Posts Tagged by Wellness
|March 12, 2012||Posted by Ronni under Sleep|
In preparation for daylight savings, we participated in our first ever #sleepchat on Twitter this past Friday and we learned A LOT.
Did you know that over 1/3 of American adults do not get enough sleep? Is anyone feeling like they are part of that statistic, today?
We have turned to an extra cup of coffee for the added energy this morning, but that may not be the best way to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. Lack of sleep linked to weight gain, depression and the most extreme – early death.
- Go to bed 10-15 minutes earlier. At least until your mornings don’t leave you feeling like a Zombie from The Walking Dead.
- Keep your body aware of the sun. Let your body get used to the new schedule by quite literally showing it the sun’s pattern.
- Don’t force a new sleep pattern. Your body will adjust, let it do so on it’s own. Going to bed when you aren’t sleepy will only increase the chance of insomnia and all that tags along with it.
- Exercise in the AM not the PM. Use the energy you get from exercising as a crutch to help you through the day. By exercising at night, you are giving yourself more energy at a time when you should be winding down.
- Turn off the TV and computer in the evening. Pick up a book, craft or magazine instead. It will help you turn off from the day and relax into a sleep pattern. The lack of “blue light” will help you fall asleep quicker and help to keep your slumber restful and productive.
Suggestions were taken from Time Magazine article: 5 Ways to Survive Daylight Savings Time
|January 23, 2012||Posted by Elizabeth under Happiness, Health, Wellness|
Your immune system needs your help! You wash your hands after shaking someone else’s and you take your vitamins, but that might not be enough to keep you healthy. There are other factors that you probably overlook that could be contributing to your body’s inability to ward off illness.
Staying healthy can be a challenge during any season, but especially when it’s chilly outside. Keep these tips from Prevention Magazine in mind and get back to a healthier you.
Get enough sleep: When you don’t give your body enough time to rest, it can’t rejuvenate itself and that weakens your immune system. Most people need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep in order to give their body enough rest. Try to relax before bed to have better, uninterrupted sleep.
Let it out: When you hold in emotions and feelings, you could actually be doing damage to your immune system. People who don’t express their emotions to their loved ones or people in their lives typically have higher blood pressure and experience more illnesses.
Get a little help from your friends: Avoiding germs is one thing, but avoiding people in general is not doing you any favors. If you don’t get enough healthy human contact, your body might not be releasing anxiety and the toxins that come along with it. Studies have shown that people who release that anxiety are less likely to get sick.
Don’t let stress get the best of you: Along those same lines, people who experience stress in their everyday life are more likely to get sick. The stresses of work, or as a caregiver can take their toll on the body. You can expect your immune system’s ability to fight disease to diminish if you don’t find ways to relieve that stress.
Don’t drive everywhere: We depend too much on our cars. Even very walkable distances are driven instead. If you think you are too inactive, maybe it’s time to step it up. Incorporate some walking and brief stints of exercise into your daily routine and notice that your immune system will get stronger along with your body. Try taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator.
Avoid secondhand smoke: It would be redundant of us to say that smoking is bad for you, but maybe it’s a good idea to remind you how bad secondhand smoke is. If you are exposed to people who are smoking tobacco, you are putting your own body at risk, too. Secondhand smoke can cause asthma attacks or irritate allergies. Avoid it when you can.
Load up on extra pens: You may not think of it, but that pen that you used to sign that check at the bank is basically a breading ground for germs. Something like a pen that you can easily store in your purse or pocket, can save you from bacteria that could send you to sickville. So remember, B.Y.O.P.
Tone down the antibiotic dependency: By relying so heavily on antibiotics at the 1st sign of illness, you are building up a resistance to those drugs that your body may actually need at another time. Try taking prescription meds only for bacterial infections and be sure to complete the whole prescription.
|September 22, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Ergonomics, Wellness|
If you have a desk job, you are likely to spend 56 hours a week sitting. That’s not just at your desk; that’s also in your car, on your couch, at your kids’ soccer games or at the movie theater. But seeing most of us maintain a 40-50 hour work week, one of our most important places we sit is our desk chair.
For this reason picking any old chair cannot work. You’ve got to research it, study it and try it out. You need the most ergonomic chair for your body type.
Ergonomics. I’ve read many articles saying it’s simply a buzz word for comfort. I have several colleagues that respectfully disagree. It’s a scientific construction and design of a product that supports the human body in the most comfortable and supportive way possible.
