Category Archives: Healthy Lifestyle

Tips For Healthy Eating During The Holiday Season

The time from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day has to be the hardest few weeks to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle or any diet for that matter. We are constantly tempted by sweats, treats and just way to much food in general. I would like to share a few tips with you that have helped me in the past to stay on track between now and the end of the year.

Tips For Healthy Eating During The Holiday Season

1) Make sure you eat before you go to any holiday gathering. You know you will be temptedTips For Healthy Eating During The Holiday Season by all sorts of unhealthy but yummy foods. Make sure you don’t go overboard by eating something that is good for you before you go. Try to make sure you are not hungry when you arrive, or you will be much more tempted to overeat as well.

2) Drink some water before you go and alternate higher calorie drinks like alcoholic beverages, eggnog or hot chocolate with water while you are at the holiday party. Drinks can have a lot of hidden calories in them, so watch out. Diet sodas are another good option.

3) Fill you plate with some “good “ foods first. Pick some raw vegetables, but go easy on the dip. Turkey breast, and lean ham or pork roast are other good choices. Don’t forget a nice plate of salad with a low fat dressing and some fresh fruit for dessert.

4) Don’t cut your favorite holiday treats completely out. If you don’t allow yourself the occasional small indulgence, you will be much more likely to break down and binge on all those cookies and treats. The key is to enjoy small portions or bites of your favorite foods. If you have a soft side for chocolate chip cookies then go ahead and indulge, but limit yourself to one a day or every few days. Of course the same applies if you prefer cheesecake or gingerbread men.
Eat several small meals a day. This old tip holds especially true during the holiday season. We tend to skip meals and indulge in one large holiday dinner with the entire family. Don’t starve yourself all day. Get some snacks in and most importantly start your day with a good, healthy breakfast. You will be able to enjoy your holiday more by stabilizing your blood sugar. You don’t want to spend the day being grumpy from not eating for hours, or be the first ready for a nap after overeating.

5) Use the busy shopping season and burn some extra calories. If you are heading to the mall, park a little further away, or take your time and do a round of window shopping all through the mall before you buy. Every few extra steps that you take count. Just don’t reward yourself afterwards with food. For extra motivation to get more walking in, consider wearing a pedometer. See http://www.walkingofftheweight.com for more information on walking and using a pedometer.

6) Take some time to relax. The holidays can be a very stressful season if we let them. Many of us (including myself) tend to overeat or medicate ourselves with food when we are stressed. Work in some extra time just for you. Sit in front of the fire with a good book or your favorite magazine, go get your nails done, take a bath or go for a walk. Do whatever works for you to calm you down and help you distress.

Above all, enjoy the holidays and remember they are not only about food, but more importantly about family spending quality time together. Treat yourself to some new holiday candles, listen to your favorite Christmas tunes, or go for a drive through a lit up neighborhood this year. Have fun during this special time of the year and enjoy that occasional cookie.

Happy Holidays!

The Truth About Fat In Foods

Fat has had a lot of bad press and for many people, just a mention of the word can evoke misery. You can try to lose it, try to hide it, try to avoid it, but your body still needs it! Did you know that fat helps to insulate our nerve cells, keeps us warm, balances our hormones, keeps skin and arteries supple, lubricates joints and is a component in every cell?

The Truth About Fat In Foods

The key issue here is recognizing which type of fat your body needs, how much your body The Truth About Fat In Foodsrequires and which type is your enemy. Armed with the right information, you can focus on getting more of the good fats and less of the bad fats into your daily diet.

There are two types of fat to be aware of. Saturated fats – let’s call them “the enemy” and unsaturated fats – “the good guys”! It is easy to tell the difference because saturated fats are hard at room temperature. Saturated fats are not essential to your health. They come from animals and are found in meat, eggs and cheese. They are harder to digest and full of cholesterol.

Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and have been divided into two groups. Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats such as sunflower oil. Polyunsaturated fats are split into Omega 3 fatty acids and Omega 6 fatty acids. Monounsaturated fat (Omega 9) although not essential, is not harmful in moderation – a good quality (extra virgin first cold pressed) olive oil is a healthier alternative to the usual vegetable oil. Good sources of Omega 6: safflower oil, sunflower oil, evening primrose oil, walnut oil, pumpkin oil, sesame oil. Good sources of Omega 3 are mackerel, herring, salmon, pilchards, sardines, tuna and flax seed oil. Here are some important facts about fat in our diet.

1. Fat is the ‘energy reserve’ of animals, plants and humans.

2. The ideal body-fat ratio should be approximately 19-26% of a woman’s body weight, and 12-18% of a man’s body weight.

3. There are two different types of body fat – brown and yellow. Brown fat is situated inside the body and is ‘active’, containing mitochondria that produce heat (thermogenesis) and as a result burn energy. Yellow fat is found nearer the surface, is less active and more likely to accumulate. Women tend to have a higher ratio of yellow fat than men.

4. Women need higher levels of fat because it is essential for reproduction and so the body stores it ‘just in case’.

5. An average healthy intake of good fats in the diet should be approximately 30-40 grams a day. The fat content of diets in affluent populations can be nearly four times this amount!

