Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that makes breathing difficult. It causes inflammation or swelling, and a narrowing of the airways making it more difficult to breathe. During normal breathing, air flows freely in and out of the lungs. However, during an asthma attack or episode, swelling of the airway’s lining increases, muscles surrounding the airways tighten, and thick mucus clogs the tiny airways making it difficult to breathe.

Who gets asthma? Asthma affects people of all ages and while it can start in adulthood, it most often starts during childhood. Young children who wheeze a lot and have frequent respiratory infections that continue beyond 6 years old are at greater risk. Genetics can also play a role in developing asthma. Having a family history of eczema, allergies, or having parents or siblings that have asthma increases risk. We aren’t exactly sure what causes asthma, but we do know exposure to certain things can trigger an asthma attack.

Asthma symptoms

Asthma symptoms vary from person to person and can flare up anytime – day or night. Symptoms may include:
Wheezing – Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe out.
Coughing – Coughing from asthma is often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep. Sometimes coughing can be the only symptom.
Shortness of breath – Some people feel like they can’t catch their breath or feel breathless, as if they can’t get air out of their lungs.
Chest tightness or pain – This can feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.

Asthma symptoms vary from hour-to-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week and over months and can vary from mild to life threatening. Having symptoms may mean your asthma is not well controlled.

See your health care provider if:

  • You have symptoms or are using your quick-relief inhaler (rescue) more than two times a week.
  • You have symptoms that wake you up two or more times a month.
  • You refill your rescue up anytime – day or night. Symptoms may include: inhaler prescription more than two times per year.
  • Your asthma is getting in the way of your usual activities like going to school or work.

Don’t ignore asthma symptoms.

Symptoms that are not easily relieved by using a rescue inhaler or that reoccur should be evaluated by your health care provider, or you should go to the emergency room or call 9-1-1. TAKE ASTHMA SERIOUSLY.

Police Officer Fitness Test

Each year, Saint Paul police officers undergo fitness testing. This testing provides valuable information to the officers regarding their ability to respond to the physical demands of the job. The officers’ results are compared to population standards for age and gender.

This year changes were made to the testing process to keep current with the latest research and trends in law enforcement fitness testing. Officers now have two testing options from which to choose for their annual fitness test.

Testing option #1: Physical Fitness Test (PFT). Listed below are the fitness components that are measured and the tests used to assess that component.

Aerobic endurance:
1.5 mile run (the 12 minute Navy bicycle test or one mile walk are also provided to those who have an injury or medical condition preventing them from safely completing the run.)
Body composition: Waist measurement or body fat percentage test using either skinfold pinch test or a body fat scale.
Explosive power: Vertical Jump. Standing with one arm raised overhead, that height is noted; the score is then the number of inches above that point the officer can reach with jumping.
Muscular Strength/endurance: choice of maximum number of pushups or 1 repetition max bench press (ratio of weight to lbs. pressed one time)

Testing option #2: 2000 meter row
This test is new this year and specifically requires the use of a Concept 2 Rowing machine. A 2000 meter row tests the aerobic capacity, as well as the muscular strength and muscular endurance of the entire body all at once. Strength, overall power and the ability to continuously apply power play a key role in rowing performance. Rowing also requires strong core musculature to brace the midsection to use both the lower and upper body together to row. Nearly all of the body’s muscles are used during rowing. Scoring for the test is based on gender, body weight and time to complete.
Upon completion of a fitness test, the Physical Fitness Specialist for the department, Jim Hensrud, can then recommend a training program to improve the officers’ fitness if needed.

Run Club

This month, we are featuring employees who run Saint Paul – at least that is what their t-shirts say! These employees are the members of Run Club which was started this year by OFS employee Bridget Morales. It includes employees from a variety of City departments, all of whom have different paces and abilities. It provides motivational support, an opportunity to explore different running routes and an outlet for those who share their same interest. They like the team atmosphere and the opportunity to meet and network with other department employees. For some, it feels safer running in a group rather than alone. They see it contributing to a Healthy Saint Paul.

Below is what three members had to say about Run Club.

Marissa Peterson, OFS. “I love Run Club because it is a great way to be active with other people from around the City. I usually run on my own, so it is fun to be able to exercise in a group environment. It definitely pushes me to work harder! I also love the way I feel when I come back to work after Run Club – I always feel like I have more energy to get through the rest of the workday.”

Brett Hussong, Parks and Rec. “I’ve found that it is difficult to exercise when I get home from work, so I typically run 4-5 days each week over lunch. I run to get outside, and to mentally take a break from work. I find I’m more productive in the afternoon if I get away from my desk during the day. I joined the running club as a way to network, and to meet new people both inside and outside of the city. I stay motivated because we run a different route each week, and we generally get to experience the river corridor!”

