The HealthiHer movement aims to give women the tools they need to make such changes at home, at work or in their communities. If you’re among those struggling to take good care of yourself because of other obligations, consider how these suggestions might help.
(BPT) - If you’re an American woman today, chances are your busy lifestyle is preventing you from seeking out the regular check-ups and screenings so important to maintaining your health. And that’s true regardless of your economic status or whether you live in a rural, urban or suburban area.
So reports a recent HealthiHer survey showing that only 66 percent of U.S. women ages 30 to 60 feel “somewhat in control” of their own health, although 83 percent are happily managing the health of their families. The study, co-sponsored by Redbook magazine, HealthyWomen and GCI Health, found that a full 77 percent of women in that age group say that their job schedules prevent them from attending regular check-ups.
"Women today wear many hats — they’re wives, mothers, caregivers, employees, business leaders and breadwinners, often at the same time," says Wendy Lund, CEO of leading communications agency, GCI Health. "Even when it feels like there are not enough hours in the day, we somehow manage to integrate everything in our lives to ‘make it work’ and accomplish insurmountable tasks. And this constant juggling can come at the cost of our own health."
The good news? The survey also reveals that 79 percent of respondents see positive change as achievable. The HealthiHer movement aims to give women the tools they need to make such changes at home, at work or in their communities. If you’re among those struggling to take good care of yourself because of other obligations, consider how these suggestions might help.
* Truth: You can’t help others without caring for yourself. Why do emergency airline instructions tell you to attach your own oxygen mask first? Because you could otherwise pass out before helping others. That same principle applies to your general health; you must maintain your own energy and well-being so you can stay around to be an effective mom, wife, daughter, sister and/or friend.
* Take stress seriously. While not all stress is bad, long-term unrelieved stress can have major adverse effects on your health, reducing the effectiveness of your immune, digestive, sleep and reproductive systems. Recognize the risks, plan methods for fighting stress and carve out time for exercise, sleep, meditation, yoga and/or other remedies.
* Try online resources. An annual in-person physical is always recommended, but health issues in between check-ups can often be taken care of through online sites that diagnose issues through questionnaires or video chats — then prescribe medicine or other therapies without need of an office visit.
* Make exercise a no-brainer. As the saying goes, sitting is the new smoking. If you don’t make daily movement of some sort a priority in your life (doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of brisk exercise per week) you’re putting your physical and emotional health at substantial risk. Among other benefits, exercise can help prevent diabetes and heart disease while reducing stress, back pain, arthritis, asthma and other common ailments.
* Set health care appointments well ahead. To secure the slots that work best with your schedule, call or go online way ahead of time so you have a wider range of options. Some clinics now offer evening or weekend hours to help those with demanding daytime jobs or roles. Planning ahead, and writing each appointment in ink on your family calendar, helps ensure you’ll make your own care a priority even if your schedule ramps up.
"It isn't selfish to put ourselves first, but in all honesty, we know that will never happen, our kids will always come first," says HealthyWomen CEO Beth Battaglino. "However, can we shoot for second? This is an investment in both our health and the health of our families. Women who don't take care of themselves are not going to be around or it will affect their ability to care for their loved ones, and this survey revealed that those who don't make time to get their health screenings, like mammograms, pap tests, eye exams, blood pressure, etc., actually had more health concerns."
More women’s health tips related to the HealthiHer Movement can be found at HealthyWomen.org or Facebook. Participate in the movement by posting a photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram depicting you taking charge of your health (Use the hashtag #BeHealthiHer).
Wearable health technology first started in hospitals as a way to help people with injuries heal faster. Now, the trend has gone mainstream and pro-active; one in five online adults uses a wearable device, and the majority of those devices are health-related. Here are five wearable health devices and how you can use them to help build fitness and better health.
(BPT) - Wearable health technology first started in hospitals as a way to help people with injuries heal faster. Now, the trend has gone mainstream and pro-active; one in five online adults uses a wearable device, and the majority of those devices are health-related, according to Forrester Research.
