I love Halloween. It brings out the witch in me. My husband would argue that I should put a "B" in front of that word, but I digress. LOL.
Did you know that Halloween actually used to be called Samhain and was a pagan holiday? Back in the day they believed it was a time when the "veil" between our world and the spirit world was at it's thinnest. That meant that spirits could come for a visit if they wanted. The children would dress in costumes that represented some of these spirits. If people ignored the kids, then it was believed the actual spirit would come and haunt that household. Thus the tradition of giving kids candy was born, in an effort to keep those spirits happy.
Fast forward to our time and this day has become all about the candy. I know that dentists and elementary school teachers dislike this holiday because of all the sugar. From a dentist's perspective it leads to cavities. From a teacher's perspective it leads to hyper children that cause headaches. From my perspective it is a fun holiday but like all things, moderation is critical!!
Here's a breakdown of the calories in those fun-sized treats in case you feel the urge to nibble on your little one's loot:
Sweet Tarts - 10
Jellybeans - 35
Milk Duds - 40
Peppermint Patty - 47
Nestle Crunch - 51
3 Musketeers - 63
Hershey Bar - 67
Dots - 70
Snickers - 72
Kit Kat - 73
Milky Way - 76
Heath Bar - 77
Reese's Cup - 80
Skittles - 80
Babe Ruth - 85
Plain M&M's - 90
Almond Joy - 91
Peanut M&M's - 93
Butterfinger - 100
I was sad to see some of my favorites were at the top of the list. That's okay. A bit of indulgence on a holiday is good. Just be sure you don't piss off the spirits (and your own metabolism). Happy Halloween!!
It's pumpkin season, so I thought I'd try a new recipe that incorporates this very nutritious fruit (which is actually considered a squash). There were tons of choices, but this one appealed to me because it doesn't use white flour or sugar. Plus, it's super-easy.
Shout-out to Chelsea's Messy Apron where I found the recipe (chelseasmessyapron.com) The only thing I changed was I added the flax seed for extra fiber, and I used more chocolate chips because I had a whole bag and didn't want to be shoving them in my mouth.
Health Alert: one cup of canned pumpkin only has 83 calories and 1/2 gram of fat. Pumpkins have more fiber than kale, more potassium than bananas, and are full of heart-healthy magnesium and iron.
I’m sure if there is a man in your life, I don’t have to tell you that it’s football season! We schedule our entire life around football games. We don’t even think of taking a vacation that may conflict with the timing of a game or make plans for family or friend events during the timing of a game. In my world, watching a recorded game is not the same as watching it live.
If the man in your life is anything like mine, there are several ways to handle football season. First, you can join him. My husband and I are season ticket holders for his college alma mater. I realized that if I wanted to spend any time with my husband on the weekends during football season that I had to compromise and join him. For the most part, I have lots of fun tailgating with the regulars and meeting the new visitors. We come up with some elaborate feasts for our tailgates and new drinks to try to keep it interesting. The games aren’t so bad to watch either; in fact, the more you watch the more you learn and appreciate the sport. Usually the weather is pretty tolerable too. I enjoy being outdoors and curling up under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate. I also have a great supply of hot hands and feet to keep me toasty. The other perk is that I get to shop for team attire and my husband never objects to the amount of money I spend as long as it has his football team logo on it! We also spend Sunday afternoons watching his favorite NFL team play. I make us fun appetizers and we try new beers together. We have traveled to many local away games together as well. I’ve come to enjoy the mini-vacations to the cities we travel to see our team play.
If you can’t get yourself to appreciate any aspect of football, take the time to take up a hobby or interest of your own. Research shows that time apart is healthy for a marriage. Time together sharing common interests is also very important. But if you’re not a fan of football, you’ll be much happier than begrudgingly becoming a couch potato for four hours or more for something that doesn’t interest you. Allow the man in your life his football freedom time. This is a great time to go to the gym, get a mani/pedi, go to a local event like a craft show, take a class, craft, read a book, see a movie, shop, meet up with girlfriends, take a bubble bath or a nap, or spend time with your pet that doesn’t appreciate all of the shouting at the tv! There are a hundreds of options to choose your moment of happiness.
Whether you are a football fan or not, there are plenty of ways to keep everyone happy and enjoy this season! Remember that it’s ok to spend time apart when interests are not the same and it’s great to spend quality time together when you both find a way to enjoy it.
