Three Easy Ways To Improve Your Life

For Your Health

(NAPSI)—Your health, wealth and happiness may be improved if you heed these three helpful hints to ease and enhance your life:

1. Studies show money effectively motivates weight loss. So many individuals, couples, friends, families and employee groups turn to—the leading provider of money-driven diet challenges. It provides cash prizes, social and expert support, tools, resources, and goal-setting and tracking technologies. Over 200,000 participants have collectively lost over 10 million pounds, earning over $5 million in cash prizes for their pound-shedding success.

2. Those ready to retire can avoid financial strife with the book “20 Retirement Decisions You Need to Make Right Now.” It covers key financial decisions for the critical period transitioning from work to retirement. These decisions—many permanent—will affect your financial security for decades.

3. Excessive sweating—a serious medical condition called hyperhidrosis—affects approximately 4.8 percent of the population and can lead to serious practical, social and emotional consequences. The International Hyperhidrosis Society provides support, resources and expert perspective to those struggling with this condition and others who hate to sweat. Its website,, offers education; treatment, insurance, and clinical trial information; a physician finder; a useful award-winning blog; and sweat-management product discounts.

Help For People With Problem Perspiration

For Your Health

(NAPSI)—A common but hidden scourge, excessive perspiration is a serious medical condition called hyperhidrosis that affects nearly 367 million people.

Lisa Pieretti, executive director of the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHhS), notes, “The pressures of dealing with a ‘sweating problem’ around peers can be catastrophic to self-esteem and more. Too often, people become anxious about going to work, socializing with friends, or being out in public in general. But when those with hyperhidrosis receive support, understanding, and appropriate treatment, their lives can be dramatically changed.”

Consider these common myths:

Myth: Sweaty people are nervous.

Truth: People with hyperhidrosis sweat excessively regardless of mood, weather or activity.

Myth: Night sweats are a “female problem.”

Truth: Night sweats can be serious for anyone. Any changes in your pattern of sweating should be evaluated by a physician.

Myth: Antiperspirants are for underarms only.

Truth: You can use most antiperspirants nearly anywhere sweating is a problem. One of the most effective available without a prescription, Certain Dri, was specifically developed for people who suffer from excessive sweating.

If you produce excess perspiration, ask your doctor to help you to not just “know sweat” but achieve a more comfortable, happier life.

Learn more at

Give The Gift Of Music For The Present Of A Lifetime

For Your Health

 (NAPSI)—This year, you can make singing holiday songs extra special—when you bring the joy of music home by purchasing a piano.
Here are four reasons having a piano in your home is a gift that keeps on giving.
1. Playing music is good for your health. Even though you’re sitting down, playing the piano is a workout all its own, and offers different physical and physiological advantages to players of all ages. For instance, regular piano playing sharpens fine motor skills and improves hand-eye coordination. Research suggests that piano lessons for older adults have an effect on increased levels of human growth hormone, which slows the adverse effects of aging. Bringing music into your life can also reduce heart and respiratory rates, cardiac complications and blood pressure and increase your immune response. Studying piano has even been shown to amazingly improve memory—particularly verbal memory—and build good habits such as focus and perseverance, diligence and creativity.
2. Playing music can be good for your career. Music has been an important part of the lives of many highly successful people, from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to hedge fund billionaire Bruce Kovner to filmmaker Steven Spielberg. A number of such high achievers say music opened up the pathways to creative thinking and sharpened their qualities of collaboration. It improved their ability to listen and gave them a way of thinking that weaves together disparate ideas with the power to focus on the present and the future simultaneously.
3. Playing piano can make you happy. The piano has been an unparalleled outlet for those seeking to decompress, express their creativity and simply have fun. Plus, studies show that people who make music experience less anxiety, loneliness and depression. In many adults, playing the piano was the most effective activity for reducing cortisol levels related to stress.
4. Playing music is good for your family. For 200 years, the piano has been considered a part of the heart of a home, bringing together family and friends, and strengthening communities with the joy of music. It’s something the whole family can cherish together, at any age and any season.
To help you bring music into your home, you can download the Steinway & Sons Piano Buyer’s Guide at It shows how to select the size and style of piano that’s right for you—from new to certified pre-owned to suit just about any budget—and how to locate an authorized dealer.

