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Keep Your Kids Safe in and around Water this Summer

There is a list of basic life skills all parents instinctively know they must teach their children to keep them safe and healthy. It includes habits like looking both ways before crossing the street, washing your hands with soap and water and eating the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day.
For too many parents, safety in and around water is not on the list; and that’s something we need to change.
Fatal drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years old. The problem is particularly acute among minority communities. For example, African American children ages 5 to 14 are three times more likely to drown than their white counterparts. The disparity is partly due to the lack of swimming experience among these children.
According to a 2017 national research study conducted by the USA Swimming Foundation with the University of Memphis and University of Nevada-Las Vegas, 64 percent of African American children and cannot swim, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic children and 40 percent of Caucasian children. Additionally, 79 percent of children in families with household income less than $50,000 have no/low swimming ability.
The Oshkosh Y is committed to reducing water-related injuries. Through a New Swim Program launching this summer, the Oshkosh Y hopes to help children learn important water safety skills.
If children know how to stay safe in and around water, swimming can be a lifelong source of fun and exercise. Instead of keeping your children away from water, help them learn fundamental water safety skills. These classes can provide a new, exciting way to keep active and meet new friends.
Learn more about the Oshkosh Y's NEW Swim Program HERE.

Stay in Shape this Spring & Summer

Many people believe they only need to train in the gym in the winter months when it’s cold outside.  Many people give all they have to the gym the first five to six months of the year and then lose their routine during the spring and summer months, thinking that sports and staying busy will help keep them fit. 

Research shows that we will lose our fitness gains at the same rate we gained them. And, the older we get the more effort we need to put into improving our fitness. Even getting to the gym during the spring one day a week to get in a good resistance workout would maintain your strength level.
Stay on course this spring and summer. Consider these ideas from the Mayo Clinic that can help you move more each day:
  • Limit daily screen time to two hours or less. Most people are not active and tend to eat while using a computer or watching TV.
  • Get on your feet as much as possible. Take regular breaks to stand up and move. Walk or bike to work or try a walking meeting.
  • Be creative by having contests with friends, march in place when talking on the phone, walk virtual trails on the treadmill on a rainy day.
  • Use a pedometer to record how many steps you take. Try to average 10,000 to 15,000 steps daily. One mile is about 2,000 steps. Record your pedometer readings using an exercise log or computer program. It may motivate you to follow your plan and it challenges you to move more!
  • Be flexible with your workouts. If 30 minutes is hard to schedule, try for two 15-minute sessions or three 10-minute sessions throughout the day.
  • Add variety to your exercise routine by switching between running and swimming for cardiovascular exercise and weight lifting and Pilates for strength.  Try spring classes for even more variety.
An exercise plan should include cardiovascular activities, strengthening exercises, flexibility exercises, and balance movements.  Examples of cardiovascular activities include walking, biking, swimming, skiing, tennis and dancing.  These activities should be done for a minimum of 150 minutes per week.  To strengthen muscles and bones, do two 15-30 minutes resistance training sessions each week using elastic bands or weights, push-ups or abdominal curls.  Flexibility exercises can be done daily and include exercises such as gentle stretching, Yoga, Tai chi, and Pilates.  Yoga and Tai chi are also great for balance movement.

Exercise and regular physical activity matter.  It improves fitness, flexibility, balance, strength, and bone and heart health.  It boosts mood and helps control weight. It also helps prevent and control diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
It is always better to stick to and follow your routine regardless of the weather.  Many well-intentioned people never end up going back to the gym and lose their motivation to start again. Don’t let that happen to you!

Pelvic and Prostate Health

Pelvic and prostate health is important for both men and women to understand.  People should recognize the anatomy of their pelvic floor, understand its role for good health, know what the “core” is and how to strengthen it, learn what the prostate is and its location, learn the symptoms and early warning signs of prostate trouble, know how to enhance pelvic floor muscle function and incorporate them into your daily activity. Tiffany Fisher, Doctor of Physical Therapy with Aurora Health Care states, “The pelvic floor muscles control bowel, bladder, and sexual health so learning how to strengthen them to prevent future dysfunctions should be a top priority for both men and women.”

