Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Get Your Energy Back

Does the summer heat have you feeling sluggish? Use these tips to help you get your energy back!
  • Eat small, frequent meals… but don’t overeat. If you’re having a hard time keeping your energy up, it’s better to eat small meals and snacks every few hours than three large meals a day. That’s because your brain needs a steady supply of nutrients. Some people can begin feeling tired, headachy or light-headed after just a few hours without food. But it doesn’t take much to feed your brain—a piece of fruit or a few nuts is enough.
  • Avoid crash diets. Even if you are dieting or trying to lose weight, you shouldn’t be skipping essential nutrients or starving yourself. Calories give you energy, and poor nutrition and insufficient calorie intake can cause fatigue. Food provides your brain with a steady supply of glucose. If the brain’s glucose levels are running low, some people can feel hungry, fatigued, or both.
  • Use caffeine to your advantage. Caffeine increases alertness for an hour or two after consumption, so having a cup of coffee before going to a meeting or starting on a project can help sharpen your mind. But it can also cause insomnia, especially when consumed in large amounts or after 2 p.m. (or even noon, if you’re caffeine-sensitive). Be mindful of how much coffee you have had the next time you reach for the coffee pot!
  • Limit alcohol. Alcohol is a sedative, so you should be aware of its effects before you consume. The sedative effect is especially strong at midday, when you normally feel tired anyway, so one of the best ways to avoid the mid-afternoon slump is to stay away from alcohol at lunch. If you want to have energy in the evening to pursue a hobby, stay awake through a movie or finish that report for work the next day, the 5 o'clock cocktail may not be for you.
  • Drink water. The only nutrient that has been shown to enhance performance for most activities isn’t an expensive electrolyte-filled’s water! If your body is short on fluids, one of the first signs is a feeling of fatigue. Be sure that you keep a cup or bottle of water around you to take sips throughout the day.

Source: Harvard Health

Monday, May 20, 2019

Six Steps to a Healthier Night’s Sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for physical and mental health. If you’re feeling sleepy or tired during the day even after getting enough sleep or repeatedly waking up during the night, you could be sleep deprived. Additionally, you may be putting yourself at an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and stroke and poor mental health.

Try these practices to get a good night’s rest:

Establish a relaxing routine.  A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is bedtime. This could include taking a warm shower or bath, reading a book or doing some light stretches.

Wind down. Give your mind and body time to shift into sleep mode about an hour before going to bed. Try to avoid electronics before bed or in the middle of the night.

Be consistent! Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.

Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes. While a short nap can help to improve mood and performance, napping does not make up for poor nighttime sleep.

Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry, eat a light, healthy snack.

Get active! Ten minutes of aerobic exercise a day can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping, speak with your primary care provider to get a referral to a sleep professional.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Sleep Foundation

Friday, May 17, 2019

Lower Your Risk of Having a Stroke

Strokes are the No. 5 cause of death and a leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States. They can be caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain or by a blood vessel rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain. The good news is that 80% of strokes are preventable and can be treated.

It’s important to know the signs of stroke to reduce the effects and save your life! Call 9-1-1 if you notice any of  these symptoms:

• Sudden confusion or difficulty understanding
• Dizziness or loss of balance
• Sudden numbness or weakness
• Trouble speaking and/or walking
• Sudden, severe headache
• Changes in vision

Take charge of your health to help prevent a stroke.  A healthy lifestyle and working with your health care team to control your risk of stroke could save your life.

• Treat high blood pressure, if you have it.
• Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
• Eat a healthy diet that’s low in saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars and salt.
• Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes.
• Be physically active.
• Get regular medical check-ups.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Four Ways to Stay Sharp

Regular physical activity does wonders for your health and can delay the effects of aging. But did you know that exercising your brain can improve your brain health? Take these steps to activate your brain and reach your full intellectual potential!

Challenge your brain. Continuing education is associated with maintaining memory and thinking skills. Try building on your skills throughout your lifetime. Stimulate your brain by taking a cooking class, learning to sew or learning a new language.

Maintain healthy relationships. Social involvement is another way to maintain mental skills and memory. Engage in activities such as volunteering or tutoring school children. Social relationships can also provide emotional support, reducing the damaging effects that stress can have on the brain.

Keep moving. People who exercise regularly tend to stay mentally sharp. Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, so a daily 30 - minute walk or taking a dance class could improve your cognitive health.

Eat Smarter. Increase your chances of maintaining a healthy brain by eating smarter! Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, nuts and healthy oils help promote heart health and may also lessen the risk of memory loss later in life.

Sources: Harvard Health and WebMD

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