Using Mindfulness Meditation

dreamstime_xl_29933419What is mindfulness meditation? Mindfulness meditation is the process of bringing one’s attention to the current moment. Focusing the mind and increasing body awareness, self-awareness, regulation of emotion and regulation of attention.

There have been many studies evaluating the health benefits of mindfulness meditation. Some of the possible benefits are:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Lowering the risk of heart disease
  • Lowering the risk of stroke
  • Relieve stress
  • Decrease depression
  • Improving insomnia
  • Decreasing anxiety and worry
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase concentration
  • Increase happiness
  • Improve well-being and inner peace.

For an introduction to mindfulness meditation click here to sample different forms of meditation.

Sources: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health  and Mindful



Diabetes: Do you know the signs?

dreamstime_xl_64347052.jpgAccording to the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report, an estimated 30.3 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. Of those, 23.1 million have been diagnosed and 7.2 million don’t even know they have it. That’s a lot of people walking around with a potentially life threatening, undiagnosed disease. After all, the complications of diabetes can be very severe. In the U.S.:

  • The number one cause of death from diabetes is heart attack.
  • The number one cause of blindness

Some other interesting facts from the report:

  • More men have diabetes than women at 15.3 million and 14.9 million respectively.
  • More men are undiagnosed than women at 4.0 million and 3.1 million respectively.
  • More women are diagnosed than men at 11.7 million and 11.3 million respectively.

But before we get to the disease, let’s take an anatomy review. Your pancreas is a large organ that sits behind the stomach and it has two functions. The first function is to secrete digestive enzymes that help break down our food and is done by about 95% of the pancreas. The second function is to make and secrete insulin. Insulin is made in the beta cells of the pancreas and is a very important hormone. Insulin acts like a little key that opens up your cells and allows glucose to move from the bloodstream into the cells where it is burned for heat and energy. Glucose is our body’s fuel and it comes from the carbohydrates in our food. Without insulin, our cells would starve.

So what is diabetes? For the purposes of this article we will talk about 4 types of the disease; type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes, and type 1 ½ or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA).

Type 1 diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease. It occurs when the body makes antibodies that attack the beta cells and kill them off. Once they are all gone, the body can no longer produce insulin. Once diagnosed, type 1 diabetics have to inject insulin for the rest of their life sometimes giving 3 to 7 injections daily. Type 1 accounts for 5-10% of diabetes cases and usually begins in younger children but can develop at any age.Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. It accounts for around 90-95% of diabetics. Type 2 typically starts with insulin resistance, a condition where the little insulin “key” becomes less effective at opening up the cells. When this happens the pancreas tries to compensate by making more insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. It accounts for around 90-95% of diabetics. Type 2 typically starts with insulin resistance, a condition where the little insulin “key” becomes less effective at opening up the cells. When this happens the pancreas tries to compensate by making more insulin. Unfortunately, in type 2, this usually causes more and more insulin resistance. Eventually, the pancreas can no longer keep up with the demand and the beta cells start to lose their function. Type 2 is considered a progressive disease and tends to get worse over time, however, it can be controlled with a lifestyle change (diet and exercise), oral medication, injected medication including insulin, or any combination of these. Diet, including portion control and carb counting and exercise are always included in the diabetes prescription. Type 2 tends to happen in older adults but with the obesity problem in the United States, we are seeing younger and younger people with the disease.

Gestational diabetes is a disorder where the hormones produced in pregnancy work against insulin making it less effective. It occurs in about 9% of pregnancies. It usually resolves itself after giving birth but does put the mother and baby at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Type 1 ½ diabetes, or LADA, starts out like type 2 and is controlled with medication at first. At some point, sometimes after years, the beta cells are destroyed and the person is on insulin like type 1. It occurs in adulthood. Some agencies don’t recognize the term and simply refer to it as slow developing type 1.

Next time I will discuss the technology involved in treatment and care of diabetes.

This article was contributed by John White, a registered nurse and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) at Cameron Hospital.

How to spot heat exhaustion

dreamstime_xl_43808059.jpgAs school is back in session and athletes have returned to fall sports, avoiding the effects of heat is an important, life-saving consideration. Here are IHSAA tips and recommendations to avoid heat illness.

