Tag Archives: health tips

Let’s Get Healthy 2014: Part 2 – Sustainable Exercise

Exercise 2014 Part 2..By Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Ever wonder why New Year’s resolutions are so difficult to keep?  Willpower or lack thereof may be one good reason.  We all have a limited supply of willpower that may sustain us short-term.  So, unfortunately, we can’t rely on willpower alone to support us through a new gung-ho exercise plan.  Pushing too hard and attempting to do too much too soon leaves us feeling overwhelmed and quickly leads to exhaustion aka burn out.  Before you know it, we’re abandoning our fitness resolutions altogether.  In order to make lasting lifestyle changes, an attitude adjustment and change of habit is required. 

Now about that attitude adjustment.  Have you ever noticed that healthy and fit people can’t wait to get the gym?  Or that sedentary people find exercise boring or a chore?  The trick may lie in finding an activity that you love to do and, in turn, realizing that “exercising” can be fun.  It’s easy to make excuses that we don’t have time to exercise.  While it’s true that many of us are so time-stressed that we feel we don’t have one extra minute, what we need to realize is that exercise can also be quick.  It’s really all about becoming more physically active for more moments of the day.  And for those of us who are goal oriented, thinking in terms of “productive” activity can really help to change your mindset about exercise. 

  • Fun – Matching your physical abilities to activities you enjoy may just be enough to sustain regular exercise.  The biggest challenge here is simply deciding which activities are convenient enough to build into your regular routine.  You can choose activities that don’t require memberships, equipment or ongoing costs.  If you love to dance, put on some great music and dance in the living room.  If you have children, they’ll be the first to join in and suddenly exercise becomes a fun family affair.  If being outside lifts your spirits, walking, riding a bike or taking your dog out to play can provide multiple benefits for both you and your pet.  Choosing a variety of both indoor and outdoor exercises  works different muscle groups and helps to stave off boredom.
  • Quick –  Yes, it’s true that 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there add up to overall fitness.  But what if you have only 2 minutes?  Use them wisely!  Short bursts of calisthenics are a great way to get fit.  If you watch TV in the evening,  get up during commercials and do a few sit ups, march in place or do some jumping jacks.  Add in  some stretches while you’re watching a movie or waiting for dinner to finish cooking.  Be creative.  There is more time in the day for increasing little moments of activity than you think and every movement helps burn calories and manage your weight. 
  • Productive – Some of us are more motivated when we can find value in an activity. Gardening, raking leaves or shoveling snow are all productive activities that can provide a feeling of accomplishment.  If you need an item from the store, when feasible walk or bike to the store instead of driving.  Participating in a charity walk-a-thon, volunteering to help an elderly neighbor with chores or shopping, walking dogs at the shelter or packing food at a food bank are some ways to be productively active and provide benefits to others as well as yourself. 

Remember everything we do each day is based on habits.  Plunking down on the couch after work each day is a habit just the same as going for a walk could be.  Exchanging bad habits for good habits is challenging but possible.  Focusing on one goal at a time for at least 30 days seems to be helpful technique for forming a new habit.  If your goals are health oriented, exercise is a good place to begin.  Starting with small steps and a change of mindset, as described above, is a reliable recipe for achievement.   

One of the best ways to stay on track with exercise is to plan for success.  If you miss a chance to work out, start fresh the next day.  Studies show that missing two workouts in a row increases your chances of giving up entirely.  It may help to remember that all exercise contributes to a more energized mind and healthier body.  Among the many positive and potential benefits of sustained physical activity are a refreshing positive outlook, renewed  health and fitness, and increased chances of a longer, healthier lifespan. 

If you are over 40 years of age, have existing health problems, are overweight or have been sedentary for a long period of time, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting any vigorous exercise plan.  Starting out slowly and incrementally increasing the time, length and intensity of exercise has been shown to be the best way to sustain a healthy active lifestyle.  

Athletic Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations –  This multivitamin and mineral complex is designed to support physical training and performance.  A high potency, hypo-allergenic, vegetarian formula that combines highly bio-available mineral co-factors, activated vitamins, antioxidants and pH balanced creatine that targets endurance, increases energy and lessens muscle fatigue. 