Mary Guerra, OFS. “I started running in the last 5 years or so. Nothing competitive, just recreational. I’m likely the slowest runner in Run Club . The farthest distance I’ve ever run is a Half Marathon (13.1 miles) this last Halloween. It took me two and a half hours to complete. I felt so proud! I’m currently training for my first Ragnar relay race this August (200 mile race from Winona to the Twin Cities). I’ll be running Ragnar with Run Club mastermind Bridget Morales. Many of the runners in the Run Club have done one or more marathons, so it’s very inspirational and encouraging. Everybody is welcome in the Run Club, runners of all speeds. What keeps me coming to Run Club is the ability to run with friends. I usually run on my own wearing my headphones, so it’s nice to do a group run where I can run while connecting with others too.”

All employees are invited to join Run Club. It meets every Wednesday in the first floor lobby of the Saint Paul Athletic Club/Hotel, 340 Cedar Street. There is a restroom that can be used for changing and there is also a place to store a duffle bag if needed. To store a bag, label the bag with your name and “Run Club”. For more information, contact Bridget at bridget.morales@ci.stpaul.mn.us.

Do you have questions for our featured employee?
Send them to us at HealthyStPaul@ci.stpaul.mn.us and we will publish a Q&A in a future issue.

Don’t fall for some of the latest misleading ads

by Jolene Mafnas

As long as there’s Madison Avenue, companies will twist the truth to pitch their products as healthy, real, essential, or name-your-buzz-word-du-jour. So they play up nuts or protein rather than sugar, “energy” to get you going, veggies no matter how minimal, and more. Here’s a handful of some current misleading ad claims. You don’t have to look too far to find plenty of others.

“Looking for lower carb feasting?”

asks the ad for the Cauliflower Crust on California Pizza Kitchen’s YouTube account. “No problem…Cauliflower crust (oh so deliciously) plays well with carbconscious connoisseurs.” Yes, CPK’s Cauliflower crust is about a third lower in carbs than its Hand-Tossed Original crust. But with 85 grams of carbs in each (individual) crust, it’s anything but low. And the Cauliflower crust’s 560 calories is just a smidge lower than the Original’s 580. That’s because CPK adds rice flour, tapioca starch, and cheese. Of course, it’s “no problem” if those carb-conscious connoisseurs think it’s just cauliflower.

“You bring the egg,”

says the TV ad for Ore-Ida Just Crack an Egg. “We bring the Ore-Ida potatoes, chopped veggies, melty cheese, and hearty meat for a hot scramble ready in less than two minutes.” Yup, you bring the egg (carefully, if you’re heading to work). Ore-Ida goes to the trouble of filling a plastic cup with three tiny plastic bags—with 2 or 3 tablespoons each of ham, cheese, and diced potatoes, green peppers, and onions. All that plastic, just so you can add something to an egg, which you microwave in the plastic cup? Surely, people can microwave an egg in a glass bowl or Pyrex cookware with their own chopped veggies (or fresh salsa). Who needs the processed meat and white potatoes?

“The honey sweet, clustery, crunchy taste of Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds now has more almonds…25% more almonds,”

boasts the TV ad. Yes, but the cereal still has more sugar than almonds…or honey, for that matter. And it’s got more corn than oats or anything else, despite the name. “Sugary Bunches of Corn” just doesn’t have the same ring. You call that essential?

“Not having a good breakfast can make you feel like your day never started. Get going with Carnation Breakfast Essentials High Protein Drink,” says the TV ad. “It has 21 vitamins and minerals, with 15 grams of protein to help you be your best.”

Yes, get going with a 220-calorie bottle of water, corn syrup, sugar, milk protein concentrate, vegetable oil, cocoa, calcium and sodium caseinates, soy protein isolate, gums, salt, artificial flavor, and more. You call those “essentials”? Want 15 grams of protein? Try a non-fat plain greek yogurt instead. It’s only 80 calories, so you can add fruit and still come out ahead.

“When your battery is running low, grab a sugar-free, vitamin-packed 5-Hour Energy,”

urges the TV ad. “It’ll get you back to 100 percent fast.” First of all, those vitamins are there just to give your caffeine shot a health halo. They won’t “get you back to 100 percent.” And there’s no way to read the tiny disclosures at the bottom of the screen: “Not proven to improve physical performance, dexterity or endurance. Limit caffeine products to avoid nervousness, sleeplessness and occasional rapid heartbeat.”