  • Start practice hydrated. Nearly ¾ of student athletes currently start practice already dehydrated. An athlete who is dehydrated by as little as 1-2% of his or her body weight can expect to experience a decrease in performance of 10-15%
  • Dehydration can be prevented by monitoring body weight (i.e. Weighing in and out of every practice, urine color, etc.)
  • For every pound lost during practice or game, the athlete should consume 16-20 oz. of fluid prior to the next practice or within six hours of practice ending if there is not another practice that day.
  • Heat acclimatization takes up to10-14 days and athletes would be better off working on that during the summer than waiting for the first day of fall practice.
  • The beverage of choice to hydrate is COLD WATER!
  • Any activities longer than 45 minutes, a sports drink may be advised.
  • During practice, the typical water break should occur every 15-20 minutes but more frequently if dictated by the weather.
  • Coaches should NEVER restrict fluid intake during practice.

Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • Fast, weak pulse
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting

Exertional heat stroke causes more sports-related deaths than any other illness or condition but it is the most preventable and the most treatable if treatment is initiated in a timely manner.


Yoga with Jessica- Boat Pose

Boat Pose.jpgThroughout these posts, I have discussed some basic and familiar yoga poses. This month I’d like to introduce you to the boat pose.

Boat pose is a core and deep hip flexors (they attach the inner thigh bones to the front of the spine) strengthener.  To perform boat pose you actually balance on your buttocks between your sit bones and tailbone.  You could actually call boat pose a balance pose; however, the main goal of boat pose is to strengthen your core while maintaining proper form.

Physical benefits:

  • Builds core strength
  • Improves balance, digestion & circulation
  • Strengthens the legs, hips, groin abdomen & arms
  • Lengthens the spine & neck
  • Opens the chest, shoulders & throat
  • Improves posture

Mental benefits:

  • Improves concentration
  • Develops focus

Do not let the picture fool you.  As with all yoga poses, there are many modifications to be made as you build core strength.  When starting boat pose you may find you don’t have a lot of core strength.  There’s no reason you cannot use a wall as a prop as you start building that strength.  I would recommend moving from a wall to a strap to no props but yet still modifying the pose until you become strong enough to do the full pose.  Please note that straight legs are not a requirement for any version of the pose.

As I’ve mentioned before, you need to be “present in the present moment” when practicing yoga.  This allows you to “feel” what is going on in your body while at the same time blocking out all other thoughts.

Interested in giving boat pose a try?  Feel free to message me on my Facebook page, Simply Yoga with Jessica, with any questions, concerns or comments you may have.

In closing, I have a quote from Jason Crandell….”Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.”


Back to school Backpack Safety!

dreamstime_xl_32644658When selecting a backpack, look for:

  • An ergonomic design, wide straps, and lightweight.
  • The correct size: never wider or longer than your child’s torso and never hanging more than 4 inches below the waist
  • Padded back and shoulder straps
  • A waist belt helps to distribute the weight more evenly across the body
  • Compression straps on the sides or bottom to stabilize the contents
  • Reflective material

As a parent, we can encourage kids to use their locker or desk often throughout the day instead of carrying all books in the backpack. Also, we should make sure kids don’t tote unnecessary items to school that can add extra pounds to carry. When kids are bringing home homework encourage them to bring home only the books needed for homework or studying each night.

Knowing how to carry and pick up a backpack correctly is also important. With anything that is heavy weight, they should bend at the knees and grab the backpack with both hands when lifting it to the shoulders. Make sure your child uses both straps when carrying the backpack. Using one strap can shift the weight to one side and causes muscle pain and posture problems. Also tighten the straps enough for the backpack to fit closely to the body. The pack should rest evenly in the middle of the back and not sag down to the buttocks. When loading the backpack, use all of the backpack’s compartments, putting heavier items, such as textbooks, closest to the center of the back.

If your child has back pain or numbness in the arms or legs, talk to your doctor or a physical therapist.

Source: Kids Health

5 Simple and Fun Water Aerobics for Seniors

IF-557.jpg-4245×2820--624x402.pngWith the summer in full swing and the abundance of lakes in our area, how about some refreshing exercise in the warm water to soothe joint pain? Read here for 5 great water exercises for seniors.

Staying active as a senior can be tough. Achy joints that don’t work as well as they used to make it hard to go for a walk or incorporate strength exercises into a daily routine. However, exercising in the water is great for reducing arthritis and other joint pain because it puts less stress on the joints and the buoyancy of the water helps reduce the pressure on joints. Water also acts as a form of resistance, so strength exercises can be performed in the water without heavy weights. Performing strength exercises and using resistance will increase flexibility and balance and decrease bone and muscle loss.

