Tag Archives: health

Grandma’s Marathon

This weekend saw the 40th running of Grandma’s Marathon.

In a city used to 70 being really, really hot, the weather was almost too warm this weekend for the 40th running of Grandma’s marathon.

The Duluth News Tribune reported on conditions:

Grandma’s uses the American College of Sports Medicine’s color-coded flag system. Both Saturday’s half-marathon at 6:15 a.m. and the full at 7:45 started with green flags, or low-risk. Those gave way to yellow (moderate), then red (high) and, starting at 11:30, black (extremely high). They are determined by the WetBulb Globe Temperature, which takes into account a combination of factors, including humidity, ambient temperature and radiant temperature, according to Ben Nelson, Grandma’s medical director.

Consequently, Nelson and the medical tent saw an increase in heat-related illness. They treated 369 people Saturday, up from a six-year low of 184 in 2015.

Photo by Clint Austin (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Photo by Clint Austin from the Duluth News Tribune

With all the tragedy and bad news it is difficult sometimes to find reasons to smile and laugh, an important part of living a wellness lifestyle. According to an article in the Huffington Post, “Laughter matters. It brings you back down to earth in heated moments, strengthens social bonds and calms your nervous system. Research suggests that laughter may even strengthen your immune system.” The reasons to cultivate happy thoughts are myriad. Here are some smile starters.

Here are some amazing statistics about Grandma’s Marathon 2016:

7,751 runners started the full marathon, 7,521 runners finished.
7,920 runners started the Gary Bjorklund half marathon, 7,919 runners finished.
Around 5,000+ volunteers kept the runner hydrated, healthy, and fed.
Around 60 to 70,000 people were connected to the Marathon this weekend. Duluth has a population the rest of the year of around 86,000.

These stats for the half marathon are amazing. All but 1 runner was able to finish the race – all 13.1 or so miles. Other races included The Whipper Snapper, and The William K. Irvin 5K.

Here are some photos, courtesy of Grandma’s Marathon’s 2016 website and Facebook page to help that smile along. Thanks, Kate, for permission to share them with our readers.

Are you training?

Are you training?

Weekly "Ready, Get Set" emails.

Weekly “Ready, Get Set” emails.

Grandma's whipper snapper

Running hard.

Kids love to run

Kids love to run

And they're off

And they’re off


Grandma's 2016 1

40th Anniversary Finishers’ Medal

Runner's in downtown Duluth...almost at the finish.

Runner’s in downtown Duluth…almost at the finish.

Coming in to the finish line

Coming in to the finish line

Finally...the finish line. First Place Women's 2016

Finally…the finish line. First Place Women’s 2016



 Grandma's 2016 happy finisher

Remember the importance of laughter and of exercise. I’d like to say that I’ve run the full or the half marathon, the 5K, the Whippersnapers, or even the Fun Run, but I haven’t. I have, however, lustily cheered family members as they did. I’ll stick with walking the dogs and do lots of laughing.

Music can soothe frazzled nerves

It can also reduce blood pressure, relieve pain

You’ve experienced how music can trigger your emotions taking you back in time to sweet – or bitter-sweet – memories. This is why listening to music that touches your soul can serve as a powerful stress reduction tool.

According to a variety of research published by eMedExpert.com 2011, music which appeals to you has many benefits. It:

  • Can distract attention away from your stressors;
  • Can increase your sense of control, which automatically reduces over-all stress;
  • Is effective therapy for pain:
  • Can reduce chronic pain from osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis by up to 21% and depression by up to 25% (UK Journal of Advanced Nursing, June, 2006.)
  • Causes the body to release endorphins to counteract pain;
  • Reduces blood pressure: People with high blood pressure can train themselves to lower their blood pressure and keep it low by playing relaxing music every morning and evening (Teng, et al., 2007.) Listening to just 30 minutes of classical, Celtic or raga (traditional south Asian) music daily can significantly reduce high blood pressure.
  • Speeds Post-Stroke Recovery: Daily listening to your favorite pop melodies, classical music or jazz can speed recovery from debilitating strokes (Sarkamo, et al., Brain, March 2008.)
  • Reduces intensity, frequency, and duration of chronic headaches and migraines (Oelkers, et al., April 12, 2008.)
  • Motivates you to exercise and enhances athletic performance (Simpson and Karageorghis, Sports Science, Oct 2006.)
  • Boosts immunity: Music that creates a positive and reflective emotional experience leads to the secretion of immune-boosting hormones (Kuhn, et al., Music Therapy, Spring, 2002.) Higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol decrease immune response; listening to or performing music can decrease it (le Roux, et al., Music Therapy, Summer, 2007.)
  • Those who listen to classical and self-selected relaxing music after exposure to stressors significantly reduce their anxiety, anger – and very importantly for their health – their physiological stress arousal, and increase relaxation compared to those who sit silently or listen to heavy metal music (Labbe, et al, of the University of South Alabama.)

In other words, desirable music is healing for your well-being.

Any time you become more frenzied with life’s demands, schedule time to do nothing but listen to music. Or play it in the background as you go about your business. It’s not a time waster, but rather a Stress Break, which takes you away from your pressures, allowing your body to balance the stress hormones we know cause physical and emotional havoc.
*Article by Jacqueline Ferguson
*Music by Steven Eckels

Children need hope and optimism to deal with stress

Pessimistic people get depressed much more often

No matter how wonderful and stable a child’s life may seem, she still has stress: rejection by friends, difficulty with homework, dealing with a bully. Your children need to know that when they experience these set-backs, life’s not over; tomorrow is another day.

Children need hope and optimism to be resilient to stress and to persist in dealing with life’s inevitable ups and downs. The more realistically optimistic your children, the better they’ll deal with stress – usually.

Optimism is the fourth component your children’s Stress Safety Net, which helps them feel safe, secure and loved. This gives them the foundation to better handle stress throughout their lives.

Dr. Martin Seligman, a highly respected researcher in the field of cognitive psychology, has found in more than 1,000 studies involving more than a half-million children and adults, pessimistic people do worse than optimistic people in three ways, they:

  • Get depressed much more often;
  • Achieve less at school, on the job and in sports;
  • Their physical health is worse;

With today’s depression rate ten times that of the 1950s, anything that can fight depression is vitally important, which optimism does.

However, sometimes pessimism is the more appropriate response. When the consequences are high that an optimistic view is wrong, it’s better to go with a pessimistic perception. For example, an optimistic perception of cheating on a test would be, “I won’t get caught.” If the consequences of being caught are too great, then the pessimistic, “I’ll get caught,” is the better way to go.

To help your children become more optimistic teach them the connection between their thoughts, feelings and behavior; what they think about a stressor determines how they feel emotionally about it, which determines how they react to it. Teach them that all-or-nothing words like always, never, everyone, no one, are indicators they’re probably thinking pessimistically and adding unnecessary stress to difficult situations.

For example, your daughter’s very interested in the boy who’s approaching her in the hall. She’s thinking, “He’ll never notice me because I’m always so boring.” She feels anxious, worthless and pessimistic.

Teach her, however, that she’s not feeling these emotions because he ignores her but rather because of what she’s telling herself about this possibility. Teach her to change what she thinks in order to change how she feels and responds.

She could think more optimistically, “Here he comes. He hasn’t noticed me before but maybe I can engage him in conversation. He won’t notice me unless I assertive myself.”

Obviously, he still may have no interest but – and this is a huge but – she can limit the damage by spinning it more optimistically. Understanding she feels rotten because she tells herself rotten things about herself teaches her to change what she thinks to something like, “It’s his loss.”

Many adults never learn that their feelings are determined by what they say to themselves. They never learn to take charge of their thinking. Instead, give your kids the gift of optimism with this self-empowering and stress reducing understanding.

Jacquelyn Ferguson, M. S., is an international speaker and a Stress and Wellness Coach.

Nutrition – the Heart of the Matter

Aging Beyond BeliefDon Ardell’s tips for aging well are from his book Aging Beyond Belief, 69 tips for REAL Wellness. REAL wellness stands for Reason, Exuberance And Liberty. Don says you can’t buy pills or treatments for REAL wellness−it’s a mindset and lifestyle you control. It’s never to early to let Reason, Exuberance and Liberty be your guide…these tips are for folks of any age. Enjoy.

