Physical Health

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln.

Director's Thoughts

When times are hectic and stressful, one of the places that we may be tempted to skip is exercise. However, that is one of the most important mechanisms that our body has for coping with stress. Physical exercise serves many important functions in our bodies and in our brains - and it helps us look good too.

Pattie S. Christensen, Director


Bright Futures for Women’s Health and Wellness (BFWHW) tools have been developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women's Health and are available on this site

Review information about general health and specific medical conditions

Surgeon General Thoughts
Physical Activity and Health for women by the Surgeon General

Women N.E.W.S. Blog is helpful tips regarding nutrition, exercise, wellness (personal and family) and spiritual growth.

Book Reviews

The Essential Guide to Prescription Drugs, by Long et al, reviewed by Pattie, This book shows all different types of medications - what they look like; what they treat, etc.

Double Your Energy (on CD), by Bob and Dierdre Griswold, reviewed by Pattie, This CD contains positive affirmations set to music. Bob and Dierdre say quick motivational statements, such as, 'I am calm,' which you then repeat out loud. They recommend that you do the exercises twice a day for thirty days to reprogram your brain. I find myself feeling more energized after doing a session.

The Dorm Room Diet, by Daphne Oz, reviewed by Tay, Figuring out how to eat right and stay healthy on your own is hard! Here is help from someone who’s been there. Like many girls, Daphne Oz struggled with her weight as a teenager and couldn’t stick with the extreme restrictions of fad diets. She was able to seize control over her health and her weight only when she recognized the golden opportunity offered by the transition of college life. With the help of her father and grandfather, both cardiac surgeons, and her grandmother, a nutritional advisor, she figured out a whole new approach to managing her weight. How well did it work? You be the judge: In her first semester of college, she not only skipped the proverbial freshman 15- she lost 10 pounds and became healthier than she had ever been. Now the secrets of her success are available to you. 'The Dorm Room diet' will keep you looking great, feeling great and staying fit! TAY'S PERSONAL NOTE: After I started reading this book, I started changing a few things in life. I followed Daphne’s guidelines to start being active (My new Pilates class), eating healthier by cutting out a lot of the junk and by eating in moderation, I have cut out all carbonated drinks and have put myself in the habit of not eating 2 hours before I sleep. GUESS WHAT!? I’ve slept more comfortably throughout the night, I have become more calm in stressful situations and DUH!!! I’ve lost 4 pounds in about a 3 weeks process!!!

Natural Cures, by Trudeau, reviewed by Pattie, This book is more of a rant against the FDA than a medical book.

Feeling Good, by Burns, reviewed by TBD, This is a book that comes highly recommended but has not yet been reviewed by a member of our staff

Ageless Face, Ageless Mind, by Nicholas Perricone, M.D, reviewed by Pattie, Of all of the health related books out there, this one is my favorite because it provides the science behind what is being stated. (You can skip past the science part if you want). Dr. Perricone reviews the various dietary choices and the impact that has on our bodies. He focuses on the excess sugar consumption and the damage that has on the brain, organs and skin. He also lists various fruits, vegetables and grains and how the body reacts to them. He does promote some supplements but you can skip those sections.

Grow Younger, Live Longer, by Deepak Chopra and David Simon, reviewed by LauraE, Although reversing our chronological age is impossible, we can reverse our biological and psychological age and thus regain vitality we had in the past. In Grow Younger, Live Longer authors Deepak Chopra and David Simon serve us a reverse aging program as a holistic approach to creating a better quality of life. The promise of this book is that if you practice the ten steps you will reverse your biological age (the measurement of how well you physiological systems are functioning; the most important component of the aging process)—even up to 15 years younger! The principles taught in this book will benefit your life as you practice them. Even if you are young and not interested in reversing the clock, you can gain energy and vitality for living.

Unleash the Inner Healing Power of Foods, by The Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing, reviewed by LauraE, Did you know that eating a lot of vegetables can cut a man’s risk of prostate cancer by about 45 percent? There are 11 foods that aren’t kind to your kidneys. Any guesses? What is gout? Who gets it? What are the symptoms? What changes can a person make in their diet to help lesson or prevent gout flare-ups? These questions are answered, along with so many more, in Unleash the Inner Healing Power of Foods. With a very helpful Table of Contents, using chapter headings such as “Attack asthma with ease,“ “Foods that fight gallstones,” and “Upping your odds against skin cancer,” you can go directly to the information that relates to a specific condition, or simply read for the wonder and knowledge of what our beautiful earth provides us for our health and betterment. This book will become quite handy in easing one or more ailments that you or your family suffer from!

