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August 18, 2021

Take these health-boosting habits to work

         Whether you commute to work or work from a home office, here are some ideas for health-boosting habits to consider while you are at work.
         Limit the caffeine and more often opt for herbal tea or water.
         Keep moving. Try to move around and stretch every 20 minutes. You'll stimulate blood flow, relax muscles, and this, in turn, will help reduce stress.

         Bring a nutritious lunch and snacks as often as possible throughout the week to lower your temptation to eat high-fat or high-calorie fast foods. It can also save you money.

         Keep your walking shoes handy. Then, if you can slip away from work at lunch or on a break, take a brisk walk around the block.
         Check your ergonomics. Place your computer station or desk area to ensure comfort and prevent repetitive strain injuries.

         Take frequent breaks from staring at your computer screen. Instead, look away occasionally. Focus on a distant object, such as something at the far end of the room or out the window.

         List your priorities. A to-do list in order of most important to least important helps you stay on track and focused.
         Think positively. Your thoughts dramatically affect how you feel. Keep the day pleasant by seeing and approaching your "problems" as "challenges."

         Manage conflicts and stressors by speaking up. For example, when something bothers you at work, discuss it diplomatically with someone – such as one of your staff, a coworker or a manager.

         If you work at home, set work hours and try to stick to them. And whether you work from home or outside the home, avoid thinking of work after work hours — instead, enjoy your time alone or with family and friends.

Eve Lees has been active in the health & fitness industry since 1979. Currently, she is a Freelance Health Writer for several publications and speaks to business and private groups on various health topics.



July 07, 2021

Weight training is for any age

In addition to strengthening muscles, weight training exercises can strengthen bones, lowering the risk of osteoporosis. The pull of tendon on bone (tendons attach muscle to bone) stimulates the production of calcium in the bone -- no matter what your age.

Even those over ninety can still build muscle mass and increase their strength and endurance, as well as strengthen their bones.

Many of the symptoms we blame on aging are also the symptoms of inactivity. Inactivity increases the risk for many disorders and diseases, thereby lessening the quality of life. There is a 3% decline in metabolism each 10 years after the age of thirty. However, the decline is 15% every 10 years if you are inactive. A slower metabolic rate can affect body weight, the efficiency of the body to absorb nutrients from food, and the effectiveness of the immune system.

Weight training is also ideal to increase metabolic rate, as muscle tissue is highly active even at rest. Stronger muscles also protect and support the body, and act as more efficient shock absorbers, thereby lessening the strain on joints (even arthritic ones!). Loss of muscle tissue makes joints and ligaments take on more strain, making them susceptible to injury. Muscle strength is also necessary to keep the body properly aligned so that balance is not compromised: In our "golden years" we will be less likely to fall and injure ourselves.

As a general recommendation, weight training exercises can be done two to three times weekly. Beginners should progress slowly. Start with short exercise sessions of perhaps 10-15 minutes. For the first few weeks, use little or no weights as you practise proper weightlifting technique.

Children can start early (using light weights) to build a strong foundation for future bone health. Heavy weights are not advised for children while their bones are still developing.

Weight training tips . . .

1. To get stronger and increase muscle size, lift heavier weights for three to four sets (groups) of fewer repetitions (six to eight). To improve muscle endurance and tone, lift lighter weights for three sets of higher repetitions (ten to 15).

2. Working muscles need oxygen, so never hold your breath as you weight train. A general rule is to exhale as you lift (when the muscle contracts or shortens) and inhale as you lower the weight.

3. Generally, females have stronger lower body muscles, due to a lower centre of gravity (wider hips). Men are proportionally stronger in the upper body because of wider shoulders and more muscle mass.

4. Always use a weight that allows completion of repetitions, without sacrificing good form.

5. Don't wear a weight training belt throughout your workout. A belt is only necessary for back support when lifting extremely heavy weights. The belt reduces compression forces on the spine, but it lessens involvement of back and abdominal muscles. Wearing a belt continually can cause weak, injury-prone muscles in the lower back and abdomen.

6. Free weights (barbells and dumbbells) effectively work all the stabilizing muscles connected to the main muscle you are exercising. Free weights will therefore provide a more whole-body workout and improve your balance. However, weight training machines are preferred for safety reasons, and they can also isolate and target a muscle more effectively than free weights.

Eve Lees has been active in the health & fitness industry since 1979. Currently, she is a Freelance Health Writer for several publications and speaks to business and private groups on various health topics.


April 14, 2021

Don’t Eat breakfast? 

Breakfast provides a perfect opportunity to fuel your body for your busy day. And it’s probably best to eat a healthy meal soon after you awake. However, don’t feel guilty if you just can’t eat breakfast. If you feel absolutely no hunger when you awake in the morning, respect what your body is telling you.

When it comes to linking weight loss with eating breakfast, studies haven’t been consistent. A few studies indicate breakfast skippers have an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes and other blood sugar problems compared to breakfast eaters. However, many nutrition specialists believe breakfast eaters tend to follow healthier habits, therefore it may be a healthy lifestyle and not the act of eating breakfast that’s responsible for their good health. But again, there really isn’t enough evidence to prove or disprove this. Here are two studies showing no difference regarding weight loss between breakfast eaters and breakfast skippers:

There may be a link between breakfast-skipping and poor health concerning negative effect on glucose metabolism: And another study found those who began eating earlier in the day had lower blood sugar levels and insulin resistance than those who ate later. The results were presented at the 2021 Endocrine Society's annual meeting and it revealed a potential metabolic benefit of eating breakfast. However, this study was a survey, and it isn’t known what the participants actually ate or their medical histories.

A big concern with regular breakfast-skipping is it may stimulate appetite and overeating as the day progresses.

If you are a breakfast skipper who ends up overeating later in the day – especially if you end to overeat late at night – experiment with eating something shortly after you awake. And don’t let lack of time be your excuse: there are many quick, easy and healthy choices for breakfast: hard boiled eggs (prepare several of them ahead of time), fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, yogurt or leftover chicken breast from dinner last night. Perhaps crunch on raw veggies or an apple with almonds on your way to work or when you get there. You may develop a habit of eating breakfast, which may help curb your hunger later in the day.

Breakfast-skippers are often people who eat their last meal very late in the evening. Therefore, this may be why they aren’t hungry when they awake the next morning. Experiment with eating your last meal of the day earlier if you want to stop the cycle of feeling no hunger in the morning and overeating later in the day.

Otherwise, if you are a breakfast-skipper, but overeating later isn’t a problem -- at least make sure your first official meal of the day is a healthy one. Your good health likely depends not on WHEN you eat your first meal – but rather, WHAT you eat (no matter what time of day it is).

Eve Lees has been active in the health & fitness industry since 1979. Currently, she is a Freelance Health Writer for several publications and speaks to business and private groups on various health topics.



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