Find this article interesting and useful? Read the full article here: www.nutritionaction.com/daily/what-not-to-eat/dont-fall-for-some-of-the-latest-misleading-ads/ Nutrition Action Healthletter subscribers regularly get sound, timely information about staying healthy with diet and exercise, delicious recipes, and detailed analyses of the healthy and unhealthy foods in supermarkets and restaurants.

Why Exercising Is a Higher Priority Than My Career

FEB 15, 2017 1:25 PM EST Time Magazine

Below are excerpts from an article written by entrepreneur Joshua Steimle. While he speaks as a business owner, this can apply to anyone who finds exercise losing out on importance when life gets busy. It is a good reminder that your health has to come first and regular exercise is necessary component for good health.

“On any given day there are easily 100 important things I should be doing for my business, 50 of which are also urgent, but there is no way I can get more than 10 things done. Exercise must come first, or it’s unlikely to happen at all; as soon as I start pushing workouts off, I’ll start missing workouts, and once I start missing workouts, I’m close to stopping workouts altogether.

If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.

For a long time, I was fooled into thinking that if my business wasn’t the top priority, then that meant I wasn’t doing all I could do to make it successful. This is an understandable way of thinking, but it’s completely wrong. The trick is to figure out which ordering of priorities provides the maximum overall benefit. For example, when I exercise, that makes me better in every role I have, whether it’s as a husband, father, friend or entrepreneur. If I were to stop exercising because I felt that being a good business owner was a higher priority, then ironically I would end up a worse business owner than I was when it when it was a lower priority. Putting exercise first creates a win-win.”

Makes sense, but how do you start? Go to “6 Ways to Make Exercise a Priority” for ideas to get you started. https://www.active.com/fitness/articles/6-ways-to-make-exercise-a-priority?page=2

Rachel Handren

Rachel Handren began working for the Parks and Rec Center daycare program about six years ago. As a child, Rachel’s family moved around a lot. As a result, she made friends with children from many different cultures. Her childhood also included being involved with dance. She began lessons in fourth grade, participating in dance competitions and public performances. Rachel’s Northwest Como Rec supervisor, aware of her dance background and her ability to connect with children from many different cultures decided she would be the perfect person to develop and direct a dance program for children at this center.

Rachel began with creative movement classes for children aged 3-5; for elementary aged children she created jazz, ballet and hip hop classes. Classes were held once per week from September through May. As the program grew in popularity, Rachel expanded with more classes. During the summer when classes aren’t typically held, she began holding dance workshops to keep the momentum going. Last year, she added a dance competition league. This league competes in local competitions against private dance studios. Their competitors come from studios that are designed for dance with mirrored walls, ballet bars, etc. as opposed to the Rec Center gym used in Rachel’s classes. To help cover the cost of competition entrance fees, they have a fund raising booster club, set up snack tables, etc. They plan to have a fund raising chair for next season. There are 90+ students now involved in Rec dance classes and the competition league.

Besides teaching children to dance, Rachel’s goal is helping them become more fit. The competition league dancers took a baseline fitness test at the beginning of the year and then set their goals. Each class spent 15-20 minutes on strength, conditioning and flexibility exercises. They were required to practice routines and exercise outside of class as “practice makes progress”. By the end of the first year, every single dancer beat their own personal goal while also growing in the intricate skills it takes to be a competition dancer. The valuable skill of working as part of a team was also learned.

Rachel says she is so incredibly proud of how hard her students work especially on their own personal fitness goals and how they encourage each other to do better. She has dreams of having a real, dedicated space for the dancers in the future. We recognize Rachel for sharing her enthusiasm in bringing the joy of movement and fitness to so many kids, making a difference in their lives.

City Employees Do Yoga

Our June Spotlight article is all about the benefits of yoga. Over the years, the City and Healthy Saint Paul have encouraged employees to enjoy these benefits by offering lunch time yoga classes. Classes have been held at City Hall since 2005; the Water Department has offered classes for the past three years and in January, 2018 yoga classes began at the Police Department. Below is what employees have to say about making yoga part of their regular routine.

Anca Sima is a Public Works employee who is also a very experienced and knowledgeable Yoga instructor. Anca began teaching yoga at City Hall In 2005, and many of the people who began at that time are still participating. Anca stresses that no matter what experience a person may have, her class is structured to accommodate from those ranging from beginner yoga to advanced. Marie Franchett is one of the employees who began with Anca back in 2005 and still participates. She saw this as an opportunity to get in some exercise over the lunch hour. She says it provides a great break in the day, and she finds it rejuvenating. Marie feels the classes have kept her healthy. Since participating for all these years, she hasn’t had any joint or muscle pain issues, except for a sore back due to the shoveling this year!

