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Pretty and Practical: Fitbit’s New Alta HR

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3 Easy Safety Tips to Start Your Spring Walking Program

3 Easy Safety Tips to Start Your Spring Walking Program

Spring is almost here! You won’t be confined to the indoors and you’re looking forward to the fresh air. Spring is a great time to try out a new walking regime. Don’t forget you’ll want to prepare for the transition from being indoors to heading outdoors the first few times. Safety might seem a no brainer but just in case you are a little rusty with where you should exercise or what are the normal precautions, here’s a few quick tips to keep in mind when making that indoor to outdoor transition with your new walking program.

Always tell someone where you are going. If you are going somewhere alone, let someone know. Chances are, everything will always be fine and no one will need to come looking for you. But, just in case, if you aren’t back in a reasonable amount of time, telling someone is a smart idea and allows people to find you much faster. Don’t forget that more populated areas like parks and public areas can be safer simply because there are more people around.

Don’t be predictable. Walking the same route at the same time every day is not only boring but can also let potential criminals on to the fact that you have a routine. Change your route. Choose different times of the day and even alternate directions (start at the opposite end) if you use the same path or trail several times week.

Watch the weather and keep contact information on your person.
Remember to check the weather. At the very least, you may want sunscreen and at the worst, you don’t want to be caught in a surprise thunderstorm. Be sure to carry contact information with you for emergencies. For example, if something goes wrong and  someone needs to help you,  they can call your family or a friend.

Spring is in the air and you should feel better knowing that you’re also taking care of your wellbeing in other ways just by following these tips.

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Women: All Sitting and No Exercise Leads to Aging Faster

Women: All Sitting and No Exercise Leads to Aging Faster

Scientists recently reported that older women sitting for at least 10 hours a day and who have little physical activity have cells that are older by eight years in comparison to women who are less sedentary.

The study, which can be found in January’s issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, concluded that elderly women who exercised less than 40 minutes a day (and were also sedentary for 10 or more hours) have shorter telomeres.  Telomeres are tiny regions of what are called nucleotides and they are at the end of each chromosome. If your eyes just started to glaze over and you aren’t a science person, like most of us, you are not alone. In everyday language, telomeres function like a cap that protects the chromosome from deterioration.

What you need to know is that telomeres naturally shorten and get frazzled as a cell gets older but there are factors that can increase the speed of that process, causing your cells to be older than your body. Some factors that are attributed to causing telomeres to shorten at an increased rate include diabetes, major cancers and cardiovascular disease. A sedentary lifestyle is also associated with many of these conditions, as well.

Aladdin Shadyab, PhD who co-authored the published study at the UC San Diego School of Medicine says “Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age doesn’t always match biological age.”

The research team says the study is the first to neutrally measure how sedentary time combined with low or lack of exercise can influence aging in a cellular way.

The study monitored 1,500 women, ages 64 to 95. The women were surveyed and answered questions via a questionnaire. For seven days, they also wore an accelerometer on their right hip. They were asked to wear the accelerometer while awake and asleep.

One important note here is that exercise and movement seems to play a part in how fast our cells age.

“We found that women who sat longer did not have shorter telomere length if they exercised for at least 30 minutes a day, the national recommended guideline,” said Shadyab.

So, even though some of the women may have sat for many hours, it was found that if they exercised regularly, their telomeres were not shorter than the women who did not exercise.

In a way, we’ve just learned how we can prevent faster aging. This also drives home the point that we need to encourage ourselves and our children to keep exercise a routine part of their life, just as important as eating or drinking.

Hmmmm….. we think it’s time for a walk!

Written by Krissy Gillaspia for Walkingspree

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Challenge: Be “More Present” in 2017

Challenge: Be “More Present” in 2017

What does it mean to be “more present” and how can it assist you in your own personal and wellness goals?

Being present is the conscious practice of being engaged not only mentally but also emotionally.  Engaged in what, exactly, you ask?  The answer is going to be different for each person but is generally whatever is going on around you. It also means consciously paying attention to what you are doing.

One way to explain the difference between being present and not being present is to look at how much time you are spending “in your head” as opposed to experiencing life. One of the ways you can determine if you are present (or have not been present) is to recognize when you’ve lost track of time. Sometimes, this also feels like you weren’t aware of things that were going on around you for a period of time. For example, many of us can relate to “spacing out” while we are on a treadmill.  Music might be playing in our ear buds but we didn’t hear it because our thoughts were elsewhere. We might have an audio book playing in our ears or be sitting in church but later we realize we didn’t hear a word because we weren’t being present.

