Thursday, April 30, 2009

Be Healthy Health and Fitness Tips (1) TO (40)

More than any other time in history, people are all vying to have the best, healthiest body possible. The health and fitness industries are making billions of dollars every year on herbal supplements, fitness equipment, gyms, and special diets. If you watch TV or read magazines, there is always some intriguing commercial asking for money to help you get into shape.

While many of these options are good and healthy, others you should stay as far away from as possible. Recently, a professional baseball player died at the age of 23. In his locker, a bottle was discovered containing Ephedrine. The FDA just issued a warning that people need to heed.

Now that you have made a commitment to take care of your body, both internal and external, it is critical to your overall health that you do it the right way. Here are some tips for both health and fitness that will help you lose weight, discover ways to maintain a better healthy lifestyle, and be in the best shape of your life – all the smart way!

For sake of clarity, we have broken this down into two categories. One for health, which focuses on herbal supplements, weight loss, dieting, rest, and everything you need to know about taking care of your body on the inside.

The other section is fitness, which has both internal and external benefits. One the outside, fitness includes weight lifting, running, sports, walking, things you can do to enhance, tone, and build muscle. However, fitness also has benefits for the inside such as great cardiovascular benefits among others.


HEALTH

First, we will start out with Health:

1.
Acupuncture

The use of acupuncture dates back more than 2,000 years. This is a traditional medicine of Japan, China, and other Eastern countries. The use of acupuncture is beneficial in that it stimulates areas of the body that have a direct correlation to internal organs. By placing fine needles into specific points, the body is encouraged to promote natural healing, improve function, and provide an overall boost to your system. When these needles are inserted, they go into Meridians, which are channels somewhat like streams within the body. Just as there might be a boulder sitting in a stream blocking the flow of water, it can be the same for the channels of blood in your system. Acupuncture helps to remove these obstacles by providing stimulation, thus improving health.


2.
Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a method used to help blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rates, brain activity, and other bodily functions. Basically, biofeedback is a painless system that is hooked up to your body and then through electrical signals received from tightening of your muscles, you would be able to receive those signals by a light telling you that you are tightening your muscles. This in turn trains you to be aware of when you are bringing on stress and to help you identify when you need to relax your body. Biofeedback is very successful and can be used for migraine headaches, chronic pain, high blood pressure, epilepsy, and much more, which can occur when you tense up.


3.
Therapeutic Massage

You might be thinking what does getting a massage do for my health other than to make me feel good. Actually, therapeutic massage has many benefits. For example, it can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and promote good health. When a person gets a therapeutic massage, they are actually getting the benefit of function improvement with circulatory, muscular, skeletal, nervous systems, lymphatic, and can even help the body heal after an illness or injury. Depending on what the specific health issue, there is a Swedish Massage, which is a more relaxing massage good for headaches, back stress, and muscle cramps, Pressure Point Therapy, helpful for some injuries as well as circulation problems, headache and muscle tension, insomnia, anxiety, and more. Finally, Sports Massage focuses on muscle groups used for different sports. Licensed masseuse can help with the issues mentioned as well as allergies, arthritis, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, digestive disorders, myofascial pain, limited range of motion, sinusitis, and TMJ. The next time you tell someone you are going to get a massage, you can simply explain that it is for the benefit of your health.


4.
Eat Less Later in the Day

Everyone knows, whether they want to admit it or not, reducing calories will help you to lose weight. However, just as you should reduce the calorie intake, you need to know when to eat. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and the one meal that should not be missed. Lunch should be healthy but a less than what you ate for breakfast. As you approach dinner, eat healthy but light. Avoid after dinner snacks or eating before bed!


5.
Saucy but Healthy

Eating bland foods is boring, unsatisfying, and if that is what your diet consists of, more than likely, you will be off it shortly after you start. If you enjoy good tasting food, some sauces and spices can enhance your food while not adding calories to your food. The next you grill meat, consider using one of these:

• Reduced-salt Soy Sauce
• Mustard
• Salsa
• Worcestershire Sauce
• Vinegar (this comes in wonderful flavors)
• Teriyaki Sauce
• Tomato Sauce
• Hot Sauce

6.
Supplements and Vitamins

While some supplements and vitamins on the market are not worth buying and some, such as Ephedrine, have been proven dangerous, other sources are healthy. Most important, you need to understand what it is you are taking, and strictly follow dosage just as you would medication that has been prescribed. If you are unsure, check with your physician, a nutritionist, or a reputable health food store. Many supplements that are good for overall health include grape seed extract, Glucosamine, aloe vera, and Selenium. Vitamins to consider would include Vitamin E, Vitamin C, B-12, Iron, Magnesium, and Calcium.


