February 28th, 2017

Still On Track With Your New Year’s Resolutions?

It can be discouraging setting your fitness New Year’s Resolutions and not being able to keep them by the time spring arrives. You feel motivated to start but somewhere along the way you lose energy, can’t keep up with your exercise routine and don’t have anyone to hold you accountable.

Here’s 4 ways to stay on a track with your fitness resolutions:

Set realistic goals

At the start, you’re motivated to make your health a priority but tend to overexert yourself. You’re willing to implement a new meal plan and exercise 4 times a week. Eating well and exercising multiple times a week are both realistic lifestyle changes, however, when you begin, it’s important to stay realistic.

Tip: Look at your current schedule and plan 1-2 fitness activities for the week. Once you feel comfortable and consistent with those days, add another class. This will allow you to ease into a new routine and make sustainable positive changes.

Find an activity that you enjoy

Doing an exercise routine that feels like a chore, limits your ability to achieve your goal. Exercise comes in many forms and can even include activities such as gardening, playing with your kids or going for a walk.

Tip: Brainstorm a list of activities that get you moving and you enjoy, or think you might enjoy, and schedule them in your calendar.

Find the right support

Not only should you set realistic goals and enjoy what you do, you should find the right support group or partner that will hold you accountable throughout the year. Kevin O’Connor, a competitive road runner and coach, relies on his support team to get through the rainy cooler months in Vancouver, BC. “Training through the colder months, I think it’s very important to find a group. If you can’t find a group then try and find a training partner so you know that when it’s cold, wet and miserable, someone’s going to be there and you’re accountable.”

Tip: Sign up for a weekly fitness group or pair up with a friend. Exercising with a group or friend will be more enjoyable and you can keep track of each other’s progress.

Supplement with the right joint health product

Increasing your physical activity may leave you feeling too sore to continue and increase your chances of giving up on your goals all together. Your recovery process is an important part of your fitness routine and should not be avoided. Stretching, hydrating, eating a balanced diet and supplementing with the right joint health product, allows you to regain your energy and support your joint health and mobility.

“As a running athlete, I find SierraSil Joint Formula14 and Pain Relief Topical Spray enables my recovery from the same hard workouts that I ran 17 years ago when I was at my peak. Taking SierraSil products has assisted greatly in my training with confidence after hard workouts and now I’m running almost as well as I was in 1994 and 1996.” – Kevin O’Connor

SierraSil, a clay-mineral that aids in easing joint and muscle aches, reduces delayed onset muscle soreness and calms inflammation. SierraSil has allowed many to get back to their regular physical activities without experiencing chronic pain and stiffness.

Tip: Pick up a bottle of Joint Formula14 at your nearest London Drugs to help you ease into your fitness routine.

For more advice on joint health products such as SierraSil, speak to a London Drugs pharmacist today.



February 22nd, 2017

Living a healthy lifestyle

When it comes to trying to convince people to be more active to lower their health risks, one of the most frustrating things for doctors is that the people who tend to listen to this advice most are usually those people who are already somewhat active, not those who are most sedentary.

But the studies show over and over and over again that the biggest gains from making a bit of a positive adjustment in activity level actually come to those who are the least active to start with.

For example, in a huge study which was published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, researchers set out to examine the effect that genes confer on heart health and whether or not living a healthy lifestyle could offset any negative contribution to life expectancy from inheriting “bad” genes.

And their happy conclusion is that yes, healthy living can indeed offset “bad” genes.

More encouragingly, perhaps, even if you inherited a higher risk of heart disease from your ungenerous parents, you don’t have to do all that much in terms of trying to live a healthy lifestyle to counter the effect of those genes.

In this study, the researchers concluded that even a small upward tick in healthy living – some exercise but not necessarily 5 times a week and not necessarily very vigorous workouts, eating some veggies and fruit but not necessarily 10 servings a day, maintaining a decent body weight even in the mild overweight category – significantly lowered the risk of dying from heart disease that “bad” genes confer.

Or to put this in the words of the study’s authors, “the biggest protective effect by far (on life expectancy in this study) came from going from a terrible lifestyle to one that was moderately good.”

In other words, the people who are likely to gain the most benefit are those who manage to finally get off the couch, even if it’s only to walk around the block to start, not those who go from jogging a half-hour a day to running faster and longer.

So the great news is that genes are not destiny.

The bad (sort of) news is that you do have to do something about it, however.



February 1st, 2017

Healthy Heart Clinics 2017

 
Healthy Heart Clinics Offer Critical Screening to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease: Leading Cause of Death in Canada

Nine in ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke

Despite the fact that almost 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through healthy behaviors,[1] heart disease is the leading cause of death among women and the second leading cause of death among men in Canada.[2] Research shows that nine in ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke.[3]

As part of Heart Month in Canada, London Drugs is encouraging Canadians to take preventative action by attending a Healthy Heart Clinic running February 6th to March 23rd at 68 London Drugs locations.

