Get the Benefits of Winter Sports without Injuries

Winter activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, ice hockey and sledding are invigorating ways to experience the great outdoors during the cold months of the year. They’re high speed and therefore can also be perilous, causing many common injuries. These include fractures, sprains, strains, concussions and dislocations. Snowboarders tend to have more wrist injuries as well as tailbone contusions and concussions whereas skiers have more knee injuries.1

Take care of yourselves and properly prepare children for outdoor winter activities. Here are a dozen precautions to take when participating in winter sports:

  • Wear the appropriate protective gear such as helmets, goggles, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads, as well as sunscreen. Check out Nikken KenkoTherm® Wraps for comfortable support for muscles, ligaments and joints.
  • Make sure all equipment is in good working order.
  • Wear layers of clothing that include a breathable base layer, one or two insulating layers and a water- and windproof outer layer to help you stay warm and dry. Layering helps accommodate your body’s changing temperature.
  • Wear comfortable footwear for warmth, dryness and ankle support. If you have weak ankles to begin with, try wrapping them with KenkoTherm DUK® Tape for extra support before putting on your Nikken Sport Socks.
  • Stay hydrated. Breathing cold air can be dehydrating, so bring along a good size water bottle and sip steadily. Convenient and giving you the bonus of ultra high-tech filtration, the eco-friendly PiMag® Sport Bottle is a must-have carry-along. Orthopedists recommend drinking a pint before exercising and another pint after you’re done, with sipping every 20 minutes or so in between.3
  • Warm up. Cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are more injury-prone.
  • After warming up, stretch. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, then slowly and carefully release it. Inhale before each stretch and exhale as you release. Do each stretch once, always with control and never bounce on a fully stretched muscle.2
  • Learn how to fall. Shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries can result from trying to brace a fall. According to the Canadian Ski Patrol, the harder you try to stay upright, the harder it is on the knees and the more risk of ligament breaks, strains or tears.4
  • Do not ice skate on frozen lakes, rivers or ponds unless you are absolutely sure they have not started to thaw. The safest way is to ice skate on frozen water masses only where posted signs indicate it’s safe.
  • If snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, be sure to bring a map and a compass. Also be constantly vigilant of changing weather conditions.
  • Never participate alone in a winter sport. If you must go alone, be sure to inform friends and family of your location and expected time of return.
  • Know your limitations and those of your children. Unless you are an athlete training under supervision, rest when tired, and choose slopes and maneuvers that match your skill level.

One of the most enjoyable parts of winter sports is the rest and relaxation afterwards! Why not revive yourself with a hot cup of Kenzen Ten4® Energy Drink Mix and treat yourself to a gentle massage with KenkoTouch®?

 

1 https://www.chop.edu/news/health-tip/perfect-10-winter-sports-safety-tips

2, 3 https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/sprains-strains-and-other-soft-tissue-injuries/

4 https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/fitness/9-safety-tips-for-winter-sports/

 

A New Way to Approach New Year’s Resolutions

Do you cringe at the thought of new year’s resolutions? In the back of your mind, do you think it’s futile and you’re doomed to fail? You are not alone! According to U.S. News & World Reports, 80% of new year’s resolutions fail and most of us lose our resolve by mid-February.1 What can we do to improve our odds for success?

Human nature rebels against being told what to do, even if we’re doing the telling ourselves. In fact, we make more unreasonable demands on ourselves than anyone else—many of us want to be someone other than who we are—perhaps we want to be super mom/dad or be the employee of the year. Maybe we want to lower our cholesterol without medication or fend off diabetes. To increase our chances of achieving our resolutions, the question we need to ask is, “Is it realistic?”

The most common resolutions relate to Active Wellness. For example, we want to get in shape, then stay fit and healthy. We therefore resolve to exercise more, eat healthier food, get more quality sleep and reduce stress. Theoretically these are good resolutions. However, year after year, we may not achieve our fitness goals. Why do we continue to make the same resolutions without a plan of attack?