Here's a subject that is sure to get a lot of groans: Living Wills. Yep, not many people want to think about what could happen if they become incapacitated, but it's an important part of your overall "health" and should not be overlooked.
Living wills and other advance directives are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Advance directives guide choices for doctors and caregivers if you're terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia or near the end of life. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/in-depth/living-wills/art-20046303)
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a written living will and designate someone to be your durable power of attorney (also called health care proxy) to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so! It doesn't matter if you're a young college whippersnapper with the world ahead of you (I'm talking to you Kristen!), or an old lady like me (LOL). These are our bodies, and we should be the ones to decide which medical treatments we do and do not want to be subjected to.
The advantage of having these documents is that they clearly state your wishes when you are not able to speak for yourself. Of course, you'll need to discuss the documents with your health care provider and loved ones ahead of time so that everyone is on the same page, and make sure they have a copy. If you do that, your loved ones can avoid a lot of anxiety and confusion if you are unconscious and in a coma. Remember Terri Schiavo? There was a lot of speculation about what Terri would have wanted, but no written instructions.
As some of you know, I'm a paralegal, so now is the time for me to tell you to go hire a lawyer to assist with these documents. Good advice, sure, but if you can't or won't use a lawyer, you're in luck! You can easily find tons of information online and even get forms that are specific to your state. Google is your friend, or try here: http://uslwr.com/formslist.shtm
You will find that the forms are not that difficult to fill out. So do yourself a huge favor, take an hour or so to get your forms, fill them out, discuss with your family, and then fax them over to your healthcare provider. You just never know......
When we think of occupational health hazards, an office job usually doesn't come to mind. It should. Sitting for long periods of time can wreak havoc on your body, especially if you are using a computer.
Let's look at the facts. When you sit for long periods of time your gluteals (rear end muscles) become weak because they're not being used. Meanwhile your hip flexor muscles (in the front where your leg meets your hip) get overly tight because they are kept in a shortened position for too long. Both of these translate into back pain.
As we move up the body we often find that people do not sit with good posture. Instead they hunch over their computer which tightens the chest muscles and curves the shoulders. It also pushes the neck forward which can lead to headaches. Finally, if the arm is not fully resting on the desk surface it can cause pain in the forearm and wrists.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to fight these issues. Your first line of defense is to sit at your desk with good posture. Move your computer closer and make sure you are sitting so the screen is at eye level. Consciously work to keep your shoulders and neck pulled back. Also try to keep both feet flat on the ground. instead of crossing your legs or ankles.
Next, be sure to get up and move around every single hour. If you have to set a timer on your computer to remind yourself to move, then do it. I like to get up and refill my water bottle which has the added benefit of keeping me hydrated. While you're up, do some light body movements such as swinging your arms and gently twisting from side-to-side. This will get your blood circulating. You can even take some deep breaths, which has a relaxing effect on the mind and body.
At least once a day it's also a good idea to do some stretching. You'll want to warm up beforehand so do the stretches after you have taken one of your hourly strolls. The following moves will target each area of your body that may have issues. Aim to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and be sure you're breathing throughout.
Hip Flexor Stretch (as seen in the photo below)
Stand next to a sturdy chair. Hold onto it with your right hand and step the left leg back about 2 feet. Then bend both knees and lower down until you feel a stretch in the left hip flexor. Repeat on the other side.
Stand with good posture and your feet directly below your hips. Keep your arms straight down at your sides and then slowly bring them behind your body. Try to clasp your hands behind your back if you can. If not, just keep them behind your body and feel the stretch in your chest.
Stand with good posture and your feet directly below your hips. Bring your right arm out in front of you so that it is level with your shoulder, palm facing up. Reach up with your left hand, grasp your right fingers and pull them down so that they point towards the floor. Keep your right arm still at shoulder level. Repeat on the other side.
Sit in a sturdy chair with both feet flat on the floor. Bring your right ankle up and rest it on your left thigh. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your rear.
Sit in a sturdy chair and keep your feet flat on the floor. Twist your upper torso to the right while keeping your lower body straight. Hold. Then twist to the left.
Sit in a sturdy chair and keep your feet flat on the floor. Tilt your head down and to the right as if you are trying to touch your right ear to your right shoulder. Hold. Then tilt your head down to the left.
