You hear a lot about aerobic activity for your heart, but what about your muscles? You use them for everything you do – from getting out of bed to brushing your teeth and driving. Keeping your muscles strong not only helps you stay active, but also protects you from injury, disability and the effects of aging. Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only about 30% of adults in the U.S. do enough muscle training.
One way to change that is calisthenics, a form of exercise that focuses on your major muscle groups. It includes activities like push-ups, sit-ups, squats and lunges. You can start slowly as a beginner and build up your workout as you build your muscles. For best results, do these activities at least two days a week.
Your yearly health exam is your doctor’s way of tracking your health. It’s also how your doctor can rule out or take care of serious health problems. If an issue is caught early, it’s easier to treat and your chances for a full recovery are better. If you already have a medical condition or are in a high-risk group for getting one, make a checkup schedule with your doctor that makes sense for your health and lifestyle.
Take charge! Use the preventive care benefits, like your yearly exam, screenings and vaccines, covered by your health plan. Your checkup is an hour of your day that can add years to your life. Just remember to bring in any questions or concerns you have and be open about your health and family history.
What you do affects those around you. Like when you snack on carrots instead of cookies or order a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a burger … Making great choices for your health may also encourage your family, friends and even your coworkers to make better choices for their health.
So take pride in your positive influence – and take responsibility for the little things you do. You may end up making a big difference.
Want to shed some pounds? Set yourself up for success with the right goals. You may have a long-term goal for your scale. But, in the short term, start with two or three simple goals. These could be adding fruit to your breakfast, not eating after 8 p.m. or walking for a half hour during lunch. Make sure your goals are realistic and healthy.
If you have a bad day, take a deep breath and start fresh the next day. Need help with your goals? Go to choosemyplate.gov and check out SuperTracker. This tool from the United States Department of Agriculture can help you figure out how much and what to eat, how to track what you eat and lots more!
Are you pumped and ready for action? Not so fast! You should always warm up before you exercise. Warming up loosens your muscles and increases your heart rate, breathing, blood flow and temperature. All of these changes help prepare your body for activity, so you can enjoy the full benefits of your workout and help protect yourself against injury. Don’t take shortcuts to getting in shape. For the best outcome, ease your body into a healthy routine.
If you’ve ever taken a gym class or jogged a few miles, you know how music can take the edge off … or add an edge! Music works as a distraction when things get tough. It also helps you focus when physical activity requires a certain rhythm or pacing, such as when you’re timing exercise repetitions to the beat of a song. You can choose your music, depending on how intense you want your workout to be.
Don’t sweat in silence! Add music to your fitness routine for less pain and more gain.
Stress goes hand-in-hand with modern life. While we can’t always avoid it, we can figure out how to cope. Some people find positive ways, like exercise, community service or relaxing hobbies. Other people struggle and turn to escapes like junk food or drugs and alcohol. It’s very important that you find support from friends, loved ones or professionals who can help before your stress feels overwhelming.
You can also prepare your mind and body to handle stress by taking care of yourself. This means eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep and having a routine to your days.
Your vision can be damaged or lost without treatment.
There are about 29 million people who have diabetes in the U.S. today. If your doctor has told you that you have diabetes, you’re one of the 21 million who know. That leaves about 8 million people who have no idea they have it.1
Diabetes affects your body’s ability to use blood sugar or glucose. The most common form of diabetes is type 2, where the body does not properly use insulin, a hormone that helps the body use blood sugar for energy. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar at normal levels.1
Having diabetes puts you at risk for serious eye problems — all of which lead to poor vision and, for some, even blindness. Here are some eye conditions made worse by diabetes:
The retina is the layer at the back of the eye containing cells that are sensitive to light. Retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the retina swell and leak fluid. New blood vessels can also grow on the retina, leaking fluid and stopping light form reaching it. This causes blurry vision and, in more serious cases, blindness.2
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and pupil. The lens inside the eye works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. It also adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly up close and far away. The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The protein helps keep the lens clear and allows light to pass through it. As we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract.3
This is pressure in the eye, which causes harm to the optic nerve. Glaucoma impacts light perception. Without treatment, people with glaucoma will slowly lose their peripheral (side) vision, making them unable to see objects to the side and out of the corner of their eye. They feel like they’re looking at things through a tunnel. Over time, straight-ahead (central) vision may get worse until its lost completely.4
People with diabetes are more sensitive to the sun than people who don’t have it. This is because the drugs taken by people who have diabetes, such as those for high blood pressure, increase light sensitivity. Protecting your eyes from the sun’s UV rays is not only for people with diabetes. All people should take safety precautions to protect their vision. To protect your eyes you should:
- Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays, even on cloudy days.
- Get Transitions®
- lenses for your prescription glasses. They are as clear as regular lenses indoors, but turn as dark as sunglasses outdoors, depending on the strength of UV rays — reducing glare and making the eyes more comfortable. They also block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
- Choose bigger lenses to protect more of your eyes, and wear a wide-brimmed hat to block UV rays from the top and sides of your face.
- Get contact lenses that filter out UV, but remember that they do not protect the area around the eyes. For complete eye protection, wear sunglasses that shield most of the eye as well.
People with diabetes need yearly eye exams4
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, taking the right medicine, watching your blood sugar levels, eating healthy and exercising can help you control it. It’s also important to get yearly eye exams, which includes dilation. With dilation, an eye care professional places drops in each eye to widen the pupil, which is the opening at the center of the colored part of the eye called the iris. Dilation is an important part of a comprehensive eye exam because it lets your eye care professional to see the inside of the eye.
You may be counting calories for every bite you eat, but are you keeping track of what you drink? Water is the perfect calorie-free beverage. Fill a clean, reusable water bottle and toss it in your bag or brief case to quench your thirst throughout the day. If you’re gulping down regular sodas and other sweet drinks, you may be adding a lot of unnecessary calories to your diet.
Next time you go for a sugary drink, look at the calorie information on the label. Also, check out the serving size. A single serving might only be 100 calories, but if the bottle holds 2.5 servings, you’re up to 250 calories. So make sure it’s worth it!
- The family that eats together stays together
- Summer fitness family plan
- Stop knee trouble before it starts
- Alzheimer’s: Lowering the risk
- Smoking – quitters win
In each issue you will find information and inspiration to help you with your health and wellness goals.