Six things you need to avoid before heading to bed

Six things you need to avoid before heading to bed.

Do you find that a good night’s rest is getting harder and harder to come by? Maybe it takes you hours to fall asleep or you wake in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep. Perhaps you’re one of the millions who suffer from sleep apnea or another sleep disorder that’s preventing you from reaching deep, restorative sleep cycles. Or maybe you just stay up too late and skimp on sleep.

Regardless of why you’re not sleeping well, quality sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining the health of your mind and body. You hear suggestions about things you should do before bed like taking a hot bath, reading a book, and keeping the lights turned down low, but what things should you not do before bed if you want to sleep soundly? Keep reading to find out.

Don’t Drink Coffee

A cup of coffee after dinner is a nice routine, but it may be keeping you from enjoying restful sleep. Even though you may drink coffee hours before turning in, caffeine stays in the body up to 12 hours. For some people, a cup of coffee in the early afternoon is still too close to bedtime. And don’t think you’re safe with decaf coffee. Some decaf coffees contain up to 20 mg of caffeine. Coffee’s not the only source of caffeine that may be hindering your sleep. Watch out for tea, soda, and chocolate as well.

Don’t Use Screens

You’re surrounded by screens all day, every day, from your smartphone to the television to tablets, e-readers, and computers. It’s hard to imagine life without them, but in the hour before bed, it’s smart to turn them completely off. Electronic devices emit blue light, which slows the body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that induces sleep. If you must be on a screen, turn down the brightness of the screen, turn off the blue light if possible, and hold the screen at least 14 inches from your face.

Don’t Eat a Big Meal

Don’t plan to go to bed right after dinner or if a craving hits, don’t raid the kitchen for a big snack on your way to bed. Being uncomfortably full makes it difficult to fall asleep. Fatty, greasy, or spicy foods are especially risky to eat before bed, as they increase the risk of acid reflux or nightmares. Instead, make it your routine to eat dinner at least two hours before bedtime. If you feel hungry later on, eat a small healthy snack.

Don’t Drink Alcohol

A glass of wine before bed sounds like a relaxing way to end the day, but drinking alcohol before sleep can backfire. It may make you feel sleepy, but when you do fall asleep, having alcohol in your system can shorten your restorative REM sleep. As a result, you may wake up in the morning still feeling tired. In addition, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning you may wake in the night needing to use the restroom.

Don’t Have a Heated Discussion

Stress is a major contributor to insomnia. When stressed, your cortisol levels are elevated, your adrenaline is pumping, and your mind can’t shut off. To help ensure a restful night’s sleep, avoid heated discussions or serious conversations before bed. Wait until the next day after you’ve rested and cooled off to bring up big decisions or conflicts.

Don’t Text

How many times have you just fallen asleep only to be rudely awoken by your text tone? Be smart and don’t text a friend, or especially a group of friends, before bed. If you sleep with your phone nearby, be sure to turn off all notifications before lying down for some shuteye.

 

 

 

 

 

Can Diabetes be Reversed? Is such a thing possible?

Can Diabetes be Reversed? Is such a thing possible?

A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is a hard pill to swallow. A lifetime of finger pricks, medications, insulin injections, and a constant and close watch on your diet is hard for anyone. With no cure for diabetes, is there any hope?
Studies show there may be a way for some people to reverse a lifetime of living with type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, diabetes is no longer thought of as a progressive disease, which means that with the right lifestyle changes you may be able to go off medication, prevent further health complications, and still be able to manage your symptoms. Could you be a candidate and are you up for the challenge? Keep reading to see what’s involved.

Diabetes Defined

Your pancreas is responsible for producing a hormone called insulin that is released when you consume foods that make your blood sugar rise. Insulin works to transfer sugar from your blood into your cells, where it’s used for energy.

Type 1 diabetes normally develops during childhood and is not associated with diet or weight. The pancreas produces little to no insulin, so regular injections are necessary. There’s no cure for this type of diabetes, it can’t be reversed, and the symptoms match those of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes typically develops later in life. With this condition, the pancreas no longer produces enough insulin or your body becomes resistant to insulin, causing glucose levels to rise in the blood. People with type 2 diabetes must keep a close watch on their blood sugar levels and take medication or insulin if necessary.

Restoring Balance

Three of the best ways to manage the symptoms of diabetes are also the ways you can possibly reverse the condition. Studies show that healthy eating, exercise, and weight loss may be able to restore healthy insulin and blood sugar levels. Whether or not you’re able to reverse type 2 diabetes will depend on how long you’ve had the condition, the severity of the disease, and your genetics.

People who’ve had diabetes for less than a few years typically have the best success at reversing it. Because body fat has a big influence on insulin production and how the body processes it, weight loss offers your greatest chance of reversing type 2 diabetes. Some people can lose enough weight through a serious commitment to diet and exercise, with some finding the most success through weight-loss surgery.

A New Eating Plan

Your diet has the greatest influence on your weight and blood sugar, so making changes to what you eat is your first priority. Work with your physician or dietician to make a diet plan. Your initial priority is to reduce the number of calories and carbohydrates you eat. Include healthy fats, a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume and avoid junk food and sweets.

