Lila’s Health Report: Thank You for Reading This

by Lila Lazarus

Let me start by saying thank you for clicking on this article.  Those two words –“Thank You”—are so important. We feel good saying them and it’s extra nice to hear them.

Thanksgiving is the traditional time to contemplate gratitude. It’s the one holiday we
have that reminds us to be grateful. But the truth is, we could use a good dose of gratitude every single day. Not only do others want to hear it, but our mental and even our physical health get a boost from those two simple words we don’t use often enough.

Just Say It
Study after study documents the health benefits of simple gratitude.  If you don’t believe me, pick up your cell phone and make a random call to someone, family or friend, and just say thank you for something they’ve done for you. Did someone inspire you? Did someone change your life? Did someone help you even in the smallest way? Don’t you owe them a thank you? Not only will it make their day, but you’ll instantly feel better. That kind of appreciation for someone else is the glue that connects you to others and improves your relationships and your sense of well being. One of the greatest contributors to your overall happiness and contentment is how much gratitude you show the world. And the more often you show gratitude, the more of a habit it becomes.

Smile More
Saying thank you is just one way to brighten someone’s day (and yours). Another is just to put a smile on your face and share it with others. It’s a silent thank you that just feels good and sends those feel-good chemicals to your brain.  Even a fake smile has the power to cheer you up. Try it. You may feel silly, but you’re starting to feel better, right?

Gratitude Moments
Start your day with a gratitude moment. Maybe you’re just happy to have woken up next to your spouse, or maybe you just love that first cup of coffee. Look around your room, look out at the sunrise and find something to be grateful for. Gratitude is a muscle you have to build like your bicep. The more you work at it, the stronger you feel both physically and mentally. It’s just a matter of counting your blessings.

Gratitude is all about being grateful for life just as it is rather than always wanting it to be different. It’s about appreciating what you have—whether it’s the 206 bones in your body that help you walk across a room or the miracle of a cell phone that can connect you with sounds and pictures from someone on the other side of the world. It’s about noticing the little things that make life more beautiful. It’s about seeing the roses, not just the thorns.   Remember there is always someone who has it worse than you.

Lila Lazarus Photo_resizedLila’s Health Report:
In order to stay healthy, you need to stay active and engaged. In addition to exercise, good nutrition and sleep, you also need a good dose of adventure. So each month I’ll share ways to boost the excitement and passion in your life with adventurous ways to create more wellness in your body, mind and your spirit.

Hiking for Health: Fighting Cancer One Step at a Time

by Lila Lazarus

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Lila overlooks the Grand Canyon.

“Carrie can you hear me?” I bellow in to my walkie-talkie. “Carrie it’s Lila, can you hear me?” I had just finished the most strenuous and longest hike of my life across the Grand Canyon and back again.  While I have crossed this canyon before, this time I had taken the longer trail, the Bright Angel Trail, which added several miles to an already lengthy and grueling hike. The moment I reached the rim I radioed for Carrie to find out how she was doing. “Carrie can you hear me?” I practically screamed.

Carrie is a 57-year-old mother of two. She’s an avid hiker who, like me, has traversed this canyon numerous times.  She knows the challenge of starting in the middle of the night when it’s just 35 degrees and pitch black outside. This is the 17th time she’s loaded a LilaLazarus_ColumnArtbackpack with 50 ounces of water, enough electrolytes and protein bars to make the crossing and headed down the narrow trail with only the light of a tiny headlamp to guide her down the serpentine switchbacks before the sunrise.  She’s well acquainted with the change in altitude, the heat, the dehydration risks, the 10,000-foot elevation change and the 50-degree temperature change.  She knows the endurance required to make it from one side to the other and the superhuman motivation necessary to climb back again. The majority of those who hike rim to rim will get a ride or take the shuttle back. Rim to rim is challenging enough. Rim to rim to rim takes a certain amount of insanity.
img_6033The Grand Canyon leaves no room for sissies. There’s no opportunity to quit.  You can’t call 9-1-1. The moment you hike in, you have to count on your own ability to get yourself out.  In truth, the park rangers don’t recommend this hike, especially for those who haven’t trained properly. There are warning signs along the trail reminding those who think this might be fun that the distance, extreme heat and elevation change make it a serious life or death decision.

