Archive for category Healthy Living

Getting Healthy Family-Style

Do you ever think that eating healthfully and working out would be easy if it weren’t for your spouse or kids? I hear different versions of the same problem all the time: My kids won’t eat fruit or veggies; I have to keep cookies in the house for them. Or, my husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy, so I have to cook two separate meals, and I just don’t have the time for it. Or, I have a young child and can’t seem to squeeze in my workouts. But there are ways to have a family and be healthy!

Check out these tips on how you can make your diet and exercise routine work with your busy life.

Level with yourself. It’s possible that if your husband or kids didn’t give you a reason to skip the gym or break from your healthy-eating plan, someone or something else would—the holidays, your schedule, or your job, for example. Why we undermine our own efforts can be a complex issue, so I recommend that you try to understand yourself a little better. In other words, know your motivations and how badly you really want to lose the weight. Ask yourself a few questions, like are there other reasons (such as stress or emotions) that cause you to go off your healthy program? Do you have a need to please other people at your own expense? Sometimes the answers to these and other self-analytical questions can tell you if you really want to do what is necessary to permanently lose the weight. Knowing yourself better leads to self-acceptance, which in turn helps to motivate you each day.

Be patient. In the beginning, your family may have a hard time giving up some of their “unhealthy” favorites, but slowly, you can expose them to healthier versions of these foods, and they should start to come around. Your taste buds have to be re-trained, in a sense, and that takes a little time.

Trick them. Sneak healthy, low-calorie foods into your family’s favorite meals. For example, if your children like omelettes, try using egg whites, or cutting back on the number of yolks you use, and toss in a bunch of veggies, like tomatoes, red peppers, even broccoli. Or, try making a batch of sweet potato French fries instead of regular fries. That way you get what you need and they get what they like.

Enlist their help. Often, getting the kids or your spouse involved in food prep or cooking can help them take more interest in your efforts to eat more healthfully. Ask them to go shopping with you, to help cook, or even let them pick that night’s meal (check out The Best Life Diet Cookbook or TheBestLife.com for some great ideas).

Get an early start. Exercise first thing in the morning. This will remove many of the excuses that can come up during the day, like your son’s soccer practice that ran late or your daughter missing the school bus.

Choose child-friendly workouts. Select an exercise that you know you’ll perform regularly. Obviously, if you have young children, it should be one that allows you to watch them while working out. For example, walk or jog with your child in a stroller or baby jogger (in general, the bigger the wheel on the stroller, the better). Or try aerobic dancing or a fitness DVD. You can do this at home, and still keep an eye on the little ones. Try to build up a library of DVDs that you enjoy, so you have a variety to choose from.

Schedule family workouts. If your children are older, or it’s just you and your spouse, it should be a little easier to squeeze in workouts. In fact, you can combine exercise with some family bonding by setting aside an hour or two each week for a family activity. Choose a time on the weekend, and plan a family outing; any activity is fair game, from a family bike ride to a trip to the farm to go apple-picking to a simple game of tag in the yard.

Don’t make excuses. Make healthy-eating and regular exercise non-negotiable. Not only will this help you stay on track, but it also sets a good example for your children. They’ll learn that taking care of your health is a priority.

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Top 10 Health and Fitness Trends of the ‘00-’10 Decade

Every decade has its share of health and fitness trends and the last 10 years brought some doozies. We renewed our relationship with carbs, invented a whole new way of exercise using our Wiis, rediscovered our abs and gave them a new name (the core) and created tons of great technology that makes it easier than ever to exercise. Check out this past decade’s top health and fitness trends – the good, the bad and the ugly.

1. Low Carb Diets

Carbs took a beating in the ’90s with the resurgence of the Atkin’s diet, which focused on high protein, high fat, and low carbs to induce rapid weight loss. In the early 00s, carbs came back into the spotlight with a host of new diets, such as The South Beach Diet and Protein Power, but with a more forgiving approach to eating carbs.

The last few years have gone even better for the much maligned carbohydrate as we realized that carbs were not the enemy. This was the decade we realized that carbs could actually be good (e.g., whole grains, fruits or vegetables) and bad (e.g., refined sugars). The high protein craze, though extreme at times, did have an upside: We’re now more aware of how food fuels our bodies and the importance of balance.

