Nordic Walking Can Improve Your Heart Function. Here's How It Works. - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Nordic Walking Can Improve Your Heart Function.

A recent study found people with coronary artery disease saw improved health outcomes after committing to the nordic walking workout for 12 weeks.

HuffPost | By Jillian Wilson | Sep 8, 2022, 05:45 AM EDT | Updated Sep 8, 2022

It’s widely known that walking is great for you. Research shows that walking can cut your risk of heart disease, reduce joint pain and naturally relieve stress.

A study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology in June also found that a specific kind of walking can be beneficial for people with coronary artery disease: Nordic walking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coronary artery disease “is the most common type of heart disease in the United States.” The study results suggest that people with the disease saw improved heart function after committing to Nordic walking for three months.

Nordic walking involves using poles similar to ski poles as you move. Unlike a regular walk, this kind of walking incorporates your upper body muscles in addition to your lower body muscles. According to the International Nordic Walking Federation, Nordic walking began as an off-season workout for skiers and has been around since the mid-1900s.

For the study, 130 people with coronary artery disease were randomly split into one of three groups. The first group followed a 12-week high-intensity interval training program; the second group followed a 12-week moderate-to-vigorous intensity training program; the third group followed a 12-week Nordic walking program.

After the workout program, participants were observed for 14 weeks, and their functional capacity ― or their ability to exercise or perform daily activities that require physical effort ― was tested by measuring how far they walked in six minutes.

Additionally, the researchers had participants fill out a heart disease-specific questionnaire and a 36-question health survey. Depression levels were also measured using the Beck Depression Inventory-II, which is commonly used to measure depression after heart attacks. Participants were tested at the beginning, the middle and the end of the study.

Nordic walking yielded the best results.

While all participants saw favorable health outcomes, those in the Nordic walking group experienced the largest increase in functional capacity compared to their baseline level at the start of the study.

In other words, those who committed to the 12-week Nordic walking program were most able to show increased exercise capacity during the six-minute walk test. And one’s functional capacity is “an important predictor of future cardiovascular events in patients with [coronary artery disease],” the study stated.

Click here for the full story…


Visit more blog articles from Shield Insurance Agency

Read More
Lower Prescription Drug Costs - Shield Insurance Blog

How States Helped Lower Prescription Drug Costs

The sweeping federal bill aimed at cutting prescription drug costs follows years of action at the state level

by Emily Paulin, AARP, August 18, 2022

En español

Congress’ passage of a sweeping bill that will help millions of Medicare enrollees better afford life-sustaining medications was fueled by a blizzard of recent legislation to make prescription drugs more affordable at the state level. State lawmakers have introduced hundreds of bills aimed at lowering prescription drug costs in the past five years, with more than 230 measures enacted across all 50 states.

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will allow Medicare to negotiate prices of some high-cost drugs for the first time, put an annual limit on Medicare Part D beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs and impose tax penalties on drugmakers that increase prices more than the rate of inflation, among other things.

The move follows decades of advocacy for drug affordability by AARP and others, which until recently yielded progress mostly at the state level. “States are the laboratories of democracy,” says Jonathan Bartholomew, a government affairs director at AARP. “They’ve come up with really creative ideas to dissect, legislate and regulate this complicated and confusing marketplace, and I think that progress has really helped build federal momentum around this issue.”

AARP CEO Lauds Activists for Fighting for Rx Bill

Though states are restricted by federal law in how far they can go in directly reducing drug prices, they’ve worked to improve transparency around drug pricing, cap costs for consumers, bolster their drug-purchasing power and more. And collectively, they’ve spotlighted drug affordability as a national issue that calls for federal solutions.

Here are some key state initiatives that advanced prescription drug affordability in recent years.

Increasing price transparency

For states to pinpoint what’s driving price hikes in prescription drugs, it helps to have access to pricing data across a drug’s often long and convoluted supply chain. It’s why 14 states have passed drug price transparency laws that order manufacturers, wholesalers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), insurers and others to share cost information.