Men, Women & Worthiness, by Brené Brown, reviewed by LauraE, An excellent place to begin understanding shame, guilt, worthiness, and empathy, Men, Women & Worthiness researcher Dr. Brené Brown opens this once dark world with conviction, knowledge and her own personal experiences she is willing to share. It seems that shame is one of those taboo topics one should never discuss. It’s as if we have been sworn to secrecy and feel like if anyone knows we have experienced shame we are bad, wrong, lesser-than…you get the idea. But is this the way is should be? Is it healthy? NO! The truth is that we all experience shame, whether we know that is its name or not. We can get out from under its crushing weight with knowledge of what it is and shining a light on it to stop its growth. Men, Women & Worthiness opens the discussion on how men and women experience shame and talks about the four elements of shame resilience. Again, if you are new to Dr. Brown’s research this is the place to begin. Listening to this audiobook, I felt as if I was having a candid conversation (albeit one-sided!) with a friend. Dr. Brown’s passion for her work comes through with honesty and conviction in a very crisp recording. I love this audiobook. As soon as it was over, I started right back with disc one again. NOTE: I do have one caveat—Dr. Brown’s language choice is at times, well, colorful. She uses words that in our home are marked as “swear” words. Although I would like her speech to be more clean, I can also see that she is being her authentic self even in the recording of this audiobook.

Feeling Good, by David D. Burns, M.D., reviewed by LauraE, It has been understood by people for thousands of years that life is as you perceive it and the messages that you give yourself turn into feelings, and therefore your reality. Put very simply: You feel the way you think. This can often lead to depression, feelings of low self-worth.
Recent studies indicate that cognitive therapy (a form of therapy for depression in which the goal is to diminish symptoms by correcting distorted thinking based on negative self-perceptions and expectations) may actually change brain chemistry. The beauty of this research is that powerful medications do not have to be the ONLY answer, but can be used in place of —or in conjunction with— cognitive therapy (I like to think of cognitive therapy as ‘working on my thought behavior’). Now, you may think, “But I am not depressed so this book isn’t for me.” That is where you are wrong! Have you never experienced anxiety, guilt, pessimism, procrastination, low self-esteem or even anger? Have you not had a “down day?” We all have. In identifying the triggers and altering the way these experiences are internalized, we can set ourselves up for a more positive outcome and less depression.
Don’t be intimidated by the page count in Feeling Good. It is an accessible format!

Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert, reviewed by LauraE, First of all, let’s be clear on what this book is, and isn’t, about. Stumbling on Happiness is “not an instruction manual that will tell you anything useful about how to be happy. Instead, this is a book that describes what science has to tell us about how and how well the human brain can imagine its own future, and about how and how well it can predict which of those futures it will most enjoy” (page xvi).
If you are looking for a book on how to improve your happiness or content, this is NOT the book for you. If you are wanting to explore the scientific side of happiness, give it a try.
Author Daniel Gilbert uses his humor and wit to entertain the reader. I found his attempts distracting and this book so word-dense that I just ended up putting it down. My opinion is that the information could be pared down to about 20% of the current book size and put in a more user-friendly format, thus less stumbling all around.

Change Your Brain Change Your Body: Your Ultimate Brain-Body Makeover, by Daniel G. Amen, reviewed by LauraE, In this audiobook, Dr. Daniel G. Amen talks about (as the title states!) changing your brain to change your body, or your health and weight. There are six CDs included, each runs approximately one hour. Dr. Amen has a second person with him on most of the CDs, although often times they don’t say all that much. It provides some much needed banter to break up the monotony of hearing just one voice.

While Dr. Amen’s speaking style was hard for me to listen through—the cadence of his voice was a struggle for me—, if you can get past that he does have some great information for us, including information on different types of brains that have an effect on the individuals weight and overall health, how to boost your brain’s health, how to kill the ANTs (automatic negative thoughts), and even three hypnosis sessions (weight control, overcoming anxiety, healthy sleep) on the sixth CD.

I enjoyed listening to Change Your Brain Change Your Body. I like the knowledge and enthusiasm that Dr. Amen expresses throughout. As I listened to this book, I decided to make a significant change in my life that will definitely have a lasting positive effect on my body as I age. It was needed for a long time, and this was the final push to make it happen!

Healthy Fats for Life, by Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe & Karlene Karst, reviewed by LauraE, Fats are not created equal. There are bad fats, good fats, better fats, and best fats. One thing we do know, although for many years we were told just the opposite, is that our bodies NEED fat!

Healthy fats in our diet can help us improve our health in many ways, from controlling diabetes and reducing the risk of cancer to increasing life span and developing stronger bones. Healthy Fats for Life makes information accessible in its chapter format dedicated to one specific interest per chapter, and even includes a chapter on “What to Look for in a Quality Product” and “Recipes for Health” located in the back of the book.

Armed with a little information, we can understand just what healthy fats do for our bodies and minds and further incorporate them into our diet—reaping the benefits of health and longevity.