"Americans are using a variety of wearable devices to help them reach their wellness goals," says Mike Nohilly, an expert in wearable technology for Slendertone. Once, people would have needed a doctor's visit to find out key wellness numbers like BMI or blood pressure, or needed gym equipment to monitor their heart rates while exercising. Wearable devices allow them to do all those things, and even tone specific muscle groups, at their own convenience."
Here are five wearable health devices and how you can use them to help build fitness and better health:
* Fitness trackers - If it seems like everyone is wearing some kind of fitness tracker, you're not imagining it. The top wearable of 2015 was a fitness tracker that shipped more than 21 million units last year and represented nearly 38 percent of the wearables market, according to International Data Corporation. Fitness trackers allow wearers to monitor key health indicators such as heart rate or calories burned. You can also use them to set and track exercise goals, such as walking a certain number of steps per day, or monitor your heart rate while exercising to ensure you reach a target zone.
* Pain relief braces - Worn like traditional braces, smart braces use neurostimulation sensors, built into the fabric, to ease pain with low-level electrical impulses. Wearers rely on the bands to help relieve joint pain from chronic conditions like arthritis. Some come with a smartphone app that allows you to track usage and sleep patterns.
* Ab toner - Instead of spending hours in the gym doing crunches, you can enhance your workout by wearing a piece of technology that works to strengthen, firm and tone your abs. The Slendertone Connect Abs wearable belt uses electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) to stimulate the major abdominal muscles, and can be worn and used at any time - even under your clothes. Users report visible results in six to eight weeks when used at least five days per week for 30 minutes. You can control this FDA-cleared device through an app on Android or Apple smartphones, and choose one of five goal-driven programs, from essential toning to post-natal and even advanced toning. The app also tracks and shares data on your progress. Visit www.slendertone.com.
* Sleep trackers - Getting the right amount of sleep is critical for overall health, so sleep trackers have gained popularity as aids to help people get better rest. Many types are available and some are wearable. Sleep trackers monitor such sleep metrics as REM phases, how long per night you spend in light sleep versus deep sleep, wake times, how quickly you fall asleep, what time you sleep each night and more.
* UV detector - An emerging form of wearable technology, UV detectors monitor skin exposure to harmful ultra-violet radiation - the portion of sunlight that causes sunburn, tanning and skin cancer. Multiple versions are under development, and one commercially available detector is a small patch that you wear on your skin and then scan using your smartphone that's been equipped with a special app. The app allows you to read the information recorded in the patch so you know your UV exposure, and offers tips for sun safety, including what level SPF sunscreen you should wear.
"Many health care and tech industry watchers say the wearable health care device trend is really just getting started," Nohilly says. "Technology has great potential to help make it easier than ever to achieve our health and fitness goals, whether we want to get a better night's rest, improving cardio-vascular health or get toned abs."
(BPT) - We're sitting too much and it's dangerous. The average American spends more than seven hours sitting every day, and the more time you sit, the higher your risk of serious, potentially life-threatening health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So, what can you do about it?
Fortunately, there are simple changes you can make during the day - anywhere, even at the work place - to improve your wellness and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. As part of the American Diabetes Association's(R) Wellness Lives Here(SM) initiative, the Association encourages everyone to get active for National Get Fit Don't Sit Day(SM) with these 10 tips for the workplace and beyond.
Park a few blocks away from the office each morning and walk to work.
This allows you to start off your mornings energized and ready to take on the workday. If you take public transportation, get off one stop earlier to squeeze in some light exercise before 8 a.m.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Waiting for the elevator often takes just as long as walking up the stairs, so why not use this opportunity to get your heart rate up? Plus, you'll get the chance to work your leg muscles.
Get up and move around the office once every 90 minutes.
When you're nose-deep in work, it's easy to lose track of time. Set up reminders on your phone or email every 60-90 minutes to get up and do a quick lap around the office. You can use this time to fill up your water bottle, go to the bathroom or catch up with coworkers.
Ask questions and discuss issues face-to-face.
Rather than sending an email every time you have a question, go to your coworker's office to discuss the issue face-to-face. This gives you a good excuse to get moving and a chance to more effectively hash out solutions in person.
Use your lunch break to move around outside.
So many Americans today work through their lunch break. When possible, take advantage of this time to walk outside and soak in the nice weather. Fresh air and vitamin D are often all you need to stay focused and push through the afternoon slump.
