If You Served In Desert Storm, Iraq (OIF-OEF) Or Afghanistan Read This!

I ran upon an article this morning detailing how the Veteran Affairs is streamlining the disability compensation for veterans. I have discovered after reading the article that the VA is finally recognizing certain illnesses and diseases for disabilities. The majority of these diseases relate to military veterans who served in the areas of Saudi Arabia/Iraq and Afghanistan.

I have been experiencing things that I have been summing up as merely part of getting “older”. I have been waking up with severe joint pain in my back. I have been accepting the joint pain with the ideology that my boyfriend and I need a new mattress. It does not matter what surface I sleep upon because I wake up with the same joint pain.

The pain comes and goes and is most prevalent in the mornings. I always feel stiff when I wake up. After reading the list from the VA, a lot of people who have served in these arenas suffer from what is called Fibromyalgia. This could explain my joint pain.

I have also discovered that women who served in these arenas suffer from severe menstrual cramps and menstrual disorders. I recently had to have surgery to stop excessive menstrual bleeding and cramps. Women who served in the desert also suffer from severe reproductive disorders. This proves common sense to me because I had ectopic pregnancies and I lost a Fallopian Tube with currently only have one.

Most Desert Storm vets have red blotches on their skin. Some blotches are small, some are huge, and some Dermatologists have asked if I have been exposed to chemicals.

It proves sad that people who serve their country have to deal with the consequences of their service with serious health problems. Veterans with serious health problems face an organization which fights them tooth and nail to grant them disability. I gained a chronic skin disorder called Hydrianitis while serving in the military. This disease is not contagious yet never goes away. It’s a severe skin problem to deal with. This is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life, and the VA only pays me 10% for it.

I would urge all veterans to keep an eye on their titles for disability. I discovered not long ago that they changed the name of my skin condition to something else which is illegal. What does it mean when they do this? This means that if your disability or illness gets worse, they do not have to pay you for it. Keep an eye on the way the VA labels your disability illnesses or diseases.

I have included a link for all war veterans who served in these arenas. Please read it. If you recognize any of the signs and symptoms happening to you, I urge you make an appointment with the VA and get it documented. I also want to tell veterans who are disabled to the point where they cannot work, please review your options with social security disability. The Social Security Administration accepts illnesses and diseases caused by military service as grounds for disability.

Senior Fitness – Exercise For the Elderly

At least once a week on any local news channel anywhere in the country there is a color piece on an octogenarian who just completed a marathon, or a 98 year old man who went skydiving, or a team of rugby players all over the age of 60. Fitness isn’t exclusive to the young.

Admittedly, age takes a toll on the joints and muscles, but the principles of honing the body’s strength, flexibility, balance, and cardiovascular health still hold true for seniors just as much as youth. Intense wind sprints and hundreds of push ups may not be the best route to senior fitness, but there are still plenty of types of exercises for the elderly. Here are some of the best…

Swimming

Can’t sprint? Swim! Swimming combines the intensity of a full body workout (especially the core) with the reduced stressed, low impact environment. One of the best exercise option for seniors suffering from arthritis. This exercise is a particular draw for elderly woman suffering from chronic back pain, or seniors with brittle bones.

Tai Chi

No, this is not a spiced herbal beverage available at Starbucks (that’s chai tea). It is an ancient martial art focusing on subtle movement, coordination and balance. As a martial art, it’s much more art than martial. This is a wonderful exercise for the elderly as speed is not a requirement. And regardless of age, many use Tai Chi as a form of stress relief as well as fitness

Yoga

If you take kindly to Tai Chi, Yoga would be a next healthy step. Yoga can be more vigorous than Tai Chi, but still applicable for senior fitness. It works to strengthen and lengthen muscles, as well as improve flexibility. Additionally, there are many yoga positions and routines specifically designed to alleviate back pain.