6. Most foods containing fat combine saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat in varying quantities. For instance, butter’s fat content is almost 100%, of which 60% is saturated, 30% monounsaturated and 10% polyunsaturated, compared with sunflower seeds’ fat content of 73%, of which just 12% is saturated and 21% monounsaturated and 67% is polyunsaturated.

7. Heat, light and oxygen destroy essential fatty acids, which is why it is best to keep oils in dark containers.

8. Essential fats must come from the diet because your body cannot produce them. The essential healthy fats are Omega 3 and Omega 6 (known as essential fatty acids).

9. Weight for weight, fat provides more than twice the amount of usable energy than carbohydrates or protein (you’ll find 9 calories in every gram of fat).

10. Fat contributes to the palatability, texture and the smell of many foods, it also slows down the process of digestion providing an extended period of satiation after a meal.

When you know the good from the bad, fat is not as bad as you might think.

Top Massage Techniques

Massage is probably the oldest and simplest existing form of medical care that it has been applied for relaxation, fitness, and other health purposes. Basically, massage therapy is a Top Massage Techniquestherapeutic technique that involves manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. It is the calming, therapeutic process of kneading, stroking, and pressing the different areas of the body to alleviate pain, relieve stress and tensions, or relax, stimulate and tone the body.

Well, as what most experts have said, massage, no matter how simple or complex the techniques involved, can really be a great healing system.

A number of massage techniques are available nowadays. The massage is commonly applied in different techniques and in different strokes. The techniques and strokes vary widely from the most delicate touch with the fingertips to the more focused deep tissue work. These techniques may even vary in speed as well as in pressure.

Top Massage Techniques

Below is a list of the top rated massage techniques. Read on for one of them might be the right option for you.

Deep Tissue Massage

The deep tissue massage, on the most basic, is a massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of muscle tissue. It involves a number of slow movements, but generally the pressure is more intense as it aims to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body. The most common target of these movements and deep finger pressure are the contracted areas, either following or going across the muscles of the fiber, fascia and tendons. Usually, in this kind of massage, the therapists use their thumb, fingers and even elbows to apply the needed pressure.

Swedish Massage

Also included in the line of the top rated massage techniques is the so-called Swedish massage. Basically, this technique involves the use of kneading, tapping or calming strokes applied to the entire body to loosen sore joints and relieve muscle tension and pain. Well, what sets Swedish massage unique from the other massage techniques is that it involved five major beneficial strokes: effleurage, petrissage, friction, tapotement, and vibration. Although each of these strokes differ according to their movements and target points, all of them are developed to promote an ultimate feeling of being pampered.

There is one particular purpose that the Swedish massage is strongly holding – to increase the flow of oxygen in the blood and release toxins that were trapped in the muscles. With this purpose alone, the Swedish massage highly works to shorten the recovery time from muscular strain

Sports Massage

Sports massage, as you may know, is a form of massage that is applied for sports purposes, hence the name. It is the technique of kneading and manipulating the soft tissues in the body to help athletes improve their performance, prevent and treat sports injuries. It is highly considered in the field of sports knowing that as the participation in sports becoming more popular at all genders and ages and as performances continue to improve annually, more is expected and demanded from the athletes. It is with this situation that athletes start looking for some effective ways to boost their performances, and sports massage is one of the best solutions they’ve ever discovered.

Heated Stone Massage

Heated stone massage, also known as la stone massage, is widely appreciated and accepted in the healthcare and bodywork industry today. Several clinics, spas, fitness centers, and other healthcare establishments have in fact considered it a very effective alternative to the regular massage therapy.

During the heated stone massage procedure, the therapists and the clients themselves will notice certain changes on the body temperature, including the heart and breathing rates. Heated stone massage is used to indicate such changes to determine the flow of the blood and the exchange of blood and oxygen in the body, allowing a sense of well-being in the end. That’s basically how the heated stone massage works.

Neuromuscular Massage

This is actually a form of deep tissue massage that is applied to the individual muscles. However, the main purpose of the massage techniques involved here is to increase the blood and lymphatic flow, while reducing the pain and release pressure trapped on the nerves. The neuromuscular massage techniques are also considered to release the trigger points which could help relieve headaches and the pain in your shoulder.

Rolfing

Rolfing also hit the line of the most well-known and widely performed massage techniques available. This technique, on the most basic, involves reeducating the body about proper posture. Yes, posture is given much attention here for the belief that posture highly determines health problems like headaches, backaches and joint pain. With that focus, the rolfing massage techniques no doubt seek to straighten and realign your body by working the myofascia, which is actually the connective tissue that assists to hold your body together. This tissue surrounds your muscles.

Why Preventive Healthcare is Important in a Healthcare Plan Provider

More and more progressive healthcare plan providers are offering patients preventive care options. This helps offset the number one concern of most consumers – cost.

When shopping for health insurance or any sort of heaWhy Preventive Healthcare is Importantlthcare plan, most consumers seek to protect themselves and their families from the potentially disastrous cost of major illness and hospitalization. Hence, preventive care is often an overlooked benefit that many consumers may not give sufficient consideration.

Following are some benefits of preventive care that you should consider when looking for a health insurance or a healthcare plan.

