Monday, March 2, 2015

Walk This Way… to 4 of Denver’s Spectacular Spots!

Even though March is one of Colorado’s snowiest months, we have some beautiful, warm days too. And we often get a little cabin feverish when those nice days start popping up.

Well put on your walking shoes because The Brookings Institute, an independent research organization in Washington, DC, ranks Denver as the fourth most walk-able downtowns in the nation. With a plethora of places to visit, this ranking isn’t a surprise. Denver not only is a great place to get around on foot, but we have some of the most amazing buildings and educational stops you will find.

All within close proximity of one another, here are some favorites in Denver:

200 E. Colfax Avenue
Standing exactly 5,280 feet above sea level, exactly one mile high, the Colorado State Capitol welcomes around 250,000 visitors a year. Enjoy a free tour of this amazing structure; however, they are in high demand, so make sure to schedule your excursion at least four weeks in advance. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the building, the work of our General Assembly, and our exceptional Colorado legacy.

100 W. 14th Avenue Pkwy
This amazing museum is made up of two architecturally striking buildings: one is a fortress-like structure from the Italian architect Gio Ponti, and the other building is one that resembles a titanium crystal with peaks by international figure in architecture and urban design, Daniel Libeskind. The findings inside will knock you off your feet; you will find the world’s greatest collection of Native American art, work from European masters, Old West classics and traveling exhibits. 

1250 Bannock Street
Clyfford Still is considered one of the most important painters of the 20th century and was among the first generation of Abstract Expressionist artists. Enjoy the Still Museum collection which represents 95 percent of his artwork. The museum opened in 2011 and is the newest addition to Denver’s wonderful Cultural Arts District located adjacent to the Denver Art Museum.

4.  U.S. Mint
320 W. Colfax Avenue
This is a remarkable opportunity to learn how money is made. The U.S. Mint produces 50 million coins a day, each one uniquely stamped with the letter “D” so people know those coins are from Denver. They offer a free guided tour that takes about 45 minutes and you can find out how coins are produced. Make a reservation as space is limited and the tours fill up quickly.

It’s so easy to get your daily dose of exercise in while sharpening your mind in this great city of ours! This is a great way to Own Your Health! And speaking of Owning Your Health, make sure to join us at a 9Health Fair this spring. Go to our Find a Fair to find a location near you. It’s important to know what your numbers are and to get that reminder of how vital it is to stay active! How do you take care of your physical wellbeing? Share with us on Facebook!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Paying it Forward with 9Health Fair

Photo by Ellen Jaskol
Sometimes in life, things get tough and it seems that all we can do is hope for a miracle. No matter how big or small, it’s that miracle that can make all the difference. Christina got the miracle she had desperately wished for – and then made a promise to pay it forward.

She had been fighting Lupus for a number of years and had it under control, for the most part. However, about five years ago, she began to feel more fatigued than normal, started to feel weak, and eventually wasn’t able to keep food down. This went on for about 8 months; she visited many doctors who thought it was her Lupus acting up, until one physician figured out what was making Christina so sick.

An Unexpected Diagnosis
On June 7, 2010, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. She hadn’t been making any red or white blood cells, which is why she couldn’t hold food down when she ate. They began chemotherapy, but after three treatments, she went septic. It was so bad that even after five days of antibiotics; she couldn’t breathe or function on her own.

Her family and friends came to say their goodbyes; they believed she was not going to make it more than a day. But then, she took a breath on her own and her organs started to function by themselves. At this point, the doctors knew she couldn’t handle anymore chemotherapy. A bone marrow transplant was her only option.

Right before Christina went on a waiting list, they found out that genetically, she is Hispanic. To her surprise, there was less than a 10 percent chance of finding a match. She and her husband remained very optimistic, and it was then that she promised herself if a match was found and she made it through this, she would do her part to educate the ethnically diverse population about bone marrow donations, so others would have a better chance of finding a donor.

Without having to wait too long, her miracle came in the form of not just one donor, but two! On November 15, 2010, she received her transplant.

Once the blood stem cell transplant was complete, she began a 30 day waiting period to make sure everything was functioning properly. Those 30 days came and went without a problem!  Christina now lives a very active life. Although she doesn’t have as much energy as she would like, she is still able to walk her six dogs daily, chase after her three children and work two jobs. She seems to be doing just fine.

Help Arrived for Many
Five years later, she is now cancer-free and has stuck to her promise. Since she recovered, she started a non-profit organization called Make It Happen USA, a stem-cell/bone marrow registry. It is all volunteer-based and has helped coordinate over 4,800 matches so far.

While getting the word out about her organization and the need for donors, Christina realized that 9Health Fair would be a great way to share information and find potential donors. She contacted 9Health Fair and created a partnership that is proving to be very successful. By taking swabs at 48 spring 9Health Fairs in 2014, over 1,900 potential donors were added to the stem-cell/bone marrow registry. Of those 1,900 potential donors, six people have been matched with patients!

Christina fought her own battle and won, and now she is helping others combat theirs as well. Make it Happen USA will be at a number of 9Health Fairs again this spring. Find out if you are a bone marrow match through a simple cheek swab!

Check our website for a list of spring fair locations and dates.

9Health Trail Blazers

Busy lives, daunting family history, stressful work, confusing health insurance…no matter what it is, we all have a reason for not living as healthy as we’d like to. This spring, follow our 9Health Trail Blazers as they commit to overcoming the obstacles to pursue their health goals.  With the help of 9Health Fair and some local medical experts, can they reach their goals? 