Hiking/Walking

The most primal exercise, and perhaps the best, humans were meant to hike. The human body evolved to endure and thrive from long, low impact walks, and that applies perfectly to elderly. Hiking outdoors encourages adaptability; it is the opposite of the treadmill. Even a slow hike can provide a good amount of cardiovascular exercise without reaching painful intensive levels for senior citizens.

Rowing

This is not a traditional exercise for the elderly. No one thinks of a 60-and-over rowing team when they think of senior fitness. But, rowing provides a strenuous upper body workout, without the pump and grind of the gym. Rowing works the quads, the core, and even the leg muscles. It also adds the fresh element, essential to senior living. Getting a workout along the lazy shore of a local river can be quite charming.

Back Flips

Okay, maybe not. In fact, definitely not an exercise for the elderly. Stick to the first five.

Ultimately, have fun. Simple activities like dancing, golfing, gardening or even just a picnic can be a great way to keep the body active. Logging an hour a day at the gym isn’t a necessity so long as you get the blood flowing, a simple walk to the corner grocer may do the trick. The principles of fitness and senior fitness are the same; find enjoyable, fulfilling activities, choose a variety rather than a boring daily routine, and don’t be afraid to include others!

Fitness News – Weight Training Injury Prevention Report

It is a known fact that weight training related injuries are on the rise. This is only natural considering the fact that more people are attempting to remain fit now.

The Report in Brief

The report concerning the rise of weight training injuries that published recently (April 16, 2010) is based on Center for Injury Research. Quite a large number of large number of injuries had also been discovered by the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

This study of weight-related increases accounts for cases that occurred from 1990s to 2007. This is a time during which a 50 percent increase in injuries took place.

The largest portion of these injury increases was reported in men ages 13 to 24. Usually it was while using free weights and the majority of these were sprains and strains.

Other injuries included these: Upper body injuries, lower trunk pain, soft tissue injuries, and hand injuries. It should be noted though that even though most of the injuries that occurred in young people 18 to 24 the largest increase in incidences actually took place in people 45 and older.

The reason the older people would get hurt is because they would over-exert themselves. This often is a result of too much lifting and pulling.

There of course is an increase in women participants in weight training too. However, not as much information has yet been provided about female weight trainers.

This is only a short segment of information provided in a report about this issue. Additional information can be found in “Weight Training-Related Injuries Increasing.”

Prevention Tips

This next section is not taken from the same source as the above information about injuries. This is rather a collection of fitness safety tips related to weight training collected from a variety of publications.

There are a variety of reasons why injuries occur. This is a short list of tips based on those varying causes:

Illegal steroids-One main cause of weight training injuries is the use of anabolic steroids. People use them to obtain gains in strength and muscle. However, using steroids is illegal and can lead to torn muscles, tendons, or ligaments. These should NOT be used.

Inadequate warm-up-Another reason that injuries occur is because of not warming up properly. It is highly recommended that you stretch all the major muscles in your legs, arms, back, and abdomen before proceeding.

Inappropriate age-Sometimes adolescents who have not had their muscles fully developed can hurt themselves. Therefore, they should be under close supervision in case of injury. They should limit their weight lifting activity until after reaching puberty.

Improper technique-Sometimes people injure themselves while not using the weights the way they should be used. They also may not handle the weights the way they should be handled. Bouncing, jerking, or throwing them is a very bad idea. Sometimes a person can also extend his/her back in a way he/she should not either, or extending it too often can be dangerous.

Dangerous exercises-Sometimes there are exercises you may have been taught that are not safe. For instance, pull-downs behind the neck can put excessive stress on the neck and shoulders. In this particular case, front/lat pull-downs are recommended instead.

9 Things to Consider If You Are Looking for the Best Latex Mattress

If you know about the variety of latex mattresses available on the market, the good news is that you are one-step closer to make the best choice. You need to go for a product that can best meet your needs. In this article, we are going to talk about a couple of important considerations that will help you select your latex mattresses. Read on to find out more.