Many Canadians miss the signs of heart disease that often precede a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems. Prevention ultimately starts with knowing your risks as there are often no symptoms until the underlying disease has progressed.

London Drugs’ Healthy Heart Clinics involve a one-on-one 45 minute screening and evaluation with a Patient Care Pharmacist. They take a measurement of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, random glucose and blood pressure and assess risk factors such as family history, age, level of exercise, diet, smoking history and high blood pressure. Next they focus on minimizing these risks. This might include a discussion of changes to diet, fitness routines or lifestyle. Habits like eating healthy, being active and living smoke-free, have a big impact on health. The appointment is collaborative and customized for each patient and pharmacists can contact physicians to recommend further medical intervention or changes to medication.

For more information about London Drugs’ Healthy Heart Clinics or to book a clinic appointment visit:  http://www.londondrugs.com/healthyheart

A complete list of clinic dates, times and locations can be found here: https://pharmacy.londondrugs.com/pdf/Heart_Health_Clinics_2017.pdf

 


[1] Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

[2] Public Health Agency of Canada

[3] Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

 



January 25th, 2017

Sticking To Resolutions

If you’re like me (‘heaven forbid”, I think I heard a few people cry out), then you often have trouble sticking to hard schedules especially ones that involve resolutions, and particularly, of course, resolutions about improving your health.

I mean, I cannot begin to count the many times I’ve vowed to eat less of some of the things I eat too much of such as salami and pickles and a list of others too long to mention in a brief blog post.

I invariably resolve to eat less of these foods just after I pigged out on them late on December 31 – I celebrate the new year by eating stuff I know I shouldn’t eat – and I can usually manage to stick to my resolve until the next time I see these items again when I re-open the fridge early on January 1.

OK, so that’s a slight exaggeration – some years I manage to hold out till January 2 – but you know what I mean: lifestyle resolutions are exceedingly hard to stick to.

For example, some studies have estimated that the average smoker makes 8 or so attempts to quit before he’s finally able to succeed at not smoking.

And the reason they call it yo-yo dieting is that the vast majority of people who want to lose weight go on and off diets regularly because diets are so very hard to stick to.

So my advice at this late point in January is this: if you resolved to do something on that artificial deadline of January 1 and like the vast majority of us, you did not succeed to hold out this long, please don’t be hard on yourself: that’s just how tough lifestyle change can be.

And even more important, don’t take any failure to be a signal to give up: remember those average smokers I mentioned earlier – even though they fail most times they try to quit, a great proportion of them, perhaps as many as half, do eventually succeed.

Bottom line: it’s never too late to make a positive health change even if you’re well into your senior years.

And there’s no reason not to pick another totally artificial deadline date – say February 1, or February 3, or whatever – to try to make that change.

Check out the London Drugs Health & Wellness Library for more information on health conditions, natural health products and healthy living.



January 16th, 2017

Winter Travel

If like me, you’re going to travel this winter – by mid-January, I’ve had about as much as I can take of the dark and the cold and the excuses my favorite hockey team keeps coming up with to explain why their losses keep piling up – you should be aware of this rather sobering information from a survey of tourists done by Orlando Health.

Orlando, Florida, is of course, a favourite destination for many tourists.

This report published on the Eurekalert.org web site found that an astounding (at least to me) one in four vacations ends up including at least one visit to an emergency room.

So here is a partial list of some key things that you should try to do to ensure you don’t end up in an ER on your trip.

First, and most important, I think, make sure you know which vaccines you require for the places you want to visit.

And then make even more sure to get those vaccines.

If you are on any meds, make sure to bring along an adequate amount of those drugs, and if you’re neurotic like me, you might like this idea: I always get my wife to carry a separate stash of all our meds in case I lose the ones I’m carrying.

Which is a good time to mention that I also often bring along a second set of glasses (or some spare contact lenses) just in case.

Also, make sure to carry details of pertinent and relevant medical information about yourself, such as a list of the drugs you are taking, and which conditions you have – it’s much easier to consult a pre-written list than it is to have to suddenly come up with relevant information in a stressful situation like an ER.

I also think it’s a very good idea to get travel health insurance, especially if you’re a senior.

And finally, use common sense at your destination.

Sure, it’s a vacation and you want to enjoy yourself but it’s not really a lot of fun if your travel plans are interrupted by an unwelcome visit to the ER because say, you drank too much, or you were out in the sun too long, or you did something else that’s risky which you wouldn’t have done if you had thought about it a bit more.

And hey, have a great time wherever it is you’re going.

 

London Drugs offers a Travel Clinic service where you can talk to a Travel Clinic Pharmacist about medications, vaccinations and health supplies that you might need for your trip.  To find out more or book an appointment, visit www.ldtravelclinics.com

 



January 12th, 2017

Five Services You May Not Know Your Pharmacist Provides

Recognizing the increasing role pharmacists play in the Canadian health care system on National Pharmacist Day, January 12, 2017

January 12th marks National Pharmacist Day. For many years, Pharmacists have been taking on expanded roles in the Canadian health care system, working more closely than ever before with patients, their families and collaborating with other frontline health care providers to deliver team-based patient care.

