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Ana Ivanovic: Here Are The Tennis Star's 10 Tips On Living Healthy – Forbes

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Here is Ana Ivanovic at the recent 2019 Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) Summit in Chicago (Photo: Courtesy of the Partnership for a Healthier America)

Courtesy of the Partnership for a Healthier America

Ana Ivanovic has a healthy retirement plan. But IRAs or 401(k)’s were not the topics of discussion when she and I talked about this plan at the recent 2019 Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) Summit in Chicago.

Instead, I’m referring to her stated plan when she had announced her retirement back in December 2016. On her Facebook page, she had indicated that in the next phase of her career, ‘‘I will become an ambassador of sport and healthy life.”

This makes sense. Even though Ivanovic emphasized to me that she is “not a doctor, a nutritionist, or other health professional,” she knows quite a lot about sports and living healthy. Although recurring injuries prompted her to retire at age 29, she had to maintain a level of health and fitness that few in the world could to achieve her success on the court. She is one of only 26 women in the history of tennis to hold the number one ranking in the world. In 2008, she won the French Open, arguably physically the most challenging Grand Slam to win because you are basically playing on dirt. Oh, and how many people besides the Mario Brothers can claim that they have appeared as characters in multiple video games such as Smash Court Tennis 3, Virtua Tennis 2009, and Grand Slam Tennis for the Wii?

Ana Ivanovic of Serbia serves to Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic, during the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Plus, no one is going to mistaken Ivanovic for George Costanza of the television show Seinfield. While Costanza repeatedly presented himself as an architect, despite having zero architecture experience, Ivanovic actually has already had a healthy amount of experience as an ambassador of sport and healthy life. For example, since 2007, she has served as a UNICEF national ambassador for her native country of Serbia. Children’s health has been central to this role. Ivanovic said that she “is passionate about children’s health and neonatology,” and very interested in bringing “warmer communities for children to thrive.” Just last July, UNICEF announced that Ivanovic had “launched a humanitarian campaign to help premature babies and their families, which would result in a reduction of children mortality in the first month of their lives.”  Then there’s been her involvement with PHA because she was “Looking to get more involved with the community such as helping kids and raising awareness of nutrition facts.”

Moreover, last year, Ivanovic gave birth to a son, which made her “even more conscious about children’s health.” Carrying a baby in your belly for 9 months and then caring for a miniature person can do that. This was the first child for Ivanovic and her husband Bastian Schweinsteiger. Schweinsteiger is a current member of the Chicago Fire soccer team and was a star for the German national football team that won the 2014 World Cup, just in case you thinking about another Bastian Schweinsteiger.

During the PHA Summit, Ivanovic got people to stretch themselves. (Photo: Courtesy of Partnership for a Healthier America)

Courtesy of Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA)

So with that background, we chatted about health, particularly children’s health. What follows are ten lessons that I gathered from what she said about health along with some of my thoughts:

1. Get you and your kids to stretch and move.

During the PHA Summit, Ivanovic led a stretching session and emphasized the importance of keeping the body limber, especially before engaging in more vigorous physical activity. While kids may at times seem like rubber bands with stomachs, get them started early with the habits of stretching and activities that can move and strengthen parts of their bodies that they may not usually use. Of course, it may be tough to get your infant do side planks, so perhaps you can cut them some slack at an early age.

2. Promote skin-to-skin contact at an early age.

Ivanovic has observed that “Lots of women choose C-sections and not to breast feed. Such practices may reduce the skin to skin contact that a child needs from a mother, especially at an early age.”

3. Help your kids realize that food can be bland.

When she was playing on the pro tour, Ivanovic said that she “ate at a lot of very bland food without sauces or much meat.” It can be easy in this era of sensory overload to want to be stimulated all the time. But eating healthy can be like a good marriage. Don’t expect it to thrill you every minute but it will provide the key things that you need and want. She added, “There are way more choices in food nowadays than when I started my tennis career. It can be lot more challenging to make right choices.”

4. Be careful about protein and energy bars.

Ivanovic warned that “protein bars and nutrition bars are often very misunderstood. They can have a lot packed in them.” She added that many people may eat them without realizing how much they are eating, “one bar can be almost half a meal.” Since these bars don’t offer the same visual cues of how much you’ve eaten, be careful when consuming them and read the labels carefully.

5. Don’t be too strict about diets. It’s OK to indulge here and there.

Ivanovic didn’t rely on some strict fad diet that required her to eat only food that began with the letter Q on Wednesdays or something like that. Instead, she said that she is a “big believer in balanced diets. As long as, in general, you are eating healthy, you shouldn’t deprive body of everything that may be unhealthy.” Doing so may actually do you more harm, “because it will affect your sense of well being. It’s OK to give in to cravings for ice cream-or pizza here and there. Cookies can be good for mental health, once in a while.” That last phrase would be a welcome meme for some.

