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Be Prepared to Fight a Winter Cold!

Be prepared to fight a winter cold. Know which two remedies can nip it in the bud.

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Though your drugstore is stocked with a multitude of cold meds, there are really just a couple of things that have actually been proven to speed up a cold. They are: vitamin C and andrographis (and your mom’s chicken soup). Take regular doses of these the moment you start feeling symptoms. That’s 500 mg of vitamin C four times a day, with plenty of water, for the next two or three days — or andrographis (as 48 mg of standardized andrographolide extract) three times daily. These remedies, alone or in combination, can reduce the average time that a cold lasts from roughly five days to three.

Excerpted from YOU: The Owners Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition by Michael F. Roizen, MD, and Mehmet C. Oz, MD.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Clinic Reviews

 

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Get Moving!

Just move! Even brief episodes of brisk exercise can make you thinner and better able to do the fun things you want to do in life.

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Try 30 minutes of moderate exercise — such as a brisk walk — most days of the week, for better emotional and physical health. New research shows that even brief episodes of vigorous activity can help prevent weight gain and promote better health. The key is to get your heart rate up so that you’re working your lungs, heart and muscles. If today you have only 10 minutes to spare, use that time to go for a brisk walk. If there’s a hill nearby, or even a staircase, try to tackle it! You may even find that you enjoy it so much you’ll find 15 minutes to spare tomorrow.

source: cleveland clinic

 

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Meditate Daily to Reduce Stress

Remember gazing at the clouds when you were a child? Meditation is a seated form of daydreaming. Do it daily to reduce stress.
Sitting still for an hour. Humming strange noises. Changing your religion. Ask most people what’s involved in meditation and the answer is likely to be any or all of these things. Actually, meditation is a simple way to quiet the mind and calm the body. Should be easy, right? Well, in our busy Western world, taking the time to sit quietly and breathe deeply seems to be an almost impossible task. Yet, study after study is proving that a meditation practice can help us to be less stressed, more focused and much healthier.

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Consider the facts: Chronic stress is at the core of many of our modern ills. We’re working more, exercising less and not always making healthy food choices. Genetically, we have the bodies of our ancestors — built to deal with the occasional threat of a wild animal attack but not the ongoing, daily stress of deadlines and overdue bills. Unchecked, this chronic stress leads to a whole host of physical problems, such as muscle tension, elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, blood sugar swings, lowered immunity, increased pain and more. Our minds are affected as well. Chronic stress makes it harder to concentrate or to remember, disturbs our sleep, increases our anxiety and self-doubt, and gets in the way of our enjoyment of life. A regular meditation practice can help by focusing the mind, quieting that mental “chatter,” reducing tension in the body and calming the breath.

Do you remember lying on the grass and gazing up at the clouds when you were a child? You just watched the world go by without judging whether your experience or thoughts were good or bad. Meditation is a seated form of daydreaming (or you could lie down). To begin, take a few moments to move and stretch your body, loosening up tight areas like the shoulders and lower back. Next, find a quiet area and a supportive chair. Sit with your feet planted firmly on the floor, hip-width apart, with the knees directly over the ankles. Sit up tall and let your hands lie gently in your lap. Close your eyes and start paying attention to your breath. Try saying to yourself, “I am breathing in” on the inhale and “I am breathing out” on the exhale. As thoughts come up (and they will), just notice them like the clouds passing by and return to your breathing. At first, try this for about five minutes. Remind yourself that this is a practice, and with practice comes progress. It won’t take long to notice that your breathing is deeper and more even, your heart rate has slowed and you feel calmer. You may not know it, but you have reduced your blood pressure and your body is no longer pumping out the same quantity of stress hormones. This practice is so simple you can do it almost anywhere and at almost any time.

— from the Cleveland Clinic’s yoga program manager, Judi Bar, and certified yoga instructor Sally Sherwin
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Get Your Beauty Rest…

Sleep your way to younger skin. Research shows a lack of quality sleep may increase the signs of aging.

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No wonder it’s called beauty rest. The quality of your sleep can affect how quickly your skin ages. Researchers have found that women who sleep poorly show accelerated signs of premature aging, such as fine lines, age spots and reduced elasticity, compared to good sleepers. They also found that the skin of those with poor sleep habits doesn’t recover as well from environmental stresses, such as sunburns and moisture loss. That’s because skimping on shut-eye can weaken the skin’s ability to repair itself at night.

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MEN…Stop Skipping Breakfast!

How important is breakfast? Research suggests that men who skip the first meal of the day have an increased risk of a heart attack.

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New research published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association found that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 27 percent higher risk of a heart attack, some fatal, than those who made breakfast a daily habit. Not a fan of a morning meal? Dietitians say that skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do for your body. Here’s why: Skip breakfast and your blood sugar levels plummet, leaving you irritable and more prone to overeating at your next meal. When you wake up, and your energy levels are at their lowest, starting the day on empty is a surefire way to tax your system even further. According to the researchers, forgoing breakfast may lead to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which increase your risk of a heart attack over time. So start off your day right with a nutritious meal, like fruit and cottage cheese, oatmeal and berries, scrambled eggs, whole-grain cereal with milk, or toast with peanut butter.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in Cleveland Clinic Wellness Tips

 

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Physical Therapy is Conservative Care

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As an adult, you have most likely experienced back pain at some point in your life. Given its frequency, one might assume the health care system adheres to the most current guidelines that call to treat the condition conservatively, with over the counter pain medication and physical therapy. But a recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that back pain is often being over-treated with referrals to specialists, orders for expensive imaging, and prescriptions for pain medication. In our most recent episode of Move Forward Radio, we discuss the findings of this study and provide tips for avoiding back pain. http://bit.ly/1gy4V0p

 

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Work or Play?

