FOR YOUR HEALTH: Top 5 nutrients you need in your diet

You’re probably not getting enough of these vitamins and minerals. Here’s how to fill your plate with power foods for your body and mind.

You try your hardest to eat a healthy diet (you really do!). That’s a smart habit, since food is the best source of most of the key nutrients your body needs. But you’re likely still missing out on some important vitamins and minerals.

“Americans don’t always eat the right foods,” says registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix. She’s the author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table. “We aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables, which are a great source of many nutrients.”

The good news: It’s not hard to make every meal a nutritional powerhouse. And it takes only a few small tweaks to your meal plan. Read on for a top-5 list of essential nutrients your body needs and the foods that will deliver them.

Nutrient you need: Potassium

Your body needs potassium for almost everything it does. Potassium supports normal blood pressure and helps your kidneys function smoothly. It also supports nerve function, helps your muscles contract and more.

Fill your grocery cart with: Potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, apricots, bananas, prunes, raisins and oranges.

Broccoli Cantaloupe Apricots Bananas Prunes Raisins Oranges

Nutrient you need: Calcium

This mineral is crucial for bone health, but there’s a good chance you aren’t getting enough of it, says Taub-Dix. Men need around 1,000 mg of calcium per day, and women need 1,000 to 1,200 mg. Calcium is found in dairy products such as: Cheese, yogurt, milk and calcium-fortified orange juice.

Nutrient you need: Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so it plays a crucial role in boosting bone health. You need 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day. If you’re a milk drinker, you don’t have to think too hard about it: Cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D. Many plant-based milk alternatives, such as almond milk and oat milk, are also fortified with D. Other good sources include: Fatty fish, such as trout, salmon, tuna and mackerel (these are the best natural sources of vitamin D), Fortified yogurt and eggs. Eggs

Nutrient you need: Magnesium

There are a lot of important reasons to get enough magnesium in your diet,” says Taub-Dix. Magnesium helps your muscles and nerves function properly, regulates blood sugar levels and blood pressure, and builds bone health. Some of the best are: Nuts, legumes, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, fortified breakfast cereal.

Nutrient you need: Iron

This mineral helps support muscle metabolism and healthy connective tissue. Your body also uses iron to produce hemoglobin. That’s a vital protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.

Red meat is an excellent source of iron. Your body absorbs two to times times more iron from animal sources than it does from plant sources, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But don’t stress if you’re not a meat eater: You can also get this nutrient from a variety of legumes, vegetables and fortified foods.

Good animal sources of iron are: Red meat, turkey, chicken, oysters. Some top nonanimal sources of iron include: Fortified cereal, enriched bread and pasta, beans and peas, spinach, tofu, dried fruits such as raisins, and broccoli.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: How You Can Resolve To Be Smokefree In 2023

by Laura Corbin, Bureau Chief,
Tobacco Free Florida

(NAPSI)—The ball, the confetti and the 2022 wall calendars have all come down, and our attention turns to the annual tradition of making New Year’s resolutions. This can include health goals, such as deciding to have 2023 be the year to finally quit tobacco successfully. Most adult smokers in our state tried to do so at least once in the past year, reports the Florida Department of Health.

Quitting for good may take several attempts. With the resolution to quit, every year more and more people succeed on their own. But it may help to know some tips, and to know that you don’t have to do it alone.

Are you resolving to quit tobacco? If so…

Remember your reason.

What’s your biggest personal motivator to quit? If what keeps you going is a desire to be healthy and be there for your kids for years to come, strategically position photos of those smiling faces in the places you used to take your smoke breaks.

Maybe you’re quitting because you like the idea of putting thousands of dollars back in your pocket? Add to your wallet or purse a note keeping track of how much you’re saving every day, and set a goal to save for a specific treat, reward or trip with those savings.

Tell your friends and family about your quit date and plan.

Thank your personal network in advance for their patience and support as you start your quit journey. This might include switching up your plans to include new routines to meet up in different places from where you used to go if tobacco was part of that experience. And, of course, they can cheer you on along your path to success.

Learn about the options in the community for free help and think about which ones seem best to help you “quit your way.”