Follow their journeys this spring and find out!

Margarita - Photos from Margarita’s younger days tell the story of an adventurous, thin woman who climbed mountains and salsa danced.  Now, life’s twists and turns have taken some of that adventure from her life and added a few unwanted pounds to her frame.  The loss of her father, an emotional move to a new house, and a stressful job have led to unhealthy habits becoming the norm. This vibrant woman is ready to make herself, and her health, a priority again.
Health goals: Lose 15 pounds by April and  improve her cholesterol.  
See her story on 9News here.

Kai - After being rushed to the ER for excruciating pain in her abdomen, Kai was put on many trial and error remedies before doctors determined she had a gastrointestinal issue.  She had recently gotten Medicaid through Connect for Health Colorado and felt ready to tackle this diagnosis head on.  As she started to seek the care she needed, she hit wall after wall - there were restrictions to her coverage that she did not expect. Giving up is simply not an option – Kai is a young woman with a life to live, and she knows she needs to be healthy to accomplish all the things she wants to.  She’s going to learn to navigate the health care system, no matter what it takes.
Health goals: Figure out how to navigate the health care system with her insurance plan, and then get to the root of her GI problems so she can attempt to live a pain-free life again.
See her story on 9News here.

Wendy - Described by her friends as “permanently happy”, Wendy has a can-do attitude that was the driving force behind a long career as a teacher. Upon retirement, Wendy decided it was to make some changes to her life, and over the course of a few years, she lost 180 pounds!  This gave her the energy and confidence she needed to be an active retiree, filling her days with biking, dog training, and volunteering. While she has come quite a long way, she still relies on a knee brace for her daily activities to manage her arthritis pain.  She knows that if she can make permanent changes to her eating habits, she can overcome her weight loss plateau and kick the knee brace to the curb – for good!
Health goals: Get to a point where she only has to wear the knee brace for strenuous activity, and lose 30 pounds.
See her story on 9News here.

James -Heart disease and cancer have plagued members of his family, so the odds are against James when it comes to family history. Unwilling to live a life ruled by medications, James thought that working out moderately would keep the diseases at bay. Then, an uncle gifted him a blood pressure cuff, and he realized there was a lot more going on inside than he realized.  A string of bad events led to him losing control of his health. Through the encouragement of his girlfriend, he decided it was time to turn it around and take control back.
Health goals: Improve blood pressure and BMI, and complete the Spartan Military Race in under 2 hours.
See his story on 9News here.

Robert - As an actor in New York City, Robert was living the life he dreamed of - until a devastating diagnosis of non-hodgkins lymphoma sent him back to live with family in Colorado for treatment. After a long road of treatment and a stem cell transplant, he beat the disease. With a wife and son to continue to be healthy for, he committed himself to a healthy lifestyle and began running marathons. He was in the best shape of his life, running 9 minute miles and feeling great. Life got busy and holidays were celebrated well; now he was no longer in the best shape of his life. Remembering the days of once being so health-conscious, Robert would like to get back to that place of feeling great and taking care of himself. 
Health goals: Get his best Colfax ½ marathon time (2 hours or under) and lose 10-15 pounds

Maria- Maria’s family is no stranger to diabetes. Her mother, sister, and brothers all deal with the disease.  So when Maria was also diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, she knew what was to come – and she had to do all she could to keep the disease from controlling her life.  By making some incredible lifestyle changes, she has come a long way in managing diabetes – but she still has some work to do, especially when it comes to changing the habits of her family.  With her young son watching her every move, Maria is ready to keep herself and her family healthy through eating right and exercising.
Health goals: Continue controlling diabetes, lose 15 more pounds.

Shana - As a speech therapist, Shana’s days are jam packed.  Her schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for her to make good health choices.  Wanting to avoid the diabetes and heart diseases that have hit her family members, Shana knows that better nutrition and regular exercise need to be incorporated into her daily routine. A thyroid condition leaves her with no energy to work out, but she knows that a little exercise would boost her energy level significantly – she is in a catch-22 and ready to break free!
Health goals: Make changes that become a lifestyle – eat better, be more active and ultimately run a 5k this spring!

The Times are Changing – Fasting No Longer Required at 9Health Fair

Over the years, 9Health Fair participants have grown accustomed to skipping breakfast before attending their fair to have their blood drawn. Well, now things are changing.

The 9Health Fair Medical Advisory Committee has determined that fasting is not required (optional) for blood screenings. Beginning this spring, 9Health Fair will now allow the drawing non-fasting blood samples, which makes fasting completely optional!

A study suggests that when assessing risk for heart disease, a blood sample from someone who has not fasted is just as accurate as a sample from someone who has fasted. This is good news for both healthcare providers and patients, as fasting for routine blood work sometimes presents an inconvenience and may discourage routine screening.

What happens if I don’t fast?
Your triglyceride and blood sugar levels can be affected by eating prior to having your blood drawn. The levels may be higher than your fasting results, but not by enough to make a large difference. As long as you can report how many hours it has been since you’ve eaten, medical professionals will know how to interpret your results.

As always, people with diabetes should not fast; it is recommended that you check with your medical provider for specific recommendations. You are encouraged to drink plenty of water and continue to take prescription medications in preparation for your blood draw.

Time to Get Your Blood Draw at a 9Health Fair
Now that you have this new information, it’s time to get a 9Health Fair date on your calendar. Find a fair
near you - the results will provide you with the information you need to live a healthy life.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Skate Away from Cabin Fever

If you're experiencing feelings of cabin fever during these winter months, it may mean you aren’t getting outside and moving around enough. In order to stay healthy, you need to exercise on a regular basis, and all year round, not just during the summer months.