7.
Eliminate Stress

You have probably heard this before. Stress is a key contributor to poor health. Study after study has found that when a person is stressed, the body reacts. The result of stress could be high-blood pressure, tension headaches, upset stomachs, poor posture, and so on. Keeping stress in check will help you manage your overall health much better.


8.
ZZZZZZZZZZZ

Does sleep really affect health? You bet it does. During sleep, your body is resting and recovering from all the work is has done throughout the day. Your serotonin levels are brought back in line, your muscles relax, and mind is allowed to clear itself in preparation for the next day. If you are not getting the proper amount of sleep, you will notice it in a physical way. While there is no magic number, usually between six and eight hours a night is appropriate. If you have difficulty getting to sleep, before you climb into bed, try Yoga, listening to soft, relaxing music, a glass of wine, or if you can talk someone into it, a good massage.


9.
Laugh it Off

The medical field has proven that laughter actually works with your body toward good health. Have you ever heard the expression, “Laughter is the best medicine”? The truth is, when you laugh, several positive things happen. Your muscles relax; stress hormone product is reduced; you forget about pain; your body’s immune system is improved; high-blood pressure is lowered; the heart and lungs are strengthened; and overall, you feel better!


10.
Nutrition

People often confuse “dieting” with nutrition. Your body needs to have nutrients replaced, whether through foods being eaten or supplements. Do you remember what you learned in elementary school about the four major food groups? As adult, eating balanced meals from these groups still applies. It is important to remove the “junk food” from your diet and stick with healthy foods. If you do not like certain things such as fruits or vegetables, be sure you are taking a supplement to get the nutrients needed. Another consideration is if you are a vegetarian. There are certain benefits taken from meat such as iron and B-12 that you should consider taking a supplement for in exchange for the meat.

11.
Yoga

The practice of Yoga is actually a spiritual practice. However, with the many benefits received it has quickly become a popular choice to thousands of people strictly for health. Yoga helps stretch out muscles and ligaments, tone the body, and the greatest benefit is that it helps to clear the mind. Having a clear mind works toward a healthy body.


12.
Stop Smoking

You have probably heard this more times, than you can count but facts are facts! There is no other way to say it – smoking is not only bad for your health, it is deadly! One woman in her late thirties had smoked for 10 years. She had tried everything from watering down her cigarettes, throwing them away, wearing a patch, chewing gum, you name it, she tried it. She really wanted to quit but the addiction was so strong she was finding it impossible.

The mother of an 11-year old daughter and a 13-year old son, she was taken by surprise when something happened that made her quit smoking in one day. Her son told her that he had something very important to tell her. With a quick response of, “Okay, what is it?” he said, “No, I really need to talk to you.” She knew by the look on his face and the tone of his voice that this was something important. Her son looked her square in the face and without wavering said, “I want you to quit smoking because I don’t want you to die. I want a mother in my life.” With that, she walked over to an ashtray, put out her cigarette, and now almost seven years later, she still does not smoke. While this will not work for everyone, the next time you pick up a cigarette; take a minute to consider how your child or family would feel if you were no longer around.

13.
Mixing Medications

Many people do not realize how dangerous mixing medications can be. In fact, some combinations are lethal. If you are on medication, make sure your physician knows everything you take, including herbs and supplements. To take it one-step further, when you have a new prescription filled, ask the pharmacist if there are any bad interactions with your other current medication.


14.
Drink Wisely

There is nothing wrong with a couple of social drinks or a glass of wine or beer with dinner, but if you drink, you need to be wise. First, if you drink to the point of being drunk, keep in mind that you are causing damage to your liver. Second, if you drink, NEVER drink and drive.


15.
Young at Heart

Regardless of your age, if you start acting too old, you will actually not benefit yourself at all. Studies have shown that people who act old, feel old, and can actually suffer from problems before their time. Do not be afraid to be youthful, within reason. The next time you see a man in his seventies running a marathon or a woman keeping up in aerobic class, you can see that by refusing to give into age, they are healthier and live much longer lives.


16.
Regular Checkups

It is crucial that you have regular checkups, which could include mammograms, pap smears, checks for colon cancer, EKGs, etc. Many times, a regular checkup could have caught something earlier on, actually saving a life. If you do not feel good, have your doctor check things out. If you are due for your annual mammogram, have it done. You could possibly be saving your own life.


17.
Cholesterol Levels

High cholesterol leads to hardening of arteries, which in turn, leads to heart disease or attack. Keep your intake of food healthy, limit the amount of sugar you eat, and have your cholesterol checked. If it is higher than 200, ask your doctor for ways to reduce it.