Support can be what makes this quit resolution stick. That can come in many forms. Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way program offers free Phone Quit, Group Quit and Web Quit services across the state, text-based support, a Quit Guide and more. Group Quit classes are also free, either in person in any of the 67 counties across Florida or even virtually, right from where you are.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as gum, patches or lozenges could double your chances of quitting for good, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show. Free 2-week starter kits are available when medically appropriate.

Teens should know interactive, text-based quit support is available by texting VAPEFREE to 873373 to join the state’s Live Vape Free program to help quit e-cigarettes. As a state, we are making progress against e-cigarettes: youth use of electronic vapor products has dropped each of the last five years, including going down by more than 17% last year, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey. Working together, that number can continue to drop for 2023.

Make 2023 your year to be smokefree. Stay focused, share your awesome plan and get help in the way that works best for you, and you can do it. Thousands across Florida already have.

Check out for more tips, ideas and support.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Holiday Halitosis: Causes and Combatants of Bad Breath

You can avoid bad breath during holiday gatherings.

(NAPSI)—Here’s a hint to help everyone breathe easier this holiday season: Before you head out the door to your next holiday function, make sure your breath is set for close conversation by knowing the culprits of bad breath and the simple solutions that keep you safe from catching an unwelcome whiff.

 “Bad breath can be from skipping healthy oral hygiene habits or it can be indicative of a deeper issue,” said Kyle Dosch, DDS, Delta Dental of Washington’s dental director and member dentist. “Combining good habits and consistent visits to the dentist will help keep halitosis away.” 

 Why Bad Breath

There are many causes of bad breath, and even those who are diligent about their oral hygiene can suffer from it. The most common are:

Dehydration: Not consuming enough water can lead to a decrease in saliva production, causing bacteria in the mouth to grow. 

Dry mouth: Saliva contains antimicrobial properties that help eliminate bad breath. When this saliva is not naturally produced, it can cause your breath to smell stale.

Lack of denture cleanliness: If you have dentures, food particles can get stuck in them, and if left overnight, they can begin to break down and cause bad breath. Consistently removing dentures at night and regularly cleaning them is important. 

Tonsil stones: Tonsil stones develop when food and bacteria get trapped and harden in the crevices surrounding the tonsils, resulting in little white spots at the back of your tonsils and, sometimes, a foul odor. 

Mouth, nose and throat infections: Postnasal drip, which can be caused by a cold or sinusitis, is a sign that bad breath may be close behind. The bacteria from these infections feed on mucus your body produces when it begins an immune response, leading to bad breath.

Acid reflux: Suffering from heartburn or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) can go hand in hand with bad breath. When food doesn’t move out of the body effectively, it can start to decay in the stomach and contribute to bad breath.

Consuming certain food or beverages: Garlic and onions are delicious additions to dishes, but they are also rich in sulfur compounds. When cut, mashed or chewed, they release gasses which combine with bacteria in the mouth to form bad breath that can last hours after a meal. 

Low-carb diets: Low-carb diets can result in bad breath from a release of chemicals which happens as the body burns fat. 

Tobacco use: Smokers’ breath is a direct result of tobacco use. Tobacco products leave their own odor, and smoking can lead to dry mouth and gum disease, which contribute to many issues including halitosis. 

 What You Can Do

Try some of these bad breath remedies for a fresher scent:

•Brush and floss twice a day.

•Use antibacterial toothpaste to keep bacteria and plaque at bay.

•Scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper or your toothbrush in the morning and at night.

•Replace your toothbrush around once every two months.

•Drink plenty of fluoridated tap water to avoid dehydration and dry mouth.

•Eliminate unwanted bacteria with a warm saltwater rinse.

•Visit your dentist for bi-annual checkups and cleanings.

•Chew fresh mint, cilantro or parsley.

•Avoid eating garlic and onions.

•Stop smoking.

If none of these remedies work for you, schedule a checkup with your dentist for potential next steps to get bad breath under control. 

Learn More

For more information on dental health, visit Delta Dental of Washington’s blog at

FOR YOUR HEALTH: 12 Questions To Ask Before Powering Up The Snow Thrower

When clearing snow, it’s a good idea to keep safety top of mind.

(NAPSI)—Snow flurries and winter storms can be unpredictable, so the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) encourages home and business owners to prepare in advance before bad weather hits.

