How to Soothe the dreaded sore throat

 

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It’s scratchy, tender and swollen, and you dread the simple task of swallowing. But you must swallow, and when you do, you brace yourself for the unavoidable pain.

If you’ve got a sore throat, you’re in good company; everybody gets them, and 40 million people trek to the doctor’s office for treatment every year.

The mechanics of a sore throat are pretty simple. It’s an inflammation of the pharynx, which is the tube that extends from the back of the mouth to the esophagus. The leading causes of your discomfort are:

  • Viral infections, like colds or the flu. Often accompanied by fever, achy muscles and runny nose, viral infections can’t be cured, but their symptoms can be treated. A sore throat from a viral source will generally disappear on its own within several days.
  • Bacterial infection, especially from streptococcal bacteria (strep throat). Symptoms are much like those of a viral infection but may be more severe and long lasting. Often a bacterial infection is accompanied by headache, stomachache and swollen glands in the neck. A strep infection is generally treated with antibiotics because permanent heart or kidney damage can result. Culturing the bacteria is the only way a doctor can determine the cause of the sore throat.

While those are the primary reasons for a sore throat, there are others, including:

  • Smoking
  • Acid reflux
  • Allergies
  • Dry air, especially at night when you may sleep with your mouth open
  • Mouth breathing
  • Throat abuse: singing, shouting, coughing
  • Polyps or cancer
  • Infected tonsils
  • Food allergy

A sore throat can be a minor but annoying ailment, or it can be a symptom of a serious illness. Causes range from a stuffy nose or a cold to strep throat, a bacterial throat infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. Since untreated strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever and scarlet fever, it’s important to get medical help as early as possible into the illness. Along with producing severe soreness in your gullet, strep throat may be accompanied by fever, body aches and pains and malaise.

If you have these symptoms, or if you have a sore throat lasting more than two or three days, it makes good sense to see a doctor. For mild sore throats that accompany a cold or allergy, there are soothing remedies using common household items that can stand alone or work side by side with traditional medicine to stifle that soreness.

Gargle raspberry tea. Raspberry leaf tea can make a great gargle. (To make, pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons dried leaves. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Allow to cool.) If you also have a fever, the gargle can be used as a fever-reducing drink, too. Do not drink any liquid you have used as a gargle.

Gargle with sage. This curative herb is a great sore-throat gargle. Mix 1 teaspoon in 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Add 1 teaspoon each cider vinegar and honey, then gargle four times a day.

Gargle with turmeric. Try this gargle to calm a cranky throat. Mix together 1 cup hot water, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gargle with the mixture twice a day. If you’re not good with the gargle, mix 1/2 teaspoon turmeric in 1 cup hot milk and drink. Turmeric stains clothing, so be careful when mixing and gargling.

Gargle with warm saltwater. If you can gargle without gagging, make a saline solution by adding 1/2 teaspoon salt to a cup of very warm water. Yes, when your mother told you to gargle with saltwater, she knew what she was talking about. It cuts phlegm and reduces inflammation. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt in 1/2 cup warm water, and gargle every three to four hours.

Gargle with Listerine. Another good gargling fluid is Listerine mouthwash. If you share the product with anyone else in your household, don’t drink straight from the bottle; instead, pour a small amount into a cup (and don’t share that, either).

Other remedies to try are a steamy shower, sipping warm liquids, taking an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen) most of all get lots of rest and feel better soon!

 

Anxiety, Insomnia,OCD? Why you should be using a weighted blanket

4f60bf83cd3e810ac94a2b0ee8234429Many seniors, adults, teenagers and children face psychiatric issues that cause insomnia and severe anxiety. Patients with autism and other psychiatric disorders also face extreme anxiousness and the inability to induce calmness within themselves without the use of sedatives or drugs. The combination of behavioral aberrations, and the lack of sleep among these people, have been known to lead to loss of productivity in their daily lives, irrational emotional behavior and out – of – character actions. It isn’t just the problem of not being able to keep their emotions under control, but the issue of lashing out aggressively due to psychological dysfunctions.