What pharmaceutical companies must report about their products differs between states, but common requirements include advance notice and justification of the initial price of a drug and when prices increase above certain thresholds; summaries of the state’s most prescribed and costly drugs; and rebate and reimbursement amounts for PBMs, which health insurers use to manage their prescription drug benefits.

Most of the data collected is made public, which can help doctors, consumers and other health care stakeholders. Advance notice of price hikes gives doctors and patients time to analyze patient care plans and adjust as necessary. Summaries of the most prescribed and costly drugs can show state officials where to focus reforms.

Click here for the full story…


Read More
Shield Insurance Agency Blog | 16 Easy Exercises That Can Improve Your Posture

16 Easy Exercises That Can Improve Your Posture

16 Easy Exercises That Can Improve Your Posture: working from home or staring at your phone has you slouching, these moves are here to save your back, shoulders and neck.

Huffpost | Nicole Pajer | Aug 12, 2022, 05:45 AM EDT

Have you been slacking in the posture department?

Thanks to our smartphones, iPads and more, many of us spend our days with our necks craning down to stare at our devices. Working from home has also created complications, affectionately referred to by experts as “pandemic posture.”

Fixing your posture can not only relieve back or neck pain, “it can also have a significant impact on all things related to our respiratory function, core and pelvic health,” explained ­­­­Trista Zinn, a trainer and founder of Coreset Fitness.

Taking tiny steps toward improving your posture is the best way to go. Here are 16 exercises to try to help get you standing and sitting straighter.

Easy Exercises

Seated Row

“This exercise works all the muscles of the back, and helps counterbalance the weight of the chest and support the spine,” explained Sebastien Lagree, a trainer and founder of Lagree Fitness.

Sit cross-legged or straddle a bench with cables or bands wrapped around a doorknob or floor mount in front of you. Next, pull the handles back toward your rib cage.

“As you continue to pull the handles toward you, focus on lifting the spine or sitting taller,” Lagree said. “Each time you pull the handles in, aim to sit higher.”

Bent-Over Rows

If you don’t have a cable system at home, or access to a gym, grab some free weights and perform bent-over rows.

“Strengthening the muscles that retract the scapula leads to better posture,” said Dr. Alejandro Badia, an orthopedic surgeon in Miami. “This also helps avoid shoulder pain, which often occurs when we slouch or work in a slumped position.”

Bend your knees and lean your upper body forward, keeping a straight spine. Start with your arms straight down in front of you with your palms facing your body, then pull the weights back, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top. Try not to over-extend the movement: Stop right when you get to where your pockets would be on your pants ― i.e., near your hips. Lower your weights and repeat the movement.

Cat-Cow

Click here for the rest of the story…

Check our more great articles with Shield Insurance!


Read More
Take a Trip for Brain Health - Researchers suggest travel therapy may benefit adults living with dementia

Travel therapy may benefit adults living with dementia

Researchers suggest travel therapy may benefit adults living with dementia

By Peter Urban, AARP

EN ESPAÑOL

Not that anyone needs an excuse to take a holiday, but researchers in Australia suggest that a break from the daily routine has mental and physical health benefits, including for adults living with dementia.

“Medical experts can recommend dementia treatments such as music therapy, exercise, cognitive stimulation, reminiscence therapy, sensory stimulation and adaptations to a patient’s mealtimes and environment. These are all also often found when on holidays,” lead researcher Jun Wen, a lecturer in tourism and hospitality management in the School of Business and Law at Edith Cowan University, said in a statement.

Wen and fellow researchers suggest in a paper published in Tourism Management that travel therapy, like music and art therapy, should be available to adults living with dementia. “This research is among the first to conceptually discuss how these tourism experiences could potentially work as dementia interventions,” he said.

Although some research has shown tourism’s health benefits for people in general, additional research is needed to demonstrate how it can enhance the lives of people living with diseases like dementia and depression, Wen said.

“Tourism is generally considered a form of leisure that liberates people from the everyday. The emotional states, thoughts, and unique memories evoked by tourism have the potential to positively influence the well-being of individuals with dementia,” the researchers wrote.

Here are some ways, according to the researchers, that a vacation could serve as therapy for adults living with mild to moderate dementia.

