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Healthy Living: Hand Grip Strength – Kern Valley Sun

Hand Grip Strength

As we age, it becomes more and more important for us to maintain good hand grip and pinch strength. Our continuing safety and productivity are directly dependent upon trusting both hands for our basic daily living activities. Those patients we treat for physical and occupational therapy are instructed in series of graded exercises in order to help them succeed in restoring strength. But far too often patients report back to us that they are troubled with their inability to comply with those home exercise programs we recommend. They tell us they become busy with other commitments; they have trouble incorporating their exercise routine into their family activities and demands.

Measuring the gradual improvements you make should increase your motivation and satisfaction with the gains you make. It is so rewarding to find yourself being able to resume activities painfree as you regain your strength. Some patients do more than merely comply with the therapist’s recommended programs; they arrange for pre-surgical instructions. The benefits are many. The right handed carpal tunnel surgical release patient trains her left hand to be the lead hand by practicing her basic activities of daily living including applying makeup, hair care, and feeding herself. The added rewards include an increase in speed of performance, faster recovery with her right hand, and becoming ambidextrous.

It’s also important to know that exercising with weights such as barbells will increase your overall arm strength, (shoulders, elbows, and wrists), but you need repetitive grip/release rather than prolonged gripping exercises for the best results. Patients are often told to squeeze a ball for their hand exercise, yet therapists find a far better anatomically fitting position calls for use of an oblong object, a rolled up washcloth, or therapy putty which offers you graded progress beginning with soft, then medium and then hard putty.

You’ll enjoy the satisfaction of regaining your ability to resume that gardening hobby, the raking and gathering of those leaves, your yard all neat and tidy. You need to pace yourself, gradually testing as you progress with your strengthening program. When unloading your grocery bags out of your car, first lift the bag with your stronger hand, then if you judge it to be safe to carry, transfer to your weaker hand. You’ll enjoy the satisfaction of your gradual progress without overdoing it, eliminating your pain and resuming your healthy life routines.

Christine Harness has worked in the field of Occupational Therapy throughout her adult life, both in and outside of the Kern River Valley. She has helped countless individuals to maintain or regain their independence. Christine believes that enjoying and taking satisfaction in one’s day-to-day activities is the key to a meaningful life.

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Scientists say healthy living is much more personalized than you think – WZVN

“There’s so much confusion in health and wellness, and people are jumping from program to program,” Stull explained,”whereas now, we’re giving you the most unique program according to your goals, your body, [and] your DNA on a cellular level.”

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First ‘Walk with a Doc’ event encourages healthy living

People in Sioux Falls laced up their shoes and had the chance to mingle with a local doctor for an event called Walk with a Doc at the Avera McKennan Fitness Center. Walkers learned about the benefits of living an active lifestyle along with the recommended amount of exercise for their age group.

KSFY News caught up with TyLynn and Patrick Klune who said they were glad to participate.

“I saw it on Facebook and we are trying to be more active and more cautious about our health. That is really great that we have someone that we can ask questions,” TyLynn and Patrick Klune said. “Exercise is way better than having to take a medication.”

The Walk with a Doc event featured Avera Family Medicine Physician Dr. Chad Thury. The Fitness Center looks forward to hosting more of these in the future.

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How to Cook Pasta to Perfection

Learn how to cook pasta so it turns out just right, plus get some super delicious and easy pasta sauce recipes.

For a seasoned cook, pasta might seem pretty basic, but if you don’t know the dos and don’ts, your pasta can turn out disastrously. If you’ve ever dumped a potful of flavorless, overcooked or stuck-together pasta into your colander, this one’s for you,

Not knowing how to cook pasta perfectly is nothing to be ashamed of, and you only need to know a few basics to turn out delightfully al dente pasta every single time. Before we get to how to cook pasta, though, let’s talk a little bit about pasta in general!

How to Cook Pasta to Perfection

Is pasta healthy?

This is a complicated question, and the short answer is: it can be. The long answer, of course, is more nuanced.