The question is – how do you pick the most ergonomic chair for you? We have worked with AliMed’s Ergo Expert and pulled together some great tips to consider when looking to purchase a new office chair.
4 Things to Look for in an Ergonomic Chair:
- Height of the Chair. The Ergo Expert suggests measuring the distance from the floor to the underside of your desk, then subtracting 8”-10”. Your new chair will most likely match this height measurement. Humantech®, an ergonomic consulting firm out of Ann Arbor, MI, says the perfect chair will allow your feet to be planted on the floor with your thighs parallel to the floor; your knees will thus be at a 90 degree angle. (Reported in The Wall Street Journal)
- Back of the Chair. The Ergo Expert’s top suggestion is focus on the lumbar support. The most convenient chair is one that can adjust the lumbar support, allowing an adjustment for the user’s height. You can also find a chair with the proper, non-adjustable lumbar support for you, by trying the chair out before you buy it.
- Seat of the Chair. The most comfortable chair is one that fits you explicitly, including the depth of the seat. It should measure the same distance from the inside of your knee to the base of your spine, says the Ergo Expert. Also, the perfect chair will only improve your health. A waterfall front to the seat will provide you with improved blood circulation to your legs.
- Armrests for the Chair. Armrests are possibly the most overlooked aspect of the chair. If you spend 90% of your day typing, you’ll understand why. But for the other 10% of your day, armrests that are too low or too high can put heightened strain on your upper back, neck and shoulders. That’s why, unless you find a chair that’s non-adjustable armrests perfect for you, the armrests should be adjustable to accommodate any user.
A comfortable, supportive chair should be the goal of any employee or employer. This is why you should NEVER purchase a chair without a money back guarantee or taking it for a test drive. You probably spend 30-40 hours a week sitting in your desk chair; make sure it is the best one for you.
No matter how comfortable the chair is, don’t sit down all day. Leading a sedentary life can often lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Try to walk around your office at least once every hour. As for your new, ergonomic chair? It is said absence makes the heart grow fonder.
|September 15, 2011||Posted by admin under Fitness, Food and Nutrition, Health|
Losing weight is never easy. I’ve watched several people try and lose weight through a healthy, regimented plan and it has never seemed easy. A person needs supporters, determination, perseverance and self-control – lots and lots of self-control.
Within my own struggle to shed the pounds, I have found the most challenging part to be eating the right foods. When I was in school, I maintained an active, athletic schedule that allowed me to live off of fast food burgers and Little Debbie snacks. I remember eating three or four oatmeal crème pies as an after school snack before racing off to a volleyball game. Delicious? You betcha. Healthy? No, definitely not.
Now, I have to fight to keep from eating my fiancé’s Keebler cookies in the pantry. There are many tricks to avoiding temptations, but I have yet to master any of them. I struggle day in and day out to keep my snacking to a minimum and my meal choices healthy. I gained the weight after college because I wasn’t acting accountable for the food I was eating. I just ate like I was still playing volleyball every night, walking to across campus 4 times a day and going to free group fitness at the sports complex.
When I started noticing how tight my pants were becoming, I started to notice my eating habits. I finally decided enough was enough; I discovered a tool that changed how I acted about food.
A food diary. Some people balk at the idea, contributing journaling food as unhealthy for a person’s self-esteem. Journaling the food you eat throughout the day is not the same as counting calories or the gateway to eating disorders. It’s a healthy, easy way to become accountable for the food you eat every day.
If I look back at my day’s journal and realize that I ate this:
|Breakfast||Bagel with Cream Cheese|
|Morning Snack||Snack Bag of Cheese Its|
|Lunch||Burger King Whopper|
|Afternoon Snack||Lays Potato Chips|
|Dinner||Bean and Cheese Burrito|
|Dessert||Ice Cream Sandwich|
I don’t feel guilty; I feel failure. A journal like this means I didn’t even attempt to try! Not to mention, I’m then going to bed at the end of the day with a pile of calories that are going to create fat, not reduce it.
If I look back at my day’s journal and realize that I ate this:
|Breakfast||Wheat Waffle with Peanut Butter|
|Morning Snack||An Apple|
|Lunch||Baja Chicken Lean Cuisine|
|Afternoon Snack||Hummus and Tomato Wheat wrap|
|Dinner||Grilled Chicken and Spinach|
|Desert||Ice Cream Sandwich|
I feel excellent. I probably even worked out this day – because this day I made decisions on my food that transformed my attitude.