“Outdoor power equipment such as snow throwers can make quick work of a big job,” says OPEI President and CEO Kris Kiser. “Just remember: When getting out your snow thrower, review your owner’s manual. You should know how to correctly operate controls and quickly shut it off if necessary.”

 Questions to ask before operating a snow thrower

Have you read your owner’s manual? Know safe handling procedures and how to operate the controls of your machine. If the manual cannot be found, look it up online and store a copy on the computer. 

Have you checked your equipment? Equipment should be powered off when checking it. Adjust any cables and check the auger. If you forgot to drain the fuel before storing your equipment last year, empty the gas tank. 

Have you purchased the right fuel? Be sure to use the fuel recommended by the equipment manufacturer. Fuel that is more than 30 days old can phase separate and cause operating problems. Buy gasoline ahead of a storm. For more information see 

Is gasoline used safely? Never add fuel to a running or hot engine. Store gasoline in a fuel container and label with date purchased and ethanol content. Make sure fuel is stored safely and out of reach of children. 

Are batteries charged (for battery-powered equipment)? Make sure batteries are fully charged before a storm, in case electricity goes out.

Is the yard clear of obstructions? Snow can hide objects. Doormats, hoses, balls, toys, wires, and other debris should be removed. When run over by a snow thrower, these objects may harm the machine or people. 

 Operating snow throwers safely

Are you dressed properly? Wear safety glasses, gloves and footwear that can handle cold and slippery surfaces. 

Is your clean-out tool ready? NEVER put your hands inside the auger or chute. Use a clean-out tool to unclog snow or debris. Always turn off the snow thrower and wait for all moving parts to come to a complete stop before clearing any clogs.

Is your snow thrower operated only in visible conditions? Never operate the snow thrower without good visibility or light. 

Will you use extreme caution clearing slopes and hills? Never attempt to clear steep slopes. Use caution when changing directions on slopes or inclines. 

For electric equipment, do you pay attention to where the cord is? Use an extension cord designed for outdoor use. Be aware of where the power cord is at all times when using the machine. Avoid tripping. Do not run over the power cord.

Are pets and children inside while the snow thrower is operating? It’s best to keep kids and pets indoors and supervised while a snow thrower is operating. Do not allow them to play in the snow as it is tossed out of the chute. 

About OPEI

OPEI is an international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of outdoor power equipment, small engines, battery power systems, portable generators, utility and personal transport vehicles, and golf cars.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: How To Support Veterans’ Families During The Holidays

(NAPSI)—While the holiday season is generally a time of joy and celebration, military families can often experience a very different range of emotions. Active service members and veterans returning home for the holidays might struggle to participate in family gatherings or even find the season particularly distressing. And, for the families of those service members who do not return, the holidays can be an agonizing reminder of a loved one’s absence.

In the spirit of the season, honoring the sacrifice of all men and women who proudly served in our armed forces through charitable giving can make a big difference. Children of Fallen Patriots, a foundation that honors the sacrifices of fallen military heroes by helping ensure the success of their children through college education, has outlined several ways that showcase how charitable giving ensures strong futures.

Support Veteran-Serving Organizations

Tens of thousands of non-profits exist in the United States dedicated to serving veterans and their families. With so many different veteran-serving organizations in the States, it’s crucial to ensure donations are doing the most good for heroes in need.

A good way to evaluate an organization is to use Charity Navigator, a renowned nonprofit evaluation site. The site rates charities on the cost-effectiveness and overall health of their programs on a four-star scale, evaluating their measures of stability, efficiency, and sustainability.

Care for Military Families in Need

Service members selflessly put their own lives on the line to ensure better lives for all Americans, but their families sacrifice much as well. While many organizations offer support directly to veterans, the family back home can get lost in the shuffle.

Children of Fallen Patriots provides college scholarships and educational counseling to military children who lost a parent in the line of duty. Studies show that almost 25,000 children have lost a parent in the line of duty over the last 35 years. A college education is a significant financial burden, and the majority of surviving military spouses make less than $50,000 annually.

Since 2002, Children of Fallen Patriots has provided over $61 million in support to over 2,700 children, including over 1,300 graduates. Additionally, the Gold Star family-focused nonprofit earned a perfect rating from Charity Navigator—an accomplishment less than 1% of the 200,000 rated charities have earned.