Ice skating is one of the top 5 Best Winter Sports to try according to WebMD. It is a low-impact exercise that helps build lower body muscles including the calves, quads, hamstrings and hips. And if you like to do jumps on the ice, that actually can help build bone mass.

The other health benefits of ice skating include getting a cardiovascular workout, strengthening your heart, and boosting balance, flexibility and agility. As people age, doing exercises that help maintain flexibility are important.

Speaking of ice skating, head on out to The Pond at Southlands Mall in Aurora for an ice skating experience you won’t forget. Every year, this ice rink provides fun for families from near and far. This is a highlight for many during the winter season because of the exercise and the beauty of the surroundings. The rink is open daily now through March 1st, so get out and about, even though the weather may be frightful.

Health is a dynamic process because it is always changing and you need to continue to stay active to remain healthy. Participating in healthy activities, like ice skating, will make your heart and body happy… and not to mention it may end up being a wonderful social event as well.

And make sure to attend a spring 9Health Fair to check on your overall health. Check our website for dates and locations; you don’t want to miss the opportunity to make sure your numbers are where they need to be.

Do you ice skate in the winter to keep your heart and body healthy? Share with us on Facebook.

Help Your Kiddos Keep the Cavities Away

As the old saying goes: "an apple a day keeps the doctor away!" Well, what about this one: "brushing your teeth two times a day keeps the cavities away!" February is National Children’s Dental Health Month and since it’s only two months into the new year, it’s a good time to establish and maintain good dental hygiene.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, tooth decay affects more than one-fourth of U.S. children aged 2 to 5 years and half of children aged 12 to 15. Untreated tooth decay can cause poor appearance, illness, and a great deal of pain.

What Can You Do to Help the Kiddos?
Teaching your children to brush two times a day and floss once a day will create healthy habits as they head into adulthood. Limiting their sugar intake will not only help with a child’s weight, but will also prevent dental related problems, such as decay, which is created by acetic foods and liquids.

As we all know, gum with sugar in it can create cavities, however sugarless gum tastes just as good and won ‘t deteriorate your teeth. The best part is chewing sugarless gum can help keep the bacteria out of your mouth, and it will pull the sugar away from your teeth, therefore keeping everything cleaner between brushings. Check out this quiz on the power sugarless gum really has.

Another way to help children is to make sure they are getting enough fluoride. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has praised water fluoridation as one of the “ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.” According to an article from The Colorado Trust, as of 2012, an estimated 72 percent of Coloradans served by public water systems use fluoridated water.

It’s important to educate kids on why we brush our teeth. Here are some great questions to ask your kiddos:

Getting children involved in their health in a fun way to helps them to be more excited about owning their health. Here are some great crafts to help inspire them to take care of their teeth:

Be Aware of Your Overall Health in February
In addition to February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, it is also American Heart Month. There is tie between the two, one benefiting the other. Taking care of your teeth not only keeps your pearly whites healthy, but believe it or not, it also helps with your overall heart health.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some research has found that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to the oral bacteria in the mouth and that which is swallowed. The best way to protect your overall health by taking care of your teeth is to brush at least twice a day, floss daily, eat healthy foods, replace your toothbrush every 3 months and visit your dentist regularly.

Take this Oral Health Quiz to test your knowledge, and then share your dental health awareness with us on Facebook. And make sure to attend a spring 9Health Fair to check on your overall health. Check our website for dates and locations; you don’t want to miss the opportunity to make sure your numbers are where they need to be. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Winter Hiking and Hydration

(This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado)

Whether it is a quick walk with the family, a long hike with the dog, or skinning up some backcountry slopes, winter hiking in Colorado offers some incredible views and peaceful surroundings. We often load up with warm layers, hats and gloves, sturdy boots and maybe even snowshoes. One thing we may not always remember, however, is to drink enough water. Winter hydration is critical!

Last month we discussed how to keep your muscles safe during outdoor activities and cold weather. One key element is hydration. But hydration goes beyond keeping your quads from screaming when you’re hitting the slopes hard. Hydration is key to staying healthy in all outdoor activities. One activity we may tend to forget this in is hiking and specifically in the winter. Here are a couple reasons why: 
  1. It doesn’t feel as strenuous. Think about a nice leisurely stroll on a snow packed path in your local open space. Doesn’t sound strenuous, right? Well think again! That cold weather and those extra layers you’re wearing mean your body is working harder than you may realize to stay warm and transport you.
  2. You don’t feel hot. This can be one of the perks of winter hiking, the weather is mild and you do not tend to get as hot and sweaty on those inclines. While your layers may keep you warm, your body may not feel hot and therefore, you may not realize you need water. 

What these two boil down to is not feeling thirsty. If you don’t feel your body working as hard, you are not likely to feel like you need a cool drink. But, just because your body isn’t craving it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need it! Our bodies can become dehydrated even quicker during winter hikes because the air is dryer. This is especially true if we hike at higher altitudes.

Sometimes keeping your water flowing is hard in winter too. Some hydration packs or water bottles freeze on long hikes in cold temperatures. There are plenty of insulated options on the market to help with that. So, be sure you pack plenty to drink next time you head out to enjoy a hike on your favorite snow covered trail.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Let Your Heart be Your Valentine

How is your heart health? February is Heart Health Month and it’s a great time to think about the many things you can do to keep your heart ticking. Your age, gender and family history play a big part in your risk for heart disease, but there are many lifestyle choices that you can make to keep your heart in the best working condition possible.