The root causes of such behavioral issues are anxiety and insomnia, which is usually treated with pharmacological (drugs) and psychological (therapy) methods. However, now with a breakthrough in the study of sleep medicine and psychiatric disorders, we know that the trick to soothing consternation and inducing sleep is much simpler than we thought.

The drug-free therapeutic blanket known as weighted blankets have become the at-home treatment for insomnia, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactive disorders (ADHD), Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), Asperger’s and sensory disorders. Weighted blankets use deep pressure touch simulation (DPTS) to relax the body and make the patient feel safe, guarded and secure, which calms their unease and helps their body go to sleep. The sensory compression methodology facilitates a positive change with the comfort the blanket brings to its user. The weight of the blanket stimulates the receptors on your body which then activates the neurotransmitters in your brain to bring a sense of happiness to the person.

The Poly plastic (Polypropylene) pellets that have been used to fill the compartments of the blanket provide the weightage of the blanket. A quality weighted blanket is quilted, made of either cotton or fleece and weighs about 10% of the user’s body. Using the proper blanket according to the size and the weight of the user will give the optimum calming results.

This blanket has shown to be very effective in calming hyperactive children during bedtime, anxious patients in therapy and even adults undergoing chemotherapy. It has also proven to be efficacious in calming people down during anxiety inducing situations.

 

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Some of the therapeutic benefits of the blanket are given below.

1. Promotes Sleep

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes habitual sleeplessness. The lack of sleep leads to the over exhaustion of the human body and hampers the psychological well-being of the person. When a person is not able to function well, both physically and mentally, their social wellbeing is affected and they begin to lose productivity in their lives. This leads to depression and other behavioral problems.

An easy solution to this problem is the weighted blanket. The pressure of the weighted blanket reaches deep within the body of the user to provide a comfortable environment for a person to fall asleep in. The sense of being swaddled and the physical connection that the user feels with the blanket makes them feel warm and safe. This helps their mind be at ease and they can be able to relax their body. The state of tranquility will help clear their mind and ensure a good night’s sleep.

According to the ‘Positive effects of a weighted blanket on insomnia’ by the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders 2015 of the SciMed Central, the weighted blankets had improved the sleep quality of people with severe insomnia.

2. Imitates a Warm Hug

Research shows that hugs can actually make a person feel at ease. Hugging a person releases the hormone Oxytocin into the blood stream. This chemical reduces your blood pressure, calms your heart rate and provides and overall feeling of relaxation. Although the blanket does not provide a human connection, your body may perceive the warmth and security the imitation that a hug provides. Both the hug and the blanket use a gentle yet firm pressure that goes deep within the person’s body tissues. This gives the user a sense of repose and allows your body to relax.

3. Provides a Sense of Security

As mentioned above, being covered by a weighted and warm blanket will ensure the feeling of calmness in the user. The ‘blanket therapy’ stimulates the receptors present throughout our body, which lessens a person’s discomfort. Once the user feels more comfortable in the blanket, they begin to feel secure as their body begins to relax. The body can only relax when your mind is soothed and your heart rate is calmed. This change in the body will ensure that both your body and mind believes that you are secure and safe.

4. Increases the Production of Serotonin

Serotonin is a chemical messenger, also known as a neurotransmitter that your brain and intestines produce for the smooth functioning of your nervous system, which includes the brain and the nerves. This hormone is secreted to promote happiness and the mood of the people. Known as the ‘happy hormone’, this chemical does not only affect a person’s mood but it affects their behavior. The lack of serotonin in the body leads to depression, insomnia and anxiety. That is why the sensory stimulating weighted blankets increase the production of serotonin in the body. The hormone relaxes your body and makes you feel calmer. That sense of calmness leads to pacifying one’s anxiety, which results to inducing sleep in the user.

