A survivor’s marathon

North country woman beats stroke to run historic Boston race [Read more...]

What’s hot, what’s not in 2014

Michelle Graham

Michelle Graham

American College of Sports Medicine releases Top 10 list [Read more...]

Healthy change takes a village: Together, rural communities can combat alarming obesity rate

Michelle Graham

Michelle Graham

I recently became part of a coalition of individuals trying to make a difference in the health of children in our communities. The first meeting was an eye-opening experience. We reviewed the rate of overweight and obese children in our area, statistics that continue to be alarming.

The coalition brainstorms areas of weakness and tries to devise plans to get into these communities and bring support and resources to improve the health of their children and families. Nationally, on average, one in three children are either overweight or obese. In some of our rural communities, the rate is actually close to one in two. I find these statistics heart-breaking, but I believe we can help on a local level.

It’s true that getting our communities healthy takes a village. When we pull all of our resources together, incredible things really can happen. No one has all the answers. That is why collaborating and using all of our resources can truly put you and your children on the path to better health. [Read more...]

Exercise key for cancer patients: Improved mood, reduced fatigue, lower risk among benefits

Michelle Graham

More individuals than ever are seeking healthy lifestyle programs. Cancer patients and survivors are a very interesting and complex population seeking to maintain good health. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working with many individuals who were either fighting cancer or fighting to stay cancer free.

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, frightening and downright depressing. Fear of the unknown during a cancer diagnosis looms heavily. But there can be hope during this time of crisis. Exercise can be key in the treatment of cancer on many levels. A person’s social, physical and mental well-being can each be treated and embraced through a good exercise program during and after a cancer diagnosis.

The fact that exercise and proper eating can prevent certain cancers is well documented. According to Dr. Kerry Courneya, a cancer researcher at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, recent studies show that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of recurrence of some cancers. This is great news for those diagnosed and affirms that it is never too late to get started on a good, well-rounded program tailored to your needs. [Read more...]

Motivation: how to find and keep it

Michelle Graham

Path to a healthier, fitter version of yourself takes patience

What is your motivator for good health and better fitness? Is it your family, an upcoming athletic event or your doctor who just informed you that you’re at an increased risk for a specific disease? No matter what your reason, getting and staying motivated with regard to a better fitness plan and health can certainly seem overwhelming and daunting. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines motivation as a force or influence that causes someone to do something. The question is: What are you going to do and how will you get to your healthy destination? [Read more...]

Q&A: Nicole Garnsey, nutritionist

From juice cleanses to natural foods, we ask a nutritionist

Registered Dietician Nicole Garnsey sits with healthy food props she uses to educate clients at her Washington Street office in Watertown. Photo by Justin Sorensen/NNY Living.

Nicole Garnsey is a registered dietitian, certified dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator who owns and operates Feed the Soul Nutrition, Watertown. We asked her about some of the latest health trends, nutrition and healthy eating to help on the path to wellness.

NNYL: What are some trendy foods that you’re hearing a lot about lately? [Read more...]

A happy heart is key to a healthy life

Start with simple changes in diet and add regular exercise

Michelle Graham

If you take care of your heart, your heart will take care of you. With heart disease the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States, it’s more important than ever to care for yourself and your heart. When you use the right tools, implementing good practices to improve heart health is really not so difficult. It’s all in the execution of a well-thought-out plan of attack.
[Read more...]

Achieving healthy: Building a team of ‘wellness advisors’ an important strategy for success

A prescription for a healthy lifestyle comes with many doses of Northern New York services.

Basic pointers of eat right, exercise and don’t let stress take over your life may be easier said than done, but agencies and organizations throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties continue to evolve in offering guidance in achieving overall improved health.

What it takes to be healthy in 2013 already exists throughout the north country with a multitude of physical, mental and social health services.

It also takes more than one person, organization, idea or goal to improve the health of the entire population, according to Faith E. Lustik, health planner with the Jefferson County Public Health Service, Watertown.

“We’ve been working with partners on a variety of issues that affect policy and environmental change,” she said. “We designed a snack policy for schools and any youth organization. It’s a ready-made kit and outlines calorie contest you should limit snacks to.”

Jefferson County Public Health Service also is developing healthy fundraisers, because, she said, sending children out to sell a box of chocolates and other goods is conflicting with the message community agencies are trying to spread.

“We want to focus on kids because we can hopefully change the future and our statistics,” Ms. Lustik said. “When we’re working with kids, we’re really working with adults because they make decisions.”

Jefferson County Public Health Service is one of many agencies in Jefferson County participating in the Community Coalition for Children, which aims to fight obesity early on so it won’t cause health problems into adulthood. As part of those efforts, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County received a $20,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to survey Jefferson County residents and to help agencies address needs to improve access to fresh produce and expand physical activity programs for low-income families.

The communities-working-together concept has also been adopted in St. Lawrence County, where the Health Initiative has worked collaboratively to improve the health of St. Lawrence County residents and the region’s residents.

Health Initiative Executive Director Ruth A. Fishbeck said eating right and getting physical activity is the main message that won’t change, but the initiative has ways it’s trying to make that standard statement fresh and exciting. Last year, the agency launched FitPix, a program where it helps restaurants develop alternative, healthy food choices on their menus.

“Our goal of the project is to get more gluten-free and diabetic (diet) options,” she said.

While nutrition isn’t the only component, Page Fitness Athletic Club head trainer Jamie S. Wood said it’s most important.

[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Living in print or subscribe.]

Rebecca Madden is a Johnson Newspapers staff writer. Contact her at 661-2375 or rmadden@wdt.net.

Change self-focus to maintain balance

Wellness is a state of mind that involves several areas of life

Michelle Graham

Welcome to the amazing 2013. I often think of a new year as a new start that, with a new focus, could mean a whole new you. Life is crazy and wonderful and a fresh start can take you in directions that you never dreamed possible.
As a health and wellness director at the YMCA, I see many people start the year with goals of fitness and weight loss. Unfortunately, some never realize their true potential because they fall short of understanding how to achieve and reach their goals. Instead of covering the usual, I thought I’d share some steps to achieve balance in all things. [Read more...]

North country snow storm attracts hundreds to local ski areas

Joel P. Banazek, 15, Watertown, looks for a spot Saturday to set his equipment among rows of snowboards at Dry Hill. Photo by Amanda Morrison/Watertown Daily Times

Hundreds of people hit the slopes Saturday to ski, snowboard and tube on the fresh powder this week’s storm dumped on the north country.

Dry Hill Ski Area owner Timothy L. McAtee said 25 to 30 inches of natural snow had accumulated over the past week on top of a man-made base there of 6 to 30 inches, depending on the slope.

Season pass sales have picked back up and the ski area was “jammed” Friday thanks to the snowstorm Thursday, he said. And Canadians and New Yorkers of all ages kept pouring in Saturday, as well.

Angie Caird, of Lansdowne, Ontario, said her daughter Aleasha, who turns 10 today, had skied down the slopes three times so far and had not fallen once.

“It’s not that hard,” said Aleasha, a fairly good ice skater who started skiing last winter.

[Read more...]