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Don’t kid around with your kidneys, attend free sessions

Your kidneys are one of the most important sets of organs in your body. They work to clean your blood and rid your body of harmful metabolic waste products.

Most of us have two kidneys located in the back of our bodies, although some who have had injuries or disease processes are surviving on one.

When we run into kidney problems or to prevent issues from happening, diet, exercise and lifestyle are important considerations to keep as healthy as possible.

The National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii is holding free information sessions to help educate our community about kidney disease prevention, treatment and lifestyle considerations.

The sessions are open to caregivers and pre-dialysis patients, as well as those who came out to the kidney early detection screening sessions and others who are concerned and interested in learning more.

You can learn about how to select proper foods for your condition. You get to sample some recipes from the Kidney Foundation recipe book and you have experts on hand to answer your questions.

Not only are these sessions free, you also get free informational and useful gifts to keep for attending.

I’m leading two of the four sessions. One is the nutritional session where we will talk about wise choices that limit the sodium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and protein so that your kidneys are not challenged or over- worked.

We will talk about how to eat out and not get into trouble by either not asking the right questions or simply not knowing where you could run into difficulty getting low sodium, low fat, low potassium and low phosphorous and calcium foods.

I will teach you how to read the nutrition label on foods so that you can make good choices, and how your plate should look — how much of each food type is appropriate for good health. Did you know that half your plate should be vegetables, one fourth of your plate is for grains, and one fourth is for lean meat?

Does it matter what choices you take for each of these categories? Yes, it does. Some choices are far healthier than others. Some are too high in fat and salt and some too high in potassium and phosphorus.

The session will handle the three Rs — The Right foods, the Right amounts and at the Right time!

We will also talk about some great ways to jazz your food up without adding salt or other sodium-laden seasoning or sauces such as store-bought salad dressing. Just because you want to eat healthy doesn’t mean it needs to be boring! Obviously, each person is different and some people may have multiple health challenges, such as kidney disease with diabetes and high blood pressure.

All the more reason to get educated and make good choices. This interactive session is from 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the Kauai Veterans Center and is limited to 20 participants.

The third session in the series is on exercise and lifestyle. This session is also at the Kauai Veterans Center, from 10 a.m. to noon on Feb. 20 and limited to the first 20 people who respond. The contact person is Dawn Pasikala, R.N. at (808) 589-5905 or dawn@kidneyhi-org.

So, if you have been reading this column for a while you will be familiar with the benefits of regular exercise, including its potential to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and stress levels.

The session on physical activity will help you plan to get exercise and activity into your life and give suggestions on how to get support and help.

Those with serious health conditions will always need to prolong the warmup so that their bodies are well warmed up before starting more vigorous movement.

The frequency and the intensity of exercise, as well as the timing and type, is also important. We call this the FITT principle and it is a good formula to keep in mind when planning for exercise and lifestyle changes. Safety is always an important concern when starting a new exercise program, so we will spend some time talking about how to go about things safely and strategically so that you get fitter rather than hurt.

The truth of the matter is that it is far more dangerous to not exercise than it is to exercise, but of course we want to do everything correctly. The nice thing is that some of the activities that you already do may count toward your exercise goals for the week.

These may be chores that you do around the house or out in the yard. It all adds up to keep you in top shape. Motivation is key in keeping your new healthy practices in place. There are many ways that you can reward yourself for keeping your resolutions to eat right and exercise. I hope to see you at these valuable sessions.

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Jane Riley, M.S., B.A., C.P.T., Certified Nutritional Adviser, can be reached at janerileyfitness@gmail.com, 212-1451 or www.janerileyfitness.com.

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