Quick Tips: Getting in Shape Without Spending Money

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When you stay active, you feel better and have more energy for work and leisure time. You’re more able to do the things you enjoy, like playing with children, gardening, dancing, or biking.

Staying fit helps you sleep better, handle stress better, and keep your mind sharp. It’s good for your heart, lungs, bones, and joints. And it lowers your risk for heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers.

And although it’s easy to spend a lot of money on sports and activities that help keep you in shape, it’s just as easy to get into shape and stay there without spending any money at all.

Remember to work on all three types of fitness: flexibility, muscle strength, and aerobic fitness.

Flexibility

  • Stretch all your major groups of muscles. These include the muscles of your arms, your back, your hips, the front and back of your thighs, and your calves.
  • Stretch slowly and regularly to help yourself be more flexible. Combining stretching with other fitness activities is best.
  • Warm up your muscles for 5 to 10 minutes before your stretch them.
  • Try to hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Do some stretches first thing in the morning.
  • Take a “stretch break” instead of a coffee break at work.
  • Try activities that include stretching, such as dance, martial arts (aikido or karate), tai chi, or yoga.

Muscle fitness

  • Do housework and yard work on a regular basis: Scrub the bathtub, wash walls, till the garden, or pull weeds.
  • Do basic muscle-conditioning exercises such as push-ups, leg lifts, and other familiar exercises.
  • Try muscle-strengthening exercises using weights. You can use cans of food instead of buying dumbbells.

Aerobic fitness

Experts say to do either of these things:

  • Moderate activity for at least 2½ hours a week. Moderate activity means things like brisk walking, brisk cycling, or shooting baskets. But any activities—including daily chores—that raise your heart rate can be included.
  • Vigorous activity for at least 1¼ hours a week. Vigorous activity means things like jogging, cycling fast, or playing a basketball game.

These ordinary activities cost nothing and all count as aerobic activity:

  • Walking briskly to work or to do errands
  • Pushing a lawn mower
  • Vacuuming
  • Sweeping (perhaps to fast-paced music)
  • Raking leaves or shoveling snow
  • Dancing
  • Playing actively with your children
  • Walking the dog

If you need more structure for your exercise but don’t want to spend money for a class, check out exercise DVDs from the library.

Try these suggestions at work:

  • Use your morning commute to get in some extra walking. Park several blocks away, or get off the bus a few stops earlier.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator, at least for a few floors.
  • Suggest holding meetings with colleagues during a walk inside or outside the building.
  • Go the extra distance when possible: Get your coffee on another floor (take the stairs) or use the restroom that’s the farthest from your office.
  • Stand and do simple stretches while you make phone calls. A speakerphone may help.
  • If you need to speak to a colleague, walk to that person’s office rather than using e-mail or the phone.
  • Use your lunch hour for a workout: Take a brisk walk, jog, or bike ride. Don’t skip lunch. Eat it at your desk while you check your mail or listen to phone messages.

What are your suggestions? Comment Below!

Article Courtesy of: www.Health.com

What Are the Benefits of Tai Chi?

Tai chi chuan, a gentle form of martial arts combining deep, diaphragmatic breathing and flowing, dancelike poses, can be a remarkably potent workout for people of many ages. In various recent studies and reviews, tai chi has been found to improve practitioners’ balance, leg strength, cardiovascular endurance, pulse rate, muscular flexibility, immune system response, sleep habits, happiness, sense of self-worth, and ability to concentrate and multitask during cognitive tests.

In one especially impressive study from last year, the brains of older people who had been practicing tai chi for several years were compared with the brains of age-matched sedentary adults. The tai chi participants showed greater connectivity and other measures of health in portions of the brain known to be involved in decision-making and attention than the volunteers who had never done tai chi.

Overall, tai chi “can improve both physical and psychosocial health,” said Dr. Chenchen Wang, the director of the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.

Scientists haven’t yet determined, though, whether tai chi is substantially better for you than other types of light-to-moderate exercise, such as walking, yoga or weight training, said Fuzhong Li, a principal investigator at the Oregon Research Institute, who has studied tai chi. Comparative effectiveness studies pitting the activities against one another have not been done.

But tai chi is definitely better than no or very light activity. “Our work does suggest that tai ji chuan”— another form of the activity’s name — “produces far better outcomes compared to low-impact activities such as stretching,” Dr. Li said.

Many community centers and Y.M.C.A.’s nationwide offer low-cost classes, Dr. Li said. You can find a program near you by visiting the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association’s website atamericantaichi.net.

Gretchen Reynolds

Summer is Time for Fun and Health

Summer is a great time to build up your fitness program, enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, take a vacation, and have fun. It’s also a time to pay attention to your health and safety. Below are tips to help you stay safe and healthy this summer and all year long.

Keep your cool in the sun. Sun protection is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach. Take steps to help prevent skin cancer and other conditions. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet many people succumb to extreme heat each year.

Take steps to lower your risk for heat-related illness. When possible, avoid outdoor activities during midday, when the sun’s rays are strongest, and cover up with clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect exposed skin. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Unfortunately, warmer temperatures aren’t just attractive to people, but to mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, too.

Mosquitoes can transmit West Nile virus and other viruses, ticks can transmit Lyme disease and other serious infections, and fleas can transmit plague. To lower your risk for West Nile virus, avoid mosquito bites when you spend time outside working or playing.

The risk of severe illness and death is highest for people over 50 years old, although people of all ages can become ill.

Whether you plan to grill on the patio or picnic in the park, be sure to eat balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables have important vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which may help protect you from some chronic diseases.

