Monday, February 13, 2017
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Finding Fitness: 10 Ways to Fit In Exercise
The "E" word can make you cringe, but exercise is really necessary. Besides, it can be fun: Learn how to squeeze fitness into your busy day.
The benefits of regular exercise are unrivaled: Physical activity can help you lose weight and prevent a host of ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Being fit also can help you stay mentally sharp.
While most people know they should exercise, you may not know where to start or how to fit it into a busy schedule. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity spread out over five days a week, or 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on each of three days a week.
“This is something we recommend to all Americans,” says Gerald Fletcher, MD, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and a spokesman for the AHA.
Sometimes the problem isn’t motivation — it’s simply finding the time. But scheduling exercise isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are 10 ways to get you moving more often:
- Be less efficient. People typically try to think of ways to make daily tasks easier. But if we make them harder, we can get more exercise, says Sabrena Merrill, MS, of Lawrence, Kan., a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “Bring in the groceries from your car one bag at a time so you have to make several trips,” Merrill says. “Put the laundry away a few items at a time, rather than carrying it up in a basket.”
- Shun labor-saving devices. Wash the car by hand rather than taking it to the car wash. “It takes about an hour and a half to do a good job, and in the meantime you’ve gotten great exercise,” Merrill says. Use a push mower rather than a riding mower to groom your lawn.
- Going somewhere? Take the long way. Walking up or down a few flights of stairs each day can be good for your heart. Avoid elevators and escalators whenever possible. If you ride the bus or subway to work, get off a stop before your office and walk the extra distance. When you go to the mall or the grocery store, park furthest from the entrance, not as close to it as you can, and you'll get a few extra minutes of walking — one of the best exercises there is, Dr. Fletcher says. “Walking is great because anyone can do it and you don’t need any special equipment other than a properly fitting pair of sneakers.”
- Be a morning person. Studies show that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with it. As Merrill explains, “Are you going to feel like exercising at the end of a hard day? Probably not. If you do your workout in the morning, you’re not only more likely to do it, but you'll also set a positive tone for the day.”
- Ink the deal. Whether morning, afternoon, or evening, pick the time that is most convenient for you to exercise and write it down in your daily planner. Keep your exercise routine as you would keep any appointment.
- Watch your step. Investing in a good pedometer can help you stay motivated. “If you have a pedometer attached to your waist and you can see how many steps you’ve taken, you’ll see it doesn’t take long to walk 5,000 steps and you will be inspired,” Merrill says. And building up to 10,000 steps a day won’t seem like such a daunting a task.
- Hire the right help. While weight training is important, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you run the risk of injuring yourself or not being effective, Merrill says. It’s best to get instructions from a personal trainer at the gym. You also can buy a weight-training DVD and follow along in your living room.
- Keep records. Grab a diary or logbook, and every day that you exercise, write down what you did and for how long. Your records will make it easy for you to see what you’ve accomplished and make you more accountable. Blank pages? You’d be ashamed.
- Phone a friend. Find someone who likes the same activity that you do — walking in the neighborhood, riding bikes, playing tennis — and make a date to do it together. “Exercising with a friend or in a group can be very motivating,” Fletcher says. “You are likely to walk longer or bike greater distances if you’re talking to a friend along the way. The time will go by faster.” Don’t have a buddy who is available? Grab an MP3 player and listen to your favorite music or an audio book while exercising.
- Do what you like. Whatever exercise you choose, be sure it’s one that you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with it if it’s something you have fun doing rather than something you see as a chore, Fletcher says.
Friday, January 6, 2017
Seasonal Healing: Winter Herbal Medicine Chest
Several herbs are effective for treating not only the symptoms of too
much winter, but the causes of colds and flu Impaired immunity to
virus/bacteria, maintaining blood circulation and warmth, ensuring
vitality of the lungs and reducing the build up of congestion in the
Ginger: Ginger is used for the prevention and treatment of various
forms of nausea. These include motion sickness, the nausea and
vomiting of pregnancy (morning sickness), and post-surgical nausea.
Note: If you are pregnant or undergoing surgery, do not self-treat
with ginger except under physician supervision. Weak evidence
suggests ginger might be helpful for osteoarthritis. Ginger has been
suggested as a treatment for numerous other conditions, including
atherosclerosis, migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, high
cholesterol, burns, ulcers, depression, impotence, and liver
toxicity. Stops cough and stops vomiting. In traditional Chinese
medicine, hot ginger tea taken at the first sign of a cold is
believed to offer the possibility of averting the infection.