I just read an article that daily sandwiches are not good for you. A single sandwich accounts for 1/5 of your daily sodium intake and can lead to the worsening of chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. Over half of Americans over age 20 eat a sandwich daily. That’s a lot of people stuck in an unhealthy routine.
This article challenged me to think of anything, even the things that are deemed good for us, that are good in excess. I can’t think of a single thing. Please respond to this blog if you can.
The most important concepts to think about are moderation and variety. It's easy to fall into routines that don't allow for variety. I have a friend that grocery shops for the exact same thing every week. I was often jealous that she had such a great routine that kept her shopping trips quick and efficient. Now I know that she is neglecting variety in her diet and probably not making the healthiest nutrition choices.
I, on the other hand, like to roam around the grocery store seeing what appeals to me and choose meals based on that. I very rarely have the same thing for a meal, even on a monthly basis.
Everything is good for you in moderation. Excess, in the amount of food you eat at one sitting, or excess in the form of eating the same thing daily is an unhealthy practice. Next time you go to the grocery store keep the following list in mind:
Colorful: The more colorful your food choices, the more vitamins and nutrients you get.
Fresh: For your healthiest options, shop the outside aisles of the grocery store and try to avoid processed foods.
Variety: Fill your cart with a large variety of foods, include plenty of fruits, vegetables, some lean meats, low fat milk products, and healthy, low-calorie snacks.
Portion: Gather only small portions so that you have one serving of each item for each member of your household. This allows you to avoid unhealthy portions and have more variety.
When you use these tips, you will make healthier choices a new routine in your life without giving it much thought. Make your next trip to the grocery store a fun adventure filled with new, healthy food choices.
Ever have one of those nagging problems? You know what I'm talking about. The kind that keep you up at night, tossing and turning, trying to figure out what to do. Ugh! Problems are a fact of life and studies have found that people who tackle them well tend to be healthier and more successful.
So how do you tackle problems? I teach the Wise Choice Process (by Skip Downing) in my College 101 class. It consists of 6 steps:
Step One in dealing with a problem is to identify the specific issue that you want to change. This may seem easy but sometimes you have to look below the surface to figure out what's truly bothering you. For example, you may be upset that your husband never helps out around the house. When you take the time to think about it, you realize that you don't really care about those dirty dishes. Instead you care that he seems to be taking you for granted.
Step Two is determining how you would like the situation to be. In the above example, you may wish that your husband thanked you more often or emptied a dishwasher once in awhile to show his appreciation.
Step Three is where the real work begins. Here you have to make a list of all the possible actions you could take that would help you reach your goal. Again, in our scenario this could be having a conversation with your husband, dropping subtle hints, silently fuming, or stopping all housework on your part until he gets the message.
Step Four involves trying to figure out the likely outcome of each choice in step three.
Step Five requires you to choose which option you're going to try...then you go for it! In our example the best option seems to be sitting down with your man and having that talk.
Step Six is where you assess what you did and whether or not it worked. If it did then you have solved the problem!!
As you can imagine, when I teach this to 18 year old students they roll their eyes and look bored. Ah, youth! I can personally attest to the fact that this works. You may not try it on a small problem but it is worth the effort on those big whoppers that keep you up at night. Good luck!!
I love Chinese food. I always thought it was good for you too. I mean, come on, what's bad about vegetables and rice? Then I found out that most Chinese food is loaded with sugar, salt, and saturated fats. No wonder I love it so much!
What's a fit and fearless woman to do? Find a healthy alternative, that's what! The following recipe is one of my go-to's when I need something quick and easy to make during the week. The best thing about it is you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand, and within 10 minutes you've got a tasty meal.
You will need:
1 pouch of precooked whole grain brown rice
3 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
1 Tbs sirachi (only use if you like spice)
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
10 ou medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 1/2 cup egg whites)
1 1/2 cups pea pods
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/8 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Microwave the rice for 90 seconds.
Combine the soy sauce and sirachi in a large bowl.
Combine 1 tsp oil and shrimp in a medium bowl and toss to coat.
Heat a wok over high heat and stir fry the shrimp for 2 minutes.
Add shrimp to the sauce mixture and toss to coat.
