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!

The Results You’ve Been Waiting For

Congratulations on owning your health and attending a 9Health Fair this fall! Getting regular screenings for common health concerns, even if you have no symptoms, can help detect problems early, and help you benefit from easier and more effective treatment.

The goal of attending a fair and learning your numbers is to keep you healthier longer. Now that you have attended a 9Health Fair, you may ask yourself, "What do my results mean?" Your lab results measure and tell you the amount of certain key elements that are critical to appropriate function of your body's organ system. All labs have a normal reference range that tells you if the level of what you are measuring is within normal limits.

When the measurement is outside of the normal range, it may indicate a problem. You and your health care provider can work on discovering and correcting whatever is causing the abnormal value.
Some abnormal values can be extremely critical and others just a warning sign. 9Health Fair nurses will call you if your lab values are in the alert or critical range. They will help you understand the urgency of your results. You can also go to any King Soopers or City Market Pharmacy and ask the pharmacist to help you interpret your results. And, of course, you can speak with your health care provider.

Receiving Your 9Health Fair Results
There are two ways to receive your personal results, depending on whether you registered in advance using the online registration tool or if you registered in person at the fair by filling out the participant form.

If you took advantage of our online registration tool, you will receive your results electronically in your secure account one to two weeks of attending your 9Health Fair. Log into your secure account with the username and password you created during the registration process. If you forgot either your username or your password, use the “Login Help” link on the results page.

If you registered in person by filling out a participant registration form at the 9Health Fair itself, you will receive your results via mail to the address you provided on the registration form. Your results should arrive within four weeks of when you attended the 9Health Fair.

Need Help Reading Your Results?
Sometimes the numbers on your results can be hard to understand. The links below will take you to common places on our website where you will be able to get information to know what the values mean.

If you have questions or need help understanding your results, call 9Health Fair at 303-698-4455 and ask to speak to one of our nurses. Remember, 9Health Fair does not replace a visit to your health care provider. Please use 9Health Fair results as part of your overall effort to Own Your Health!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Show Mother Nature Some Love - Give Back to Nature!

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

This season is often focused on giving and being thankful for the ones we love. We encourage you to also remember to be thankful for the outdoor places and spaces you love. Coloradoans are extremely fortunate to have such a beautiful backyard to play and explore in. Here are 5 great ways to practice gratitude by giving back to nature:
  1. Buy a Colorado State Parks Pass. An Annual Parks Pass gets you 12 months of unlimited access to all of Colorado’s State Parks. With amazing access to family camping, hiking, fishing, and more exploring than your boots will know what to do with, this pass is also a great gift idea. By supporting Colorado Parks and Wildlife, you are helping keep the lands we love protected and public.
  2. Go cut down your own Christmas tree! For many families, this is a long-held tradition. The US Forest Service grants permits each year to cut down a tree on National Forest land. Now, cutting down a tree might sound counter-intuitive to protecting nature but this program actually helps manage the land and proceeds go to the USFS.
  3. Plant a tree in someone’s name. If you’d feel better planting a tree rather than cutting one down, the US Forest Service has a host of programs and partners that offer opportunities to plant a tree to honor someone to just contribute to forests that need help. Another great gift idea for nature lovers!
  4. Sponsor an outdoor activity. Many families opt to sponsor a child or another family for the holidays. Try focusing the gifts on items that will help families get their children outdoors more – proper cold weather gear, hiking boots or poles, a day pack, trail maps or even a bike helmet. Consider connecting with a family or elderly person in your neighborhood that does not get outdoors as much do something simple like go on a walk or visit your local open space together to share some time in nature.
  5. Volunteer. Our amazing outdoors need us now more than ever. Colorado’s population is growing and that can have a huge impact on our favorite outdoor places. Dedicate some time and give back to mother nature. Do you have family visiting this holiday season? What better way to show them a true Colorado experience than by helping build a trail, prep a community garden or work on developing open space. You can search for volunteer opportunities in your area at or with our partner, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado.
Remember, time spent outdoors is time well spent on your health too. Practicing gratitude for you favorite park or trail can also come in the form of just remembering to get out and explore.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Volunteer Becomes the Participant

Julie is one of those people who loves to help others. She always reaches out; making sure everyone is comfortable and well taken care of. With a career in the medical field, she feels as if she is making a difference.