An estimated 30 percent of men under 50 and 50 percent of men over 50 will suffer issues with their prostate, in particular urinary issues. A man’s prostate produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm, it is about the size and shape of a walnut and is positioned below the bladder and above the pelvic floor. Common prostate disorders include Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer, and prostatitis.  There are approximately 161,000 new cases of prostate cancer each year and 27,000 deaths are caused by prostate cancer. Who is at risk of Prostate Cancer?  If you are over the age of 50, your chances increase, but mostly after the age of 65.  African American men have the highest documented prostate cancer incidence rates in the world and having a family history – particularly a father or brother with prostate cancer – doubles the risk of developing it.  A diet high in fat may also help contribute to prostate cancer.

Symptoms of prostate cancer include not being able to pass urine, weak flow of urine, urine flow that starts and stops, need to urinate frequently, pain or burning during urination, blood in urine, and frequent pain in the lower back, hips, or upper thighs. Decisions about screening should be individualized based on a man’s level of risk, overall health and life expectancy, as well as his desire for treatments if he is diagnosed with prostate cancer.

How does the pelvic floor fit into the equation?  The prostate sits right at the top of the pelvic floor, the two have a close relationship and will affect each other.  Symptoms of pelvic floor tension include constipation, erectile dysfunction, pelvic pain, inability to empty your bladder completely, painful urination and bowel movements, and a delay or weak stream.  Pelvic floor weakness symptoms are urinary incontinence, urinary urgency, stool and gas incontinence, sexual dysfunction and pelvic girdle pain. The pelvic floor works with your inner core. If the pelvic floor muscles are too tight, the muscles have too much tension in them and are not able to contract or relax at a normal rate, making them weak.  If the pelvic floor muscles are too loose, the muscles lack tension and too lax; they can’t contract and are too weak, many times causing other muscles to overcompensate.

Pelvic floor weakness is generally caused by pregnancy, trauma to the pelvis or abdominal wall, lack of pelvic floor or inner core exercises, abdominal or gynecological surgeries, obesity, menopause, or prostate surgery. Fisher explains, “People often come in claiming they have done pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels) in the past without success.  Most often the reason is they have been doing the technique wrong or the wrong quantity to see improvement in their symptoms.  Pelvic floor therapy is so much more than “Kegel” exercises.”

For more information on pelvic and prostate health, contact you physician today!

Aurora Health Care will host a class, presented by Tiffany Fisher, on Monday, April 30 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Aurora Health Care, Fond du Lac, 210 Wisconsin American Drive.  This class is targeted for both men and women and will provide anatomy of the pelvic floor. Tiffany will also present on how the prostate can impact one’s well-being. To register, go to Aurora.org/events and search “Strong” or call 1-888-863-5502.

National Volunteer Week

Thank the Volunteers in Your Life During National Volunteer Week
The Oshkosh Community YMCA is encouraging community members to use National Volunteer Week (April 15-21, 2018) to take a moment and thank the volunteers in their lives.
“Volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization—without their hard work and dedication, we couldn’t do the work we do every day to help kids, families and communities thrive,” said Abbey Burlingham, Mission and Brand Enhancement Director, Oshkosh YMCA. “By bringing people together from all walks of life around a shared purpose to do good, the Y is creating a stronger, more cohesive community.”
As one of the leading nonprofits and volunteer organizations in the country, nearly 600,000 people volunteer at the Y each year and here in Oshkosh hundreds of people give back through activities such as mentoring teens, coaching youth sports, serving on our boards and spearheading fundraising drives. These opportunities also help volunteers enhance their personal well-being and develop meaningful relationships – all while making an impact in communities they care about.
Our volunteers make our community stronger. At the Oshkosh Y, we have hundreds of dedicated volunteers that help in many ways. Opportunities vary from volunteering at events to simply folding towels in our Health and Wellness Center. Some volunteer every single day, and some for just one hour. No matter how big or small the opportunity, the lasting impact they have on our organization is immeasurable and we couldn't do what we do without them.

Many more opportunities exist for others to help make a difference.
National Volunteer Week is a great time to get involved and give back. Here are five ways individuals can take an active role at the Oshkosh Community YMCA.
  1. Volunteer to help at our community Y facilities. It could be as simple as folding towels, or as big as setting up tables for an event or gardening. There are always ways to help at the Y!
  2. Help with Y fundraising efforts to ensure those in need can access essential programs and services to reach their full potential. By simply being an advocate of our organization, you can do so much! 
  3. Volunteer for Y events! We can always use an extra hand. The Oshkosh Y hosts a variety of events throughout the year including Annual Campaign Fundraising Events, Family Events, Community Events and more! There is a wide variety of ways to help.
  4. Volunteer to coach a sports team, teach a class or ask Y staff about other ways to get involved with a program of interest.
  5. Invite friends and neighbors to join you in contributing to a stronger community. 
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Oshkosh Community YMCA, please visit our website HERE.