For years, Carrie has been my rock in this canyon. She has bandaged my blistered feet, made sure I had enough water and nutrition, the right amount of layers, and the right attitude to make it both in and out in one piece. She walks the entire way but knows how I love to run. And as I dash away from her, she’s always warning me to keep my eyes on the trail — one false step and it’s all over.

But so much has happened since the last time she and I made the trek 24 miles across the canyon and back again.  In the few years since I climbed this 7th wonder of the world, Carrie’s wonderful world has been turned upside down. She received the diagnosis one in 8 women will hear in their lifetime: Breast cancer.

Carrie’s been through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. She lost her hair, her breast, several lymph nodes but not an inch of her grit and none of her grace. The moment she was able to bend over and lace up her hiking boots, Carrie was back on the trail. Less than a year after chemo, she was back. Her way of fighting breast cancer was the same method she has always used to cross the canyon:  One step at a time. Hiking is Carrie’s passion and she wasn’t letting a diagnosis of breast cancer take that away from her. She remained active which she says helped both physically and emotionally.

She started slow with easier hikes but in short order found her way back in the canyon. Yes there were modifications. She had to find a backpack that wouldn’t irritate any of the muscles impacted by the mastectomy and reconstruction. She gives herself more time than she used to. There’s no hurry. In fact, Carrie says she now is able to stop and savor any given moment in a way she never did before.

And if you ask Carrie, she’ll tell you that hiking has really been key to her recovery. I hike because hiking improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk for osteoporosis.  It improves circulation, energy levels and just makes you feel better.  And for Carrie, hiking has been an antidote to the depression and anxiety that come with a cancer diagnosis. And plenty of studies show hiking during and after treatment benefits cancer patients in a multitude of ways from improved fitness to reduced rates of recurrence and a longer life. Cancer patients who exercise have been found to experience less nausea and fatigue. While the chemo may have worked on Carrie’s cancer, it was clear that hiking helped her mind and soul.

But now I was getting worried.  She hadn’t responded.  Just when I really thought I needed to hike back down and find Carrie, I heard her voice crackle through the walkie-talkie.  “I’m just passed Three-Mile Resthouse,” she said.   “I’m right behind you.”

Thrilled to hear her voice, I waited impatiently for her to make it up the final and most difficult 3 miles of the hike.  I can’t even begin to describe her smile when she finally emerged at the trailhead atop the South Rim.   This was more than just another hike.  This was a major victory and we both knew it.  “I’m not going to lie,” she said breathily.   “It wasn’t easy.”

Carrie’s life has changed forever and spending this time with her has changed mine, too.  She doesn’t sweat the small stuff anymore.  She places a much higher value on experiences than possessions.  She doesn’t care if she’s slower, she’s just thrilled to be hiking, at all.  The fear of recurrence is always lurking, but Carrie decided early on that she was going to get busy living, not dying    Now she worries less and chooses happiness more.  Breast cancer gave Carrie that all important lesson:  There’s no time like the present.  And there’s no way to feel more alive than hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim to rim.

My friend Carrie S. Bell has chronicled her journey in a book called Grit and Grace:  Fighting Breast Cancer One Step at a Time.”  It’s available in paperback or as an e-book at Amazon.com.

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OMG texting may leave u DOA

LilaLazarusI’m sitting in the passenger seat at an intersection. My friend is driving. I look left and right and remark that the drivers on both sides of us are on their cell phones. I make sure I’m buckled up. The light turns green but the driver in front of us doesn’t budge. She’s clearly busy texting and we’re annoyed. In the interest of full disclosure, my friend, we’ll call her Jodie, has her iPhone firmly in her right hand and it dings.

We’ve been told over and over again that it’s not just dangerous to make a call, send a text or check Facebook , it can be deadly. It takes your eyes off the road. In fact, the average text will take your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. If you drive with your cell phone, you’re four times more likely to get in a crash serious enough to cause injury and land you in the trauma center.   And if you text, you’re 23 times more likely to crash.

Plus it’s illegal. Under Michigan’s anti-texting law, a driver shall not “read, manually type or send a text message on a wireless two-way communication device that is located in the person’s hand or in a person’s lap while operating a motor vehicle…”   Michigan and 45 other states plus the District of Columbia have banned texting while driving.

But Jodie checks the phone.

