Thursday, January 08, 2015
Doctor's Perspective
Be responsible about information you share

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
There is a story about a Catholic Saint who was a priest. The priest heard a confession from someone who said he had been telling untrue rumors. The priest told the man that, for his penance, he was to go to the highest building in town. He would then have to cut open a feather pillow, and once the feathers flew all over town, he would have to collect them. This was indeed an impossible task. The point to be made was that it was just as impossible to clear the good name of the person he had slandered. In those days, rumors went around town. The people who heard them knew the individual personally. We have come a long way since then. We now have multiple ways of transmitting information and most ways are related to cyberspace. It does not take long for things to go viral and be spread around the world. Frequently, I receive e-mails with bizarre stories and I usually research the stories online. Interestingly, the stories are usually completely made up. I find the stories in one of the online sites about myths or urban legends. Even when the story has some truth to it, there is usually a lot more to it than the version I heard. The result is that I have no reason to believe the story. I also have no reason to pass it on. For most of us, we have that same responsibility. When we decide to pass on information, there are several guidelines we need to follow. The first has to do with whether the news we are passing on is harmful. Even if it is true, it is probably not right to harm someone's reputation. We need to be careful every time we start a sentence with the words "Did you hear aboutÉ". If the end of that sentence is not something good, we probably should not finish it. The second important thing is to make sure what we are saying is true. Just like the Internet allows us to pass things on, it also allows us to check the facts. That might mean looking up news stories or visiting sites about myths and urban legends. We live in an age where information covers more than just the local townspeople. We have a responsibility to not do intentional harm to others. We need to focus that responsibility on passing on information that we know to be true and kind. We certainly would not want to go out and pick up all those feathers.

Fit for Life
Choose to get HIIT in the New Year

By Jonathan Souder
It's a new year and you're determined to improve your health. You're eating healthier and getting enough sleep but your exercise routine hasn't improved. Finding time to exercise can be difficult. Many of us don't have a lot of time to focus on ourselves. We stay busy throughout the day and by the time we get home, we usually choose to relax and read or watch TV. Relaxing is important but finding time to train our body is also important, at any age. Our body is a wonderful machine that needs movement. Our body needs strength, endurance and flexibility exercises daily and weekly. We should be strengthening every large muscle group two or three times each week. We should also be stretching (flexibility) our muscles, ligaments and tendons two or three times each week. Our body needs endurance (aerobic) training every day even if it's only a brisk walk. Endurance training helps to strengthen our heart and lungs. All of these exercises help to maintain or even improve our body's metabolism (the body's ability to breakdown food for energy usage). Being a full-time fitness trainer, husband and father, I am challenged every week with finding time for my own endurance (aerobic) exercise. Endurance exercise is important because it also helps to keep our ideal body fat percentage. And let's face it, keeping an ideal body fat percentage is a challenge for most of us. Even fitness trainers. So what are your options when you don't have a lot of time to exercise? High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is one option.

I've always been able to keep my ideal body fat percentage by playing basketball at a high level. Basketball is an example of high intensity interval training at its best. It involves sprinting then light jogging then sprinting again (along with many other exercises like jumping, rotating, etc.). But you don't need to play a sport to be able to benefit from HIIT training. For example, you could use a stationary or a recumbent bicycle instead. This works well for people who cannot tolerate the high impact of sports or treadmill running but miss the intensity that those exercise options provide. To meet the challenge of finding time in my week for endurance training (unfortunately I've entered the post-basketball age), I've been using my recumbent bike for HIIT training. I only spend 25 minutes on the bike three or four days each week. The first five minutes is my warm-up. Then I pedal at a maximum pace for one minute, then a slow pace for one minute. I do this for 20 minutes. At first, I could only hold my maximum pace for 30 seconds. But with consistent training, I increased that to one minute. When I'm finished, I'm sweating hard and satisfied because I had an intense workout that did not require a lot of time or joint impact. If you're time challenged or at an age where your body does not like it when you play intense sports, then HIIT your workout. You don't need hours. All HIIT requires is minutes and the willpower to do it. Here's to your willpower to live healthy in the new year.

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

Enroll in Marketplace by Jan. 15 According to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services, 8,956 people in Delaware selected plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace leading up to the December 15 deadline for coverage beginning Jan. 1. About 83 percent of Delawareans who selected health insurance plans in the first month of open enrollment were determined eligible for financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums. Of the 8,956 Delawareans who selected a plan, 44 percent reenrolled in a Marketplace plan in 2015 and 56 percent signed up for the first time. "We're pleased that in Delaware 8,956 people signed up for Marketplace coverage during the first month of open enrollment. The vast majority were able to lower their costs even further by getting tax credits, making a difference in the bottom lines of so many families," HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said. "Interest in the Marketplace has been strong during the first month of open enrollment. We still have a ways to go and a lot of work to do before February 15, but this is an encouraging start." Nationwide, more than 4 million people signed up for the first time or reenrolled in coverage for 2015 during the first month of open enrollment. That includes more than 3.4 million people who selected a plan in the 37 states that are using the platform for 2015 (including Delaware), and more than 600,000 consumers who selected plans in the 14 states that are operating their own Marketplace platform for 2015. Open enrollment runs through Feb. 15. Consumers should visit to review and compare health plan options. Consumers shopping for health insurance coverage should sign up by January 15, in order to have coverage effective on February 1. If consumers who were automatically reenrolled decide in the coming weeks that a better plan exists for their families, they can make that change at any time before the end of open enrollment on Feb. 15. Consumers can find local help online at or call the federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Translation services are available.