Tag Archives: health

Naps: harmful of beneficial?

Are naps harmful or beneficial? This long-held debate has some research behind it that may change the way you think about naps.
Naps have been around forever. Your grandparents did it (and still do) and even your hardworking ancestors. Historians actually claim that modern day sleeping habits (i.e., 7-8 hours a night, uninterrupted, etc.) are just that – modern. They say that our ancestors would sleep 3-4 hours at a time, waking to do much needed farm, labor, and house work.
While we don’t need to wake up in the middle of night to do chores anymore, many still find themselves needing a rest mid-day. Whether due to sleep deprivation or much-needed relaxation time, naps can be both harmful and beneficial, depending how you do it.
While naps can reduce tiredness, boost alertness, improve mood, as well as improve work or school performance, they aren’t for everyone. Naps can cause grogginess upon waking and sleep problems at night, especially if you’re prone to bouts of insomnia.
That being said, there are ways in which you can nap that can boost the beneficial effects and ward off the harmful ones.
When should you nap?
Listen to your body. If you’re feeling extremely fatigued, take the nap.
Plan ahead. If you know you’ll be missing out on sleep later, plan ahead and take a nap. Your body will thank you later.
How should you nap?
Keep it short. Keep your naps between 10-30 minutes. This will help you rejuvenate quickly, without effecting your sleep later.
Find your restful place. Napping where its quiet and comfortable will ensure those 10-30 minutes are as restful as possible.
Ultimately, listen to your body. You know your body better than anyone else. Happy napping!

Dehydrated? Here’s the proper way to hydrate.

According to recent scientific studies, healthy people drink more water. Doctors and scientists have set recommendations for how much water you should drink based on your weight and activity level, which you can read more about here. But setting water-drinking goals is one thing, meeting those goals is another.
Anyone who struggles to get their daily intake of water in has likely tried a few common tips and tricks to meet their water consuming goals. Chugging a glass before a meal, before bed, and when waking up are popular antics individuals who have water goals swear by. But, according to gastrointestinal, vascular, and general surgeons, this may not be the best way to go about hydrating yourself.
According to Dr. Smith, chugging water, especially when dehydrated, can cause your body to dilute your blood, resulting in the kidney’s excreting the water quickly. This means all that water you just took in takes the fast track right back out, and you are none the closer to hydration.
Further, chugging water constantly can cause water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia. Too much water in the body throws your sodium levels out of whack, causing body cells to swell and you to feel some seriously uncomfortable symptoms such as headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and exhaustion.
Instead of risking water intoxication and wasting your water, try sipping instead. Doctors say 2-3 ounce sips at a time, is the key to re-hydration. If you do this throughout the day, you’ll still meet your water goals and retain more water than your water-chugging counter parts. Give this new water-drinking method a try and let us know how it works!

Too busy to stay fit? Try these work outs for the busy individual.

We all know staying fit is an important component in staying healthy. But between work, family, and cooking healthy meals, who has the time to devote to a fit lifestyle (let alone, drive back and forth to the gym everyday)?
According to recent research and leading personal trainers, you don’t need a ton of time to devote to fitness to maintain a fit lifestyle. There are many ways to engage in physical activity that can work around your current schedule.
The following work outs moves can be incorporated in a work out lasting 1 hour or less, are flexible enough to fit into your hectic schedule, and best of all, don’t require a gym!
Take a walk (uphill). This can be done outside or inside (incline treadmill). If you suffer from sore knees, make sure to step heel-first when you come back down the hill. And don’t forget to stretch and foam roll afterwards. This will release pressure in surrounding muscles. It won’t feel good at the time, but your body will thank you afterwards.
Try unilateral exercises. Unilateral exercises involve working out one leg or arm at a time. An example would be a one-legged reach, with or without weights. While it may not sounds like a lot, this is a great way to isolate certain muscle groups and tone them up.
Squat, squat, squat. Squats are one of the most beneficial and universal fitness movements. Proper form is extremely important when doing this move, as you need to be careful not to injure your back. Pausing at the bottom of your squat and squeezing on the way up will utilize the full power of your muscles.
Most importantly – make a plan. Before you set out for a work out, decide on a plan. What work out moves are you going to do? How much time are you going to spend? This will help you stay on track and focused so you can get back to your family and work.