18.
Meditate

Find some time away from noise and distractions for you. Meditation can come in many forms. Whatever way you meditate, ensure that you are in a quiet place with soft lighting, sit with good posture and in a comfortable position, practice slow, rhythmic breathing, and concentrate on something calm and relaxing. Meditation is a great stress reducer, which is vital for good health.


19.
Listen to ME

If you know that you are not feeling “right” but the doctor tells you everything is fine, listen to your body. There is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion. If you are not comfortable with the doctor’s advice, get another exam. In addition, if you go to a doctor who tells you that what you feel is in your head, or you are crazy, get out of there immediately. You know your body better than anyone does and you need a doctor that believes in you and offers the right kind of support and encouragement.

20.
Body Fat

When you think about losing weight, more importantly than weight is the amount of fat you are carrying around. This fat is measured with what is called Body Mass Index, or BMI. For women, if you are fit, your percent of body fat should range from 21% to 31%. If you are in incredible shape, that could be as low as 10%. For men, fit should be between 14% and 25%, and excellent shape, as low as 2%.

To calculate your body fat, write down how much you weigh (be honest – no one will see this but you). Multiply your weight by 703. Next, write down your height, in inches. Multiply by that same number. Then you will divide your weight number by your height number. That is your BMI. For example, if your weight were 150 pounds x 703, your weight answer would be 105,450. If your height is 5’4”, that would be 64 inches x 64 for a total of 4,096. Taking the 105,450 divided by 4,096, you come out with a BMI of 25.7.

21.
Read the Label

Get into a habit of reading the labels on food. While they may have messages such as “Low Fat” or “Reduced Calorie” written all over the front of the package or can, when you read the label and understand what you are looking for, you will probably be surprised. Regardless of what the claim may be, the label may tell another story. The FDA provides these important guidelines, therefore, should be what you look for. If the message and label do not jive, move on to a different product.

Fat-Free Less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving, with no added fat or oil
Low fat 3 grams or less of fat per serving
Less fat 25% or less fat than the comparison food
Saturated Fat Free Less than 0.5 grams of saturated fat and 0.5 grams of trans-fatty acids per serving
Cholesterol-Free Less than 2 mg cholesterol per serving, and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
Low Cholesterol 20 mg or less cholesterol per serving and 2 grams or less saturated fat per serving
Reduced Calorie At least 25% fewer calories per serving than the comparison food
Low Calorie 40 calories or less per serving
Extra Lean Less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per (100 gram) serving of meat, poultry or seafood
Lean Less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 g of saturated fat, and 95 mg of cholesterol per (100 gram) serving of meat, poultry or seafood
Light (fat) 50% or less of the fat than in the comparison food (ex: 50% less fat than our regular cheese)
Light (calories) 1/3 fewer calories than the comparison food
High-Fiber 5 grams or more fiber per serving
Sugar-Free Less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving
Sodium-Free or Salt-Free Less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
Low Sodium 140 mg or less per serving
Very Low Sodium 35 mg or less per serving


22.
Water

Water is excellent for the body and good health. Water helps flush out toxins and other unwanted things lingering in the body. Water also replenishes fluids that help lubricate the internal body, keeps you hydrated, reduces hunger, which helps with weight loss, and helps to make skin look smooth and young. If you are not used to drinking water, it may seem hard at first, but very quickly, you will enjoy the clean, refreshed way it makes you feel. At a minimum, you should drink 64-ounces a day and more if you can.

23.
Seatbelts

You may be wondering what seatbelts have to do with health. Statistics show that wearing seatbelts keeps you safe and therefore allows you to live longer. To keep yourself safe and healthy, it is critical that you buckle up every time you get in any car. Do not be fooled into thinking that going the few blocks to the corner store is not big deal. Most accidents happen close to home so whether you are traveling one block or across the country, buckle up.

24.
Do Not Forget the Teeth

Often the care of teeth and gums is overlooked as potential health risks. However, with the oral cavity being the main way in which parasites, bacteria, yeast, and fungus get into the body, taking time to thoroughly brush and floss your teeth is important. Keeping your mouth clean is a great way to benefit your health.


25.
Attitude

A negative attitude can have a negative impact on your health just as a positive attitude can affect your health in a positive manner. Living well has a direct correlation with a positive outlook. Keep smiling and try to find the good in life, even when things are tough.


26.
Fighting Cancer

With today’s breakthroughs, there are many innovative ways to fight cancer. Although you may find this difficult to believe, the American Institute for Cancer Research has come up with a surprising way to fight cancer. After conducting thorough studies, researchers found that drinking tea, which contains antioxidants to help neutralize “free radicals” helps to fight cancer. While it is not a cure-all, if cancer runs in your family, it certainly will not hurt to add tea to your daily consumption.