5. Increase in the Production of Melatonin

Melatonin, also known as the ‘sleep hormone’ is a chemical that affects a person’s sleep. The hormone is produced with the production of serotonin, as well as the pineal gland in the brain. This chemical is known to ease insomnia and induce sleep, which is possible through the therapeutic benefits of the weighted blankets that provide a gentle yet firm pressure on your body by stimulating your receptors.

6. Calms Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder includes Asperger’s, Autism, Rhett Syndrome and other unspecified Pervasive Development Disorders. Such disorders include behavioral problems that do not necessarily bode well with the norms of society. The patients suffering from such disorders feel aggression and irritation due to the inability to express or convey their thoughts clearly. Such slow cognitive development makes the patient unable to process information quickly and the change in their surroundings. Patients with such disorders are not able to communicate properly, so they use erratic speech, repetitive actions and turbulent behaviors. During a frustrated outburst, the patient’s heart rate increases, their breath becomes shallow and their blood pressure rises – which further increases their irritability.

When the patient is going through such tempestuous emotions and tantrums, it is best to drape the weighted blanket around them or have them lay down with the blanket covering them. This will make them feel more relaxed and comfortable. Once they are no longer acting in a hysterical manner, they will be able to think with a clearer mind and a calmer body. Although communicating with their caretakers might still be difficult, there will at least be an opportunity for the patient to gather more patience and attempt to convey their thoughts in a more serene manner.

7. Helps Overcome the Oversensitivity to Touch

Some psychiatric disorders make people oversensitive to touch. Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders usually face such discomfort with the touch of other people but this can be overcome by introducing the weight of the blanket regularly to the affected patient. The pressure of the blanket provides a similar feeling of human touch at a larger scale without actual connection – which can be a stepping stone in helping patients overcome their fear of touch.

During the 1990s, a squeeze machine was used to help patients overcome their oversensitivity to touch. Today, with the inception of the ‘therapy blankets’, patients can use the more accessible and less controversial mechanism to help people become more at ease with touch.

8. Pacifies Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD drives a person to think repetitively about a certain incident or an object. Such thoughts constantly play across a person’s mind and lead them to neglect their duties and their personal lives. The patient becomes anxious about a particular event and conducts a certain action over and over again. Their thoughts are occupied and their bodies refuse to break out of an obsessive reverie.

A very effective way to ease an OCD patient’s anxiety, and to treat the inability to calm them down from a mind consuming thought is to use a weighted blanket. This blanket allows the patient to feel safe and secure without worrying about the numerous issues that may be present in their lives. The blanket provides a warm environment for the user by helping to relive stress and allow their mind to release the captivating thoughts.

9. Mimics a Massage

Draping the weighted blanket over the user’s body distributes pressure evenly throughout their body. This has similar effects of a deep tissue massage. The pressure of the blanket goes deep within your tissues while you use it to fall asleep. A massage is supposed to help our body and mind relax – which can be easily done at home by using a weighted blanket. The physical factor of a massage might provide it’s own intimate yet soothing aspect, but the weighted blanket is proven to give you similar results to an actual massage in the long run.

10. Improves Cognitive Function

Taking a look at the overall therapeutic benefits of weighted blankets, we can see that it relieves stress, reduces tension, induces sleep, calms your mind and relaxes your body. These components are very important if you want to live a healthy and happy life. Raised blood pressure, anxiety and lack of sleep are truly killers of productivity and normal behavior. Sleeping with the weighted blanket promotes the users overall well-being by ensuring that they tackle their daily issues with a clear head and a well-rested body. With a clear mind, a person’s cognitive functions are improved. They are able to perform efficiently and effectively without being burdened by psychological issues and behavioral changes.

The highly astounding weighted blankets promise the magical wonders of solving sleep issues, panic attacks, anxiety related disorders, lack of concentration and even aggressive behavioral problems that affect the smooth proceedings of one’s daily life. You can enjoy the successful results of the weighted blanket without the high costs of therapy sessions, drugs and sedatives that are traditionally used to pacify more tremulous patients. Give this effective and inexpensive blanket a try for one of the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had in your life and feel great when you wake up every morning!