In her quest to help people gain access to health care, Julie has volunteered for 9Health Fair since 2010 as a phlebotomist. She typically volunteers during either the spring or the fall fair season, but the last two years, she has chosen to volunteer at both season’s fairs, helping out at somewhere between six to ten locations.

“The feeling of knowing that you are helping people improve themselves and make them feel better is very enlightening,” says Julie.

Visiting with the participants is one of her favorite aspects of being a 9Health Fair volunteer, and she looks forward to seeing the same faces each year. “You want to hear how they’ve been and what has changed over the last year. Did their cholesterol numbers improve; did their blood pressure go down? Knowing I have helped change someone’s life by just a poke of a needle is quite rewarding and that is why I return to volunteer each year.”

Julie is very healthy and has always taken pride in having a lot of energy. This past year, she was feeling quite lethargic and fatigued. She couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so she thought maybe it was just stress. Knowing that fatigue can be a side effect of low Vitamin D, she decided to get her Vitamin D level checked at one of the fairs she was volunteering at.  

A couple of weeks later, she received her results in the mail and it turned out that she did indeed have a Vitamin D deficiency. Her number was extremely low, which explained why she was feeling so fatigued. When she discussed her result with her doctor, they found out that the reason for the deficiency was because of a medication she was taking at the time.

The doctor immediately switched her medication and put her on a Vitamin D intake diet. By the next 9Health Fair season, she had her Vitamin D level checked again, and this time the results revealed a huge improvement in her levels.

9Health Fair first impacted Julie’s life through the opportunity to volunteer and give back, but now she has a gained a new perspective through her experience as a participant. “This is what 9Health Fair is all about!” says Julie.

Keep an eye out for your 9Health Fair results and if you are looking for information or you have questions about your results, check out our website for details and FAQ’s.

Has 9Health Fair has an impact on your life? Share your story with us!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Exercise Strengthens Your “White Matter”

We all know that exercise is good for your heart, your lungs, your muscles and your overall well-being. It can also improve memory and other brain functions, but those studies have mainly focused on the gray matter in your brain. The gray matter is involved in muscle control, and sensory perception such as seeing and hearing, memory, emotions, speech, decision making, and self-control.

Now, new research says that fitness boosts another kind of brain matter - the white kind. White matter fills half the brain and helps transmit electrical signals that carry the important messages between neurons from one brain region to another. It plays a critical role in helping a person master a variety of mental skills.

This increase in white matter has been found in children, adults and the elderly. According to one study, children who are physically fit showed substantial differences in the characteristics of white matter, and all of them have been found to show an increase in attention span, cognitive efficiency and memory. In fit children, white matter appears more compact which means that nerve activity moves faster and more efficiently.

Like everything else in the body, as people age, the white matter fibers that allow communication between the brain regions also decline. However, if older people continue to exercise, they keep the white matter compact and often times retain memory that might otherwise begin to fail. If damage occurs to the brain's white matter or aging takes place without a person staying physically fit, it has been found to be an indicator of potential memory problems and dementia.

"Engaging in regular aerobic exercise has been found to improve learning, memory, and self-control," said Hollis C. Karoly, a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and also the corresponding author for this clinical and experimental research. "This seems to be particularly true among older adults who exercise regularly, which suggests that exercise, may prevent a natural loss in cognitive functions that occurs as people age. Additionally, exercise has been shown to protect white matter in the brain from damage associated with aging and various diseases."

So take the time to care of your brain by being more active! Mild to moderate exercise is the key to good health no “matter” how you look at it. Share your daily exercise routine with us! And review your 9Health Fair blood test results with your doctor to make sure you are headed down the right road.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Don’t Worry, Be Happy… and Healthy

Are you an excessive worrier? Many people who spend a lot of time worrying believe their concern is justified. However, worrying can actually take a toll on your mental and physical health.