“The best way to honor the sacrifice of our service members is to ensure better futures for their children,” said David Kim, co-founder and CEO of Children of Fallen Patriots. “A college education is the single most important gift we can give to the children of our fallen heroes, especially during the holiday season—a particularly difficult and stressful time for Gold Star families.”

Generosity Goes Beyond The Wallet

Making a donation is one of the easiest ways to support veteran-serving organizations, but plenty of options exist.

More and more people give their time by coordinating fundraising events, such as bake sales and 5k runs. They also spread the word on social media so the country’s veteran community is supported and speak up about the issues that adversely affect them.

Learn More

For further facts on what you can do, visit

FOR YOUR HEALTH – Diabetes management: it takes a team

Working with a team of health care professionals can help you get the ­diabetes care you need to improve your health.

(NAPSI)—Almost every American has a family member or friend affected by diabetes, and more than 1 in 10 Americans have the disease. Diabetes occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Diabetes can damage many of your organs, including your eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart, and is linked to some types of cancer.

If you have diabetes, working with a team of health care professionals can offer you the personal care you need to improve your health. Your team may include your primary care provider, a nurse, an eye doctor, a certified diabetes educator, a pharmacist and others. Your team can give you advice, recommend a program to manage your diabetes and answer any questions you may have.

“Working with a team helps ensure people stay on top of their self-care plan, including having their blood pressure, feet and weight checked regularly,” said National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Director Dr. Griffin P. ­Rodgers. “Routine health care will help people find and treat health problems early, or help prevent them altogether.”

But remember, you are the most important participant in your diabetes care. Here are some tips to help you manage your diabetes. • Become an expert on your disease, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Talk with your primary care provider and other members of your health care team about ways to manage your diabetes as early as possible. Your health care team can also help you develop a plan to prevent diabetes-related health problems.
Get routine medical exams to check your blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight. Keep a list of your numbers so you can see how they are changing. • Have routine eye, foot and dental checks, because you may not have any symptoms until you develop serious health problems.
If you smoke or use other tobacco products, stop.
Ask your primary care provider what vaccines you should get to reduce your risk of getting sick, such as a flu shot, pneumonia shot or COVID-19 vaccines.

Healthy habits can also help manage your diabetes. Set a goal to be physically active on most days of the week. A daily walk with a friend or a family member is one way to be physically active. If you are not active now, ask your health care team about the types and amounts of physical activity that meet your needs.

Following a diabetes meal plan can help manage your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol. Choose foods that are lower in calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and salt, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, tofu, beans, seeds and nonfat or low-fat milk and cheese. Your primary care provider may refer you to a registered dietitian to help you create a meal plan that is easy for you to follow and has the nutrients to help manage your diabetes.

Stress can lead to unhealthy habits such as smoking, poor sleep and excessive eating. Take part in a diabetes education program or support group that teaches you techniques for managing stress. You can also ask for help if you feel down or overwhelmed. Talking with a mental health counselor, friend or family member about your feelings may help you feel better.

Working with your diabetes health care team makes it possible to get the care you need to live a healthy and fulfilled life. To learn more about how to manage diabetes, visit the NIDDK website at

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

Following a few simple steps can make it easier for you to send out gifts this holiday season.

(NAPSI)—The holidays are right around the corner and sending your mail and packages with the U.S. Postal Service has never been easier or more reliable. With a little planning and the right tools, you can ensure that the perfect gift reaches everyone on your list.  

Here are seven tips to make your holiday shipping stress-free:

1. Visit USPS online: Visit the USPS website at You’ll have access to tools like ZIP Code lookup, Find Your Local Post Office, Hold Mail, Click-N-Ship, Schedule a Pickup, and more. It’s open 24 hours a day.

2. Check the USPS Holiday Newsroom…often: Have you ever wished there was one place where you could get all the information about holiday shipping? Wish no more. From deadlines to the latest news, the Holiday Newsroom at is your one-stop shop for all things holiday- and shipping-related.

3. Visit the Postal Store online: From stamps to supplies and even gift ideas, has everything to make holiday gift shipping—and shopping—easier than ever. Need free boxes? They’ve got those too. It also never closes. 

4. Check the U.S. Postal Inspection Service website: At you’ll find tips to protect packages and prevent fraud, along with information on items that are prohibited or restricted.  