 

Source: http://bit.ly/2lfUWWJ

Review: Jawbone UP24 Fitness Tracker

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 The smart and sporty Jawbone Up24 is the most fashionable, lightweight and comfortable fitness tracking wearable you can buy, and it has a beautiful app to match.
Some functionality is sacrificed in the name of vanity. There’s no display on the device itself for on-demand workout stats or a web-based portal to chart the quantified self data it silently collects. All metrics have to be synced to an iOS or, as of this month, an Android app.

The good news is that Jawbone Up24 is able to wirelessly sync these accurate step and sleep quality numbers through Bluetooth. Now, as the Jawbone Up24 name suggests, this new version can truly be worn 24 hours a day without the need to take it off between syncs. Combined with the  its colorful app and newly released Android support, this is one of the top wellness motivators.

Design

The flexible Jawbone Up24 bracelet is coated with the same incredibly smooth non-latex rubber as its nearly identically designed predecessor. The company goes out of its way to say that this silky material is medical-grade and hypoallergenic, meaning it won’t give you a nasty rash like the recently recalled Fitbit Force.

Beneath this rubber layer, the bracelet has a spring-steel inner-core that gives it that deformation-resistant elasticity. Its solid design ends up being less malleable than the Fitbit Force wristband, but it’s even softer to the touch on the outside, an important feature for any wearable meant to be worn 24/7. Eye-catching OLED displays, the full gamut of metrics and colorful apps might turn heads, but any wrist-worn gadget has to be comfortable for these extras to be worth it.

Jawbone Up24 weighs in at just 20 grams. That means it’s easier to forget that you’re wearing it, compared to the Fitbit Force and the hard rubbered Nike FuelBand SE, both of which are 30 grams. It’s also more fashionable than its two fitness-focused rivals.

The textured bracelet is thinner than its more plain-looking competitors, measuring half an inch in the direction of forearm to hand. Compare that to the .75 inch width of the Fitbit Force. It’s tenths of an inch, but wholly beneficial when slipping on cuffed shirts or jackets. Constantly removing and attaching it won’t need to be part of your fitness routine.

The bracelet thickness actually narrows as it wraps around the wrist to two overlapping ends. These unique prongs provide 1.5 inches of security and stand out from the normal wristwatch clasp used in the Fitbit Force and other trackers. It’s also easier to put on and take off.

Jawbone Up24 comes in two colors: Persimmon (reddish orange) and Onyx (black).There are also three sizes again: small, medium and large to fit a variety of wrists.

At the store, you won’t need to break out the measuring tape, as the packing includes a clever plastic layer with a size-appropriate hole through the center. It can be lifted to see if your wrist fits. Jawbone offers a traditional print-out guide just in case you’re ordering online.he only two backlit icons underneath the non-latex rubber are a sun and a moon. They indicate activity and sleep mode. Everything else will have you back to the app.

App

Jawbone Up24 is lightweight, but its multilayered app is not. It’s full of rich color, helpful wellness tips plus detailed activity and sleep analysis.

Activity is represented by a vertical orange bar that shoots up with more physical movement. Tapping it reveals a horizontal 24-hour timeline that spikes vertically with hourly movement. It’s based on the number of steps taken and miles or kilometers traveled.

Additional ta6175604d26741f3a947cb9cce9fe9731-650-80bulations below the bar graph include active time, longest active time, longest idle time, total calories burned, active calories burned and resting calories burned. It’s almost the full spectrum of fitness metrics. Flights of stairs climbed is the one missing stat I’ve seen before elsewhere. Unlike the Fitbit Force, there’s no altimeter sensor packed into this tiny bracelet.