Give yourself permission to play. Research shows we have less regret when we put aside work to enjoy ourselves.

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Struggling over whether you should work this weekend or go to a baseball game with your family or friends? New research shows that the guilt we experience when we leave our work behind to have fun passes as quickly as it appears. However, regrets over missed opportunities to enjoy ourselves never fade. In fact, they increase over time. According to researchers, giving in to temptation all the time can be harmful, but you will be happier in the long run if you look at the big picture when choosing between work and play. The key, they say, is to think about what you will regret in the future. Give yourself permission to take time off and to enjoy well-earned vacations with your family and loved ones.

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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in Cleveland Clinic Wellness Tips

 

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Tone-Up Your Triceps

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Looking for a workout move to tone up your triceps? Transform your arms with the one-arm kickback.

Biceps aren’t the only muscles we need to focus on when it comes to building strong arms. To tighten loose underarms, do the tricep-toning kickback. Here’s how: Hold a hand weight in your right hand. Lean over slightly and put your left foot forward. Place your left forearm on your left leg, or on a sturdy chair or table if you need additional support. Keeping a straight line from the top of your head to your tailbone, turn your right palm upward and push your entire arm back so that your right elbow points toward the ceiling. With your elbow in this upward position, kick the weight back and twist your palm toward the ceiling. Breathe normally. Maintain the up position and don’t drop the elbow. Try to do 50 repetitions on each side.

Excerpted from YOU: The Owner’s Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider’s Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger by Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz.

 

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Pink Noise & Sleep…it’s a Good Thing

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Sleep more soundly with pink noise — a low-frequency version of white noise. Playing it while you sleep improves the quality of your zzz’s.

Here’s good news for light sleepers: Adding pink noise to your bedtime routine could help you sleep better. Similar to white noise, the pink variety has a lower frequency and sounds like gentler, more muted static. Researchers found that 75 percent of sleepers reported a more restful sleep when exposed to pink noise while they slept. Brainwave activity showed that stable sleep time of people listening to pink noise increased by 23 percent.

source: The Cleveland Clinic Wellness site

 

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10 Ways to Start Exercise: Part 1 of 2

Walking, strength training, running, swimming, biking, yoga, tai chi — the possibilities for exercise are endless. The good news is that it doesn’t matter which one you choose — it just matters that you do some form of exercise.

“If you have a choice between not moving and moving — move,” says Heather Nettle, MA, coordinator of exercise physiology services for the Cleveland Clinic Sports Health and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation Center. “Ultimately it will help with overall health and well-being.” So go ahead, find an activity you love and get moving with these 10 do’s and don’ts for starting an exercise routine.

1. Do Anything — It’s Better Than Nothing
Experts are quite clear on this point: Get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise three to five days a week for improved energy, as well as to help prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. If you can’t dedicate that amount of time, any exercise, any movement for any amount of time is better than nothing.

2. Keep Track
Tracking your steps with a pedometer is one key to success if you like to walk, says Michael F. Roizen, MD, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. Another is recording some basic health information before starting a new routine. “Keeping track of how your body changes inside and out over the weeks and months gives you proof of the healthy changes you’re making,” he says. A few ways to do it:
• Before your first workout, check your blood pressure at your local pharmacy. Then recheck once a month.
• Time yourself at a track or on a treadmill. See how many minutes it takes you to walk or run one mile. Retest yourself after one month of consistent exercise.
• Measure your waist circumference and your weight. Take these measurements once a week.
• Schedule a visit with your physician and request these tests: lipid panel, vitamin D and C-reactive protein. Check these levels again after six months of consistent exercise.

3. Weight-Train
There’s no question: You’ll shed pounds faster if you lift weights. That’s because strength training builds muscle, and the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be. And women, hear this: You will not bulk up! What you’re doing by lifting weights is preventing muscle loss. Strength training also improves overall body composition, giving you more lean muscle tissue in relation to fat, so you look toned and trim. To experience the most benefit, lift more weight than you think you can. Dashing through your repetitions doesn’t take as much effort because it allows your muscles to rely on momentum. Instead, focus on your form by practicing slow and steady movements on both the contraction and the release. This will help you strengthen every muscle fiber.

4. Head for the Hills
Do you follow the same flat path day in and day out when you go for your walk or run? Look for hills along your route that you can slip into your routine. If it’s too much for you to tackle all at once, start by going only halfway up. Walking or running up inclines boosts the intensity of your workout: It burns more calories and helps build muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance. Switching between flat surfaces and hills is a form of interval training, a type of workout that involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise in between moderate activity. This kind of exercise, practiced by elite athletes, can supercharge your workout. It can also help keep boredom at bay. If you have joint problems, go easy on the downhill — slow your pace and shorten your stride.

5. Think Outside the Box
Even if you can’t engage in rigorous, high-intensity sweat sessions, there are plenty of other ways to improve your physical health. According to a review in the American Journal of Health Promotion, mind-body practices like tai chi and qigong may help promote bone health, cardiorespiratory fitness, physical function, balance, quality of life, fall prevention and emotional well-being. Described as “meditation in motion,” tai chi and qigong involve a series of flowing, gentle movements — similar to but much slower than yoga. Interested? Get the Gaiam tai chi for beginners DVD in our clevelandclinicwellness.com wellness store.

Check back in tomorrow for the remaining 5 ways to get started on exercise!

 

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