While most Canadians are familiar with visiting their local pharmacist to pick up prescriptions, many people are still unaware that they also provide convenient access to a range of health care services.

Five Services You May Not Know Your Pharmacist Provides

1. Vaccinations and Immunizations

London Drugs’ Certified Injection Pharmacists are able to administer vaccinations right at the pharmacy.

Travel and Immunization Clinics are hosted at many London Drugs pharmacies to help prepare patients for international travel. Pharmacists review a patient’s immunization history and make sure vaccinations are up-to-date according to provincial, national and even international immunization programs. They can suggest and administer additional vaccines depending on planned travel activities, previous immunization history and the local conditions at many common destinations. For example, International Health Regulations require Yellow Fever vaccination for travel to countries in sub-Saharan Africa. South America and Saudi Arabia requires proof of meningococcal vaccination travel during certain dates.

London Drugs’ Certified Injection Pharmacists are also able to administer influenza vaccinations, as well as the Zostavax vaccine for Shingles.

2. Emergency Prescription Refills, Prescription Renewals & Drug Modifications

Traditionally in Canada, the authority to prescribe medications has rested with doctors but as part of Pharmacists’ expanded scope of practice in Canada, Pharmacists in many provinces now have the ability to provide emergency prescription refills, renew or extend prescriptions, modify or adapt drug therapy, change drug dosage and even have independent prescriptive authority (in Alberta).

As the most accessible health care professionals in Canada, Pharmacists make significant contributions to the quality of drug therapy and patient outcomes by initiating, monitoring and adjusting drug therapy. For example, Anticoagulation Clinics are offered at some London Drugs pharmacies for patients taking the drug warfarin. Pharmacists can administer international normalized ratio (INR) tests which provide valuable insight about the effectiveness of the medication. Based on the immediate test results, pharmacists can adjust medication dosages right away resulting in improved patient care.

Pharmacists’ Expanded Scope of Practice in Canada (pdf)

3. Medication Adherence Support Programs

Beyond preparing and dispensing medications, London Drugs pharmacists play a critical role in helping to improve medication adherence through a number of programs and services.

Through Medication reviews pharmacists provide personalized consultations to patients to examine and discuss issues around medication use, side effects, interactions, and anything else related to medication therapy, with the goal of ensuring safe and effective treatments.

London Drugs Certified Diabetes Educators assist patients through individualized Diabetes Management Clinics. These customized one-on-one consultations focus on blood sugar testing, medication management, preventing low blood sugar, foot care, eating well and getting enough physical activity.

4. Convenient Access to Preventative Care and Wellness Coaching

Health is often a part of many Canadians’ New Year’s resolutions, and London Drugs pharmacists are equipped to offer guidance. Patients can meet one-on-one with a pharmacist for any of the following screening clinics and preventative health services:

5. Health Monitoring Services

London Drugs pharmacists help equip patients with physician-prescribed portable monitors like the Holter Monitor, which is a wearable EKG (electrocardiogram) device that continuously records a person’s heart rhythms, and Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor which measures blood pressure over a 24-hour period, giving healthcare providers the most clear and thorough picture of the body’s response to working, exercising, eating, and sleeping. Both monitors help physicians diagnosis critical health issues.



December 13th, 2016

Are you a pessimist or an optimist?

I’m a person who is always trying to find the bright side of things so most days, I try to think of something that can “up” my mood, such as the thought that there are now four years left until the next American election turmoil.

In other words, I would describe myself as an optimist and that’s a good thing because optimism has been linked in several studies to better health outcomes.

But what about the flip side?

What if you’re a pessimist, someone who feels the glass is never full enough?

Does that harm your health?

Well, according to an 11-year-long Finnish study of nearly 3,000 people, people who were judged to be pessimists based on psychological testing at the start of the study had a 2-3 times higher risk of dying from heart disease over the course of the study than did the rest of the study participants.

On the other hand, though, and frustratingly for me, optimists did not have a lower risk of dying during the study although I am optimistic that this latter finding is actually a mistake and to that end, another recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology did find that those study participants judged to be optimists when the study was launched did in fact live longer than those not as hopeful (the only caveat is that this was a study on only women, but hey, I’m very optimistic that the same thing holds true for men, too.

Anyway, the big question is can you change your personality and pass from the darker side to the lighter side?

This is very hard to answer from currently published studies – and if you’re a pessimist, I suppose you will say it can’t be done – but I believe you can work on your temperament and if not totally eliminate pessimistic feelings, at least temper them.

For some of us, it takes work for sure, but I am very hopeful that it can be done.

Happy holidays.



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