Posts Tagged men’s health

Matters Of The Heart …..



An alarming trend is emerging in the fight against heart disease.  More women under 45 are dying of heart disease due to clogged arteries, despite the fact that the overall death rate from heart disease has decreased.

A study by researchers at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Britain’s University of Liverpool shows the worrisome trend for women of that age group.  Experts think that increasing rates of obesity in younger adults, among other factors, are to blame.

Many diseases that are common today are a reflection of our unhealthy lifestyle, along with a combination of bad diet and lack of exercise.  If that is true, then it is also true that you can decrease the risk of disease or even early death, by improving your eating habits and increasing your daily physical activity.

According to the American Heart Association and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one killer today is heart disease, which accounts for about 700,000 deaths each year, about 29% of all US deaths. 

The CDC recommends that maintaining a healthy weight by eating an overall healthy diet in combination with regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes on most days of the week) can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The American College of Sports Medicine and The American Heart Association released new guidelines encouraging Americans of any age to strength-train at least twice a week on top of a regular cardio workout to build a healthier body.

It is recommended that adults perform eight to twelve repetitions of eight to ten exercises using appropriate weight for their individual fitness level.  By exercising all major muscle groups (arms, shoulders, chest, back, upper legs and lower legs) regularly, we also prevent losing muscle mass and gaining fat as we age.

Research by Tufts University found that bone density can be improved through strength training, potentially preventing osteoporosis.  So the benefits of adding weights to your workout routine are endless.

For simple suggestions on how to transform to a healthy lifestyle by creating healthy eating habits, increasing physical activity, de-stressing your life, and generally having a more positive mindset, please visit my website

On a personal note:  The prevention of heart disease is very dear to me as my mother passed away at an early age after suffering a stroke related to her blood pressure being too high.

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CHANGE — As in ‘Lifestyle Change’


“Hey, come here–Let me tell you a little secret:  You’ve probably heard the slogan  ’40 is the new 20, 60 is the new 40.’  How do some people manage to look and be so young no matter what age they are?  Well, are you ready for this?  It’s a mindset and a matter of attitude.  There are  ‘old’  thirty-year-olds and there are  ‘young’  fifty-year-olds.

“Listen, if you’re sitting at home right now just vegetating from day to day, feel bad frequently and your attitude stinks and you want to feel better but just don’t know how to get started,  GET OFF THE COUCH!  SHAKE THINGS UP!  CHANGE THE STATUS QUO!  Change to a healthy lifestyle, get in shape with a fit body, de-stress and simplify your life and you will find out, you’ll get an attitude adjustment in the process!  I’ve done it and so can you!  Get ready to declare:  45 is the new 25! — Or for that matter:  55 is the new 35! — Or:  65 is the new 45!

“Bottom line is this:  Everything happening outside you is a reflection of what’s happening inside you!  Believe it or not, there is a  FIT, SEXY and HAPPY  person already inside you just waiting to be awakened.  So what are you waiting for?  Wake her up!  Visit my website   and find out how!”


“Hi, I am Andrea and I am happy that your search has led you to my blog and website.  Let me share with you why I have chosen the butterfly as my logo.  Every time I see a beautiful butterfly fluttering by, I instantly smile.  Just watching that little creature brings joy to my heart.  It symbolizes lightheartedness, joy, love, happiness, a free and independent spirit, and most of all, it is a symbol of transformation.

“One of nature’s great mysteries is the metamorphosis from a crawling caterpillar, after going through chrysalis, to a colorful and beautiful butterfly.  Fighting its way out of the old form, the butterfly emerges free to explore the world from a completely new perspective and to flutter through life in joy.

“One day we may find ourselves desiring a better, more meaningful life.  At that point, we may not even know what this  ‘something better’  exactly looks like.  But if we have patience, it will come to us and we will find ourselves on a path of transformation very similar to that of the butterfly.

“Maybe you are in the  ‘caterpillar stage’  right now, feeling like you are just living from day to day and are stuck in your old mold.  But you also have the desire to change circumstances or behavior, or you want to shake up your life altogether.  Then again, you may find yourself already in the  ‘chrysalis stage’  but are impatient with the slow pace of transformation or you are lost at what change of your current circumstances you are actually seeking.

“It does not matter where you are at this point in your life.  What is important is that you have already taken the first step in your desire for change which has led you to my blog and website.  As I went through this transformation some time ago myself, I want to inspire and motivate you on your journey, and I will be with you every step of the way, until you get to the final stage, becoming a beautiful butterfly.  🙂

“By starting to live a healthy lifestyle which includes good eating habits and increased physical activity, limiting stress and maintaining a positive outlook on life, you will be well on your way to reaching your goal!  As body, mind and soul are interconnected, you will find many simple suggestions on how to de-stress, have a more positive outlook on life and generally become a content and happy person when visiting my website” 

Life is truly beautiful!  Enjoy your journey! 