Get More Exercise

Besides your diet, exercise is the second piece of the puzzle for losing weight and reversing your symptoms. Thankfully, you have a trainer at your disposal who is ready to develop a workout routine that’s safe and effective for your condition. Be sure to check your blood sugar levels before, during, and following your workout. If you’re new to exercise, start out slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Walking is a great place to start. Your trainer may also include other low-impact exercises that may include swimming, cycling, or the elliptical, all which are great for overweight people with weak joints.

Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. More exercise may be necessary to see the results you desire, but don’t give up. Your journey to health is a marathon, not a sprint. With the long view of your health, diabetes may one day be in your rearview mirror.

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc. 
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The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Is intermittent fasting something you should try?

Is intermittent fasting something you should try?

You’re used to eating three meals a day with a couple snacks somewhere in between. But this eating pattern hasn’t always been the norm. Before supermarkets and refrigerators existed, people ate when food was available, which wasn’t always at set times of day. Major religions including Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity recommend fasting for various spiritual reasons, but there may be other perks.

Studies show there may be health and fitness benefits by changing the time food is eaten and the amount of food eaten. Intermittent fasting is currently a popular trend in the world of weight loss. Could changing your eating pattern help you lose weight and improve your overall health? Keep reading to find out.

What Is It?
The word intermittent means, “occurring at irregular intervals, not on a set schedule.” Often used to refer to unsteady rain, intermittent can also be used to describe eating habits that alternate between times of eating and periods of fasting. Unlike your typical diet plan, there are no rules about what you should eat, only when you should eat it.

How Is It Done?
There are different methods of intermittent fasting from which to choose. You can either fast part of the day or part of the week. While fasting, you eat very little food or no food at all, but you can still drink water, coffee, or tea. When you do eat, you’ll want to eat healthy foods and not to overeat to compensate for your period of fasting.

The 16/8 method (also called the Leangains protocol) is the most popular type of intermittent fasting and involves setting aside eight hours during the day when you can eat and fasting for the other 16 hours. This may mean skipping breakfast or not eating anything after dinner.

Another way of fasting is to not eat for 24 hours once or twice a week. This type of fasting is more difficult, especially for beginners, but is still do-able if you’re committed. On the 5:2 or Fast Diet, you eat a normal amount five days a week, but on two non-consecutive days you reduce your intake to no more than 600 calories.

On the Warrior Diet, you fast during the day and eat a large meal in the evening. Small amounts of fruits and vegetables are allowed during the day.
Another fasting option is to skip meals when you are too busy to eat or aren’t that hungry.

The Results
While diets that call for prolonged, extreme calorie restriction are unhealthy and will ultimately slow your metabolism, there seems to be evidence that occasional fasting provides positive health benefits. Studies are ongoing, but intermittent fasting may make you more sensitive to insulin, lower your insulin levels, increase your levels of the human growth hormone, help repair cells in your body, and make your genes less susceptible to disease. It may reduce high blood pressure, bad LDL cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high triglycerides; help prevent cancer; and even help you live longer.

By eating fewer meals, you consume fewer calories and lose weight. Hormonal changes that come as a result may increase your metabolism, which helps burn more calories. This combination can lead to fast weight loss. Intermittent fasting may also be an effective way to lose stubborn belly fat.

Considerations
Healthy people should have no problem with intermittent fasting. Unfortunately for women, they may not have the same results with intermittent fasting as men. Because of the hormonal changes that may occur with fasting, women should proceed with caution. Underweight people, pregnant or nursing women, women trying to conceive, children, or people with a history of eating disorders should not fast at all. If you have a health condition or are on medications, talk with your doctor before fasting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc.
Powered by FitPro Magazine™. Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

Repetitive motions can lead to wear and tear of your joints and painful injuries.

Repetitive motions can lead to wear and tear of your joints and painful injuries.

They’re common among people who do jobs that require repetitive motions such as typing, working on an assembly line, or painting. But repetitive-motion injuries aren’t confined to the work world. They’re also common in athletes, with more than half of all sports injuries being caused by repetitive motions. Injuries are then made worse by the movements required by daily life. Even getting dressed in the morning can become a dreaded chore for someone with a shoulder injury.

What are repetitive-motion injuries, how are they treated, and can they be avoided? Keep reading to find out.

Many Names

Repetitive-motion injuries go by many names: repetitive stress injuries, overuse syndrome, repetition strain, or cumulative trauma disorder. No matter the name, they’re all caused by the same thing: repetitive motions with little rest in between. Performing the same movements over and over can lead to acute or chronic injury to any muscles, ligaments, tendons, or nerves involved in the motion.

A few of the most common types of repetitive motion injuries include tendinitis, bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff injury, and tennis elbow. Overusing a part of the body causes tiny tears in the tissue. Without time for the body to heal (because the motions keep happening), inflammation and pain set in.

Now What?

