9 Great Fitness Tips While Gardening

9 Great Fitness Tips While Gardening

9 Tips To Get Fit While Gardening Having a garden is a great opportunity to get fit and stay fit. It keeps one moving!  Are you lucky enough to have a garden? If you are, you probably love spending time in it, using it to help relax and unwind after a tough day at work. How many times did you go out to tend to your garden and before you know it, it’s late! Just imagine how much physical activity you have accomplished while enjoying what you did. 

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Besides the obvious benefits of stress relief and good food or beautiful plants, you can also use your garden to keep you fit!

Try these techniques to get fit while gardening:

  1. Grab a broom and sweep. If you see a few fallen leaves laying on the floor of your garden, grab a broom and sweep them away. Sweeping could burn as many as 200 calories per hour. Make it a cardio workout by sweeping hard and fast, as this will get your heart beating in no time at all. 

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  1. Use a rake. Using a rake is an even bigger calorie-burner than sweeping, burning as many as 300 calories every hour. After you’ve trimmed your lawn, grab a rake and use it to make huge piles of the grass, which can then be hauled away.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

    green smoothie held by hand 

     

  2. Trim the trees. A good calorie burner is trimming or pruning the trees in your garden. You will probably have to climb up to the branches, plus the sawing is hard work too. Just a few minutes of pruning the dead branches from the trees in your garden will give you a good workout.             
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  1. Digging. When you dig, you’re using your back, arms, shoulders, core, and leg muscles. It really is a great form of exercise that will get you breathing heavily in no time at all. Whether you’re digging holes for some new plants or turning over soil, it’s a great way to get fitter.                                                                                                                 👉👉👉 Diabetes & Sleep: What You Need To Know
  2. Hoeing. Similar to digging, hoeing is a good exercise that is useful for turning over the soil to remove those annoying weeds. It can be especially hard when working on rocky ground. Just a few short minutes and you will have worked up quite a sweat.

  3. Squat when you are weeding. Instead of using a chair or kneeling while you weed, use the opportunity to get a leg workout in. Each time you reach down for a weed, squat into position and hold the position until your legs start to burn. If you can avoid sitting or kneeling, your legs will get a great workout.   
  1. Build something for the garden. Carpentry can be hard work and is another way to get fit while gardening. Perhaps you could think about building a new greenhouse, chicken coop, garden box, or maybe even a playhouse/treehouse if you have children. Not only are you getting a good workout, but you’re also adding value to your home.
  1. Mow your lawn. Forget about a ride-on lawnmower. Use a lawnmower that you can push. If you use it around your lawn, you’ll no doubt be sweating and out of breath by the time you finish.
  1. Put that wheelbarrow to good use. Using a wheelbarrow is a good workout for your core, forearms, arms, shoulders, and back. Not to mention, working those quads,  hamstrings, and trunk! It gives you an excellent upper body workout while ensuring that you’re leaving your garden nice and tidy. 

Using your garden for working out may seem easier said than done. Consider these ideas of what you can do to get fit while keeping your garden looking beautiful.

Another benefit of working outdoors is that you are getting some fresh air and plenty of Vitamin D from the sunlight, which is both important for your good health.

So, put on those gardening gloves and hats today!

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STROKES: Facts You Need to Know and How to Prevent It.

STROKES: Facts You Need to Know and How to Prevent It.

 Strokes are a serious health issue, but early treatment may minimize the effects. Give you and your loved ones the best chance at recovery by learning the basic facts about strokes.

Know the Facts About Strokes

1.      STROKE: What is it? Strokes are events that interrupt blood flow to the brain. Some people make a full recovery, but most survivors experience some degree of disability. Strokes can be caused by a blood clot or when a blood vessel breaks.

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2.      Understand the prevalence.  No one is exempt from a stroke. It is sneaky and can creep up on anyone. Anyone can have a stroke. Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. The good news is that 80% of strokes can be prevented.

