Tobacco 21 Legislation Passes in Putnam

The American Heart Association offered praise to Putnam County Legislators for passage of Tobacco 21 legislation Tuesday night. The legislation calls for increasing the sales age of tobacco products, including cigarettes and vaping products, from 18 to 21 years of age. Putnam became the sixth Hudson Valley county to pass Tobacco 21 legislation in the past year. In the Hudson Valley, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester Counties now have similar laws. To date, roughly 75% of New Yorkers are covered by a Tobacco 21 law.

“The American Heart Association is thrilled with the outcome of this vote because of what it will do for the health of Putnam youth. A big thanks to the leadership of Legislator Barbara Scuccimarra who sponsored this bill,” said Caitlin O’Brien, American Heart Association Government Relations Director. “We hope state legislators take notice of the widespread support rolling through New York and act on a statewide bill this year. All residents of New York need to be protected.”

“This legislation will save lives and improve the health of Putnam County residents. Tobacco use causes chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and other forms of cancer. We look forward to County Executive O’Dell’s signing Tobacco 21 into law for a healthier Putnam County,” she said.

In New York State alone, more than half a million people currently have a disease caused by smoking, resulting in about $10.39 billion in health care expenditures annually.

Tobacco 21 has already proved effective in the more than 300 localities nationwide that have enacted this legislation.  In 2005, Needham, MA voted to raise and enforce the minimum tobacco sales age of 21. In 2006, before full enforcement, the town had a youth smoking rate of 13% compared with 15% in the surrounding communities. By 2010, the youth smoking rate in Needham was down to 6.7% while the surrounding communities’ rate only decreased to 12.4%. The percent decline in youth smoking in Needham was nearly triple that of its neighbors.

For more information about the American Heart Association’s You’re the Cure grassroots action network, visit www.yourethecure.org. To find free resources to quit smoking, visit www.heart.org/quitsmoking or the NYS Smoker’s Quitline at https://www.nysmokefree.com/ or 1-866-NY-QUITS.

BetterU Blog — Suddenly Week Ten

Today’s BetterU blog is from….Janna!

And, suddenly it’s Week 10….I have no idea how it went so quickly!

When I started the program, I worked with a great trainer who told me that when I found the exercise I loved. It wouldn’t be hard to keep up a fitness routine. I’ve been on the lookout for the activity I loved for the last ten weeks. I have tried nearly everything that Gold’s Gym offers and I have found some things I really like and some that I love.

I took dance class for 12 years growing up and I immediately felt at home in Barre Fusion. What a great workout, and the best part is I’m having such a good time I don’t even notice. I’ve also tried Sh’Bam, which is a hip hop style class, and Zumba. I like them both as well. Some of my favorites have been the Team Training Classes. They are boot camp style classes that usually have about 5 or 6 people in them. You get to know the trainers pretty well, and also the other people taking the classes. I’ve met a lot of great people (including a few past BetterU participants) and it definitely makes the hour go faster! Years ago, I went through a Tae Bo phase and got in pretty great shape. I’d been wanting to try boxing but hadn’t had the chance. I was dragging a bit when I arrived at my training session Monday night…but then Mike, my trainer, suggested we try boxing. I loved it! It was an incredible work out and I felt so amazing when it was over. I came home and started shopping for purple boxing gloves online. Tomorrow, I am going to get to cross two other things off my list – kayaking and clay shooting.

Today I had the opportunity to speak to the associates at Macy’s in Poughkeepsie and tell them about why I decided to apply for the BetterU program.  I shared how great the program has been for me. Macy’s is a National Sponsor of Go Red For Women. Macy’s Thanks for Sharing takes place across the country from NOW to December 31 and a portion of the proceeds raised directly benefits the Go Red For Women campaign. If you are shopping in Macy’s, please consider participating. Every little bit helps to make sure this amazing program can continue to help others.

By |October 4th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

BetterU: Heading in the Right Direction

Today’s BetterU Blog is from…Sheryl!!

Well, as my screen print shows, my weight is headed in the right direction. My time with my health coach Debbie Justs has come to a close, so now it is totally on me.

Exercise still remains difficult for me. My “hiker’s hip” is still yelling at me when I climb steps, walk down from curbs, etc. so it has really been keeping me away from the gym (although I know modifications can be made to my workout.) I have started walking more and for now I am seeing that as a “win,” since I come from a very sedentary breed. I love the crisp autumn air. Now that I’ve passed the 50 lb. mark (started April 1st) I am noticing that I don’t get winded nearly as easily, and that feels WONDERFUL! This, combined with my healthy eating, has my chest puffed out just a little bit, I must admit!

I continue to be inspired by the tales of my teammates, and I truly hope we keep our vibe going when BetterU comes to a close.

By |October 3rd, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Walking for Heart Health & Research at Heart Walk

Nearly 1,000 Westchester area residents, including dozens of corporate and community teams, walked at the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk event Saturday at Kensico Dam in Valhalla. They walked for their hearts, and to fund the American Heart Association’s research. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Heart Walk event nationally. Donations are still being accepted online at www.westchesterheartwalk.org.

Jennifer Garcia, a 40-year old mom from Peekskill, was recognized as the Survivor Honoree. Garcia survived a heart attack in February and is sharing her story and walking to help raise awareness and fund research to fight heart disease—the number one killer of men and women.

Garcia experienced chest pain and exhaustion during and after a party in February. The next day, she said head was pounding as if someone was hammering at it, and her blood pressure was sky high. She took her mother’s advice to go to the emergency room. It was a lifesaving decision. The doctor there said the diagnosis wasn’t exhaustion or heartburn, as she had thought–it was a heart attack.

Doctors said that her uncontrolled high blood pressure and possibly her birth control medicine were to blame. The American Heart Association cites research shows that birth control pills can increase blood pressure

in some women. It’s more likely to occur if you’re overweight, have had high blood pressure during a previous pregnancy, have a family history of high blood pressure or mild kidney disease. The combination of birth control pills and cigarette use may be especially dangerous for some women.

Many teams walked in honor of survivors or in memory of those lost to heart disease and stroke. Family members and friends on team “Kim’s Heartbeats” walked in memory of Kim Salveggi of Yorktown Heights. She passed away suddenly in March from heart disease. She had served as the Go Red For Women Honoree in 2017 and shared her story of surviving sudden coronary artery dissection.

The Heart Walk featured a healthy kids’ zone with fun activities designed to get kids, and kids at heart, to move more for their health. Many people took advantage of the free blood pressure screening to help identify high blood pressure. High blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking. It’s known as the “silent killer” because often there are no symptoms, despite its role in significantly increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke. Learn more at www.heart.org/highbloodpressure.

 

The Heart Walk is sponsored Dr. Patrick W. Thomas and Mrs. Johanna D. Thomas, Fujifilm, WMC Health/Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, New York Presbyterian, Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health, Westmed Medical Group, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Zedeker DDS, Stop & Shop, Examiner Media, Buzz Creators, and Westchester Magazine.

 

By |September 29th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Change is Hard

Just over halfway through this program and eating healthy and exercising regularly is still really hard. It’s a different kind of hard than when I first started. You see, at first everything was so overwhelming. There was so much information and I didn’t know where to start. What really helped was telling everyone I knew about it and hearing all of their encouraging and supportive words. Now that the newness of the program has worn off, I’m starting to worry about long-term success. I don’t want this to be just another “phase” that I fall out of after a few months.

The connections I’ve formed with the other participants is a big part of what has kept me going. Their honesty with their journeys reminds me that I am not alone on this difficult ride. They are with me.  Seeing one or more of them at the gym on a day I really didn’t want to go makes things seem less terrible. Knowing that they are also trying to make healthy food choices helps me walk past the chips and cookie aisles in the grocery store even though that is all I can think of some days. Staying connected to my new-found friends is going to be so important. I can only hope that the connection grows stronger over time. These ladies might not know it yet, but they are stuck with me 🙂

By |September 27th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

Westchester Heart Walk This Saturday at Kensico Dam

It’s time to lace up your sneakers for the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk event, this Saturday, September 29th at Kensico Dam in Valhalla. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the Heart Walk event nationally. Many local companies and residents have registered teams to walk for their own hearts, for heart and stroke research.