Corvalen M by Douglas Laboratories –  This all natural supplement contains D-ribose, a natural pentose sugar that is designed to help fight fatigue and support the heart, muscles and other cells of the body.  This formula, with the added benefit of magnesium and malate, helps to relieve sore muscles and utilize energy. 

Klean Endurance by Klean Athlete –  All natural D-ribose chews are clinically proven to help restore and replenish energy and support cardiovascular health and mitochondrial function. 

Back To School Tips For A Successful School Year

Back To School Tips For A Successful School YearBy Susan Brown

Back-to-school stress can affect kids and parents alike.  The hustle and bustle of sending the kids back to school can be overwhelming.  Changing schedules and routines can be difficult.  However, a little preparation and the right attitude can help reduce some of the stress involved.  Here are some tips to help make the transition from a laid back summer schedule to a successful school year:

  • Be positive.  A parent’s attitude has a strong influence on how children view the beginning of school.  Let them know that it’s okay to be a little anxious and don’t dismiss their feelings.  Offer positive feedback such as suggesting that there is a child in their class who wants to be their new friend and ask them how they will figure out who that will be.  Teach children to introduce themselves to help make new friends. 
  • Get back into a solid bedtime routine.  Summer bedtimes are often more flexible.  Keep in mind kids need 10 – 11 hours of sleep so that they are alert and ready to learn.  A week before the first day of school is a good time to begin.  Expect that the children will be tired the first week of school and plan for low-key afternoons to help them adjust. 
  • Create routines.  It’s easier to get out of the house on time in the mornings if you prepare in advance and let the kids know what your expectations are.  Kids need to be shown what to do rather than told what not to do.  Having children involved in the schedule planning helps them feel in charge, creates cooperation, and teaches responsibility.
  • Shop for school supplies together.  Most elementary school teachers will provide a list in advance so that your children have the supplies they need.  Some will provide a list on the first day of school, so other than a few basic supplies, it may be best to wait and see what the teacher requests. 
  • Shop strategically.  Many parents end up over-buying new clothes for school.  Figure out what your children may have outgrown and what they really need before heading to the mall. 
  • Plan ahead.  Designate where backpacks, lunchboxes, shoes, jackets, etc. should be stored and have children put them away themselves.  Kids love to cooperate and you’ll be less stressed when not trying to do it all yourself.  Look for ways to simplify rather than complicate family life. 
  • Plan and shop for healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks a week in advance.  This saves precious time and reduces stress.  Kids can help pack their own lunches and they are more likely to eat what they have chosen themselves. 
  • Prepare clothing in advance so kids know exactly where to find it and can get ready easily.  Organizing by outfit, including underwear and socks, really helps to streamline the process.  Having to rummage through the clothes dryer in the morning to find that pair of shorts or socks is stressful and time consuming and can throw everyone off schedule. 
  • Be sure your child eats a healthy breakfast.  Nutritionists tout the importance of eating breakfast.  Skip sugary cereals and heavy carbohydrate-laden meals.  Opt for a protein-rich breakfast such as eggs or Greek yogurt.  The protein will provide energy that will last until lunchtime, prevent spikes in blood-sugar levels, and help to keep your child focused. 
  • Relieve first day jitters. The first day of school can be chaotic.  Most schools have scheduled times to meet the teacher(s) so be sure to participate.  It’s also a good idea to tour the school, especially if it’s a new school for your child.  Locate the bathrooms, nurse’s office, lunch room, etc. so your child feels comfortable in their new surroundings. 
  • Talk about school bus safety.  Reinforce general school bus safety rules before the start of school.  Let them know if they have any problems on the bus to tell the driver and you immediately.  Be sure you are on time to meet the bus so you are there when your child arrives and let them know what to do if you are delayed for some reason. 
  • Set a family password.  Make sure your child knows not to share the password with anyone.  In the event you have an emergency and need to send someone else to meet your child, make sure the child asks for the password before going along with them. 
  • Parent involvement is important even for a kindergartener.  Communicate with your child’s teacher regularly about your child’s progress and social development. Work with your child’s teacher to help your child be successful and overcome any challenges.   Volunteer whenever your schedule permits and become an active participant in your child’s school parent-teacher organization. 
  • Choose extracurricular activities carefully.  When children are enrolled in too many activities, it can create overload for both parents and children.  Select one or two activities that your child enjoys and, if possible, carpool with other parents to share driving duties. 
  • You have a lot of influence on your child’s success.  Although volunteering and participating are important, what you do at home helps determine your child’s success.  Make your home learning-friendly by providing a quiet place to study and do homework.  Be a learner yourself so your child understands that learning is important and interesting for everyone.  Studies show that children are more likely to be successful when adults in their lives are actively engaged in learning. 
  • Support a life-long love of learning.  Help your child identify what is enjoyable about school and applaud their efforts, learning, and new knowledge.  Encourage learning at home and provide opportunities for your child to grow and learn. 