The common things we think about when it comes to heart health are:
  1. Don’t smoke. Nicotine constricts your blood vessels and carbon monoxide can damage the inner lining of those vessels.
  2. Eat a healthy diet. A diet that is high in fat, salt and cholesterol can clog arteries and cause weight problems. Too much salt can increase your blood pressure and your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  3. Get plenty of exercise. A sedentary lifestyle is not good for your heart and it can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol and/or high blood sugar. 
However, some things we don’t think about as often when it comes to heart health are:

  1. Lack of vitamin D. According to the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center, lack of vitamin D is a risk factor for heart attacks, congestive heart failure, stroke, and conditions associated with cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Lack of vitamin D can also cause depression which for some, may add to seasonal affective disorder during the winter months.
  2. Stress. Certain stress, in certain people, under certain circumstances appears to cause heart disease. When something goes wrong that creates long lasting stress, it can contribute to heart problems.
  3. Excessive alcohol or caffeine use. While still under study, the American Heart Association shares that there is a direct link between caffeinated soda, coffee drinking and coronary heart disease. Stick to moderation – 1 to 2 cups per day  haven’t been found harmful.
  4. Too much exercise. Findings suggest that training for and participating in activities as long as marathons and triathlons may cause heart problems in some. Dr. James O’Keefe, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, MO believes there is little to gain from any exercise over an hour a day and it is not healthy for the heart. 
Check out this article about assessing long-term heart disease risk. Then take these healthy heart quizzes to discover how much you know about your health and what you need to do to stay healthy.

And make sure to come to one of our spring 9Health Fairs featuring many affordable and no-cost health screenings. The free screenings include a variety of tests such as blood pressure, vision, lung function, oral health and more. For a minimal fee, you can have your blood work done. Get your vitamin D level checked along with baseline information on cholesterol, blood glucose, liver, kidneys, thyroid and more.

The data is inside you, and the results will help you better improve your heart and your overall health. For locations and a list of screenings, go to for all the information you will need.

How do you keep your heart healthy? Share with us on Facebook.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cold Weather, Warm Muscles: Prevent winter injuries from outdoor activities.

(This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado)

Colorado residents have little excuse to not enjoy the outdoors year-round, based on the number of sunny days we experience each year! We are fortunate enough to have world class skiing in our backyard, miles of trails for snowshoeing, amazing wildlife viewing, and mild enough temperatures to run or bike on most days. But, that doesn’t mean the cold weather doesn’t take a toll on our muscles. Keep your muscles healthy and enjoy the outdoors this winter with some simple tips.
  1. Warm up longer & stretch. Cold weather can cause your muscles to become tighter because they lose more heat. Tighter joints and muscles mean less range of motion too. To avoid feeling uncomfortably tight, take time before to warm those muscles up. How much warm up do you need? A basic rule is 10 minutes when the temperature is between 35 and 45 degrees. Add 5 minutes to that warm up for every 10 degree drop below that. From there, stretch your warm muscles to keep them flexible before more strenuous activity. Be sure to focus on key areas like calves, quads and back muscles.
  2. Stay warm and hydrated. The weather is already working against you by taking heat out of your muscles. So, be sure you are properly dressed to keep your muscles warm. Layer it up! Start with a warm, tight fitting base layer and add more layers as needed. Once you have warm muscles that allow you to keep you moving, don’t forget to keep them hydrated. Your muscles work harder in the winter but the cold temperatures don’t always make you feel thirsty. Don’t be fooled! Your muscles still need water to prevent fatigue and soreness. So, drink up! 

Don’t let the cold keep you from being active in the outdoors this winter. Looking for some fun winter events for the whole family? Don’t forget to check out to find your next adventure! 

Get Out of the Cold and Into the Museum

The holidays are over, life returns to normal and now you are looking for things to keep you busy while the weather is too cold to be outside. While you get a pass for staying indoors during these cold winter months, it is still important to keep your mind and body active.

Since we can’t change the weather, head indoors to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where you will find two exciting exhibits that you won’t want to miss.

Discover the underwater world of whales with Whales: Giants of the Deep. At this amazing exhibit, you will learn how their bodies work, what their lifestyle is like and how they have survived extinction. You will also encounter some of the people whose lives have been linked to whales – hear their stories and share in their experiences.

Whales are some of the largest, most mysterious mammals on Earth and this is a great opportunity to learn about their evolution, their life underwater and what dangers they encounter. The display is docked now through February 16th at the museum. Don’t let it swim away without having a chance to visit.

The other incredible exhibit is the Traveling of the Silk Road; a legendary journey that takes you on the greatest trading route in all time. You will get to explore the ancient cities of Asia and the Middle East from AD 600 to 1200. Travel this historic trade route of five cities and learn how people lived and what they did for survival. You can see how they functioned and flourished. This journey will be at the museum until May 31st.

Don’t just sit around wishing the weather was nicer; make the most of your time! Head over to the museum with your friends and family; not only will you exercise your brain, you will get a walking workout in too. Check out the exhibits and let us know what you think on Facebook!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Be Your Own Advocate with 9Health Fair

Now in her mid 50’s, Nancy had always been active and in great shape. She loved to swim, went hiking whenever she had the chance, and ate healthy all the time. Her friends and family always admired her liveliness and ability to stay so healthy.