5. Get Informed Delivery: When you sign up at, not only can you get a preview of your daily mail and packages, you can also customize your delivery before your carrier arrives. Want to leave instructions to deliver your package to a specific location on your property? Now you can! You’ll even get notified the moment your package is delivered.

6. Visit USPS Operation Santa online: Get all the news and information you need at Find information on adopting a letter, getting your ID verified, shipping your gift and more. Letters to Santa will be posted beginning Nov. 28.

7. Join the conversation on social media: Stay “in the know” with the latest USPS news via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. There’s also the official podcast of the United States Postal Service, “Mailin’ It,” taking you behind the scenes with USPS.

It pays to be prepared. With these tips from the Postal Service, you’ll be ready to make this year’s holiday season the best yet!

FOR YOUR HEALTH: What You Need To Know About Skin Cancer

Dr. John Shen

Dr. Shen has come up with a non-invasive, inexpensive treatment for certain skin cancers.

(NAPSI)—If you or someone you care for is ever among the 5 million people diagnosed with basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma every year in the U.S., here are a few facts it would be healthy for you to know.

Skin Cancer Stats

1.Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.

2.Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma account for 95% of all skin cancers.

3.Your risk increases with age.  

Skin Cancer Signs

A change in your skin is the most common sign of skin cancer, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This could be a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole. If you notice any of these, see your dermatologist. Nearly all skin cancers can be treated effectively if they are found early.

Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays come from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells.

Reduce Your Risk

It’s a good idea to protect your skin from UV rays from the sun, and from tanning beds and sunlamps advises the CDC. Here’s how:

• Stay in the shade when you go out all year round and regardless of the weather.

• Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.

• Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.

• Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays.

• Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

• Avoid Indoor Tanning. A tan does not indicate good health.  

Types of Treatments

If, despite such precautions, you still develop skin cancer, there are several kinds of treatments that can remove or destroy basal cell skin cancers explains the CDC. These cancers very rarely spread to other parts of the body, although they can grow into nearby tissues if not treated. One of the most common is surgery. That, however, can leave scars and have other serious side effects. 

In addition, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy, immunotherapy, and other drug therapy may be tried. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. 

Special Treatment

Fortunately for many people, dermatologist Dr. John Shen has developed a non-surgical treatment for certain kinds of basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. This non-invasive treatment is a combination topical therapy called “The Shen Cocktail,” applied to the cancerous area and closely monitored for six-weeks.

According to Dr. Shen, dermatologists in Australia, Europe, and the UK were using Imiquimod 5% Cream, sometimes with 5-Fluorouracil, to treat basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.

He was inspired to add Tretinoin 0.1% Cream to the combination to peel off the top layer of skin so the other ingredients could signal the body’s immune response to attack the cancerous and precancerous skin cells.

Researchers have found “The Shen Cocktail” to have a 99% cure rate in people with basal and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin less than 2cm in width, another reason it’s important to get the disease dealt with as soon as possible. 

Learn More

To treat as many people as possible and keep costs of treatment low, The Shen Cocktail is not trademarked or patented. To learn further facts, see videos or read academic papers about the treatment and to find out whether you may be eligible for the Shen Cocktail, go to or call Shen Dermatology at (951) 526-2044. 

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Research Suggests An Eye-Heart Connection

Senior Woman Suffering From Chest Pain While Sitting On Bench

(NAPSI)—If you are like the majority of Americans, heart disease and eye disease run in your family. So you should know that a growing body of research suggests that eye and heart health are related. The latest study suggests that people with a specific form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are at significant risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.  

About AMD

AMD is the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in people over 65 years old. There are two types of AMD. The type called dry AMD happens when the central area of the retina called the macula becomes damaged from the formation of small yellow cholesterol deposits under the retina. These deposits deprive the retina of blood and oxygen, leading to vision loss. The type of deposits the researchers believe are linked to heart disease are called subretinal drusenoid deposits.

The new study adds to the list of several health conditions an eye exam may help detect.  

The Eye as a Window into Heart Health  

Blood vessels and nerves in the eyes are reflective of the rest of the body. That’s why medical conditions such as stroke, heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes are sometimes first diagnosed by an ophthalmologist during a routine eye exam.  