That’s okay because the Jawbone Up24 sensors for everything else are more accurate and customizable than its wearable peers. Fitbit Force, for example, likes to add five phantom steps for every 100 taken, skewing the numbers quite a bit by the end of the day. The Up24 didn’t do that, and it includes a “Calibrate Your Band” option deep within its settings menu to improve accuracy.

 

The app’s invitingly bright color and the overall better accuracy are a good motivator, but nothing gets you on your feet faster than a slap on the wrist. Its idle alerts are more like a joybuzzer than electroshock therapy, causing the bracelet to vibrate whenever you’re inactive for a set amount of time. It can be set to gently buzz your wrist every two hours all the way down to every fifteen minutes.

Idle alert reminders also include a start time and end time, so it should only buzz you during work hours, for example, and not when you’re at home watching a movie. Nike included this feature in its FuelBand SE bracelet, but its hourly “move reminders” don’t have the same idle time customization’s. Garmin Vivofit may be the only one to do it better with a red inactivity bar that visually grows throughout the set sedentary time period before the nagging begins.

The motivators don’t stop there. “Today I Will” challenges encourage you to get to sleep a few minutes earlier than the night before, drink all eight recommended glasses of water in 24 hours or walk a few additional steps by the end of the day. These personalized challenges are based on how well you’ve met your goals in the past week and make the whole Up system feel as if it’s getting to know you better than any other tracker.

Workout, pill-taking and custom tasks can be programmed in via the reminders menu that sends a notifications to both the phone and the bracelet. Finding teammates through your contact list, Facebook and Twitter can also fire you up. There’s room for comments, but this peer-to-peer motivation is more likely going to come from you seeing how much everyone else is obliterating your steps count in the well-laid out Up newsfeed.

Sleep tracking

Most gadgets keep us awake past our bedtime, but the Jawbone Up24 could actually help us catch more Zs. Its sleep tracking capabilities chart the traditional eight hours with dark blue, light blue and orange vertical bars on a timeline. This corresponds to you being sound asleep, restless and awake in bed.

The app’s sleep mode is surprisingly accurate for a fitness bracelet, going as far as reporting when it thinks you fell asleep and total awake time. Kicking the Jawbone Up24 into sleep mode requires pressing the device’s single button at the end of one of its overlapping prongs.

Sleeping on the job of switching it over to this mode isn’t a problem. You can still log unconscious hours manually, and the Up24 will even guess as to when you were asleep. It works far better than the FitBit Force’s sleep tracking, which is equivalent to a lot of tossing and turning.

Your partner in sleep will appreciate this: the Jawbone Up24 can replace a blaring alarm clock with its smart sleep alarms. Setting this “silent alarm” of sorts wakes you up with gentle vibrations that won’t disturb anyone else. A sleep window option from 10 to 30 minutes also makes it possible to avoid being woken up during deep sleep, making you less groggy in the morning.

Meal tracking

No one gets food logging quite right, but the Jawbone Up24 app comes close. That’s because it uses a barcode scanning in conjunction with an iOS or Android camera and a food product’s UPC code. There’s also the traditional nutritional database available.

Meals are tracked on the main screen with a green bar that sits next to the orange activity and purple sleep measurements. It’s given as much prominence as activity and sleep, but maintaining its presence by scanning or typing in a food and then figuring out how much has been consumed is tedious.

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Battery life

Bluetooth syncing has reduced the Jawbone Up24 battery life to a still-impressive seven days, down from the ten that the original had promised. That’s a fair exchange for the added wireless syncing functionality between the bracelet and app.

To make up for that, a real-time battery drain calculator is provided in the Jawbone Up24 app. It reads that there are “7 days left” right after a charge and, a week later, predicts “about a day” right before the bracelet needs to be plugged back in. That’s much better than a vague, slowly draining battery icon.

Not as straightforward is the fact that the Jawbone Up24 uses a 2.5mm stereo inline jack to charge. That’s the smaller headphone jack size that everyone hated about the original iPhone. While a 2.5mm-to-USB adapter is included so that the bracelet can be plugged into any USB port, the connector a measly four inches and very easy to lose.