Two years ago, Nancy started noticing some changes with the way she was feeling. Her energy level was low on a pretty regular basis. She didn’t enjoy being active like she had in the past. Then she noticed she started getting sick more often. With pneumonia hitting her twice within a short period of time, she was beginning to realize something was really wrong.

With a good career as a human resources director, she had been on top of the world – now, she found herself feeling unable to work. Nancy eventually left her job because she was having so many unresolved health issues. Her head would spin frequently and she was very lethargic. It was to the point where she couldn’t even manage basic life tasks. Her doctor could not figure out what was wrong.

Now on a fixed income, she didn’t have a huge budget. Her friend invited her to a 9Health Fair and she thought that was a great way to get a health check-up without spending an arm and a leg.

She had the Blood Chemistry screening, which provides baseline information on cholesterol, blood glucose, liver, kidneys, thyroid and more. Within a few weeks, she received her results that showed she had a thyroid problem, which was a huge surprise to her! She immediately took her results to her doctor and he said he hadn’t even thought to test her thyroid.

She is now on medication, has dropped weight and is feeling like a new person. Back to hiking and swimming, Nancy says she owes it to 9Health Fair. And the message she wants to pass on is that everyone needs to be their own personal health advocate. 9Health Fair made her pay attention to her health and made her more aware of other ways to be healthy. Now she feels there is hope and wants others to feel the same thing. Take it from Nancy; you need to own your health!

Make sure to register for a spring 9Health Fair! This is the time to make that health resolution come true. February 1st, check our website for a list of 2015 spring fair locations and dates.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Turn Your Vice Around in 2015

Now that we are a couple of weeks into the new year, how are your resolutions going? We hope you started 2015 off by deciding to Own Your Health!

While positive, long-term goals of turning your vices into virtues are well intended, sometimes they can be difficult to pull off. Like 19th-century American humorist, Josh Billings once said, “Health is like money, we never have a true idea of its value until we lose it.”

Take this time to value your health before you actually do lose it. Bad habits, or vices, jeopardize your health – both mentally and physically. And they can prevent you from accomplishing your goals and New Year’s Resolutions.

Check out these 5 ideas on how to turn a bad habit into a healthy choice. 
  1. Choose a substitute for your bad habit. Many unhealthy patterns can be caused by stress and boredom. For example, if you smoke cigarettes when you get stressed, find a more positive activity to do when dealing with the anxiety. Then insert that new behavior instead of having a cigarette every time you feel stress coming on.
  2. Cut out as many triggers as possible. If you eat cookies when they are in the house, then don’t buy them. When you sit down on the couch and the first thing you do is pick up the television remote, then hide the remote. Make it easier to break the habits by avoiding the things that cause them.
  3. Work with someone who has the same vice and turn it into a virtue together. Pair up with someone and exercise together or quit smoking together – or, go to a 9Health Fair together! The two of you can hold each other accountable and celebrate your accomplishments together.
  4. Surround yourself with people who live the way you want to live. Spending time with people who live the way you want to will help encourage you to break away from bad habits you want to change, and allow you to visualize the lifestyle you want to lead.
  5. The power of positive thinking. Visualize yourself doing the bad habit, then visualize living without the bad habit and performing another habit that is good. Lastly, finish this picture with an image of yourself in a positive, happy state. Whether it may be passing up the cookie aisle at the grocery store, buying healthier food or getting up earlier to workout. Whatever habit it is you’re looking to break, envision yourself getting rid of it and enjoying the moment where that vice has turned into a virtue. 

Realize that you won’t be able to always stay on task. We all slip up now and then – after all, we are only human.  So rather than beating yourself up, just plan for it and work to get back on track.

Turning vices into virtues takes time, effort and determination, but most of the time, having a good reason and a replacement plan is the important factor in staying on track. Set a goal and you will be able to conquer your bad habits.

 Make sure to join us for a spring 9Health Fair – what a great way to own your health, find out what your numbers are and remind yourself why it’s important to modify vices and make it a virtuous life! You can register online for a fair near you beginning in February 2015.

Tell us what you’re turning around in 2015. We want to hear about your resolutions and how you will make 2015 a healthier year. Share with us on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Healthier New Year? Just the Facts, Ma’am!

We’ve all heard the claims – “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!”, “Eat what you want and still lose weight”, “This 60 day supply will put you at the weight you want!” But in the end, do those statements really stand up to their word?

This is a common time of year when we want to make changes and improvements, and set new goals that will make this year better than the last. Dieting usually sits close to the top for many people, so paying attention to diet claims and myths is important in order to successfully get on a healthier eating regimen.

Dieting Myths and the Real Facts
Myth: Diets with big claims will help me lose weight fast and keep it off.

Fact: These diets usually make promises that don’t stick in the long run. You may lose weight at first, but some of these diets are hard to follow and even harder to maintain as a lifestyle. Most people get tired of them quickly and regain any lost weight.

These types of diets are called “fad” diets and they are often times unhealthy. Losing more than 3 pounds a week after the first few weeks may increase your chances of developing gallstones. Being on a very low-calorie diet for a long time may lead to health problems such as fatigue, nausea, diarrhea and also more serious health risks such as heart problems.

Myth: Some people can eat all they want and still lose weight.

Fact: To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you put into your body. These people are no different than the rest – they just burn the calories, making it look like they can eat more.

There are a number of factors that may affect your weight, such as age, genes, medications and lifestyle habits. Getting into healthy eating habits, along with a good exercise program, is the best way to lose weight - and keep it off. Check with your health care provider on ways to help you meet your individual weight loss goals.

