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Archive for July, 2012

Do you think that your life leaves little time for exercise?

Having little time to fit exercise into your schedule cannot be used as an excuse to not keep fit when there are lots creative ways to do so. Here we look at some of the small but significant ways to add more exercise time into your life.

Finding time to exercise can be a challenge when you seem to work all of the time, not just at your job but at home as well! The good thing is that there are lots of ways to include physical activity into your day that do not involve going to the gym. If you think exercise can only take place if you make time for the gym then you need to go back to your fitness basics and relearn a few things!

What to Do:

Take your children for a walk in the park or around the neighborhood. If you prefer get out the bicycles and go for a bike ride instead (or do both!). If you have young children then take a walk with the stroller or pull them around in a wagon. In the winter months when there is snow on the ground a toboggan can replace the wagon.

Doing chores around the house will provide you with exercise and will burn calories and help to increase your metabolism. Do your dusting, mopping, sweeping and vacuuming and do not be afraid to be vigorous about it! If finding the motivation to perform housekeeping duties is not always in you then put on some music to add some enjoyment to the tasks. Before long you may find yourself dancing as you go about your otherwise mundane household chores!

Doing outdoor work can also provide you with the exercise you require. When you garden, mow and rake the lawn, clean out the garage and wash the car you expend energy doing this. For that reason you should roll your sleeves up and keep doing it. Perhaps your garden could use some weeding or your shed needs some cleaning.

Do some stretching exercises or even some light yoga moves when you are cooking supper or talking on the telephone. When you are watching television use the commercial breaks to your advantage. Instead of groaning because you hate commercials do some sit ups, push ups, jumping jacks, abdominal crunches, lunges, leg lifts or jog on the spot. This will really get your blood pumping and you will be fit before you know it!

Now no more excuses! Get to work… er … exercise!

Samantha

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It’s summer and people are taking time off. Take some time off? What is that?

If you have to ask then it has been too long for you!

Taking time off can increase your productivity and clear your head. It is not for lazy people or well off individuals but for all people, regardless of the type of work they do or how they spend their days. In fact taking time off from your job to relax and refresh and leaving the daily grind and work pressures behind is an essential element of health and well-being. We have all heard the expression, “Taking time to recharge your batteries.” This should be taken to heart instead of being ignored!

If sunny skies and the lure of the beach does not entice you to want to take a few days off and you would rather roll up your sleeves, turn up the AC in the office and sit back down in front of your computer then maybe it has been too long since you said “so long” to your work responsibilities.

Isn’t it about time you started taking care of this often neglected aspect of health and wellness? Rest and relaxation has become a much maligned activity which is a shame.

Perhaps you are one of those people who shun time off because you think it makes you look like a slacker? This is a rather large group you are in that is growing all of the time.

If you think vacations are only for those looking for life balance or for those with the luxury of stepping away from their desks, then think again. Everyone, regardless of the kind of occupation they are in needs time to refuel, recharge and unclutter their minds.

Working too much and too long without a break can actually contribute to lower productivity levels, less job satisfaction, and a loss of effectiveness at work. It can also lead to unhappiness and total life burnout! And of course health problems such as high blood pressure and heart issues.

If you have goals and want to achieve them then you need to learn when to turn off your computer and cell phone and fall off the grid for a little while. Don’t worry, modern technology will still be there as you will return!

According to the Harris Interactive Research Group in 2007 there were 438 million vacation days that Americans did not take. This number is very high and in fact it is higher than any other industrialized country across the globe. It is not surprising therefore that the United States ranks number one when it comes to anxiety, depression, stress overload and other types of mental health problems.

To refuel and refresh your jets you need to schedule time off. You schedule other things such as meetings, exercise time, personal appointments, house cleaning and grocery shopping so why not time to rejuvenate, relax and not work?

Let others know that you will be taking time off and ask others to respect that. Whether you take  three or four days off or a week or two you may be amazed at how others are willing to be understanding of your rejuvenation time.

Give it a try and see!

Becca

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Germs can be beneficial for your health. Who knew? In part I of why not all germs are bad for your health we learned that being too hygienic can actually work against your pursuit of good health. We also learned that while overuse of antibacterial products is not wise, these products do have some advantages. Here we continue our look at how good germs can equal better health.

Building up Natural Defenses:

Rather than placing the focus on killing every germ around we should instead think about how we can encourage the right type of germs to grow. This sounds weird but it is so true.