We suggest giving the following exercises a try, but keep these safety tips in mind: be aware of your limits, never do water aerobics alone (it’s not as fun, anyway), and speak with your doctor about how your medications and overall fitness mesh with water aerobics.


Aqua jogging is the perfect aerobic, low-impact exercise to get the heart pumping and blood flowing throughout the body. Aqua jogging can be as simple as jogging through the water from one side of the pool to the other. This exercise can also be simplified to walking back and forth in the pool or jogging or marching in place. Aqua jogging is designed to get the heart rate up and keep it up, so whichever modification you choose, be sure it’s at least a little challenging.


Flutter kicking is another great low-impact cardio exercise. This exercise can be performed with or without a kickboard. With a kickboard, hold it out in front of you and flutter kick your legs to propel you back and forth across the pool. You can also flutter kick without a kickboard if one is not available. Perform a front float with your head above water while holding onto the side of the pool and flutter kick your legs. Whichever way you do it, kick at a steady tempo that doesn’t tire you too quickly but also gets the heart pumping.


Using the resistance of the water, leg lifts work all of the muscles in the legs. For this exercise, stand in the pool and lift one leg out to the side and back down. Repeat until your leg feels tired, then switch legs and perform the exercise on the other leg. Not only does this exercise work the legs, it also improves balance and strengthens your core.


Water push-ups are a great way to build arm, chest, and shoulder strength without putting too much pressure on the joints. Stand along the side of the pool and place your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart on the gutter or edge of the pool. Bend your arms and lean in toward the wall, then push yourself back out. Repeat this exercise slowly and until your arms feel tired. Be careful not to push it too hard until you know your limits.


For this exercise, stand in the middle of the pool with water weights. Water weights don’t have to be used, but they do offer extra resistance. Hold the weights in front of you, arms in front with palms facing out. Curl the weights up then back down and repeat until fatigued. This exercise can also be done with palms facing toward you instead of away with the same curling motion.

Exercising may not be at the top of your to-do list because of achy joints, arthritis and other health problems that develop with age. However, water aerobic exercises offer a great alternative to traditional exercise at a gym. Perform the above exercises at least three times a week to experience greater flexibility, bone density, and cardiovascular function–plus relief from joint and arthritis pain!

Source: Senior Lifestyle

Cameron Partners with Trine University to Provide Health Services

Student_Health_Center_Cameron.jpgCameron Memorial Community Hospital and Trine University are proud to announce their recent partnership to provide health services for its students.  The outpatient student health center will be located in the Rick L. and Vicki L. James University Center and will be open Monday through Friday.

The clinic will be available to provide basic primary care including but not limited to physical exams, treatment planning and implementation related to minor injuries and illnesses, immunizations, screenings, lab draws, administration of medications, and more.  “Historically, we’ve seen many Trine students in our Urgent Care Center or our Emergency Department,” said Connie McCahill, Cameron President and CEO.  “We are excited to be able to work with Trine and have the opportunity to take a proactive approach with students as it relates to health and wellness.”

Cameron Hospital will coordinate all general clinical and administrative services for the health center as well as provide the staff and supplies necessary to run a successful clinic.  The University provides the necessary clinic space as well as resources for promotion and support such as access to email and other forms of communication on campus. “Part of the overall student experience we pride ourselves upon at Trine University is making sure our students stay healthy,” said Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D., Trine University president. “Trine has a longstanding relationship with Cameron Hospital and we are excited to extend our partnership in order to provide our students with access to quality health care on campus.”

The clinic will be open for the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year.

Pictured (from left): Randy White, Trine University Vice President for Student Services, Connie McCahill, Cameron President & CEO, Rachel Stump, NP, Cameron Hospital, Earl D. Brooks, II, Ph.D., Trine University President

7-Day Walking Plan

It’s easy to make excuses and miss a workout, but it’ll be a piece of cake with this 7-day walking plan. The next seven days will set you on a path to consistent, enjoyable and beneficial walking. Enjoy!


Plan to walk during the time of day when you know you can be consistent — maybe before or after work or on your lunch break. Look at your calendar for the next seven days, then schedule your walks like you would a meeting.

We are asking you to slowly build from 30 minutes a day on Day 1 to an hour on Day 7. It’s great to start on a Monday, but any day you want to start is the right day.

7 Day Walking Plan

Source: MyFitnessPal Blog

Tips for Caring for Aging Parents

dreamstime_l_71117065For the first time, I have recently started assisting my two siblings with the care of both parents having simultaneous medical issues. While we hope for a full recovery, my siblings and I realize this will not be the last time that our own routines and agendas will be thrown aside without warning to take care of the ones who took care of us. It’s a challenge, but it’s what we do.