Photo by: Look! That's My Kid Photography!

Keeping Kids Healthy, Active and Engaged This Summer

Summer is a time when children can let their imaginations run wild! From creating their own plays to building forts in the backyard, there’s no limit to what kids can dream up—provided their properly supported.
We want to ensure all kids in Oshkosh awaken their summer imaginations through healthy eating habits and physical activity. Because when a child is happy, healthy, motivated and excited something amazing is inevitably going to result. As children grow and reach their true potential, they can accomplish great things.
That’s why, on April 14 from 9 a.m. to Noon, we’re hosting Healthy Kids Day®, a chance to help ensure families have the tools they need to help kids stay active and engaged all summer long. The annual event is a nationwide-initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids and families. When a child is healthy, happy, motivated and excited, amazing things are bound to happen! Healthy Kids Day is a powerful reminder not to let children idle away their summer days but instead, focus on physical and mental wellbeing. At the Oshkosh YMCA Healthy Kids Day Event, families and children can ice skate, attend a Karate or Judo demonstration, check out a Scholastic Book Fair and Storytime with a special guest reader, do Family Yoga together and so much more! We love to motivate and teach families how to develop a healthy routine at home. See full event details HERE!
“As we head into the summer, we want to help awaken their imaginations and help them achieve amazing things. There are no days off for a child’s developing mind and body,” said Lisa Nething, Family and Special Events Director “and Healthy Kids Day is a great opportunity to educate families and engage kids to stay physically and intellectually active over the summer.”
In celebration of Healthy Kids Day, here are some tips to help you and your family develop healthy habits:
  • High Five the Fruits and Veggies – Make sure kids get at least five servings a day, the minimum number nutritionists recommend to maintain healthy childhood development. And to keep kids’ taste buds evolving, have everyone in the family try at least one bite of a new fruit or vegetable at least once a month.
  • Read Together – The summer is a great time to enjoy books with summer program participants—and 30 minutes a day goes a long way! Take trips to the local library or create a family reading challenge to see who can log the most minutes of reading. Encourage youth to create their own stories as well.
  • Get Moving! – Activities that require movement also help kids flex their mental muscle. Use materials in unique ways: ask youth to build models, manipulate tools or develop their own theatrical scenes.
  • Play Together – Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong.
  • Make sleep a priority – Doctors recommend 10-12 hours of sleep a day for children ages 5-12 and 7-8 hours per night for adults. Sleep plays a critical role in maintaining our healthy immune system, metabolism, mood, memory, learning and other vital functions.


Making an Impact in Oshkosh

The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.

The Y makes a difference in our communities, but the Oshkosh YMCA makes a difference in YOUR COMMUNITY! At the Oshkosh YMCA, we live, breathe and BELIEVE in the change we are making. Our passionate, kind and caring staff strives to change lives EVERY SINGLE DAY!

We not only strive to change lives, we do change lives. The proof is in the numbers! Through our Annuan Campaign, we have made a positive impact within our community. Here are a few of the things that the Oshkosh YMCA did this past year...

Whether you're looking for a place to get fit and relieve stress, a caring environment for your children, or a volunteer program to give something back to your community, you'll find it at the Oshkosh Community YMCA. Our programs ensure that we strengthen more than just the body. We strengthen the foundation of our community.

Please consider supporting the Oshkosh YMCA Annual Campaign today. Donate here.

We are your Y and we're waiting for you. 
Join us. Support Us

Reduce Your Risk! Diabetes Prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 out of every 3 U.S. adults has prediabetes, but only 10% are aware that they have it! Tuesday, March 27 is the American Diabetes Association #DiabetesAlertDay. Building a better us includes being healthy and the Oshkosh YMCA wants you to be ALERT and aware of the risks for type 2 diabetes. Let's start with the facts!

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research shows that:
  • 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
  • 86 million Americans have prediabetes—but 9 out of 10 people do not know they have it.
  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States
  • Diabetes disproportionately affects black and Latino populations (they are nearly 2 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes)
  • People with diabetes are about 50% more likely to die than people of the same age without diabetes
  • Medical expenses for people with diabetes are 2.3 times greater than those without
  • People with diabetes are at greater risk for stroke, nerve damage, blindness, dental disease, lower limb amputation, depression, and complications during pregnancy
The good news is...