Dolly Ludden and Dennis Rosemark have been doing yoga at SPRWS since the onset 3+ years ago.
Dollie appreciates the instructor who “is great in continually reminding us on proper form, challenging us in various poses and broadening our scope of what yoga is and how it can help us. Yoga is great for the mind, body and spirit.” After lunch, Dolly goes back to work with a fresh outlook to finish out her day. Yoga was new to Dennis when he began. He says he enjoys being with the positive people who participate as they are more into fun than judgement. He shared, “Turns out yoga is improving my overall well-being causing me to simply feel better and stronger. With this discipline, a little stretching and giggling goes a long way to get through a very busy work day.”

The Yoga instructor for the SPPD, Cailee Stangl, has specialized training as a Yoga for First Responders instructor. Cailee’s goal is to teach how to overcome stress by providing the tools to add calm back to your life. Sgt. Jim Andersen appreciates the knowledge Cailee brings and how she tailors the class to the individual. Employee Ali Cole says it is a GIFT to be able to take a break during the work day and focus on taking care of herself.

Do you have questions for our featured employee?
Send them to us at HealthyStPaul@ci.stpaul.mn.us and we
will publish a Q&A in a future issue.

What Happens To Your Body When You Start Doing Yoga

For decades, aerobic exercise—the type that raises your heart and breathing rates, such as running or cycling—has been touted by scientists as the gold standard in terms of the number of health benefits it brings. More energy, improved mood, lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers, better sleep, better thinking, better sex, and on and on. But as it turns out, there may be another form of exercise that does even more for you: yoga. And weight control may be at the top of its long list of yoga benefits.
In 2010, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Nursing published a comparative analysis of 81 studies that examined yoga’s health benefits and the health benefits of aerobic exercise. The researchers found yoga to be especially effective at reducing stress. This may not be news to those who practice yoga, but even die-hard enthusiasts will be surprised at the number of other health benefits yoga can confer—often to a larger degree than aerobic exercise. The researchers found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength, pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms, daily energy level, and social and occupation functioning, among other health parameters.

It’s Not Either Or.
You don’t have to choose yoga or aerobic exercise—by no means does this research suggest that you toss out your walking or running shoes for a yoga mat. Aerobic exercise remains a fun, simple, inexpensive, highly effective form of exercise that confers all sorts of important benefits. And it’s important that we all be active every day if we can, taking breaks to move around so we don’t spend all our time sitting.

Yoga Is Exercise.
What is clear from this analysis is that yoga should no longer be seen as something even remotely “fringey,” or even as something that’s only good for improving flexibility. Rather, this research makes it clear that yoga deserves a permanent place at the health and fitness table, alongside other forms of exercise that may be more familiar to most people.

Yoga and Weight loss. Researchers see an especially intriguing role for yoga in the area of weight control, with the key mechanism being yoga’s stress-reducing power. “Evidence suggests that chronic stress leads to changes in food-seeking behavior, including increased consumption of foods high in sugar and fat, which may eventually lead to obesity,” says lead researcher Alyson Ross. “As yoga provides many of the benefits typically associated with exercise, and is also so effective at reducing stress,” she continues, “it’s possible that yoga might be a particularly useful weapon in the arsenal against obesity.”

Beginners Should Find A Teacher. If you’re considering giving yoga a try, rest assured that you don’t have to be a contortionist to do it. But it’s best to find a class with a teacher, as starting on your own with a video can be tough. It’s important to learn how to do the poses correctly, at which point you can supplement your class time by doing yoga at home.

By Adam Bean
www.rodalesorganiclife.com/wellbeing/yoga-benefits

Gerald Carter

In 2001, Gerald Carter accepted a job with the St. Paul Police Department and moved here from Evansville, Indiana to continue his career in law enforcement. He is 60 years old, has been married for 32 years and has two children. We are featuring Gerald this month to recognize his lifelong commitment to staying physically fit as well as his outstanding achievements.

Since the age of 16, Gerald has been competing in power lifting and body building competitions on both a national and international level. From the start, he has never placed below the top five and is usually in the top 3 in competitions. Throughout his entire life, he has never used enhancing drugs even though for a time it was legal to do so.

Since entering law enforcement, Gerald has chosen to regularly participate in the World Police and Fire Games. In the World games, there are thousands of public safety officers representing 65-70 countries competing at various events, larger even than the winter Olympic games. He has gone up against lifters from the Eastern bloc where the use of steroids is not illegal. In the 2005 World Games held in Quebec City, Gerald received silver in the push pull event and a bronze in the bench press. In the 2009 World Games, he won three medals: silvers in the bench press and push pull, and a bronze in body building. He went on to win a silver medal in the bench press in the 2011 World Games. It was in the 2015 World Games that Gerald captured his first gold medals; one in the bench press and one in the push pull event. In an interview he gave at the time, he said, “Finally, it’s nice to be the bride and not just the bridesmaid”. He repeated that performance as the returning champion in Los Angeles in 2017.