Get Back On Your Feet—Tips For Running At Any Age

(NAPSI)—Running can seem like a daunting workout no matter your age. It takes an impressive amount of dedication to run long distances. However, 66-year-old Barbara McGirr did not let that deter her. Starting at the age of 62, McGirr set her sights on completing her first half marathon. After only six months of training and a lot of hard work, she achieved that goal.

Running can seem like a daunting workout no matter your age. It takes an impressive amount of dedication to run long distances. However, 66-year-old Barbara McGirr did not let that deter her.

Taking advantage of the free fitness membership she received through the SilverSneakers program offered by her Medicare plan, McGirr started her training by walking to build up endurance. From there she started running small increments and gradually increased over time to reach her ultimate goal. Now, even after retirement, McGirr continues to compete in 4K and 5K races.

Her inspiring fitness journey was recently recognized by SilverSneakers as she was named the national winner of the SilverSneakers Richard L. Swanson Inspiration Award, which honors older adults who improve their health through fitness. Running has greatly improved McGirr’s quality of life, and she shares that it helps keep her body and mind in shape.

If you are interested in running and improving your health, SilverSneakers offers the following tips:

• Talk with your doctor: You’re never too old to start running, but it’s always good to check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
• Get the proper gear: Invest in a good pair of shoes. Consider getting fitted at an athletic store to keep your feet comfortable.
• Start slow: Start with brisk walks and then slowly transition to running. Running for one minute, then walking for one minute is a great way to build stamina.
• Set manageable goals: Take it easy at first and listen to your body. If running a longer distance is your goal, work up to it gradually—walking for a few weeks, then intervals of jogging and walking. Before you know it, you’ll be running with ease.
• Don’t skip the cooldown: Always cool down with a slow walk and lots of stretching to reduce recovery time.

SilverSneakers partners with more than 13,000 participating fitness locations and wellness centers, giving members access to the site’s basic amenities, including weights, treadmills, pools, etc., as well as specialized SilverSneakers exercise classes led by certified SilverSneakers instructors. The program is offered at no additional charge through the nation’s leading Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement carriers and group retiree plans.

For more information, to check eligibility or enroll, visit

Five Myths And Facts About Cholesterol

For Your Health

(NAPSI)—High cholesterol is a known risk factor for heart disease and stroke and is estimated to cause nearly 2.6 million deaths annually. Yet, a survey from the American Heart Association shows that nearly two-thirds of people who have high cholesterol don’t think they’re at high risk for a heart attack or stroke.

My Cholesterol Guide” is a new, online tool that provides information, practical tips and downloadable resources to help the more than 94.6 million Americans living with high cholesterol. The guide is the latest offering from the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke.

What it is.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance found in all cells of the body. Elevated levels of blood cholesterol can create blockages in the arteries and is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

“People with high cholesterol usually don’t have symptoms, so unless you get tested, you may not realize you need treatment,” said Ann Marie Navar, M.D., Ph.D., a volunteer member of the Association’s Cholesterol Advisory Committee and an Assistant Professor of Cardiology at the Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, N.C. “Even though we have a lot of evidence about the benefits and safety of cholesterol-lowering treatment, the challenge is that cholesterol remains underdiagnosed and subsequently undertreated.”

What to do.

The best way to manage high cholesterol is a multipronged approach, including diet, exercise and medication if cholesterol levels remain elevated, she said.

The challenge is that many people don’t recognize their risk due to some of the following misconceptions about cholesterol.

Myths and Facts

Myth 1 – High cholesterol isn’t a concern for children.

High cholesterol can be hereditary. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder that can cause early heart disease. If someone is diagnosed with extremely high cholesterol or familial hypercholesterolemia, it’s important that all family members get tested, including young adults and children, so that treatment isn’t delayed, Navar said.