What is Preventive Healthcare?

A broad definition of preventive healthcare is “measures taken to identify life-threatening illnesses or habits with an eye towards curing, modifying and preventing them.” In other words, preventive care can be anything that helps you stave off illness and live a healthier lifestyle.

Why Preventive Healthcare is Important

Preventive healthcare is important for three reasons:

1. Early Detection Saves Lives:

This is perhaps the most important reason to look for a healthcare plan that offers some measure of preventive healthcare options.

Annual mammograms, pap smears and colon-cancer screenings are all examples of preventive measures that help to save lives. Many life-threatening illnesses have silent symptoms. They only way to detect them is through some type of early detection test.

Take heart disease, for example. The American Heart Association estimates that roughly half of all deaths from this disease are sudden and unexpected. When you consider the great strides that have been made over the last 25 years in preventing and treating this disease, early detection can make all the difference in how well you will survive a heart attack, or whether you will even have one at all.

With illnesses like this, preventive care takes advantage of the advances in medical technology, detecting problems – or assessing the likelihood of problems – before they become life-threatening illnesses.

2. Modifying Behavior Leads to a Healthier Life:

Preventive healthcare encourages many to lead healthier lifestyles. Getting regular exercise is one of the easiest things anyone can do to achieve overall better health. Many healthcare providers encourage this by offering discounts on gym memberships, yoga classes and other types of regular workout programs.

Another popular lifestyle change program that providers encourage is a smoking cessation program. Cigarettes are extremely addicting, and many smokers try for years to quite before they succeed. The benefits of quitting can prevent many healthcare problems, from lung cancer and heart disease, to stroke and heart attack, to many respiratory illnesses.

As the ultimate goal of all preventive care is to help patients live longer, healthier lives, amenities like this are natural offerings by healthcare plan providers.

3. Preventive Healthcare Saves Money:

Preventive healthcare allows policy holders to get the most value for their healthcare dollars. This is because preventive care is usually much less expensive than treating a disease down the road.

To encourage this, comprehensive information is needed to make informed decisions. Forward-thinking healthcare providers offer members integrated solutions, like up-to-the-minute health information, medical alerts, drug recalls, wellness assessments and more.

This puts the information that members need right at their fingertips, allowing them to be an active participant in their ongoing healthcare.

Preventive care helps people to actively manage their overall healthcare.

By encouraging regular checkups, regular screenings and an overall healthier lifestyle, individuals maintain better overall health, feel better, and minimize their health care costs throughout their lifetimes. And this is why preventive healthcare is Important

How To Avoid Common Diet Scams



As our country gains weight at an alarming rate, we are spending more each year on products that promise us easy, effortless weight loss. Each year in the United States, an estimated 35 billion dollars is spent each year on weight loss products. The problem is that in spite of headlines that feed our hopes that a new, secret, “better” weight loss formula has been discovered, the truth is there are no easy solutions to losing weight.

How To Avoid Common Diet Scams

Simply put, weight loss is a combination of lifestyle choices, and is the result of a firm commitment to making and maintaining them over a period of time. Any products that offer weight loss without reduced caloric intake and increasing activity levels are fraudulent- and a waste of money.

Why Do People Buy Products That Are Scams?

Denise Bruner, MD, MPH, FASBP is a specialist in weight loss, and a fellow in the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. She shares one of the major reasons that weight loss scams flourish today: “We live in a society today that wants immediate gratification. This is reflected in our willingness to buy from those that promise ‘instant results’”.

The increasing obesity in our society, and hopes that weight loss can be achieved without lifestyle changes fuels the growth of frauds. Bruner states, “In the U.S., currently 61% of the population is overweight, and the numbers are going up. There’s a huge market out there for weight loss products. After all, it appeals to us to find out that you can ‘Lose 30 pounds in 30 days.’ We don’t want to have to deprive ourselves of our favorite foods, and want something that will ‘magically’ absorb the calories.”

Jeannette Kopko, Senior Vice President of the Better Business BureaHow To Avoid Common Diet Scamsu for Dallas and Northeast Texas, agrees that illegitimate weight loss products feed on false promises: “People are fooled by these scams because they hope that they aren’t scams. They hope that they’re real, and are an easier, faster, painless way to lose weight.”

With the huge demand for weight loss products (and their revenues), companies are more than willing to become suppliers-whether or not their products work. Kopko states, “The number of companies hawking bogus supplements and weight loss products is increasing rapidly in recent years.”

How can you spot a weight loss scam?

Typically, weight loss scams make promises that aren’t realistic. Headlines that promise weight loss without dieting are always scams, since calorie reduction is the basis of any true weight loss program. There are no legitimate weight loss programs that allow you to “eat whatever you want” without limit. As Monica Revelle, public relations specialist at the FDA notes: “If it sounds too good to be true-it is!”

Other tips offs that the weight loss product is a scam include:

* Claims to be a “secret” formula: Products that claim to have secret formulas are scams. Dr. Bruner feels strongly on this issue, and states, “There are no ‘secrets to weight loss’ being held away from the public. In America alone, an estimated 100 people a day die from obesity; we could prevent 300,000 deaths annually if there was a real product that made weight loss simple and safe, and physicians would be the first to prescribe them.”