When you do your part to support the right type of bacteria to grow and thrive you develop an internal environment that allows your immune system to grow stronger.  The growth of friendly bacteria in the body offers a huge health payoff for youngsters. It means fewer stomach aches, fewer ear infections, fewer allergies to food, fewer urinary tract infections and less bouts of diarrhea. It has even been shown to fight off head colds, coughs and fevers. This is news that every mother wants to hear!

Eat the Right Foods:

One of the ways to ensure that you are getting good germs in your system is to eat foods that naturally contain the beneficial organisms your immune system requires. Start your kids on these foods early and you will help to make them stronger and less likely to get sick all of the time. Yogurt is one of the best foods around for this, as is feta cheese and pickles. Dark chocolate makes a healthy treat because it is another source of helping germs and bacteria.

There are other foods that do not contain friendly germs but do their best to nurture the right kind of environment. Examples of these foods include asparagus, garlic, onions, whole oats, whole wheat, bananas and honey. Please note that honey should only be given to children who are older than a year.

If you are not getting enough of the foods that provide you with beneficial bacteria and disease fighting germs then it might be worth your while to take a probiotic supplement to give you what you are missing. You can find probiotics at most health food stores, grocery stores and pharmacies. These supplements contain beneficial live bacteria which is good for your body. They are good for your family as well. You should not give probiotic supplements to infants any younger than six months of age.

Make Healthy Choices:

Due to the fact that germs are useful for your health you need to make smart choices in regards to your lifestyle and for your family. To do this you should keep yourself and your children away from cigarette smoke as often as possible. Exposure to second-hand smoke can kill off friendly bacteria.

When it comes to antibiotic drugs if your doctor says that it is not necessary for you to have a prescription filled then do not get one. The same can be said for the pediatrician who treats your children. When you take antibiotics the bad bacteria are killed off but so are the good bacteria. If you or any of your children must take an antibiotic for an infection or an illness then taking a supplement will restore the body’s supply of friendly bacteria.

Germs are not something to be feared but in many cases something to be embraced! Having enough good germs and bacteria in your body can yield big benefits and it does not take as much effort as you might realize. Beginning these habits early on in life for your kids can help to ensure a healthy way of life and can put them on a health path that will see them through their adult years.

Samantha

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Germs are everywhere we go. You cannot touch something, be it a door, a bathroom sink, a remote control, a telephone or a grocery cart without coming into contact with them. When you hear the word “germ” you probably cringe inwardly. While it is important to aim for a clean and healthy environment for yourself and your family you don’t want to go overboard and make it too sanitary – we can’t line in a “bubble.”

Too sanitary? Is there such a thing as too sanitary?! Can hygiene be taken too far?

Well yes, actually it can.

You see mothers everywhere caution their children to not pick up food off of the floor and put it in their mouths, to keep dirty things away from their mouths and to wash their hands. While these are all good practices to get into when it comes to germs we actually do not have as much to fear as we think we do. Germs are not the dreaded evil things that we have been taught to believe they are. In fact some of them are good for us.

Don’t Go Sanitary Crazy!

It is hard to believe but true – germs are not the enemy after all.

When it comes to germs you can go a little crazy in the sanitary department of life. While there are a few exceptions to this, overall germs are good for your health.

This is not to say that you should start getting lazy and sloppy with your cleaning habits. Keeping your environment and indeed yourself clean is important and wise but do not go overboard in your use of antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers. Kids do not need every one of their toys to be antibacterial in nature and every product you buy for your home does not have to contain the word “antibacterial” on the label.

Taking antibiotics when you know that without them you will not recover from an illness quickly is one thing but overusing antibiotics in time will kill off the microbes that the body needs. These naturally occurring substances in the body serve to fortify the immune system. This is one medical science is continuously developing new antibiotics as our bodies can grow immune to some forms of antibiotics.

Benefits of Antibacterial Products:

Antibacterial products are beneficial in some respects in that they reduce the incidence of some infections.

However they also do something that is not so good – they promote the creation of drug-resistant organisms and by so doing, weaken the friendly or good bacteria that our body has. The human body needs to be able to fight off bacteria and viruses on its own. This is how the immune system builds itself up.  A barrage of antibacterial products coming into contact with the skin can make it harder for the body to build up its own natural defenses.

There is more to share on this topic so read part II of why not all germs are bad for your health here to learn more about how friendly germs can make you a healthier person.

Samantha

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