You’ve been noticing worsening pain, but you don’t remember suffering a specific injury. Most likely the increasing pain is the result of repetitive motions. Before calling the doctor, you may want to try some home-care remedies. Rest the joint or part of the body for a few days, and avoid any activity that causes pain. If possible, spend time each day elevating the problem area. Apply an ice pack two to three times a day for 20 to 30 minutes.

Call your doctor when home-care doesn’t work or when you’re suffering from unexplained pain, joint tenderness, warmth or redness around a joint, pain that interferes with normal daily activities, or pain that interrupts your sleep. Seek immediate medical care if joint pain is severe or is accompanied by fever, nausea, or vomiting.

Treatment

The form of treatment for a repetitive motion injury will depend on the type and severity of injury. In addition to your home-care treatments, you may be advised to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Your doctor may also give a steroid injection to the problem area to speed healing. Moist heat, topical pain-relieving creams, specially designed bands or splints, or physical therapy to restore range of motion and strengthen the problem area are also commonly recommended.

Injury Prevention

The best repetitive-motion injury is the one that never happened. Take steps now to prevent injury. When exercising, always start out with a warm-up and end with a cool-down to give your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments time to adjust. Spend time performing range-of-motion exercises that work all parts of your body, and be sure to get adequate rest between challenging workouts. If you have a weak spot, use proper equipment designed to limit stress on a particular area.

In the workplace, sit and stand with proper posture. Make sure your chair supports your lower back, place your feet flat on the floor, and sit with your thighs parallel to the floor. Try to avoid crossing your legs. Keep your computer screen at eye level and use a headset when talking on the telephone. Finally, take frequent breaks and stand up, walk around, stretch—especially those muscles that you use repetitively, or march in place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Does the cold weather have you feeling tight? Try this simple stretching routine for increased flexibility

Does the cold weather have you feeling tight? Try this simple stretching routine for increased flexibility.

 

Many people overlook the importance of flexibility, but a balanced fitness routine includes cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Stretching isn’t only for gymnasts and runners. It’s for all who want to keep their muscles strong, lean, flexible, and free of injury. Being flexible also improves your range of motion, circulation, balance, and coordination. That’s a lot of perks!

Fitness experts agree that flexibility exercises should be done on a regular, if not daily, basis. With more than 650 different muscles in the human body, it can be hard to know how to effectively stretch. The most important muscles to stretch include your hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, and quadriceps. It’s also smart to stretch your neck, shoulder, and lower back. Remember, flexibility doesn’t happen overnight. Stay committed to your routine and over time you’ll see improvements.

Stretched Hamstrings

Your hamstrings are the muscles along the back of your thighs. To get an effective hamstring stretch, sit on the floor and straighten your legs out to either side. Lean over and reach your hands toward your left foot as far as you can go without pain. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Sit up, reach toward your right foot, and hold.

Extended Calves

To stretch the muscles that run along the back of your lower legs, do the lunging calf stretch. Stand in front of a wall, extend your arms, and place your hands against the wall. Step your left foot back, slightly bend your right knee, and lean into the wall. Keep your left leg straight and press your left heel down toward the ground. The greater the distance between your feet, the more you’ll feel the stretch in your calf. Hold the stretch and then switch legs.

Flexible Hip Flexors

Your hip flexor muscles are found at the top of your thigh. Aiding in walking, bending, and twisting, it’s important to keep them limber. To stretch your hip flexors, kneel on your right knee on the floor and bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle in front of you. Keep your back straight and place your hands on your left knee. Lean forward, squeeze your glutes, and feel a stretch in your right hip. Hold, and then switch legs.

Elastic Quadriceps

The muscles that run along the front of your thighs are some of the largest in the body. To effectively stretch your quadriceps, do the standing quad stretch. Stand up and hold onto a wall or chair for balance. Bend your right leg behind you and grab hold of your right ankle with you right hand. Gently pull and hold while you feel a gentle stretch. Switch legs and repeat.

Neck with Range

Help prevent tension, pain, and injury in your neck with neck tilts. Sit or stand up straight and slowly lower your chin toward your chest. Hold for 15 seconds, relax, and lift your head. Now slowly tilt your head back and look up toward the sky. Hold, relax, and lift your head. While standing, slowly tilt your head down toward your left shoulder. Hold, relax, and lift your head. Now slowly tilt your head down to the right shoulder.

Mobile Shoulders

To gain flexibility in your shoulders, do the cross-body arm stretch. Stand up, extend your right arm, place your left hand on your right elbow, and gently press your right elbow toward your left shoulder. Hold and switch arms.

Limber Lower Back

A great stretch for lower back pain and tightness is the double knee twist. Lie on your back and open your arms out to either side, palms facing down. Bend your knees and bring them up toward your chest. Slowly lower both knees over towards the floor on your left while keeping both shoulders on the floor. Hold and then raise your knees back to your chest. Slowly lower them toward the floor on your right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2009-2010 Keuilian Inc. 
Powered by FitPro Magazine™Terms of Service | Legal Disclaimer
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise or diet program.

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