Final Verdict

The Jawbone Up24 is one of the most inspiring fitness wearables that you can latch onto your wrist. It’s fashionable, lightweight design makes it easier to wear for a full 24 hours compared to its plain-looking, anchor-like competition. This doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a single handcuff. Better yet, the accurate activity and sleep tracking metrics make it useful both day and night.

It’s even more motivating when syncing all of this data to the bright-and-cheery Jawbone Up  app. Charting out steps and sleep quality explains where you’re making progress and where you’re letting yourself down. Your life is analyzed every swipe down to refresh.

The recent Fitbit Force recall makes the Jawbone Up24 the ideal choice among fitness tracking wearables by default. Even if that weren’t the case, this bracelet would have a slight edge given its more comfortable design, easier-to-read app and better accuracy, all of which drive a more informed if not healthier lifestyle.

Will Walking 10,000 Steps a Day Make You Fit?

 

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Wearable devices that monitor physical well-being and fitness are incredibly popular. The number sold is expected to increase from 17.7 million in 2014 to more than 40 million in the coming year.

Personally, I use the JawboneUP24  and have found it very useful for keeping track of my daily steps and sleep patterns. Most of these devices come set with a default goal of 10,000 steps a day, which is a number commonly associated with a basic or moderate level of fitness.

For instance, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare recommends walking 8,000 to 10,000 steps daily, while the UK National Obesity Forum recommends 7,000 to 10,000 daily steps to stay moderately active.

Recent research showed that wearing a fitness-tracking wristband (the FitBit One) did help overweight postmenopausal women increase their activity levels by nearly 40 minutes (and 789 steps) a week. Wearing a pedometer did not have such an effect.

However, if you’re committed to making your 10,000 steps a day, does that mean you’re on your way to becoming physically fit?

Walking 10,000 Daily Steps Is a Required Movement

Should you strive for 10,000 daily steps? Yes! I view this as a basic requirement for optimal health, like drinking adequate amounts of water each day. Your body is designed for frequent movement and many researchers are now starting to reemphasize the importance of walking.

According to Katy Bowman, a scientist and author of the book: Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement:

“Walking is a superfood. It’s the defining movement of a human.”

For example, one study found that walking for two miles a day or more can cut your chances of hospitalization from a severe episode of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by about half.

Another study found that daily walking reduced the risk of stroke in men over the age of 60. Walking for at least an hour or two could cut a man’s stroke risk by as much as one-third, and it didn’t matter how brisk the pace was. Taking a three-hour long walk each day slashed the risk by two-thirds.

The elderly and those struggling with chronic disease that prevents them from engaging in more strenuous fitness regimens would also do well to consider moving around more. While walking is often underestimated, studies show you can reap significant health benefits from it.

However, as far as fitness goes, walking will only help you to get physically fit if you’re starting out very out of shape. Even then, as you get fitter, you will need to add exercise to your lifestyle, such as high-intensity interval training and strength training, to actually get fit.

 

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Walking Is Not a Form of Exercise…

I don’t view walking as an exercise at all but rather as an essential movement that we all require. The older you get the more important it becomes. You can be very athletically fit, but if you are sitting all day with minimal walking or movement, your health will most definitely suffer.Most don’t realize that walking burns the same amount of calories as running, it just takes longer.

But since walking isn’t exactly exercise, you can do it everyday without needing any recovery days for your body to repair and regenerate; it doesn’t tear down your body much, so it doesn’t require recovery time.

The downside is that walking won’t build your body up much either, unless, as mentioned, you are very unfit. For those who are fit, walking is a phenomenal maintenance activity that will allow you to be healthy into old age. Just be sure you have someone knowledgeable seriously analyze your posture..

I see many people walking and most of the elderly have terrible posture. They have lost much of their thoracic extension and are bent forward shuffling along. An excellent book that can help in this area is Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living by Kathleen Porter.

