A Healthy Take

 

A Healthy Take

Some Secrets to help keep you moving at work

It can be tough to stay active if you work in an office. Let’s face it; most offices encourage a sedentary day.

And sedentary days can lead to a few pounds gained here and there over time.

So what’s an office worker to do to keep things moving and to shed those few extra pounds?

Follow these tips:

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Walk to work if you can. Or if you take the bus or train, get off a stop or two before your actual destination and walk the rest of the way to work.

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Take the stairs instead of the elevator if possible.

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Join a gym or take a midday yoga class – or simply take a walk during your lunch hour.

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Make your own lunch. It’s the best way to limit the calories and fat you eat during the day.

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Get up often. Go to the printer. Pick things up or walk to someone’s desk to ask something rather than calling or e-mailing.

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Stall snacking. If you get hungry for a snack, do something else and see if your desire to eat goes away.

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Figure out some gentle exercises you can do in your cubicle. Neck rolls, shoulder shrugs, etc., can help your muscles feel better and de-stress you, too.

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See if your company is open to allowing breaks in the midmorning and midafteroon. This could be a 10- or 15-minute period when people are encouraged to get up and move. Music could possibly be played over the intercom system and people could dance or walk around and visit each other. The point is to move around and get your energy flowing again to avoid the slumps that are caused by sitting still for too long at a stretch.

Why it’s not too late to stop smoking

If you’ve been thinking about quitting smoking, but you think the damage has already been done, take a look at the quick and astonishing progress your body can make when you finally stop.

According to the Quit Smoking page on the Discovery Web site:

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Twenty minutes after you quit, your blood pressure decreases, your pulse rate drops and the temperature of your hands and feet go up.

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Eight hours after you quit, oxygen levels increase to normal and carbon monoxide levels drop to normal.

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Twenty-four hours after you quit, your risk of heart attack goes down.

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After one to nine months, coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease.

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After a few weeks, circulation and lung function improve.

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A year after you quit, your risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.

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Five to 15 years after you stop smoking, your risk of stroke has been reduced to that of those who never smoked.

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After 10 years, your risk of ulcers lowers, your risk of lung cancer is cut in half, and your risk for other cancers also decreases.

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After 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked.

Gentle yoga best for back pain

People can suffer from many degrees of lower back pain. It can be a temporary problem that can disappear after days or weeks – or it can be a chronic condition lasting for months or even years.

According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, there are usually three different venues through which a sufferer of back pain can be treated:

1. Educating sufferers on ways to prevent back injury and deal with pain; 2. Drugs, which usually include painkillers, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants; 3. Exercise.

When it comes to exercise, health-care providers have not known what types will improve patients’ conditions in the past. In a new study, the effectiveness of yoga, as opposed to traditional exercise, and as opposed to education only, was tested. Yoga combines physical exercise with relaxation techniques and little has been known about its effect on lower back pain.

In the study, 101 patients between the ages of 20 and 64 who had visited a doctor in the past three to 15 months for chronic lower back pain participated. Patients who had major illnesses or conditions that explained the back pain could not participate in the study.

Researchers then randomly assigned patients to three different groups. One group received 12 weekly 75-minute yoga classes specifically for patients with low-back pain and was given instructions to practice daily. One group received 12 weekly 75-minute sessions of aerobic strengthening and stretching exercises, which had been developed by a physical therapist, and was given instructions to practice daily at home. The third group was given a copy of The Back Pain Help Book, by Jim Moore and colleagues. Patients were given permission to use drugs as needed. Interviewers then called patients after six, 12 and 26 weeks. The interviewers used standard questions and did not know which treatments patients had received.

The interviewers reported that the yoga practitioners had better back function after 12 weeks than either the exercise or education groups. Reports of pain were similar in all groups at 12 weeks. At 26 weeks, yoga practitioners had better back function and less pain. The study found that yoga – over a period of three to six months – seems to be more effective than traditional exercise regimens or education-only tactics.

 

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