Wellness – Make some changes!


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The Cost of Overstimulation

More scientists now believe that this endless time spent with the Internet, mobile phones and TV is making us impatient, impulsive, forgetful, unfocused and changing the very way we think and behave.

For instance, scientists argue that all these “message spurts” play to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats, which excite us and produce a dopamine squirt – that can be addictive. When “unplugged,” people feel bored.

People like to think multitasking makes them productive, but the medical research shows it makes them have trouble focusing and stresses them out. For instance, one study found that people interrupted by e-mail reported significantly increased stress compared with those left to focus.

More scientists like Dr. Michael Rich of Harvard Medical School are arguing that our brains desperately need downtime to allow the brain to process experiences and turn them into permanent long-term memories, which is essentially the act of learning. A finding showed that major cross sections of the brain become surprisingly active during such downtime, which is why Dr. Rich argues that, “Downtime is to the brain what sleep is to the body.”

Sleep Deprivation Nation

Our 24/7 world, with the ever-longer work hours and constant “plugged in” overstimulation, means people are getting less sleep than ever: the average adult sleeps less than seven hours a night, while research shows at least seven-eight are needed.

More than one-third of adults report daytime sleepiness so intense that it interferes with work, driving, etc., at least a few days each month.

ZZZs = Good Health

The cost of not getting enough shut-eye isn’t just eternal grouchiness and loss of productivity — study after study shows it increases the risk of serious chronic diseases and can shorten our lifespans.

The medical research concurs that poor sleep is linked to: heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, increased inflammation, colds and even cancer, etc. And researchers are discovering how sleep is vital for learning and memory.

Lack of Sleep = Weight Gain

Numerous studies link too little sleep with weight gain and obesity. That’s because our bodies secrete hormones while we sleep that help to control appetite, energy metabolism and glucose processing.

A Big Culprit = Sleep Hygiene

  • Experts agree you must establish a time of day when you sleep and wake and stick to it.
  • Rooms should be dark, safe, relaxing and cool (many say 18°C is ideal).
  • “Respect” your sleeping space: keep work, electronics, TVs, mobile phones, iPads — and strife/arguments — out of your bedroom.

A Walk in the Park

The number of children who spent time doing outside activities like walking or playing at the beach fell by 50 percent from 1997-2003. Outdoor activities have fallen by more than 20 percent per capita since the 1980s. And children, whose life used to be defined by outdoor play, are now keenly nature-deprived, spending an average of 45 hours a week with electronic media.

The cost: The Institute of Medicine reports that childhood obesity has more than doubled for adolescents and more than tripled for children ages 6–11, over the past 30 years.

Spending Time Outdoors = Surprising Health Benefits

More than 100 research studies have indicated that outdoor recreation reduces stress, improves mood and leads to an overall increase in physical and psychological wellbeing.

  • A view of nature, even through a window, speeds recovery from surgery, improves work performance and increases job satisfaction.
  • 71% of people with mental health disorders reported decreased depression with a “green walk.”
  • Going outside (or just being near plants) improved memory performance and attention span by 20%.
  • Getting out in nature does more than lift our mood — it can actually affect our priorities and alter what we think is important in life, making us less self-focused and more other – or community – focused.

Our Body’s Elixir

While the old maxim about drinking eight glasses of water a day has been widely debunked (because we get much of our needed water from the food we eat) — there is still no doubt that hydration is key to good health. Water regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, lessens the burden on our kidneys and liver by flushing out wastes, protects body organs and tissues and carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells.

Doctors now say “drink when you’re thirsty” is a better rule of thumb than the old, mandated eight glasses — but the problem is, Starbucks and fizzy drink-swilling adults now consume a record amount of caffeine, causing many people to remain dehydrated. The British Nutrition Foundation gives guidelines for the types of fluid to drink, and water is the only fluid which they recommend drinking “plenty” of as it contains no sugar, calories or additives.

H2O = Weight Loss (and More)

Medical studies confirm that drinking water helps shed pounds.

  • People who drank two 240ml glasses of water before meals ate 75-90 calories less during the meal.
  • Those drinking water three times a day before meals (over three months) lost five pounds more than those who did not.
  • Metabolic rates (the rate at which calories are burned) increased by 30% for both men and women who drank 510ml of water.
Another study showed that water impacts mood, with dehydrated women exhibiting headaches, loss of focus and fatigue. And water is proven to improve skin tone.With the explosion of sugary and coffee drinks, we are now drinking an average of 235 calories a day, far more than at any point in history. Swap out some of these beverages for water, our very healthiest beverage.

Lack of Physical Activity Kills

The medical evidence about the positive benefits of regular physical activity — and the costs of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles could fill a library. And yet, only 40% of men and 28% of women meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity in adults in the UK according to Sustrans.

Many large studies show that exercise helps prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and colon cancer; lowers weight, blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol levels; and improves mood and the immune system.

The 30 Minutes of Daily Recommended Exercise Can Be Taken in Five- or Ten-Minute Bursts

While a half hour of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week is generally recommended, it’s been proven that shorter, repeated bursts of activity do the trick.

  • One study showed that multiple workout sessions as short as six minutes apiece helped reachfitness goals similar to those achieved by 30-minute workouts.
  • Another study showed that short walks after dinner were actually more effective than long exercise sessions in reducing fat and triglyceride blood levels.
  • A different study revealed that short bouts of exercise helped lower blood pressure and shaved inches off the hips and waistline.
People can get their 30 minutes of moderate daily exercise just by making a few little changes: by walking briskly for ten minutes, or taking the stairs over the lift. For instance, a new Canadian study found that not only does it take twice as long to get to a designated floor by lift versus the stairs, but that walking up and down seven flights knocks out 10% of the recommended 10,000 steps a person is supposed to take a day.Breakfast

Breakfast skippers increase their bodies’ insulin response, which increases fat storage and weight gain and the risk of obesity and diabetes. And because breakfast skippers get ravenous by mid-morning, they replace calories all day with binge snacking, lunches and dinners.Eating breakfast is proven to be a key habit of successful weight losers, as studies show that breakfast eaters eat fewer overall calories each day and exercise more regularly. Four in five people who have maintained a 30-pound (or more) weight loss for at least a year report eating breakfast every single day, according to the National Weight Control Registry.

Make Smart Breakfast Choices

  • High-fibre foods like fruits, whole grains and healthy cereals are very smart breakfast choices.
  • Skip the fat-filled breakfast sandwiches and high-sugar cereals and pastries.
  • High-fibre foods (which have lower “energy density”) fill you up, so you get to eat far more food, while consuming fewer calories.
  • A Harvard study found that people who eat whole-grain cereal every day were 20% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who didn’t.

A Nielsen Survey showed that women who ate whole-grain cereal on a regular basis weighed about nine pounds less than those who rarely/never did; and a study of girls ages 9-19 found that regular cereal eaters had fewer weight problems than infrequent cereal eaters, who were 13% more likely to be overweight.

Boosts Energy & Mental Focus

A healthy breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and replenishes the glycogen stores that supply your muscles with instant energy, and eating a healthy breakfast is associated with increased physical activity, less fatigue during the day and a mental advantage.

Cognitive studies, particularly on children, show that breakfast skippers lose focus and concentration, as well as the ability to think and problem solve.

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All of the above was taken from the spafinder website.

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