Register or donate online at www.westchesterheartwalk.org

Jennifer Garcia, a 40-year old mom from Peekskill, will be recognized as the Survivor Honoree. Garcia survived a heart attack in February and is sharing her story and walking to help raise awareness and fund research to fight heart disease—the number one killer of men and women.

Garcia experienced chest pain and exhaustion during and after a party in February. The next day, she said head was pounding as if someone was hammering at it, and her blood pressure was sky high. She took her mother’s advice to go to the emergency room. It was a lifesaving decision. The doctor there said the diagnosis wasn’t exhaustion or heartburn, as she had thought–it was a heart attack.

Doctors said that her uncontrolled high blood pressure and possibly her birth control medicine were to blame. The American Heart Association cites research shows that birth control pills can increase blood pressure in some women. It’s more likely to occur if you’re overweight, have had high blood pressure during a previous pregnancy, have a family history of high blood pressure or mild kidney disease. The combination of birth control pills and cigarette use may be especially dangerous for some women.

“I realized that this was my wake-up call to take my health and body seriously. This was a life-changing experience, and probably just what I needed to realize the importance of taking care of myself,” she said, “I’m walking to help raise awareness, and for my health–and I want to be around for my son,” she said.

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of all Americans. In fact, someone dies from cardiovascular disease every 39 seconds. High blood pressure accounts for the second largest number of preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, second only to smoking. It’s known as the “silent killer” because often there are no symptoms, despite its role in significantly increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke. Learn more at www.heart.org/highbloodpressure.

The Heart Walk is sponsored Dr. Patrick W. Thomas and Mrs. Johanna D. Thomas, Fujifilm, WMC Health/Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, New York Presbyterian, Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health, Westmed Medical Group, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, Zedeker DDS, Stop & Shop, Examiner Media, Buzz Creators, and Westchester Magazine.

 

Trying and Not Comparing

This BetterU blog is from SHERYL!!!

Hi everyone, it’s Sheryl, the second oldest member of the Better U team!  And here we are at Week 7…wow!

I think it was our team member Lisa who listed the below statement as being one of her mantras.  After carefully thinking about it and analyzing how I’ve been feeling since we all started this journey, I do believe that Lisa has struck my nail right on the head!

When I look at how dedicated some of the ladies are about their gym time, going there at 5:30 in the morning, walking laps after their personal trainer workout, I find myself saying to myself “wow, Sheryl, why aren’t you doing that? You have way more weight to lose than they do!”  Even though I’m pretty regular about doing my weekly training, with my schedule and my stamina level, there’s just no way I can drag myself (yes, I STILL have to drag myself) there every day.  I love my trainer (yay Brittany…I know, shoulders down, butt out) but when it comes to me just going alone, I’m just not feeling the fire in my belly to go, as some of other ladies obviously are.

After talking with my weight loss coach Debbie Justs (I started seeing her 5 months ago, BBU – Before Better U) she pointed out that before Better U, I did not exercise.  At all.  I pretty much barely moved except when I absolutely had to.  Now, I am working out.  I went to a yoga workshop.  I walk around when I go to the store instead of heading right to the motorized buggies.   I am TRYING.  And I have to stop looking at everyone else and just own (and enjoy) my accomplishments.  Things that used to be a physical chore for me can now be done without becoming totally wiped out doing them, like going up and down the stairs to do laundry, waiting in line (which used to kill my legs.)  And finally I can do what so many ladies like me dream of: I can buy clothes at a regular store…that has plus sizes.

I guess that’s what drives me to eat well, workout, and maybe try to work out a little more.  I want to get to a point where I can live spontaneously and not have to pre-think everything I do/every place I go because of my size.  I have to take a breath, wait a beat, and give myself an attagirl for action that’s become easier…less stressful…instead of thinking “geez, why can’t I get to the gym every day?”  I’m trying to look for ways to move that are fun so I can trick myself into thinking it’s not exercise.  This weekend I bought a hula hoop.  Did you know it’s a “great cardio workout and strengthens and tones your body while burning an average of 400 calories per hour?”  It’s true!  Let’s see how this one works out…so to speak.

By |September 12th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Changes In Me and My Family!

This BetterU blog is from….ELISA!!!