Slow and Steady Wins the Weight Loss Race

Slow and Steady Wins the Weight Loss Race.By Jacquie Eubanks BSN, RN

Along with American’s exploding waistlines comes a barrage of diets and quick weight loss tips.  Excess pounds don’t build up overnight and consequently excess weight takes time to lose.   Our impatience often leads us to jump on the latest diet fad bandwagon.  Small steps actually can lead to giant leaps and assist with weight loss given time and patience.  Did you know that trimming 100 calories each day can lead to 10 pounds of weight loss in one year?  Or that walking 2,500 steps per day can burn 100 calories?  Baby steps that save or burn 100 calories here and there add up to a more desirable weight.  Here are some little things that can mean a lot when it comes to your waistline:

  • Set realistic goals.  Most people have unrealistic expectations when it comes to weight loss.  People can typically reduce their weight by 10 – 15% with the best behavior-modification programs.  If you try to lose too much, too quickly, you set yourself up for failure and are more likely to regain any weight you’ve lost.  Keep your expectations reasonable and you are more likely to be satisfied with your progress. 
  • Learn the calorie counts of foods.  Many restaurant and fast food menus list calorie counts of menu items.  However, you need to actually read and pay attention to those counts.  Most of us highly under-rate the calorie counts of foods we eat especially when dining out or eating at fast food restaurants.  Some restaurants have online nutritional information so you can decide what to eat ahead of time. 
  • Keep a food diary.  This tip can really help keep your daily caloric intake in check.  You’ll think twice about what you absentmindedly pop into your mouth when you have to be accountable for every bite.  There are some great phone apps, such as “Lose It!” and “Calorie Counter by MyNetDiary,” that help you track your calories and progress.
  • Pack your own lunch.  Bring your lunch from home and include a piece of fruit or some raw vegetables.  Fast food meals are generally calorie-dense and deficient in nutrition.  Skip the fast food burgers and fries to save calories and reduce your sodium and unhealthy fat intake. 
  • Don’t supersize!  Those value meals are no bargain when it comes to your health.  Most adults don’t need more than 2,000 calories daily depending on activity level.  A McDonald’s Big Mac, medium fries and a vanilla shake equals 1,680 calories, enough for a full day’s caloric intake in one meal. 
  • Walk the doggie.  Dogs love to go for walks and it’s good for their health and yours.  Regular walks help you maintain or lose weight and will keep your pet’s weight down as well.  If you walk at a moderate pace you can burn 100 calories per mile.  Walk three times per day for 15 minutes at a time and voila! 300 calories burned. 
  • Drop the “clean your plate” mentality, especially when dining out.  Restaurant portions are more than oversized, they’re calorie dense and a sure recipe for obesity. People who dine out regularly are more likely to be overweight.  The simple answer, don’t eat everything on your plate.  Wrap it up and take it home for your next day’s lunch or dinner.  When dining at home, serve meals on plates that are fixed in the kitchen.  Serving family style makes it easy to reach for additional helpings.  Studies show that people eat less when they have to get up to get another serving. 
  • Skip the low-fat food choices.  Low fat foods are typically high in sugar content and calorie density.  Low fat diets that are full of fruits and vegetables and other high-fiber foods are a more sensible way to weight loss. 
  • Eat a variety of foods, but eat the right foods.  People who eat a variety of all foods actually have more body fat.  Instead of eating a variety of vegetables, most of us eat a variety of junk.  People who eat a variety of fruits and vegetable have less body fat and that’s good news for those of us wanting to maintain our weight and our health. 
  • Think healthy, not skinny.  Diet sodas and artificially sweetened foods may have less calories but they are not nutritious.  Foods containing phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber cut your risk of disease in addition to your weight. 
  • Use your scale.  Dieters who weigh themselves frequently lose more weight than those who do not.  Be sure to weigh yourself at the same time each week as body weight fluctuates from day to day.    
  • Drink water.  Skipping that one soda each day can save you 150 calories.  People who drink adequate amounts of water daily lose more weight that those who drink soda or other calorie laden drinks.  Water is essential to all body functions so drink up to your own good health and a trimmer waistline.
  • Eat enough calories to keep your metabolism humming.  When you eat less than you need for basic biological function, your body slows your metabolism and can break down calorie-burning muscle for energy usage.  Eat just enough so that you are not hungry.  For example, three meals of approximately 450 calories each and a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack of 150 calories each should keep you satisfied and prevent overeating later in the day. 
  • Limit your food intake to an 8 hour day.   Artificial light has led to an extension of our feeding times.  Late night eating while watching TV can add up to meals number 4, 5 and 6.  All those extra calories end up as extra pounds.  When we eat can be just as important as what we eat. 
  • Practice flexible restraint.  Allow yourself a cheat meal or snack once in a while.  A strict all or nothing approach to dieting has been linked to overeating, weight gain and anxiety.  It appears an occasional slip up is okay as long you quickly get back on track. 
  • Stand up!  Standing requires more energy than sitting and is an effortless way to burn calories.  Stand up for 10 minutes each hour of your 8 hour work day and you’ll burn an extra 100 calories. 
  • Remember, any and all activity burns calories.  Five or ten minutes here and there all add up to more calories burned.  Walking is one the easiest and most natural movements.  Taking a short walk at lunchtime helps to relieve stress and maintain focus for the balance of the day.  A fifteen minute walk after dinner not only burns calories, it boosts your health as well.  Health benefits of an evening walk can include reducing blood pressure, increasing muscular strength, decreasing body fat, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, increasing or maintaining bone density and giving the immune system and your metabolism a boost. 