Stand up and stretch.
If you don't have time to walk around the office every 90 minutes, use the opportunity to stand up and stretch instead. Stretching is a great way to increase energy levels, reduce muscle tension and get your body moving.
Pace around the office during conference calls.
Conference calls are the perfect time to be active. Put clients and coworkers on speaker, or use your mobile phone during meetings to move around without any trouble.
Do chair exercises at your desk.
You've been wanting to tone your arms for the summer - why not achieve your goals at the office? When you need a break, do a few reps of chair sits. You can even alternate between chair exercises and push ups!
Hold standing or walking meetings.
Many coworkers will welcome the opportunity to stand and stretch their legs for a moment. If you have a two-person meeting, consider going for a walk.
Fidget when you work.
Small movements and quick exercise breaks add up, especially in a sedentary work place, so challenge yourself to stand, stretch or even tap a foot to bring motion into otherwise still parts of your day. Just remember to keep it professional!
Making a point to move throughout the day puts you on the right track toward wellness. For more ideas on how to increase physical activity and maintain a healthy lifestyle, download the Association's e-tool kit today to incorporate the principles and activities of National Get Fit Don't Sit Day into the workday and beyond.
Athletic styling continues to increase its influence on casual clothing – often referred to as “athleisure” apparel – with innovative fabric treatments associated with high-performance activewear making their way into basic apparel; even underwear. Use this info to learn more about the innovative technology that’s finding its way into everyday apparel.
Keeping Your Cool
How Sportswear is Innovating Underwear, Socks and T’s
(Family Features) Athletic styling continues to increase its influence on casual clothing – often referred to as “athleisure” apparel – with innovative fabric treatments associated with high-performance activewear making their way into basic apparel; even underwear.
Temperature-control and wicking technology that draws moisture away from skin, initially developed to keep athletes dryer and more comfortable while training and competing, can now be found in items we wear every day, including T-shirts, underwear and socks.
“Comfort is the biggest factor when choosing basic clothing, so it’s little surprise the technology that makes high-performance sportswear so appealing to athletes is being well received in casual, everyday apparel,” said Jay Turner, president of underwear, panties and socks at HanesBrands, which has introduced X-Temp, a dynamic temperature control and cooling technology, to its product lineup. “There is no such thing as too much comfort in underwear.”
After all, the gym is hardly the only place where temperatures rise and perspiration follows. Sometimes life sets the thermostat to “really uncomfortable,” especially with normal workday pressures. From interviewing for a new job, making a big presentation or dealing with a demanding boss, there are countless scenarios in the workplace that call for keeping your cool.
Fit meets function
Top brands are now incorporating this technology into their collections. For example, Champion PowerTrain T-shirts, hoodies and training pants (look for “Vapor” on the label) are made from virtually weightless fast-drying fabric that wicks moisture for sweat-free comfort, no matter what else you’re wearing and what you’re doing.
Underneath it all
“Technology continues to migrate from athletic wear to underwear as part of the athleisure trend,” Turner said. “For consumers, comfort is 24-7 and knows no boundaries.”
How it Works
Swiss company HeiQ developed a hydro functional polymer that makes fabric dynamic, enabling it to respond to body temperature and deliver both wicking and evaporation benefits. This technology turns moisture into vapor to move it away from the body, which is wicking, and it also expands the fabric’s absorbency area, so more evaporation can take place.
Simply stated, as the skin temperature increases and perspiration occurs, the fabric fibers, even cotton, respond by allowing evaporation to help keep the body cool and wicking to help keep it dry.
Comfort that Fits
To learn more about comfortable, casual clothing with the technology to meet your lifestyle needs, visit hanes.com.
(BPT) - If you spend a large portion of your day sitting, you're not alone.
Inactivity is one of the key factors contributing to the nation's high rate of obesity and its related health effects. Research shows 50 to 70 percent of people spend six or more hours a day sitting, and 20 to 35 percent spend four or more hours a day watching TV.