Once a plan and actual steps are implemented, the loftiest resolutions become action items to perform daily, weekly and monthly—at the end of the year, chances are we will have done better at keeping our resolutions. In addition to putting together a real and do-able plan to achieve our resolutions, there’s another way to help accomplish our goals. The National Community Service reports that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life.2

Because volunteering is service-oriented and is outside of our own regular lives, it allows us to meet a variety of people. Increasing social interactions, especially when it helps others, leaves us with a good feeling of accomplishment. This feeling stimulates a positive attitude that helps us stay on course for Active Wellness. A study conducted by Harvard University showed that volunteers experience similar health benefits to those who exercise regularly.3

Resolution of supportSome ways to volunteer can be done solo while others involve participating in a group. You can be a Big Brother or Sister, participate in many types of nonprofit organizations, work with churches, schools and clubs, become a trainee at local animal shelters and sanctuaries, serve at soup kitchens, canvas for food and clothing drives, or simply pick up each piece of trash you happen upon on a beach walk. It’s truly a win-win— do good within the community, feel good about ourselves and get healthier.

Let’s make 2020 the best year ever!

1 https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/why-set-yourself-up-for-failure-ditch-new-years-resolution-do-this-instead.html

2, 3 https://rewardvolunteers.coop/volunteer-opportunities-for-new-year-resolutions/

 

Letter from the C.E.O.

Dear Nikken Wellness Community,

As we bid farewell to 2019, I am grateful for the many memorable experiences of the past 12 months. There was the Recognition event in Mexico City, the Nikken North America Anniversary celebration in San Diego and the Team Kaizen trip to Italy. There was the Diamond Seminar in Toronto, the European Inspire event in Paris and a North American Leadership Summit in Irvine. And finally, there was the opening of Chile. All of these activities gave me the chance to reconnect with old friends and make new friends. Every one of these events gave me an adrenalin rush!

I am also grateful for your unwavering belief in sharing Nikken Active Wellness with so many people who are in dire need of our products. There can be no more rewarding activity than introducing people to the 5 Pillars of Wellness. Your dedication to creating Wellness Homes everywhere certainly is an example of Humans Being More.

The year 2020 promises to be a very exciting year for our Global Wellness Community. Here are a few examples of what’s ahead for us in 2020:

• In Europe and North America, Nikken will rollout cutting edge IT platforms for our website, shopping cart and back office.

• We will continue to introduce new and improved products that customers will want and need.

• We will provide you with more great tools that will make it easier to sell products.

• We will celebrate 45 years of Active Wellness in New York City at our global convention.

• We will host another European event in Paris, another Diamond Seminar in North America and another Leadership Summit in North America.

• And qualifying for Team Taishi or Kaizen will offer exciting excursions in 2021.

Together we will improve the well-being of people in all corners of the world. In helping others, you can benefit directly from the various rewards that are a part of our Incentive Program. We will do all of this while being respectful of the environment.

On behalf of all of us at Nikken World Headquarters, I would like to wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

Best Wishes,

Kurt H. Fulle

KurtFulle copy

Build Your Personal 5 Pillars Mindset

Recently I had the privilege of attending a Nikken leadership summit that was conducted by our sales and marketing team, led by President Luis Kasuga. Our CEO, Mr. Fulle, was also in attendance. I came away with various nuggets of information and inspiration to work with in the coming year. Perhaps you can make use of them, too.