Take this 10 question test to help you determine if worrying is affecting your health. 

Constant worrying can affect your everyday life so much that you can lose your appetite, and your relationships, sleep and job can end up suffering. If worrying becomes so extreme, harmful lifestyles can develop and bad habits begin such as overeating, smoking or abusing alcohol and drugs. If too much worry is hurting your ability to enjoy life, please seek help from a medical professional

Here are six steps to stop the cycle of worry:
  1. Set aside a designated time to worry. Once your “worry time” is up, let it go and move on. Your mental and physical well-being will thank you.
  2. Accept the worry and then move on. Worrying about worrying is an unhealthy cycle to fall into. If you get caught up in worry, have positive conversations with yourself, accept the concern, solve the problem and move on.
  3. Write your worries down. Let your emotions out on paper and free them from your head. This is an excellent strategy for getting the worry off your mind.
  4. Make time to meditate. Taking some time to relax can help release anxiety and concern. Spend this meditation time thinking about relaxing memories and positive events in your life.
  5. Get moving. Exercising is one of the best ways to get the positive mojo going in your body. When you work out, endorphins kick in and that creates a positive energy flow, kicking out much of the worrisome thoughts.
  6. Give yourself a break. Dr. Susan M. Love, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, shared with The New York Times that those who feel the need to always be healthyactually felt worry and stress. You won’t become ill by not being healthy 100 percent of the time, so stop worrying; you will be healthier if you do.
Worrying Can Serve a Positive Purpose - if Used Right

If we learn to combat the negative reasons behind our burdens and use it in a more positive way, worrying can serve a good purpose, at times. It helps us to anticipate dangers, resolve problems and solve issues more effectively.

By turning these problems around in our minds, we examine the various issues from different angles. If we stick to sorting things out and making positive changes, we can actually unravel our issues.

Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz, psychiatrist at UCLA, studies Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and how the brain decides whether or not to learn. He says our minds can change our brains and literally rewire our thinking. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more positive perspective.

If you are worried about your health, let 9Health Fair help!  Visit a 9Health Fair this spring to get an overall check of your health.

What’s the best way you’ve found to deal with worry? Share your tricks with us!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

To Fast or Not to Fast - That is the Question!

Have you ever wondered why you have to fast before you get your blood drawn for certain tests? There’s a reason – and that reason is not to put your will power to the test to see how long you can go without eating. There is a much better explanation than that.

What is Fasting and Why Do We Need To?
Fasting includes no consumption of food or drinks, with the exception of water. Drinking water before a blood draw is encouraged because the more hydrated you are, the easier it is to draw blood.
9Health Fair asks you to fast because non-fasting results can inflate the values of your blood glucose level and your triglyceride levels. To get an accurate baseline reading, fasting is required so that the normal increase seen with consuming calories in either food or drink (which causes rising and then falling levels) does not give us inaccurate information. Also, triglyceride levels are used to compute your low density lipoprotein (LDL), a part of your cholesterol reading.  If your triglycerides are elevated, your LDL will be inaccurate.

If you’re anxious about not eating for 12 hours, be sure to consume a balanced meal the night before and then immediately after your blood draw. Take advantage of the free nourishment station that each 9Health Fair provides. These snack areas, made possible by our friends at King Soopers, are there to replenish participants and give them energy before continuing on to the free screenings and other offerings.

It is important to note that people with diabetes should not fast, because keeping a small amount of food in your system to keep your blood sugar levels normal is essential.

Is Fasting Required for All Tests?
The only test that requires you to withhold consumption for 12 hours is the Blood Chemistry screening.

The Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1c) shows if you could possibly have diabetes or, if you do have it, how well your diabetes is being controlled. It measures your glucose levels over the last two or three months and is used to check sugar build up in your blood. Whether you have been diagnosed with diabetes or not, you do not need to withhold consumption for this and other blood draws except the Blood Chemistry.

