Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Heavy lifting, repetitive movements and sitting at a desk all day can take a toll on your back. Get the facts about back pain at work and how to prevent it.
Whether it's dull and achy or sharp and stabbing, back pain can make it hard to concentrate on your job. Unfortunately, many occupations — such as nursing, construction and factory work — can place significant demands on your back. Even routine office work can cause or worsen back pain. Understand what causes back pain and what you can do to prevent it.
What are the common causes of back pain at work?
A number of factors can contribute to back pain at work. For example:
Force. Exerting too much force on your back — such as by lifting or moving heavy objects — can cause injury.
Repetition. Repeating certain movements can lead to muscle fatigue or injury, particularly if you're stretching to the limit of your range of motion or using awkward body positioning.
Posture. Slouching exaggerates your back's natural curves, which can lead to muscle fatigue and injury.
Stress. Pressure at work can increase your stress level and lead to muscle tension and tightness, which can contribute to or worsen back pain.
What can I do to avoid back pain at work?
You can take steps to prevent back pain and injuries at work. For example:
Include physical activity in your daily routine. Maintaining a healthy weight minimizes stress on your back. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity — preferably spread throughout the week — and strength training exercises at least twice a week. Combine aerobic exercise, such as swimming or walking, with exercises that strengthen and stretch your back muscles and abdomen.
Pay attention to posture. If you stand for long periods at work, occasionally rest one foot on a stool or small box. While you stand, hold reading material at eye level. To promote good posture when sitting, choose a chair that allows you to rest both feet flat on the floor while keeping your knees level with your hips. If necessary, prop your feet with a foot stool or other support. If the chair doesn't support your lower back's curve, place a rolled towel or small pillow behind your lower back. Remove your wallet or cell phone from your back pocket when sitting, to prevent putting pressure on your buttocks or lower back.
Minimize hazards. Falls can seriously injure your back. Remove anything from your work space that might cause you to trip. Consider wearing low-heeled shoes with nonslip soles.
Lift properly. When lifting and carrying a heavy object, lift with your knees and tighten your core muscles. Hold the object close to your body and lift it between your legs. Maintain the natural curve of your back. If an object is too heavy to lift safely, find someone to help you.
Modify repetitive tasks. Think about how you can modify repetitive tasks at work to reduce physical demands on your body. Use lifting devices or adjustable equipment to help you lift loads. If you're on the phone most of the day, try a headset. If you work at a computer, make sure that your monitor and chair are positioned properly. Avoid unnecessary bending, twisting and reaching. Limit the time you spend carrying heavy briefcases, purses and bags. Consider using a rolling suitcase.
Listen to your body. If you must sit or stand for a prolonged period, change your position often. Try taking a 30-second break every 15 minutes to stretch, move or relax. Or, stand up, stretch and change positions each time you answer the phone, make a call or do another routine task.
Address stress. Stress can make you tense and prone to injury. Use positive coping mechanisms — such as deep-breathing exercises, taking a walk around the block or talking about your frustrations with a trusted friend — to handle stress in a healthy way.
Back pain can plague your workdays and free time. You're not stuck with it, though. Take time to examine your work environment and address situations that might aggravate your back. Even simple steps to ease back pain are steps in the right direction.
Source: The Mayo Clinic
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
In early January, the gym is jammed with all of us newbies who’ve made New Year’s resolutions to get back in shape after the cookie- and eggnog-laden holiday season. But by late February, that same gym is half-empty because far too many of us have become fitness dropouts—again. To keep our momentum going this time around, we decided to pick the brain of Tom Van Pelt, the general manager of IXL Health and Fitness, which has two health club locations in upstate New York. With 25 years of fitness industry experience under his belt, Van Pelt had plenty to say on the topic.
Fit Tip 1: Don’t come out of the gate like a sprinter.
“I’d rather see you here twice a week for the rest of your life than five times a week for two months,” Van Pelt said. “Pace yourself!” He added that working out “does take time and effort, and it isn’t easy.” In the beginning, you may feel tired, so take it slow to avoid burning out.
Fit Tip 2: Set realistic goals.
Goals are wonderful motivational tools, but don’t just aim for something huge and extremely hard to achieve (say, running a marathon if you can’t currently jog more than half a mile). By all means, dream big. But also build in some smaller interim goals like saying you’ll get on the treadmill twice a week, or that you’ll run in an upcoming 5K. Then keep reassessing where you’re at and where you want to be as you progress. “Otherwise, frustration and disappointment can set in,” Van Pelt said.
Fit Tip 3: Spice it up.
You know that old saying, “Variety is the spice of life,” right? Actually, Jack LaLanne made that up (well, maybe he didn’t). If you do the same exact workout every time you exercise, before long you’ll be bored. Combat fitness fatigue by joining a gym that offers a range of classes at times convenient to you or come up with other ways to mix things up on your own.
Fit Tip 4: There’s power in numbers.
