offer this service. Many serious problems can be avoided with early detection.
  5. Get a flu shot, vaccines and mask up – remember, college campuses breed germs and most schools offer inexpensive flu shots and Covid vaccines. 
  6. Exercise – make time to exercise regularly (30-45 minutes 3-5 days per week). Walk, run, bike, lift weights, play tennis, racquetball or swim. Colleges have the best facilities for sports and exercise. Just DO SOMETHING! It will help you sleep, relax and feel better.
  7. Relax – make time to relax. Read a book, go for a run, meditate, do yoga, or walk and have good conversation with a friend. Mental health is important on a stressful college campus.
  1. Emotional Health – is a vital component of a healthy person. College life can be very stressful. Depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, and homesickness are some examples of emotional problems common among college students. If you feel emotionally unhealthy, get professional help. All colleges have trained counselors equipped to assist you. 
  2. Drink Sensibly – binge drinking might be one of the most dangerous behaviors on a college campus. Studies show 44% of U.S. College students engage in binge drinking uniformly among freshman through seniors. Of these, 50% binged 3-4 times in a two week period. Binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks in a row for men and 4 for women. Binge drinkers are more likely to be victims of poor academic performance, addiction, trauma, auto accidents, assault, unprotected sex, sexual assault, and death. Some of the most common reasons reported for binging are: to get drunk, status, campus culture, peer pressure, academic stress. TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN!
  1. Safe Sex – promiscuous sex is physically and emotionally unhealthy. Unprotected sex can be LIFE ALTERING! Studies by the Center for Disease Control found that almost 80% of college students 18 to 24 years old had sexual intercourse at least one time during college. 73% reported having unprotected sex and 68% of this group did not believe that they were at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN! GET THE HPV VACCINE!
SOURCES: American Academy of Pediatrics

NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”  

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com

Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.

For all of Dr. Mackarey's articles visit our Health Care Forum!