Myth: Fat-free and low-fat foods actually mean there are less calories.

Fact: Unfortunately, these foods are often the same as or higher in calories than the regular, full-fat product. Sometimes, these items have added flour, salt, starch or sugar to improve flavor and texture after the fat is taken out.

Myth: If I skip a meal, I will lose weight.

Fact: Actually, when you skip a meal, you become hungrier and often times eat more as a result. Research shows that eating frequent, small meals is a better way to stay in control of your portion sizes and keeps your metabolism more stable. A study published in Circulation reports that men who skip breakfast had close to a 30 percent higher risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) than those who ate breakfast.

Put a Healthy Plan in Place
  • Eat a well balanced diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep your calories at 1200 or above (visit with your health care provider to help you determine the best calorie intake for you).
  • Incorporate daily exercise into your plan
  • Practice portion control. You don’t have to cut sweets and fats from your diet; just remember the saying “everything in moderation”. 
With a fresh start to a new year, journey on to a healthier you! Tell us how you will make 2015 a healthier year. Share with us on Facebook!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Angels Watched Over Him

John is one of those people… friendly, outgoing and interested in keeping his health on the up and up. He had always taken pride in feeling pretty good and staying active. However, now at the age of 62, he started experiencing some numbness in his feet.

A new resident of Longmont, he had never heard of 9Health Fair. One day, he happened to be driving through town and noticed a sign that a 9Health Fair was going on at the Hopelight Clinic. He decided to stop and see if they could help him understand why he was experiencing a lack of sensation in his feet.

John met one of 9Health Fair’s nurses outside and he explained his issue with his feet. The blood draw was about to close for the day, so she rushed him inside so he could get his blood work done – just in the nick of time!

Within a day, John received an alert phone call from a 9Health Fair nurse letting him know he had an elevated HgA1c and an elevated glucose level. Worried, he called his doctor to schedule a visit. During that visit, they took a look at his results and diagnosed him with Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension.

A few months later, John was stopped at a red light, heading to the Hopelight Clinic for a follow-up visit. As he waited for the light to turn green, he noticed that the 9Health Fair nurse who had made sure he got into the fair to have his blood drawn, was stopped next to him at the stoplight. Ironically, they were both headed to the same clinic, and he was able to tell her what his diagnosis was.  

He is now on medication to control both issues. John takes his health very seriously and monitors his blood sugar and diet, along with his blood pressure every day. He will continue attending the 9Health Fair, as he said the nurses and volunteers are his angels!

Make sure you get 9Health Fair on your calendar in 2015. Come February 1st, check our website for a complete list of 2015 spring fair locations and dates. With the New Year just around the corner, it is a great time to make a resolution to own your health!

All Aboard the Santa Express!

For many families, part of the joy of the holiday season is experiencing the magic of Santa Claus. There is no better way to do that than by hopping on board The Santa Express to the North Pole.

From now until December 27th, children and adults can relax on this winter wonderland excursion wearing your warm, comfortable clothes - or even your pajamas! The Royal Gorge Railroad in Canon City is where the Express boards, and the festive train ride takes you to the “North Pole”, where it is decorated like a true Christmas town - complete with over 30,000 holiday lights!

While you are cozied up on the train, you will enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and a cookie, listen to your favorite Christmas tunes and take in entertainment by Santa’s elves. When you arrive at the North Pole, a special guest makes an appearance - Santa jumps on board to give the children a gift.

Once the train returns from the North Pole, Santa awaits to greet all the kiddos once again. Make sure they have their Christmas wish list ready to share with him as they will get the chance to sit on his lap, tell him what they want and get their picture taken.

Seeing is believing, so make reservations early to lock in your day! The dates are selling out fast; go online to buy your tickets, your pre-purchased meal packages and the photo opportunity for your child’s visit with Santa. You don’t want to miss this special holiday trip where you’ll feel like you are taking part in the movie The Polar Express!

Take on a Wellness Challenge BEFORE the New Year!

Take on a Wellness Challenge BEFORE the New Year!

It’s not uncommon for visions of sugar plums to dance in your head this time of year.  If you are like most people, holiday festivities are based around food, which can affect your health in many ways.

According to the Calorie Control Council, the average weight gain for Americans during the winter holiday season is one to three pounds. Considering that most people don’t shed those pounds after the holidays are over, it’s easy to see how this leads to accumulation in weight over the years.

So what do you do to own your health and still enjoy the holidays?

Set a Goal Now!
Take charge and own your health NOW to put the desire to indulge in holiday goodies in perspective. Set a goal to watch what you eat, get enough rest and plan for plenty of exercise. Putting together a list or calendar is a great way to get organized and start a program – and doing so before the New Year hits will make you feel like you are ahead of the game.

Join 9Health Fair Employees Health Challenge
We have been given a holiday challenge to help get us all on the right track. The President of 9Health Fair has given us an opportunity to earn the day after Christmas off as a bonus day. The catch? He has given us a “Wellness Calendar” and each day we need to do something that contributes to our health from the “5 Domains of Wellness”:

·         Cognitive Wellness: Reading a book, reading an article about health, playing an educational game or learning an instrument.
·         Emotional Wellness: Take some time to reflect, create positive affirmations, have a good laugh or do something calming like yoga.
·         Nutritional Wellness: Eating extra fruits and veggies, and drinking lots of water.
·         Physical Wellness: Going for a neighborhood walk during lunch,
·         Social Wellness: Enjoying the interaction with other people such as volunteering, supporting a friend, or even a holiday party

Perhaps this might spark some ideas for you, or better yet, join in and take the challenge with us. Although, we are sorry to say, we can’t offer the day after Christmas off for you at your company, but join along and see how healthy you can stay during this holiday season!