Performing at this level obviously demands a lot of training. Gerald generally trains six days a week for 45-75 minutes/day. Besides lifting weights, he includes 30-45 minutes of a cardio work-out on a stair climber or bicycle. Despite these many years of training and competition, he has not suffered any serious injuries. He attributes that to paying attention to his body – is it just muscle soreness he is feeling or something else? If he finds a particular lift painful, he knows to substitute something else for a while. He instructs people who come to him with training questions to make sure they focus on core strength as well.

Despite all the hard work Gerald puts into competing, he acknowledges that some people are born with a natural ability for different things and have that advantage so he is reluctant to give himself a big pat on the back for excelling as he has. He also acknowledges that he could not have achieved what he has over the years if not for the support from his wife as he spends much time and expense to do what he loves.

Gerald trains and competes because he likes the sport and it helps him control his weight. He enjoys meeting people from all over the world, like the Mongolian police officer who spoke no English. This officer was admiring Gerald’s leather weight lifting belt, as these are not available in Mongolia. So, Gerald gave him his. He looks forward to seeing him and other new friends at competitions, even when they don’t speak the same language.
Gerald’s next competition will be in 2019 in Chengdu, China. We wish him the best and congratulate him on all he has achieved.

Do you have questions for our featured employee? Send them to us at HealthyStPaul@ci.stpaul.mn.us and we will publish a Q&A in a future issue.

20 Ways to Enjoy More Fruits & Vegetables

Building a healthy plate is easy when you make half your plate fruits and vegetables. It’s also a great way to add color, flavor and texture plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. All this is packed in fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and fat. Make 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetables your daily goal.

Try the following tips to enjoy more fruits and vegetables every day.

  • Variety abounds when using vegetables as pizza topping. Try broccoli, spinach, green peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini.
  • Mix up a breakfast smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen strawberries and a banana.
  • Make a veggie wrap with roasted vegetables and low-fat cheese rolled in a whole-wheat tortilla.
  • Try crunchy vegetables instead of chips with your favorite low-fat salad dressing for dipping.
  • Grill colorful vegetable kabobs packed with tomatoes, green and red peppers, mushrooms and onions.
  • Add color to salads with baby carrots, grape tomatoes, spinach leaves or mandarin oranges.*
  • Keep cut vegetables handy for mid-afternoon snacks, side dishes, lunch box additions or a quick nibble while waiting for dinner. Ready-to-eat favorites: red, green or yellow peppers, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrots, celery sticks, cucumbers, snap peas or whole radishes.
  • Place colorful fruit where everyone can easily grab something for a snack-on-the-run. Keep a bowl of fresh, just ripe whole fruit in the center of your kitchen or dining table.
  • Get saucy with fruit. Puree apples, berries, peaches or pears in a blender for a thick, sweet sauce on grilled or broiled seafood or poultry, or on pancakes, French toast or waffles.
  • Stuff an omelet with vegetables. Turn any omelet into a hearty meal with broccoli, squash, carrots, peppers, tomatoes or onions with low-fat sharp cheddar cheese.
  • “Sandwich” in fruits and vegetables. Add pizzazz to sandwiches with sliced pineapple, apple, peppers, cucumber and tomato as fillings.

  • Wake up to fruit. Make a habit of adding fruit to your morning oatmeal, ready-to-eat cereal, yogurt or toaster waffle.
  • Top a baked potato with beans and salsa or broccoli and low-fat cheese.
  • Microwave a cup of vegetable soup as a snack or with a sandwich for lunch.
  • Add grated, shredded or chopped vegetables such as zucchini, spinach and carrots to lasagna, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, pasta sauce and rice dishes.
  • Make fruit your dessert: Slice a banana lengthwise and top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of chopped nuts.
  • Stock your freezer with frozen vegetables to steam or stir-fry for a quick side dish.
  • Make your main dish a salad of dark, leafy greens and other colorful vegetables. Add chickpeas or edamame (fresh soybeans). Top with low-fat dressing.*
  • Fruit on the grill: Make kabobs with pineapple, peaches and banana. Grill on low heat until fruit is hot and slightly golden.
  • Dip: Whole wheat pita wedges in hummus, baked tortilla chips in salsa, strawberries or apple slices in low-fat yogurt, or graham crackers in applesauce.

Authored by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics staff registered dietitian nutritionists.