Foodborne disease is caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. An estimated 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States. Most of these cases are mild and cause symptoms for a day or two, but some cases are more serious and require hospitalization.

Summer is a great time to play outdoor games, garden, or go for a walk. Start a new routine that combines fun and physical activity. Active people are less likely than inactive people to be obese or to have high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease and stroke, depression, colon cancer, and premature death. Adults should get 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most (preferably all) days of the week.

Don’t forget to take steps to prepare yourself and your family for severe weather and natural disasters before they happen. If a natural or man-made disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, and electricity for a while.

By taking steps now to store emergency food and water supplies, along with a disaster supplies kit, you can reduce the effect of any such disaster on your family.

This article is made possible with Older Americans Act dollars from the Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging. The Area Agencies provide a free information and assistance service called the Senior LinkAge Line that assists older adults and their caregivers with a variety of options for living independently. Call the Senior LinkAge LineÆ at 800-333-2433 to speak with an information specialist, or check out our website at MinnesotaHelp.info.

 

Karin Haugrud is a Senior LinkAge Line Specialist with Land of the Dancing Sky – West Central in Fergus Falls.

Do You Want to Learn More About Caregiving?

Giving

Challenges in Caregiving: Giving Care, Taking Care, a caregiver training conference will be offered on Monday, June 3, 2013 at the Tukwila Community Center in Tukwila, Washington. The event is hosted by Aging and Disability Services Administration, Full Life Care and Pierce County Community Connections/Aging and Long Term Care along with the support of numerous community organizations. The conference is designed to provide current, practical skills and resources that community caregivers can use in their daily caregiving responsibilities. The conference is intended for:

• Family caregivers (spouses, adult children, parents of adults with disabilities, or other relatives)
• Home care workers and adult day services staff
• Adult family home or assisted living staff
• Social service or mental health professionals who work with family caregivers

The Early Registration fee (by May 15) for individual caregivers is $30. Scholarships are available for unpaid family caregivers. The Early Registration fee for agency-based caregivers is $50. Fees include workshops, lunch and resource exhibits. Registration forms will be available in April and space is limited – so don’t delay! For more information or to receive a full brochure and registration materials, please call 1-800-422-3263 or 360-725-2544.

~Professional Medical Corp.

Are Your Medical Bills Out of Control?

If you are like many America’s facing unexpected medical bills the task of sorting through invoices can be tedious.

Patients are frustrated to receive multiple bills, for such things as hospital services, with little to no explanations as to what the invoice includes.

None of this surprises Pat Palmer, the founder of Medical Billing Advocates of America. “We get feedback from consumers saying that providers are telling them ‘We can’t give you an itemized statement’ or ‘You should have asked for it before you left the hospital.'”

For those with confusing or huge hospital bills some experts’ advise patients to take the following steps.

Knowing your patient rights within a doctor’s office or hospital is the first step in avoiding financial disagreements. Make it clear that you are aware of your legal right to have such things as an itemizes invoice.

Get explanations in writing and take protests to the top. All communications with a provider should be in writing and if customer service departments are not helpful avoid them and write a letter to the chief financial officer.

Ask for help from you insurer. They have a responsibility to some degree to what happens between you and a contracted physician and can often be a great ally.

And finally seek help and file complaints if your bill is much higher then you expected or can afford. Organizations such as Medical Billing Advocates of America and Health Proponent can help you fight charges or lower your bill.

To learn more read HERE

~Professional Medical Corp.

Are They Your Vaccinations?

Medical personnel and flu shotsThe flu season may finally be coming to an end in the U.S. and after an extreme season, compared to previous years, many are eager for it to conclude.

Getting vaccinated has become one of our best defenses against the illness, but a recent report put the vaccine’s effectiveness at 62 percent, and many American’s are not sold on getting the vaccination.

There is also a rising debate for whether the vaccine should be mandatory for hospitals and other high risk organization. Hospital administrators are grappling with whether to compel doctors, nurses and other medical staff to get vaccinated which as of now is not required.

The flu continues to hit older people hard, with more than 50 percent of hospitalizations involving adults 65 years and older. For hospital workers alone 60% get the shot, according to a report by the California Department of Public Health. The federal government has set a goal of 90% by 2020.

With an estimated 36,000 people dying from the flu and its complications in a typical season, the debate for vaccination isn’t going away anytime soon. One thing that president-elect of the California Medical Association, Richard Thorp, hopes is that “we all agree that you come to the hospital to get well, not to get sick.”

To read more please click HERE

~Professional Medical Corp.

Olympian’s, Just Like Us?

The excitement was felt worldwide last night as the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games kicked off.

The athletes are ready for the greatest physical competition of their lives and this opening day is a result of a life time of work.  Daily training, diet, and mental preparation all play a role in whether they achieve gold.

Discovering Olympians’ diets or training secrets has always been a great American past time. Is it because we all have dreams of someday standing on a podium as the crowd shouts, “USA, USA”?

To fuel up like Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps keep in mind that he eats up to 12,000 calories a day. Some of his favorite foods include french toast, pancakes, eggs, pasta, and energy drinks!

While other athletes have different culinary choices, like tennis player Venus Williams, who chose a raw vegan diet plan to accompany her to the Olympics.

One thing is for sure, these athletes burn more calories than average people. But is it possible that eating like an Olympian will help you reach that gold medal? It’s possible, perhaps if you are burning 3,000 plus calories a day…like many Olympians.

So how many calories do they burn? Read more HERE to find out.

Enjoy the 2012 Summer Games!

~Professional Medical Corp.