Can you think of other ways you aren’t fully present? Ever sat down to watch a movie and halfway into it realize you somehow ate a family size bag of chips?  What about while you are driving somewhere familiar or on a long stretch of road? We all tend to “zone out” and go into auto-pilot. Before we know it, we are at our destination and we can’t recall each moment of the drive home or to work.

Zoning out on the way home isn’t all bad. The important point here is considering what is going on in your mind while you are zoned out. What kind of “chatter” is taking place that is keeping you from completely being in the moment?

How can our Bodies Benefit from Being Present?

We can improve our physical well-being by being more present. When you are more fully aware and present, your body tends to relax. The reason for this is rather simple. When we are not present, we are usually worrying, planning or remembering things we need to do, things we forgot to do, issues that stress us out or possibly dreading something in the future. Your body is physically in the present. Therefore, even your past thoughts, memories or future concerns are felt by your body as something that is happening in that moment. As you can imagine, this is part of the way that stress and tension develop.

If you can increase the amount of time that you are mentally present, your physical body and well-being will benefit because you’ll be letting go of excess tension and stress.

Other benefits of being more aware and present in your daily environment include being more confident, having more energy, sleeping better and having better memory. All of these benefits lead to a more healthy, happy YOU.

When you make the conscious decision to switch from not present to being present, it’s a definite switch with purpose and intention. For most of us, it doesn’t come naturally and it takes practice. There are many ways to be more present. For some of us, it’s a matter of walking away from digital devices, spending more time away from Facebook and other forms of social media. For still others, it can be a simple matter of breathing deeply, wiggling your toes or just taking the time to intentionally notice the texture of your clothing, the colors in your office or the sounds you can hear at this very moment. (Just run “ways to be more present” into a search engine for great ideas. We found this one called 12 Simple Ways to Be Present.)

Experts say that as we keep practicing at being more present, it will eventually come naturally without our thinking about it so much. But make no mistake, it will take an intentional effort on your part to become more present daily. The pay offs include better relationships, lasting marriages, career fulfillment and promotions, physical fitness, more energy, better sleep and so much more.

So, take a few moments and practice being more mentally engaged with your surroundings and those around you. It’ll make 2017 your best year yet.

Written by Krissy Gillaspia for Walkingspree

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Strategies to Bring to the Thanksgiving Table

Strategies to Bring to the Thanksgiving Table

Ah, Thanksgiving dinner. Friends, family and all that food! Just the thought of it can put one in a carb coma.

But as with all things in life, moderation is the key, so plan your eating strategy. Here are a few ideas that may help you enjoy your time at the turkey table without feeling guilt the next day.

  • Take time to enjoy your food. Slow down, enjoy your company and eat mindfully.
  • Take smaller portions. You can always go back for seconds.
  • Take time to enjoy your indulgences. Rate your favorite foods from 1-10 and eat only 9s and 10s.
  • Take time and listen to your stomach. When you are full, push your plate away. No need to be stuffed like the turkey.
  • Take time to eat breakfast and avoid skipping meals before the feast. If you become too hungry you may overeat.
  • Take a dish to pass. The hosts will appreciate it and you can make sure there is a healthy dish available.
  • Take a walk before and after dinner. The extra steps will help curb your appetite and steel your resolve.
  • Take time to compliment the cook – especially if you are doing the cooking.

Above all, remember, this is just one day out of 365. This day will not make or break you if you make wise food choices the rest of the year.

TIP: Use your Food Tracker on your portal/home page before you sit down at the table. Knowing how many calories are in a specific food may help you eat a smaller portion. It will also help you identify foods that are lower in calories.

RECIPE: Sweet Potato Casserole

Try this “healthified” casserole that boosts only 250 calories per serving — less than half the calories of the original 540 calories version.

Ingredients:

SWEET POTATOES
· 1 can (40 oz) sweet potatoes in syrup, drained
· 1/3 cup granulated sugar
· 1/2 teaspoon salt
· 1/4 cup fat-free egg product
· 1/4 cup fat-free (skim) milk
· 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

TOPPING
· 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
· 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1 tablespoon no-trans-fat vegetable oil spread, melted
· 1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 1 1/2-quart casserole with cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, mash sweet potatoes. Stir in granulated sugar, salt, egg product, milk and vanilla; spoon into casserole.
3. In small bowl, mix all topping ingredients except pecans until well blended. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.
4. Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition:
Calories: 250 (calories from fat: 45)
Total Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 0.5g
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholestero:l 0mg
Sodium: 220mg
Total Carbohydrate: 47g
Dietary Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 37g
Protein: 3g

Source: www.eatbetteramerica.com

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