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Get Movin’!

It is important that everyone live an active and healthy life, so enjoy the cooler days that fall brings and get moving!

Fuel Up!

When it comes to food, there are some rules to follow to make the most of your workout. Riska Platt, M.S., R.D., a nutrition consultant for the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, says to eat easily digestible carbohydrates before your workout to avoid feeling sluggish. These include:

  • whole grains
  • low-fat yogurt
  • brown rice
  • fruits and vegetables

If you find yourself low on time, eat an apple or banana at least five minutes before.

By consuming adequate food and fluids before and after your trip to the gym, your body is better able to maintain blood glucose concentration and replenish lost fluids.

How Much?

By meeting 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every week, your risk for heart disease and stroke is cut in half! You can work this goal into your daily routine with 30 minutes, five times a week of moderate intensity, or 15 minutes, five times a week of vigorous intensity.

For every one hour of regular, vigorous physical activity, some people may increase their life expectancy by two hours!

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Stress Weighing You Down?

Stress is loosely defined as the brain’s response to any demand. There are many things that can trigger this response, one of them being change. Whether it’s big or small, short or long term, or positive or negative, change can have a dramatic effect on someone’s wellbeing. How people deal with these changes, however, varies from person to person, making it difficult to define. Imagine a roller coaster, some people have their hands in the air screaming their lungs out while others may be silently holding onto the safety bar for dear life. While the stressor remains the same (the roller coaster), people have various reactions. This is because it is our individual perceptions of what’s happening around us creates the stress.

Stress on the body

Stress is not always a negativism. Consider the fight or flight response – all animals use a stress response that quickens the pulse, tenses the muscles, and pushes more oxygen to the brain in order to survive potential life threatening situations. However, these situations also call for the digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems to stop functioning properly until the cause of stress is gone. It is for this reason that continuous stress, and not a short burst, is detrimental to our bodies.

Effect of stress on health

The bodies reaction to stress differs from person to person. Some people may experience migraine headaches, while others feel stomach pains. Over time this could lead to more severe consequences such as increased susceptibility to the flu or common cold and less effective responses to vaccinations.

How to cope

If you feel overwhelmed, have difficulty sleeping, use drugs or alcohol to cope, are constantly fatigued, or have suicidal thoughts, do something. Know there are many people in your life that will provide support, including friends, family and even qualified mental health professionals. Not one to talk? Another great release is to write your feelings and thoughts down in a journal, as it helps in the process of elevating and understanding your stressors. You can also find distraction and reduce stress hormones in your body by being active or listening to music.

If you constantly react to stress, it may be time to be more proactive about it. You can decrease the chance of stressful situations by managing your schedule. Decide what must get done, what can be put to the side, and when to say no to tasks that would overload your schedule.

Sources: National Institute of Mental Health and Helpguide.org

I got a full eight hours of sleep this week.

The Stupidity Behind the Latest Fad: Sleep Deprivation

As summer ends and everyone gears up for school, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on my college days – so bear with me, I do have a point.

Long, long ago, at a magical university, there were fools who bragged about their “all nighter’s” and decent grades. (If you don’t recall this, you may have been this person). Why was depriving themselves of sleep not met with stigma but respect?

I got a full eight hours of sleep this week.

Sleep

Up until the 1950s, most people believed sleep was a passive, almost dormant part of our lives. Sleep was thought of as something that people “just needed”. It wasn’t until recently that studies have found that we are very active when asleep. Sleep allows our nervous system to repair neurons and exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate from lack of activity.

See why Mana Ionescu, the president of the Lightspan Digital, is a big fan of shut-eye.

Sleep Deprivation

In today’s fast paced world, it has become the norm to steal time away from our sleep. An average person should get seven to eight hours of sleep, give or take a little. Do you see yourself not giving your body enough time to recuperate? So do 40 million other Americans every year. These people suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, and an additional 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.

With such a large number of American’s suffering from sleep problems, it is a wonder it is not interfering with work more. Sleep deprivation causes you to be drowsy and unable to concentrate the next day. It can also lead to impaired memory, hallucinations, and mood swings. Given a good number of tired employees, an organization’s productivity will eventually account for the lost sleep.