Myth 2 – You don’t need a cholesterol check until you’re middle-aged.

Getting your cholesterol checked starting at age 20 and talking with your health provider to ensure you understand what it means is crucial because getting treated early can play an important role in reducing the risk of heart disease.

“For every decade your cholesterol is high in your 30s and 40s, you increase your risk for heart disease by more than 30 percent,” Navar said.

Myth 3 – Thin people don’t have high cholesterol.

Overweight people are more likely to have high cholesterol, but even people who maintain a healthy weight and regular exercise can have high cholesterol.

“Since genetics does play such an important role, some people may be doing everything right and still have high cholesterol,” she said.

Myth 4 – If the nutrition label shows no cholesterol, a food is “heart healthy.”

Nutrition labels can be helpful, but you should read beyond the amount of cholesterol a food contains.

“It’s important to look for saturated fats, trans fats and added sugars because these all affect our heart health and cholesterol levels,” Navar said.

Myth 5 – Only people with “high” cholesterol need medicine to lower their cholesterol.

“Even people whose cholesterol falls within what we would call ‘normal’ range can benefit from having cholesterol-lowering medication if they have other risks for heart disease or stroke,” Navar said. “Beyond just your cholesterol numbers, knowing your overall risk of heart disease can help determine if you need to be on treatment.”

Where to learn more

The American Heart Association’s Check.Change.Control.Cholesterol initiative, supported by Sanofi and Regeneron, has information and resources for identifying and managing your cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors. Visit for further facts, and to download the free guide.

Laser Vision Correction For Life’s Major Milestones

For Your Health

(NAPSI)—College graduation, a new job, getting married. These life milestones often lead to setting goals for achieving our best selves. For people dealing with nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, big life transitions are also a good time for considering LASIK eye surgery. Unlike prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, LASIK, which uses laser technology to reshape corneas, offers a permanent way to improve vision.

“LASIK helps remove the layer that glasses and contacts put between you, your life and the world around you,” said Dr. Kerry Solomon with the American Refractive Surgery Council. “This is why a lot of people consider LASIK when approaching a milestone. The improved quality of life that excellent vision provides can make the next phase even more appealing.”

Clear vision, without the need for glasses or contacts, offers many benefits during and after life milestones, such as:

College Graduation: Transitioning into life as an independent adult is made much easier with great vision. For many, laser vision correction is a terrific gift the graduate will appreciate for years. Some choose to use their cash gifts to go toward the cost of the procedure.

Career: For some careers—military, emergency responders and airplane pilots—excellent vision is a matter of life and death. Professional athletes rely heavily on vision to keep a competitive edge. Photographers depend on their vision to capture the moment. But, in any career, having excellent vision without worrying about glasses or contacts is important.

Wedding: Every couple wants to look and feel their best as they celebrate their wedding day. For those who are good candidates, LASIK allows couples to see every moment of their big day in clarity and comfort, and have great vision at the ready for years.

Travel: Whether sightseeing, hiking, camping or exploring, travelers want to focus on their adventures, not on their vision. Needing glasses or contacts can weigh down bags and put a barrier between the traveler and the experience. Laser vision correction can give people their visual freedom and open up the world in new and exciting ways.

If a milestone in your life has you thinking about laser vision correction, such as LASIK, visit the American Refractive Surgery Council blog to research the procedure, learn what to expect before and after surgery, find ways to pay for it, and much more at

Know the signs of peripheral artery disease

For Your Health

(NAPSI)—Many people dis-miss leg pain as a normal sign of aging. But for 8.5 million Americans, the cause of their pain can be a life- or limb-threatening condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). Everyone, especially those at highest risk, should know the signs of PAD and know how to prevent and treat it. With new drugs on the horizon, health plan coverage for exercise therapy, improvements in procedures to treat advanced disease, and new treatment guidelines for health care providers, there are now more tools than ever to combat this disease. Unfortunately, the disease often goes undetected and untreated although it’s more common than atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

What is PAD?

