Archive for April, 2011


Have you ever forgotten your locker combination or a friend’s phone number?  What about names and important dates?  This is all too common of an occurrence.  Between technology overload and lack of mental stimulation, this will likely happen at one point or another.

The old saying is true, use it or lose it.  Mental stimulation is just as important as getting enough physical exercise, quality sleep and a healthy diet.  Having a scattered brain can lead to poor concentration and focus, decreased reaction time, lack of creativity.

The good news is that even as we age, we have the ability to improve all of this.  Mental stimulation can come from brain games such as cross-word puzzles, scrabble, and Sudoku.  Learn a foreign language.  Begin to memorize phone numbers and important dates rather than relying on your phone or calendar to hold the information.  Socialize in person, more.  Facebook less.  Incorporate your senses when doing everyday activities.  Gently shut your eyes as you put your clothes or wash your hair.  Break old routines such as eating with your opposite hand or taking a new route to work.  Use two or more senses at a time like smelling flowers as you listen to music.

The following link is a short segment from the Simpsons and their family scrabble game…please, let’s not all end up like Homer.

be well-


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What’d you Say?

Up until five and a half years ago my hearing level was pretty low.  I would often ask those around me to repeat themselves, turn up the volume on my tv or stereo, and catch myself speaking loudly on my cell phone.

As a kid I had a lot of ear infections.  Because of this, I had tubes put in at an early age.  The tubes were to fall out on their own by the time I turned six years old.  Unfortunately, that did not happen.  There were tempanoplasties performed on both ears as a result of puncture wounds to the eardrums when the tubes were surgically removed.  This caused me to have numerous ear infections each year until my mid-twenties.  That is when I underwent an eardrum replacement.

Unfortunately, kids growing up today are going to have hearing loss for a different reason.  Take a look around you.  Just about every teenager, gym rat, and person walking down the street have ear buds in.  Chances are the volume is well above the recommended 85 decibels.  To put in perspective what 85 decibels is, turn up the volume on your stereo to where it seems loud but not uncomfortable.  You should still be able to hear a conversation in the room.  If you cannot, then the sound is probably over 85 decibels.

A lot of times we turn up the volume to cancel out other noises in our environment such as traffic, conversations, a train rolling by, etc.  For some, it may be to help pump them up for a race or workout.

Samples of noise and their decibel output-

Loud noises, whether sudden or gradual play a role in our hearing loss.  We have the opportunity to slow down that process.

Once in a while I notice myself tuning out of conversations at restaurants because the noise is too much for me- I simply cannot hear what is being said.  Many times, I’ll excuse myself to a quieter area.  I also catch the volume on the tv or iPod that is too high, so down goes the volume.

I encourage you the next time the ear buds are in, take a quick observations and ask yourself, “Can I carry on a conversation with someone at this noise level?”  If not, then it’s time to dial it down.

be well-

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Out of Hibernation

As I sit here writing this piece, it is cold, grey and rainy.  The weather almost makes me want to crawl back into “hibernation.”  I feel that’s where I’ve been over the past several months and it’s now time to begin blogging again.

Over the winter months I read some great books, articles and reviews.  I am eager to share my thoughts and feelings on all areas of health.

I think a great subject to start with is Marathon Monday, which is only a few days away.  For those of you outside of the Boston area, this annual marathon is held on Patriots day every year.  The streets have been a buzz with those tapering for the 26.2 mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston.

A few months back there was an article in the Boston Globe asking the question “Is the Boston Marathon an elite race anymore?”  Not so long ago, this race was only for those who qualified.  In order to register for this race, you must have run another qualifying marathon under a specific time to qualify for Boston.  Those times are:

Over the last several years, the BAA (organization that runs the marathon) has allowed hospitals, running clubs, corporations, and organizations to raise money for charity.  This allows for a certain number of registrants to raise money in order to run the race.  At this point, nearly 25% of those running are doing so for charity.

The problem with such a large number of charity runners is that a larger population of runners that have qualified are denied entry into this elite race because there is no more room.  There can only be so many runners on the road due to safety concerns and other logistics.

As a spectator of this great race for the past six years, it brings great inspiration to see all levels of ability running by the public library as they finish the race.    I understand that this is a wonderful opportunity to help raise money for people in need.  I also empathize with those who have qualified and must wait another year before trying to register again next year.

The question I pose to you, what is your thought on the Boston Marathon being called an elite race if nearly 1/4 of the runners have not qualified?


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