Bea’s Wellness Beat – Running

Bea is starting a new feature, beginning today, and every upcoming Thursday.  She calls it “Bea’s Wellness Beat.”

She’ll pick a random health, wellness, or fitness topic, and provide readers with a few tidbits relating to that topic:

  • Quotation of the week
  • Photo of the week
  • Key points about the topic
  • Inspirational/informational links about the topic
  • Along with anything else she can think of, for your reading enjoyment.

Bea would LOVE to have ideas from readers about what topics you would be interested in learning/reading about at Bea’s Wellness Beat.

Today’s topic:  Running! 

Quote for the week:  The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”  (John Bingham, No Need for Speed: A Beginner’s Guide to the Joy of Running.

Bea completed her first 5K in 2013.  Here she is, pre-run, in the morning hours of April 27, 2013, at the Mount Clemens, Michigan, Let’s Move, Festival of Races. 


One 5K (3.1 miles) and she was hooked on running!  Bea’s been a walker for many years, and never thought she’d take that leap into running.  Now she’s glad she did!

Things she loves:  Being out in the fresh air, building up her endurance, relieving stress and boosting her mood.  She even loves the sweating part.  Her Ipod Nano is her “running buddy,” and keeps her motivated.

Benefits of running include:

  • Weight loss – if you’re trying to lose weight, combining a healthy diet with cardiovascular exercise such as running is a great way to succeed. You burn more calories running than you would with brisk walking or bicycling.
  • Running helps include lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels,  and increased lung capacity and cardiovascular endurance. You can read more about the health benefits of running at this article: Health Benefits of Running.
  • Running also gives you a sense of self-esteem, confidence, and when those endorphins are released, you feel great!

Of course, one thing Bea doesn’t want to do is injure herself while running – she’s pushing 57 years old, and an injury might turn out to be a lengthy setback to her fitness program!  To avoid injuries:

  • Buy good running shoes – specifically made for running!
  • Warm up with a walk before starting your run; and do stretches after your run.
  • Include different fitness options besides running into your exercise routine; cross training helps you work different muscles and keeps your body challenged.
  • This Runner’s World article provides some more injury prevention tips.

Inspirational links:

Looking for a Running Club? 

Michigan Running Clubs

Twisted Blister Running Club (Manistee Michigan)  Find on Facebook:

Looking for running events?

Check out the Active website.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Wellness Beat!  Remember, Bea is always looking for new ideas/topics to write about.  Have a suggestion?  Add it to the comments section, or send Bea an email:


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Choosing a Primary Care Physician

I changed my primary care physician around 2 1/2 years ago, after going to the same physician for since the mid-nineties. I’d been dissatisfied with my current doctor for some time. He didn’t seem to listen to my concerns/questions and didn’t answer my queries thoroughly enough. I just didn’t feel comfortable with our level of communication. As I got older, and worried more about age-related issues, this became more and more of a problem.

As I’ve aged, my body’s changed, of course, and I found myself worrying about things I would never have thought twice about when I was young. With a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, arthritis (Yikes!) I had plenty to concern myself with as I hit my fifties. Even though I’m not overweight and have exercised for years, there’s always concern about unexplained aches, pains, fears about bone loss, etc.

I also wanted to find a female doctor. Nothing against male physicians; I just wanted a woman’s perspective on issues that relate strictly to women.

As we all know, choosing a primary care physician is important, since this is the doctor we see regularly, for minor medical problems, as well as to help manage conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and others. This is the doctor that gets to know your body, your health concerns and the status of your health as you age.

These are the things I looked for in choosing my PCP:

  • A doctor who had the ability to communicate; that “bedside manner,” so to speak.
  • A doctor I felt I could trust with my physical and mental health concerns.
  • A doctor who would listen to me without judgment.
  • A doctor whose office hours worked around my schedule.

Medline Plus also suggests other considerations, as listed in this article.

Ultimately, I got a referral from a female co-worker who was also a friend of mine. I told her what I was looking for in a physician, and she highly recommended her doctor, whom she had been seeing for many years. It’s been a good fit between doctor and patient. She listens, and after I’m done speaking about my concerns/health issues, she responds: “Here’s what I hear you saying.” She won’t order unnecessary tests. Additionally, the diagnostic center I go to for any tests my doctor orders has great scheduling times, even on Saturdays.

I’m happy I made the switch, and feel like I’ve found the right “match” between patient and physician. I know how important that is for me as I travel through the my senior years, and face any health obstacles that may arise.

For further reading:

Why do you need a primary care physician?

Tips on selecting a good primary care doctor.

Age-Related Memory Loss or Alzheimer’s?

Be sure to visit my new blog:  Vital Aging 4 Women 


A few nights ago, Bea had a Girls’ Night Out scheduled with 4 of her girlfriends.  She strolled into the restaurant about 10 minutes befoe 6:00, noticed that no one else had arrived yet, and asked the hostess for a table for five, please.  Bea ordered a coffee with a shot of Bailey’s  and happily munched on the bread basket contents while she waited for her buddies.  And waited.  Watched the door, waited some more.

Around 6:10, she started wondering.  “Hmmm, where the heck are they?”  She thought to herself.  “How nervy, making me wait!”  She commented to the waiter, “Here I sit, with my invisible friends!”  He chuckled.  Bea chuckled.  Then decided it was time for action.

