Tuesday, June 26

UV and Water Safety: Summer Essentials!

by the JCC Staff

Sun (UV) Exposure
Summer is about outdoor recreation, longer days in the sun and water activities – but these joys also come with risks. Ultraviolet (UV) rays are radiation from the sun that can burn the eyes, hair and skin when not properly protected.  

Outdoor sports and recreation expose us to harmful UV rays and prolonged sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and eye damage. The good news? These harms can be avoided by practicing sun safety:
  • Avoid the sun. UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Seek shade or move indoors and schedule outdoor events for morning or evening.
  • Use sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Because glass and clouds don’t block UVA rays, use sunscreen in cars and indoors, or close the curtains when near windows. Wear sunscreen even when the sun is hidden.
  • Wear a hat. Cover your face, ears, eyes and nose with a wide brim for the ultimate face protector.
  • Grab some sunglasses. Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory - they protect your eyes from the risk of cataracts.
  • Avoid tanning. Laying out in the sun can be dangerous, but tanning booths can be even worse. They both carry cancer risks - so just avoid them altogether.

Water Safety 
Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for people under age 24. Here are some scary facts about drowning:
  • In 2008, there was an average of 10 drowning deaths daily. 
  • Drowning can occur in as little one inch of water and in just a few minutes. Nineteen percent of drowning deaths involving children occur in public pools with certified lifeguards present. Nonetheless, lack of supervision is the biggest factor when children under the age of 5 drown. 
  • As many as 77% of the victims were missing in less than 5 minutes.
Water safety is as important to boaters as it is to swimmers. More people die in boating accidents each year than in airplane and train accidents! Alcohol use is reported in one-fifth of boating fatalities and in up to 50% of teen and adult deaths associated with water recreation. Alcohol and water never mix! Some precautions you can take include:
  • Learn to swim and know your limits.
  • Use the buddy system and never swim alone. Always swim in safe and supervised areas. Be careful when diving.
  • Learn CPR and teach your children. Post CPR directions in your home in a visible location.
  • Never leave children unattended and don’t rely on safety rings or floatation devices, many of which are little more than toys.
  • Keep pools gated and locked whenever an adult is not present. Make sure older children know and obey pool rules.
  • Have properly fitting lifesaving devices easily accessible and store pool toys when not in use.
  • Boat with an experienced and competent operator. Wear a life jacket while onboard.
  • Tell people where you’re going and when you’ll return. Stay in touch via radio and know standard distress signals.
Above all, summer is a time of having fun - as long as you use common sense! What are your plans this summer? 

Thursday, June 21

Exercise of the Month

by the JCC Association and One Club

Need some exercise inspiration? Our June Exercise of the Month is the upright row (beginner and advanced levels below)!

Muscle Group: Total Body

1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Grasp bar at shoulder width or slightly wider, maintaining a neutral spine.

2. Draw bar up to the chest, flexing shoulders and bending elbows.

3. Return to starting position.

4. Perform 8 to 12 times for 2 to 3 sets.
Hypertrophy of the anterior/medial deltoids and upper trapezius. Increases upright pulling strength.


Muscles Used: Deltoids, Trapezius, Biceps (pulling muscles)


1. Stand tall with dumbbells hanging at thighs. Retract the scapulas and draw in navel toward spine while squeezing glutes.

2. Keeping arms straight, lower the dumbbells as deep as neutral (back straight) spine alignment allows. Keep good posture with head up with chest forward.

3. Perform upright row immediately by drawing dumbbells up to chest, flexing the shoulders and bending the elbows.

4. Repeat sequence3 8 to 12 times for 2 to 3 sets.

This compound, total body exercise will strengthen the hamstrings and back, while upright rows strengthen shoulders, chest and triceps. The combination of deadlifts and upright rows strengthen upper body, core and leg muscles used in everyday activities.

Tuesday, June 19

Exercise: You’re Never Too Old

By Eunice Trotter

Warren Engelhardt works out five days a week.  He participates three times a week in the rehabilitation program and twice a week in exercise at the retirement community where he lives. He turns 100 years old in September, but he can flex a bicep as hard as a rock.

Florence May Rumrill completed six Indianapolis Life 500 Festival Mini-Marathons while in her 80s, walking the 13.1-mile course in Downtown Indianapolis with thousands of other walkers. She’s now 93 and still loves to walk at the retirement community where she lives.

Need more proof that exercise is good for people of any age? Carolyn Gaugh is 91 and participates in various activities at her retirement community, American Village. People who meet her can’t believe she’s 91: She loves the thrill of a wild State Fair ride, was a passenger in an IZOD IndyCar in late May and rode three laps around the 500-Mile Race track at 180mph in the Indy Car Experience.

These stories may seem out of the ordinary, but they aren’t unique – and they aren’t impossible to achieve. Active seniors live longer, fuller lives, which is hopefully a motivator for people of any age to get moving on a regular basis.

Still not sure why you need exercise, no matter how old you are? Take a look at some of these facts:

  • Daily physical activity may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and mental decline even in people older than 80, reports Neurology Magazine.
  • Exercise makes your brain “brighter,” says MSNBC – one 2007 study showed that a 12-week aerobic exercise program increased blood flow to the brains of adults ages 21-45.
  • Exercise even helps protect your bones and prevents fractures, says The People’s Pharmacy.
  • Some experts even believe exercise is the true Fountain of Youth!

It’s never too early OR too late to get healthy and fit – find what’s right for you and start moving!