Add 1 tsp oil to wok and scramble/cook eggs until set (about 45 seconds). Add to the shrimp.
Add 1 Tbs oil to wok and stir fry the rice for 4 minutes. Add the rice to the shrimp.
Add last 1 tsp of oil to wok. Stir fry the veggies, salt and garlic until cooked. Mix everything together and serve.
I hope you enjoy this as much as Jim and I do!
Jim is out of town on a boy's golf weekend. I decided that was no reason to skip our Sunday morning family ritual. So I got up and had a lovely blueberry muffin and cup of tea for breakfast. Then I slapped on the hiking boots, harnessed up the puppy, and headed to the park.
Safety is always going to be our primary goal in this blog and today was no exception. I chose a park that I knew had a lot of Sunday morning walkers. I also took along my high-powered mace, my cell phone, and my extremely protective dog. We women can never be too careful!
As we walked I kept a sharp eye out for fall leaves. Liza and I are getting ready to do a crafting project and have been slowly collecting leaves. I'm not quite sure what we're going to be doing with them (she's the crafting guru, not me), but I know that orange is the elusive color of the season. So Scoob and I quietly walked and looked for orange leaves.
30 minutes later we reached our turnaround point and I had a fistful of leaves. In spite of not finding any orange ones, I still felt very relaxed and at peace with the world. It made me realize that I had just done a walking meditation.
What's that, you ask? A walking meditation is where you walk and concentrate on one thing to the point where you shut down everything else. It's recommended for folks who can't sit still to do a more traditional meditation. If done correctly it will help you to relax and find inner peace.
If you think you might like to try one, be sure to choose a safe location. Then focus your mind on one thing. Some options are to count your steps, tune into one sense (such as sound), or think of the word "in" as your breathe in and "out" as you breathe out. Don't beat yourself up if your mind begins to wander. Just refocus on your object and continue walking.
I've been meditating for several years now and am getting quite good at hitting that inner state of peace. However, I had never really tried a walking meditation before. As Scoob and I made the turn, I decided to experiment even more. The fall season in Ohio is quite lovely so I decided to focus on all of my senses. I breathed in that lovely fall air and noticed all of the gorgeous colors. I also listened to the sounds of the wind and the birds and touched the dew on the leaves. It was such an enjoyable experience that I extended our hike and did a side loop trail as well. By the end, Scooby and I were both pleasantly relaxed.
It was an a-ha moment for me. I love meditation and found another way to practice. I urge you to give it a try and see if it can benefit you as well!
It’s a couple of days prior to your cycle and you start to notice the discomfort. Then it’s confirmed...your monthly menstrual cycle has begun. Only then does the full blown cramping, throbbing, and misery ensue. The medical term is dysmenorrhea, but no matter what you call it, if you suffer from menstrual cramps you’re miserable! Some women have a mere annoyance to the monthly reminder of our female gender. For others, dysmenorrhea can be debilitating for a few days.
Cramps occur when your uterus contracts to shed the unused lining. Severe cramping occurs when the uterus contracts so strongly, that it cuts off blood supply and oxygen delivery to the uterine muscle; much like a heart attack. Contractions are only temporary, so the disruption of blood and oxygen flow to the uterus is only temporary and therefore does not cause permanent damage.
There are two types of dysmenorrhea, the first is primary. This is the one that most women fall into. These are cramps that occur a day or two prior to your cycle and end a couple of days into your cycle. The younger you are the more intense your menstrual cramps tend to be. Often after childbirth, the symptoms are greatly reduced or even eliminated!
The other type of dysmenorrhea, called secondary dysmenorrhea, is caused by the reproductive organs. Those who suffer from secondary dysmenorrhea have a more prolonged and severe course of cramps. Women who suffer from menstrual cramps to the point that they are interfering with activities of daily living or missing work should be evaluated by a gynecologist. For most there is treatment. Common causes of severe menstrual cramps are endometriosis (tissue that normally lines the uterus is found outside of the uterus), uterine fibroids (non-cancerous tumors that grown inside and outside of the uterus) and PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease in which an infection spreads from uterus to other reproductive organs). These medical conditions can be treated or at least medically managed.
Now that you know why you are in misery, let’s try to explore some helpful tips to ease you through it. Over the counter medications are very helpful if started early when the cramping first begins. If OTC medications don’t work, see your health care provider for a prescription pain medication. Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) have also been proven to reduce menstrual pain.