Nutrition – the Heart of the Matter
t two simple nutritional goals and work to realize both

This tip is supported by research done at the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Departments. The two nutritional goals are: 1) Eat fruits and vegetables on at least three separate occasions spaced throughout the day; and 2) Consume at least two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables daily.

Another study published in the journal Neurology (10/24/2006), based on a six-year research project involving 4000 seniors, hinted strongly that it’s never too late to gain a mental edge in this fashion. Two daily servings of vegetables—that’s all it takes. What a deal.

Veggies are much cheaper than drugs and doctor visits. Besides, nobody ever got smarter medicating or seeing doctors. The seniors study just mentioned, done at the Rush Center for Healthy Aging in Chicago, suggests the two-serving daily fix slows cognitive mental declines by as much as 40 percent. This is judged the equivalent of a five-year age discount! There are not many ways to drop five years of aging effects—don’t pass up such a deal!

Vegetables, particularly those in the leafy green category, provide such brain benefits because of their antioxidant compounds, such as vitamin E, flavonoids and carotenoids. What’s more, the absorption of these compounds is enhanced if they are prepared using olive or vegetable oils, or other poly or mono-unsaturated fats.

Such high consumption levels will ensure that you get loads of phytonutrients—great as antioxidants that inhibit free radical cell damages and helpful, as well, in weight control.  At present, 90 percent of the US population does not realize this intake standard. This partially accounts for the fact that two-thirds of Americans are overweight and 90 million suffer from chronic diseases. Naturally, our individual needs vary, depending on our exercise levels, age and sex. To personalize this tip in accord with your situation, go to www.mypyramid.gov.  (For details about top-rated fruits and veggies, see “More Reasons to Eat Your Veggies,” Wall Street Journal, 7/25/06, D1 and D3).

This tip is offered despite the general rule that you should be suspicious of claims for one specific food or another. This tip is not for a single food, but two classes of food. Still, it is useful to note that it is wise to reserve judgments. Always allow time for your critical thinking talents to come into play. Let’s say someone insists that his product will increase your energy, shrink your derriere and/or grow hair on your head. What to do? My advice—be respectful and kind but don’t agree or buy anything. Be skeptical. Assuming you were even mildly interested, ask for evidence. Insist that it be from a disinterested third party—and take your time before deciding.

Donald ArdellDonald B. Ardell was a pioneer in the Wellness movement. He wrote High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs, and Disease, first published in 1976 by Rodale Press, with editions over the years by Bantam Books and Ten-Speed Press. Since then Don has written a dozen additional wellness books, including Die Healthy (with Grant Donovan), 14 Days to Wellness and most recently, Aging Beyond Belief.

Longevity and Aging: Don’t make a big deal about getting older

Aging Beyond BeliefDon Ardell’s tips for aging well are from his book Aging Beyond Belief, 69 tips for REAL Wellness. REAL wellness stands for Reason, Exuberance And Liberty. Don says you can’t buy pills or treatments for REAL wellness−it’s a mindset and lifestyle you control. It’s never to early to let Reason, Exuberance and Liberty be your guide…these tips are for folks of any age. Enjoy.

Longevity and Aging
nt make a big deal about getting older

Everybody does it, it can’t be avoided and there is no cure. Each day is an opportunity to enjoy being younger than you ever will be again, so think and act as vigorously and with as much exuberance as you can muster. Billions are spent annually to slow or, more often, disguise the inevitable markers of aging. Such a waste. All this is futile. As Ecclesiastes would say, “a vanity of vanities, an incomparable excess.” I personally have a soft spot for excess, but not to the point of being incomparably self-delusional about my vanities.

Want in on a little health secret? Move to Canada. An impressive array of data shows that Canadians live longer, healthier lives than we do. What’s more, they pay roughly half as much per capita Americans ($2,163 versus $4,887 in 2001) for the privilege.” (Los Angeles Times, February 23, 2004).

