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With more workers struggling with the pandemic’s aftermath, employers begin to expand mental health benefits

As the covid-19 pandemic burns through its second year, the path forward for American workers remains unsettled, with many continuing to work from home while policies for maintaining a safe workplace evolve. In its 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey, released Wednesday, KFF found that many employers have ramped ...

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We need a better plan than juking pandemic statistics

On January 16, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Champaign County dropped 62%. Individuals with active cases are supposed to remain in isolation based to prevent further spread of the contagion for a set number of days. The quiet drop from 6,681 on Friday ...

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ST. JOSEPH -- A huge third-quarter rally led by senior shooting guard Ella Armstrong secured St. Joseph-Ogden's fifth conference win aft...

Health tip: Exercise boosts immunity during winter months

Photo: Nathanael Mosqueda/Pexels

DALLAS -— Many people think January is a great time to get a fresh start on a new fitness routine, while many of us in Illinois use the cold weather as an excuse to huddle under the covers on the couch. No matter how you approach the new year, the American Heart Association has some important information about how to get healthy – and stay healthy – when the temperatures start to dip.

"There’s actually some advantages to working out in cold weather – with no heat and humidity to deal with you may be able to work out longer in cold weather which means you can burn even more calories. It’s also a great way to get much needed vitamin D from the sunlight, which can help elevate your mood," said John A. Osborne, M.D., Ph.D., FACC, FNLA, Founder and Director State of the Heart Cardiology, Metroplex Cardiology.

It doesn't matter if you are in downstate Illinois or the northern part of the state, getting out and exercising is good for you.

"Research shows that exercise also boosts your immunity during the cold and flu season, which can be especially important in dealing with possible COVID infection."

Osborne said if you can’t exercise outdoors, there are many online resources available to assist in developing a workout at home, or athletes can still visit a gym or even walk the mall if they use the appropriate precautions to protect against COVID.

If you are heading outdoors for exercise, winter sports like skiing or skating or if you have to shovel your car out of a snow drift, Osborne has some warnings. Aside from some of the well-known cold weather dangers such as frostbite or unsafe driving conditions, there are cardiovascular risks to consider. The cold causes blood vessels to contract and coronary arteries to constrict, which can raise blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Photo: Noelle Otto/Pexels

"Strenuous activities such as walking through heavy snow or snow shoveling can add stressors to the heart that people aren’t normally used to," said Osborne "Our hearts also have to work extra hard in cold weather to keep a healthy body temperature."

Here are some tips to keep your heart in check during coat season:

  • Stay active safely: Make sure you wear layers to keep warm while exercising outdoors to avoid cold weather hazards like hypothermia and frostbite and take breaks. It’s important to stay active year-round but make sure you’re not overexerting yourself in winter months. When in doubt, ask your doctor. Here are some tips on how to stay active in cold weather.
  • Stay hydrated: Just because it’s cold and you may not feel thirsty, it’s just as important to drink water like you would during a warm weather workout. Thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink, even if you aren't sweating as much you still need to hydrate.
  • Watch out for the added calories in cold weather drinks: Comforting drinks like pumpkin spiced lattes and hot chocolate can be loaded with unwanted sugar and fat.
  • Get vaccinated: COVID-19 and the flu are especially dangerous for people with cardiovascular disease.
  • Learn CPR: EMS response times can be slower with inclement weather. More than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of a hospital each ear. If administered immediately after cardiac arrest, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
  • Prep basketball tonight: Unity plays on the road, SJO at home vs STM

    Watch Live High School Sports Today

    Watch tonight's area team live on the NFHS Network

    January 25, 2022

    5:30 PM Boys Junior varsity Basketball vs St. Thomas More 7:00 PM Boys Varsity Basketball vs St. Thomas More

    5:30 PM - Boys Junior varsity Basketball @ Central Catholic 7:00 PM - Boys Varsity Basketball @ Central Catholic

    Click here to watch these games live or on demand tonight

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    Guest Commentary: You don’t have to pay a king’s ransom for a house

    by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

    Buying almost anything today is expensive because of the current supply and demand. Prices are too high on everything. Inflation is going through the roof.

    Speaking of a roof, everyone needs one over their heads. A place to live is a common need and growing dilemma.

    An elderly friend says she has had other elderly friends ask if they could move in with her? Her response is always, "I don’t want anyone else living with me," and she seems very happy.

    Having to move in with family or a friend is less than ideal and is usually a strain on all involved. Sometimes it happens. Typically, the shortest possible tenure of the residency is better for all.

    Renting is popular. Millions are renting apartments and houses. The average rent in the U.S. is $784 per month. Thirty-five percent of Americans rent. They pay just a little less than homeowners each year for their rent, maintenance costs, and renters insurance which averages $9,477.

    Renting seems like a good plan because you shouldn’t have to worry about maintenance. Remember, everybody is short staffed these days and you may wait a while before someone shows up to fix your leaky toilet. Renters routinely complain about having to beg the property owner to do maintenance. Rent is not a secure way to live. Rent costs usually increase. The owners want to make more money.

    Senior citizens rent apartments not far from where I live. They started out paying $550 for an apartment that included all the utilities. Most of them were thrilled. A lady who lives there now says they have increased the rent to $850 and she expects another increase this year. She moved out of her house that was paid for to live the so called "carefree" senior apartment life. It’s not turning out to be carefree.

    Apartment owners set the rules. They might not allow pets or even children. You won’t be able to play your radio loud and there will be limitations on what you can do to the rental property. Plus, an apartment owner can decide they want to use your apartment for something or someone else and ask you to leave. This might be improbable, but it’s possible and who needs this kind of life insecurity?

    Buying a house is expensive and this may not be for you today. New three-bedroom houses are selling for over $400,000 in a nearby Indiana neighborhood. Down the street a neighbor put his house up for sale asking $250,000 and there was a bidding war from others who wanted the property. The sellers reported they made much more than their asking price.

    You don’t have to pay a king’s ransom for a house. Years ago, I bought a four-bedroom house for $80,000 with no money down on a land contract. The interest rate was 10 percent but it was mine and when I sold it, I made $10,000 on the deal.

    A modest house on a small piece of dirt can become your castle. You can work on it along the way. Overhaul the bathrooms, the kitchen and do some painting. You can redo the floors but all in your time and on your schedule. You just need a place where you can stay warm, dry, and rest. Owning your own house is not cheap. Paying for it, maintenance and property taxes all have to be considered, but at least it’s yours. If you want, you can have a pet, kids, or loud music. You can sleep in peace.

    If you are renting, you are not alone. Most of us have rented at one time or another. I lived in an apartment for over four years. You do what works for you at this time in your life.


    Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of Grandpa's Store, American Issues, and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group or organization.


    This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Sentinel. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Submit your letters to the editor or commentary on a current event 24/7 to


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