Time to Get Your Blood Drawn at a Family 9Health Fair
Now is the time to head to a Family 9Health Fair to receive the low-cost Blood Chemistry Screening. The fairs run every weekend until November 8th. Find a fair near you - the results will provide you with the information you need to live a healthy life. And don’t forget to fast for 12 hours before heading to a 9Health Fair if you are doing the Blood Chemistry Screening!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Protein - Do we get it right?

(This guest post is authored by Julie Moore of Colorado Beef Council)

Are we consuming protein in the right way? Many Americans eat more than 60% of their daily protein in one single large dinner meal – that doesn’t leave much room for protein at other meals or snacks! A growing body of evidence indicates that eating a higher protein diet, about 25-30 grams per meal or snack, may help maximize optimal health, maintain muscle mass, provide energy to lead an active lifestyle and reduce mindless eating.

Research that was recently published in The Journal of Nutrition shows that including a moderate amount of protein at three meals and snacks throughout the day provides many health benefits, such as supporting healthy aging and weight management by minimizing muscle loss and aiding in satiety.

Here are a few tips to make small changes to your diet.

Easy 30 gram protein-rich breakfast ideas:
  • 2 eggs with peanut butter on a slice of whole grain toast, and a glass of 1% milk
  • Scrambled eggs with lean ground beef wrapped in a whole grain tortilla in this satisfying beef breakfast burrito
Lighten up your lunch:
  • Create a salad of greens, carrots, brown rice, garbanzo beans and top with hard-boiled eggs or 2 oz chicken. 
  • Enjoy an open-faced, lean roast beef or ham sandwich for a high-protein lunch such as the pictured Mediterranean Beef and Veggie Wrap
Sneak in a snack:
  • 1 oz. Beef jerky (80 kcals, 15g protein)
  • Pre-packed single servings of almonds or other nuts (1 serving = 169 kcals, 6 grams of protein)
  • 1 Laughing Cow Mini Babybel Cheese (70 kcals, 5g protein)
  • 1 (1.5-oz) to-go peanut butter pouch (250 kcal, 9g protein)
  • LUNA Protein Bar (170 kcals, 12g protein)
  • Balance Bar Gold (200 kcals, 14g protein)
  • 1-oz pumpkin seeds (163 kcals, 5g protein)
  • Kashi Trail Mix Granola bar (140 kcals, 6g protein)
  • Nature Valley Greek Yogurt Protein bar (180 kcals, 10g protein)
  • Sabra Hummus to Go with Pretzel Crisps (260 kcals, 6g protein)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Tis the Season of Fall Festivals

Fall is in the air and it’s a great time to get outside, breathe fresh air and enjoy the beauty of the autumn leaves. This is also the time of year when fall festivals abound! Pumpkin patches, corn mazes and tractor rides through fields of vegetation.

When it comes to outdoor activities this fall, there are many that top the charts. One favorite is the fall festival at Miller Farms. In its 19th season, this harvest event has become a tradition for so many families. Experience what it would be like to be a farmer. Take a tractor ride into the fields with stops along the way to pick your own vegetables. For kids, life doesn’t get much better than this. They get to dig in the dirt to pull vegetables out of the ground and then you can take home as much as you can carry to your car! It’s a great time to talk to your kids about the importance of vegetables are and what types of healthy meals you can make.  Check out some of these vegetable recipes that are good for the whole family.

In addition to being a farmer for a day, Miller Farms is packed full of fun fall festivities. Play in the petting zoo, find your way through a corn maze, bounce around on the jumping balloon, climb on the fire truck, run up a hay pyramid, and more. This autumn event goes through mid-November and is open daily from 9am to 6pm. You can get more information by calling 970-785-6133.

The Denver Post has a list of Colorado Halloween, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and fall events that will provide more activities than you will be able to fit on your calendar. But this large guide has events you won’t want to miss out on!

If you haven’t taken your kids to a pumpkin patch, corn maze or a fall festival, you can learn all about the various activities and then decide which one or more you will check out.

Fall festivals are not only fun, but what a great way to get exercise, fresh air and your daily intake of Vitamin D. What do you do for fun in the fall? Tell us how you make this time of year a festive one.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Five Tricks to Keep the Halloween Treats off Your Teeth

Halloween is around the corner and that brings a lot of excitement for children. Their biggest hope is for a ton of candy; the more the better! But, that bag of goodies can be a parent’s worst nightmare.