Non-pharmacological interventions include rest, apply a heating pad to your lower abdomen or lower back, curling up with a pillow against your lower abdomen, and breathing exercises to help relax. It is also important to avoide caffeine, salty foods, smoking and alcohol as these can all cause worsening of your cramps. Research has shown that women who exercise routinely also have less menstrual cramps. So try to make it a part of your normal routine. Exercising during your menstrual cycle is safe and helpful as well.
Until you have completed menopause or undergone a hysterectomy, you will continue to be burdened by menstrual cramps as a monthly acknowledgement of womanhood. You do not have to suffer throughout this time frame. Get exercising, eat right and think positive! Remember that you have wonderful resources to help you along the way, including your health care provider!
Do these scenarios sound familiar? You walk into a room and forget why you went in there. You need to pay bills but can't find your glasses. Someone asks for your phone number and you can't remember the last 4 digits. You sit next to the same woman in class, but you forget her name.
If so, you could be suffering from a muddled memory. We all get it from time to time and it's usually caused by stress, a hectic schedule, and too little sleep. Sadly, memory loss is also associated with the normal aging process. That doesn't mean you can't fight back! Here are some tips to help your memory:
Try some of these tips and you should see an improvement in your memory. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find my keys.
I get it. Really, I do. You're busy, and the last thing you want to think about is adding more exercise to your life.
But you know as well as I do that exercise can make a HUGE difference in your life. Studies have repeatedly found that adding even a small amount of movement to your day can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other medical issues.
Hard to argue with that, isn't it?
So I've put together a list of ways that you can easily add more movement to your day. You've probably seen most of these before but it's always good to have a quick reminder! Please leave a comment if you have additional ideas.
It's midterm week. For me that means relaxing in the classroom, sipping my coffee, and watching my students take a test. For them it means sheer panic. Tests can be stressful, and I have learned over the years that most people are ill-prepared to cope with stress.
So what is this ugly little S word? Basically stress is anything that puts a demand on us. We then react in various ways including an increased heart rate, shallow breathing, increased blood pressure, tense muscles, and anxious or panicked thoughts. Some people are under stress so much that they get used to it and forget how to relax. They also tend to develop chronic cardiovascular problems or other health issues. Not good!
Learning how to effectively cope with your stress will go a long way in keeping you healthy. Stress is a subjective thing; what stresses you out may not even bother another person. How we cope with stress is also very subjective. Below is a list of potential methods you can try:
As you can see, coping with stress involves either letting the tension out or escaping for awhile. I do want to caution you that the escape techniques can become a problem if you use them too much. Like most things in life, moderation is the key.
So how do you cope with stress? I would love to hear other methods so please feel free to comment.
When I used to operate a home daycare, I served chicken nuggets once a week because they were such a crowd-pleaser. I bought the frozen kind that are supposedly made from all white meat, but I always felt a bit guilty because I knew there were tons of preservatives in them.
Every now and then I get a craving for them, so I decided to make my own. I saw a recipe in Cooking Light that looked simple, with only a few ingredients, and less fat than the commercial nuggets. I tweaked the recipe a bit, and came up with a crispy, tasty chicken tender that kids and grown-ups will love (although the kids might still have to drown them in ketchup or ranch).
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/2 Cup old-fashioned oats (better for you than regular bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese (this can be skipped to save on calories)
Pound the chicken down a bit and cut into strips.
Put oats, garlic powder, parsley, and grated cheese into a food processor and blend about 30 seconds--they should still be a bit coarse.
Spray both sides of chicken with the non-stick spray, then dredge in oat mixture. Put on cookie sheet coated with non-stick spray, and bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 20 minutes, turning at least once, until browned.
Enjoy with your favorite (low-cal) dipping sauce, or chop up and put on salad.
There are many areas in our life that affect our health, but one that often gets overlooked is finances. It doesn't matter if you have a large savings account or are living paycheck-to-paycheck, the stress of money management can have a negative impact on your health.
This is not a money blog, and we're not financial advisers. But we can give familiar tips and suggestions to help get you thinking about this important part of your life. It's very likely that none of this information will be new to you, but sometimes reading about it a third or fourth or fifth time helps the message finally sink in.
