Category Archives: Be Well health tips

Betsy’s Boosts for wellness

How I find time on my “to-do” list for exercise

Gentle Reader,

You’re too busy, you say, to exercise.  Here I am at the Shaklee convention in Las Vegas where it is too hot to breath outside and too stale to breath inside the air conditioning.  I’m one of those Northwesterners who lives and breathes in and out nothing but fresh air.

We are sitting in large auditoriums all day long.  What’s a person to do?

1. Get up 20 minutes earlier than you need to and spend that extra time stretching.

2. Walk up all the stair cases that present themselves.

3. Take breaks to stand where you are sitting.  You’ll be surprised how often it is possible to stand up in a meeting or conference.  Watch for those moments.

4.  Adjust your posture, pull your shoulders back; breath deeply into your belly.  It’s all about the oxygen.

Here is a blog post I came across that you might enjoy written by a former personal trainer.

Right now, take a minute to tell us what strategies you use to pack in 30 minutes of cardio a day by posting a comment below.


Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077

Put exercise on your “A” to-do list February 24, 2010

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One of the most common problems people have with exercising is finding time, or rather making time, to do it. Granted life is chuck full for most of us, especially those who are working full time and raising kids. But for people over 50 especially who intend to live long, healthy, happy years and being present in person, not just in spirit, at their grandchild’s wedding, regular exercise is not optional in my opinion. In fact it may be literally a life or death matter. The single most important thing we can do for healthy longevity is physical activity which strengthens, stretches and moves the entire body. And if health clubs aren’t involved it’s basically free. Studies have shown that simply walking briskly for 30 minutes five times a week is vital to preventing diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, stroke and heart problems. If you realize the importance of this and have the desire to do it but are time-challenged here are a few tips.

1. Plan your exercise routine at the beginning of each week. Write it into your schedule with bold, red ink with specific notes as to what exercise you’ll do. Make it as important as a hair appointment and don’t let anything, rain or snow, keep you from it.

2. Realize that you can divide up your exercise into segments. For example, a 30-minute walk can be broken into two 15-minute or three 10-minute segments.

3. Often it all comes down to choices. It may mean 30 minutes less TV time, or exercising on a treadmill or lifting weights while your watching.

4. If you are employed use part of your lunch hour to get some of your exercise in.

5. Always look for ways to move your body — playing with your kids or grandkids, vacuuming, gardening — all help, especially if regular planned exercise is hard to come by some days. Move, move, move.

6. Save time by doing exercising in and around your home and not driving to a fitness club.

6. Check out my new book, “The No Nonsense Guide To Fitness” for more ideas.


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Steps you can take to stop Plantar Fasciitis pain.

Gentle Reader,

Has this happened to you?

You make a goal to step up your fitness training to prepare for a back packing trip.  Maybe, like me, you have a big hike in your future and your friends are suggesting that you need to train harder for it.  After all, the Alps are high mountains.  You start at 5000 ft and go up from there.  You say you’re just going to be in the North Cascades.  Maybe you just want to do the 3 day walk for the Cure next time it comes to town.

You double your effort.  Instead of walking 3 – 4 miles 3 times a week, I increased to daily walks of that length.

Within 10 days of the increase, I felt a twinge in my heel and a shooting pain up my calf.  I recognized this sensation right away because years ago I had a similar experience, ignored it for 6 months.  Major interventions were necessary.  I had to abandon my favorite form of exercise, running.   Not good.

To save you the trouble, I have condensed information from excellent resources.

What is plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot. This tissue is called the plantar fascia. It connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot.

What causes plantar fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot is overstretched or overused. This can be painful and make walking more difficult.

You are more likely to get plantar fasciitis if you have:

  • Foot arch problems (both flat feet and high arches)
  • Long-distance running, especially running downhill or on uneven surfaces
  • Sudden weight gain or obesity
  • Tight Achilles tendon (the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel)
  • Shoes with poor arch support or soft soles

Plantar fasciitis is the most common orthopedic complaint relating to the foot that affects people over 40, men and women alike.

Check out the reference for symptoms and description of the pain.

I will cut to the chase and give you those tricks to moving past this problem quickly:

1. Stop doing what hurts.  I cancelled out of a training hike to Pratt Lake, an elevation gain of 2300 ft in 8 ½ miles along a beautifully maintained trail in old growth cedar, hemlock and fir in the Snoqualmie pass area, already snow free while many high places still have snow on the trail.  Perhaps you are like me and have a really hard time cancelling activities like this.  Do it anyway.  Be proud of yourself for listening to your body.  Stop doing what hurts.

2. Ice the heel.  15 minutes on, 15 minutes off.

3. Take an anti-inflammatory if needed.  Personally, I only hurt when I am walking a couple of miles, about 20 – 30 minutes into the walk.  I can manage the pain with Shaklee’s Pain Relief tablets, but this isn’t about managing pain, this is about calming the irritation, reducing swelling, getting back to healthy facia.