If you believe you are at risk for developing diabetes, there is something you can do about it. People with prediabetes who make basic lifestyle changes have been shown to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes! Here are a few lifestyle tips and simple changes YOU can make to help reduce your risk.

Lifestyle Tips to Help Reduce Risk:
  1. Reduce portion sizes of the foods you eat that may be high in fat or calories.  
  2. Keep a food diary to increase awareness of eating patterns and behaviors.
  3. Incorporate more activity in your day; like taking the stairs or parking farther away from your destination.
  4. Make sure you are moderately active at least 30 minutes per day five days a week. 
  5. Drink water instead of beverages with added sugar.
  6. Talk to your health care provider about diabetes risk factors, especially if you have a family history or are overweight. 
We are here to help. Please contact our 20th Ave Health & Wellness Director, Rich Roehrick, at richroehrick@oshkoshymca.org with questions.


National Colorectal Cancer Screening Month

March is National Colorectal Cancer Screening Month.

Since the mid-1980s, the colorectal cancer survival rate has been improving, due in part to increased awareness and screening. Today there are currently more than one million colorectal cancer survivors in the U. S.
However, colorectal cancer remains the second leading cancer killer in this country — but it doesn’t have to be. Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful weapons against colorectal cancer. 
How prevalent is this disease? The American Cancer Society estimates that at least 97,000 cases of colorectal cancer will be diagnosed in 2018, along with 43,000 new cases of rectal cancer.
Both men and women are at risk for this disease. Overall, a lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 22 for men and 1 in 24 for women.
Since more than 90 percent of colorectal cancer cases occur in people over 50, everyone in that age group needs screening, because it could be life-saving.
Colorectal cancer usually starts from small benign growths, called polyps, in the large intestines. Over time, some polyps can turn into cancer. It can take as many as 10 to 15 years for a polyp to develop into colorectal cancer. Finding and removing small polyps early can actually prevent colorectal cancer from ever developing.
If cancer is already present, finding it early increases the chance for a cure. When found at an early stage before it has spread, the 5-year relative survival rate is about 90% for colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer is most curable when discovered BEFORE it causes any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they might include:
• A change in bowel habits
• Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool (bright red or very dark)
• Abdominal (stomach) pain, aches or cramps or frequent gas pains, bloating
• Unexplained weight loss or fatigue
If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention promptly. Note: These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. The only way to know is to get things checked out.
Colonoscopy is considered the “gold standard” of colorectal screening procedures. This procedure allows a physician to view the entire large intestine and see any inflamed tissue, growths, ulcers or bleeding. If anything abnormal is spotted (polyps or inflamed tissue), it can be removed during the procedure.
Many insurance companies cover a screening colonoscopy for people over 50. Medicare part B covers several types of colorectal screening tests, including colonoscopy, which is covered once every 120 months, subject to deductibles and co-pays.
Other colorectal screening tests are available that check the stool (feces) for signs of cancer. These tests are less invasive and easier to have done, but are less likely to detect polyps. If anything is found using other screening tools, a colonoscopy will need to be performed.
Are you at increased risk?
You may need to have colorectal cancer screening earlier or more often, if:
• You or a family member has had colorectal cancer or polyps
• You have inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
• You have a history of adenomatous polyps (adenomas)
Also, people with type 2 (usually non-insulin dependent) diabetes also have an increased risk of colorectal cancer.
There may be lots of reasons not to be screened for colon cancer — such as the time involved, the possible costs, and the advance preparation needed.
There is, however, one compelling reason to do it — it can save your life. So, if you (or someone you love) are age 50 or older, please arrange a colorectal screening today!

