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I've been endeavoring to eat healthfully these days, but sometimes it seems like an uphill battle. I'm eating fewer carbohydrates and have noticed an improvement in my blood glucose levels. But there are those times i check "my sugars," and when they are too high, I can usually trace it back to something i ate.

I try not to eat too late at night, and if I do, I try to go for something that offers a good amount of protein. But there are other times that I get into something I shouldn't. Thankfully, after all these years, I've finally let it sink in that beating myself up for that does not help. I'm too old to deprive myself and old enough to know I need to do better for my health, my family and my future.

I had a physical a few years ago — from stem to stern. I had a mammogram as well and got a pretty good report, considering I'm diabetic. I've worked to clean up my cholesterol. I do have blood pressure concerns, but at least I know about it and can work to improve my situation.

Insurance is expensive and out-of-pocket costs can stop us cold. How many people just endure health problems because they don't have the funds or insurance coverage? How many people have high insurance premiums and high deductibles to the point that their policy is basically something to have in case of a catastrophic event? Millions.

If you can't afford a full physical, there are options. It takes some investigative work and diligence, but there are clinics and nonprofit hospitals that could help.

While watching TV the other day, I saw a commercial for free health screenings courtesy of the Arkansas Minority Health Commission (arminorityhealth.com). It's part of the Arkansas Department of Health. They screen for blood pressure, body mass index and blood glucose. Screening is a good place to start to get a grip on your health.

The screenings, which are open to everyone, are offered on the first Wednesday of every month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 1501 S. Main St., Suite A, Little Rock. For information, call (501) 686-2720.

EXERCISE

I always wished I was a person who loved to exercise. As children, my sisters and I played outside for hours on end. But that was playing, I wanted to do it. These days I don't want to exercise, and I don't enjoy it. Some days I'm worn out by the time I get home. But I'm trying to let it sink in that for my health and well-being, I need to stop being so sedentary.

I know how important health care, exercise and healthful eating are to longevity. But it takes effort, and I have to really work on my motivation.

One aspect of health that I often don't consider is mental, especially in regard to aging. While diseases like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's might affect us regardless of our physical health, there are other problems that could beset us because we get stagnant and, dare I say it, lazy.

I ran across an article on the Mayo Clinic website about the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and brain health, particularly in gray matter and total brain volume, loss of which is involved in cognitive decline and aging.

Brain tissue is made up of gray matter, or nerve cell bodies, and nerve filaments, called white matter, that extend from the cells. It was found that increases in peak oxygen uptake were strongly associated with more gray matter volume.

According to Dr. Ronald Petersen, a Mayo Clinic neurologist, there is indirect evidence that regular aerobic exercise can have a positive impact on cognitive function, in addition to physical conditioning.

Cardiorespiratory fitness is a measure of how well your body is able to transport oxygen to your muscles during prolonged exercise, and how your muscles are able to absorb and use oxygen.

The experts recommend moderate and regular exercise — about 150 minutes a week. The recommended exercises include things like running/jogging, swimming, cycling, aerobics and jumping rope. Choose an exercise that involves fast movements for an extended period of time. You can choose a variety of types to keep your training routine from growing stale.

Now, I'm on to finding workouts to suit my mobility limits. I've had results from chair workouts that include weight-bearing exercises too. I'll share what I find with you.

Email me at:

rboggs@adgnewsroom.com

Style on 02/10/2020

Print Headline: Screening good way to start on healthy lifestyle

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