• Sightseeing provides an opportunity to get the brain working by stimulating thinking, concentration and memory — especially when interacting with caregivers or other tourists.

• Travel brings people to novel environments where adults living with dementia may “experience new emotions, moods and other reactions, thereby stimulating brain functions that enable them to process such feelings.”

Click here for the rest of the story…


More Blog Articles from Shield Insurance

Read More
DIFS Alerts Consumers to Recurring Scam and How to Avoid It

Mental Health Care Services Are Covered by Most Health Insurance Plans

DIFS: Mental Health Care Services Are Covered by Most Health Insurance Plans

Media Contact: Laura Hall, (517) 290-3779, DIFS-press@michigan.gov
Consumer Hotline: 877-999-6442, Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 31, 2022

(LANSING, MICH) As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding consumers that mental health care services are covered by many health insurance plans, enabling Michiganders to get the help, support, and care they need.

“Mental health care is health care. It is just as important as physical health and should not be neglected, yet we know that approximately 40% of Michiganders experiencing mental illness do not seek treatment for these concerns,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Mental health services are covered by many health insurance plans, including all Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans purchased through HealthCare.gov. Review your policy documents to determine if you have this coverage, which will cover the costs of office or virtual visits with a licensed mental health professional, substance abuse disorder treatment, or medications.”

Michiganders are encouraged to check with their health insurer to confirm that they have coverage for mental health services and to make sure they understand their out-of-pocket expenses before seeking the mental health care they need. Mental health and substance use disorder coverage offered by a health plan must be similar to coverage provided for medical surgical services. Out-of-Pocket expenses, such as copays, and prior authorization requirements must also be similar to those for medical surgical services.

DIFS stands ready to help Michiganders get the most out of their health insurance and reduce barriers that may discourage them from seeking mental health care. If consumers have concerns about mental health-related insurance claims that cannot be resolved directly with the insurer, contact DIFS by calling 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by filing a complaint at Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.

DIFS can help consumers with health insurance questions and complaints and can provide information about the Special Enrollment Period that is currently open for households with incomes lower than 150% of the federal poverty level. Contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 877-999-6442 or Michigan.gov/HealthInsurance.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

You can also call Shield Insurance for additional details on Mental Health Care Coverage at 616.896.4600


Read More
DIFS Alerts Consumers to Recurring Scam and How to Avoid It

DIFS: Make Sure Your Health and Auto Insurance Policies Work Together to Protect Yourself and Your Family

Drivers who rely on health insurance to pay for auto injuries may be responsible for their own medical bills if they lose or change their health insurance

Media Contact: Laura Hall, 517-290-3779, DIFS-press@michigan.gov
Consumer Hotline: 833-ASK-DIFS, AutoInsurance@michigan.gov

From: DIFS Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2022

(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding Michiganders that if someone in their household does not have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) medical coverage, a change in their health insurance can also affect their auto insurance coverage. Under Michigan’s auto insurance law that went into effect in 2020, eligible Michiganders may now choose to opt out of or exclude themselves or family members from PIP medical, but they must take quick action after a change in health insurance or they risk not having medical coverage in the event of an auto accident.

“Your auto insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind if you lose your health insurance, but Michiganders may now rely on their health insurance coverage for auto accident injuries and they must take quick action to protect themselves and their families after a change,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “There can be serious financial consequences if someone in your household does not have PIP medical coverage, loses their qualified health coverage, and is then injured in an auto accident without taking the appropriate action.”

Michigan’s auto insurance law now gives Michigan drivers the chance to choose from six different PIP medical coverage levels when they buy or renew their auto insurance. PIP covers medical bills and other expenses for those who are injured in an auto accident.

For people who have Qualified Health Coverage (QHC), two options allow them to remove PIP medical coverage for themselves and/or eligible household members. To count as QHC, the driver’s health insurance policy must not exclude or limit coverage for auto accident injuries and must have an individual deductible of $6,000 or less. Medicare Parts A and B or Medicare Advantage also count as QHC, but VA Health Benefits do not.

