At-home exercise routines; the dangers of skipping vaccinations
Q: I'm melting into my sofa. Any suggestions for how to motivate myself to exercise and what to do while I am stuck indoors? - Stephen S., Santa Fe, N.M.
A: We hear you. The gym is closed, or you don't want to risk going there. The team sports you love, like softball, are seasonal - but not this season. It's cold out, so you don't feel like walking 10,000 steps in the park. What you can feel is your muscles sagging, your belly growing and your spirit sinking.
Don't despair. You can cheer up and tone up this winter at home. Studies indicate that you can go from being a couch potato to a fitness coach (for yourself) more easily than you might think. The keys to success:
- Schedule your daily exercise plans and put them into your phone's calendar with alerts.
- Provide yourself with a soundtrack of invigorating music. Studies show that listening to a stimulating playlist while exercising is associated with longer exercise times and more enjoyment. One study found that cranking up your tunes before you start exercising can increase motivation to begin your routine.
- Also important: Set realistic expectations. Don't set yourself up for failure.
- Consider doing multiple, short bouts of exercise in a day instead of one long program; allow yourself to see improvement gradually. Studies show that many folks start, stick to and enjoy short, regular bouts of walking on a home treadmill more than working out in gym.
- Beat back boredom - and do the most for your body - by combining five days a week of aerobics (walking up and down the stairs for 20 minutes or 30 minutes on the treadmill or stationary bike - or all three) with frequent stretching (try an online yoga or stretch class) and 20-30 minutes of strength training two or three days weekly (love that plank).
By spring, you'll have a younger RealAge, a flatter belly and happy memories of your wintertime indoors.
Q: It's time for my 4-year-old daughter to get another measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Since it is a second dose - she got the first at 15 months - can I put it off for a while? I don't like going to the doctor's office if we don't have to. - Patricia G., Chicago
A: We are surrounded by discussions about vaccines but somehow it seems to have gone unnoticed that the tried-and-true inoculations that we all depend on to help keep our kids - in fact our whole family of Americans - healthy are being skipped over at an alarming rate.
A study of Colorado residents reveals that from January to May this year, there was a 31 percent drop in the immunization rate for kids from birth to 2 years old, 78 percent for those 3 to 9, and 82 percent for tweens and teens to age 17. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the rate of vaccination for 5-month-old kids fell from 67.9 percent in 2019 to 49.7 percent in May 2020.
Please make sure your daughter gets her second round of the MMR vaccine - it protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles). When young children catch measles, it can trigger serious health problems such as pneumonia and encephalitis. Mumps cause inflammatory disorders of the ovaries, testes and brain. And rubella may spread to pregnant women with heartbreaking results. In 1964-1965, when there was no vaccine, a rubella epidemic in the U.S. caused 12.5 million cases. Twenty thousand children were born with congenital rubella syndrome: 11,000 were deaf, 3,500 blind and 1,800 intellectually disabled. There were 2,100 neonatal deaths and more than 11,000 abortions (spontaneous and surgical).
So, check with your doc to make sure your children and you are up to date on your shots. (For a listing of vaccines and timetables go to www.CDC.com; search for "immunization schedules.") Then when you and your family can get your COVID-19 vaccines, you will be well-protected from as many infectious diseases as possible.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at youdocsdaily(at sign)sharecare.com.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.