3.      Learn how to recognize the symptoms. The symptoms of a stroke depend on where in the brain they occur and the severity of the event. Common signs include:

*** sudden numbness or loss of movement, especially if it affects only one side of your body. Other indicators are

*** mental confusion, disorientation

***headaches, pain, or tightness felt on the head

***trouble with vision can be blurred vision, double vision, or partial blindness

*** Slurred speech

*** and sudden onset of impaired balance.

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***incoordination (Ex: cannot hold a spoon, drops objects)

***hemi-weakness, or weakness on one side of the body or the leg: leg or hand can feel heavy

***Facial asymmetry (one side of face droops)

*** When asked to stick out tongue, tongue drifts to one side

***Drooling on one side of the mouth

4.      Know the uncontrollable risk factors. Some factors are beyond our control. These include being past the age of 55 or having a family history of strokes. Men and certain ethnic groups like African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are also at higher risk.

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5.      Manage the controllable risks. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to lower your risk. A healthy lifestyle will help keep your brain and whole body strong. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, also contribute to the likelihood of stroke, so that’s another good reason to manage them correctly.

6.      Distinguish between different kinds of strokes. There are two major forms of stroke:

·         An ischemic stroke is related to a blood clot to any region in the brain and requires restoring the blood flow.

·         A hemorrhagic stroke indicates bleeding and calls for controlling blood loss, as in an aneurysm.

7.      Know what are mini-strokes. The technical term for mini-strokes is transient ischemic attacks (TIA) where a blood vessel is briefly blocked. 

FACT: Up to half of all strokes occur within two days after a TIA so act promptly if you notice slurred speech or blurry vision.


Preventing and Treating Strokes

1.      Seek emergency care. The first hours after a stroke are a crucial opportunity to minimize brain damage. Go to the hospital immediately or call 911. Fast action makes all the difference.

 

2.      Consult with your doctor. Surgery is sometimes needed but many strokes are treated with medication and lifestyle changes. Your doctor can advise you on the best regimen for you.

3.      Quit smoking. Giving up tobacco lowers your risk of stroke in addition to all the other benefits. Check out the website of the American Lung Association for tips on quitting.

 

4.    Drop or control that weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight will also help. Find a sensible diet you can stick with for life.

5.      Exercise regularly. Physical activity is good for your brain and waistline. Keep your circulatory system in prime condition with a half-hour aerobic workout at least a few days a week.


6.      Eat a balanced diet. Proper nutrition provides your brain cells with the fuel they need. Get most of your calories from vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. Select lean sources of protein and healthy fats.

7.     Easy and be smart with your alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can increase your risk for a stroke due to elevated or high blood pressure. After a hemorrhagic stroke, avoid drinking alcohol weeks after and consult your doctor when it is safe for you to consume some. This is also because some medications prescribed after a stroke prohibits alcohol use and can even become fatal. 

Using alcohol responsibly protects you from strokes. The general guidelines are two drinks or less daily for men and one for women.

Prompt medical treatment is vital to improve your chances of survival and recovery after a stroke.  A healthy lifestyle, as always, can significantly reduce the risk of you or a loved one ever experiencing such an event.

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REMOTE WORKERS: Balancing Home & Work

REMOTE WORKERS: Balancing Home & Work

A Remote Worker’s Guide to Balancing Home and Work

Balancing your home and career can be a challenge for any employee, especially when you live and work in the same space. How do you allocate your time between personal and professional responsibilities? How can you focus on conference calls when you’re surrounded by dirty laundry?

Learn how to set priorities and reduce distractions whether you’re new to remote working or you moved out of your cubicle years ago.

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Use these tips for staying peaceful and productive when you work from home.

Steps to Take by Yourself:

  1. Follow a schedule. Set a start and end time for your day. Tackle your most challenging tasks during the hours when you’re at your peak. When it’s time to quit for the day, leave your job behind.

  2. Design an office. Designate a separate space for business. Having a designated room in the house can allow you to get more organized and have work supplies and equipment handy.  It could be a whole room or a corner in your dining room. Decorate your space with pictures, art, and objects that you find inspirational and uplifting.
     
  3. Change clothes. You may not want to wear a suit and tie but changing out of your pajamas will help you to feel more professional. Take a shower and prepare for work as if you are going to the office. Clean, good-smelling and neat clothes will get you into the work mode better. Hang up your bathrobe and get dressed each morning.

  4. Limit distractions. Do you waste time watching TV or checking social media? Ban leisure activities during business hours except during break times. It cannot be avoided when you have an infant or toddler at home. Effective time management can go a long way. If you have a deadline, get a sitter or request help on a specific day. Sometimes, you just need a clear head to focus on your work.                     