If a person who has been excluded from PIP has a change in their health coverage, they may have no medical coverage in the event of an auto accident. To prevent this from happening, DIFS is urging Michiganders who have a health insurance change in their household to A.C.T.:

  • A – Ask your auto insurance company or agent about your PIP medical coverage choice and find out if you need QHC to maintain your current selection.
  • C – Contact your health insurer to determine if your new policy counts as QHC and to get an updated QHC letter.
  • T -Tell your auto insurance company immediately if you lose your QHC. You have 30 days to obtain replacement health insurance or make a different PIP medical selection, or you risk not having medical coverage for yourself and your family in the event of a crash.

Drivers who do not secure replacement PIP medical coverage or QHC will not be entitled to any PIP medical benefits after 30 days, potentially making them personally responsible for their own medical bills in the event of an auto accident.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Consumers with questions about auto insurance can contact DIFS Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 833-ASK-DIFS (833-275-3437) or visit Michigan.gov/AutoInsurance.

####


More great articles!

Read More
Carlos Garcia Marketplace Circle of Champions

Shield Agent Carlos Martinez Garcia Awarded Elite level of the 2022 Marketplace Circle of Champions

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight
200 Independence Avenue SW
Washington, DC 20201

Shield Insurance Agent Carlos Martinez Garcia reached the Elite level of the 2022 Marketplace Circle of Champions by helping more than 100 consumers actively apply for and enroll in coverage!

The year-round efforts of agents and brokers play an important role in helping Americans access coverage and we are continually impressed by the dedication and commitment Carlos shows to consumers during the busy Open Enrollment Period.

This is an outstanding achievement! We thank Carlos for the trusted advice, support, and assistance you provide throughout the year to Shield Insurance Agency clients.

Agent Carlos Martinez at Shield Insurance Wins Award

Read More
U.S. saw its 4th-warmest year on record, fueled by a record-warm December - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

U.S. saw its 4th-warmest year on record, fueled by a record-warm December

Nation struck with 20 separate billion-dollar disasters in 2021

NOAA.gov | January 10, 2022

On September 4, 2021, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Soldiers and the Bureau of Land Management-California’s Folsom Lake Veterans Hand Crew constructed a handline, cleared brush, and dealt with hot spots north of Lake Davis and Portola during the largest wildfire of 2021–California’s Dixie Fire. The western wildfires of 2021 were one of 20 separate billion-dollar disasters that struck the United States last year. (Joe Bradshaw/Bureau of Land Management)

The year 2021 was marked by extremes across the U.S., including exceptional warmth, devastating severe weather and the second-highest number of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters on record.  

The nation also saw an active wildfire year across the West as the north Atlantic Basin stayed busy with its third most-active Atlantic hurricane season on record, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

Here’s a recap of the climate and extreme weather events across the U.S. in 2021:

Climate by the numbers

December 2021 | Full year 2021 

The December contiguous U.S. temperature was 39.3 degrees F, 6.7 degrees above average, making it the warmest December on record and exceeding the previous warmest December in 2015.

Ten states — Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas — also had their warmest Decembers on record.

For 2021, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 54.5 degrees F, 2.5 degrees above the 20th-century average and ranked as the fourth-warmest year in the 127-year period of record. The six warmest years on record have all occurred since 2012.

Maine and New Hampshire had their second-warmest year on record with 19 additional states across the Northeast, Great Lakes, Plains and West experiencing a top-five warmest year. Meanwhile, Alaska’s average annual temperature was 26.4 degrees F, 0.4 of a degree above the long-term average and the coldest year since 2012.

Precipitation across the contiguous U.S. totaled 30.48 inches (0.54 of an inch above average), which placed 2021 in the middle third of the climate record. Massachusetts had its ninth-wettest year on record, while Montana ranked ninth driest on record for 2021.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought coverage remained fairly significant and steady throughout much of 2021, with a minimum extent of 43.4% occurring on May 25 and maximum coverage of 55.5% on December 7.