This type of inactivity - or 'sitting disease' - can lead to serious health conditions. For example, nearly 35 percent of U.S. adults are obese, and obesity-related conditions including heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer are among the leading causes of preventable death. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. is $147 billion. Annual medical spending on an obese patient is estimated to be $1,429 higher than it is for a person of normal weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
While those figures are discouraging, there is one easy solution that could have a profound impact.
Walking is one of the simplest, least expensive and most effective ways individuals can improve their health. It does not require any special skills, expensive equipment or a gym membership.
Below are six easy ways to incorporate more walking into your day:
1. Take a walk with a coworker at lunchtime or schedule a walking meeting.
2. Schedule a walk with the family after dinner.
3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
4. Walk to see a colleague rather than call or e-mail.
5. Get off the bus or train one stop early on your way to work.
6. Start or join a walking or hiking group.
By getting just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as a brisk walk, at least five times a week, you could realize significant health benefits. Walking has been shown to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, improve muscle, bone and joint health, maintain a healthy weight, lead to better sleep and provide a mental boost.
That's why the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association encourages individuals, groups and whole communities to take steps towards a healthier lifestyle through its WalkingWorksÂ® program. WalkingWorks, now in its 10th year, was developed in partnership with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to help Americans live healthier lives and reduce unnecessary medical costs. Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies across the country also host annual National Walk@Lunch day events as a way to promote healthy habits by incorporating walking into a busy work day.
So don't just sit there and let that warm weather go to waste. Take steps to a better you, and see how walking does work!
*Before beginning any weight loss or nutritional program or new exercise regime, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider.
For more information on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its member companies, please visit www.BCBS.com. We encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube, follow us on Twitter and check out The BCBS Blog for up-to-date information about BCBSA.
(BPT) - The dress, the tux, the guests, the honeymoon - there are so many details that go into your wedding day. All eyes are on you from the moment you walk down the aisle until the last dance of the night. Understandably so, brides and grooms often feel a lot of pressure to look their best on this important day - there's nothing like a wedding to motivate you to get serious about your health and fitness goals.
But crash diets or extreme exercise programs are never the answer. "It's usually best to start thinking about your specific goals three months before your wedding day to allow plenty of time to establish your routine and adjust to a healthier lifestyle," says Steve Bronston, certified personal trainer with Life Time, a healthy way of life company that operates more than 115 health and wellness centers nationwide. "This creates a great opportunity for the bride and groom to support each other and get in shape together."
Bronston and Life Time offer a three-month countdown plan to get you ready for the big day:
Focus on changing your unhealthy habits. Nutrition is key when trying to lose weight, decrease body fat and increase your overall health. Work with a professional to lay out a detailed nutrition plan that consists of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats at each meal. Then, begin with a fitness program that incorporates weight training and cardio intervals. Arm exercises like overhead press, tricep push-ups and bicep curls, and back exercises like rows and rear flys help brides looking to tone up for a strapless or low-back dress. Bronston suggests starting with two or three days of weight training, two or three days of cardio and one day of Pilates or yoga.
Now it's time to switch up your exercise routines. It's a good idea to work with a personal trainer or join a group fitness class once or twice a week to shake up your routine and stay motivated. Your workouts should include one to two weight training exercises per body part throughout the week. If you can, try to shift the amount of weight you use and number of repetitions you do to help stimulate change within your body. Continue a cardio routine of two to three days per week and add in another day or Pilates or yoga.
It is important to keep up with your developing healthy habits as the weeks progress, but as your wedding day approaches, you're sure to feel the stress of planning. "A new focus on rest and relaxation during this time period is key," Bronston says. You can eat well and exercise perfectly, but without sleep, stretching, rest and recovery, your body is at risk of not functioning properly.
Planning a wedding can be stressful and tiresome, but if you commit to a healthy diet and fitness plan, you'll walk down the aisle feeling confident and ready for your new life ahead.
(BPT) - The days have grown shorter and the weather has become colder. Approximately 45 million Americans are negatively affected by the change of seasons and darkening of the summer light. They experience a drop in energy, have trouble getting up, feel down, crave carbs and become irritable or withdrawn. The severity of these symptoms can range from mild, but tolerable, to severe and debilitating. It not only affects their health, but it also affects their everyday life.