2. Exergaming

We’ve always loved our video games, but this was the decade we realized that we could play games and get fit at the same time – or at least get off the couch a little more. The introduction of the Nintendo Wii changed how we play games and even how we exercise. The interactivity of the controllers and the ability to track body movement gave us a whole new way to move and a host of fitness games like Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, EA Sports Active and EA Sports Active: More Workouts.

Celebrities also jumped on the Wii train with Daisy Fuentes Pilates and Jillian Michael’s Fitness Ultimatum 2010, both of which failed to thrill.

Who could predict that we would be balancing on virtual tightropes or juggling imaginary balls for exercise?

3. New Health and Exercise Technology

The Internet changed our lives back when Al Gore invented it, and the past 10 years has given us new technology to do everything from counting our steps to directing our workouts straight from our smartphones. Some of the best include:

Fitness Apps – With apps like iPump and iFitness we now have no excuse not to exercise.
GPS Tracking Gear – Heart rate monitors are so 90s. The latest GPS devices can count your calories, map your location, track your stats and make you breakfast.
Body Monitoring Devices – The popularity of pedometers surged in the past few years and we’ve seen even more devices such as the Philips Activity Monitor and the BioTrainer to track everything from sleep patterns to physical activity levels.

4. Dancing Away the Pounds

The popularity of dancing for exercise comes and goes (remember the line dancing craze in the 90s?) and this decade we caught the bug once again. Spurred by the surprising popularity of Dancing With the Stars and our desire to make exercise less like work and more like fun, a wealth of new workouts and classes popped up this decade to help us dance away the pounds. Some of the stand outs include:

Cardio Striptease – Striptease went mainstream this decade, prompting numerous women to ask one another, “Are you going to pole dancing class tonight?”
Zumba – This fun Latin-based dance class came out early in the decade and has gotten even more popular with a mix of dance styles including salsa, samba and merengue.

5. The Rise of the Amateur Athlete

In the last 10 years, one of the more interesting trends has been the rise of the amateur athlete, particularly beginning marathoners. Statistics tell us that around 299,000 runners finished marathons back in 2000 and almost twice as many (407,000) finished in 2007. Not everyone is thrilled with the trend, but runners all over the world are taking advantage of some of the resources we’ve created in the past decade to make it easier:

Online Marathon Training Programs mean we don’t need coaches or running clubs to train.
Finding marathons is easier than ever and there are new ones popping up every year.
Marathon training has evolved into shorter training runs, which means you don’t have to quit your job to run a marathon.

6. Exercise Gimmicks and Gadgets – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Exercise gadgets have long been a part of American culture and this decade saw its fair share of shiny new gear and gimmicks – some good and some that defy explanation.
The Good

We saw plenty of new tools for balance, stability, power and core training including:

Kettlebell Training
Balance training gear like the BOSU Balance Trainer, the BOSU Ballast Ball
TRX Suspension Training
The Bad

There was no shortage of ab equipment on late night infomercials promising everything from a treadmill-like experience for your abs to melting the fat from your waistline:

The Ab Rocket
The Ab Circle Pro
Ab Scissor
The ugly

Some of the more unusual offerings of the past decade include:

The Power Plate
3 Minute Legs
The Shake Weight
The Rock and Go

7. The Rise of the Anti-Shoe

Another interesting trend in the past decade are anti-shoes, or shoes with Masai Barefoot Technology (BMT). These types of shoes are designed to mimic walking in the sand. The sole is curved and has multiple layers, making it feel like you’re walking on an uneven surface. The idea is to activate more muscles as you walk, improve your posture and provide some shock absorption for joints. Some even promise to strengthen and tone the muscles in the glutes, hips and thighs, although whether this is actually true remains to be seen.

Other ‘fitness shoes’ like the Reebok EasyTones and Fit Flops cropped up in the last decade as well, promising us more ways to work while we walk.

8. Extreme Weight Loss

Weight loss has always been a concern and it remained in the spotlight throughout 2000s. Slow, steady weight loss was the choice for some, but thousands chose the surgical route, with more than 100,000 people opting for weight loss surgery in 2003.