The number of adults helping a parent personally or financially has tripled in the past 15 years, according to a recent study by MetLife, the National Alliance for Caregivers (NAC) and  New York Medical College. Most caregivers (66%) are women in their late 40s caring for a mother or other female relative. It’s likely that you will find yourself in this situation if you haven’t already.

As an Occupational Therapist, I thought I would have this caregiver phase of life covered – no problem. But, if you add the stresses of emotions, exhaustion, inability to work, family relationship dynamics and hundred other factors together, I have quickly found that I am not their therapist. I am their daughter, and I need some help too. Here is a list of seven things that I have found helpful during this journey.

  1. Local resources such as Cameron Home Care, CareLink, a family friend who is a chef, Star Transportation, finding equipment (i.e. wheelchairs, etc.) from our support groups and distant family that is willing to help with the groceries have been life savers for us. I would encourage you to find and utilize similar resources in your community.
  2. The invention of the internet has been a game changer on so many fronts. We now have an endless amount of resources and articles at our finger tips to educate us on an endless amount of topics. I’ve listed a few of my favorite resources in the tips below that have helped keep us organized. Try heading online and doing a simple search for topics that you are struggling to find information on. You’d be surprised at what you can find online.
  3. Caregiver’s Library is a handy website full of checklists, listings of organizations that provide information, and a host of ideas that you might not think of when you are on the edge of being overwhelmed.
  4. Using a Home Modification Checklist will help you improve the safety of your loved one’s environment, which helps to prevent further medical injury from unaddressed home safety risks. Take care of the major risks first and then slowly work in the less risky areas of change with subsequent visits. Coming into someone else’s home and making drastic changes all at once may not be well-accepted and could cause unnecessary family tension.  Tread lightly but do tread.
  5. Use a Medication Log to keep the ever-changing and ever-growing list of medications straight.  A pill box with multiple time slots per day is a mandatory starting point.  We are having a least two healthy people double-check the box for dosage, times of day and days of the week.  I was amazed at how many pills required splitting because they aren’t available in the recommended dosage.  Ask a pharmacist for advice and tricks to make sure you are giving your parent the correct dosage.  Get rid of medication that is no longer active or the correct dosage.  Teach, reteach, and double check if someone else takes over the medication responsibilities.
  6. If diet changes or assistance with grocery shopping are on the new care giving program, a Low Sodium Shopping List or Heart Healthy Shopping List can be useful.  Overwhelming amounts of information are given to patients and families, and having diet recommendations in writing will take one more thing off your overfilled memory plate.  These lists can be used to send a distant relative or neighbor who offers help to the grocery while you tend to things on the homefront.
  7. Ask the family physician for driving restrictions or recommendations.  If there are none, but you still have concerns, a  Driving Assessment Checklist is a good starting point.  Ask a therapist to weigh in on the physical and mental capabilities involved in operating a vehicle and how your loved one is performing on these processes.  Our family hasn’t “gone there yet”  with the safe driving discussion, but it’s in the near future and this particular checklist is on my desk to help guide the way down that bumpy road.


Joell Stuckey.jpg
Joell Stuckey

This blog post was contributed by Joell Stuckey. Joell is the Director of Rehabilitation Services at Cameron Memorial Hospital in Angola, IN. She is married and has three daughters.


Six Common Weight Loss Challenges and How to Solve Them.

dreamstime_xl_22719809.jpgThe latest research is clear: There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. Who you are is the greatest variable if you’re trying to shed pounds, and there are innumerable factors that will make it easier or harder for you — poor diet, lack of exercise, genetics, medications and other lifestyle and environmental factors can all play a role.

Specific physiological circumstances, however, inflate the importance of certain approaches to weight loss. For that reason, focusing your efforts on what will give you the most bang for your buck is key. As with most things, once you get some traction and the pounds begin to fall off, taking on additional strategies can lead to additional weight loss. Here’s a quick guide on weight-loss strategies to fit some common life challenges — perhaps at least one of these applies to you.