 

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  2. Take breaks. Speaking of breaks, take them. You’ll be more productive if you refresh your mind and body periodically. Stand up, stretch, breathe fresh air outdoors. Even for a few minutes, sitting on your patio facing the garden, the water if you are blessed to live by it, refreshes the brain. Breathe in the fresh air. Sit in a rocking chair or go in the porch swing.
     
  3. Wind down. Do something at the end of each day to help you transition into an off-duty mindset. You might listen to classical music or take a walk in the park. Most people do their runs and workout after a day’s work. 


  4. Get organized. Create routines and systems that encourage efficiency. Buy a cabinet for your office supplies. Use an online calendar to block out your time.


  5. Continue learning. Career development matters whether you work at your dining room table or in a corner office. Take a course online or order a catalog for the adult education program at a local university. Read industry publications and general business news.

  6. Evaluate your performance. Conduct your own job evaluations. Look for ways to increase quality, save time, and manage stress. Update your strategy as your goals evolve.

Steps to Take with Your Family, Friends and Colleagues:

  1. Talk with your boss. It will be easier to balance your life when you and your boss agree on overall expectations. Negotiate the flexibility you need to succeed.

  2. Post your hours. Ensure your boss and coworkers know the hours that you’re available. Discuss arrangements for how to deal with emergencies that occur outside of those times.

  3. Go out for lunch. Your midday meal is a daily opportunity to stay connected while you work at home. Plan a weekly date at a local cafe to catch up with your office friends or other employees who work from home.


  4. Remain visible. Make business lunches and other events part of your strategy for cultivating your network. Show up at the office on a regular basis for staff meetings, birthday parties, and other gatherings. Volunteer at the local chapter of your professional association.

  5. Pull together. A strong support network helps you to build your confidence and accomplish more. Ask your family and friends for the emotional and practical assistance you need. Let them know how much you appreciate them and pitch in when they need a hand too.

You don’t have to give up life balance when you give up your commute. Enjoy more health and happiness by drawing sensible boundaries between your personal and professional activities.

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DIABETES & SLEEP: What You Need to Know

DIABETES & SLEEP: What You Need to Know

What Everyone Ought to Know About Diabetes and Sleep

You probably know that watching what you eat is important for managing your diabetes, but you may not realize that how you sleep can have a big impact too. In fact, the relationship between diabetes and sleep runs two ways.

Sleep issues can increase your risk for diabetes, and diabetes can interfere with your sleep.

 

If you’re living with diabetes, ask yourself whether you’re tossing and turning at night. Learning more about the connection between diabetes and sleep can help you to protect your health.

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Diabetes Management Tips for Protecting Your Sleep:

There are several common symptoms of diabetes that are likely to keep you up at night:

– Always thirsty

– Frequent Hunger

– Fatigue

– Blurry Vision

– Tingling in the legs

– Numbness in the legs, feet

– Frequent urination

– Slow to heal wounds or bruises

Try these strategies for keeping them under control:

1.    Eat a balanced diet. When you’re tired, you may be tempted to seek energy from junk food and excess calories, but that backfires by spiking your blood sugar levels, which means you’ll be making frequent trips to the bathroom at night to urinate. Break the cycle by consuming adequate portions of wholesome foods earlier in the day.

 


2.    Stay hydrated. Diabetes can also make you thirsty. Keep a water bottle by your bed in case you need a sip.

3.    Treat apnea. Apnea causes pauses in breathing while you sleep, and it’s often associated with diabetes. Masks and other devices are available that can open your airways and provide relief.

4.    Attend to RLS. Restless Leg Syndrome is another condition that may accompany diabetes. Massage, exercise, and medication may help if you’re bothered by the urge to move your legs at night.

 
 

5.    Lose weight. Slimming down can help you to prevent diabetes or reduce the symptoms. It also lowers your risk for apnea.


6.    Talk with your doctor. If you’re still up at night, your doctor may suggest a sleep study. Being monitored while you sleep is an effective way to target your individual needs.

Sleeping Tips for Lowering Your Risk of Diabetes:

1.    Sleep deprivation can cause hormonal changes similar to diabetes. When you’re short on rest, your body may have trouble using insulin efficiently, so your blood sugar rises. In addition, lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, which is also a risk factor for diabetes.

2.    Keep a consistent schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at about the same time each day. That includes weekends and holidays.