Extreme diets were another popular method of weight loss and we saw a resurgence of fad diets like Master Cleanse Diet, which requires drinking a mixture of lemon juice, syrup, water and Cayenne pepper. Yum. Other trendy diets included The Raw Food Diet and The Coconut Diet.

TV shows got in on the fun with shows like The Biggest Loser, in which overweight people compete with one another to lose weight by spending hours exercising, sweating and, occasionally, puking.

9. Core and Functional Training

We’ve always been somewhat obsessed with our midsection, but the 2000s brought us a new understanding: There’s more to our abs than just the 6-pack (a.k.a. the rectus abdominis).

This was the decade we discovered our core, a collection of muscles in the torso that support our spine and keep us stable and balanced. The best part of this was that many of us moved away from our obsession with flat abs and focused more on strong abs.

Even better, we finally moved beyond boring old crunches in favor of fun, dynamic exercises like knee tucks, woodchops and planks.

10. Healthy Lifestyle Changes

One of the healthier trends over the last decade is a turn towards living a healthy lifestyle. While we still worry about our weight, more of us are concentrating on healthy behaviors that make us feel better and fit without obsessing on the scale.

Counting calories has become a way of life now that we can easily access online diet tools. We know more about portion sizes, fiber, good fats and bad fats than ever before and we’ve even learned how to read food labels.

More restaurants are providing nutritional information on their menus and even fast food joints got on the bandwagon with more salads, fruits and healthier choices. Best of all, this is the decade we started to understand that living a healthy lifestyle can actually be fun.

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Simple Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

You hear a lot about living a healthy lifestyle, but what does that mean? In general, a healthy person doesn’t smoke, is at a healthy weight, eats healthy and exercises. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?
The trick to healthy living is making small changes…taking more steps, adding fruit to your cereal, having an extra glass of water…these are just a few ways you can start living healthy without drastic changes.

Exercise

One of the biggest problems in America today is lack of activity. We know it’s good for us but avoid it like the plague either because we’re used to being sedentary or afraid that exercise has to be vigorous to be worth our time. The truth is, movement is movement and the more you do, the healthier you’ll be. Even moderate activities like chores, gardening and walking can make a difference.

Just adding a little movement to your life can:

Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
Improve joint stability
Increase and improve range of movement
Help maintain flexibility as you age
Maintain bone mass
Prevent osteoporosis and fractures
Improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
Enhance self esteem
Improve memory in elderly people
Reduce stress
So, even if you opt for small changes and a more modest weight loss, you can see the benefits are still pretty good. One study has found that just a 10% weight reduction helped obese patients reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and increase longevity.

Simple Ways to Move Your Body

You can start the process of weight loss now by adding a little more activity to your life. If you’re not ready for a structured program, start small. Every little bit counts and it all adds up to burning more calories.

Turn off the TV. Once a week, turn off the TV and do something a little more physical with your family. Play games, take a walk…almost anything will be more active than sitting on the couch.
Walk more. Look for small ways to walk more. When you get the mail, take a walk around the block, take the dog for an extra outing each day or walk on your treadmill for 5 minutes before getting ready for work.
Do some chores. Shoveling snow, working in the garden, raking leaves, sweeping the floor…these kinds of activities may not be ‘vigorous’ exercise, but they can keep you moving while getting your house in order.
Pace while you talk. When you’re on the phone, pace around or even do some cleaning while gabbing. This is a great way to stay moving while doing something you enjoy.
Be aware. Make a list of all the physical activities you do on a typical day. If you find that the bulk of your time is spent sitting, make another list of all the ways you could move more–getting up each hour to stretch or walk, walk the stairs at work, etc.
Learn about more ways to fit in exercise.