Here’s what ophthalmologists want you to know about protecting both your eye and heart health:  

1. Eat well. A heart-healthy diet full of leafy greens and colorful fruits is also good for the eyes. Studies show foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids can lower risk of certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration, cataracts, and dry eye.  

2. Exercise. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise a day. For eye health, the science shows regular exercise can protect your vision and, if you already have an eye disease, it can help you manage it better.  

3. Know your family history. Early detection is key. Many leading causes of blindness run in the family, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. Know your family history and share it with your ophthalmologist at your next eye exam.  

4. Get routine eye exams. Seeing an ophthalmologist could do more than save your eyesight, it can also save your life. When David Hibler, Sr. went to get his eyes checked, his ophthalmologist detected signs of a blood clot. Thanks to a thorough eye exam, Hibler got treated and avoided a potential stroke. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends all adults receive a comprehensive eye exam by age 40, and every year or two after age 65.

Eye Exams Can Save Lives. 

EyeCare America Can Help

There could be good news for individuals age 65 or older who are concerned about their risk of eye disease and/or the cost of an eye exam: You may be eligible for a medical eye exam, often at no out-of-pocket cost, through the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeCare America® program. This public service program matches volunteer ophthalmologists with eligible patients in need of eye care across the United States. To see if you or a loved one qualifies, visit EyeCare America. EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation Inc., with additional support provided by Alcon and Regeneron.

Learn More

For more information, visit 

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Three Ways A Medicare Advantage Fitness Plan Could Help Reduce Your Health Risks

Senior Couple in the Gym

(NAPSI)—Have you heard the saying, “Movement is medicine?” Countless studies have shown that physical activity can help reduce the risks of serious health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, back and neck pain, some types of cancer, and even falls. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults aged 65 and older participate in 150 minutes of physical activity a week. This includes aerobic, strength, and balance activities.

If you’re already engaging in a vigorous walk each day, or playing golf or pickleball, good for you! But what else could you do to enhance your strength, balance, and cardiovascular health? Many health plans, including Medicare Advantage plans, offer exceptional fitness programs that provide low-cost or no-cost benefits to help you meet these physical activity recommendations and stay healthy. Here are three benefits that Medicare Advantage fitness programs may offer to help improve your fitness:

1)Low-cost or No-cost Gym Memberships. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer fitness programs that give members access to gyms, YMCAs, recreation centers, and boutique studios for no cost or a very low cost. These fitness centers offer a variety of workout opportunities, such as free weights, weight machines, workout classes, swimming pools, and other amenities to help members achieve their fitness goals. The Silver&Fit® Healthy Aging and Exercise Program is one example that provides access to 15,000+ standard and 5,000+ premium gyms, including national name-brand chains, YMCAs, and boutique fitness studios. Besides offering a variety of options for getting fit, a fitness center can provide a social outlet for members who want to connect to others in their community.

2)Access to On-demand Video Workout Classes. Going to the gym can be a daunting task if there’s no gym close by, if the weather is bad, or you don’t have transportation. Fortunately, some Medicare Advantage fitness programs include access to on-demand workout videos you can do right from home! It’s easy to start, maintain, or increase your workout regimen when you have a library of cardio, strength, dance, yoga, Pilates, meditation, and cycling classes to choose from. It’s not unusual for such programs, like the Silver&Fit® Healthy Aging and Exercise Program, to offer thousands of video class options and even offer free online classes via social media. 

3)Health and Fitness Coaching. Setting and maintaining your health goals is one way to avoid becoming a couch potato. Stay engaged in your well-being journey by connecting with a personal health coach through a Medicare Advantage fitness program. Whether you’d like to increase your activity level, reduce stress, improve your eating habits, enhance your sleep quality, or just feel better every day, a health coach can give you the boost you need via phone, video, or chat sessions. For those who are looking for extra assistance with their fitness, programs including the Silver&Fit® Healthy Aging and Exercise Program offer a “Get Started” exercise plan, designed to help you begin a goal-based fitness routine. 

A recent 2022 poll showed that nearly half of all eligible Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. It’s no wonder when you consider the many well-being benefits offered to members. The fitness programs and resources described above can help you create a personalized fitness routine so you can reduce your health risks and continue to live your best life.  

Always remember to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine and to discuss what types of exercises are safest for you.