3.    Deal with stress. Knowing how to relax makes it easier to drop off to sleep faster. Develop a daily meditation practice or find a hobby that helps you release tension.


4.    Darken your bedroom. Bright lights stimulate your brain. Stay away from television and computer screens for at least a couple of hours before bedtime. Consider installing blackout curtains in your bedroom.

5.    Block out the noise. If noisy neighbors and car alarms are disrupting your dreams, screen out the background sounds. Use a white noise machine or turn on a fan.

6.    Change your bedding. It may be time to replace your mattress if it’s causing discomfort. Strategically placed pillows can help too. For example, support your hips with a small cushion between your knees if you lie on your side.

7.    Exercise regularly. Many studies show that adults who exercise report having better sleep. Aim to work out for at least 30 minutes on at least 3 days a week. Find a variety of activities you enjoy and will want to stick with.

More than 30 million Americans are currently living with diabetes and that number is expected to double or triple by 2050, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

 

 Sleeping well can help you to reduce your risk or manage the symptoms of diabetes so you can lead a longer and more active life.

 

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13 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR OFFICE WORKERS

13 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR OFFICE WORKERS

Working at a desk may look safe, but it can take a toll on your physical and mental health. While the occupational hazards in an office are different from those at a construction site or hospital, it’s still wise to take some precautions.

A growing number of studies have raised concerns about the effects of sitting for long periods, which can include increased risk of heart conditions, diabetes, certain cancers, and weight gain. That’s especially troubling considering that the average American spends more than 10 hours a day sitting.

Add job-related stress to the mixture and you can see how the consequences can start to add up.

Learn what steps you can take to counteract the downside of your desk job. Start with these ideas for protecting your health and wellbeing.

 

Tips for Protecting Your Physical Health:

 

1.    Adjust your posture. Slouching can cut off your circulation and make your lower backache. Try drawing your shoulder blades down and back to open up your chest. A lumbar support pillow may help too.

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2.    Take frequent breaks. Studies show that moving around about every half hour reduces the negative effects of sitting. In fact, it may be even more effective than regular exercise. Make it a habit to stretch or walk around your office for a few minutes.

Just a few quick stretches you can do to give your backrest, get back circulation to the spine and legs. Sitting for long periods can cause blood clots, leg pain, and muscle stiffness.

                               STANDING WALL STRETCHES

 

Stand facing wall. Slide both hands up to the wall as shown, feel your back stretch, imagine like you are lifting your body off your hips. Hold this for 5 – 10 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times as necessary and as tolerated. This gives you a nice stretch and elongation to the torso, relieves compression on your spine especially the discs.

 

To stretch the sides, slide both hands up about 45 degrees to the left side. Hold for about 5-10 seconds, repeat the movement to the right side. Perform this stretch alternating between the right and the left directions to balance the spine. 

Even just a few of these simple stretches can make a difference on your back. I recommend doing these stretches at least every 2- 3 hours/ This is especially if you tend to work 4 hours or more seated.

 

3.    Align your wrists. Typing with a bent wrist could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Rest them occasionally and ensure your workstation is set up ergonomically.

4.    Rest your eyes. If your eyes are dry, and your vision is blurred, you may be staring at the computer screen too long. Look away occasionally and do eye exercises like blinking or staring at something in the distance.

5.    Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps to maintain your body temperature, metabolism, and heart health. Aim for 8 glasses a day.

6.    Bring snacks. It’s easier to resist the vending machines when you have a supply of wholesome foods. Good choices include nuts, baby carrots, and hummus.

7.    Pack your lunch. Save money and calories by bringing your lunch to work. You can prepare it the night ahead if you tend to run out of time in the morning.

Tips for Protecting Your Mental Health:

8.  Make friends. Work buddies increase job satisfaction. Get to know your coworkers and look for common interests. Share stories about your personal life and encourage them to do the same.

9.    Connect in person. Face-to-face contact also contributes to stronger relationships. Try dropping by someone’s office instead of sending an email.

10.    Wake up early. Do you barely see the sun because you’re inside all day? Rising an hour earlier could enhance your mood and give you more time to work out and eat a hearty breakfast.

11.   Use your vacation days. Letting your vacation days go to waste undermines your health and productivity, so time off is beneficial for you and your employer. Even just planning a vacation can lift your spirits, so make a list of your favorite destinations and start researching them.