Today's topic: awareness. We devote a lot of time to our romantic relationships, and our physical health. But many women don't pay attention to their financial health, and that's a mistake. The simple act of being aware of your spending habits can make a big difference in your bank account. How much did that mocha latte cost? What about those 2 new apps that you just downloaded? Sure, it may be just a few dollars here and there, but the little things really do add up.
When you are truly aware of how much you are spending, you can make informed decisions about where your hard-earned cash should go. Some people have a strict budget and log every penny they spend. Some put cash in envelopes each payday and when it's gone, they stop spending. It doesn't matter what method you use; what matters is that you PAY ATTENTION and adjust your spending accordingly.
You may discover that you're comfortable with drinking away $25-$35 of specialty coffee each week. Or you may decide to skip the coffee and put that money toward a nice dinner and movie with your sweetie each month, or a new pair of shoes that you've been eyeing.
I know what you're thinking. Osteoporosis is an old lady disease. I used to think the same thing until I started doing research for my next book. That's when I realized this disease affects females of all ages, and even some men as well.
Let's start with the basics. Osteoporosis is a progressive loss of bone that can eventually lead to fractures, pain, and disfigurement. When I was a social worker I had a few clients with this disease and I still remember their suffering. One woman sneezed and broke her arm. Another was hunched over, and was in a lot of pain. Ladies, this is NOT a disease we want to get!
So how can you prevent it? Through nutrition and exercise. Both should start at a very young age. If you are a parent or grandparent with girls in the family, make sure they are getting enough calcium, vitamin D, and activity. These will help to lay a base of bone that they can carry into adulthood. Most females reach their peak bone mass level at age 17 or 18.
From the age of 18 on, all you can do is work to keep what you've got. Again, adequate calcium, vitamin D, and exercise will help. Calcium is found in all dairy products as well as leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts, and fortified products. If you hate dairy foods or cannot tolerate them, try almond milk or soy instead. You need calcium because it is a major building block in your bone.
Vitamin D is trickier. Our body produces it when we are exposed to sunlight. However, if you use sunscreen (and you really should) or live in a colder climate (like Ohio) then chances are good that you are not getting enough sunlight for this process to occur. What's more, the only really good food sources of vitamin D are fatty fishes such as tuna and salmon. It is also found in egg yolks. Since we tend to eat less of these foods, you might want to consider a supplement for this nutrient. Vitamin D is important because it helps calcium to be absorbed and used by the body.
Exercise is your final defense against osteoporosis. Weight-bearing cardiovascular activities such as walking, jogging, dancing, and jumping rope all place a load on your bone. This causes it to rebuild and maintain itself. If you are extremely slender and small-boned, you may have to add a weighted vest to reap the benefits of these activities. Lifting weights has also been shown to help maintain your bones.
Did you know that 80% of people with osteoporosis are women? The reason for this is we statistically have smaller skeletons than men. We also use different hormones to protect our bone mass. In our case the hormone is estrogen and it begins to decrease in our bodies in our 40's. By the mid-50's most women have gone through menopause and have very low estrogen levels. This time period (the first 5 years of menopause) is when we lose the greatest amount of bone mass in our lives.
Men use testosterone to protect their bones and their levels stay relatively high well into their 70's. Most men get osteoporosis because of other factors such as alcoholism, smoking, or long-term steroid use.
Osteoporosis is a silent disease. You usually don't know you have it until your first bone fractures. Why put yourself through such pain? Exercise and eat to prevent this health problem!!
Volunteer work: many of us want to help. The problem is we either don't have the time or we don't know where to go. Soon our good intentions are forgotten and we're back to doing nothing.
It's time to change all of that! Did you know that volunteer work actually improves your health? Researchers have found that it does all of the following:
Add to that the obvious benefit of helping your community and you now have some wonderful motivation to get involved. This is important because when we're motivated to do something, we're more likely to find the time to do it.
So where do you go? You can start with your church or local community center. They often post when volunteers are needed. There are also some great websites that post volunteer jobs. One that I use quite often is www.volunteermatch.org. When you sign up on this site, it emails you when there are volunteer jobs in your area. You can even choose the types of activities you are willing to do.