Continue your healthy ways into the New Year in preparation for the spring 9Health Fair season!  That will be a terrific time to see how your health improvements have paid off, and compare your numbers to last year’s results.  Check out our website on February 1st to find out our spring 2015 fair dates and locations.

Share your healthy holiday success story with us on Facebook.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Avoid the Not-So-Merry Holiday Mishaps

The holidays are a joyous and special time. Families and friends come together to celebrate and decorations are abundant. We enjoy the bright lights, scented candles and delicious cooking; all creating the perfect holiday scene. 

However, with all the hustle and bustle, it’s important to decorate safely and avoid hazards that cause holiday related accidents. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 15,000 injuries involving holiday decorating seen in emergency rooms nationwide during November and December of 2012.

“There are about 250 injuries a day during the holiday season. Adding safety to your checklist can keep a holiday tradition from becoming a holiday tragedy,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler.

In addition, warns CPSC, candles start about 11,600 fires each year, resulting in 150 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $173 million in property loss. "Sometimes people are having such a nice time during the holidays that they forget to extinguish candles," said CPSC Chairman Hal Stratton.

Safety Tips to Prevent Holiday Disasters
Don’t be one of the statistics. Follow these important accident prevention tips from the CPSC as a guide to help prevent decorating disasters this holiday season.

  • Check for freshness when buying a live tree. Make sure it’s green, with needles that are hard to pull from the branches. Also, make sure the bottom of the tree is sticky with resin and no needles fall off when you tap the tree on the ground.
  • For live trees, make sure to monitor the water level daily and keep the tree stand filled with water.
  • Always place trees away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, vents and radiators.
  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant”.
  • If you are decorating a tree in a home with small children, make sure to pay attention to sharp or breakable ornaments. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of kids who could be harmed by them and avoid trimmings that could resemble candy or food.
  • Keep burning candles within sight and put them out before leaving the room and before going to bed.
  • Place candles on a sturdy, heat-resistant surface. Make sure they are in a location where they won’t get knocked over or catch anything on fire.
  • Use lights that have been tested for safety. Also, make sure if they say for “indoor use only” you don’t use them outdoors.
  • Check each set by examining new and old ones for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
  • Throw out damaged sets, and do not use electric lights on a metallic tree.
  • Stay off the roof and only put lights around the perimeter of the house where you can easily reach.
  • Do not put wrapping paper in the fireplace. A flash fire could occur because wrappings can ignite suddenly and burn rapidly.
  • Put the fire out, or in the case of a gas fireplace, turn it off, before leaving the house or heading to bed.
Tis the season to be prepared and safe
Keeping your family safe and sound this holiday season is a top priority. Not only for your health, but this time of year when budgets are already stretched, an accident could add a huge financial burden. So bottom line is – keep the lights shining bright – safely.

Layer it On Me!

(This guest post is authored by Melissa Daruna of Get Outdoors Colorado)

With some unseasonably warm weather starting off winter in Colorado, it is sometimes difficult to think about dressing to stay warm. Appropriate clothing, however, can make or break your family’s experience and enjoyment in the outdoors during winter. The key to success is dressing in layers. REI breaks it down into three basic layers – base layer, middle layer and shell layer.

The base layer is what is next to your skin and is actually used for moisture management. Material that wicks away moisture will help keep the body dry, which helps the body maintain its temperature.  Clothes made of merino wool or synthetic fibers work great. Avoid cotton, as it absorbs moisture and will leave an active body feeling wet and cold.

The middle layer is designed to keep you warm and should be made of material that will insulate the body. This layer can be everything from light fleece to a heavy fill down coat. As the Active Kids Club reminds us - dress for the activity level as well as the weather. Keeping kids warm is great but making them too warm will cause them to sweat which can make them cold quick. The great thing about a light middle layer and warmer one is that layers can be shed as temperatures rise or as your activity increases.

The shell layer is where weather protection really comes in. This layer should be designed to keep the wind, rain, and snow out. This can be anything from water resistant soft shells to waterproof rain or snow gear. This is another layer that can be removed when appropriate to maintain comfort when active.

Don’t forget about your head, hands and feet! The same principles of wicking materials that keep your core warm can be applied to your toes. Wear wool socks and waterproof boots for wet or snowy hikes.  Always wear a hat that can keep your head and ears warm and protected from the elements. Wear gloves or mittens and remember that kids like to touch things, even if they are wet or cold. Waterproof gloves or mittens are a smart choice. Lastly, keep your neck warm with a scarf or turtleneck.

Plan for success in the snow by knowing what type of snow gear is right for your family and children. Two-piece snowsuits are great for older kids (over 5) and allow them to wear just the pants or coat when appropriate. Younger children, however, tend to get snow up and down in all the wrong places.  A one-piece suit that can keep their whole body dry is best.

Plan ahead and layer it on for successful outdoor adventures year-round!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Join Us in Reaching Our Goal on Colorado Gives Day!

Tomorrow is the big day, Colorado Gives Day! This 24-hour state-wide campaign is to encourage online giving to some of Colorado’s most notable non-profits, including 9Health Fair. It is simple to donate and the perfect time of year to give what you can. To contribute, all you have to do is visit tomorrow!

Why December 9? By giving to 9Health Fair on December 9th, your donation will be supercharged by the First Bank Incentive Fund and the Giving First Foundation.  When you give on December 9th, your donation goes even further.