PAD happens when fatty deposits build up in arteries in the legs and feet. The condition is often undiagnosed, yet ignoring the signs of PAD is dangerous. Not only does it increase your risk for heart attack and stroke, these blockages can restrict circulation to the legs and feet. Left untreated, PAD can end in amputation. Cigarette smokers have the highest risk—so high, in fact, that PAD screening should be routine in smokers. People with diabetes and those with cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pres-sure, obesity or physical inactivity are also at risk.

What can I do about it?

Simple measures can catch PAD before it’s too late. You can manage or reverse it with proper care. If you have risk factors, take your socks off at the doctor’s office. Your socks and shoes cover up many of the signs of this crippling disease:

  • Leg Pain: The most common symptom of peripheral artery disease in the legs is painful muscle cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when walking, climbing stairs or exercising. The pain often goes away after a few minutes of resting. This type of pain is called intermittent claudication. Thanks to a recent ruling, it’s easier for people to keep PAD from getting worse. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now covers supervised exercise therapy for people with intermittent claudication. You may be eligible for up to 36 sessions during a 12-week period with an optional second round of treatment. Ask your doctor if this therapy is available to you.
  • Skin problems or discoloration on your legs and feet: Be aware of redness or other color changes in the skin on your legs and feet. Temperature changes may also be noticeable—your feet will feel cooler than other parts of your leg.
  • Leg or foot wounds that are slow to heal: If cuts or other wounds on your feet or toes aren’t improving after a couple of weeks, you should ask about PAD.
  • Poor nail growth: Slow-growing or thickened toenails can be a sign of reduced blood flow to the legs and feet.

Even if you aren’t having symptoms, if you have risk factors, you should be screened regularly. Early detection and treatment are key. Speak to your doctor about any problems you’re having with your legs and feet.

Learn More

For more information about PAD management, visit the American Heart Association at

Screen To Keep Spine Trouble From Getting Worse

For Your Health

(NAPSI)—The end of summer is a good time to re-establish healthy habits and back-to-school routines. In addition to dental checkups and annual physicals, pediatric medical specialists recommend adding a scoliosis screening to back-to-school checklists.

What Is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis, a musculoskeletal disorder that causes an abnormal curvature of the spine or backbone, is the most common deformity of the spine, affecting an estimated 6 to 9 million people in the United States. Although 10 percent of adolescents may have the condition, not all will need care. Early detection, however, can be key to successful treatment.

“Because most causes are unknown, it’s best to find the condition as early as possible to provide the best possible outcome,” explained Amer Samdani, M.D., chief of surgery for Shriners Hospitals for Children®—Philadelphia.

Signs And Symptoms

Children and teens with scoliosis rarely exhibit symptoms and sometimes the condition is not obvious until the curvature of the spine becomes severe. Some markers to watch for in a child who has scoliosis are:

• Clothes not fitting correctly or hems not hanging evenly
• Uneven shoulders, shoulder blades, ribs, hips or waist
• Entire body leaning to one side
• Appearance or texture of ribs sticking up on one side when bending forward
• Head not properly centered over the body.

Diagnosis and Treatment

When confirming a diagnosis of scoliosis, a doctor will review your child’s medical history, conduct a full examination, and discuss treatment with you and your child.

According to Dr. Samdani, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment for scoliosis.

“Some cases will just need to be watched; others will need physical therapy, bracing or surgical procedures to stop the curve from progressing,” he said. “At Shriners Hospitals, we offer the whole spectrum of treatments under one roof. We also treat children regardless of the families’ ability to pay, so that often provides a huge relief to parents.”