* There’s no physical address for the business. Legitimate products and services will have a physical address and phone number. Be wary of those that only offer a mailbox, or a toll-free number to call manned by “help center” personnel. Kopko shares, “While not all companies that have P.O. or private mail boxes (PMBs) are illegitimate, plenty are. Check to see if there are the letters ‘PMB’ after a physical address; this indicates that it’s really a private mail box, that can forward mail to anywhere in the world.” She adds that the Internet is also being used to promote frauds, and adds, “You can’t judge how good or legitimate a product is by how professional the web site looks. This only reflects how good their web designer was.”

* They promise rapid weight loss. Weight loss that is too rapid is not only unhealthy, but is normally quickly regained. The best plans advocate moderate goals, with slow, steady weight loss of about 6-8 pounds a month over a long period. Dr. Bruner states, “Any product that offer overnight or rapid changes is a fraud.”

* They state that they can help a person lose fat or cellulite in a specific part of the body. Body fat is lost overall, not in a spot, and ads that claim otherwise are frauds.

* They promise permanent weight loss. No product can do this, since permanent weight loss is maintained by lifestyle changes.

By avoiding products with the above “red flags” in their advertising, you can protect yourself from illegitimate products-and save money.

Types of Weight Loss Scams

Weight loss scams can range from the highly illegal (and even dangerous) to the mildly unethical. Kopko states, “There are degrees of fraud and misleading consumers. Some are scams where the person doesn’t receive anything at all when they send in their money. Another form of scam is when the customer sends in money, and they get a product that has no benefit, such as a sugar pill.”

Other weight loss scams use questionable practices, such as making claims for an ingredient-but without scientific studies to back them up. Kopko adds, “In yet other scams, the product has very low levels of active ingredients, so the person doesn’t get the desired result.”

Some products sell because their names are similar to real products-even though they don’t contain the same ingredients or quality. Dr. Bruner warns that these knockoffs are frauds: “The person thinks, ‘Oh, I can get this a lot cheaper here…’ but be careful, and check it out thoroughly first.”

Kopko has seen all types of weight loss scams during her years with the Better Business Bureau. She remembers, “Years ago, in our area, there was a business that sold ‘weight loss glasses’; one lens was blue, the other brown. Supposedly, the two colors ‘confused the brain’ and the person didn’t get hungry.” She adds, “Another fraud was weight loss “bath powder’ that a person pours into the tub, that promised weight loss.”

Today, popular scams are pills, powders, patches, and herbal teas that supposedly promote weight loss.

One recent scam was a powder taken a few hours before sleep. Kopko states, “It promised that the fat would “melt away” while you slept. The only benefit was that the person gave up their bedtime snack when they took it; there was nothing in the powder to help. And the person who bought the powder was then deluged with other products from the company that would ‘make the product work better.’ It was all a huge fraud.”

Dr. Bruner has also seen a variety of weight loss scams over the years. She states, “I’ve seen people wearing inserts in their shoes; the manufacturers claim that they hit pressure points to relieve hunger (it doesn’t work). Another scam is a ‘“chocolate patch’ designed to reduce cravings for chocolate, or wearing special clothing to spot reduce areas.” She notes that in Europe, another popular weight loss fad is getting attention: “In Europe, right now mesotherapy, injecting a drug into the muscle, is a very popular fraud.”

FTC’s sokesperson Shirley Rooker notes that the FTC recently stopped another popular weight loss scam-and the company was forced to pay back millions to consumers taken in by its fraudulent ads. She notes, “The Enforma System claimed that its products increase the body’s capacity to burn fat and would help the body burn more calories while just standing or sitting around doing nothing, even while sleeping. And the TV ads stated that consumers could enjoy fried chicken, pizza, and other high-calorie, high-fat products and still lose weight. The FTC complaint charged that there was no proof that Fat Trapper and Exercise in a Bottle really worked.”1

Why Aren’t They Stopped?

With the huge numbers of weight loss frauds out there (it only takes opening up a magazine, or surfing the Internet to view some), the question of why they are allowed to continue is raised.

Kopko says, “I get a lot of calls from people who ask, ‘Why isn’t something being done?’ about a scam. Basically, the answer is: until we receive complaints, a fraud can’t be investigated.” She adds that many times, people who are scammed don’t file reports. “They don’t want the bother, or they don’t know where to turn. The complaints we get are probably only a fraction of the problem that’s out there.”

She warns that not being shut down is not a guarantee of reliability. “Just because a business is out there, selling weight loss products doesn’t mean they’re legitimate; it may just be that they haven’t been caught yet. This is why it’s so important to be an aware consumer. “

Once complaints are made, law enforcement will step in and start investigating weight loss frauds. They often prosecute illegal businesses, and force them to make restitution to their victims. But Kopko shares that not every questionable weight loss product can be dealt with in this manner: “Some scams might not be illegal-just unethical. They market their products in a way that implies benefits, instead of stating them outright, and skirt the legal boundaries of false advertising.”

In some cases, stopping a fraud takes time because of the decision over who has jurisdiction, and the time needed to gather the data to begin prosecuting a company. For instance, the FDA’s Moica Revelle states that they only have jurisdiction over scams in which a product is proven to be unsafe. “We monitor the quality and safety of weight loss products; but we don’t have jurisdiction if there’s no evidence of harm done.”

In many cases of false advertising, the FTC steps in, and uses information gathered by other agencies to make their case against a company. Kopko states that the Better Business Bureau, while not having jurisdiction itself, make their task easier. “We keep information about businesses on file, including complaints against them, and share this with law enforcement and government agencies.”

How To Protect Yourself From Scams

One of the best methods of protecting yourself from weight loss scams is to seek medical advice from a qualified physician who specializes in weight loss (bariatric medicine). At times, this means first coming to terms with a realistic view of weight loss. Dr. Bruner states, “Losing weight isn’t simple or easy.

Basically, it means reducing calories and exercising, but it must be individualized to the person’s needs. For instance, the person with insulin resistance needs a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet so they won’t feel that they’re starving; and those with allergies (such as to wheat or yeast) will need a diet that avoids these items.”

To protect yourself from scams, check the product out first with your physician. And if possible, try to avoid “impulse buying”. First investigate the product and the company’s reliability with consumer organizations. This can save you needless expense and disappointment in the long run.

Another method of avoiding scams is to visit sites that investigate consumer frauds-and check out a company before buying. Kopko states, “The Better Business Bureau is a participant with the Sentinel Database (online at www.consumer.gov/sentinel ) which allows consumers and law enforcement to view trends and complaints against businesses. You can also go online to our national web site at www.bbb.org to check out a company nationally. Just click on the “consumer info” link, and look up diet fads and scams that have been reported.”

Weight loss scams are on the rise, and the numbers of companies using fraudulent advertising are multiplying. By taking the time to carefully investigate a company and its products, and choosing to work with a qualified physician on your weight loss goals, you can save yourself needless expense and disappointment. Best of all, you can get started on the road to real, achievable weight loss goals while maintaining good health.

Arthritis Exercises

Arthritis Exercises

A recommended 30-minute minimum of daily activity is the norm. Before starting any exercise program, it is vital that one speak to their doctor to ensure there are no unseen risks, however you will find that most doctors recommend exercise for their arthritis patients either on their own initiative or when asked.

The types of exercises suggested vary; however, with all types of exercise the warm-up is the starting point. Warming up is best started with applying warm compresses to the joints, followed by mild stretching. Range of motion exercises, such as dance, are a very good start, as are low-impact aerobics. These can relieve stiffness and increase flexibility.

Never discount the effectiveness of walking as an exercise. Walking is a great exercise to improve the arthritic condition, and carrying weights as light as one pound and using your arms as you walk can involve the whole body. The “trick” is to make walking interesting enough as an exercise to stay motivated. Try walking in different settings, alternating walking with dance on different days, and of course including a partner can be much more interesting than going at it alone.

Using aquatics: exercising in a pool-is a great way to exercise as well. Water is an excellent aid because it provides resistance that builds muscle in the entire body while reducing shock to the joints at the same time. Additionally, because the whole bArthritis Exercisesody tends to become involved in aquatic exercise the added benefit of cardiovascular exercise is enjoyed. If at all possible, find a heated pool to work out in. Warm water is soothing to the joints and will cause the blood vessels to dilate, increasing circulation. With that in mind, it is often beneficial to add using a spa to your regimen, perhaps after your workout, in order to provide some soothing jets of water to your muscles and even more help with increased circulation, which is always vital when dealing with arthritis.

If you still want more variety, you may want to try yoga. Yoga is a general term for several stretching, and pose-oriented exercises originating in India, and is extremely beneficial toward achieving flexibility and reducing stress physically and mentally. There are gentle forms of yoga such as Hatha Yoga that are excellent to start with. Hatha Yoga comprises of gentle stretches and simple poses that help flexibility and balance, and are easy to learn and enjoy. Check your local activities paper or section of your local paper to see if there are any yoga classes near you.

Even when you cannot make it out to walk or to an aquatics or yoga class, there are exercises you can do daily to improve flexibility, strength and conditioning. You can flex your legs while sitting in a chair facing forward, simply by moving your leg outward while keeping your foot on the floor and holding it there for a few seconds, then retracting it until your foot is behind you, then alternating to the other leg. Interlocking your fingers and slowly flexing your wrists to the left and the right for a few minutes a day can help tremendously to increase flexibility and reduce pain in the wrist area.

For your upper back, you can stand upright in front of a table, then lean over and place your hands on the table and tuck your chin back toward your collarbone. Once positioned as such, lift your upper back upward and simultaneously take a deep breath. Hold that position for 5-10 seconds and then relax while exhaling. While doing this, lower your spine slowly as you move both shoulder blades forward as if toward each other. Repeat this exercise for 10-15 repetitions.
For the shoulders and middle back, start again from an upright position standing as straight as you can, reach back and lock the fingers of both hands together. Breathe slowly and deeply and lift upward with your shoulders while at the same time, exhaling. Be sure to keep your chest up and your chin in. Repeat this for about 10-15 sets.

For the shoulders and upper chest, choose a free corner of the room to stand in and place your hands on the opposite sides of the corner. Take a step back about 18 inches from the corner. You now should be facing the corner directly with your hands on both of the walls with your body some distance from the wall itself. Keeping your chest up after inhaling, lean in toward the corner while exhaling. Repeat this exercise for 10-15 sets.

Whatever exercise program you choose, be sure to breathe properly when exercising. Oxygenation is important to any exercise regimen as it promotes a healthy heart rate and reduces fatigue; additionally oxygenation helps circulation, which is vital to achieving the flexibility and strength that you are trying to achieve in battling arthritis. Also, listen to your body. It is natural to feel a little fatigue and soreness when starting a new exercise regimen, However if the pain of soreness persists for more than one hour, or you have a decrease in mobility that lasts longer than an hour, then the regimen should be reduced until the soreness desists.

Also, look for signs of increased swelling of joints or any persistent increase of weakness; these are signs of activities that are too strenuous and a reduction in activity will be necessary. Just remember to take all new exercise regimens slowly at the start. The idea is to increase flexibility not train for the Olympics.

There are three main types of exercises to include in a basic exercise program:

Range-of-motion exercises – These lessen stiffness and help with improving flexibility. “Range of motion” refers to the area within which the joints move naturally or on a daily basis. Although these range-of-motion exercises can be performed every day, it is recommended that they be done at least every other day.

Strengthening exercises – There are two types of strengthening exercises; isometric or tightening the muscles without moving the joints, and isotonic, moving of the joints for strengthening muscle movements. It is recommended to do these sets of exercises every other day, unless you are suffering from more than mild joint pain or swelling.

Endurance exercises – The objective of these is to increase stamina. They also help with improving your inner personal / mental strength and with improving weight control and sleep. Some of the most popular endurance exercises are stationary bike riding, walking and water exercising. And unless you are suffering from more than mild joint pain or swelling, a 20- to 30-minute workout or two to three short 10-minute bouts during the day is what is recommended, an average of three times each week. Be kind to your body, and it will be kind to you.

Arthritis Exercise Tips

Let’s sum up arthritis exercise with a few tips for all:

– Establish your own unique, exercise program so that it meets you personal health needs, budget and environment. Make sure it is safe by checking with your own professional healthcare advisor and workout trainer. And take it slow and steady like Aesop’s turtle in the race.

– Be kind to yourself. Stop if something hurts. And experiment with applying heat before exercising and warming up. Then cool off afterwards with cold packs.

– Enjoy exercising by making it a real part of your life during the week. Include range-of-motion, strengthening and endurance exercises in your routines. And vary your activities; try a new class at a health club one quarter. Next time, go elsewhere or join a naturalist group for weekly hikes in local parks. Keep an active folder with pockets of gyms and health clubs near you with their schedules and up-dated classes and coupon specials. And check newspapers, local bulletin boards, postings at the gyms and clubs, etc. for healthy activities like walk-a-thons and bike-a-thons for nonprofits and evening / weekend hikes in which you can participate. You’ll meet new friends, have fun, get out more and exercise all at the same time.

– Exercise activities are available all around you, too. No need to spend time and money elsewhere. You can borrow exercise videos, cassettes, DVDs and books from public libraries. You can get active by washing windows, cleaning your house, car, pet, children’s closets, your closets, anything…You can even earn money doing activities like walking and distributing flyers, local newspapers and coupons (check with companies who place these in and around your mailbox and door – -they often need help).

Sound Sleep Solutions – Eleven Tips For Sound Sleep

Eleven Tips For Sound Sleep Solutions

Sound sleep solutions

Sleep is essential to ensure our health and fitness. However, thousands if not millions of people struggle with sleeplessness every single day or, more appropriately, every night.  Due to sleep deprivation, these people develop a number of illnesses that, in turn, adversely affect their work, business, relationships, and overall quality of life.728x90 Quite Possibly The Last

Insomniacs and other people with milder sleeping problems usually, almost by instinct, would consider using sleep medications. But before purchasing sleeping pills, people should first try making certain lifestyle adjustments to learn sound sleep solutions.  The suggested lifestyle changes shown below would perhaps save you the effort and cost of buying a sleep aid product:

  1. Drink a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile is an herb that people have been using for centuries. It is known to promote sleep and treat other ailments like upset stomach.
  2. Avoid any strenuous exercise three hours before bed. Exercising and engaging in intense physical activities a couple of hours before going to sleep may increase the adrenaline levels in the body and cause sleep disruptions.
  3. Eat potatoes, whether still warm or at room temperature, before going to bed. Potatoes are complex carbohydrates that are recommended to be consumed just before going to bed for natural, restful sleep. Do you think this will help you discover sound sleep solutions?
  4. Drink a mug of hot milk with honey. Milk contains high levels of melatonin while honey is said to have sleep-inducing properties and may act as a sedative.
  5. Minimize naps. Naps are usually recommended to be not over one hour because napping too much may disrupt sleep during the night.
  6. Doze, rest and meditate. Meditation is a practice where one focuses on a certain sound, object, or thought. Visualization, breathing, and controlled body movements all make up the health-giving practice of meditation. Many clinical studies suggest that this activity actually relieves stress and promotes relaxation.
  7. Avoid stimulants such as tea and coffee in the evening – These drinks are high in caffeine, a substance that is known to decrease ability to sleep. For some, caffeine may also increase anxiety and nervousness at high doses.
  8. Take magnesium supplements. Doses of about 250 milligrams may induce sleep. Consuming magnesium-rich foods like kelp, wheat bran, almonds, and cashew nuts may help promote sound sleep.
  9. Maintain evening rituals. For sound sleep solutions, reading, sewing, playing card games, and other activities one likes to do should be done before going to bed. Health experts suggest that any activity that is ritually done before going to bed helps signal the body that sleeping time is coming up.
  10. Find out if you have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep condition in which breathing stops for a few seconds during sleep. This condition is one of the causes of daytime sleepiness.
  11. Use white noise. Boxes are available that produce what is called `White Noise’. It is that this kind of noise may aid individuals who are having difficulty in their sleep.

