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Men's Health Month

June is Men’s Health Month. Men’s Health Month heightens the awareness of preventable health problems and encourages early detection and disease treatment among men and boys. This month is an opportunity for health care providers and individuals to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The Centers for Disease Control reports in 1920, women lived, on average, one year longer than men. Now, men die almost five years earlier than women.

According to the CDC women are 100 percent more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men.  Men also die at a higher rate than women from the top 10 causes of death and are victims of over 92% of workplace deaths.  The top causes for death among men in the United States are heart disease, cancer, injuries, stroke and suicide.  The CDC states depression and suicide is very high among boys and men, as it typically goes undiagnosed, but men are four times more likely to commit suicide.  Boys ages 15 to 19 are three times more likely to commit suicide than girls that same age, and older men, ages 65 and older, are thirty times more likely to commit suicide than older women. 

In 2003, the New York Times published these interesting statistics on the difference between men and women:
  • 115 males are conceived for every 100 females.
  • Men suffer hearing loss at twice the rate of women.
  • Testosterone is linked to elevations of LDL, the bad cholesterol, and declines in HDL, the good cholesterol.
  • Men have fewer infection-fighting T-cells and are thought to have weaker immune systems than women.
What can men do to be healthier?  Eat healthy. Take small steps each day like saying no to super-sizing and yes to a healthy breakfast. Eat a variety of foods to get vitamins and minerals and add at least one fruit and vegetable to every meal. Be active.  Play with your kids or grandkids, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do yard work, play a sport. Choose activities you enjoy to stay motivated. Make prevention a priority. Many health conditions can be detected early with regular checkups from your healthcare provider. Be sure to get regular screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose and yearly check-ups for prostate health, vision health, and more.

Dr. Eric Duwell, Aurora Health Care Oshkosh states, “It’s no surprise that healthier men live happier, longer lives. There is growing evidence that suggests that men (and their female counterparts) who maintain a strong, ongoing relationship with a primary care provider report greater satisfac­tion with their medical care and also enjoy better overall health. This is because of improved continuity of care — an important factor in ensuring that you and your loved ones receive optimal health care.”

Summer Grill Safety Tips

Summer is everyone’s favorite time to be outdoors and cook outdoors.  Grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook food in the summer months. June and July are peak months for grill fires, roughly half of the injuries involving grills are thermal burns. According to the National Fire Protection Association, gas grills are involved in an annual average of 7,200 home fires. Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were responsible for an annual average of 1,400 home fires.  A grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. Grills can be very hot, causing severe burn injuries.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends the following safety tips when grilling:
  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
Safety tips for Charcoal grills include:
  • There are several ways to get charcoal ready for use, chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electrical charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
Safety tips for Propane grills include:
  • Always check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
  • Apply light soap and water solution to the hose, a propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off both the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If it doesn’t stop, call your local fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting it.

Summer is a great time to enjoy grilling outdoors with friends and family. Be sure to review safety procedures and make sure your grill is working properly.

The Y’s History of Building a Better Us

On June 6 the YMCA marks more than 170 years as more than a place, it is a nonprofit organization that offers programs and services designed to foster youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Here are five past notable events and achievements that demonstrate the Y’s commitment to the communities it serves:
1. American Institutions: Celebrations such as Father’s Day, and organizations like the Peace Corps, all have their roots at the YMCA.
2. Summer Camp: The oldest known summer camp, Camp Dudley, first opened in 1855 and countless numbers of boys and girls have since learned the skills and wonders of camping through the Y, developing critical skills and making memories along the way.
3. Innovating & Inventing: From James Naismith's invention of basketball to instructors creating racquetball and what would eventually become volleyball, the Y has a rich tradition in activities that are played by millions of people around the globe. One Y staffer, Robert J. Roberts, is credited with inventing the term “body building.”
4. A Nobel Peace Prizewinner: YMCA leader John R. Mott was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946 for the Y's groundbreaking role in raising global awareness and support and for the organization’s humanitarian efforts.
5. Furthering Education: The Y is credited with spearheading the first public libraries, night school for adult education and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.
How the Y is relevant in 2018
Today, the Y serves more than 22 million people annually and offers resources at over 2,700 locations across all 50 states. Here are three ways “community” continues as the Y’s number one cause:
1. Nurturing the Potential of Our Kids: When kids are out of school, they can face hurdles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Nationwide, the Y helps over nine million youth to close gaps in hunger, health, learning, water safety and safe spaces while providing a place to stay healthy, build friendships, and achieve more – all while having fun! Each program demonstrates the Y’s unwavering commitment to ensuring children are on track for a successful education, especially those in underserved communities.
2. Improving the Nation’s Health: More than a place to work out, the Y offers programs that help individuals and families improve their health and enact changes that strengthen their community and society. From working with people who are trying to find ways to improve health, but don’t know how, to preventing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and helping people recover from serious illnesses like cancer, the Y is one of the few organizations in the country with the size and influence that can effectively reach millions of people. Ys are also active in the community, creating communal gardens, increasing access to farmers markets and ensuring children have a safe route to school.
3. Support for All Our Neighbors: As one of the nation’s leading nonprofits, the Y's social services and volunteer programs help more than 10,000 communities nationwide. From helping newcomers and immigrants adjust to new communities to member-led community service projects through the Togetherhood program, every effort helps to make a difference.
For more information on the Oshkosh Community YMCA,  the programs we offer and the impact we have in our community, please visit our website at www.oshkoshymca.org.