  • The original 5 Pillars of Health, when literally translated from the Japanese, really should be the 5 Pillars of “Wellness.” Wellness inherently connotes well-being, whereas health involves potential illness and therefore, possible cure. At Nikken, we help people with Active Wellness, achieving and maintaining well-being, never in curing or healing illness. Living with Active Wellness is an ongoing process that can always be improved upon.
  • The Family Pillar translated literally from the Japanese, really should be the “Relationship” Pillar. Families are doubtless the most important segment of all the relationships we choose to build or maintain over the years. Relationships are more far-reaching, so do not limit yourself to your family when building this pillar.
  • In Japanese, the literal translation for what we call the Society Pillar is actually “contributions.” There are people everywhere who need your help, which means there are infinite opportunities to serve. Using Nikken as a vehicle to serve does not mean just sharing the beneficial products. It means sharing yourself, as you are the actual contributor to the people you interact with. In the words of the original Nikken founder, “You are irreplaceable because you are you.”
  • We need Nature. Nature doesn’t need us. We need to be good to Nature and help preserve her, because we need her. In other words, the environment doesn’t need saving—it has been around for ages and will survive with or without humans. We, however, need the environment to support our well-being, so we are responsible for keeping it clean. We are responsible for being respectful of Nature for our own survival.
  • What is your legacy? What do you want your legacy to be? At Nikken, we share the ideal of Humans Being More. We share it but we don’t supply it. In other words, each individual has to commit to being more. It is a personal choice proven by positive behavior and service. We can role model it—that is a worthy legacy. What else can you add to your legacy?

I hope you had a wonderful 2019 and wish for you and yours an even better and more empowering new year of 2020. Remember, “Our past doesn’t define us. It provides lessons for the future.”

Keep Safety in Mind with Children’s Gifts

December is National Safe Toys and Gifts month. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission an estimated 226,100 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2018. Almost half of those incidents were injuries to the head. Unfortunately, most of these injuries happen to children under age 15.1 Since so many children’s accidents are related to the eye, the American Academy of Ophthalmology provides a list of tips for choosing safe toys.2

  • Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
  • Make sure children have appropriate supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
  • Ensure that laser product labels include a statement that the device complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J.
  • If you give a gift of sports equipment, also give the appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. Check with your ophthalmologist to learn about protective gear recommended for your child’s sport.
  • Check labels for age recommendations and be sure to select gifts that are appropriate for a child’s age and maturity.
  • Keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.
  • If your child experiences an eye injury from a toy, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist.

Federal small parts regulations ban any toys intended for use by children younger than three from having pieces that may break off during play or having small parts. A small part is defined as anything that fits completely into a test cylinder slightly smaller than a toilet-paper tube, which is about the size of a fully expanded child’s throat.3

In addition to the gifts themselves, the wrapping and packaging can prove hazardous to small children. Plastic wrapping and other packaging are often treated as toys by children and pets, and may cause suffocation. Strings and straps may injure or strangle young children. Here are some other safety tips:

  • Battery charging should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children.
  • Avoid toys or gifts with unsafe lead levels. For example, there was a recall in August of this year by Restoration Hardware (RH) for children’s chairs and stools because they contained paint with levels of lead exceeding the federal lead paint ban.4
  • Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than eight. Discard broken balloons at once.
  • Children playing on riding toys (such as scooters, both motorized and foot propelled) need to be closely supervised. Make sure they are not on streets that have automobile traffic.
  • Whether riding bicycles or tricycles, skateboarding or scootering, children should be equipped with safety gear—helmets, elbow and knee pads, etc.kelly-sikkema-L1o1WQY5kp0-unsplash
  • Use a bin or container to store toys when playtime is over. Make sure there are no holes or hinges that could hurt little fingers.

Two great resources to check before purchasing children’s gifts are www.recalls.gov and www.safekids.org/children-product-recalls. These sites provide month-to- month updates on recalls related to children’s products as well as adult items.

From Nikken to you and your families, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season of continuous Active Wellness.

 

1,2 https://www.aao.org/eye-health/news/buying-safe-toys

3 https://www.consumerreports.org/child-safety/toy-safety-tips-holiday-gift-buying/

4 https://www.safekids.org/childrens-product-recalls

 

Eat, Drink and Be Merry but Don’t Drink and Drive

The holidays are full of festivities and that generally means lots of food and drink. In North America, parties tend to include a variety of alcoholic beverages, and moderation can be difficult. Everyone needs to commit to not driving if drinking away from home.