Remember, losing weight over the long term burns excess body fat.  Crash dieting, skipping meals, or fasting, removes lean muscle tissue along with fat.  The loss of lean muscle causes a fall in your basal metabolic rate, the amount of calories your body needs on a daily basis.  As a result, your body will need fewer calories than it did before, making weight gain likely once you stop dieting.  To see long term results, introduce changes gradually over an extended period of time and increase your activity levels. 

Supplements to aid in weight loss include: 

Super HCA by Douglas Laboratories –  Each tablet of Super HCA delivers 840 mg of (-) hydroxycitric acid from  a high-quality, standardized garcinia cambogia extract.  This natural extract comes from a tropical fruit grown in several Asian rain forest areas.  Research indicates that (-) hydroxycitric acid plays an important role in the regulation of normal appetite.  Unlike many commonly used diet ingredients, (-) hydroxycitric acid is not a central nervous stimulant.

MediBulk (SP621) by Thorne Research –  Fiber helps to keep you full, which can make it easier to cut back on the amount of food you eat plus maintain GI tract health.   Medibulk contains psyllium, pectin, and prune powder and is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. 

Sweet TRIM by Brightcore NutritionThis advanced weight loss and energy formula contains green coffee bean, raspberry ketone and African mango.  Unlike a single ingredient weight loss product, Sweet TRIM™ is unique in the fact that it has a whole foods-based formula and combines 11 of the top weight loss ingredients found in nature to help with weight loss efforts.  This unique formulation creates a synergy that enhances the effectiveness of each ingredient.

CLA by Ortho Molecular –  Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) naturally speeds up the body’s fat metabolism as well as helping the body metabolize existing fat deposits. CLA aids in reducing body fat while increasing muscle tone.  Made from safflower seed oil.