According to a KidsHealth survey, most kids said they get at least 50 pieces of candy from trick-or-treating, with over 44 percent saying they arrive home with over 100 candy items. Thankfully, only about 20 percent said they indulge in every single last bit of their goodies.

Spook Away Those Cavities
This is a great time of year to teach your children good oral health habits for life, without depriving them of Halloween treats. Check out these five tricks that can help your children’s mouths stay healthy during Halloween and every other time of year.
  1. Eat Halloween candy and other sweets with meals. Saliva production increases during meals and helps get rid of acids produced by bacteria in your mouth. Spit also helps rinse away food particles in and around your teeth.
  2. Avoid hard candy that stays in your mouth for a long period of time. The length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a large role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that you suck on for a long period of time put teeth at an increased risk for tooth decay. 
  3. Stay away from candies that stick to your teeth. Stickier candies, like taffy and gummy bears, take longer to get washed out of the crevasses of your teeth by saliva, which increases the risk for tooth decay.
  4. Drink a fair amount of water. Drinking optimally fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that have fluoride.
  5. Steer clear of sugary drinks such as soda, sports drinks and flavored water. Tooth decay risk increases when your teeth come in frequent contact with beverages containing sugar.

 What Dentists Think About This Haunted Holiday
Many dentists say it is actually better for kids to gorge themselves on candy as opposed to rationing it out. Snacking on Halloween candy for a few hours each day keeps your teeth coated in sugar and enamel-corroding acid which then leads to cavities. If kids eat a lot of candy all in one night, and don’t eat it consistently day after day, that sugar build up won’t haunt them as much.

Also, make sure to brush immediately after eating those Halloween treats. The American Dental Association recommends brushing teeth at least twice a day.

Protect those Pearly Whites
New this year at 9Health Fair, you will find fluoride varnishes for kids, and there’s no better time than now to take advantage of this free screening. No bones about it, this is a great way to keep those beastly bacteria off your little ones teeth. Our Family 9Health Fairs continue each weekend through November 8th; make sure to bring the whole family! Share your healthy mouth tricks with us on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hit the Trails with the Whole Family

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

Fall is a great time to get out and explore the trails. There is often a lot of wildlife to be seen, amazing fall colors on the leaves, and comfortable, cooler temperatures. Before you blaze ahead, check out these 5 tips for fun, safe family hiking:
  1. Know Your Goals & Give In A Little – As the American Hiking Society puts it – hiking with kids is more about the experience and journey than getting from point A to point B.  Let your kids explore and have fun. While you may have a timeframe in mind, be flexible on how far you get and even when you start and end. The point is for your kids to have fun and enjoy their time outdoors. Allowing your kids some control goes a long way to develop their interest in the trails. Let them pick the location, or even just exploring the map together will give them some input in the adventure!
  2. Play Can Also Be Learning – Teach your kids trail etiquette, create scavenger hunts or other simple games to keep them engaged while moving. Bringing field guides to help identify plants and animals is also a great way to make sure they leave with something without taking anything out of nature.
  3. Layer It On!Dress in layers and be aware of your child’s body temperature. Really active kids may not realize how cold their skin actually is.  If you are carrying your child, you may be warm while he or she is not. Layers are a great way to stay comfortable and safe. Dressing kids in bright colors helps you keep track of them if they are likely to run ahead. Always bring a rain layer and warm layer you can remove or add if needed. Hats and gloves are small and easy to pack and can make a world of difference between a happy comfortable kid and one who just wants to go home.
  4. Fuel Their Fire – Pack water and small, healthy snacks to have along the way. For older kids, having their own pack with these essentials can add to the excitement of the experience. Teach your kids about proper fuel for their body, packing out their trash, and only drinking properly filtered water.
  5. Safety and Stewardship –Sunscreen and a safety whistle are important to include in each kids pack, if they are carrying one. Have a plan of what to do if your kids get separated from you and go over that plan before every hike. 
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