Click here for the rest of the story…


More Great articles featured at the Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Read More
5 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

5 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage

ConsumerReports.org | By Paul Hope | Published February 18, 2021 | Updated January 5, 2022

  • Never use a generator indoors or within 20 feet of your house.
  • Have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every floor.
  • If you use your car to stay warm or charge devices, make sure it’s outside the garage.
  • Never use a device (such as an oven) to produce heat unless that’s its intended purpose.
  • Indoor portable heaters should have an automatic shutoff switch in case they tip over.

Winter storms leave thousands of Americans without power each year, but there are several steps you can take to stay warm and safe.

The biggest threat from a power outage, of course, is the lack of heat. But even during an extended outage, there are ways to survive the cold.

The danger is that some alternative heating systems pose their own threats, such as fire and carbon monoxide. But there are precautions you can take to minimize the danger.

Here are five ways to stay warm—and safe—during a power outage.

1. If You Can, Get a Generator

Even if you’ve already lost power, it’s not too late to look for a portable generator. Sales always spike during weather emergencies, but it’s still worth trying.

Some major retailers have told CR that they’re able to reallocate the supply of generators to affected areas in as little as a day or two. A good strategy is to show up early at a store to grab one before they’re sold out.

If you’re fortunate enough to find a portable generator, use our guide to get it up and running quickly and safely. Once the outage is over, hire an electrician to install a transfer switch or interlock device so that the generator can power entire circuits in your home, which is both safer and more helpful.

If you can’t find a portable generator at a home center or power equipment dealer, try looking for a recreational generator at places like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, or even at a local RV or boat dealership.

These smaller generators aren’t really designed for power outages, but their output of 1,800 to 2,000 watts is still enough to power a large space heater and charge cell phones, which may be enough to get you through an outage.How to Run a Generator Safely

2. Stay in a Southern-Facing Room

Click here for the rest of the story…


Wanna see more great articles?

Read More
22 Tiny Mental Health Habits That Can Improve Your Life In 2022 - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

22 Tiny Mental Health Habits That Can Improve Your Life In 2022

Huffpost.com | By Amber Gibson12/28/2021 06:44pm EST

Self-care won’t solve every problem, but these quick and easy activities may at least bring some happiness to your day.

Another roller coaster year is coming to an end, and the lingering effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have certainly taken a collective toll on our mental health.

There’s no way to know what 2022 has in store for us, nor can self-care erase the grief, trauma or other challenges we may have endured over the last 12 months. But as we look toward the new year, we can adopt healthy new habits to help incrementally improve our days, even if just for a moment. Sometimes, that’s more than enough.

Below are 22 happiness tips to try in the new year:

Start a gratitude journal.

This only takes a few minutes. Recording positive things about your day, whether major achievements or simple pleasures, can reduce stress, improve sleep and even foster better relationships by building a sense of empathy.

“There is no right or wrong way to write a journal, but I recommend that this becomes a daily exercise,” 

John Lee, director of clinical psychology at Executive Mental Health.

Lee suggests journaling at the same time each day, whether before dinner or before bed, and identifying at least one item for daily gratitude.

Take five deep breaths.

“Stress has many physical manifestations,” explained Amanda Goldstein, a psychiatrist in California. This can include issues like stomachaches or other digestive problems.

“By changing your breathing pattern, you can trick your brain into suppressing your fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system and increase your parasympathetic activity, or rest and digest. Not only will this make you feel calmer, but it will also help you digest your lunch better.”

Keep a light therapy lamp on your desk.

“Your circadian rhythm regulates your sleep-wake cycle, which affects bodily functions and behavioral responses,” Goldstein said. “Exposure to sunlight, especially first thing in the morning, helps keep your clock on time. Since most of us work indoors, a light therapy lamp serves this purpose and gives a nice boost in energy and mood. And as an added bonus, it provides excellent lighting for video calls.” (Here’s how to use one properly.)

Drink water.

Our bodies are made up of 60% water, yet up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.

Sara Cullen, founder and CEO of GEM, said drinking enough water daily helps boost her mood. “Water is the essence of us and what we need in order for our micronutrients and functions to operate,” she said.

Check out the rest of the story…


Wanna see more great articles in the Shield Insurance Agency Blog?

Read More