1.) How to lose weight over 60

  • The Challenge: People gain weight for different reasons as they age. Chief among them is a decline in physical activity. When you move less, a greater number of calories get stored in the body as fat, instead of getting converted into energy to fuel activity. What’s more, we naturally lose muscle mass as we age — upwards of 3-5% after age 30 if you’re inactive — which, in turn, leads to a slower metabolism.
  • The Solution: Strength training can help put the brakes on the loss of muscle mass, as well as build new muscle. Since muscle cells are far more metabolically active than fat cells, they burn more calories. As you increase your muscle mass, you also boost your metabolism. Be sure to warm up before training, and start slow to build strength without injuring yourself. Begin with two sessions a week of 10 reps of 8–10 different exercises for the upper and lower body and the core. Utilize your own body weight for things like pushups and pullups and 5- to 10-pound dumbbells for other exercises. You should feel like you can’t do more than an extra rep or two at the end of each exercise — if you can, it’s time to increase the weight.

2.) How to lose weight if you’ve recently had a baby

  • The Challenge: Shedding baby weight when you’re sleep-deprived and overwhelmed by a newborn is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of new motherhood. Recommendations for weight gain among women who are of average weight hovers between 25–35 pounds, but many gain more. While most lose around 10–15 pounds in the first week after delivery, the rest can be slow to go.
  • The Solution: Good nutrition and a healthy amount of physical activity (once you’re recovered) is important for new moms for a number of reasons, especially if you’re breast-feeding. In the beginning, light aerobic activity is a great way to boost your mood and begin the process of shedding that extra weight you gained (make sure you have the go-ahead from your doctor). What’s more, you can bring baby along, so it doubles as a bonding activity. When you have the go-ahead from your doctor, start with 1–2 miles of stroller walks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that just 30 minutes of walking at 4.5 miles per hour burns around 230 calories for a 154-pound person.

3.) How to lose weight if you have a slow metabolism

  • The Challenge: People with a lower basal metabolism can eat the exact same diet but burn fewer calories than someone with a normal metabolism. Worse yet, the fatigue that comes along with a slow metabolism makes exercise the last thing you want to do.
  • The Solution: If you suspect you may have a below-average metabolism, getting your thyroid checked is essential. For those diagnosed with hypothyroidism, the proper combination of medications can make a big difference in assisting with increased activity and weight loss. As far as the best exercise regimen, while it may be hard at first, research suggests that high-intensity interval training has the potential to boost metabolism. This type of workout involves short bouts of all-out effort followed by periods of rest. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests doing 3–5 bouts of 30-second sprints followed by 4–4.5-minutes of rest in between each 3 times per week (be sure to include a warmup and cooldown).

4.) How to lose weight if you’re hypoglycemic

  • The Challenge: Hypoglycemia (aka low blood sugar) can cause weakness, headaches and fatigue. These things make it especially tough to be physically active, which often contributes to weight gain and the inability to shed extra pounds. Fortunately, the same dietary changes that can make a big difference in terms of regulating blood sugar also contribute to weight loss.
  • The Solution: Staying away from too much sugar and fat will help regulate your blood sugar levels, while simultaneously forcing you to cut out some of the highest-calorie junk foods. Work on taking in more low-glycemic index complex carbohydrates, foods high in soluble fiber and healthy protein, like steel-cut oats, whole-grain pasta, nuts, fish, apples and eggplant.

5.) How to lose weight if you’re middle aged

  • The Challenge: Not only do you not burn calories as efficiently as you once did, your metabolism also slows with age. This means many people pack on the pounds once they hit middle age, even those who have previously never struggled with weight.
  • The Solution: Research published in the Journal of American Medical Association found that middle-age women had to log an average of 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise to maintain weight over the long haul. While this is twice the typical prescription of 30 minutes a day, other research supports the importance of aerobic training for middle-age adults for weight loss and overall health. This could include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling and time spent on the elliptical.

6.) How to lose weight if you have a hormone imbalance

  • The Challenge: When hormones like cortisol, testosterone and leptin aren’t functioning the way they should, everything from your appetite to your energy levels can be affected. This can make it feel impossible to slim down.
  • The Solution: While experts are still working on how to address this issue, lifestyle and dietary changes go a long way toward balancing your hormones, which can boost energy and help control cravings. Start by logging your nutritional intake in the MyFitnessPal app to determine if you’re getting the right balance of nutrients. Make nutritional adjustments depending on your particular situation, which can help pinpoint the root of the problem.

Sleep is another aspect of your daily life that requires your  attention. Research shows that when you don’t get enough of it, you crave more high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods. Getting an adequate amount of rest will help balance out the levels of leptin in your blood to curb those cravings.

Source: MyFitnessPal Blog