27.
Be Careful with the Sun

Everyone loves basking in the warm sun, especially if it is lying on a beautiful sandy beach. While the sun has many benefits, too much sun without proper protection can be harmful. Being sunburned not only hurts, but also damages skin and promotes wrinkles and cancer. If you are going to spend any time in the sun, even 10 minutes, protect your skin with sunscreen for both UVA and UVB rays.


28.
Tasty Almonds

If you love nuts, then you are in luck. Almonds are not only delicious and make a great snack food, medical studies show they contain as much protein per ounce as red meat. In addition, they aid in reducing the risk of heart attacks by up to 50%. The next time you need something crunchy, reach for a handful of almonds.


29.
Wash your Hands

This is something you have probably heard your whole life. Disease is easily spread from touch, whether from person to person or object to person. Giardia is the number one germ that is transferred from touching something infected. Once you have Giardia, you can get very ill. In addition, germs can be passed from your pet that has been rolling on the grass, something dropped on a dirty floor, just allow your imagine to roam if you dare. Washing your hands is a quick, easy way to reduce the spread of germs.


30.
Flaxseed

A great way to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system is by adding flaxseed to your daily diet. Flaxseed actually contains what is called alpha-linolenic acid, which is a fatty acid essential in controlling blood pressure. They have a benefit of helping with digestion; just make sure the flaxseed is crushed for easier consumption and absorption.

31.
Give your Eyes a Rest

Most jobs in today’s society require the use of a computer. If you sit in front of a computer all day or work any job or hobby that requires your eyes to work hard, be sure to take breaks throughout your day. For soothing relief, you can use eye drops, close your eyes for a few minutes to allow them to rest, and look away to something other than what you are working on. Also, ensure that you are working with appropriate lighting, which is an oversight many people make. These are ways in which to give your eyes a much-needed break. Eyestrain can cause eye problems as well as headaches.


32.
Watch the Sugar

Often people think by drinking fruit juices or eating low-fat fruit roll-ups and such, they are cutting out or eliminating sugar. The fact is that some fruit juices have more sugar than a soda. Reduction of sugar is important to good health; therefore always check out the sugar content of anything you put in your mouth, even if it appears to be healthy.


33.
Throw out the Scales

If you have bathroom scales, you should either get rid of them or put them away for a while. Weight does not accurately reflect the level of your fitness. If you should be measuring anything, it should be body fat, not the weight.


34.
Sunscreen

Most people know that sunscreen is important for shoulders, backs, legs, and arms when out in the sun but there are other parts of the body that are often overlooked. When enjoying the beautiful sun, be sure to use sunscreen on your ears, slips, and even the tops of your feet as well!


35.
Aspirin versus Ibuprofen

Both of these products can help in certain situations. For example, aspirin is an analgesic, used for pain while ibuprofen is both an analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Therefore, the next time you have to deal with sore muscles after a good workout, remember that you can get some needed relief from these over the counter remedies.

36.
Berries, Berries, Berries

Ah, the sweet taste of fresh berries! Berries are actually good for you and contain plant nutrients called anthocyanidins. These are incredible antioxidants and some have high levels of resveratrol, which helps fight heart disease and cancer. The next time you want something sweet, juicy, and good for you, reach for blueberries, grapes, or strawberries, and do not feel guilty!


37.
Some like it Hot

Hot, spicy foods that contain curry, chilies, or other hot peppers such as cayenne, help to trigger endorphins. These hormones are what make people feel good and well balanced. In fact, endorphins are like a natural morphine that helps ease pain and provide a sense of well being. The next time you are feeling a little down or have some minor pain, try eating something spicy.


38.
Beware of Allergies/Reactions

Pay attention to what you eat. With so many wonderful restaurants, trying new dishes is exciting and fun. However, several foods are responsible for up to 90% of all allergy problems. If you notice after eating certain foods you suffer from headaches, upset stomach, or other problems, make note, you could be having an allergic reaction. The foods most likely the problem include eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, shellfish, and fish. For children, the common foods include cow’s milk, soy, eggs, and wheat.


39.
Breast Exams

Make sure you conduct regular breast examines. This can quickly and painlessly be done during your shower or lying down when going to bed. Contact your primary physician or gynecologist for a free pamphlet showing the proper way this is done. Taking proactive steps could save your life.


40.
Asthmatics and Sports

If you suffer from asthma, you already know that some sports should be avoided, depending on the severity. If you have trouble on a daily basis and love sports, be encouraged to know that some sports are asthma-friendly and in fact, can be helpful in that they help make the lungs stronger. These sports include swimming, cycling, and fishing, walking, and canoeing. Again, check with your physician before getting involved with any sport if you have a health condition.

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