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A Healthier U

Myths and facts about colonoscopies, vaccines for some cancers, goal setting through an app and more.

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By Kate O’Farrell, M.S., PEAK Health and Fitness

Becoming your own superhero for wellness can be a refreshing perspective to help you reach your goals. Are you interested in trying something new?

Jane McGonigal, a game developer and enthusiast, has created a new way for us to look at wellness. Her perspective changed dramatically when she experienced a traumatic head injury and was confined to her bed for months. While stuck in her own body, without the ability to do much of what she loves, thoughts of suicide and depression almost overwhelmed her. Instead of letting the bad guys win, she decided to go on a quest of wellness to find her way back to happiness. She found allies or individuals that could help her on her journey. She defined her own power-ups that would give her energy and vitality – even just looking out the window counted. McGonigal found her way back to the world of wellness and she used a game to do it.

SuperBetterSince she is a game developer at heart, she decided to bring her fresh perspective on behavior change to the rest of us with a game. The best part is we are able to mimic her path without having to experience severe head trauma.

SuperBetter is an app that lets you create your own quests and to find a new way of looking at your goal setting process. You can get reminders to do your own versions of power-ups and even connect with allies to help you reach your goals.

Who knew health could be so much fun?

Here are the first four quests McGonigal recommends to boost your vitality and add years to your life.

Quest 1: Stand up and take three steps or make your hands into fists and raise them over your head for 5 seconds. You just earned +1 for physical resilience.

Quest 2: Snap your fingers 50 times or count backward from 100 by sevens. You just earned +1 for mental resilience.

Quest 3: Look outside if you are inside, inside if you are outside or think of a baby [your favorite animal] and do a Google or YouTube search for it. Cheers for +1 emotional resilience.

Quest 4: Shake someone’s hand for six seconds or send someone a quick text or email thanking them. You get +1 social resilience.

Why follow these quests? Studies show that people who regularly boost all four kinds of resilience daily live 10 years longer than everyone else.

Be sure to check out McGonigal’s TED talk. To learn more about it, click here.

Still interested? Click on this blog that provides more details.

Let’s avoid hitting our heads against the different obstacles we face in reaching our wellness and find a way to make it fun. SuperBetter may be just that tool for you. Be sure to check out the app and start your wellness quest today.

PEAK Health and Fitness wants to hear from you. Who are your allies? What power-ups build your resilience? What is your quest? Be sure to email your answers to

Make today epic.


You can protect your child against several cancers with a safe and effective vaccine. “The human papillomavirus is the leading cause of cervical and anal cancers. It strikes both men and women—and can be prevented through vaccinations,” says Ellie Brownstein, M.D., a pediatrician at University of Utah Health Care.

Read the full article here.

Are you on a diet? You might want to avoid watching tearjerkers. Researchers at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab found that participants in a study as well as moviegoers at a mall ate between 28-55 percent more popcorn when they watched sad movies like “Love Story” as they did when they watched comedies like “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

Click here for the full article.

For more expert health news and information, visit