Did you know there’s a mathematical formula that predicts maximal age? There is—and the formula is the basis for the agreed-upon maximum human age being set at 120. (This means I could be writing a second edition to this book in the year 2058.) The formula for maximal age is six times the number of years from birth to biological maturity. Humans take about 20 years to reach maturity, so multiply that by six and there it is—a 120-year limit. (The oldest well-documented age ever was 122.)

Remember, many factors affect longevity, particularly lifestyle choices (e.g., exercise, diet), personality, social life and genetics. Approximately “one-third of aging is heritable, the rest is acquired—that means you are responsible for your own old age.” (Tara Parker-Pope, “What Science Tells Us About Growing Older—And Staying Healthy,” Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2005; Page R1.)

Longevity in this country is nothing to cheer about. When compared with other Western nations, the U.S. is doing worse now than 50 years ago! We are currently losing ground, not making longevity advances, relative to other countries. This might surprise you. Yes, we live longer but our relative position is poorer compared with comparable societies than it was when Eisenhower was president. This despite our having the costliest medical care system on earth!

A World Health Organization study released last year put Canadian life expectancy at birth at 79.8 years, Japan’s at 81.9 and America’s at 77.3!

In 1900, the lifespan in America was 47.3. I shudder to think of all my friends who would be dead now if that figure had not improved over the course of the past century. With no advances, there would be few to no competitors in my 65-69 age group in road races, duathlons and triathlons. A similar 30-year gain in life expectancy into the future would render the average lifespan in the year 2112 a robust 107.3 years.

How might that come about? Perhaps from a wide range of social changes over time, like more nutritious foods and challenging but fun phys ed in schools, campaigns for safer sex and more effective ways to end insane behaviors, like smoking. (It will help also if humanity refrains from setting off any thermonuclear devices.)

Imagine the excitement of watching men and women in their 120s crossing finish lines at road races and multi-sport competitions, to the cheers of the multitudes, with “Rocky” music blaring from loudspeakers. It would be inspirational.

However, it’s also implausible. Wellness is good, wellness is great but I still don’t believe that there will be dramatic advances in phys ed in schools, better diets or other social changes. I hope I’m mistaken about this. If there were such changes and many others consistent with the spread of wellness mindsets like some positive contagion, even that might not produce really dramatic increase in lifespan, though quality boosts would be remarkable. If there are any significant increases in lifespan, the more likely impetus will be improved scientific understanding and attendant manipulation of biological aging processes. But, I’m not wildly optimistic about this scenario, either.

Nor does the U.S. Social Security Administration project dramatic gains for the next century similar to that realized over the last one. Their projections foresee life spans into the mid-80s, which is still pretty impressive. Unless, as some fear, the obesity epidemic gets worse.

In any event, getting older is not such a big deal if you stay younger than nearly everyone else your age! The remaining tips will offer plenty of ideas for doing just that.

-from Aging Beyond Belief, by Don Ardell

Donald ArdellDonald B. Ardell was a pioneer in the Wellness movement. He wrote High Level Wellness: An Alternative to Doctors, Drugs, and Disease, first published in 1976 by Rodale Press, with editions over the years by Bantam Books and Ten-Speed Press. Since then Don has written a dozen additional wellness books, including Die Healthy (with Grant Donovan), 14 Days to Wellness and most recently, Aging Beyond Belief.

Wellness Coaching Reviews

Wellness Coaching for Lasting Lifestyle ChangeINSPIRING, INSTRUCTIVE, INDISPENSIBLE

“Inspiring because Dr. Arloski strengthens my belief that we can help people get past the obstacles that keep them from seeking a deep sense of wellness. And because he teaches us how to inspire positive change in others.

Instructive because the book shows us the psychological stages people pass through as they attempt, and hopefully succeed, at creating lasting lifestyle change; we just need to stay with them as they move along the path.

And indispensible because it’s the perfect handbook for health and wellness professionals to keep handy; to remind themselves to review the steps, to stay with the client where they are and to ride out the waves of change with patience, compassion and joy.”

-Suzanne Ballantyne

A book to come back to time and again

“If you are a Health and Wellness Coach you will want to have this invaluable book by your side. I’ve read just about every book there is on health and wellness coaching, I’ve even written one myself and this is still the best.

-Anne Marshall, Author of The Health Factor: Coach Yourself To Better Health