4. Stretch the Achilles tendon and heel.  I use a strap, lie on my back and push into the strap with my foot perpendicular to the floor.  It actually hurts like hell so I know I need to do this more than I do.  Peggy Cappy’s yoga for back pain relief gets me stretching longer with greater benefit. Here’s an excellent 1 minute video for healing Achilles tendon injuries.

5. Cross train to keep up your fitness level.  I dusted off my bike and filled the tires and sailed down to the beach on Alki from the top of Genesee Hill.  The challenge was coming back up and I made it without having to walk by going around the long, slow, gradual way.  You can swim, too.  Anything that takes the pressure off the arch.

6.  Be patient with your body.  Perhaps this is the hardest of all.  On the plus side, when you are on a bike, you can cover more ground, see more of the beautiful area you live in.  The lake or river near you is pleasant this time of year.  Go for it.  No thumb sucking, pity me.  I’m talking to myself here.  I love the efficiency of walking for exercise.  It takes more planning to bike or swim, a bigger chunk out of the day.  Just do it or you might lose all that ground you’ve been gaining with your walking program.

7.  Prevent this happening to you in the first place.

a. Don’t suddenly change your routine without stretching more as well.

b. Keep the Achilles tendon and heel flexible.

c. Wear good supportive firm-heeled shoes whenever you walk or run.

d. Get a pair of orthotic inserts for great arch support.

Take action!  Begin these exercises today.

Like this information?  Sign up to get more tips of how to Be Well and Keep Moving each week.

Please, take a minute to let me know what you have done about Achilles tendon troubles. You know, your best orthotic, your most effective exercise, the way you handled a temporary set back.  We’ll all benefit from your experience.

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u

206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077



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Eat to eliminate inflammation

Eat to Defeat Inflammation

Gentle Reader,

At a picnic last night there was a lot of talk about pomegranate for lowering pain and inflammation in joints affected by arthritis.  I have posted about this before, and wanted to bring this post to you from the health sciences department of Shaklee.  The Shaklee corporation scientists and medical staff work to develop products that get into the blood stream and deliver results.  They engage leaders in the medical world to help focus their research and often join in a research project.  They have developed several products that help with inflammation which you can explore on my Shaklee shopping site on Joint Health.  I’ll also give you this link to the anti-oxidants which we try to get from our healthy diets, but might not get enough to do the job.  Posted by  on Jul 17, 2012 in Natural Nutrition

Eat to Defeat Inflammation

The first nutrition course I ever took in college changed my life. I was absolutely fascinated to learn what vitamins and minerals were and how important they are for good health. It was also about that time I finally understood what Hippocrates meant when he said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Today, that saying is even more important as nutrition science has come a long way since I took that first nutrition course.  Just think about inflammation, your body’s natural protective response to illness or injury. In fact, a little inflammation under normal circumstances can be a good thing. When you cut yourself, you want your immune system to respond quickly by sending white blood cells to your wound to fight off infection. But a low-grade persistent state of chronic inflammation is not a good thing. In this circumstance, white blood cells inappropriately move into tissues and cause destruction. In fact, chronic inflammation has been linked to a whole host of health conditions from type 2 diabetes and arthritis to heart disease, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects of certain foods, a healthful diet can help you fight off inflammation, (Regular exercise, not smoking, and losing weight are powerful tools, too.) Start by eating less of the “bad stuff”— fast food burgers, French fries, and sodas, as well as sweets such as cookies, cakes, and pies. These highly processed foods loaded with fat, sugar, and salt promote inflammation, while eating more of the “good stuff”—yes, more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts—inhibits and protects against inflammation. Here are some of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods:

Fish and walnuts. Salmon and tuna are great sources of inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids, as are walnuts. These foods help offset the pro-inflammatory effects of omega-6 fatty acids, which are pervasive in our diet. Omega-6 fats are found in eggs, corn, soy, and safflower oils.

Olive oil. Studies suggest consuming a Mediterranean-style diet—a diet high in plant foods and olive oil—helps decrease joint tenderness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Red wine and dark chocolate. Resveratrol, a phytonutrient found in red wine, has been shown to inhibit inflammation, while the consumption of dark chocolate, something I do almost daily, has been linked to lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a biomarker of inflammation in the body.

Turmeric. Spice up your life. Turmeric, also known as curry, is a traditional spice of Indian cuisine. In a recent pilot study, supplemental turmeric helped reduce joint tenderness and swelling in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.

Tart cherries. It’s cherry season and according to the latest researchtart cherries may have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food. In a recent study, women with osteoarthritis who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for several weeks experienced a significant reduction in important markers of inflammation.

Eating to fight inflammation could be one of the best things you do for yourself. For your next meal, how about some salmon curry and a glass of red wine, followed by some tart cherries covered in dark chocolate for dessert?    Sounds good, doesn’t it?  That’s is for now.  Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving.  Betsy   206-933-1889

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It comes down to what we eat

Gentle Reader,

A friend sent me a TED talk by Dr.Terry Wahls  on MS this past week.  In the 5 minute screening she recounts her productive life as a research scientist up to the debilitating onset of MS.  Seeking the best care medical professionals had to offer, her condition worsened.  Driven by her inquiring mind to know as much as she could about her disease, she began to experiment with different foods and supplements.  As her condition improved, she increased her dependence on whole plant foods, greens, reds, yellows, blues, purples and lessened or stopped eating altogether all refined foods, meats, dairy, sugars, grains.  Exercise became possible.  Brain function and mobility returned to better than normal.  All drug intake stopped.  Take a minute to watch.

Arthritis caused by spinal stenosis and osteoarthritis is not Multiple Sclerosis.  I realize this. I would challenge anyone suffering from the pain and loss of mobility caused by arthritis to eat the diet Dr. Wahls describes and discover how much this pain lessens and mobility increases.  Every other system in the body improves with this diet.

Now, most people will not be able to eat this way day in and day out.  I don’t. For instance, yesterday I ate 1 meal on the run, getting off for choir practice with a protein shake in my car.  The next two meals I ate in the company of church members, lunch with a homeless community meal; dinner with the group of people I traveled with to Nicaragua in February.  My defense is supplementation.  The Carotanoids, Flavonoids, the Liver Cleanse, the pre and pro biotic do their best to take the place of the diet Dr. Wahls recommends.  When I am home, like today, I will eat this way.

You may have decided this blog is becoming too much of a harangue about diet and lose interest in following my Monday posts.  Before you go, just think outside the box, if you will, and consider the value to your health of a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, natural oils and proteins from plant sources.  Think of the future you dream of with your children and grandchildren, of travel and gardening, of skiing and hiking, of knitting and sewing without pain well into your 80’s and even your 90’s.  What is the price you are willing to pay for a pain free future?  We pay for our health sooner or later.  A wholesome diet and supplementation put the money up front and could lessen the cost of healthcare in our later years.  Think about it.

I am too harsh and unforgiving.  I love you just the way you are and would gladly listen to your stories about ways you have found to alleviate your arthritis pain.  If you do experiment with the Dr. Wahls diet, let me know how it goes.  If you want to fill in the gaps with “foodlet” supplements that are guaranteed to make you feel better or your money back, let me know that, too.

Be well, Do Well and Keep Moving.


BetsyBell’s Health4U

206 933-1889

Seattle, WA 98116


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Traumatic Injury: my story


Traumatic injury: my story

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Hello, Gentle Reader,

In 1989, I lifted, or should I more accurately say, yanked a large drink box full of wine bottles out of the back seat of a two door Datsun.  I heard something go in my lower back.  I was angry about carrying these bottles up a long flight of stairs to the social hall of a large church.  My husband in his characteristic generosity offered to cook an elegant meal for a visiting prelate from the Russian Orthodox church inMoscow.  While I approved a grand reception for this honored guest and his entourage, I criticized my husband for trying to do this alone.  Plenty of people would love to cook with Don Bell.  My only task was delivering the drink.

I could feel the place in my back where the terrible sensation had come from.  I carried the box and several more like it upstairs anyway.

The next morning, I awoke early, still smoldering over the piles of potato skins on the kitchen counter and the olive oil slick floor, remnants of the single-handed cooking effort the night before.  Jack LaLanne was just beginning his exercise routine on TV.  I took my position on the large expanse of our hook-latched rug covering the living room floor.  I would work out my anger through exercise.  On all fours, he called out doggie leg lifts.  Snap.

Whatever happened lifting the box, leg lifts finished me off.  I rolled on the floor sobbing in pain.  All my previous judgments against people who complained of bad backs taunted me.  Pay back for lack of understanding and sympathy.   Those legions who suffered, did they suffer as I was now suffering?  Were they not the malingering lazy bums I judged them to be?  What was I going to do?

I could not stand or sit but remained on all fours.  I slowly in extreme pain pulled myself to the staircase and up to our bedroom where Don still lay sleeping.  Once I struggled into bed and lay on my back, I began to breathe more deeply.  I went into head honcho mode commanding my groggy husband to get my day planner and find the phone number of my massage therapist.  It was 7 a.m.

This amazing person came over two hours later.  Don had already gotten me a 24-inch bolster cushion so my legs were in a chair position while lying flat on my back.  This was the only pain free position I could find.  Mary worked on me for over an hour, calming the sympathetic spasms in my shoulders, neck, upper back and arms.  She persuaded me against my wishes to take a muscle relaxant.  She came back twelve hours later and repeated the treatment.

The next morning I was able to inch my way painfully down the stairs and into the car.  Ouch.  That move brought tears to my eyes.  Don drove me to my chiropractor who gently calmed the spinal column and relocated the offending L5 into its proper place.

I was 52 years old.  A skier, hiker, biker, dancer, runner, I valued physical fitness next to Godliness.  More than Godliness.  I was determined to overcome this glitch.  Little did I know what was in store for me as I set about healing from an L5 .

Tell me your story.  How did your back begin to hurt?  What makes you worry about ending up in a wheel chair?  How did arthritis begin and where has it taken you?

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