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For May 26, 2018

  • Making healthy lifestyle changes.
    Making healthy lifestyle changes.

    If you've resolved to leave bad habits behind, you know how difficult it can be to maintain that resolve, but there are some ways you can successfully negotiate the path to new behaviors.

    Set goals and objectives. They add aim to energy, focus effort and structure time. Surveys show that people who plan ahead are much more successful over the long term than those who plunge in without knowing where they're going or how they'll get there. Remember: Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable and realistic.

    Put your goals in writing. Written goals are a tangible sign of a promise that you intend to keep. They will also help you track you progress, make your accomplishments more obvious, and help you identify problem areas that need more attention.

    Identify supporters and saboteurs. The support of others will make it easier for you to pass through the sometimes difficult transition from old to new behaviors. Identify the people who will nurture you and help you maintain your well-being, as well as those who don't see your point of view.

    Plan for the unexpected. Lack of time is the most frequently mentioned reason for discontinuing a fitness program. Life is filled with surprises, so include strategies that assure you will make time for keeping your commitment.

    Reward your success. Set up a reward system so you can receive a treat for changed behaviors. Some examples include extra time for yourself with a favorite book, a manicure or pedicure, a trip with a special friend or a lecture or play that stimulates your mind. Avoid rewards related to food and drink that may be sabotaging in the long run.

    Negotiating the path to new behaviors can be fulfilling and rewarding if you can hang in there for the weeks to months necessary to make new behaviors lifestyle habits.

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  • Tips for Good Sleep
    Tips for Good Sleep

    (AP) - Having trouble getting to sleep at night, or awakening too early in the morning? Experts have these tips, based, in part, on a new study:

    • Maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle, even on weekends. Staying up late, with the lights burning, tends to reset the brain's sleep clock, making the body cry out for more sleep when the alarm sounds Monday morning.
    • If awakened during the night, try to remain in bed, with the lights out and your eyes closed. This will help sleep return and will not affect your normal sleep-wake cycle.
    • If you must get up, keep the lights as dim as possible. Bright lights tend to reset the brain's sleep clock. One hour of bright light exposure at night shifts the clock forward by about 10 minutes.
    • Avoid alcohol, tobacco and caffeine before bedtime.
    • If sleeplessness is caused by a disorder, treat that disorder specifically instead of trying to force sleep with pills.
    • Afternoon or early evening naps may make it harder to fall asleep at the regular time.
    • American travelers who fly overnight to Europe should try to nap immediately upon arrival. After a few hours of sleep, get up and walk in the sunlight. This will help reset the body clock to European time.

    Copyright 1999 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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  • Exercise guards against physical effects of stress article
    Exercise guards against physical effects of stress article

    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -- Long known to help stave off heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer, regular exercise can also help protect against the physical effects of daily stress, according to a report in the November issue of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

    In the study of 135 college students, those who exercised on a regular basis were more likely to take life's daily stresses in stride, compared with their less physically active counterparts.

    Previous studies have shown that mental stress takes a toll on physical health, causing such problems as increases in blood sugar levels among diabetics, worsening of joint pain in people with arthritis, and symptoms of psychological distress such as anxiety and depression.

    Study participants filled out questionnaires assessing the daily hassles they encountered during the past week -- such as car trouble, running late for appointments, or arguments with co-workers -- as well as questionnaires on major life events, mood, physical activity, and overall health.

    "Minor, everyday stress contributes to the development and exacerbation of physical and mental health problems, However, people experiencing minor stress develop different degrees of symptoms, depending on their level of physical activity," explained lead researcher Dr. Cindy L. Carmack of the University of Texas M.D Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, in a written press release.

    During periods of high stress, those who reported exercising less frequently had 37% more physical symptoms than their counterparts who exercised more often. In addition, highly stressed students who engage in less exercise report 21% more anxiety than students who exercise more frequently, the investigators add.

    Exercise helps people get their mind off of stressors -- "providing a time-out period." This "allows for a temporary escape from the pressure of stressors and thus acts as a kind of 'rejuvenation' process," Carmack and colleagues conclude.

    Source: Annals of Behavioral Medicine November 1999.

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  • Alcohol Can Add Inches and Pounds
    Alcohol Can Add Inches and Pounds

    Nutrition Notes Discusses the Alcohol-Weight Connection

    (MSNBC Health, October 1st 1999, By Karen Collins, R.D.) � While we often think of alcoholics as skinny, recent research suggests that for most people alcohol adds inches around the waist. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that people served alcohol before a meal ate more than subjects given nonalcoholic drinks.

    IN A study of 52 men and women of various body sizes, subjects were all served the same food at a weekly lunch, but allowed to eat as much as they wanted. When they were served beer or wine before lunch, they ate more than when they were given juice, water or other nonalcoholic drinks. After drinking alcohol, people ate faster, longer and had a greater tendency to continue eating after their hunger was already satisfied.