Many People Don’t Get Close to 10,000 Steps a Day

Taking 10,000 daily steps means you’ve walked about five miles or 9 kilometers. Many people do not get close to reaching this goal, which is why fitness trackers can be so useful. According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), the average person only walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps per day.

I recommend using a pedometer, or better yet, one of the newer wearable fitness trackers, to find out how far you normally walk. At first, you may be surprised to realize just how little you move each day. Tracking your steps can also show you how simple and seemingly minor changes to the way you move around at work can add up.

You can break up your daily steps into any size increments that work for you. You might walk for one hour in the early morning, 30 minutes during your lunch hour and another hour in the evening. Or you might enjoy taking shorter 20-minute walks throughout your day.

Research even shows getting up and walking around for two minutes out of every hour can increase your lifespan by 33 percent, compared to those who do not.

Dr. James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, and author of the book Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, actually recommends that you be up and moving for at least 10 minutes out of every hour.

Regular Daily Walking Helps to Counteract the Effects of Too Much Sitting

Part of what makes a goal of 10,000 steps a day so important is that it gets you up and out of your chair. Sitting for too long has been found to increase your risk of death from virtually all health problems, from type 2 diabetes and heart disease to cancer and all-cause mortality.

For example, sitting for more than eight hours a day is associated with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes. The average American actually spends nine to 10 hours of their day sitting, and certain occupations, such as telecommunications employees, spend an average of 12 hours sitting each day.

For many years, exercise was promoted as the solution to this largely sedentary lifestyle. But while exercise, especially short bursts of high-intensity activity, is crucial to optimal health, research suggests it can’t counteract the effects of too much sitting.

In fact, chronic sitting has a mortality rate similar to smoking. The simplest way to avoid these negative health effects is to strive to sit less – ideally for less than three hours a day. A standing desk can help with this, as can frequent walking.

Dr. Levine’s investigations show that when you’ve been sitting for a long period of time and then get up, a number of molecular cascades occur. For example, within 90 seconds of standing up, the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol—which are mediated by insulin—are activated.

All of these molecular effects are activated simply by carrying your own bodyweight. These cellular mechanisms are also responsible for pushing fuel into your cells and, if done regularly, will radically decrease your risk of diabetes and obesity. In short, at the molecular level, your body was designed to be active and on the move all day long.

Walking Is Good Medicine

Walking may not boost your cardiovascular fitness or muscle strength significantly the way more intense exercise does, but it does offer other significant benefits. Taking a walk during your lunch hour can have a significant impact on your mood and help reduce work-related stresses, for instance.

Walking was also found to improve quality of life for depressed middle-aged women. Those who averaged at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise or just over 3.25 hours of walking each week reported feeling more energized and more social at their three-year follow up. They also reported feeling less pain.  For many people, fitting in 10,000 steps a day takes a concerted effort to move around more. You might try, for instance:

  • Taking walks while making phone calls (use a wired headset or your phone’s speaker function)
  • Walking a few laps around your office building before entering, and after leaving, the building
  • Using an evening walk as family time to catch up on your kids’ and spouse’s day
  • Having a walking buddy, such as a neighbor or even your dog, to keep you motivated

 

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How to Kick Your Walking Up a Notch

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to be one of the best forms of exercise in terms of both effectiveness and efficiency. It involves brief periods of intense activity followed by periods of rest. Ordinary walking does not qualify as a high-intensity workout, but it can be tweaked into one. For the last decade, Dr. Hiroshi Nose and colleagues at the Shinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan, have developed walking programs for the elderly.