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Endorphins – The Body’s Natural Painkiller

‘ENDORPHIN’ — A combination of ‘endo’ and ‘morphine’ – meaning endogenously 
                        produced morphine, or internally produced painkiller




Have you ever asked yourself why you are generally in a good mood and feel great after exercising?  Well, one answer certainly is an overall feeling of accomplishment, but there is also something to be said about the power of these little, hormone-like substances called ‘endorphins.’  When you exercise, endorphins are being released in your body, giving you a feeling of well-being and a state of euphoria.  These feelings can be so powerful that they actually mask pain (the body’s natural painkiller). 

Maybe you have heard the term ‘Runner’s High’ or have experienced it yourself.  All it takes for most people is moderate-intensity exercise of at least 30 minutes to be in high spirits and feel the elation and joy of a ‘Runner’s High.’  Short, high-intensity workouts have proven to be of little value when it comes to experiencing those benefits.  So the most effective stress relief and improvement to your mood may indeed be exercise–who would have thought!



With so much power influencing your mood during and after exercise to the point of giving you a ‘Natural High,’ you probably think that endorphins are also responsible for the incredible feelings of infatuation, falling in love, and then being in love with that ‘special person.’  Well, yes and no.  Infatuation or feeling an almost unbearable attraction to someone, when the pure sight of that person can make your heart beat faster and your eyes sparkle, and can make you talk for hours (the same person may seem boring later  🙂  ), is caused by an explosion of neurochemicals similar to adrenaline.  At that point you’re basically in love with the idea of being in love. 

This passion can last between six months and two to three years and is nearly gone after that for most people.  At that stage, if the relationship is not strong enough, it will usually end.  However, if it is strong enough, it will advance and then other chemicals, mainly endorphins, play a key role in long-term relationships.  Endorphins don’t induce the giddy high you feel when you are first infatuated with someone, but give you a sense of well-being, peacefulness, calmness and stability.  They literally are one of the reasons why people stay married because of their addictiveness.  Endorphins are the reason why we like loving someone.



Eating a bite of chocolate will trigger an endorphin release and can impact your mood in a positive way.  There’s a reason why I call chocolate my ‘soul food.’  But be sensible; you don’t have to eat a large amount, a little will do.  The darker and more bitter the chocolate, generally speaking, the better for you.


Looking for an easier way than exercise to release endorphins and get in a good mood?  Try a good laugh, think happy and positive thoughts, or make passionate love (or all the above)!   🙂

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De-Stress Your Life

If you’re like me, you feel a little stressed out lately.  Even though I de-stressed and simplified my life several years ago, and as a massage therapist don’t let stress overtake my life, there are times when it can be a little challenging.  We cannot avoid stress completely in our lives, but it is important for us to find ways to deal with it more effectively as stress can be major factor in upward of 80% of illnesses.  The following are simple suggestions which may help you manage stress a little better.  For more information, please visit my website


Fill your home with positive energy to feel comfortable when spending time there.  You can create a “feel good atmosphere” with very little effort:  simplify and de-clutter.  Get rid of “stuff” you don’t need, especially those things with the sole purpose of collecting dust.  Add color, plants, candles, beautiful lighting, peaceful music in the background, scents if you like, and keep it generally clean and organized.  By the way:  people who visit will also appreciate the positive energy coming from your home and will see it for what it is–a reflection of you!


Make regular appointments with yourself.  Exercise, get a manicure, meet with a friend for lunch, visit an art gallery, read a book, take a yoga class ….. and keep the appointments!


There are many different ways you can relax.  Try them out and see what works for you:  yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, getting a massage, taking a walk.  It doesn’t matter which one you settle on.  Each will help you relax.  Pick one you feel comfortable with and practice it regularly.  Ideally set aside some time for relaxation every day, and put it on your schedule!


You don’t have to be obsessive about it, but some planning will help you keep the stress level down.  Write down and plan for important things that have to be accomplished the following day or week.  Also, plan your meals and prepare them ahead of time whenever you can.  Then you have a good breakfast, even if you get up a little late; a healthy lunch, so you can also take a walk during your lunch break; and a nice dinner you can enjoy with your family, even if you had to work a little late.