    EATING MORE

    Studies have found that when people eat more food at one point in the day, they normally compensate by eating a little less than usual later on. In this study, that didn�t happen. Subjects took in about their usual number of calories through the rest of the day, making their total calorie intake higher on the days they drank alcohol before a meal. The study didn�t last long enough to see whether these extra calories would cause weight gain. If this habit were continued on a regular basis, however, weight gain would not be surprising.

    This recent study is supported by a variety of other reports linking alcohol with increased calorie consumption. Researcher Richard Mattes of Purdue University reported that people do not compensate for the extra calories in alcohol by eating less. In fact, they actually tend to eat more. In a review of 42 studies on this subject, Mattes found that in addition to the increase in calorie intake from alcohol itself, food intake increased by an average of 84 percent of the calories consumed as alcohol.

    Does just a drink or two seem too inconsequential to really make a difference in your weight? If you were to drink two 5-ounce glasses of dry wine each day, that would amount to an extra 73,000 calories per year, and a probable yearly weight gain of about 20 pounds. Two cans of beer daily could likewise amount to an extra 109,500 calories and 31 pounds of weight gain per year.

    INCREASED WAIST SIZE

    A study in France found that even without weight gain, increased alcohol consumption was linked with increased waist girth. This is a concern since a large body of research suggests that extra weight distributed around the waist may pose special health risk.

    In weighing the pros and cons of alcohol, research on the impact of alcohol on eating is strong enough to become part of the equation. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends that if alcohol is consumed, it should be limited to no more than one standard drink per day for women and no more than two standard drinks per day for men because excess alcohol has been linked with increased risk of some cancers.

    Karen Collins is a registered dietitian with the American Institute for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C.

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  • Warm Socks May Help You Sleep
    Warm Socks May Help You Sleep

    (MSNBC, September 1 1999) � Wearing socks to bed may not excite your partner, but it just might help you fall asleep. A researcher says people with chronically cold feet and hands might drift off faster if they warm their feet with socks or a hot water bottle, and maybe even wear mittens.

    Scientists at Switzerland�s Chronobiology and Sleep Laboratory, at the Psychiatric University Clinic, said Wednesday that warm feet and hands induce sleep quickly. The heat from mittens and socks dilates blood vessels that help to redistribute body heat. This together with the release of hormones like melatonin, which helps control the sleeping cycle, is part of the sleep routine.

    Most people go through the process naturally and wouldn�t need socks or a water bottle to help them sleep. �The key step to opening the gates of sleep is that your feet and hands get hot and you lose heat to the outside. That has to happen before you go to sleep,� said Anna Wirz-Justice, who led the Swiss research.

    �People who go to bed with cold feet will have a much more difficult time than those who help themselves with hot water bottles and bed socks, but they have to have a cool bedroom or they won�t be able to lose the heat to the outside. That�s the key mixture.� The release of heat is one of many steps in the body that lead to sleep. The body clock must be at the right time and melatonin must be rising.

    Wirz-Justice and colleagues didn�t directly test whether socks or water bottles promote sleep. But they did analyze data from 18 healthy young men who participated in sleep studies. The results suggest that blood vessel dilation in the hands and feet in late evening, and resulting heat loss, are key to falling asleep.

    According to a letter to the science journal Nature, the researchers measured blood flow and heat loss and timed how long it took a group of healthy young men to fall asleep. The men were given melatonin, heavy meals and exposed to bright lights to see how it would influence sleep. The researchers found that the more the blood vessels were dilated in the late evening, the shorter it took to fall asleep.

    The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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  • Osteoporosis
    Osteoporosis
    Although most people think of osteoporosis as a disease of older Americans, steps to prevent it should begin early and continue throughout your life. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, a diet with adequate calcium and vitamin D, along with limited alcohol consumption, is part of a healthy lifestyle that can prevent the onset of this disease.

    Calcium is perhaps the most important mineral in building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis. It must be consumed from the diet, because the body does not manufacture it. If you have a calcium deficient diet, your body scavenges for the mineral, stealing it from your bones. Many people understand how important calcium is for children, because their bones are still growing. But calcium is also important for adults; the National Institutes of Health advises adult men to get 1,000 mg. of calcium per day, and 1,500 mg. per day for pre-menopausal women.

    Foods high in calcium include milk and milk products (low-fat and skim milks actually have slightly more calcium than whole milk), cheeses, sardines, salmon, Chinese cabbage, broccoli (especially fresh), soybeans, collards, turnip greens and tofu.

    Calcium absorption and excretion can be affected by what you eat. High caffeine foods, such as coffee, tea and caffeinated sodas, may deplete the body�s stores of calcium, and thus may promote bone loss. Diets high in protein and sodium also increase calcium excretion.

    Along with helping to build strong bones, vitamin D also helps the body absorb calcium. You can get vitamin D in two ways: from exposure to direct sunlight, or through your diet. There are relatively few foods which naturally contain vitamin D. Some good sources are egg yolks, liver and saltwater fish. However, many foods (including milk) are fortified with vitamin D.

    from John Hopkins Health
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