As we cross over the half way point of the program, I am reflecting on how grateful I am for this program, the women on this journey with me, and the sponsors for making it possible. 

 Not many things have impacted my life the way this program has. Through the process I have been able to put exercise and food as a priority for myself in a busy schedule. Learning that there are no more excuses. 

I also have seen change in my family. Watching them begin to take interest in their food choices and exercise program. Could this really be working in my house?!? 

 Setting goals and intentions has made the biggest change. Getting up and remembering the “why” behind the action has helped to make the journey extra special. Also, makes the days I don’t do that well easier to handle. The mentors, mantras, and workshops have added richly to the experience. 

 Thank you!

By |September 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Feeling Different!

Today’s BetterU blog by……ANNE!

Another day, another opportunity to take care of me!  The first thing I do every morning when I open my eyes is give thanks.  I say a quick prayer to remind myself that I am not alone in my journey.  My next thoughts typically turn to my daily plan.  Work commitments? Outfit for the day?  Is it going to be hot, cold, raining? Exercise plan?  Food plan?  Can I train the cats to bring me my coffee?

Yes, my brain likes to take over once I’m awake and yes, I’m a planner.  I have written a weekly plan since I was 12 years old.  Wow, 46 years of planners, notebooks and lists.  I used to think of it as a curse but I’ve learned to use it to my advantage.  My planning has helped me maintain a home and family as a single parent.  It helps me excel in my career.  Now my planning is helping me with my fitness goals.

Truth be told, I’ve been in this place before.  I have oftentimes had gaps in my responsibilities and have been able to sneak in “taking care of me” time.  My problem (IN THE PAST) was my willingness to change my plans if anyone or anything needed my attention.  In short, I only penciled me into my schedule while everything else was written in permanent marker.

So now the challenges emerge.  What’s going to be different this time?

It might sound silly to say but I honestly FEEL different.  My approach this time is looking long-term.  I’m not looking at the Better U program as an opportunity to make a quick fix.  My planning – fitness and food – are sustainable beyond the designated program time.  I’m not overly focused on the scale.  I’m working on feeling good, eating right, making small changes with big results over time.  This introduces yet another challenge.  I am a competitive person.  I want to be the one who succeeds.  I want to be the cream that rises to the top.  I like being a leader and motivator. Yup…I want to be the Better U poster child of ‘look at what you can do’.  I am finding it challenging to stay on my course and not kick it into hyper drive.   That’s where the daily prayers help.  That’s where my mantra (What’s your goal?) refocuses me and my actions. I’m learning to redefine success.  I’m learning that I can still motivate without being hyper-Anne.

Stay the course.

Better U is helping me focus and understand that I am already an awesome me and deserving of self-care.

Life is good and I am blessed.

#healthymindbodyspirit

 

By |September 11th, 2018|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Gratitude for BetterU

Today’s BetterU blog is from…JUDY!

Can’t believe we are almost ½ through this amazing challenge. I can say it has CHANGED  my lifestyle and I am very HAPPY & BLESSED  for this. Had not been in a gym for so many years (hard to rem ember when) little exercise ,was not a healthy eater, overweight, & achy. So I am not finished with my journey and plan to continue when this AHA better u challenge ends. I want to continue to strive for a Better Me.   I am in the gym  exercising , I am eating healthy foods and my veggies, lost some weight and my aches are from healthy exercising not just old age and inactivity.

These accoumplishments would not have happened to me if it wasn’t for so many people and sponsors. American Heart Assoc. Gold’s Gym, Central Huson, HealthQuest, Q92fm,Macy’s, CVS, Go Red for Women.  I have met so many wonderful ladies that have inspired and motivate me through this time and so thankful I have gotten to meet each one.

I still have a long way to go to reach  my goals, one being keeping my heart healthy and to live to 100.  I surely will continue to strive for them. I know there will be times I fall short but will keep moving ahead.

THANKS TO ALL OF YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!. The staff of AHA, all the sponsors, personal trainer, class instructors and the great friends I have made through this experience. I could never do it without you all. I enjoy seeing all the pictures of my partners and  to here about all of the challenges  & successes. I just can’t say enough about this program and how lucky I am.