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch, which is why the medical community is embracing bodywork and massage is becoming an important part of a patient’s overall care. Many hospitals are adding on-site massage practitioners to treat patients during and after all aspects of care, including post-surgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.  Aurora Medical Center Oshkosh offers massage therapy to the public as well as through doctor referrals. Tammy Collar, Licensed Massage Therapist with Aurora Health Care Oshkosh states, “Something neat about our hospital is that we are able to offer a complimentary massage therapy to new moms who have just delivered, patients going into surgery, and those receiving cancer treatment in our Vince Lombardi Cancer Center. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to comfort patients by using gentle, non-clinical touch during those stressful times.” Aurora massage therapy offers:
  • Licensed massage therapists: All of our massage therapists are licensed in the state of Wisconsin. That means they’ve received special training to perform massages, so you only receive care from experts.
  • Specialty care: Our massage therapists work with your primary care doctor, including Aurora sports health doctors, to ensure your massage therapy fits into your overall treatment plan. A sports health doctor is someone who specializes in working with athletes and active adults. Meet our sports health team.
  • Comprehensive treatment: At Aurora, an entire team of experts work together to monitor your progress and personalize care to your needs. In addition to massage therapy, we offer integrative medicine like acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy and a wide range of orthopedic medicine and orthopedic surgery services.
The Mayo Clinic defines massage therapy as a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage can range from a light touch to deep pressure and there are many different types.  "A common misconception about massage therapy is that it has to hurt to work, however, each patient responds both emotionally and physically to touch in a different way. That means that each massage will look different depending on the needs of the patient. Some patients prefer to stay fully clothed, some need to sit upright and some will find great relief in simple, light, comfort touch.  We work with each patient to meet his or her individual goals during that visit,” explains Collar. Types of massage therapy available at Aurora include:
  • Swedish massage: This type of massage uses long, gliding strokes on the top layers of your muscles to promote relaxation.
  • Sports massage: A more vigorous type of massage, sports massage reaches deeper layers of your muscles and is ideal for athletes.
  • Prenatal massage: This type of massage is for pregnant women. It helps relieve pregnancy-related tension, aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, back and legs.
  • Geriatric massage: Ideal for older adults, geriatric massage is specifically designed to address aging and arthritis-related pain.
  • Neuromuscular therapy: This type of massage uses finger pressure on specific trigger points (painful, irritated areas) to help break the cycle of spasm or pain.
  • Craniosacral therapy: This type of massage uses gentle touch on the skull, face, spine and hips to relieve pain.
Numerous studies continue to show massage being an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain, and muscle tension. Some studies also show massage to be helpful for anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia, myofascial pain syndrome, soft tissue strains or injuries, sports injuries, and temporomandibular joint pain.  "When patients realize the numerous benefits of regular massage, they make it a priority and a part of their overall healthcare," adds Collar.

Massage therapy can be a powerful partner in your healthcare regimen. For more information on massage therapy at Aurora Health Care, please call 920-456-6000.

Poison Control: Stay Safe in Your Home!

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, children under the age of six accounts for half of all poison exposure calls to the poison center. Adults account for 92 percent of all poison related deaths reported to the poison center.  There are many different ways people can come in contact with poison such as poison ingestion, inhalation, and absorption through the skin. Some common poisons include medicines, cleaning supplies, pesticides, anti-freeze and even energy drinks.

At a young age, children tend to put things in their mouth; this is where poisons found within the household can be dangerous. Children tend to be eye level with poisonous products found in the kitchen and bathroom.  Keep household poisons out of reach of small children. In order for children to be safe from different poisons located throughout the house, here are some simple tips that can be done to prevent poisoning:
  • Keep medicine in the original container with a child proof lid.
  • Buy safety locks for cabinets that contain poisonous products.
  • Have a carbon monoxide alarm located throughout the house.
  • Don’t tell children that medicine is “candy” in order for them to take it. Children can get the wrong impression and actually think the medicine is candy and ingest more than what is recommended.
Here are some additional tips to keep adults safe from household poisons:
  • Read and follow directions and warnings on medicine labels before taking any medicine.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist what you should be aware of when taking medicines, some medicines don’t react well to other medicines. Make sure your doctor knows everything you are taking including all prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal remedies.
  • Turn lights on to take medicines so you are aware of what you are taking.
  • Never share prescription medicines.
  • Keep potential poisons in their original containers.
  • Do not use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.
  • Store food and household chemical products in separate areas.
  • Never mix household chemical products together; mixing chemicals could cause poisonous gas.
  • Turn on fans and windows when using household chemical products.
  • Make sure spray nozzles on household chemicals are directed away from the face and other people.
  • Wear protective clothing when spraying pesticides and other chemicals and stay away from areas that have recently been sprayed.
  • Don’t sniff chemical containers if you don’t know what is inside.
  • Discard old or outdated household chemical products.

Poison centers offer free, private, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day,  seven days a week. You can reach your local poison center by calling 1-800-222-1222
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