In light of the benefits associated with HIIT, Dr. Nose created a regimen of fast walking and gentle strolling, to see if this kind of program might provide greater fitness benefits than walking at a steady pace. The program consisted of repeated intervals of three minutes of fast walking, aiming for an exertion level of about six or seven on a scale of one to 10, followed by three minutes of slow strolling. The results turned out to be very promising. As reported by the New York Times:

“In their original experiment, the results of which were published in 2007, walkers between the ages of 44 and 78 completed five sets of intervals, for a total of 30 minutes of walking at least three times a week. A separate group of older volunteers walked at a continuous, moderate pace, equivalent to about a 4 on the same exertion scale. After five months, the fitness and health of the older, moderate group had barely improved. The interval walkers, however, significantly improved aerobic fitness, leg strength and blood-pressure readings.”

In December 2014, the team published a follow-up report on the participants, noting that 70 percent were still adhering to the walking program two years after the study ended, and the health benefits remained stable.

Walking Barefoot Adds Another Element for Good Health

If you can walk in a natural area, such as grass or on the beach, kick off your shoes while doing so. Walking barefoot on the sand or grass has additional benefits that go beyond that of walking, as this allows your body to absorb free electrons from the Earth through the soles of your feet, a practice known as grounding. These electrons have powerful antioxidant effects that can protect your body from inflammation and its many well-documented health consequences. For example, one scientific review published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health concluded that grounding (walking barefoot on the earth) could improve a number of health conditions, including the following:15

Sleep disturbances, including sleep apnea Chronic muscle and joint pain, and other types of pain Asthmatic and respiratory conditions Rheumatoid arthritis
PMS Hypertension Energy levels Stress
Immune system activity and response Heart rate variability Primary indicators of osteoporosis Fasting glucose levels among people with diabetes

To recap, strive to get up and get moving often throughout your day; 10,000 steps is a good number to aim for and should be done in addition to your exercise program. While I do recommend fitness trackers, don’t let a lack of one keep you from moving. A pedometer can be equally effective for a fraction of the cost. For instance, researchers found that simply wearing a pedometer daily for 12 weeks led to a significant decrease in sitting time, and a significant increase in physical activity among the participants, who lost an average of 2.5 pounds each.

And, as mentioned, pay attention to proper posture while you walk. Kathleen Porter’s Natural Posture for Pain-Free Living is an excellent starting point if you feel your posture could use some improvement.

Source Adapted from: http://bit.ly/1IiTmZd

Goji Berries – The little super fruit

 

goji-berries

Goji berries (Lycium barbarum) are the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth. They are a member of the nightshade family (Solonaceae), which contains many other common vegetables such as potato, tomato, eggplant, and pepper, as well as some poisonous plants like belladonna and deadly nightshade. Native to the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet and Mongolia, the goji berry is now grown in many other countries as well.

Although they have only been introduced in Western countries in recent years, gojis have been used for thousands of years in Tibet and China, both as a culinary ingredient and medicinally.

Unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, goji berries also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit. They are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have twenty-one trace minerals, and are high in fiber. Boasting 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the humble goji berry is a nutritional powerhouse.

This amazing little superfruit also contains natural anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal compounds. Their powerful antioxidant properties and polysaccharides help to boost the immune system. It’s no wonder then, that in traditional Chinese medicine they are renowned for increasing strength and longevity.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the goji is said to act on the Kidney and Liver meridians to help with lower back pain, dizziness and eyesight. They are most often consumed raw, made into a tea or extract, or as an ingredient in soups.

the-goji-berry-health-benefits10

 

Gojis are most commonly available in dried form, and make a great snack eaten as is, added to trail mix, muesli or oatmeal. They can also be soaked for a couple of hours in enough water to cover them. Then the soak water can be drained off and makes a delicious drink, or both water and berries added to smoothies.

Please note that there can be adverse interactions if you consume goji berries while also taking medication for diabetes, or blood pressure, or take the blood thinner warfarin. So be sure to consult your health care provider if that is the case.

Gojis can often be found in Asian food stores, but most of these come from the commercial growing regions of China and Tibet, and contain high levels of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Even some brands which claim to be organic may not be, so be sure to source your goji berries from a reputable source.

 

Source: http://bit.ly/RCouPM