The power of an exercise companion

By Kathy Tandy, RN, BSN, 
Healthy Edge/Mission: Health, Team Coordinator, Optima Health

I had been fighting getting a dog for years! I had every excuse you can have not to get a dog!

Kathy Tandy and her dog Roxy.

Last year at the holidays, my daughter came to me and said, “You’re a terrible mother, you didn’t get anything on Shane’s Christmas list…not even the dog!”

Well, that was the day that I took my 20-year-old and 19-year-old to an animal rescue foster home and we came home with Roxy! It was like having another baby. I already have five children and believe me I didn’t need another!

Today, I can say that Roxy has been one of the best things that ever happened to me. Every day she looks at me with those big brown eyes, just begging me to take her for a walk. We walk three times a day, a mile each time. Whether it is raining, snowing or windy…we walk. It forces me to get up and get moving and I feel great when we are done.

I enjoy the exercise, and the therapy I get from Roxy is priceless. I can be mad at my kids or my husband, or have had a really challenging day at work, but Roxy will listen to me. She does not judge me and will just give me that look of “you go girl” or “that’s right, you’ll show them.” It is the best therapy in the world for my heart and body, but also for my soul.

My point here is that working with a partner makes all the difference in the world and it does not have to be a dog. If you are accountable to a friend, family member or health coach, and committed to getting some type of exercise everyday, it sometimes gives you the push you need to follow through. If you don’t feel like getting the exercise on a particular day you are not only letting yourself down, but your partner too!

Having a partner is good for the body, mind and soul.


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Stay safe on July 4th

Finalizing all of your July 4th holiday plans? Don’t forget to include the following safety tips on your checklist. Remember to include these tips in your holiday plans to ensure a safe, fun-filled holiday for you and your family.

Heat Safety

Heat-related illness, such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, occur when your body can not keep itself cool. Do you know the difference between heat exhaustion and heatstroke?

  • Heat Exhaustion: This happens when your body gets too hot. You may experience: heavy sweating, feeling week, confusion, dizziness, nausea, headache, and rapid heartbeat. If you experience these symptoms get out of the heat quickly and drink plenty of water. You can also take a cool shower or bath and you should remove any tight clothing.
  • Heatstroke: This happens when the internal body temperature reaches 104 degrees Farenheit. Heatstroke is much more serious than heat exhaustion and can cause damage to your organs and brain. Some symptoms of heatstroke include: high fever (104 F or higher), severe headache, dizziness, flushed or red appearance, lack of sweating, weakness, cramps, nausea, vomiting, fast breath and heartbreak, confusion, and in sever cases seizures. Anyone who believes they are experiencing heatstroke should seek immediate medical attention and should get immediately out of the heat.

Water and Swim Safety

Follow these tips to keep safe for all your water fun:

  • Always swim with a buddy.
  • Children should always be supervised by an adult.
  • Do not dive in water less than 9 feet deep and never dive in above ground pools.
  • Always wear U.S Coast Guard approved life jackets when boating.
  • Enter water feet first before ever diving to test if the area is safe.
  • Immediately empty and store buckets and wading pools after every use.
  • Watch undercurrents.
  • Use safety covers on pools and spas.
  • Learn CPR.
  • Swim parallel to the shore if you are caught in a rip current.


Burn Safety

Burns can come from heat, fire, radiation, sunlight, electricity, chemicals, and hot or boiling water. A popular summer and 4th of July activity is grilling, which can also be a major concern with burns. There are 3 degrees of burns:

First-degree burns: These burns are red and painful. They usually take 3-6 days to heal.

Second-degree burns: These burns are thicker, very painful, cause swollen skin, and typically produce blisters. The burns usually take 2-3 weeks to heal.

Third-degree burns: These burns cause damage to all layers of the skin and typically have nerve damage so they may cause little to no pain. The burns take a very long time to heal depending on the burn severity. You should seek immediate medical attention if you believe you have suffered this degree of burn.


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