The first myth we should dispel about pasta and health is that eating pasta automatically causes weight gain. In a world full of carb-phobic misinformation, I want to put your mind at ease. Pasta itself isn’t really that bad for you. In fact, a 2016 study found that Italians who ate moderate amounts of pasta actually had a lower body mass index than Italians who didn’t eat pasta.

Does that mean that you can load up on mac and cheese and a third helping of pasta casserole? Of course not. The key to that study is that a healthy weight was associated with moderation.

The other key to healthy pasta is what you pair with it. Like rice, healthy pasta is all about what you pair with it. Douse it in cream sauce and meat, and of course pasta is bad for you. But pile on fiber-packed veggies, beans, nuts and seeds, and you’ve got a pretty healthy bowl of food. Try some of these healthy recipes next time you’ve got a pasta craving!

There are also whole grain and even bean- and legume-based versions of many pastas available now, too. If you really don’t want semolina pasta on your table, explore healthier pasta varieties made from whole wheat, lentils, spelt and more!

Types of Pasta

There are almost countless types of pasta, and the graphic below captures 188 of them! It also includes information for each type that tells you the best way to prepare and serve it! Click the image for a full-sized version:

Types of Pasta InfographicPretty cool, right?

Now that you’re not worried about pasta foiling your health goals, and you’re armed with a cheat sheet covering pasta varieties, let’s talk about how to boil a perfect noodle.

How to Cook Pasta, Perfectly

There are really only a few things that you need to know when it comes to cooking pasta. Follow these simple rules, and you’ll be a pasta-cooking pro!

Size matters.

If your pasta is normally all stuck together at the end of cooking, pot size and water amount are the likely culprits.

When your package directions specify a pot size and water amount, listen. You need a big pot and plenty of water for perfect pasta. The pasta needs room to move around, so the pieces don’t stick together during cooking.

Stir, stir, stir!

Frequent stirring is the other key to combatting pasta that wants to stick together. I like to stir my pasta every two to three minutes during cooking. Make sure you also scrape your spoon along the bottom of the pan when you stir, in case any pieces are sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Season with abandon.

Ever wonder why recipes tell you to salt the pasta’s cooking water? The main reason is to add some flavor to the pasta. But you don’t have to use salt alone (or at all). Throw garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning or any herbs and spices that work with your dish into the pot for more flavorful results without the added salt.

Taste often.

Your pasta box will list a range of cooking times, and this is important. I always get the best results when I set my kitchen timer to the minimum time as soon as I put my pasta into the pot. When the timer goes off, taste a noodle to see if it’s ready. From there, add one to two minutes of cooking time, then taste again. Repeat until your pasta is perfect.

Once you pour your perfect pot of pasta into the colander, you’ll want to give it a rinse, to get the extra starch off. If the pasta is going to be sitting for a long time, you can transfer to a bowl and toss with a little bit of olive oil to keep it from sticking together.

Cashews are the secret to this dairy-free creamy garlic pasta. Serve with your favorite steamed veggies for a quick and easy meal.

Pasta Sauce Recipes

Need some saucy inspiration? These deliciously healthy pasta sauce recipes have you covered.

Do you have any tips or tricks that you use when cooking up a pot of pasta? Got a favorite pasta recipe to share? Tell us how you cook pasta in the comments!

Infographic via KCET. Photos via Getty Images

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Healthy Living: The Single Senior Life

Sixty-six percent of people over the age of 65 need some form of long-term care help.

Most will count on a spouse, partner, or their children for help.

But what if they have none of the above?

We have some tips on planning for your single senior years in Healthy Living. 

Another way to stay connected is Facebook.

Editor of Carol Marak started a group for elder orphans, and already more than 35,000 have joined.

It’s important to develop a social network, so consider joining a class, volunteering somewhere, or taking up a hobby, something that will give you routine exposure to a new group of people.



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Healthy Living: New cholesterol guidelines

Recently, the American Heart Association updated it’s guidelines to treat and prevent high cholesterol.

Most importantly, the AHA encourages people to working with their health care provider adding that it’s the only sure way to know whether you need treatment for high cholesterol.