9Health Fair is able to continue offering important health screenings and education to fair participants because of generous contributions during Colorado Gives Day and throughout the year. All donations go directly to 9Health Fair to help people like David, a 59 year old high school physical education teacher.

David had run a half marathon the week before the fall 9Health Fair. He was looking good and feeling healthy.  Although he was a long time 9Health Fair attendee, this particular year he had waited until the last minute to attend – his busy schedule almost kept him from attending!  Knowing the tests he needed for his age was what prompted David to request the PSA level blood screening.  Even though his physical tests had never revealed any issues and he had no symptoms, he just figured that having the blood test would be a good idea.

It was an excellent idea.

Not long after attending, he received a call from a 9Health Fair nurse. His results were back and his PSA level was extremely high - 13.5 (the highest normal level is 4.0). It was recommended that he see his doctor as soon as possible. After the repeated test results turned out the same, a biopsy was taken. The results were stunning – stage 2 prostate cancer. It was found early enough that it had not spread, and he had surgery to remove the cancer.

David thanks 9Health Fair for helping him “own his health” and uncovering a serious health issue before it was too late. By giving through Colorado Gives Day tomorrow, you can ensure that these vital services will continue in our community.

Remember to donate and help spread the word about this opportunity to your friends and family. With it nearing the end of the year, make your donation now to support 9Health Fair -  our services would not be possible without the generous support of people like you. Visit anytime tomorrow to donate!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Make it the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Really!

With the busy holiday season already in swing, the daily stresses and strains can begin to take a toll for many of us. Questions fill our heads such as, will I get my work accomplished so I will be able to spend quality time with my family? Will I have enough budgeted to buy the gifts on my list? Will this be a joyous season without feeling overwhelmed?

The American Psychological Association found that almost half of all women in the U.S. experience a great deal of added stress during the holidays because of taking on the role of planning large holiday parties, decorating, shopping and much more. The study shows that women take on more than men and therefore are more likely to fall into bad habits to manage their stress, like comfort eating. This can put their health at risk since stress causes so many problems. The good news is you can handle those stresses and more this holiday season –simply remind yourself that all the hectic holiday hustle and bustle can be fought off by putting some helpful tactics in place.

Ways to relax and get through the holidays with less stress
Meditation can be a great way to restore your sense of calm, even if done for a few minutes each day. Relaxation and calmness translates to good mental health. The Mayo Clinic shares the importance of meditation, what types are available, and how to put the practice of mediation into your life.

Another way to ward off stress is to remind yourself to be happy for what you have. As the psychology researchers have found, it’s important to keep a “gratitude journal.” Take a moment out of your day and jot down all those things that make your life a joy. All of the sudden, you may find yourself focusing on the things that make you happy instead of the things that are causing stress and anxiety in your life.

Next, toss in some simple techniques you can put into place anytime, anywhere.
  1. Walk faster than normal while doing your holiday shopping. The faster you move, the more endorphins you produce. That in turn will make your mood more positive and help you to be stress-free.
  2. Step outside for a dose of Vitamin D. Fifteen minutes twice a day of sunshine will provide you with most of the Vitamin D you need and it will fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), along with stress.
  3. Eat low fat, healthy foods during this busy time of year. Unhealthy treats will only fill you with empty calories and leave you without energy which can enhance stress. Focus on fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins and legumes, nuts and seeds for that ultimate feel good refueling. 
Take charge of your health
Taking small steps all year long, along with monitoring your health at a 9Health Fair each year, can go a long way in keeping you healthy and enjoying the holidays. You will have peace of mind after visiting a 9Health Fair knowing you are “owning your health”.

Make this holiday season relaxing, enjoyable and stress-free. As Andy Williams sings, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and by following the simple solutions above, it really can be!

What do you do to take the stress out of the holiday season? Share with us on Facebook.

Monday, November 17, 2014

There’s Something Magical (and Fragile) Going on in Denver

When it comes to the display of flowers and plants, why not add an exhibition of colorful glass artwork to the picture?

For a limited time, Denver Botanic Gardens has brought in the Rocky Mountain Region’s first major outdoor exhibition of artwork by famed glass-blowing artist, Dale Chihuly. If you haven’t seen his glass pieces before, this is an exhibit you don’t want to miss!

Seeing is Believing
The journey begins with the show stopping “Blue Icicle Towers,” a 2014 piece that shatters your mind as you first enter the garden. Just a few steps down the path you will find “Summer Sun,” from 2010, a sphere of fiery, orange tentacles propped on a singular column.

From there, the display changes, as the artwork becomes integrated with the plants and fountains. You will find that everywhere you look, everywhere you go - there is a touch of Chihuly waiting to blow you away. Don’t wait too long to visit - this traveling exhibit is here in Denver only until November 30th.

Chihuly’s Vision
Well known for his development of glass, Chihuly turned his vision into a fine art. He was introduced to glass blowing while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country at the University of Wisconsin. A few years later, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice where he observed the team approach to blowing glass, and that is what formed the way he designs his artwork today. 

He has given the world a reason to take glass blowing seriously as an art form with his elaborate chandeliers, fragile seashells, brilliant baskets, and the simple, yet exquisite balls, rods and cones.

Don’t Miss the Chihuly Experience

This traveling exhibit is making its way through the U.S., with Denver being the first stop on the list. It has been at the Denver Botanic Gardens since June, and heads to the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida for its premiere on December 6th. Make sure to attend now before the glass blows away!
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