A Good Night's Sleep

Sleep is more than just closing your eyes. So what constitutes “a good night’s sleep?” According to the National Sleep Foundation, the amount of sleep you need to be your best is as individual as the amount of food you need. It isn’t simply how many hours of sleep you get that matters, but how good you feel and how well you’re able to perform each day.
Sleep is a dynamic process with a complex “architecture” that alternates between several stages throughout the night, each serving a different purpose in your sleep cycle. The first three stages are categorized as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and the last stage as rapid eye movement (REM).

In a normal sleep pattern, you begin your nightly journey by descending into the first stage, a light sleep. During this stage you’re in and out of sleep, and your body and muscle activity slows down. It’s not uncommon to feel your body “twitch” at this time. In the second stage, you begin to fall asleep and feel disconnected from your surroundings. Your brain activity decreases, and your body temperature drops.

Next is the third stage, also called “slow wave sleep.” This is the deepest and most restorative stage of sleep. Your brain produces slow waves, blood pressure drops, breathing slows down, and muscles fully relax. If you’re awakened during this stage, you feel disoriented momentarily.
After about 90 minutes of being asleep, you enter into the last stage, REM sleep. During this stage, your eyes move back and forth, brain activity increases, dreams begin, and your body becomes immobile (you can’t move). Once you finish a cycle, you start over again. As your sleep progresses, the time you spend in the third stage decreases and the time you spend in REM increases. If any stage gets interrupted, or the full cycle isn’t repeated enough times, you miss out on the full restorative powers of sleep. In other words, you don’t wake up the next morning feeling as refreshed.
Sleep. It’s a basic necessity of life – as fundamental to our health and well-being like air, food, and water. When we sleep well, we wake up refreshed, alert, and ready to start the day. When we don’t, every aspect of our lives can suffer.
It’s a myth that we need less sleep as we age, but it’s a fact that most of us sleep less at one stretch than we did when we were younger. Changes in sleep patterns can be dramatic, and sleep problems are more common among the elderly. Because sleep is so crucial to our overall health, it’s important to know what you can do to improve it. Below are some helpful tips that are good for people of any age.

• Follow a regular schedule of going to bed and waking up in the morning. Do not alter this schedule by more than one half hour on weekends.
• Avoid beverages containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, or soft drinks after 2 p.m., and always consume them in moderation.
• Do not drink alcohol to help you sleep. It can make you feel sleepy initially, but then it disrupts the normal pattern of sleep.
• Make sure your sleeping environment is relaxing and conducive to sleep. The room should be very dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.
• Get some exercise every day, but not within two hours of bedtime.
• Avoid napping during the day, if possible. If daytime sleepiness becomes overwhelming, it may be a sign of sleep dysfunction. Limit naptime to less than one hour, occurring no later than 3 p.m.
• Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. This might include taking a hot bath or shower, having a warm glass of milk, or reading a book. Once you find what works for you, make it your regular routine.
• Use your bed only for sleeping. Do not watch TV in bed, eat, etc. Learn to associate your bed with sleeping.
• Do not be a “clock watcher” in bed. Turn the face of the clock away from you, since the only time you need to know is when the alarm goes off.
• Leave your bedroom if you’re unable to sleep or stay asleep and engage in a quiet activity elsewhere. Return to bed when you’re sleepy.
If you experience significant sleep problems for a month or more, or if you find that sleepiness during the day interferes with your normal tasks, make an appointment to talk with your doctor.