How important is water intake in overall health?

You’ve heard it before – healthy individuals should drink 8 glasses of water a day. But we have questions. Why 8 glasses? How important is water in a healthy diet? And what are the actual benefits of consuming water?
We’ve done the research and found the answers to these questions.
Why 8 glasses of water?
So, is 8 glasses a magic number? Its turns out no. In fact, a new report found that the old adage was just a suggestion and not founded on any actual research.
So what does the research say? Researchers suggest a more technical approach to water intake. According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s a simple formula to calculating your individualized water intake.
Step 1. Divide your weight (in lbs) by 2.2
Step 2. Multiply that number by your age.
Step 3. Divide that number by 28.3
Step 4. Your total is how many ounces of water you should drink per day.
If you don’t feel like doing any math, the numbers come out to 13 cups on average for men and 9 cups on average for women.
How important is water in a healthy diet?
Water is essential to maintaining a healthy diet. It is considered a necessary nutrient for proper body functioning.
We lose water daily through sweat, evaporation, breathing and urination. Consuming water replaces lost water and maintains healthy levels.
This delicate balance is what keeps us hydrated. When dehydration occurs, we can feel ill, faint, have stomach upset, painful urination, and even require hospitalization.
What are the benefits of consuming water?
Maintains balance of bodily fluids. Water helps us stay hydrated and feeling good. Additionally, it helps pass food, aiding in digestion.
Controls calorie intake. Water is the healthier option over calorie-filled drinks. It can also help in feeling full, which could lead to consuming less calories through food.
Keeps skin looking and feeling healthy. Your skin contains lots of water in its cells. When you’re dehydrated, skin can appear more dry and wrinkly. Increasing water intake allows your skin cells to absorb more water improving the appearance and feel.
Helps energize muscles. Water helps ward off muscle fatigue which means more stamina during physical activity.

How important is physical activity in overall health?

You’ve heard it before: physical activity is a key factor in our overall health and well-being. But just how important is it? Is it still possible to be ‘healthy’ without it? We explore the relationship between physical activity and health below.
There has been extensive research done on the benefits of physical activity. Time and time again, we see that physical activity is directly linked to lower occurrence of illness. In fact, individuals who partake in the recommended levels of physical activity reduce their risk of premature death by 25%.
Benefits of physical activity
Feel good about yourself. Exercise not only releases endorphins which help you feel happier, it also changes your body composition. The natural mood-booster improves self-esteem and self-confidence.
Reduces the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. Physical activity has shown to be directly linked to these serious illnesses. Even adding a small amount of exercise to your routine greatly reduces your risk of disease.
Prevent and reduce weight gain. Exercise helps you lose weight and prevents weigh gain. This is great news because obesity is directly correlated to a plethora of serious diseases. Stay active – stay healthy.
Control stress levels. Getting physical is a great way to control stress and anxiety. Focus on overall health not just for your physical body but your mind as well.
How much physical activity should you aim for?
Doctors recommend 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days a week, at minimum. There should be a combination of heart-healthy cardio as well as muscle-strengthening sessions.
If you’re getting active with weight loss goals in mind, you may want to double the gym time. Experts suggest 1 hour per day, 5 days a week to aid in weight loss.
What exactly constitutes as physical activity?
Physical activity is any activity that involves you moving your body. Some people consider ‘breaking a sweat’ or an increased heart rate as the minimum requirement for activity to be considered purposeful physical activity.
Walking, cycling, housework, gardening, dancing, and playing are all considered physical activity. And of course, any cardio or strength-training activities in or outside of the gym.