Drinking and driving don’t mix, and the statistics are staggering. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that throughout the year, more than 10,000 people die from drunk driving—equal to 20 jumbo jets crashing. And, reports state that 300 Americans die annually during the few days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s.1 This computes to more highway deaths related to alcohol that occur during the holidays than at other times of the year.

Celebrations and joy making can turn into tragedies, but now more than ever, it’s easy to avoid the temptation to get into a car after drinking alcohol. There are rideshare services easily accessed by phone and in many major cities, community volunteer drivers for the holiday season.

PsychCentral2 notes that during the holidays, people who don’t usually drink may have some alcohol in the spirit of “joining in the fun.” There are also people who drink and drive because they believe they are staying within the “one drink an hour” rule. Unfortunately, this is not reliable and depends on variances in individual body weight and metabolism, as well as hydration levels and the amount of food eaten.

This holiday season, embrace Active Wellness and resist the pressure to drink in excess. If you enjoy alcohol, plan ahead by having a designated driver or ordering a rideshare service to pick you up. Active Wellness means moderation, so decide in advance how many drinks you will allot yourself and stick to it.

Since the holidays are a time for giving, remember to offer a variety of non-alcoholic beverages when you’re hosting, and watch out for your guests. If they’re consuming alcohol, help ensure they have a driver or ride available before they leave.

There are still a few days left to shop from the Nikken Holiday Gift Catalog—a gift of magnetic bling is definitely something to toast!

1https://drivingschool.net/sober-facts-of-holiday-drinking-and-driving/

2https://psychcentral.com/lib/holiday-drinking-keep-it-safe/392/

Do you Cultivate Gratitude?

One of the first things we teach our children to say is “thank you.” Since children get a lot of help with their daily activities, they have many opportunities to say thank you. In doing so, children are actively cultivating gratitude. Something happens as we become adults, and the simple words “thank you” are often forgotten as we take things for granted. Reciprocally, the words “you’re welcome” are now often replaced with “uh huh” or nothing at all.

According to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, words literally can change your brain. In their book, Words Can Change Your Brain, they write: “A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” Positive words, such as “peace” and “love,” can alter the expression of genes, strengthening areas in our frontal lobes and promoting the brain’s cognitive functioning. According to the authors, they propel the motivational centers of the brain into action and build resiliency.1

It might seem corny, but we need to practice using the right words not only when we talk to others but also when we talk to ourselves. Since we are first and foremost, blessed with our own abilities, we can cultivate gratitude by being thankful to our bodies and minds for supporting us and letting us work. We can thank ourselves for the progress we’ve made in living with Active Wellness—cutting out or cutting down on sugar, using a PiMag® Sport Bottle instead of single use plastic bottles, exercising daily, focusing more on plants when eating, recycling whenever possible, reducing waste and reusing rather than discarding goods—and commit to doing even more.

Although we should cultivate our own sense of gratitude every day of the year, there’s nothing like the holidays, starting with Thanksgiving, to be mindful of the multitude of things that bless our lives. One way to cultivate gratitude is to take a look around us and see what we have to offer to others. How can we help with a simple gesture or random act of kindness? Little things often count way more than we know—helping someone pick up a spilled package, opening a door for the elderly, bringing a stray to the shelter to be scanned for an ownership chip, cooking a meal for a sick neighbor—and the result is feeling happy for being able to do something for someone else.

Feeling grateful doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Sometimes the person with the least has a greater sense of gratitude than someone with an abundance of family, material wealth and good health. When the power goes out for hours or days, we are reminded of how grateful we should be for having electricity 24/7 when other parts of the world do not. Those of us who live where we have potable tap water should be grateful we don’t live where water is scarce or rationed. In other words, what we consider basic and take for granted, really isn’t basic for many others. When we acknowledge simple things that fulfill our needs, we are grateful.

This holiday season, let’s be aware of the words we utter, be sincere with our thanks, lend a helping hand whenever we can and pay forward all the blessings we have personally received. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

 

1 https://psychcentral.com/blog/6-ways-to-cultivate-gratitude/