My advice, from one dieter to the next, is to journal your food. Don’t track the calories; don’t lie about what you ate. Use each day to teach you accountability for your eating habits. Use it to change those bad habits and make the good ones more prevalent.
And report back on how it works! We love success stories!
|September 13, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Health, Wellness|
Historically, I avoid the flu vaccine like the plague. I survived 4 years of college with a beloved roommate who never seemed to escape bronchitis or the flu, due to her internships at inner city elementary schools – I hardly thought I needed to vaccinate myself against the flu. I’m a lover of natural medicine: Three classes of water for a headache, a massage for achy muscles, rest and relaxation for a stomachache.
Then my sister had a baby. He’s the cutest little 5-month-old buddle of joy you’ll ever meet. He also has already had a cold 4 times in his short life. Regardless of my apprehension, this year I ran to the nearest vaccination clinic to prevent the transmission of the virus to that cute little boy.
5 Reasons to Consider the Flu Shot:
- A Vaccine for Everyone! Scared of needles? No problem. Now you and your family can be vaccinated with a nasal spray, avoiding fearful tantrums and tears. Although, you will also have to say goodbye to the Hello Kitty BandAids.
- Children Pass Germs like Wild Fire. No matter how hygienic you think your keep your children – it doesn’t matter. They may wash their hands at the bathroom in school, but little Johnny in line before them probably won’t. A vaccination can keep the influenza virus from affecting them – and you when they bring those germs home.
- Healthy = Happy. Your children may not be cranky because they watching reruns of Hannah Montana all day, but they will when their fever hits 102 – or when they have to catch up on the work they missed at school. You’ll have to stay home, to ensure they are drinking fluids and resting enough – missing important work meetings and decisions. Basically, a vaccination = less stress.
- Various Flu Stands. The flu shot this year “includes an influenza B virus, an influenza A (H1N1) virus and an influenza A (H3N2) virus.” There are many other strands – like the bird flu or the swine flu – but the FDA has released a diagnostic kit to identify these strands if suspected.
- It’s the 1st Line of Defense against the Flu. Yes, there are other ways to prevent the flu – but the CDC recommends a vaccine above all else. It’s specifically formulated to prevent the flu stands that commonly affect people in the United States.
For more information about the Flu this season and its vaccines, please visit the CDC website.
|September 6, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Aging, Health, Wellness|
The new government funded study suggests, “every little bit helps” and highlights the five factors to increase chance of diabetes prevention. It’s the first study to explore how several healthy habits combined can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. The goal of the study was to see if there were any added benefits to each individual lifestyle improvement made by a respondent. Jared Reis, P.H. D. and lead author on the study says the definite answer is yes.
The researchers distributed a questionnaire to over 200,000 men and women across eight states who had no evidence of serious health issues or illness. Ten years later, 9% of the respondents had developed diabetes.
The respondents least likely to develop the disease had a majority of the following five factors in common:
Normal Weight: Their BMI was below 25.
Non-Smoking: They had never been regular smokers, or had been smoke-free for ten years.
Physically Active: They participated in at least 20-minutes of heart racing, sweat inducing cardio at least two to three times a week.
Healthy Diet: The common diet consisted of high fiber, little trans-fat, few sugar carbohydrates and high ratio of good and bad fats.
Little to No Drinking: Men drank two or less a day and women drank one or less a day.
With each additional factor, 31% of men and 39% of women had lower odds in developing diabetes. People who met all five factors had 80% lower odds! Of the five, being overweight linked the most strongly to development of the disease. Researchers did point out that respondents who were overweight, but held the other 4 factors, were less likely to develop diabetes as well.
It’s important to remember, prevention is always an option. This study shows a healthy lifestyle has real benefits, regardless of your weight or family history.
Source: Amanda MacMillian, Health.com, article found on CNN.com http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/05/health/five-keys-diabetes-prevention/index.html?hpt=he_c2
|August 29, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Health News|
“The M.M.R. vaccine doesn’t cause autism, and the evidence is overwhelming that it doesn’t,” said Dr. Ellen Wright Clayton, the chairwoman of the panel.
The report stated, many children injured by a vaccine have an immune or metabolic problem and “receiving vaccines may be the largely nonspecific ‘last straw’ that leads these children to reveal their underlying” conditions.