Learn More

For more information on scoliosis screenings, care and treatment, visit

Four Ways To Show Your School Spirit

(NAPSI)—Class is back in session, which reunites friends after a summer apart and kicks off the football season. Back-to-school can also be a time of nostalgia for those who have already graduated, but staying connected to your alma mater doesn’t have to be a challenge. Whether it’s football season, basketball season or all year long, here are four fun ways to show your school pride:

1. Join sporting events and alumni meetups. Plan a trip to your old stomping grounds for homecoming week. During the sports season, attend a game and cheer on your favorite team with fellow graduates. If campus is too far away for a visit, try catching an away game closer to home or root for your team at a local sports bar. Team Bar Finder ( can be a great resource to find one nearby. Many schools also have alumni meetups across the country. Check with your alumni association to see when networking meetups, watch parties and other gatherings are happening.

2. Start giving back. Show your support by donating time or money to your alma mater. Every donation helps your school become more successful and expand the pool of students and future alumni. Volunteer your time to mentor the next generation of alumni and pass down the traditions that make your school unique.

3. Stay connected on social media. Follow your college on all its social channels to stay up to date on campus news, find nearby events and connect with fellow alumni. Showcase your campus pride for the whole world to see and add your school’s logo to your profile picture, include a mention in your bio, or join an online group to share your school spirit with other die-hard fans. You never know whom you will meet online as a result.

4. Deck out your home with school decor. Showing support for your alma mater doesn’t have to be limited to your garage or man cave. Display your diploma with pride in your home office or decorate the game room to match. You can even incorporate your school spirit into your home gym with a limited edition collegiate-branded Bowflex Max Trainer M5 ( It combines the movements of an elliptical and stair stepper for a one-of-a-kind cardio workout. Cheer on your favorite team while completing the 14-minute interval workout and burn up to 2.5 times the calories as compared to a traditional cardio machine.

Just as your college years helped tone your mind, your college-branded Max Trainer can help you tone your muscles to achieve a healthy body to match.

Crispy fruit snacks in the lunch box get an A+

Making a healthy, tasty school lunch can be a breeze with Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels.

For Your Health

(NAPSI)—What your child eats for lunch matters more than you might realize, say the experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A healthy lunch and nutritious snacks can help keep your little scholars happy and attentive throughout the school day.

The CDC recommends making sure you include a “combination of foods” when you pack school lunches and, for “something sweet, grab a piece of fruit.” Your kids can “enjoy the naturally sweet taste while loading up on vitamins, fiber and other nutrients” instead of empty calories.

Making that easier are freeze-dried, 100 percent pure fruit snacks that come in convenient single-size serving bags. There are no preservatives and no added sugar, oils or fats—just fruit. What’s more, they’re non-GMO Project Verified, kosher and have 55 calories or less per bag.

The snacks come in seven flavors that kids like: apple, Asian pear, banana, cantaloupe, mango, pineapple and tangerine. All these Crispy Fruit flavors are available in convenient 6-pack or individual, single-serving “Grab & Go” bags.

Why Freeze Dried

Major benefits of freeze-dried fruit are:

  • Light and flavorful
  • Retain nearly all the nutrients of fresh fruit
  • Long shelf life

Power That Lunchbox

When it comes to providing healthy meals and snacks, parents can be “Pro-Packtive” in two other ways. First, visit to find a wide variety of creative and delicious lunch options, such as:

Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels

  • 8 oz. cooked shredded chick-en breast
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegy Vida Cool Buffalo dip
  • 1 Tbsp. shredded carrots
  • 2 (8-inch) tortillas
  • ½ cup Pero Family Farms sliced mini sweet peppers
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegy Vida Kids’ Dip‘n More Creamy Ranch
  • 1 pkg. Crispy Green freeze-dried fruit

Mix chicken, dip and carrots in small bowl. Divide between tortillas. Wrap up and cut into pinwheels.

Next, take the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge to eat a healthier lunch. For every parent who does, Produce for Kids will donate $1 to Feeding America.

Learn More

For further facts, tips and recipes, visit You can also sign up for a one-time 20 percent discount and free shipping, plus a free, helpful, healthy lifestyle newsletter at To find a retailer nearby that carries Crispy Fruit, go to