Elderflower : Elder flowers are highly effective in managing upper
respiratory congestion and infections. Picked from the elder tree in
mid to late summer, they seem to capture the dry warmth of this time
of year, perfect for drying up that runny or blocked nose. These tiny
pale white flowers have a delicate floral taste and contain
flavonoids and small amounts of mucilage and tannins, a perfect
combination for soothing healing and protecting mucous membranes. An
old tradition was to make fresh Elderflower wine in summer ready to
drink in winter Food as medicine?!?
Yarrow: Yarrow's principle action is on the circulation. As the cold
of winter slows down and redirects blood circulation, Yarrow dilates
blood vessels allowing increased blood flow, oxygen and warmth to
surface tissues (like the skin and mucous membranes). This enables
the immune cells to function at their peak, warding off infection and
keeping channels clear and open. The whole flowering tops are used in
a tea or other forms in mild fevers or minor congestion where
circulation is a concern.
Sage: Sage is a most powerful and effective herb for treating sore
throats. The different essential oils in sage exert an antiseptic
effect in the respiratory tract and helps to keep both the throat and
lungs free of infection. The additional effect of stimulating
digestion aids to minimise congestion in other parts of the body,
making fresh sage a valuable ingredient to winter recipes.
Rose hips : Rose hips form in Autumn following the rose flowers of
summer. They are the fruit around the rose seed, full of nutrients to
protect the seed during winter until the arrival of spring Let them
do the same for you. As a rich source of Vitamin C and flavonoids
Rosehips aid with nourishing you for defense against colds and flu.
Echinacea : First used by the Indigenous North Americans who
harvested the plants for extensive use in the treatment of infectious
wounds and burns or eruptive skin complaints. It enhances the
phagocytic activity of white blood cells- identifying and retiring
bacterial, viral and fungal infections, in addition to the clearance
of these from the lymphatic system. Higher doses are often used for
affecting acute immune responses.
Mullein : The leaves of Mullein are used as a soothing expectorant,
facilitating easier removal of lung congestion. This action is ideal
during or after colds where the persistence of dampness or mucus
impairs adequate lung function and clearance. Mullein soothes and
strengthens the mucosal membranes of the respiratory system where
these have been painful, irritated or sore from infection.
Astragalus : To be used after colds or infection to rebuild immunity,
Astragalus is a sweet tasting herb effective in restoring both
resilience to future respiratory infections, and efficiency of
metabolism to ensure optimal nutrition for immune reserves to fight
off those winter chills. This herb is the best for restoring energy
to the body very quickly.
Thyme: The pungent oils found in Thyme are an effective anti
microbial in the treatment of respiratory infections. When taking
Thyme, people often note tasting it on their breath as the oils
permeate through the respiratory system to reduce the proliferation
of viruses during infections. It also warms the digestion and reduces
metabolic congestion, aiding to clear the body of conditions for
Garlic : Garlic was worshipped by the ancient Egyptians, chewed by
Greek Olympian athletes and thought to be essential for keeping
vampires at bay! But it is also good for zapping bacteria, keeping
your heart healthy, warding off coughs and colds. Garlic is an
antibiotic that can actually kill infecting bacteria and at the same
time protect the body from the poisons that are causing the
infection. It is known that the most sensitive bacterium to garlic is
the deadly Bacillus anthracis which produces the poison anthrax. Even
the forefather of antibiotic medicine Louis Pasteur acknowledged
garlic to be as effective as penicillin and late studies showed
similar activity to a more modern antibiotic, chloramphenicol. Even
the blood of garlic eaters can kill bacteria and it is also reported
that the vapour from freshly cut garlic can kill bacteria at a
distance of 20 cms!
Fenugreek: Soothes sore throat pain and coughs. From ancient times
through the late 19th century, fenugreek played a major role in
herbal healing. Then it fell by the wayside. Now things are once
again looking up for the herb whose taste is an odd combination of
bitter celery and maple syrup. Modern scientific research has found
that fenugreek can help reduce cholesterol levels, control diabetes
and minimise the symptoms of menopause. The ancient Greeks fed this
herb to horses and cattle. The Romans then started using it, too,
calling it "Greek hay." (In Latin, "Greek hay" is foenum-graecum, and
that evolved into "fenugreek.") As fenugreek spread around the
ancient Mediterranean, physicians learned that its seeds, like many
seeds, contain a gummy substance called mucilage. Mixed with water,
mucilage expands and becomes a gelatinous soother for irritated
Marshmallow : Marshmallow stimulates the immune system and the
production of white blood cells. It also soothes inflammation, slows
production of mucus,