It’s a work text and she immediately starts texting back just as traffic starts to move again. Jodie looks up, accelerates and then looks down for just a brief moment to check her spelling. And in that nano-second that she looked down – just that blink of an eye – the woman in front of us hits her brakes. I scream. And Jodie takes out the lady’s back bumper.

I look at her. She looks at me. We don’t say a word. Stunned silence. We’re all belted in. No injuries. She’s embarrassed and we both know it could have been far worse. Every year drivers using cell phones while driving cause 500,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths and that number is growing.

So you’d think we would both have learned our lessons. You’d think we would realize that it’s time to put our phones down. You’d think that would have been a loud enough wake-up call. Or the fact that a dozen teens die every day in accidents involving texting and driving.   But if I’m really honest, we’re still guilty of checking our phones and responding to texts. Not just Jodie. Not just me. According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at any given moment 660,000 drivers are using cellphones while driving. The National Safety Council says it’s worse than that: a third of all drivers admit to texting and driving. But what about those who haven’t admitted it?

Of those who have come clean: 18% say they just can’t resist the urge. It’s an addiction— an impulse they can’t ignore. We’re stressed, we’re busy, we’re eager to connect and we’re distracting ourselves to death. Texting is the worst possible distraction. It takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and your mind off driving. And still we do it.

This is the era of screen time.   And we prefer the screen to someone’s face.   And our phones are such security blankets, we’re reluctant to turn them off or put them in the back seat.

There are apps you can download to help change the habit, i.e. text-STAR or live2txt. I’m giving one a try. And I’m putting my cell phone down— and if I drive with Jodie, I’m holding her cell phone.

Next time it could be far worse than a fender bender.

I don’t want the last sentence of my obit to read: “Police say the driver was texting.”

Hail to the Rutabaga!

LilaLazarusIs it me or does every restaurant now seem to offer roasted brussels sprouts?! Nothing against them, but isn’t it time to add a new vegetable to the menu? Variety is the spice of life. It’s important to maintain not just a healthy diet but also an interesting diet with a range of different nutrients for your body.   So I’m suggesting we give some thought to the misunderstood and often maligned rutabaga.

Plenty of people mistake them for turnips.   They are not— though some call them the “Swedish Turnip.” (They are distant cousins.)   Admittedly, they are not especially beautiful, but c’mon, neither is your average Idaho potato.   You can find them in every grocery store and yet very few Americans can actually identify them.

Mention “cruciferous vegetables” and the limelight always goes to broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.   But the poor rutabaga is in the same club with the same high concentration of carotenoids, antioxidants and other cancer-fighting properties. In fact, the American Cancer Society actually recommends we add more of these to our diet. But be advised, for some people cruciferous vegetables, including the rutabaga, do cause that, ahem, after effect.

That aside, here are more reasons to get to know the rutabaga:

They’re lower in calories than potatoes. And they’re a better fit for a low-carb diet. Your average spud has 150 calories and 30 net carbs. But the mighty rutabaga of the same size has just 60 calories and 12 net carbs. Take that Idaho!

The underrated rutabaga is nutritious. It’s a great source of vitamin C.   It also has magnesium, calcium, potassium, beta-carotene, fiber and 1.7g of protein. It’s low in fat and sodium.

Rutabagas are cost effective. That alone should make them easier for you to add to your grocery cart. They are between $1 and $2 per pound. (Your typical rutabaga weighs less than two pounds.)

The rutabaga is versatile. You can eat it raw like a carrot or it’s great in a soup. Or it can be roasted, baked, sautéed, fried, boiled or mashed. (My favorite.) You’ll have to cook them a little longer but they’re worth it.

Google Garlic Mashed Rutabagas. You can thank me later.

It’s More Than Beauty Sleep

LilaLazarusI have a bad habit that I need to kick.  I go to bed late.  No, it’s not like abusing drugs or alcohol, but I’m learning more and more that something as innocent as lack of sleep could have lethal consequences.

My excuse for sleeping so little is that there’s too much to do and too little time to do it.   And I’m not alone.   In the last 50 years, sleep duration in the United States has decreased 1.5 to 2 hours per night per person.  But I’m ready to face the cold, hard reality that not getting enough sleep, will give us less time not more.  Study after study is pointing to an undeniable connection between lack of sleep and heart disease.

It’s not enough that I eat well, don’t smoke and exercise daily.  The sobering fact is that people over 45 who sleep less than 6 hours a night are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack than those getting 6 to 8 hours of zzz’s a night.