1. Latex Foam Type

First of all, you should consider the type of foam in the unit. The reason is that the benefits of the product depend largely on the type of foam it contains. It can be either synthetic, natural, or blended latex. Apart from the type of foam, the production processes also has an impact on the quality of the unit.

The latex type has an impact on mattress performance, cost, and value for money. Therefore, you may want to consider the type of latex you are going to purchase.

2. Comfort and Support

The level of support and comfort offered by the product depends on how it was processed. For example, if you get good quality mattress, it will be more supportive and former, unlike synthetic latex. Apart from this, it can also help you keep your spine keep aligned, especially if you are looking for something for your back pain relief. So, it can be a good choice for the elderly. Besides, Talay mattresses are also made of high quality material.

If you get high-quality foam, it will offer more bounce in addition to holding well under a lot of pressure. The good thing about latex is that it can hold well under pressure and withstand body impressions. So, you may want to consider both comfort and support if you are looking for the best product.

3. Indentation Load Deflection (ILD)

ILD is the indicator of the firmness of the mattress. In other words, it tells you how much the product compresses when pressed. The firmness level can be between 14 and 38. You may not want to get a latex mattress that has an ILD level of lower than 14 as it will be too soft. Ideally, if you are looking for a mixture of best support and comfort, we suggest that you choose a product that has an ILD level of a minimum of 25.

However, you should understand that there is a difference between support and ILD. If the number is higher, it means that the foam can take more pressure. On the other hand, support depends upon other features of the unit, such as density.

4. Density

Density is another important factor that determines the level of durability offered by a latex mattress. In high-density foams, the cells are tightly held together. Therefore, they can withstand a lot more wear and tear.

Besides, the density of the foam affects the other properties of the product including motion isolation, support, and comfort. The good thing about high-density products is that they can stand the test of time. However, there is a downside as well. These units come with a higher price tag.

If you are on a budget, you may want to get a low-density latex mattress instead of a blended or synthetic one. Apart from this, high-density latex has a longer break-in period. So, you should keep this in mind.

5. Customization Options

The majority of latex mattresses can be customized to meet your sleep preferences. Typically, these products are made with a combination of foams that have different levels of densities. If you want to change how the mattress feels, you can rearrange the layers based on your personal preferences. Apart from this, if there is something wrong with one layer, you can replace it with another.

6. Temperature Regulation

Temperature regulation is one of the greatest advantages offered by latex mattresses. So, the pinholes found in the foam allow the heat to escape. Apart from this, most brands of mattresses are made with natural materials like horsehair, seaweed, wool, and cotton.

The good thing about these materials is that they can easily absorb sweat. Apart from this, they can try quickly dry and improve heat distribution. Typically, firmer latex mattresses are relatively cooler. Therefore, if you like soft latex beds, we suggest that you go for them. On the other hand, the negative feature of synthetic mattresses is that they heat up quickly.

7. Freedom of Movement

Another beauty of latex mattresses is that their sides can be easily shifted and changed. Besides, they feature a natural bounce, which is why you don’t get stuck in your bad. No matter how you sleep, you can enjoy the same level of comfort as the foam is quite quick to respond to your movements.

8. Bed Sharing

People have different opinions about the shipping and bounce nature of these products. Besides, bed-sharing couples like this feature but worry about motion isolation. If you are looking for the best bones, you can go for a product that offers more density. On the other hand, if you happen to be a light sleeper, you can get a product that is less bouncy. The good thing about latex beds is that they offer better edge support.

9. Allergy Considerations

The good thing about natural latex is that it can resist mold and dust mites. Therefore, latex mattresses are the best choice if you are concerned about allergy. The good thing about these products is that they are breathable, which is why they stay dry. Dryness can help keep bed bugs away.