Make time for fun things.  It’s mandatory!  Take a bike ride, play in the park, go to the zoo, take a trip, have a party for no reason at all.  Enjoy life, it pays great dividends!  By the way:  nobody will remember whether your kitchen floor was mopped on the last Sunday in July of last year but you (and your family) will have wonderful memories of a visit to the park, enjoying a picnic and playing around that afternoon.


How well you sleep at night can make the difference in how stress-free and productive you will be the next day.  Find out what ensures you to have a good night’s sleep, whether it is exercising, cutting back on alcohol, coffee and cigarettes, taking a relaxing hot bath before going to bed, having a quiet and dark bedroom or a combination of all of the above.  Limit your news intake, especially before going to bed.  Sleeping well is very important to your stress level and overall well being.


Give yourself messages as to how well you can cope rather than how horrible everything is going to be.  Learn to say “Yes, I can,” no matter what it is.  The phrase “I can’t do it” is not even part of your vocabulary.  From time to time, especially when in a bad mood or feeling stressed, lean back, close your eyes and visualize something you associate with a positive experience or feeling–an event from your childhood, a sunny day at the beach, a beautiful garden, getting a massage.  It will give you a feeling of joy and put a smile on your face.   🙂


There is only a limited amount of hours in the day and you are already trying to de-stress and simplify your life.  If somebody asks you to do something, it’s nice to say “Yes” from time to time, but it is also necessary to be able to say “No” and not feel guilty about it.  Don’t overburden yourself with “stuff” just because you are not able to say “No.”  Learn how to say it, in a nice way!


Financial disarray can be a constant source of stress (and can be a major contributing factor for divorce).  So make it a priority to get your financial house in order.  Here is a simple guideline.  Find ways to have more money coming in than going out.  That can be achieved by either increasing your income or by cutting your expenses or a combination of both.  And don’t forget to save some money in the process for emergencies.  Life happens, so be prepared for it.  Being from Germany, I grew up with this financial advice, instilled in me by my late father, and it is a general rule to this day:  unless it’s a big ticket item (like a house or a car), if you can’t pay cash for it, you probably don’t need it.


…If you can.  Unless you are a doctor on call, you probably don’t need to be reached on your phone at all times.  So, leave it at home if you really don’t have to have it with you, or at the very least turn it off.


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Tough Guys Don’t See The Doctor

You’ve probably heard the notion that some men literally have to be almost dead before they see the doctor.  There is certainly some truth to men being reluctant to go to the doctor’s office when a problem first arises.  You can speculate about the reasons; some people think it is related to society in general imposing expectations of being tough and ignoring pain, first on boys and then later on men.  It could also be related to men in general maybe being more hesitant speaking freely, even with a physician, about a condition they deem to be embarrassing, not realizing it could be a symptom of a serious health problem.  Even when seeking advice, some men may leave out those important but embarrassing details and therefore delaying diagnosis and treatment.  One perfect example could be a man experiencing the urgency of urination to the point of wetting his pants from time to time.  Being embarrassed about that, he may not mention it to the doctor, possibly delaying a diagnosis that could involve bladder cancer, especially if the person had been a smoker.


See your doctor ….. Not only for treatment when you are sick, but get regular check-ups for prevention, including blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.  The goal is to find out whether something is out of balance before it becomes a serious health problem.  Unfortunately, our entire health care system up to this point is based on treating health problems, rather than trying to prevent them in the first place.  But you can certainly make the individual decision for yourself to put more emphasis on prevention and living a healthy lifestyle.


Is it just me or have you also noticed lately that commercials for medication treating Erectile Dysfunction start to involve the notion that serious conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease in general could also lead to Erectile Dysfunction?  And you can just picture men all across America staring at the TV in full attention.  Naturally, these are self-serving commercials by the drug companies.  However, studies have shown and experts agree that there can be a connection between Erectile Dysfunction and serious health problems.  A high percentage of men who suffer from diabetes already know that Erectile Dysfunction could be related to that condition.  But it could also be a good indication of heart disease because just like arteries in the penis fail to expand to stimulus, so do certain arteries around the heart.  Because arteries in the penis are smaller, that condition may show up earlier and may make the prevention or treatment of heart disease much more successful for that person.

Bottom line:  If the newly found openness talking about the once taboo subject of impotence leads more men to the doctor’s office and in the process serious health concerns can be discovered and treated, more power to them!