So before you go robbing yourself of sleep, think of how it interferes with work, family and even social activities. Sweet Dreams!

Sources: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Australasian Sleep Association.

Is this a trip to the ER or Urgent Care?

Gone are the days of deciding between going to your primary care physician, the ER, or staying at home when you are sick or hurt. Today there are many alternatives. Understanding your options now will make deciding where to get care easier when the time comes.

Needs Immediate Attention – But Not Severe

When your condition needs to be taken care of right away, but is not life threatening, you may consider going to an urgent care clinic. These facilities usually have longer business hours, including evenings and weekends. They can provide on-site diagnostic tests like ER clinics, but for a fraction of the time and money spent. Urgent Care clinics can treat common illnesses, such as colds, flu and sore throats, as well as minor injuries, such as minor broken bones and burns, sprains, minor eye injuries, and cuts.

Life Threatening Conditions

Emergency Rooms may be the right choice for you if your condition is severe. These clinics are open 24/7 and offer a wide range of specialized care, making it the most expensive type of care. Conditions fit for this care include trouble breathing, severe chest pain, unusual headache, broken bones, possible overdose, suicidal thoughts, serious burns and wounds, seizures, and other serious conditions.

Still Unsure?

If you are not sure which to visit, and do not have a life-threatening condition, call your primary care physician and describe your symptoms. If their office is not open, you may consider researching your symptoms on the internet at sites like The Mayo Clinic’s, visiting a pharmacy’s clinic, or consulting with your doctor’s nurse telephone advice hotline.

Prepare Now

Knowing what your choices are before an accident occurs and you are forced into a quick decision is extremely helpful. You can do this by determining your closest emergency room, urgent care center and walk-in clinic.

Source: BCBS of Michigan, National Center for Biotechnology Information, and National Institutes of Health

Just Add Water

Water is key to successfully managing your weight. Many times, your body confuses the signals of thirst for hunger, causing you to eat when you are simply thirsty. This doesn’t mean you should reach for the nearest soda to help ward off your hunger. While sugar-sweetened sodas do provide water, they are usually chalk full of empty calories and added sugar. Instead, reach for a glass of water.

Don’t like the taste of pure water? Try adding a slice of lemon, lime or orange, a sprig of mint or a few fresh berries.

Helping to reduce your weight isn’t all this no-calorie drink can do. It also helps you feel good, as it keeps your body temperature normal, cushions joints, protects your spinal cord, and allows your body to secrete waste. So look good, & feel good with water!

How can you sneak more water into your day?

  • Drink a glass of water with and between each meal.
  • Eat foods that have high water content such as broth soups, melons and tomatoes.
  • Infuse your water with fresh fruits, diversifying its taste.
  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you.

How much water should you be drinking?

There isn’t a set recommendation of ounces per day you should be drinking, as water intake varies from one individual to another and is based on many factors.

When exercising or participating in an event that makes you sweat, you will need to consume more water to replenish the loss in fluid. This is also the case if you are in a hot or humid environment, are pregnant or breastfeeding or have any other health conditions that cause large amounts of fluid to be lost. A lack of water can lead to dehydration, where your body is lacking enough water to carry out normal functions, draining your energy and making you more tired.

Some people may have fluid restrictions because of a health problem. If your healthcare provider has told you to restrict your fluid intake, be sure to follow that advice.

Source: The Mayo Clinic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Weight What?

simplyweightwatch

Maintaining a healthy weight is a worthwhile goal at any time of your life, because as you age, your metabolism slows. Which, sadly, I’ve seen firsthand…

I’ve also found that with my slower metabolism, I’ve also lost the time during the day that I was active. And when people become less active, the body’s proportion of fat increase and muscle decrease. To compensate for this, you must lead a lifestyle with good eating habits and daily physical activity. By making small changes in your exercise regime and diet, you can balance your food intake with your physical activity ensuring you a healthy weight. Here’s 3 ways you can get fit with small changes to your daily regimen:

  • Incorporate up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week, or a mix of both.
  • Opt for nutrient-rich foods, packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and low in calories.
  • Eat a variety of foods from all food groups, allowing you to get the nutrients your body needs.

If you notice you have decreased your regular activities or made poor food choices, make a commitment to get back on track!

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics