All posts by khasting

Healthy Living A to Z: H

Happiness

The pursuit of happiness is an unalienable right in this country. Everyone has their definition of what it is to them. For some it’s financial resources, others its the company of good friends. In reality, it’s often a combination of factors that lead to the least amount of stress in your life and elevate your mood. In order briefly cover this broad subject, let’s discuss some of these different factors and why some people value certain things over others.

  1. Money can buy happiness. Sometimes. Nearly 3/4 of Americans report finances as being a major stressor in their lives. Naturally, take away this stress, and become a happier person. However, money’s stress relieving powers caps off at $75,000 according to studies by Nobel laureate psychologist and economist Dr. Daniel Kahneman, after which, additional income has no effect on personal well-being.
  2. Relationships can be both beneficial and detrimental to ones mental health depending upon the dynamic. Think of the people you surround yourself with. Are you constantly competing with them, or are you on a team, cheering for one another to do their best. If you relate closer to the former, consider whether these people are worth having around. It’s always difficult to lose someone close to you, but you will find your happiness increasing with the cleanse of negativity that used to surround you.
  3. Age can greatly affect your happiness. People going through a “midlife crisis” have higher rates of depression and report more stress than any other age group. However, once you make it past mid-life, happiness goes back up, with people in their sixties and seventies reporting being just as happy as young people, according to a from the University of Warwick.

Healthy Living A to Z: G

Greens

Dark green leafy vegetables are great sources of nutrition. Salad greens, kale and spinach are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, and broccoli, bok choy and mustard are also rich in many of the B-vitamins. These vegetables also contain an abundance of carotenoids—antioxidants that protect cells and play roles in blocking the early stages of cancer. They also contain high levels of fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Furthermore, greens have very little carbohydrates, sodium and cholesterol.

There are many ways to enjoy a meal with leafy greens:

Make a salad: Keep salads interesting by varying their colors, textures and varieties. Perk them up with small tender leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, spinach and arugula mixed with different kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots.
Wrap it up: Make a wrap with tuna, chicken or turkey and add romaine lettuce, spinach, arugula, and other veggies for some extra flavor.
Add to soup: Add greens with larger, tougher leaves such as collard greens, kale or mustard greens into your favorite soup.
Stir-fry: Add chopped spinach, bok choy or broccoli to chicken or tofu stir-fried with olive or canola oil with some garlic, onion or ginger.
Steamed: Steaming collard greens, mustard greens, kale or spinach until they are slightly soft.
In an omelet: Add steamed broccoli and/or spinach to an egg-white omelet for a vitamin and iron rich meal.

http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=23199

Glutes

Everyone wants a healthy posterior chain. Whether that translates into “a nice butt” or a “faster sprint/better deadlift” for you, paying attention to your glutes’ strength and flexibility is an important factor of lower body health.

Any motion, from walking and climbing stairs to squatting to pick somthing up and biking require proper strength, coordination and endurance in the several muscles that make up your posterior: lumped together, these muscles are called your glutes (short for gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus).

Just like training your biceps of your shoulders, these muscles are targeted not only by big compound movements but also isolation and muscle specific lifts.

Here is a glute routine that you can either do on its own or you can sample some of the exercises and concepts to toss into your next leg day or full body workout.

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/glute-workout-5-moves-to-a-better-butt.html

 

 

Healthy Living A to Z: E (A Thanksgiving Special!)

Eating Wise

How can we prevent putting on the pounds this holiday season?

  • Go for a walk in the morning and after dinner with the family. This will promote family bonding and physical activity!
  • Eat Breakfast!! Don’t “save” your calories for the big meal, you need a small high-protein breakfast to give you more control over your appetite later in the day. It’s never a good idea to skip a meal.
  • Pick and Choose. Yes, Thanksgiving is an exciting day for everyone, but you can have corn on the cob year round, right? It’s okay to pick and choose your food. Survey the buffet before filling your plate and decide what holiday exclusives you absolutely are dying to try.
  • Listen to your gut. Just because you had two plates last year, doesn’t mean you have to break that record this year. If you stomach is telling you no more, listen.
  • Eat slowly and savor your food. You will end up consuming less and avoiding the dreaded unbuttoning of the pants.
  • Lastly, spend time with your loved ones. It’s not just the food we have to be thankful for (although I sure do love some apple pie!)

 

 more Thanksgiving Tips can be found at http://www.webmd.com/diet/10-tips-for-a-thinner-thanksgiving?page=3

Healthy Living A to Z: D

Dehydration

You become dehydrated when your fluid output exceeds your input. The effects of mild dehydration are easily fixable- drink some water. However, if you or someone you know is severely dehydrated (see below for symptoms), they may require immediate attention. Always keep an eye on your water intake, and make sure you drink slightly more than eight 8oz. glasses of water a day.

Symptoms of dehydration:

MILD TO MODERATE DEHYDRATION SEVERE DEHYDRATION
Dry, sticky mouth Extreme thirst
Sleepiness or tiredness Irritability and confusion
Dry skin Sunken eyes
Headache Dry skin that doesn’t bounce back when you pinch it
Constipation Low blood pressure
Dizziness or lightheadedness Rapid heartbeat and breathing
Few or no tears when crying Fever
Minimal urine No tears when crying
 Dry, cool skin3 In serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness
Muscle cramps Little or no urination, and any urine color that is darker than usual
Dry Eyes

How can we prevent this scratchy foe?

  • Remember to blink often and takes breaks when reading and especially when working with a computer
  • Rest with a warm compress or wash cloth over your eyes to melt semi-solid secretions blocking your tear glands.
  • Eat Fish
  • Make sure you close your eyes all the way when blinking.
  • Use a humidifier in the winter
  • Artificial Tears- thin liquid drops for short term relief and thicker gels for long term (aka before bedtime). Avoid “red eye reducing” drops, as they often contain decongestants that will dry your eyes out even more.

 

Sources: 

http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/living/dry-eye-tips.cfm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dehydration/basics/definition/con-20030056

http://articles.mercola.com/dehydration-symptoms.aspx

 

Healthy Living A to Z: C

Cardio Workouts

Heart disease and stroke are the number 1 and number 5 causes of death in the United States. The American Heart Association states that cardiovascular exercise is crucial to avoiding these two health epidemics. Whether it’s jogging, bicycling, pick-up basketball or Zumba, thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day. Anything that keeps your heart pumping and makes you sweat will burn calories and build your cardiovascular system to perform better and stay healthy.

For people who would benefit from lowering their blood pressure or cholesterol, we recommend 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Try varying the duration, intensity or frequency of your cardio workouts to keep things fresh and also maintain progress. Your body will adapt to repeated workouts and, to gain fitness, it’s good to constantly strive to train a little harder, longer or more often. But above all, have fun with it: you’ll find it a lot easier to get your weekly cardio in if it’s something you enjoy!

Colon Health

Just as diet can have a positive or negative impact on heart, brain and bone health, your colon’s overall health can be affected by what you eat. The colon is a crucial part of the digestive system, and many different conditions can cause it to work improperly. Some of these include inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease; diverticular disease; irritable bowel syndrome; and colorectal cancer (the third most common cancer and the third deadliest cancer in the U.S.).Treatment for these conditions includes diet and lifestyle modifications, medications and/or surgery.

Diets high in vegetables, fruits and whole grains and low in red and processed meats have been associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer, according to the ACS. To help promote good colon health, follow some of these diet recommendations:

Limit red meat consumption and steer clear of processed meats.

Cut back on sugar.

Up your fiber intake by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. 

Drink your milk: make sure you’re getting the recommended amount of calcium in your diet: depending on age, that is 1,000 milligrams to 1,300 milligrams a day (three to four eight-ounce glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk). Other dietary sources of calcium include leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and collard greens.

Choose grains wisely: Some readily available whole grains include barley, quinoa, whole wheat flour, wild and brown rice and oatmeal. 

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/American-Heart-Association-Recommendations-for-Physical-Activity-in-Adults_UCM_307976_Article.jsp#.VkOPdLerSUl

https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/eating-healthy-colon

Healthy Living A to Z: B

BPA

You’ve heard about it, seen it on the news, but what exactly is the deal with BPA? Is it really that bad? The answer is maybe. The potential issue with BPA stems from the fact that it mimics estrogen, making it a chemical that can interfere with hormonal functions. This is most troubling for fetuses, infants, and young children, as exposure at such a  young age can cause cellular changes. Although most BPA research had been done using animals, the few human observational studies have found links between high BPA exposure and obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, as well as a plethora of other disorders. How can you avoid BPA? It’s often found in Polycarbonate plastic, the lining of aluminum cans, and Thermal paper (like store receipts).

Learn more: http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-community/environmental-health/article/hard-look-bpa

Blood Pressure

So, your blood pressure is 130/81. Great! But what does it mean?

The first number, your Systolic Blood Pressure,  measures the pressure put on your arteries from your heart contracting and pushing blood through your body. Ideally, this number should be under 120. Anything above 140 is considered hypertension (high) and in between these two magic numbers, is hypertension. 130=Prehypertension

The second number is your Diastolic blood Pressure. It is the pressure inside your arteries while your heart is resting in between beats. This number should ideally be below 80, and anything above 90 is hypertension.  81= Prehypertension

Want to learn more?: http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/diastolic-and-systolic-blood-pressure-know-your-numbers

 

Healthy Living A to Z: A

Week 1: A

Acne

Acne still affects many adults, particularly women, well into their fifties. It can continue through adolescence, or appear later in life for the first time. What can you do to avoid reliving your high school prom pimple fiasco? Patience and the following:

  • Keep your face clean using a cleanser (not a scrub) and a soft washcloth, rinse, and blot your face dry.
  • Avoid Oil-based products
  • Don’t pick, pop, or squeeze!
  • Follow a diet low in refined grains and sugary foods. Consider decreasing your dairy intake and adding omega-3’s to your diet as well.
  • Limit sun exposure
  • Get plenty of sleep!
Antioxidants

Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that prevent or delay some types of cell damage. They are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables and are also available as dietary supplements. What foods are rich in antioxidants? Try integrating one of these 10 “Super Foods” into your daily meals:

  • Red, Blue or Purple Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Nuts
  • Red Berries
  • Dark Green Veggies
  • Sweet Potato
  • Tea
  • Whole Grains
  • Beans
  • Fish

 

 

sources:

“Acne: 50 Going on 15?” Wellness Letter 31 (Apr. 2015): 5. Print.

NIH: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Muscle Cramps Hit A Nerve

 

muscle-spasm-s1-factsWe’ve all been there. Whether you’re a beginner in the weight room, or a well seasoned triathlete, almost everyone has experienced muscle cramps, and everyone has their home remedies and prevention methods. (Any other banana people out there?) But what exactly causes this unwelcome spasm? You may be surprised to hear that it has less to do with your muscles, and more to do with your overexcited nerves!

 

Learn more about the cause and prevention of muscle cramps: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/the-real-cause-of-muscle-cramps