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How To Get From A Beer Belly To A Six-Pack (Or Close To It)

Many men struggle with an expanded midsection.  The reasons for that could be plenty but are probably a combination of several:  From genetic predisposition to bad posture, unhealthy lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, including eating too much high-calorie food, lack of exercise and yes, too much alcohol, also high in calories.
An increased amount of belly fat can also be a contributing factor to a range of health problems.  So what to do?  Well, with the following simple changes to your current lifestyle, you can see improvement in a relatively short time and if you really want to get crazy, you can get to a six-pack over time:
*  Regular exercise of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week (a combination of cardio and strength training)
*  Change your eating habits:  smaller portions, low-calorie food (fruit, vegetables, whole grain), drink plenty of water
*  Do regular stretches targeting your stomach, lower back and hip areas
*  Do regular exercises like crunches or planks to tighten your abs
*  And yes, cutting out beer (and alcohol in general), or at least limiting the amount or switching to a low-calorie version




Besides regular crunches, the following is probably one of the most effective exercises targeting the core – abs, hips, back:
*  Start by lying face down on the ground or exercise mat.  Place your elbows and forearms underneath your chest.  Prop yourself up to form a bridge using toes and forearms.  Maintain a flat back and do not allow your hips to sag towards the ground
*  Hold this position, focusing on tightening your abs, until you can no longer maintain a flat bridge.  For beginners, start with 10 seconds.  Return to start position.
*  Beware of cheating!  Remember to not let your hips and back sag.  This exercise will only be effective if you work to maintain a flat line from your shoulders to your feet.  You might want to start in front of a mirror to learn the technique.

Click on the following link to view a funny little video clip “Six-Pack”   🙂

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In A Bad Mood? Get Some ….. Sun!

Next time you’re in a stinky mood, try this little but very effective mood changer:

Soak up the sun by
a.  Opening the drapes or blinds, or
b.  Having breakfast/lunch/dinner outside, or
c.  Walking or exercising outdoors, or
d.  All the above

It will
a.  Lift your spirits, or
b.  Boost your energy, or
c.  Improve your attitude and frame of mind, or
d.  All the above


While traveling all over Europe I noticed that people in the Southern European countries like Spain, Italy and Greece seem to be more cheerful, colorful, are generally in a better mood, and seem to get more enjoyment out of life than their Northern European counterparts.  You think that them having much more exposure to the sun could have something to do with it?  I certainly do.  And their enjoyment of and passion for life is reflected in their beautiful music, passionate dances and colorful fashions.


Exposure to the sun is probably the single best way to help our bodies produce Vitamin D.  A Vitamin D deficiency can cause serious health problems like osteoporosis and rickets and is more common than some people realize.  Eating foods containing Vitamin D (like salmon and eggs) or taking a Vitamin D supplement is good but pale in comparison to simple exposure to the sun.  So what do experts suggest?  Just exposing your skin (face, arms, hands or back) to the sun for about 10-15 minutes twice a week without using sunscreen is sufficient to provide adequate Vitamin D.  Drinking your morning coffee and reading the paper on the deck or a walk around the block will do the job.  Naturally, if you’re exposed for longer periods (doing yard work or watching an outdoor game, etc.), apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to protect your skin as too much sun can have negative effects as well, including skin cancer.


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No Motivation To Exercise?

So you made the decision to make increased physical activity part of your new approach to a healthy lifestyle but feel a lack of motivation sometimes.  These four tips will help you to stay motivated while you’re going through this transition:

1.  Goals
Start by setting small, precise, realistic goals that lead to larger goals.  If you have been mostly sedentary and are just starting out, tell yourself this: “I will walk for 30 minutes a day, three times a week, so that my jeans will fit looser.  After a few weeks, I will make it 45 minutes a day, three times a week and add weight exercises twice a week in order to loose one dress size over the next two months.”  You get the picture.

2.  Role Model/Workout Buddy/Journal
Get inspired by somebody who started out where you are and successfully kept it going.  If you know that person personally, keep in contact for continuous motivation.  Look for a positive person to be your workout buddy and make keeping a journal part of your journey.  Here you can put down (and later read) your progress and what works or doesn’t work for you.  One thing I want to emphasize here:  Don’t obsess about scales and numbers.  Ideally only weigh yourself every other week or even more infrequently.  As you are going through a transformation of loosing fat and building muscle at the same time, your weight may fluctuate.  Rather concentrate on your clothes fitting better, your body looking more toned and you feeling more energetic.  If you see those changes occur, you are well on your way to reaching your personal health and fitness goal!

3.  Not just another item on your “To-Do-List” …..
Connect your emphasis on more physical exercise to a deeper level.  Make it part of your new approach to a healthy lifestyle together with better eating habits, limiting stress and a more positive mindset.  Try not to focus on what you are giving up but rather on the rewards and new options you’ll have after becoming more fit.

Before thinking this to death, JUST DO IT!  Get moving!

Running is the greatest metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put into it. — Oprah Winfrey

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