Eating Well

Eating a healthy diet is another part of the healthy lifestyle. Not only can a clean diet help with weight management, it can also improve your health and quality of life as you get older. You can use the new Food Guide Pyramid to determine how many calories you need and what food groups you should focus on or, if you’re looking for smaller changes, you can use these tips for simple ways to change how you eat:

Eat more fruit. Add it to your cereal, your salads or even your dinners
Sneak in more veggies. Add them wherever you can–a tomato on your sandwich, peppers on your pizza, or extra veggies in your pasta sauce. Keep pre-cut or canned/frozen veggies ready for quick snacks.
Switch your salad dressing. If you eat full-fat dressing, switch to something lighter and you’ll automatically eat less calories.
Eat low-fat or fat-free dairy. Switching to skim milk or fat free yogurt is another simple way to eat less calories without having to change too much in your diet.
Make some substitutes. Look through your cabinets or fridge and pick 3 foods you eat every day. Write down the nutritional content and, the next time you’re at the store, find lower-calorie substitutes for just those 3 items.

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What is Water Health Life?

Water Health Life helps the world’s poorest communities to secure long-term access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

Water Health Life provides long-term solutions including:

  • Protecting springs
    This prevents the spread of waterborne diseases.
  • Drilling boreholes
    Boreholes enable communities to collect water easily and safely using a pump.
  • Sinking wells
    Sinking a shallow well means the well is only deep enough to reach the water table. It is covered to prevent surface contamination and reduce evaporation.
  • Building toilets
    Toilets dramatically improve sanitation and reduce the spread of disease.
  • Building rainwater tanks
    Rainwater tanks allow communities to access reliable drinking water, even in times of drought.
  • Training communities in water source maintenance and sanitation
    Training is a great way to ensure improvements are sustained in the long term.

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Life, Health Insurers Investing Billions in Tobacco Companies

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that major U.S., Canadian and British life and health insurance are investing billions of dollars in tobacco company stock, Agence France-Presse reported.

“Despite calls upon the insurance industry to get out of the tobacco business by physicians and others, insurers continue to put their profits above people’s health,” said Wesley Boyd, the study’s lead author and a faculty member of Harvard Medical School. “It’s clear their top priority is making money, not safe-guarding people’s well-being.”

Tobacco use not only leads to health problems like lung cancer, pulmonary illness and heart disease, but is the leading cause of preventable deaths, according to U.S. and world health officials.

The study highlights U.S. insurance company Prudential Financial Inc., who has $246.3 million dollars invested between three tobacco companies, including Reynolds America and Philip Morris.

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Feeling Blue? Get Your Heart Pumping

Did you know that boosting your heart rate releases endorphins which can elevate your mood and bolster your spirits? So whether you’re feeling stressed out about work or feeling low despite the holidays, rev up your heart rate a feel-good high.

Just 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to rev your engine and work up a sweat. Aerobic training in intervals is one of the best ways since it really works your body in short bursts which enables you to reach higher levels of aerobic intensity in less time. For cardio trying running (either outside or on a treadmill), jumping rope, cycling, kickboxing, step aerobics, or even fast-paced dancing.
Another way to get the heart pumping is caffeine. It stimulates the cardiovascular system, which in turn can increase alertness and improve your mood. Furthermore, caffeine can improve physical performance (which is why a little caffeine before the gym can really amplify your workout) and stimulate respiration. Try taking an energy supplement that has caffeine, an energy sports drink (though be aware that many are loaded with sugar and calories), or drink some coffee in the morning to get your day started off on the right foot.

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Health and longevity depend on lifestyle

Here we need a definition of health, what is health? Many people say that first of all, there is no disease, it is true.
There are three types of disease threats to our lives, accounting for 72% of the cause of death. The first is the cardio-cerebral vascular diseases. The second is cancer, the third is a respiratory disease, in addition to obesity, osteoporosis, cholecystitis, gallstones, fatty liver, cirrhosis, depression, chronic infectious diseases, which diseases over 40 years of age is the common people, the large number and broad scope of disease, is a chronic, non-communicable diseases.
We are now almost the disease with the developed countries, but the standard of our economy is even worse than many developed countries, these diseases were not produced, due to economic reasons, and further development of our economy, not to solve the problem of disease.
Human health is not necessarily a simple issue of tonic and sports, the World Health Organization for a basic health estimates that: 15% of health depends on the genetic, 10% depend on social conditions, and 8% depending on the medical conditions, 7 % depends on the natural environment, and 60% depending on their lifestyle.

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