5 Ways to Jump-Start Your Healthy-Living Routine

Getting into a routine can be hard but is a vital key to staying on track with your health and fitness goals. As summer approaches, here are a few tips on how to jump-start your healthy-living routine!
  1. Have fun with your food. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! Have fun with your fruits and vegetables by trying them fresh or frozen. Find a new recipe that uses a different source of protein or find a way to incorporate fish or beans into an old favorite. Remember as you age, it’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean meats to help your body get the necessary nutrients.
  1. Fill up on fiber and potassium, hold the salt. As you age, your body needs more fiber rich foods to help it stay regular. Aim for a variety of colorful foods on your plate (i.e. fruits and veggies) to keep fiber rich foods a part of your diet. Additionally, increasing potassium along with reducing sodium or salt may lower your risk of high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt are good sources of potassium.
  1. Get Active. Physical activity is safe for almost everyone, and the health far outweigh the risks. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age (such as osteoporosis and arthritis) and reduce the risk for developing, or help manage, depression, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain kinds of cancers. For older adults who have chronic conditions that hinder their ability to be active on a regular basis, some physical activity is better than none, and older adults who participant in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.  
  1. Tweak your routine. To get the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity, change your routine to 10-minute sessions throughout the day. For example, stand on one foot while brushing your teeth to increase balance, and do squats while washing dishes to increase strength. Make sure you can grab hold of something to maintain balance—safety first! To increase your cardio, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther from the entrance to work. When sitting in front of the TV, march during commercials or do some light stretching to break up sitting for long periods.
  1. Get social. Socialization is an important part of your health. Take a walk with a friend or a neighbor, join a book club or volunteer at your local pet shelter or local Y. Social interaction provides meaningful engagement, builds relationships, enhances a sense of belonging and provides opportunities for involvement—all resulting in greater bonds and a stronger sense of community. Being connected to the community keeps you healthy!
For more information on how you and your family can live a healthy, active life, visit www.oshkoshymca.org today!

Engage at Every Age

You are never too old to eat healthy, get active and be social!
May is Older Americans Month and the Oshkosh YMCA is emphasizing the importance of being active and involved, no matter where you are in life. Oshkosh residents are encouraged to “Engage at Every Age,” developing behaviors that are crucial to healthy aging, including healthy eating, increasing physical activity and social interaction—especially those adults over 50.
Adults 50 years and older currently make up more than 30 percent of the U.S. population, and will soon represent 45 percent of all Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adults 50 and older have a 70 percent chance of developing at least one chronic disease. While these numbers seem daunting, the good news is that making small lifestyle changes that include increasing physical activity, eating healthier and staying active socially can help older adults live better.
You are never too old (or too young) to participate in activities that can enrich your physical, mental and emotional well-being. If you need help, support or just a place to get started, community-based organizations like the Y provide the needed guidance to help older adults age well.
The Oshkosh Y offers many ways for older adults to live healthier, including Water Exercise classes. Both the 20th Avenue and Downtown YMCA locations offer older adult swim classes, such as Senior Water Fitness and Arthritis Aquatics, that help increase physical activity and improve health. These programs provide opportunities for individuals to begin or continue an exercise routine in an environment that provides resistance, as well as buoyancy, which helps reduce stress on joints when compared to other physical activities like running.  
While the CDC recommends that older adults get a minimum 30 minutes of moderate exercise or strength training per day, less than one out of three of Americans 65 and older meet these guidelines. Swimming and aquatic programs may reduce the risk of muscle loss and osteoporosis as one ages, as well as improve cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and mental well-being.
Both Oshkosh YMCA locations also offer a wide range of Land Exercise classes that feature aerobic, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises that are safe, effective and modifiable for a variety of fitness levels. In addition to physical benefits, the classes provide a fun, social atmosphere that foster relationships between participants. Over 20 classes take place each week that are especially created for seniors and are led by a certified YMCA instructor.
A special free day for anyone ages 55+ will be offered on Wednesday, May 30 at the Oshkosh YMCA from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Come check out everything the Oshkosh Y has to offer, including pools, fitness classes, pickleball & more! Already a Y member but know someone who isn’t? Bring them for a chance to win a $25 gift card and half-hour Certified Personal Training session.
For a complete list of activities and special events offered on May 30, please visit our website at www.oshhkoshymca.org or contact Siri Smits at (920)230-8916.

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!
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