The problem typically starts gradually as the days become shorter in late summer or fall, and peaks midwinter in regions where there may be just nine or 10 hours of daylight. Researchers believe these seasonal mood changes are caused by the decreased amount of daylight people are exposed to during the fall and winter months, and that sunlight acts as a signal that synchronizes our body’s circadian rhythm. When we do not receive that morning light signal, the winter blues may occur.
Numerous studies have identified several ways that can help alleviate the symptoms caused by this sunlight deficiency. Here are six tips to help you deal with the winter blues.
Get more light. Get outside during the day as much as possible. Just 15 minutes of sun on your face and hands two to three times per week is enough for many people.
Purchase a bright light therapy lamp. Patients are advised to sit in front of a specially designed light box that emits about 10,000 lux of UV-filtered white light, most often in the morning for 20-30 minutes. Bright-light therapy has been found to be the treatment of choice. The clinically-proven Day-Light Classic by Carex Health Brands or the more compact Day-Light Sky, can be found in retail stores or purchased online.
Get some exercise. Regular exercise, in the mornings, can be a natural energizer that can help maintain a positive outlook.
Watch your diet. A healthy, well-balanced diet relatively high in protein and low in carbohydrates provides the nutrients needed to stay active and alert.
Take part in social activities. Stay in touch with friends and family to avoid isolation. This might include a sunny vacation.
Get some sleep. Maintain a regular sleep schedule to keep your circadian rhythm in balance.
For moderate to severe winter blues, some people may need to seek professional help. One option often used by health care professionals is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). A trained therapist can help a person develop behavioral tools to deal effectively with the winter blues. Success rates for CBT are high and the skills learned can be utilized whenever symptoms begin to appear.
Winter blues may continue into April. If symptoms are severe, look to your doctor for help as mood changes can have a severe impact on your daily life.
(Family Features) If the idea of diving into a new year has you feeling more exhausted than invigorated, it may be time to introduce some new strategies to help keep busy days from feeling overwhelming. Proper exercise, balanced nutrition and quality rest can make it easier to adapt when life demands you give a little bit more.
Everyone’s life demands are different. Some may be looking to push through a late night workout or make it to the office for an early meeting, while others are looking to enjoy an outing to the park with their kids at the end of the day. These tips will help fuel, inspire and accomplish whatever your personal “one more” is.
Begin with a bang. With a busy day ahead, it can be tempting to rush out the door and skip breakfast. However, countless studies have shown this first meal of the day is extremely important. Skipping out on a balanced breakfast can drag you down all day, both mentally and physically. Being hungry later in the day may also make you more likely to overeat or nibble on high-calorie snacks. For those mornings when you’re crunched for time, grab a protein-rich ready-to-drink shake or sandwich with egg, cheese and lean meat to give yourself sustained energy for the rest of the day.
Work in a workout. In addition to helping ward off disease and manage your weight, regular exercise helps lift your mood by stimulating feel-good chemicals in the brain and boosts energy by helping your body work more efficiently. A combination of aerobic or cardio activity (walking, jogging or running) and muscle-strengthening activity (lifting weights, resistance training or yoga) is the winning formula, according to the most recent Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. After your workout, refuel with a rich and creamy Premier Protein Shake, available in Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberries and Cream, with 30 grams of protein, only 160 calories and just 1 gram of sugar.
Power with protein. Your body gets energy from three main sources: carbohydrates, fat and protein. Protein plays a major role in repairing damaged cells, tissues and muscle. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts and vegetables, but the best sources deliver lots of protein without a lot of fat, carbs and sugar. A protein-based snack is a good way to recharge during the day. Premier Protein 30-gram bars and Fiber Bars are smart, easy and gluten-free options that are available in an array of flavors to provide sustained energy with fiber, calcium and protein to help curb hunger.
Keep up on sleep. Quality sleep – and an adequate amount of it – is critical to your overall wellbeing. While you’re sleeping, your body is hard at work healing and repairing from the day, as well as regulating your hormonal balance and protecting your immune system. At the same time, your brain is also recharging to help your mental function, including learning aptitude, problem solving and emotional health. Most adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep for optimal performance.
Visit premierprotein.com to learn how you can get the sustained energy to help you accomplish “one more” thing each day.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
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