6. Tailor your child’s diet.

She is also not a believer in once-size-fits-all diets. Kids and people are not like cars. For example, if someone “doesn’t like raw vegetables and prefers them cooked, that’s fine. You should find out what works for the person.” Even if that person was a top-ranked professional tennis player.

7. Tailor your child’s physical activity.

The same applies to physical activity. Again, it may easier to sell exercise programs that are formulas for everyone to follow. But people’s bodies and needs are different. She said., “when it comes to exercises and warm ups, not one size fits all. That’s why you have to spend time with your kids or anyone whom you are trying to get more physically active. Kids copy what parents are doing so do the physical activities together to give the right signals.”

8. Help your child realize that social media isn’t real.

Even though she participates in social media, she emphasized that she “grew up with sports and grew up outside social media. When I started my career, there was no Twitter, no Instagream. There are now different pressures and publicity around sports.” She sees how social media can distort reality. For example, she said, “I posted a picture today that was actually from yesterday, but no one can tell that.” She has observed that as her career has progressed changes with social media. “Now, everyone can criticize everyone, leaving many people discouraged. Youth, especially young girls, can struggle to find confidence. Social media can distract them from following there own hearts and their own instincts.” She is concerned about the “increases in depression and anxiety over last number of years.” She felt that such technology can be good like “helping people share lives,” but there are bad sides as well. She will endeavor to teach her son “to use good judgement and teach him the right values.  Who knows what technology will exist when he gets old enough, so it will be important for him to know the right boundaries and right values in general, regardless the technology.”

9. Don’t force. Listen and encourage.

Watching her on the court, you can tell that Ivanovic wasn’t one of those programmed kids, forced to play tennis. Just take a look at this Tennis Channel segment:

Similarly, she feels that you can’t force kids to do things. “You have to be innovative,” she said. “You have to be more encouraging.  You have to listen to your child and hear what he or she wants.” This may sound simple, but how many parents and bosses really listen? Even though her child has a decent chance of being a good tennis and football player, she want to give her child “opportunities to try and explore different things. It doesn’t have to be sports.”

10. Create a warmer community.

Part of her work with UNICEF in Serbia has been to “help bring program to eliminate violence in schools,” in her words. “We have been trying to bring warmer community and awareness to being nice to one another.” This emphasizes a key point. Many people behave based on the environment that surrounds them. Ivanovic managed to achieve unprecedented success, but she is an exception and succeeded despite growing up in war-torn surroundings.

All in all, Ivanovic’s life has been quite different during the past two years compared to the previous 13 since she became a professional tennis player in 2003. She is traveling a lot less and spending much more time taking care of her son. But her retirement is only a retirement from professional tennis. She’s got plenty to do in the next phase in her career and plenty of people and kids (who are people too) could benefit. 

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How Kourtney Kardashian Became Known For Kooky Health Advice – Refinery29

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The 40-year-old Kardashian sister is known for living a strictly organic, gluten-free, non- GMO, vegan, dairy-free, ketognic, existence. While there are some funny vintage Keeping Up With The Kardashians clips of Kourtney working out casually or shaking a giant plastic salad container, her full-on wellness obsession began around the time that she had Mason. “I feel like once I had Mason, I just became more aware,” she told Refinery29 in 2016. “And then once you learn information, you can’t really make it go away.”

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DOH issues health tips for devotees going on Visita Iglesia – INQUIRER.net

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Young pilgrims pray before the altar of a Catholic church in Lumban, one of their Visita Iglesia (church visits) stops in Laguna province. VAUGHN ALVIAR

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) issued on Thursday health tips for people who will visit churches during the Holy Week.

In a Facebook post, the DOH advised devotees to bring umbrellas, wear comfortable clothes, and to drink enough water.

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Below are the Health department’s tips for Holy Week observers. /cbb

DOH issues health tips for devotees going on Visita Iglesia

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Tips for better bowel control – Harvard Health – Harvard Health

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Try simple measures first, like using a fiber supplement and treating underlying conditions.

Nobody wants to talk about or even imagine it. But loss of bowel control — known as fecal incontinence — is a problem for millions of adults in the United States, especially women.

“It becomes more common with age. It’s socially isolating and takes away your dignity. You live in fear that you have stool in your pants and people can smell it. Some people won’t even tell their doctors about it,” says Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Symptoms and causes

Feces can leak out of the rectum accidentally — in liquid form or as solid stool — for a number of reasons. One is that age tends to weaken muscles, including the anal sphincter (the muscle that holds in feces until you’re ready for a bowel movement).

Damage to nerves or muscles can also lead to fecal incontinence. You may experience damage from rectal surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, childbirth, or diabetes, for example.

Fecal incontinence can be an effect of chronic diarrhea from conditions such as irritable bowel disease. Impacted stool due to constipation can also cause fecal incontinence.