That is particularly important in staying motivated. You don't want to sign up for a job that you will hate doing. Try to find volunteer activities that match your own particular skills and interests. For example, I love to write and sometimes type up the bulletin for my church. I am also a neat freak and enjoy organizing things. Therefore, I help out at the local soup kitchen by stocking food and arranging the shelves.
That reminds me, another great way to motivate yourself is to make it a family event. Sign up for an activity that the entire family can do and enjoy. My husband is strong and he sometimes comes with me to the soup kitchen. We use his muscles to lift all the heavy boxes and carry in the heavy beverage containers. It's something we can do together and talk about, which in turn makes us closer.
Volunteering is a wonderful thing you can do for yourself and the community. What are you waiting for? Get out there and start helping!!
We women instinctively know the value of a good girlfriend. They make us laugh, cry, eat too much, and they're there for us when we need them. They also tell us when our jeans are too tight or the guy we're dating is a loser. Yep, girlfriends rock and there is a lot of research out there that backs up this claim.
Here are some of the health benefits of a good friendship:
I urge you to pick up the phone and call a close friend today. Or text them and schedule a lunch. We tend to spend most of our free time with family but there is also room in our lives for friendships.
FYI - Mary is my sister but also my best friend. Liza has become a wonderful friend as well. How cool that we all write this blog together?!!
Just a little brag about my sister. She was interviewed about her new eBook. You can check it out here: http://womanontheedgeofreality.com/2014/10/09/meeting-nancy-golinski-author-of-exercise-your-way-to-a-happy-hysterectomy/ . I'm very proud of her!
The world has always known that dogs play an important part in our lives. The role of the dog has certainly evolved over time. Previously the primary role was that of a working dog. Dogs were used for many centuries for chores; specifically hunting, pulling, herding and guarding. As history has evolved, so has the dog’s role. In today’s society, dogs are still used for working purposes, but now more than ever they have a personal companionship role. The world has transformed to accommodate dogs in our lives. You can now travel with your dog, stay in a hotel with your dog and in some places, you can even take your dog to dinner.
My life has paralleled the world’s evolution. I grew up on a beef farm with working dogs. On the farm, dogs were strictly working or hunting. I got my first pet dog, Bauer about a year and a half ago. I was shocked by the impact my furry little friend has on my life. The best perk of owning a dog is the health benefits! Dogs are fabulous for you, your children and even your spouse.
Of up-most importance is mental relief. No matter how bad my day is at work, I come home to a wiggle butt with a big smile and I can’t help but smile back. Instantly all frustrations melt away. When you leave your frustrations at the door, there is less conflict among the members of the household. Research supports less depression and less stress among dog owners than those who do not have dog in their life. It is important to remember the reversal as well. A dog has evolved over time from being a part of a pack. When you bring a dog into your life, they rely sole on their family for companionship and affection.
After we are reunited, we move onto the next benefit of owning a dog, physical activity. My dog expects a walk regardless of the weather. I have expanded my wardrobe for all weather conditions (great excuse to shop for new outerwear) and we are happily on our way. Prior to having a dog, I would come home exhausted from a long day of work; make an excuse not to exercise, and plop on the couch. My dog is not a fan of excuses and is pretty persistent if I try to avoid those cherished excursions. Walks are a great activity for the entire family.
Dogs are also a huge help in the social aspect of our worlds. Dogs promote conversations among those who are shy or in social isolation. Dog owners have more interactions than non-owners. I can attest to this! When I take Bauer for a walk, we stop no less than three times so that people can admire him and ask questions about him. I have met so many of my neighbors that I may have never known prior to owning a dog. This concept is great if you have an especially shy or quiet child as well.
Lastly let’s take a look at the pure medical benefits of dogs in our lives. Dogs have many talents. They can predict seizures and identify cancer. Research has shown reduced blood pressure among dog owners. People with dogs tend to take less prescription medications. Research has also shown that children raised in households with dogs have less allergies (including eczema) and asthma. Ok, let’s not forget about the men in our lives. Men who have had heart attacks live longer if they have a dog and men with dogs also have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels than those without dogs.
Overall, there are many positive aspects to bringing a dog into your life. Mental, physical, social and medical aspects are affected by the dogs in our lives and research has supported all that we already knew about “man’s best friend”. If you already have a dog, maybe this article will help you appreciate them just a little more for all the benefits they bring to us.
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