Tag: fitness

Eco-Friendly Outdoor Activities

Months spent indoors avoiding the harsh weather outside makes winter a difficult season for people who love the great outdoors. While skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports make it possible to get some fresh air even when that air is frigid, many people find it difficult to consistently get outside when temperatures drop.

That difficulty no doubt contributes to the popularity of spring, a season widely seen as a time of rebirth and rejuvenation. Time spent in the great outdoors is often its own reward. But taking measures to be eco-friendly while spending time outside can make such leisure time even more rewarding. People who want to get out and be eco-friendly at the same time can try the following activities.

Cycling

Cycling is a fun activity that’s also great exercise and incredibly eco-friendly. While it’s certainly an enjoyable leisure activity, cycling also can provide a great alternative to more popular modes of transportation like driving. According to Bay Area Bike to Work Day, a movement dedicated to promoting cycling as a means of commuting to and from work, drivers of small vehicles (those that get 35 miles per gallon of gas) who commute 10 miles per day, five days a week can expect to consume 68 gallons of gas in a typical year during their commutes. During those commutes, their vehicles will produce 0.7 tons of CO2. SUV drivers will consume nearly double that amount of fuel while their vehicles produce nearly three times as much CO2 emissions. Cycling to work won’t consume any fuel or produce any emissions, and cyclists won’t be forced to sit idly in rush hour traffic.

Hiking

Hiking is another eco-friendly outdoor activity that can pay dividends for both the planet and the people who call it home. Lawmakers in towns and cities with thriving hiking communities may be encouraged to support legislation that preserves hiking trails and parks and prevent potentially harmful construction from taking place. And individuals can reap a number of benefits from hiking through the great outdoors. A study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found that outdoor exercise such as hiking can decrease feelings of tension, confusion, anger, and depression. In addition, hiking provides a great full-body workout that might appeal to people who have grown tired of more traditional gym-based fitness regimens.

Fishing

Fishing devotees tend to be wildly devoted to their craft, but one need not be an expert angler to enjoy fishing and help the planet. According to the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, fishing supports wildlife and fisheries management. The DGIF notes that anglers help to set seasons and creel limits, ensuring that wildlife populations remain stable and even flourish. Many anglers also find fishing is a great form of stress relief that provides a peaceful escape from the daily grind.

Running/walking

In lieu of running or walking on a treadmill indoors, men and women can get outside and do their jogging or walking in the great outdoors. While treadmills are not necessarily big energy consumers, running or walking outdoors consumes no energy and provides a great opportunity to spend time outside, especially for professionals who spend most of their days in office buildings.

The great outdoors comes calling for many people when temperatures begin to climb. Answering that call can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your mood.

How to Find Time for Fitness

Many adults admit to having little or no time to exercise, and statistics support the notion that men and women simply aren’t exercising enough. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only 21 percent of adults ages 18 and older met the physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity (Note: The World Health Organization recommends that healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week, while also performing muscle-strengthening activities involving the major muscle groups at least two days per week.)

Commitments to work and family can make it hard to find time to visit the gym or exercise at home. But the benefits of regular exercise are so substantial that even the busiest adults should make concerted efforts to find time to exercise. The following are a handful of ways to do just that.

· Embrace multitasking. Many professionals are adept at multi-tasking in the office, and those same skills can be applied when trying to find time for exercise. Instead of plopping down on the couch to watch television, bring a tablet to the gym or the basement and stream a favorite show while on the treadmill or the elliptical. When running errands around town, ride a bicycle or walk instead of driving.

· Cut down on screen time. A 2016 report from The Nielsen Company revealed that the average adult in the United States spent more than 10 hours each day consuming media. That includes time spent using smartphones, tablets, personal computers, and other devices. By reducing that screen time by just one hour per day, adults can create enough free time to meet the WHO-recommended exercise requirements.

· Make it a group effort. Involving others can make it easier for adults to find time to exercise. Instead of hosting work meetings in a conference room, take the meeting outside, walking around the office complex while discussing projects rather than sitting stationary around a conference table. At home, take the family along to the gym or go for nightly post-dinner walks around the neighborhood instead of retiring to the living room to watch television.

· Redefine date night. Adults who can’t find time for exercise during the week can redefine date night with their significant others. Instead of patronizing a local restaurant on Friday or Saturday night, enroll in a fitness class together. Parents can still hire babysitters to look after their youngsters while they go burn calories instead of packing them on at local eateries.

Finding time to exercise can be difficult for busy adults. But those committed to getting healthier can find ways to do so even when their schedules are booked.

Improve Quality Of Life in 2017

Legend states that on April 2, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was the first European to discover modern-day Florida when he traveled on a quest for the mythical “Fountain of Youth.” While modern science has proven that there is no mystical fountain or body of water that can reverse or slow down the aging process, there are many steps people can take to age well and prolong their lives.