And sometimes, fecal incontinence is the result of an attempt to thwart constipation. “Older people frequently take laxatives and stool softeners because they’re worried about constipation. That creates loose stool. If age has weakened the muscles of the anal sphincter, fecal incontinence can occur,” says explains Dr. Jennifer Irani, a gastrointestinal surgeon with Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Try this at home

Both experts suggest trying simple fixes for fecal incontinence before seeking treatment from a doctor.

You can cut back on stool softeners and laxatives, if those are causing the problem. Or you can bulk up your stool (so it’s easier to hold on to) with an over-the-counter fiber capsule or a powder that you can add to a drink or food. Examples include Metamucil, Citrucel, FiberCon or Benefiber.

“Fiber won’t constipate you,” Dr. Irani says. “The rectum is smart and can sense bulkiness. When you have more sensation, you have more time to get to the bathroom,” she says.

You can also try bulking your stool with dietary fiber. Legumes such as beans and lentils are a go-to source. For example, a cup of canned low-sodium black beans has about 17 grams of fiber. A cup of cooked lentils has about 16 grams of fiber.

Taking a nonprescription antidiarrheal medication such as loperamide (Imodium) can work if you have incontinence with diarrhea. “It’s okay to take it every day under supervision, but it won’t work if you have a weakened sphincter,” Dr. Staller points out.

Pelvic floor exercises (Kegel exercises) may also help reduce fecal incontinence. These involve contracting (squeezing) the anal sphincter several times per day or whenever you feel fullness in the rectum. “Pelvic floor physical therapy will help, but it won’t always solve the problem. Also, you have to do the exercises every day or it doesn’t work,” Dr. Irani notes.

Pads that you tuck into your underwear or adult diapers can offer security when you have fecal incontinence. But pads and diapers can irritate the skin, as can a bowel movement that’s been near your skin for too long. Using a barrier cream such as zinc oxide can help protect the skin.

Dietary fiber linked to a lower risk for fecal incontinence

When fecal incontinence strikes, increasing your dietary fiber with foods like legumes can help get you back to normal. And a Harvard-led study published last September in Gastroenterology suggests that eating a high-fiber diet over the long term is associated with a lower risk for developing fecal incontinence in older women.

Researchers looked at questionnaire responses from more than 58,000 women who were followed for more than 20 years. Women in the study who ate the most fiber (25 grams per day) had an 18% lower risk for fecal incontinence, compared with women who ate the least amount of fiber (13.5 grams per day). The study is observational and doesn’t prove that eating fiber prevents fecal incontinence. But it’s reasonable that it should. “There are so many reasons why fiber can be helpful. It may help ward off heart disease and diabetes. A reduced risk for fecal incontinence adds another potential benefit,” says Dr. Kyle Staller, the lead author of the study and a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Formal diagnosis

When simple fixes aren’t making a difference, it may be time to see your primary care physician or a specialist. You can expect a specialist to take a full medical history and conduct a digital rectal exam (feeling the inside of the anus with a gloved finger to assess how tight the anal sphincter is).

Further testing to look for damage to the anal canal, sphincter, or lower colon may include

  • anoscopy (insertion of a small, short scope into the anal canal)

  • sigmoidoscopy (insertion of a flexible viewing tube to examine the sigmoid or lower colon)

  • anal ultrasound (using sound waves to look at the sphincter structure)

  • anal manometry (insertion of a catheter and balloon to measure anal sphincter strength).

Treatment

Often, treatment of an underlying bowel condition, such as impacted stool or chronic diarrhea, solves the problem. “It’s much easier to fix a bowel disturbance than it is to tighten up the sphincter,” Dr. Staller says.

Beyond that, there are only a few treatment options for older adults whose fecal incontinence does not respond to simple measures.

One option is called sacral nerve stimulation. “It’s like a pacemaker for your anus,” Dr. Irani explains. “We implant wires into the sacral nerve in the spine to stimulate the sphincter muscle to contract. What’s key is that it will only work if incontinence involves solid stool, not liquid stool. Also, you have to be able to operate an external device and participate in your care.”

The other option is surgery to create a colostomy, bringing the end of the large intestine through a special opening in the abdomen so that it drains into an attached bag. “People rarely choose this option. They’d rather wear an adult diaper. But people who choose surgery seem to get their freedom back. They just empty the bag when it gets full,” Dr. Irani says. “Colostomy is especially helpful for people who are in a wheelchair and can’t get to the bathroom frequently,” Dr. Staller adds.

A ray of hope

Most people don’t have to resort to drastic measures like surgery. Bulking stool through diet or with fiber powders usually solves or greatly reduces the problem. But if that’s not working for you, don’t suffer in silence. Your doctor may be able to help.

“Just talking about it with someone who knows what you’re going through is a real benefit,” Dr. Staller says. “You may not be able to get rid of fecal incontinence, but you may be able to eliminate 50% of the episodes and many of the accidents you have. And we know that even one accident feels like it’s too many.”

Image: © GregorBister/Getty Images

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As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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