With some lifestyle changes, sound and quality sleep can be achieved. If these lifestyle changes fail, ask your health practitioner about sleep aid medications that can be used to treat your condition. Be sure to carefully follow the instructions to avoid side effects and drug interactions.

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When Did You Last Have A Good Sleep?

Tempurpedic Mattresses, generically known as Memory Foam, are becoming more popular When Did You Last Have A Good Sleep?every day. However, with all the different choices and prices of foam on the market, the consumer should know about the major differences between these products before paying a major amount of money for a bed they will be sleeping on for many years. It adapts to the contours of the body much better than an innerspring mattress. Each person has different preferences due to weight and sleeping habits. The best thing to do is to visit your local bed store and try laying down on a few different models. (When the sales staff have to wake you up, you know you’ve found the right brand.)

When Did You Last Have A Good Sleep?

The importance of a good night’s sleep can’t be overstated. No-one functions well on lack of sleep. The majority of people in the western world are sleep-deprived, and sleep deprivation is a significant cause of accidents. Remember the Exxon Valdez? That accident took place in the early hours of the morning, and industrial accidents peak on the midnight shift. Students who are sleep-deprived learn poorly. Chronic sleep deprivation affects the appetite centers of the brain, causing overeating and subsequent obesity. Any bed system conducive to a deeper, more restful sleep improves your quality of life.728x90 Sign Up For Webinar

There are several advantages to memory foam over a conventional mattress: it’s hypoallergenic, molds to fit anyone’s body, and provides some insulation on cold nights so you need fewer heavy, dusty blankets and comforters. All the pressure points that cause discomfort, and subsequent tossing and turning, are eliminated.

Tempurpedic is the brand name of the pioneer of memory foam, a company in Sweden. It’s the top-of-the-line product, but expensive, and there are dozens of cheaper competing brands, some made in America, some in China or other countries. HOWEVER, be warned: not all memory foam products are alike, as with any merchandise, you tend to get what you pay for, both in quality and longevity.

Memory foam is visco-elastic, and it responds to temperature changes much as bubble gum does. Good quality memory foam has a wide range of temperature responsiveness, but some of the cheaper brands can become as hard as wood if you let the bedroom go below 60 degrees. Eventually, as you change position the foam warms up and responds to your body shape, but this can take a few minutes, during which time you will be uncomfortable and may wake up. And cheaper brands may become too soft on hot summer nights, offering no support. Better brands of memory foam, such as Sensus and Temperpedic, specifically state their consistent performance through a wide temperature range.

Another issue is the longevity of the memory foam before it finally breaks down and loses its springiness. Better memory foams offer longer guarantees, 20 years, whereas the cheaper brands offer 10 years.

So, in summary, you don’t have to buy the most expensive product, but don’t buy the cheapest either. You’ll spend many nights regretting your decision. A few hundred dollars extra isn’t really a lot when spread out over decades of memory foam mattress use.

As well as differences in quality, there are also differences in memory foam mattress construction. Mattresses can have either 3 or 4 inches of memory foam over a denser supportive core, and more is not always better, because if the top layer of memory foam is too thick, you’ll sink in quite far before hitting the supporting layer underneath. Stomach sleepers should buy 2 inch foam, side sleepers and medium sized people should purchase mattresses with 3 inch memory foam, very large people or back sleepers should buy the 4 inch.

The base of the bed can vary as well. Some models feature loose sheets of foam of different firmness levels that can be arranged to the sleeper’s personal taste, others are laminated together. Also, man-made (petrochemical foam products) are about 1/3 the cost of natural latex. People who are sensitive to out-gassing of man-made products should consider a natural product.

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Is Zinc An Important Mineral?

Zinc is a mineral that is found in almost every cell in the human body, Despite its importance, this mineral is often taken for granted. A lot of people tend to remember zinc when they have a Is Zinc An Important Mineralcold or sore throat. These people take zinc supplements and lozenges to treat colds or sore throats. However, these individuals should bear in mind that zinc won’t cure these ailments. The mineral, however, will help boost the immune system so the cold won’t develop into something more serious. In addition to these health benefits, zinc is found in many food groups and is important for nourishing the skin, boosting the functions of the reproductive system.

Is Zinc An Important Mineral?