12.    Decorate your space. A cluttered desk can be a source of stress. Find an organizing system that works for you, and put files you rarely use out of sight. While you’re at it, add in a few personal touches and a pretty plant.

13.  Focus on helping others. Any job is more meaningful and gratifying if you keep the purpose in mind. When you’re having a rough day, think about the people who benefit from your efforts.

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You can stay healthy without giving up your paycheck. Adopt some simple habits that will protect your well-being, even if you spend many hours a day behind a desk.

The Harsh Truth about Sitting and How to Reduce the Health Risks

The Harsh Truth about Sitting and How to Reduce the Health Risks

 How to Reduce the Health Risks from Long Hours of Sitting

A sedentary lifestyle increases one’s risk for health issues as commonly known. Weak, brittle bones (osteoporosis), poor circulation, weight gain, and poor cardiovascular endurance are just a few to mention. 

Why is it a piece of common advice to stretch every chance you get when on a long flight? It is to avoid getting blood clots and swelling of the legs or ankles from sitting for long periods.

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By now you’ve probably heard that sitting can cause health complications and even shorten your lifespan. If your boss won’t spring for an office full of treadmill desks, you can still stay by finding other ways to spend more time on your feet.

 In fact, a recent study found that walking for just 2 minutes each hour can make a big difference. 

That’s good news for the 80% of Americans who find it difficult to keep up with the minimum amount of exercise experts recommend. For example, the American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.

There are many practical ways to overhaul a sedentary lifestyle. Try these suggestions for brief walks and other ideas to spend less time sitting.

Benefits of Sitting Less

1.      Strengthens your heart. Sitting down slows your circulation and speeds up muscle loss, both of which take a toll on your heart. 

On the other hand, physical activity helps to prevent heart disease and even reverses some risk factors.

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2.      Avoid illness. Prolonged sitting has also been associated with diabetes, cancer, and other conditions. A daily walk could mean fewer doctor visits and longer life. Stand, move around, stretch even in your chair.

3.      Lose weight. Naturally, you burn more calories jogging than lounging on the couch. Think about how much better you look and feel when you stay trim. Plus, exercise is safer than crash diets that may not provide essential nutrients.

4.      Enhance your mood. Sitting affects your mind as well as your body. Boost your spirits with a gentle workout. You’ll probably find yourself thinking more clearly too.

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Suggestions for Two-Minute Walking Breaks

1.      Break up tasks. Divide your assignments into 60-minute segments. That’s about as long as most adults can concentrate, so you may even increase the quality of your work.

2.      Create triggers. If you still tend to lose yourself in the flow, develop signals for when to stand up. Maybe you want to program an alarm on your computer, on a Fitbit or Apple watch, or time yourself according to your favorite radio news program. You can always use any strategy to make you remember!

3.      Engage in other light activities. Any gentle task can be substituted for walking. Tidy up the break room or do a few legs raises. If you’re at home, you could weed the garden or dance a few steps.

4.      Talk with your boss. It may help to let your boss or coworkers know in advance why you’re changing your routine. They may want to join you,

Other Ways to Reduce the Risks of Prolonged Sitting

1.      Exercise regularly. There is no need to expound on the benefits of exercise. While a two-minute walk is a good start, there are advantages to additional exercise. More intense workouts will condition your cardiovascular system, thicken your bones, and sharpen your mind.

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2.      Eat a balanced diet. Studies show that adults who sit more, snack more. Try drinking a glass of water or tea to curb your appetite. 

Prepare healthy food you can nibble on anywhere, like yogurt or peanut butter on apple slices.

3.      Stretch your hips and back. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spine and hips. Stand up and stretch every hour. 

Just a few stretches you can do in your chair:

 Forward trunk stretch. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times or as able. Relieves a tight and tired back from prolonged sitting.
 
Upper spine stretch. Place both hands behind the neck, stretch backward against the back of a chair. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Forward and side stretch on Table or desk. Place hands on the desk. Slide hands forward to stretch your back. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times or as needed.
 
SLide hands toward the left side, hold for 5 seconds. Then slide hands toward the right side for another 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side or as desired until a good stretch for relief is achieved.

4.      Turn off the TV. At home, do you sit in front of the TV after sitting at your desk for eight hours? Visit the gym or go out with friends instead.

Hold onto your desk job while you take care of your body and mind. Strategic breaks and other healthy habits will help you live a longer and more active life.

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