Thursday, December 11, 2014
Doctors Perspective
Take the guess work out of choosing gifts

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Christmas is approaching and everyone is getting gifts. There are certain things to remember about gift giving for children. The first is safety. Many childrens gifts come with recommended ages on the box for good reason. In some cases it might be related to the childs level of understanding. In others, it might be more related to the dangerous nature of the toy when it is used by a younger child. Safety first in gift giving is a good practice. A second issue is understanding the fact that part of what we teach our children at Christmas is money management. We need to purchase things that we can afford. Going into debt for a Christmas present causes two problems. The first is the debt that we incur. The second is the fact that we fail to pass on the message of thrift to our children. Gifts of this nature include big ticket items such as a TV, computer, the latest video game system or brand name clothing. The short term gain might not be worth the long term lessons that can be taught. Another issue is trying to give a child everything on their Christmas list. This might set up expectations that are not realistic. There is an old joke about two brothers. One was very pessimistic about everything while the other was very optimistic. The parents decided to teach them both a lesson at Christmas. They bought the pessimistic one everything on his list and the optimistic one a pile of horse manure. On Christmas morning they went downstairs. They found the pessimistic one crying that he did not get enough gifts and the optimistic one was digging through the horse manure. They asked him what he was doing. He answered that the pile of manure meant there must be a pony in there somewhere. There is more to Christmas giving than just going out and buying gifts for our children. There needs to be some thought as to the appropriateness of the gift, the cost and about setting up reasonable expectations. Once we have done that, it becomes a lot easier to choose the right gift.

Fit for Life
Ideas for a Healthy Back

By Jonathan Souder
Have you ever had a sore back? Or a pain in your low back or neck? I think the majority of people that I know have had a back pain at some point and time in their life. If you think about it, most back pain is the result of years of bad bending, standing and sitting habits. We work bent over our desk. We drive bent forward. We lift things the wrong way many times every day. We let our head drop forward and keep our chin on our chest most of the day while we look at our smartphones and tablets. No wonder our back is hurting.

One of my favorite back strengthening and stretching exercises can be done right in your chair. You don`t even need resistance to do this exercise. Try sitting up straight and tall and looking forward. Stretch out your arms at the side with palms facing forward and squeeze your shoulder blades (scapulas) together. This will help strengthen the back muscles while stretching out the chest muscles. Over the years we tend to lose strength in our back muscles and because of forward rounding, our chest muscles become tight. Then our back starts to hurt. Just now while typing this column, I had to correct my head position from dropping forward. My neck was starting to hurt. I need to raise my tablet monitor up to eye level. Here`s some more ideas for everyday living to help us keep our back feeling good: -Sit without rounding. Sit up tall and hold a comfortable, natural, straight position. -Stand and carry loads without forward head, or rounding your low back. Use your muscles to stand straight. Also, don`t lean backwards to balance the weight. -Count how many times you bend each day. Most people bend over several hundred times each day. -Use the lunge or squat, not bending over from the waist, to pick things up off the floor. -Use the ÒGolfer`s Pickup movement where you raise the back leg and rest your arm on the front leg to pick things up off the floor. -Raise the computer monitor off the desk. Use a low shelf or books to raise it to eye level. -Move your TV up higher so you don`t have to curl downward and forward to watch -Move desk and car seats closer to sit back a bit not forward while at your desk, or driving and riding -Keep your desktop computer keyboard on your desk and not on the Òbelow desk tray. Take some time daily to think about your movements and your back health. We all know that its quicker and easier to just bend over at the waist to pick things up off the floor. But quicker and easier isn`t always healthier. Here`s to your good health.

About the author Jonathan Souder is the fitness director at Manor House, an ACTS Retirement-Life Community in Seaford, Email your thoughts to

Flu Clinic in Salisbury On Saturday, Dec. 20 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Froggy 99.9 are teaming up to provide Delmarva residents with flu shots. PRMC is bringing its Wagner Wellness Van to the Froggy 99.9 studios in the K-Mart Shopping Center on Rt. 50 in Salisbury, and will be providing flu shots to anyone age 13 and older for a $10 cash donation. Kids under 18 must bring a parent or guardian. Call 410-543-7139 for more information.