Does your gym offer group training in which a pro will work with a small group of people for a set period of time (maybe six to eight weeks)? It’s a way to get feedback and support from a trainer at a lower cost than with one-on-one sessions. Plus, Van Pelt adds, there’s the added benefit of bonding with other members whom you may become gym buddies with.
Fit Tip 5: Revel in the knowledge that you’re changing your life.
“Years ago in the industry, it was all about ‘work out, live longer,’” Van Pelt said. “Medicine will keep you alive, but working out is going to help you live better.” If you remember that you’re doing something wonderful for your body and your mind, that you’ll look and feel better, that even getting active a few times a week will make you feel more energetic, engaged, happier and even improve your concentration and sleep, it might help you lace up your sneakers on those cold, wet, rainy mornings when you’d rather roll over and go back to bed.
And if you miss a workout or two, don’t beat yourself up, just take the long view and get back to the gym.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Tip: Use Coconut Oil and substitute white potatoes with sweet potatoes. It's the healthier choice! =)
Monday, January 9, 2012
Belly fat – we all want less of it. But did you know that it may even be a problem for thin people, though they don't know it? And that some of it hides deep inside, around your inner organs, where it may pose a silent health threat if there's too much of it -- no matter what size you wear?
It's true: There's more to belly fat than your size.
Where did it come from? What's it doing to you? And what can you do about it?
Before you go any further, this is not about fat phobia. Your body needs some fat. And it's not about judging yourself or anyone else.
Instead, it's about geography -- where your fat is located -- even if you can't see it.
Location, Location, Location
Not all fat is the same. “It behaves differently in different places,” says Carol Shively, PhD, a pathology professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine. And its behavior is the key to what your fat is doing to you.
People store most of their fat in two ways:
Just under the skin in the thighs, hips, buttocks, and abdomen. That's subcutaneous (under the skin) fat.
Deeper inside, around the vital organs (heart, lungs, digestive tract, liver, etc.) in the chest, abdomen, and pelvis. That's called "visceral" fat.
Subcutaneous fat is the fat we can see, and visceral fat is the fat we can’t.
Though many people are self-conscious about the fat they can see, research shows that hidden fat -- in people of any size -- may pose the bigger threat.
Like Another Organ
Fat doesn't just sit idle. It acts like an organ that secretes substances, says Kristen Hairston, MD, who is assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
While visceral fat provides necessary cushioning around organs, Hairston says, it secretes "lots of nasty substances” that can be absorbed by the neighboring organs.
For instance, visceral fat cells release inflammatory compounds that can lead to insulin resistance and some cancers. Excess visceral fat is linked to greater risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and cancers of the breast, colon, and endometrium.
How Did I Get It?
Everyone has visceral fat -- no matter what you weigh or what size you are. As you gain weight, you gain subcutaneous and visceral fat.
Where your body stores fat depends on your genes, lifestyle factors (such as stress and whether you get enough sleep), age, and sex.
Men under 40 tend to have a higher proportion of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat than women. Women store more visceral fat after menopause.
“Everyone is going to have fat in both places, but it’s a concern for your health if it’s gone over a certain threshold,” Hairston tells WebMD.
In an obese person, the body can run out of safe places to store fat and begin storing it in and around the organs, such as the heart and the liver.
“Fatty liver disease was, until recently, very rare in nonalcoholics. But with obesity increasing, you have people whose fat depots are so full that the fat is deposited into the organs,” Shively says. “Now there is much interest in fat being deposited around the heart, as well.”
How Much Is Too Much?
CT scan or MRI is the most precise way to see where fat is stored. But there are simple – and free -- calculations that can show how you might be storing your fat.
Most experts agree that, no matter what your weight, a waist circumference over 35 inches for a woman and over 40 for a man indicates that you may have unsafe levels of visceral fat.
Source: Sonya Collins
Thursday, January 5, 2012
A home juicer machine provides users with a simple way to quickly and deliciously get all the fruits and vegetables they need each day. These machines are capable of juicing almost anything imaginable, from the expected candidates like apples and oranges, to surprising options like carrots and turnips. Not matter what you choose to juice, you will be retaining all the nutrients that make them good for you, without adding any calories or additives.
There are a few different models of juicers currently on the market, each with its own set of pros and cons. If you are looking for versatility and speed, it is always a good idea to stick with mechanized juicers. This way, the juicer will do all the work. The only thing you will have to do is feed your chosen foods into it. Each machine is capable of juicing a different set of fruits or vegetables. Some of the least expensive options are those that are only capable of producing juice from one thing, such as carrots. However, a more upmarket model of a kitchen home juicer machine may be capable of juicing just about anything you keep in the pantry.
To save even more time, and get even more nutrients our of your fruit of choice, find a juicer that does not require any preparation before the fruit may be fed into it. Some of the juicers require no peeling or coring in order to create the perfect glass of juice. Instead, the machine will handle all this work for you. Though this function can add to the total cost of the machine, it is well worth the additional investment for the time that will be saved.
Adding a home juicer machine to your kitchen appliance collection is a great way to ensure that you are getting the vitamins you need without the hassle.