Archive for the ‘Well Being’ Category

Over 50’s Fitness & Health by Glen Barnett – No Sweat in the Brain Gym

September 21, 2014

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Research sourced from the American Academy of Neurology suggests that during later years, people who read books, played games, participated in computer activities and even did craft activities had a 30-50% decrease in their risk of developing memory loss compared to those who did not do those activities.
Here are some ideas for your own Brain Gym.
Explore new horizons, whether that be new environments, new books, new languages, new social groups or even new hobbies.  Get excited about the possibilities of increasing your wisdom and becoming a know all!

Learn a new physical skill.  Staying active will keep your heart pumping and let that oxygen rich blood surge around your body and fill your brain with much needed H20. Try a dance class, aerobics classes, Tai Chi, body boarding, trampolining or even juggling.

Practice doing two or three tasks at once.  (This one is probably a new concept for the men reading this article as women apparently do this their entire lives.)  Multi-tasking is like mental juggling and keeps those neurons firing.  If you’re having trouble with this one be warned you will be looking for trouble if you ask a woman to explain it to you.

Keep your memories alive.  Write your life story.  Open those memory pathways and draw those memories to the forefront of your mind.  Enjoy and relish your past.  Your family will love to read your history and maybe surprised and unaware of just what you got up to.

Sharpen your pencil as you sharpen your mind by regularly doing puzzle’s like Jumbled Words.  These are often regularly seen in magazines and newspapers.  The harder the puzzle the stronger your brain becomes when you solve it or try to solve it.

Switch hands. Make friends with your less dominant hand by doing simple tasks using it.  This will stimulate neural pathways with tasks that may be second nature with your dominant hand but a whole new ball game to your less dominant hand. Try brushing your teeth, switching your knife and fork or even writing.

Laugh. Laughing stimulates five different parts of your brain, so laugh often to help keep your brain from aging. Laughter Yoga workshops and classes are a great fun social way to get this integration happening.

So if you’ve been reading this article and already forgotten what it’s about then you might need to oxygenate your brain with some exercise and start creating your own Brain Gym today!  Call Glen at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222 if you need a hand.

Ways Dads Influence Active Kids

September 7, 2014

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It turns out that Dads have a lot of influence in how active their kids are.
Here are 7 great ways that Dads can make a big impact:

1. Be an active role model

A study titled “Influence of parents’ physical activity levels on activity levels of young children” found that children of active fathers are 3.5 times more likely to be active than children of inactive fathers. This is the perfect reason to try something new and to show your kids how committed you are to your own physical activity.

If you aren’t already active, you’ll soon see the impact on your entire family once you get moving yourself.

2. