Thursday, July 28, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: The 60 Second Health Makeover

Sometimes people are scared of the "healthier lifestyle" because it may mean a major investment either for a gym membership, buying organic food, or perhaps eventually buying a new wardrobe. But sometimes you can make the biggest strides towards a healthier lifestyle with baby steps. These minor investments could pay huge dividends in your future!

  1. When you get out of bed, stand up and stretch your hamstrings for 30 seconds. You will have a 27% increase in flexibility in just 6 weeks!
  2. Before you brush your teeth, have one regular aspirin. Studies show that women who pop one of these pills a day have a 20% lower incidence of breast cancer!
  3. At breakfast, pop a vitamin C pill. Studies show that taking a 1,000mg of VitC a day can reduce the severity of cold symptoms by 19%!
  4. At the office, walk to your coworkers' office instead of sending an email. More than 1 lb. of weight lost per year from the extra calorie burn! Plus, walking an extra 4,000-5,000 steps could reduce your blood pressure by 11 points!
  5. With every meal, drink ice water. A pound lost every 8 weeks; you'll expend 123 calories of heat daily to warm the water.
  6. At lunch, swap your ham sandwich for tuna. The omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help raise your HDL (good cholesterol) to help clean out your arteries and reduce the risk of heart disease by 28%!
  7. At the gym, pedal the stationary bike with one leg. Target those hamstrings! Pedal with one leg for 60 seconds, then switch. Then spin easily with both legs for 30 seconds. Repeat 6-8 times.
  8. At Happy Hour, drink red wine from Chile instead of France. Chilean Cabernet sauvignon is 38% higher in flavonols (antioxidants that fight cancer-causing cells) than French wine!
  9. While watching TV, eat two bananas. A study showed that low potassium levels can be linked to increased incidence of stroke.
  10. When you reach for a drink, reach for the milk instead of the soda. Carbonated drinks produce carbonic acid which dissolves bone mass.
  11. Before bed, have a piece of chocolate. One study showed that women who ate chocolate reported more satisfying sex lives than those who didn't!
  12. In bed, plug your ears. Research found people who routinely endured sound levels higher than 55 decibels (snoring is usually 60-80 decibels) were twice as likely to be treated for high blood pressure!

Pretty interesting, huh? Leading a healthier lifestyle can be difficult but it all starts with YOU! You have to want to do it for YOURSELF!

10 Self-Checks to do Before Breakfast

If the only time you zoom in on your anatomy is when you're tweezing your eyebrows or popping a zit, you could be missing out on crucial information about your health. Your body is an amazing thing in that, it has built-in sickness sensors. You can spot early warning signs of potentially serious conditions simply by bonding with yourself in front of a mirror for a few minutes. Go ahead, take a closer look...

You Nails

If You See: Dark lines on the nail beds
What It Could Mean: Huge abnormally colored moles on your back are not the only evidence of skin cancer- it can also develop under your nails. Yellowish, brown, or black stripes are a sign of cell damage (like a bruise) but it could be melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. With early detection and treatment though, about 95% of cases are curable! Talk to your dermatologist.

If You See: Bright white stripes
What It Could Mean: Everyone gets white spots on their nails from time to time (usually a sign you banged your finger on a corner or in your desk drawer), but if you see long, horizontal bands of discoloration on the nail's surface and you been fatigued lately? It could be bad news for your kidneys. These bands can be a signal that the kidneys aren't able to filter out protein from your urine. This means your body is losing protein faster than you can shovel filet mignon into your mouth-and that can lead to kidney failure. Ask your doctor for a urine test.

Your Armpits

If You See: A patch of rough, dark skin
What It Could Mean: Unless you've gone overboard with self-tanner (an awful look in itself), you could have diabetes. Excess insulin in your bloodstream can cause skin cells to multiply abnormally fast, leading to a build up of tissue and melanin. This makes the skin look darker and feel thicker. Most common places you'll notice it? Armpits, neck, and groin. A simple blood test can determine the disease, which affects about 24 million Americans- nearly a quarter aren't even diagnosed!

Your Eyelids, Knees, and Elbows

If You See: Small, soft lumps that look white or waxy
What It Could Mean: Good news! It's not a zit... Bad news? These could be small deposits of cholesterol. Unfortunately by the time these little suckers appear, your cholesterol is probably sky high which is a serious risk factor for heart disease.

Your Scalp

If You See: Thinning hair
What It Could Mean: Sure, eventually hair falls out. As we get older, our hair thins and changes texture and color. However, excessive hair loss could be an indicator of a thyroid disorder. Your thyroid is a gland in the back of your neck and when it is out of whack, it affects male and female sex hormones. The result: more strands in your brush and hair that feels course and brittle. Medication is out there to help control thyroid levels.

If You See: Your scalp shedding like a snake
What It Could Mean: If skin flakes are making your shoulders look like the Alps in February, it could be because of your "to-do" list. An intense load in stress causes your body to produce excess cortisol. In addition to wreaking havoc on your immune system and your metabolism, cortisol can also dry out your scalp. Try getting more sleep, meditate, and loosen up your packed schedule.

Your Eyes

If You See: A yellowish bump on your eyeball
What It Could Mean: A slightly raised nodule on the white of your eye is a symptom of a harmless condition called pinguecula. This is an overgrowth of collagen triggered by damage from sun, wind, or dust. Keep your eyes moist with lubricating drops and don shades anytime you're outdoors to prevent the bump from growing.

If You See: Undereye circles that won't go away
What It Could Mean: Unless you have taken a second job as a midnight trucker, a sudden onset of dark rings could be chalked up by allergies. When an allergen hits your body, it's response is to release histamine; this chemical makes blood vessels swell with blood and other fluids. Hence the dark patches where the skin is the thinnest. Ask your doctor for an allergen skin test.

Your Belly

If You See: Thick, dark hair (or stubble) in a diamond shape
What It Could Mean: Dense, coarse hair that extends up toward your belly button (rather than grow downward from the top of the pubic bone) could be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Caused by overproduction of androgens, the condition can lead to irregular or heavy periods (Ugh!), weight gain, acne, and thick, dark hair on the belly, face, chest, and back. This can be a serious risk factor for things like infertility and heart disease. Your OB-GYN can prescribe birth control that can get your hormones back in check.

Your Tongue

If You See: A white, yellow, or orange coating
What It Could Mean: If your tongue looks like someone painted on it, you could be spilling your guts in your sleep. Normally, a one-way valve at the bottom of your esophagus makes sure whatever does down does not come back up. Acid reflux occurs when the valve opens spontaneously and the contents of your stomach make a break for your throat, leaving your tongue coated in digestive acids and you have a serious case of Godzilla breath. Most reflux can be treated with antacids or simply by avoiding spicy and acidic foods.

What is one interesting thing you learned from this post??

Make sure you and your body are bff. All you have is each other and you will be together...walking on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

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