The new guidelines focus on lifestyle, including healthy eating and physical activity.  When done together regularly, doctors say both are proven to lower LDL cholesterol.

In addition, they recommend people start monitoring cholesterol early in life.  In fact, they suggest testing kids as young as 2-years-old if there is a family history of heart disease.  People over 20 who don’t have cardiovascular disease should have a risk assessment every 4-6 years.

According to the AHA, people between 40-75 are the most likely to need medicine.  Among the many factors that could further increase risk include:

  • family history of heart disease or stroke
  • high triglycerides
  • metabolic syndrome
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis or HIV
  • history of pre-eclampsia or early menopause
  • ethnicity

Remember, while 20% of a person’s risk relates to family history, the other 80% can be controlled through diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.   Meaning you can take control of your health.

If you would like to learn more about the new cholesterol guidelines and other heart health topics, visit the American Heart Association


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Healthy Living: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a well-known treatment for scuba divers who suffer from decompression sickness.

However, very few medical professionals have used the therapy to treat other conditions, stating insufficient evidence that the therapy works.

But one Louisiana State University doctor says the treatment should be used more widely and has the cases to back it up.

Katie Boomgaard has the details.



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7 Effective Ways to Improve Your Mental Strength

“It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.” – Epictetus

Life will always present its challenges and how you deal with those challenges will determine the quality of your life. With a little mental strength, you can learn to handle adversities and turn negative situations into positives.

How to Build Mental Strength

Just as a physically weak person can become strong through consistent training, a person who lacks mental strength can develop it using the strategies below.

Just as  you can build physical strength with training, these strategies can help you build your mental strength.

1. Be willing to tolerate discomfort.

Your willingness to push through when things get tough will go a long way in building your mental strength, and it takes practice.

For instance, if giving a presentation makes you anxious, go ahead and do it anyway instead of assigning it to someone else. If you feel like quitting in a marathon, push through and finish.

Developing this mindset will improve all aspects of you your life.

2. Practice gratitude.

You’ve probably heard that gratitude increases happiness and eases depression, but did you know that gratitude causes physical changes in your brain?

Identify at least three things you’re grateful for every day. They don’t have to be extraordinary things. You can be grateful for your hair or legs. You can also add these gratitude practices to your daily routine.

3. Maintain steady emotions.

Are you usually over-excited in one minute and sad in the next? This frequent change of emotions can make you overwhelmed in situations you could have otherwise handled well if you were calmer.

If there’s something that makes you too excited or uneasy, visualize being calm and composed while doing it. Starting a meditation practice can help with this, as well (more on that below).

4. Be prepared.

Knowing that you’ve practiced something gives you the faith that you’ll be able to do it well. If you’re going to give a speech, for example, write it down and rehearse it in front of the mirror.

5. Develop internal motivators.

Skills, relationships and experiences are great internal motivators to help you develop authentic mental strength.

If you focus on internal motivators, you can maintain mental strength no matter what happens, but if you focus on external motivators—such as money, possessions, fame or a job—you may end up being miserable when these things disappear.

6. Practice meditation.

Meditation is to your brain what strength training is to your body. Meditation causes physical changes in your brain and these changes can make you less responsive to fear and stress.

If you’ve never meditated, start with short sessions of five to 10 minutes. Increase the duration of your sessions to 20 minutes as time goes by.

7. Maintain a positive attitude.

Psychologists estimate that 70 percent of our self-talk is negative. Therefore, you need to make a conscious effort to have positive thoughts.

If you have negative thoughts while running your first 5k, chances are you won’t complete it. Maintain a positive attitude and you’ll be amazed by how far you can go.

Images via Getty

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Brad Johnson column: Music is the key to healthy living





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Tips for Healthy Living – November 16, 2018, by Holly Stinson

Office: (907) 733-1700
News: (907) 733-1900
Studio: (907) 733-1200

Physical: 13764 Second Street
Mailing: PO Box 300
Talkeetna, AK 99676

Link: FCC Online Public File

Talkeetna Community Radio, Inc. is funded, in part, by our members, underwriters, the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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