“Poor quality sleep is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes,” St. Joe’s Sleep Specialist Thomas Gravelyn, MD, told me when I complained about my lack of shuteye.

“And you just plain don’t function well if you don’t get good sleep,” he said.  Add to that the growing bags under my eyes and I’m finally starting to rethink my sleep habits.

But it’s not the increased puffiness around my eyes that I should be worried about.  It’s the increased calcium deposits in my arteries that may be connected to lack of sleep.  Several years ago, there was a study that found  C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, is found at higher levels in those who get fewer than six hours of sleep.  And this lack of sleep could turn into a vicious cycle as lack of sleep leads to cardiovascular disease, and cardiovascular disease may end up messing with my sleep.

So I’m setting a new goal and hope you’ll join me on this.  I’m shooting for a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night.  I know it will help not just my heart but my stress levels, my mental state and my immune system. We would encourage a close friend or family member to stop smoking or lose weight.  Let’s encourage each other to go to bed.

For more information about sleep health, visit www.stjoesannarbor.org/sleep.

Healthy Mother’s Day!

LilaLazarusMy mom was my seatbelt before they were required by law.  I can still feel her arm reaching over to make sure I was safe at the stoplight.   A typical doting mother, she was always worrying about every one else, but rarely took enough time for herself.  And even before the age of i-phones and internet, she was suffering from BMS—Busy Mom Syndrome.   It’s the ailment of every mother:  Too much to do, too little time to do it. 

If you’re a mom, your shift is 24/7.  You don’t get weekends or holidays off.  But this Mother’s Day, instead of giving the kids a time out, give yourself a time out.   It’s the best thing you can do for your health.  Here are some of the best ways for Mom to take care of Mom:

Ignore the kids.

No, not indefinitely.   But carve out some time when you stop caring about others and put yourself first.  Take just 15 minutes.  Find a babysitter.  Ignore the to-do list.  It may sound selfish, but the more you take care of yourself and your needs, the more you’ll have to give to others.  You can’t be a good mom on an empty tank. 

Eat Healthy 

Don’t just scream at the kids to eat healthier, do it yourself.  If you want to protect yourself from chronic diseases and cancer and you want to have more energy for your children, load up on fruits and vegetables.    And no matter how busy you are, try and avoid foods that are loaded with sugar, salt and fat.

Move it

Your inclination may be to take a nap.  But if it’s energy you’re after, you’d be better off lacing up your sneakers.   This is the most important thing you can do for your health.  You don’t have to run a marathon, just take a walk. This can be done with or without the kids.   Try and sneak in 2 to 3 hours of exercise every week.  You can dance, bike, swim, play tag with the kids.   You’ll end up in a better mood and set a better example for the whole family. 

Drink 

No, not alcohol.  Water.  And lots of it.  So often when you’re feeling low energy or feel a headache coming on, you’re just dehydrated.  Try to get 8 glasses of water down a day.

Take a breath 

Learning to manage your stress is the greatest gift you could give yourself and your family.  Before you snap at the kids or your spouse… take a breath.   Will this even matter in a week or a year?  Try to find  one relaxing moment every day to listen to music, do yoga, meditate or just breath.

Go to bed

Mom’s are usually the last ones up at night.  The more sleep you get, the better you’ll be able to deal with whatever comes at you tomorrow.  Plus, sleep is your best protector from so many chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression.  Recharge your energy tank with 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

 Get tested

Of course you should be aware of your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Beyond that, here are some exams every mom should have, according to doctors at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System:

  • Pap Smear.  This is to detect precancerous changes in your cervix.  Just because you’re married doesn’t mean you don’t have or couldn’t get HPV—or cervical cancer.
  • Skin Exam.  See a dermatologist.  Malignant melanoma is the most common cancer among women 25 to 29.
  • Dental Exam.  A woman with gum disease has up to a  sevenfold higher risk of premature birth.  Don’t ignore bleeding gums.
  • Thyroid Test (TSH).  Half of all women with thyroid disease are undiagnosed.   If you’re feeling tired (who isn’t!) or forgetful or gaining weight, it could be hypothyroidism.   And if your heart’s racing or you’re having trouble sleeping, it could be hyperthyroidism.  Ask the doctor.
  • Complete Blood Count.    If you’re tired, weak, bruising easily, get a CBC.  You may have an infection or anemia.