All the natural latex mattresses emit a rubber smell; this smell can go away quickly. Therefore, there is no risk of chemical sensitivity. Some people don’t like natural latex as they are allergic to it. Therefore, natural latex is not a good choice for them. They can go for synthetic latex instead.

Long story short, these are just some of the important considerations if you are looking to buy the best latex mattresses to meet your needs. Hope this helps.

Bad News May Really Be Good News

Have you ever had something happen in your life that, at first glance, looked like a terrible misfortune but looking back you see that it was actually a valuable experience, which taught you something you needed to learn? Sometimes, events that look or feel so terrible at the moment turn out to give us a inspiration or new direction and focus.

A fable that I read many years ago sums up my point perfectly:

A farmer had a horse but one day, the horse ran away and so the farmer and his son had to plow their fields themselves. Their neighbors said, “Oh, what bad luck that your horse ran away!” But the farmer replied, “Bad luck, good luck, who knows?”

The next week, the horse returned to the farm, bringing a herd of wild horses with him. “What wonderful luck!” cried the neighbors, but the farmer responded, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

Then, the farmer’s son was thrown as he tried to ride one of the wild horses, and he broke his leg. “Ah, such bad luck,” sympathized the neighbors. Once again, the farmer responded, “Bad luck, good luck, who knows?”

A short time later, the ruler of the country recruited all young men to join his army for battle. The son, with his broken leg, was left at home. “What good luck that your son was not forced into battle!” celebrated the neighbors. And the farmer remarked, “Good luck, bad luck, who knows?”

In my own life, as a teenager and into my early twenties, I got involved with drugs and alcohol and ended up broke, literally homeless, and in trouble with the law. I had no hopes, dreams or sense of direction in my life. I was completely lost , at a real crossroads, and in tremendous pain. I felt that there had to be something better than this. So I decided to choose something better for myself.

(Notice that I did not know what to choose, but I knew what I did not want, which was my first step.)

First thing I did was to stop drinking and drugging, get a job, and start looking for a way out, which was not easy for a 22-year old. Boy, did I feel sorry for myself. Looking back nearly 30 years later, what seemed like the end of the world was actually the beginning of a whole new life, which I might never have found had I not crashed and burned at such a young age. I am now living a life I never could have even imagined when I was 22.

Finding Opportunities within Challenges

This morning, I was talking with a dear friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer for the third time. She shared with me that both previous times she underwent diagnosis and treatment for cancer, she learned incredible lessons along the way. While she would not wish this on herself or for anyone, she can recognize the gifts her journey has brought to her.

She went on to say that after the shock of the news that the cancer had reoccurred, she had a realization. While she doesn’t know if this third episode will be ‘her time” or not, realized that, either way, she needs to address some unfinished business with two of her children. While she would ordinarily prefer to avoid this issue, she now feels she must deal with it. Through her terrible news, once again, comes the urgency and courage to face her toughest issues head on. She has decided to be honest with her children and share what she knows in her heart needs to be said.

Successful people share with me, over and over, similar stories about some perceived terrible events like a divorce or illness or loss that changed the entire course of their lives dramatically. Yet that change may also have brought them to a place that is indescribably better than they could ever have imagined. Had those supposedly terrible experiences not happened, they might not have found the resolve to make other changes happen along the way.

I am not suggesting that there are no such things as tragedies or losses. What I am saying is that loss and pain can be just one aspect of a difficult experience; positives can result from making meaningful experiences out of our challenges. For example, one mother who lost her child to a drunk driver formed Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), an organization that has saved many lives. Helen Keller used a lack of sight or hearing to teach the rest of us important lessons about living. Nelson Mandela spent half his life in prison trying to bring peace to South Africa yet emerged from his prison cell to lead his country as its first post-apartheid president.

The next time you perceive something as really bad, try and remember it could also be just another gift in disguise. It’s all in the way you look at it.

“There are no mistakes, no coincidences; all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“Every adversity contains an equal or greater benefit.” -Napoleon Hill