Being a naturally occurring element, zinc is found in food such as oysters (one of the highest source of zinc), liver, chicken, turkey, dairy products, and many more. This mineral a significant element in today’s diet. However, too little or too high levels of zinc can be harmful. Zinc deficiency can lead to impairment of taste, poor immune system, and skin problems. Other symptoms may include diarrhea, hair loss, fatigue, slowed wound healing, infertility, and decreased growth in infants. High levels of zinc, on the other hand, may cause cramps, anemia, changes in cholesterol levels, loss of libido, impotence, and dizziness. The right levels of zinc may improve brain function and hasten the healing of wounds.

Other benefits of zinc may include:
• It functions as an antioxidant and is involved in carbohydrate metabolism and protein synthesis;
• It is important in the regulation of cell growth, energy metabolism, and regulation of gene transcription ; and
• May help protect the prostate from cancer.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) of zinc in individuals is 15 milligrams a day, but recent medical studies show that people can take as much as 40 milligrams a day. Taking zinc supplement is important because medical studies show that this mineral is not stored in the body and people need to take the minimum dose every day. Men need more zinc than women because the male semen contains about 100 times more zinc than what is found in the blood. The more sexually active a man is, the more zinc he will require. The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults is 1/3 higher than that of women. Recent health reports show that zinc is essential to helping couples address infertility. Zinc dosages of 50 mg a day may result in an increase in semen production and improve fertility. This supplementation is beneficial in conception by affecting the hormone levels in the body.

Despite the importance of zinc, individuals who want to include zinc in their food regimens should seek the advice of doctors and other health professionals before taking zinc supplements. Zinc supplements may help balance the supply of zinc and other important minerals that body may lack. It is important to take the right amounts of supplements and combine them with nutritious diets and exercise. A healthy lifestyle should always be the foundation of good health. Remember to read labels of multivitamins and supplements before taking them. It is important to know the ingredients and quality of medications one is taking. Understanding the benefits of zinc and other vitamins and minerals may lead to improved overall health and happier lives.

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What Is Hypertension?

Hypertension is another word for high blood pressure. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, hypertension is “abnormally high blood pressure and especially arterial blood What Is Hypertensionpressure.”

High blood pressure occurs when the arteriole arteries narrow, making it difficult for blood to pass through them. This forces the heart to pump harder to get the blood through. As the pressure increases above normal and is sustained, the result is high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is a common problem. It is the most common chronic illness in the United States. Almost twenty five percent of Americans have it, and a significant number of them do not realize they have it. That is because high blood pressure causes few, if any symptoms, until it has reached an advanced stage. This makes it important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.

What Is Hypertension?

High blood pressure is a very dangerous disease to have and leave untreated. High blood pressure significantly increases a person’s risk for stroke, heart failure, heart attack, kidney disease, vision impairment, dementia, and premature death. Left untreated, high blood pressure can shorten a person’s life by up to twenty years. Despite these alarming facts, a little over fifteen percent of the people in the United States who have high blood pressure and know they have it do nothing to control it.

There is no cure for high blood pressure but it is very treatable and is also preventable. Lifestyle changes, along with medication if needed, can keep blood pressure at a safe level.

There have been substantial advances in knowledge about and treatment of high blood pressure in the past several decades. Increased awareness and medical advancements in regards to high blood pressure have helped decrease the number of deaths from strokes by seventy percent and the number of deaths from heart disease by more than fifty percent according to data from the Mayo Clinic.

The risk of developing high blood pressure increases as a person ages. Race is also a determining risk factor. Black Americans have the highest risk of developing high blood pressure—about thirty-three percent of black Americans have it. Approximately twenty-three percent of white Americans have high blood pressure, making them the next highest risk group. Twenty-one percent of American Indians have high blood pressure. Eighteen percent of the American Hispanic population has high blood pressure and sixteen percent of Americans of either Asian or Pacific Islander descent have high blood pressure according to information from the Mayo Clinic.

Family history is a risk factor as well. If high blood pressure runs in a person’s family they have a higher risk of developing it. Gender is another factor. Up to age fifty-five, men are more likely to develop high blood pressure. After the age of fifty-five, women have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure.

Other factors that increase a person’s chance of developing high blood pressure include: being overweight, having a sedentary lifestyle, smoking or chewing tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, and low potassium levels.

Some illnesses raise a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure. If a person has heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol or sleep apnea they have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure.

There are two different forms of high blood pressure, essential high blood pressure and secondary high blood pressure. Essential high blood pressure is the most common form of high blood pressure. It is also known as primary high blood pressure. It does not have any obvious causes.

Secondary high blood pressure is when the cause of the high blood pressure can be attributed to another disease. Only five to ten percent of high blood pressure cases are secondary. Some of the diseases and disorders that cause secondary high blood pressure are kidney disease, renal artery obstruction, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hormonal abnormalities, and preeclampsia.

It is common for people with untreated high blood pressure to have plaque accumulate in the major arteries of the heart. The plaque deposits reduce blood flow to the heart and can eventually cause a heart attack. High blood pressure narrows the arteries and blood vessels in the body. Getting oxygen rich blood to the heart becomes more difficult as the arteries get narrower. If the heart cannot get enough oxygen, it will cause a heart attack.

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