Time to take care of you.  Happy Mother’s Day!

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What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet?

LilaLazarus_ColumnArtOpen your medicine cabinet.  If you see a prescription bottle from “Cunningham’s Drugs” or “Perry” or “Arbor” or “Revco” or “Eckerd,” then reading this article is mandatory.  While they were once some of the biggest pharmacy names in America, they’re no longer our corner drugstores. And, you missed the memo about cleaning out your medicine cabinet every spring. 

Believe it or not, medicine cabinets all over Southeast Michigan still have containers from Michigan’s defunct drugstore chains—prescription and over-the-counter medicine that’s long past its prime.IMG_8112

No matter what name is on your prescription bottle, now’s a great time to spring clean the medicine cabinet. 

Check the Date
Nearly every product will have an expiration date.  Even sunblock, toothpaste and eyedrops should be tossed after a certain time.  Most over-the -counter drugs have just a few years and most pharmaceuticals just one year.  After that, they start to break down.   You don’t want these products in or on your body.  The moment you open your medication or hygiene product, the clock starts ticking.  And every time a hand goes in that container, new germs are introduced to the product.  That’s why this yearly cleaning is a good idea
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Toss it Carefully
Not everything can be tossed in the garbage or flushed down the toilet.  We don’t want to harm our water supply or put our pets at risk.  Check with your local pharmacy to see if they have a drug disposal program.  Many have drop-off bins for your prescriptions and even over-the-counter products.  Here’s a link to www.dontflushdrugs.com containing great info on programs for disposing expired medications. (Also see 
FDA’s disposal guidelines).

And to be safe, before you start tossing meds, scratch out your name and information from the prescription label just to protect your identity and personal health information. 

Donate
If you have over-the-counter products that you haven’t opened and that haven’t expired (bandages and other first aid supplies) consider donating it to a local homeless shelter.

Location, Location, Location
The bathroom is actually the worst place to store your medicine.  It’s too warm and too moist.  Be sure what you keep is kept in an air-tight plastic bin on a high and dry shelf far from children and pets and ideally at room temperature.    And as long as your getting rid of unused products… get rid of the Old Spice, too. 

Happy Spring!

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Your Body is a Furnace. Turn it On!

IMG_1836Happy New Year, friends! Here we are in the dead of winter. This time of year can be a real downer for a lot of people. A good way to boost your mood is to get outside and fight the elements!

It’s not easy to tear myself away from a cozy spot next to the fire for an outdoor workout.  I usually have to talk myself into it.  But the benefits are worth it.  And the more I do it, the easier it gets. So can you!

With the right clothing, you don’t have to get cold! Put on breathable, moisture-wicking layers of clothing. Just be sure to protect your most vulnerable body parts: Fingers, toes, ears and nose. Those are the areas most susceptible to frostbite. And no need to shock the body. Warm up before you ever leave. Do some jumping jacks or lunges.    

I always think it’s going to be colder than it really is. And the truth is, you want to feel a slight chill when you get outside. If you don’t, you’re likely overdressed. But after 10-15 minutes of jogging or cross-country skiing, the body starts warming up and you can feel the winter blues disappearing.LilaLazarus_ColumnArt

Here are the top 5 reasons to bundle up and head outdoors.

  1. You Need the Vitamin D
    Unless you’re headed to the islands for vacation, chances are you could use a boost of the sunshine vitamin.  This time of year, feeling a little sunshine on your cheeks, even at below-freezing temperatures, can really lift your spirits and your energy levels.
  2. You’ll Feel Happy!
    If you don’t believe me, just try it yourself. Working out in Michigan in the winter doesn’t come with that heavy humidity we find in the summer. You actually feel lighter outside this time of year. Since your body is working harder in the cold, it’s easier to get that runner’s high as the endorphins start soaring.
  3. It’s a Calorie Cruncher.
    Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s harder to workout outside in the winter. But that’s the beauty of it. Working harder means your burning more calories. It’s the same workout you might do in the summer, but you get more bang for your buck because your body is using more energy just to stay warm. Your body is one powerful furnace. Turn it on!
  4. It’s Heart Healthy
    If you already exercise on a regular basis, taking it into the elements is going to strengthen your heart muscle even more. With added heart strength, you’ll be better prepared for the big workouts come spring and summer.  
  5. You’ll Get Rosy Cheeks
    One of my favorite childhood memories is sledding on the big hill near our house. It was tough dragging that sled to the top. By the time we came back home my cheeks were bright red. Exercising in the frosty air still gives me that same exhilaration – and rosy cheeks, to boot.