She called one friend, got her voicemail, left a message:  “Hey, did you leave yet?  I’m waiting here and no one’s shown up yet!”  Bea called a second friend, J,  and lo and behold, she answered the phone.  “What’s up, why are you still home? I’m sitting here at Sajo’s!”  J answered:  “We’re meeting tomorrow night!”

What the???  Holy crap.  Bea showed up on the wrong night for our GNO!  Now what?  Should she go home, or simply eat alone?  While she was waiting, she had perused the menu, and was craving salmon, not leftovers in her fridge.  The waiter would think she was nuts!

Then Bea’s phone rang, and it was her friend, M.  “I’m here alone,” Bea said, sounding pitiful.  “What are you doing?”  M. had just sat down to dinner with her hubby, but because she’s Bea’s best friend, she ditched him and drove to the restaurant to keep her company.

The two of them had a good laugh over Bea’s brain fart. But it also made Bea feel like she’s losing her marbles!  She still can’t believe she forgot what night she was supposed to meet her friends.  As she thought back on the last couple of months, Bea realized that over the past couple of months, she had been plagued by other little memory losses.

Does this kind of thing ever happen to you? Do you ever wonder if it’s just a blip on the old brain, or something more scary?

Bea has written prior posts about Alzheimer’s, but never answered the question about what types of memory lapses might indicate the possible onset of the disease. This information was easy to find, simply by going to the Alzheimer’s Association website at  According to what she read, Bea can be assured that she is, in fact, simply having normal age-related memory lapses.

The site has an article that discusses the 10 early signs of this disease.  If you fear that you may displaying early signs, or a family member or friend might be, take a look at these early indicators:

  1.  Alzheimer’s may be rearing its head if a person starts forgetting things they’ve recently learned, or if they forget a very important date, or if they begin verifying information with others again and again.
  2. A person may start having a difficult time making plans or solvingproblems.  They may have difficulty concentrating and keeping track of routine things in their daily lives.
  3. Having a difficult time with completing routine tasks; for example, forgetting how to get to their local supermarket.
  4. Time or place confusion; when a person forgets what year it is. Another disturbing sign is if someone forgets where they are or how they got there.
  5. Vision problems that may affect a person’s ability to drive. These problems include “difficulty reading, judging distance, and determining color or contrast.” *
  6. Normal aging often has us trying to figure out a word that’s “on the tip of our tongue.” A person with early signs of Alzheimer’s may be unable to follow a normal conversation and may repeat themselves.  Additionally, their vocabulary may become hindered – they forget what certain items are called, and give them a substitute name.
  7. A person may misplace items, putting them in the wrong place.  For example, putting keys in the refrigerator.  After misplacing something, they are unable to retrace their steps to find it.
  8. A person may begin to make bad decisions and use poor judgment.  Personal grooming may be ignored.
  9. While it’s normal to occasionally want to bow out of social obligations, a person with Alzheimer’s may begin to regularly withdraw themselves from hobbies, social connections, and so forth.
  10. Finally, a disturbing sign is that a person’s personality may change negatively, and they may become moody.  A person who was outgoing and friendly may become suspicious of others, develop fearful or anxious behaviors.  When their level of routine comfort is disturbed, they may become upset.

The Alzheimer’s Association points out that it is very important to detect Alzheimer’s as early as possible.  Early treatment can help relieve symptoms and may delay the further worsening of symptoms.

* Alzheimer’s Association. 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

For further reading:

10 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power



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Calcium Poisoning?



Recently, my brother-in-law was admitted to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. His speech was slurred, his thought processes confused. In the hospital, the medical team completed blood work and other tests. The diagnosis? Calcium poisoning.

Don’t know about you, but I’d never heard of it! Turns out my BIL ate “Tums” on a regular basis for indigestion/heartburn. And this routine ingestion of antacids caused an overload of calcium in his body.

We all know that we need calcium for strong teeth and bones, as well as for nerve function.** And, in fact, some of us take antacids such as Tums or Rolaids as a calcium supplement. But how many of us realize that our bodies can get too much of this mineral?  For example, an excess of calcium has been connected to heart disease.

After a little “googling,” here’s what I found out about calcium poisoning:

The common ingredient in antacids is calcium carbonate.  When someone takes more than the recommended dosage, calcium overdose can occur.  Someone who regularly has heartburn may continue to take the antacids without realizing the potential consequences.

Symptoms of a calcium overdose include: Confusion, constipation, headache, muscle twitching, nausea and more, as shown in this Medline Plus article.

I know that my BIL suffered from confusion; when talking with my husband on the phone while in the hospital, he made some odd statements.  When asked jokingly how the food was, he said something like, “It’s good, but this place has bugs . . .” Did he mean insect type bugs or the room being bugged?  Not sure about that . . .

He’s back at home now, and fortunately for him, Medline Plus points out that one instance of calcium overdose is not too serious, and he is likely to recover fully with no long-term effects.  More serious health issues occur if someone
chronically overuses antacids.

Do you know anyone who uses antacids to an excess?  You may want to warn them about the possibility of calcium overdose.  It’s also a good idea to keep the Poison Control Hotline number available:  1-800-222-1222.


*August 2012. The Center for Development. Wilson, LawrenceMD.The Mysteries of Calcium.


For further reading:

George Cranston: Health Risks of Too Much Calcium 


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