Stretching & Stress

Stretching & Stress

When you see a cat doing an outrageous stretch that makes you chuckle, you may not realize these stretches are important for its health. Likewise, regularly stretching your own muscles improves flexibility; prevents muscle stiffness, strain and soreness; and leaves you feeling refreshed.

Because stretching improves blood flow throughout your body, it’s important for muscular health, and it’s the cheapest way to relieve stress. Taking just 15 minutes out of your day to stretch can be incredibly therapeutic — both for your muscles and your mental well-being.

If you sit in front of a computer most of the day, you not only face the mental stresses of your day, you can build up extreme tension in your back, neck and shoulder muscles. It’s important to take a few minutes every couple of hours to stretch — you’ll feel more productive and alert, and you’ll feel less stress.

Here’s a simple stretch you can do in your office to relieve tension and stress. Stand with your feet together and your arms at your side. Slowly exhale, and bend your body at the waist allowing your head and arms to hang loosely toward the ground (your upper body should be completely relaxed, as though your arms, neck, shoulders and torso have “gone limp”). Stay in that position until you have completely exhaled the air from your lungs. As you inhale, slowly stack one vertebra on top of another to stand up straight. When you get to your shoulder area, gently roll your shoulders back and very slowly straighten your neck until your head is upright. Then slowly exhale through your mouth. Not only does this simple stretch refresh all parts of your body, it encourages proper posture and opens your chest cavity for optimal breathing.

It’s important to listen to your body as you stretch. If a particular motion is painful, make the necessary modifications so you don’t over-exert yourself. Keep at it, because the more you stretch, the easier it gets, and the more flexible you’ll become. (Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.)

Make That Change

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Man in the Mirror by Micheal Jackson

I’m gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It’s gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right…

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,
a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
‘Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me,
pretending that they’re not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya’ see
‘Cause they got no place to be
That’s why I’m starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways – ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)
CHANGE!

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror – Oh yeah!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)

(Take a look at yourself and then make the change)
(You gotta get it right, while you got the time)
(‘Cause when you close your heart)
You can’t close your… your mind!
(Then you close your… mind!)
That man, that man, that man, that man
With the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
That man, that man, that man,
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
You know… that man
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna m
ake the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make the change
(Take a look at yourself and then make the change)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Ooooh…)
Oh no, no no…

I’m gonna make a change
It’s gonna feel real good!
Come on!
(Change…)
Just lift yourself
You know
You’ve got to stop it,
Yourself!
(Yeah! – Make that change!)
I’ve got to make that change, today!
Hoo!
(Man in the mirror)
You got to
You got to not let yourself…
brother…

(Yeah! – Make that change!)
You know – I’ve got to get
that man, that man…
(Man in the mirror)
You’ve got to
You’ve got to move! Come on!
Come on!
You got to…
Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!
(Yeah! – Make that change)
Stand up and lift yourself, now!
(Man in the mirror)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Aaow!
(Yeah! – Make that change!)
Gonna make that change…
come on!
You know it!

This song is indeed about people suffering and the cruelty of the world, but it goes way deeper.  It says the only way that you can change the world is if to change yourself! Why is it that we care more about Paris Hilton in jail than the child soldier in Uganda? Why is it that it’s more important to watch the Grammy’s than to go on an AIDS walk? Ultimately, we have to face ourselves and change our attitudes for the world to be a better place. If we as a society were more sympathetic to others around us, if we put others first before ourselves, then with that, a change will occur.

You know it!
You know it!
You know it…
(Change…)
Make that change.

Man in the Mirror MP3

Preventive Services for Healthy Living

Preventive Services for Healthy Living

What can I do to keep myself healthy?

The choices you make about the way you live are important to your health. Here are some choices you can make to help yourself stay healthy:

healthy-living-woman1

What can my doctor do to help me stay healthy?

In addition to treating you when you are sick, your doctor can follow a program designed to help you stay healthy. This program tells the doctor which preventive services are needed for people at different ages.

  • Don’t use any form of tobacco.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
  • Don’t use illegal drugs.
  • Practice safe sex.
  • Use seat belts (and car seats for children) when riding in a car or truck.
  • See your doctor regularly for preventive care.

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What is a “preventive service”?

A preventive service might be a test, or it might be advice from your doctor. Preventive services can include the following:
  • Tests (also called screenings) to check your general health or the health of certain parts of your body
  • Regular measurements of weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure
  • Advice about diet, exercise, tobacco, alcohol and drug use, stress and accident prevention
  • Immunizations (“shots”) for both children and adults
  • Special tests at certain times in your life, such as during pregnancy and after age 50

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Will my doctor tell me which preventive services I need?

Yes. Follow your doctor’s advice about checkups, about healthy life choices and about medicines that prevent health problems, such as blood pressure medicine. Preventive services are sometimes offered in your community (for example, blood pressure tests at the local shopping center). If you’re not sure you need the service being offered, ask your doctor.

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Who pays for preventive services?

Most health insurance companies pay for at least some preventive services. If you aren’t sure what your insurance will cover, read your health plan’s patient manual or call the health plan’s office.

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What preventive services do women need?

Adult women should have their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly. They should also have a Pap test at least every 3 years to screen for cervical cancer starting at age 21 or approximately 3 years after they have sex for the first time. After the age of 40, women should have a mammogram every 1 to 2 years to screen for breast cancer. After the age of 50, they should also be tested for colorectal cancer. These are routine tests that everyone should have. If your doctor orders these tests for you, it does not mean he or she thinks you have cancer. Your doctor will also make sure you have all the shots you need.

Your doctor may give you advice about exercise and diet. For example, your doctor may tell you how much calcium you need to prevent bone problems, or he or she may talk to you about taking folic acid before you get pregnant and lowering the fat and cholesterol in your diet. Your doctor may also give you advice about alcohol and drug use and sexually transmitted infections. As you get close to menopause, your doctor will talk to you about hormone replacement therapy. Your doctor may also talk to you about injury prevention practices, such as using seat belts and having smoke detectors in your home.

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What preventive services do men need?

Adult men should have their weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure checked regularly. Men older than 50 should be tested for colorectal cancer. If your doctor orders this test, it does not mean he or she thinks you have cancer. This is a routine test that everyone should have. Your doctor will also make sure you have all the shots you need.

Your doctor may talk to you about the importance of diet and exercise, testing for prostate cancer and avoiding alcohol, tobacco, drugs and sexually transmitted infections. Your doctor may also talk to you about injury prevention practices, such as using seat belts and having smoke detectors in your home.

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What preventive services do children need?

Shots are one of the most important preventive services for children. Shots (also called vaccines) protect children from diseases such as polio, measles and mumps.

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A note about vaccines

Sometimes the amount of a certain vaccine cannot keep up with the number of people who need it. More info…

Your doctor will check your child to make sure he or she is growing and developing properly.Your doctor will tell you what you can do to keep your child’s teeth healthy.Your doctor may also give you advice about how to keep your child safe from accidents and injuries (for example, using car seats and seat belts and keeping your child away from poisons and electric outlets). Your doctor will also talk to you about teaching your child healthy eating habits and exercise habits. Your doctor can tell you how to teach your child about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. You can also ask your doctor for tips on how to talk to an older child about avoiding pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and AIDS.

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Other Organizations

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Source

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff.

American Academy of Family Physicians

Reviewed/Updated: 08/07
Created: 09/00