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By keeping your body strong and in shape, you can reduce the likelihood of illness, says family doctor Paul Schulz, MD, with St. Joseph Mercy Brighton. “Someone who is in shape tends not to get sick as much,” he says.

But winter workouts aren’t for everyone. If you already have a heart condition or asthma, make sure you talk to your doctor. The cold can tighten your airways. That could limit your oxygen and put extra stress on your heart.

And if you do get sick, the best medicine is to “go by what your mother told you,” says Dr. Schultz. That means getting lots of rest and drinking fluids.

 One last note:  When you’re done exercising outdoors, make sure to hydrate.  The air is so dry during these winter months and you don’t want to get dehydrated. Happy Winter!

Read more Lila’s Health Report posts

 

Hello Sunshine! Enjoy the Great Outdoors

LilaLazarus_ColumnArtAh, the great outdoors. We froze through the polar vortex and finally the payoff – A pure Michigan summer. Here’s my advice: Wrap your arms around it because it’ll be gone in the blink of an eye.   Make your list of 10 things you want to do outside and knock them out one at a time. Go catch some fireflies, spend an hour tonight stargazing, eat a delicious, fresh peach, plan a romantic picnic, lay in a hammock and do nothing at all…

It’s medicine!

This isn’t about being lazy, it’s about taking care of your health. Study after study attests to the powers of Mother Nature and the benefits of natural light. It’s a mood booster. I remember a study that showed patients in the hospital with a window view of the outdoors experience a quicker recovery. So in the interest of good health, get outside.

Go outside!
Sunshine
Sunlight on your skin gives you a boost of vitamin D but, if you’re like most Americans, you’ll spend 90% of your life indoors. And the older we get, the less likely we are to step outside. People over 50 generally need higher amounts of vitamin D. Studies have suggested that Vitamin D can help you battle depression, fight off heart disease and osteoporosis.

But with all the warnings we hear on the news of the dangers lurking in your backyard, it’s a wonder we go out at all. Sure, we need to be aware but not so fearful that we never venture out the front door.

“Give yourself a good dose of the sunshine vitamin during these summer months but don’t overdo it; moderation is always the key,” says Dr. Ann Lafond of Canton Dermatology. “Sunblock is a good idea when you’re spending long periods of time outdoors – especially midday.”

Dr. Lafond says vitamin D from sunlight is more effective than supplements. “When we take the proper precautions, the benefits of sunlight far outweigh the risks.”

Exercise!
Once you commit to more time outdoors, you can’t help but feel better. If you’re spending less time at your computer or in front of the television, chances are you’ll spend more time walking, bicycling, swimming. Just get moving. It’s sure to give your health a boost.

Humans were meant to be out in nature. It’s important to see green and smell flowers and jump in fresh water. And lucky for us, Michigan is a water wonderland. This is your chance. Don’t waste it. We’ll be back to the polar vortex in no time!

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MAKE YOUR LIFE AN ADVENTURE!

LilaLazarus_ColumnArtRecently, I was asked to speak at an awards ceremony. And though I worked for 25 years as a news anchor and health reporter, instead of giving me the usual introduction as a “TV Personality,” or even “Award-Winning Journalist,” they gave me a much better title: “Adventure Creator.

Helen Keller said it best: “Life is either a grand adventure or it’s nothing.” What’s an adventure? People always think that means jumping out of airplanes or riding a motorcycle across the country (been there, done that.) The truth is, creating adventure is about exploring unknown territory and doing something you think you cannot do. Feeling butterflies in your tummy and doing it anyway.

Sister Anne Marilyn Tyler is an adventurer
Sister Anne Marilyn Tyler is an adventure creator.

And you can create adventure at any age. Take my dear friend, Sister Anne Marilyn Tyler. How do you suppose this spunky 71-year-old photographer from St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor plans to celebrate her 50th year as a religious sister? She’s fulfilling a lifelong dream by visiting the Grand Canyon to spend the night at its base under the starry night sky and attempt to capture a piece of its glory on film. Continue reading “MAKE YOUR LIFE AN ADVENTURE!”