Eating the right foods is one way to age well. According to Ralph Felder, M.D., Ph.D., coauthor of “The Bonus Years Diet,” reversing the aging process internally is more difficult than outward cosmetic changes. But the right foods can go a long way toward increasing both life expectancy and quality of life. Those who want to employ diet to increase their life expectancy may want to start adding more of the following foods to their breakfast, lunch and dinner plates.

· Broccoli, grapes and salad: According to Health magazine, researchers have found that compounds in these three foods boast extra life-extending benefits.

· Berries: In addition to their abundance of antioxidants, berries have other benefits. A 2012 study from Harvard University found that at least one serving of blueberries or two servings of strawberries each week may reduce the risk of cognitive decline in older adults.

· Fruits and vegetables: Produce is good for the body because it’s low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. Numerous studies have indicated that diets plentiful in fruits and vegetables help people maintain a healthy weight and protect against cardiovascular disease.

· Whole grains: Whole grains pack a lot of nutrition into a low-calorie food. Whole grains help protect against type 2 diabetes, and researchers at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center found study participants whose diets included plenty of whole grains and fruit cut their heart disease risk by almost half compared to those whose diets favored meat and fatty foods.

· Red wine: A glass a day for women and no more than two glasses daily for men can be beneficial. Moderate consumption of red wine has been shown to slow age-related declines in cardiovascular function, according to the American Heart Association.

· Fiber: Increase your fiber intake for a longer life. Research from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition finds that the more fiber you include in your diet, the lower your risk of coronary heart disease. The daily recommendation is 25 to 35 grams.

While there may be no such thing as the fountain of youth, a healthy diet can help men and women prolong their lives.

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Health Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is often trumped as a means to reducing stress and restoring healthy function in the body. While meditation might once have been considered a New Age treatment, in recent years it has developed into a mainstream practice supported by both traditional and alternative medical providers.

The Mayo Clinic says that anyone can practice meditation. A cost-effective treatment that does not require any special equipment or location, meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and originally was developed to help people understand the mystical or spiritual forces of life. Although meditation for some may still have religious or spiritual connotations, in a medical sense it is typically used for relaxation and stress reduction.

Various studies show that meditation can be associated with improvement of a variety of issues. Researchers describe meditation-based changes as ones that actually change the brain. Changes in the circuitry of the brain may affect the way a person responds to specific situations. The following are a few ways to put mindful meditation to use.


· Strengthen cognitive function: Dr. Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says meditation can help thicken the prefrontal cortex of the brain, helping to reverse the pattern of cognitive function decline as one ages.

· Protect against heart disease: There is some indication that meditation can reduce concentrations of the marker C-reactive protein, which is associated with the development of heart disease.

· Stimulate the immune system: A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that mindfulness meditation increases electrical activity in the areas of the prefrontal cortex getprev-2.editthat serve a
s the command center for the immune system. When these areas are stimulated, the immune system works more effectively.

· Reduce blood pressure: The stress-boosting properties of meditation can help reduce hypertension. Researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine attribute this to the increase of nitric oxide during meditation. Nitric oxide gas can expand blood vessels and open up blood channels.

Some experts also say that meditation can decrease metabolism and improve breathing. Meditation may be a mind-body way to beat some of the conditions that affect people during daily life. Meditation is not difficult to learn, but it something that requires practice to master.


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Treating Weather-Related Joint Pain

Early spring is often marked by wind and rain that precedes the more welcoming warmth synonymous with late spring and summer.

Rainy, damp conditions may be great for homeowners looking to revitalize their lawns and gardens, but such conditions can wreak havoc on achy joints, especially for those who experience arthritis. Although there is no concrete proof to link aching joints and muscles with damp weather, rheumatologists are often asked why achy joints and muscles tend to ache that much more in damp weather.

Dropping barometric pressure, which occurs when rain is on the horizon, may cause tissues to swell. Swelling tissues in already inflamed joints can add to pain, especially if these tissues push into nerves and muscles in the area. According to a survey published in the journal Pain, two-thirds of people living with chronic joint pain believe there is a link between their pain and weather changes. Changes in humidity and temperature also may play a role, affecting pressure all over the body. Joint pain may not be the only effect, as some people get headaches as well.

While spring may be a painful time of year for sufferers of joint pain, there are steps such men and women can take to alleviate some of those aches. When rainy or cooler temperatures loom, try these ideas.

· See your doctor. If your pain is growing more severe, consult with your doctor, who may be able to develop a plan that helps you deal with the changing seasons more comfortably. Doctors may suggest chiropractic manipulation, or physical therapy or prescribe pain medications.

· Keep the body warm. Cold limbs and joints may be more prone to stiffness and pain. Dress in layers and use heating pads to combat chilly temperatures.

· Exercise painful joints. Rely on low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming, to loosen up stiffness in the body. Loosening up and stretching before any intense workouts is recommended.

Rainy weather may be in the forecast, and that can mean increased pain for those with achy joints. Working with a medical professional can help take the “ouch” out of seasonal changes.

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