To read more about the whole report – please visit the NY Times Health page.
|August 22, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Aging, Ergonomics, Wellness|
Since the dip in the economy a few years ago, many, who once thought their retirement fund was booming, saw a drastic drop in their investments. Consequently, the workforce is populated with older Americans who cannot afford to retire.
They continue to work, and do so in environments that are suited for young, all-around healthy employees. Their offices are on the top floors, their chairs often are as old as their career at the company and their eye sight hinders their ability to utilize growing technology as easy as younger employees.
Employers can be taking the necessary steps to ensure their older workers are comfortable and free from potential injury and stress. For instance, computer screens can now be equipped with magnifying screen filters and accessories (like keyboards and mice) that are designed to accommodate arthritic hands and worsening eye sight. Also, chairs can now be purchased to ensure good posture and comfort for one’s hips and back.
Designing your home accordingly is just as important as your office to prevent injury and heal from surgery. These design updates are not always drastic overhauls that are time consuming and costly. Often, changes can be simple and relatively inexpensive to improve daily quality of life. For instance, adding a seat to the shower can drastically reduce the chance of slipping and also may make bathing more comfortable. Adding extensions to door handle handles and medication bottles may help those with arthritis or inflamed joints.
Ergonomics for the aging rises above comfort and safety – it’s also about mental health. When someone, no matter their age, is comfortable and feels safe, he/she has a higher probability of feeling happier, more efficient and more secure. This leads to fewer cases of depression and thus longer life. So keep in mind the possible ergonomic solutions and aids for the daily life of yourself or a loved one.
|August 15, 2011||Posted by Ronni under Happiness, Wellness|
A recent study out of Tel Aviv University reported that being friendly at work not only boosts office productivity, but also employee health! The study suggests that people who had the support of colleagues and generally positive social interactions in the office were less likely to die over the course of a 20-year period than those without a friendly work environment.
Also found in the study: when both male and female workers claimed to have more freedom over their daily tasks and hold a position of power within their company, men had a lower risk of death while the risk rose by 70% in women!
The author, Dr. Sharon Toker, concluded this may be drastically different due to “second shift” responsibilities, the social claim that working women are still being held responsible for the daily domestic tasks. She says, it’s more likely for a woman to hold more than one role, such as “senior worker” and “mother”, and this may cause more stress.
Dr. Toker notes an “increase in face-to-face exchanges” may help to elevate stresses in the office and promote a friendly atmosphere. Her suggestions include planning company outings, coffee corners for chatting during breaks and even peer-assistance programs where employees can talk confidentially.
There are other ways to create a friendly work environment that you, as a co-worker, can employ. We have put together 5 useful tips you may want to remember!
Tips for a Friendly Work Environment
- Remember More Heads are Better than One. It’s ok to not like a co-worker’s idea; it’s how you handle the dissent that is important. Listen to the idea or plan in its entirety before shooting it down. You may find an aspect to it that you actually think will work well. Collaboration sometimes makes for the best laid out plans and most effective projects!
- Connect with Co-workers. I suggest this be something more than the interoffice memo the CEO sent out at 8am that morning. This can be sports, music, movies or even fun events going on around town! You’ll be amazed how much people come out of their shell when they know they share a common interest with you.
- Confront a Co-worker with Concerns. Regardless of how discreet you thing you are, someone always know when they are being talked about in secret. Venting to a close friend is one thing; talking to every passer-by about the idiotic thing Joe Shmoe said at the weekly board meeting is propagating stress and negativity in an office. A person will respect you more, in the end, if you bring a problem directly to them – no matter how small.
- Embrace Change. Change is inevitable yet is one of the number one reasons for stress in the office. Whether it is a new employee, team member, policy or executive promotion – try to work through the change before you reject it. If you do decide to reject it, try to calmly go through the proper channels. Running at it full force with your horns out isn’t going to solve the problem in your favor.
- Smile. It’s simple really. It’s been said over and over: if you smile you push yourself into a state of positivity. Not only that, but you also help someone to reach positivity as well! Smile and say hello when you pass a co-worker on the way to the restroom or to get a glass of water. Invite them along to the office watering hole or offer to get them a glass! A smile really does go a long way, and so does a simple act of kindness.
Source for Study Information:
O’Conner, Anahad, “Friendly Workplace Linked to Longer Life”, New York Times Well Blog, August 5, 2011, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/05/friendly-workplace-linked-to-longer-life/