Guest blogger Eunice Trotter is the communications specialist for American Senior Communities. This blog gives just some examples of activities in which seniors can participate to stay active. For more information about community events at American Senior communities, visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com. 

Thursday, June 14

Why a Jew Fell in Love with Ireland

by Harvey Gould                                                                   
OK, the short answer to the title of this piece is that while I’m Jewish, my wife is Irish Catholic and she introduced me to Ireland. However, as we all know, introductions to things are no guarantee of falling in love with them. 
Case in point: My mom introduced me to squash when I was a youngster, and I still hate the stuff. So there has to be something innate that takes you from introduction to love.
In my case, a starting point is that my wife and I both are horseback riders. Being one shrewd cookie, she masterminded that the first time we went to Ireland together was on a horseback riding trip. Horseback riders going to Ireland on a horseback riding trip and not loving it would be akin to a wine connoisseur not enjoying a wine with a 100 point ranking: It’s just not possible. 
So that was the hook. When we returned the next year, I began to see deeper into the country, not only the physical beauty, but the character and strength of its people. As it turns out, we returned 14 times over a 20-year stretch for extended stays there.
Some jokingly refer to the Irish as the lost tribe of the Hebrews - and I can see why. Jews have been persecuted for millennia. The Irish had a fair run of their own, being persecuted by the British for about 800 years, but they still came away with a sense of humor.
In the early 1920s, the British occupied Ireland in its continuing effort to put down another of the numerous Irish attempts to throw off English rule. As part of that effort, an ad hoc paramilitary organization was formed called the Black and Tans, comprised mainly of British World War I veterans. (The organization gained its name based on their uniforms of black boots and khaki slacks.)
Though ostensibly its task was to fight the Irish Republican Army, it became known for its attacks on the Irish civilian population, thus becoming vilified by the Irish. Today, though, the Irish don’t rant about the brutality of the group. Rather, if you go into any pub in Ireland and order a black and tan, you’ll get a mix of a black stout (typically a Guinness) and pale ale. Couldn’t beat the British militarily? Then make a beer out of them!
How could a Jew not marvel at the Irish capacity for self-deprecation? Toss in that there is probably no place in the world where you can find better witty banter (or in Irish terms, craic), and it’s a virtual Jew’s paradise. Ah, yes. We Jews tend to pride ourselves on education as a hallmark of our existence. Well, as it turns out Dublin has produced three Nobel Prize winners for literature, more than any other city in the world. Okay, okay, I admit it. I’m crazy mad in love with my Irish-Catholic-American wife, and that counts as part of the equation. 
Still, for those not familiar with the Old Sod - whether Jewish or not - I say what famously was said in a TV ad campaign some years ago: Try it, you might like it.
Blogger Harvey Gould is the author of A Fierce Local: Memoirs of My Love Affair with Ireland, a finalist in the San Francisco Writers Conference Indie Publishing Contest. For more information, visit www.harveygould.com or check out Harvey’s blog.

Tuesday, June 12

My Gardening Partner from Beijing

by Richard S. Kordesh
Lussica, our four-year-old guest from Beijing, China, had planted seeds before with her grandparents back home. So she took to our sowing task easily, helping me put in rows of radishes in one of our backyard beds. We would pause along the way for her observations about the panicky bugs that ran for cover as we turned the soil.
Lussica and her mother Chris, who was studying for her LL.M. degree at John Marshall Law School in Chicago, had been staying with us for some months. Today, they flew to California, where Chris will work as an intern in a firm that also manages offices in Beijing.
This afternoon, the radish shoots are visible above the black dirt, casting a vibrant, green contrast with the soil. Even though Lussica is now gone from our house, she is, in spirit, still growing in our garden in the presence of these tiny vegetables. She and Chris did leave something nourishing behind.
Gardening with children creates this effect: They stay present in the space that they helped to cultivate because they experience the place so intently. One at a time, Lussica and I inserted each seed in its spot just a quarter inch or so beneath the surface. Each seed’s placement mattered. Every bug drew curious attention. And so will each radish be appreciated when it’s time to harvest.   
It’s good for children to learn this natural way that they can make the places where they live, or which they visit, vibrant and renewed.
Guest blogger Richard S. Kordesh is the author of Restoring Power to Parents and Places and has worked professionally in the community development field for 35 years.
More about Richard S. Kordesh

Thursday, June 7

The Trickle-Down Effect...Part 2

by Katherine Matutes, PhD

I lost the 30 day exercise challenge that finished up May 31st. 

...but I also lost 2 percent of my body fat, two total inches on my body and four pounds of body weight! So even though I didn’t’ come up with the most exercise minutes, I achieved my goal of improving my fitness. 

My family became more active along with me, and this effect trickled down to our other health-related habits: 
  • I became more likely to get to bed earlier, which meant I had to get my kids to bed on time as well. 
  • I had noticeably happier people in my house - was it the extra activity or extra sleep? 
  • Although I already usually make pretty healthy food choices, I did improve the quality of my diet: choosing to make something at home versus dining out, which is almost always less healthy. 
  • And I stopped making excuses for not exercising and instead found ways to squeeze in extra activities that often included my kids, who were cheering me on.  
The trick now, of course, is to maintain my renewed enthusiasm for these habits and support my family in keeping up with theirs. I’ve promised my kids canoeing and hiking trips, and I think I almost have my husband sold on ballroom dancing lessons. 

I would love to hear how you keep your family moving!

More about Katherine Matutes, PhD