Stay hydrated when you walk

Remember to drink water when you walk to say hydratedDuring the hot months of summer, it is extremely important to be aware of your water intake. During exercise you lose fluid through your respiration and sweat. The trick is to drink water before you get thirsty which is a sign of mild dehydration. Other signs include muscle cramps, dizziness, nausea and tiredness. Drinking water usually remedies the symptoms.

You may need more than the recommended 8-10 glasses a day to keep your system going, especially when walking. Drink a glass of water about an hour before you walk and carry a bottle of water with you. Take a drink every 15 minutes whether you are thirsty or no, and have a glass of water when you have finished.

If you walk longer than one hour, consider drinking a sports drink that will replace sodium, chloride and potassium. And avoid alcoholic drinks which promote dehydration.

One way to check if you are drinking enough water is to weigh yourself before and after walking. If you have lost weight, it is probably due to lost fluids. Another way to track your hydration is to monitor the color of your urine. If it is light colored, you are hydrated. If it is dark in color, you should drink more.

So before you walk out that door, or climb onto the treadmill, make sure you grab a bottle of water. It is the purest, cheapest and simplest way to keep you comfortable and hydrated.

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Eat Smart! Lack of sleep leads to bad food choices

Here’s a tip to help you keep junk food out of your diet – get more sleep.

Here’s why.

During a period of sleep restriction, the activity in the brain’s pleasure seeking center increases at the sight of unhealthy foods – like pizza, cheeseburger and cake. But after a full night’s sleep the brain’s reaction to unhealthy and healthy food is about the same.

The results are from a study conducted at Columbia University and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York which involved 25 normal weight participants who were restricted to four hours of sleep or allowed a full night’s sleep for five nights.

Researchers then compared functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) that were taken when the subjects looked at images of healthy and unhealthy foods.

The sleep deprived fMRIs showed a more heightened reaction in the brain’s reward centers for the unhealthy foods compared to healthy foods.

“The results suggest that, under restricted sleep, individuals will find unhealthy foods highly salient and rewarding, which may lead to greater consumption of those foods,” said Marie-Pierre St-Onge, PhD, the study’s lead researcher.

Photo: Hot Dog And Chips by Sonita Lewis

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Walk to Traverse City challenge approaching final leg

Graphic of virtual walk to Traverse City
from the June 27 issue of “Blues News Direct”

by Vera Ogletree

There’s just a little more than four weeks remaining in the Walkingspree Walk to Traverse City challenge. Nearly 350 employees have already uploaded at least 504,000 steps – the step count needed to walk from the Renaissance Center to Traverse City – since the start of the challenge on May 7.

“The response has been great,” said Jamie Gipson, manager, Employee Benefits. “There’s a buzz around the company about the challenge. I’m even aware of at least one division that upped the challenge’s bounty by offering additional prizes to employees for reaching divisional walking goals.”

As part of the Walk to Traverse City challenge, participants who logged at least 168,000 steps through June 3 were entered in the four-week mark drawing to win one of five $75 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift cards. The five lucky winners were:

Ryan Cuz, BCN The Commons
Robert Gray, Renaissance Center
Bill Norris, Jefferson Building
Sherry Ossy, Detroit Tower
Jason Viaene, Renaissance Center

The deadline to upload steps for the second individual prize drawing at the eight-week mark is just days away. Participants who have at least 338,000 steps through July 1 will automatically be entered in a drawing to win one of two pairs of Detroit Tigers tickets.

Participants have until July 5 to upload their steps. Note: Employees must reload the Walkingspree software to their computers following the Windows 7 upgrade. The drawing will be held on July 6.

Gipson encourages challenge participants to upload their steps frequently so their team’s status is updated with the latest information on the Walkingspree site. Cindy Dion’s team currently leads the walking groups, followed in second place by Ira Strumwasser.

At the end of the 12-week challenge, all teams that collectively meet the average step count of 6,000 per day, per employee, will be entered in a final drawing to select the winning team for a luncheon and the Traveling BWell trophy.

The individuals on the winning team will be entered in the drawing to win one of five $75 gift cards or the grand prize of a weekend trip to the Traverse City Great Wolf Lodge or the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

The Walk to Traverse City Challenge ends July 29.

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Eat Blueberries for Your Heart

fresh blueberries
Blueberries top the fruit chart when it comes to antioxidants and just one cup will provide you with a healthy dose of fiber and a quarter of your daily vitamin C requirement.

Plus they are low in calories – about 80 calories a cup – and it takes little or no preparation to enjoy these little gems of goodness.

But wait, it gets better!

Eating blueberries may help get rid of belly fat – the fat that surrounds your internal organs and that is linked to heart disease and diabetes.

In a study, scientists fed rats that were bred to be severely overweight, either a low-fat or high-fat diet plus powder made from freeze-dried blueberries.
A control group received no blueberry powder.

After the 90-day study, both groups of rats that ate the blueberry powder had less abdominal fat, lower triglycerides and lower cholesterol compared to the control group.

“Some measurements were changed by blueberry even if the rats were on a high-fat diet,” said lead researcher E. Mitchell Seymour, MS, of the University of Michigan’s Cardioprotection Research Laboratory, in a news release.

So be sure to pick up a pint or two over the weekend to enjoy with your cereal in the morning or as an afternoon snack.

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Too hot to walk? Go the the mall! (video)

If summer’s sweltering heat or winter’s sub zero temps ever deter you from walking, take a trip to your local indoor mall. It’s a great place to meet other walkers who will help keep you motivated.

We hope this short video will inspire you to keep moving. And for more inspiration, check out this article on a group of Walkingspree mall walkers.

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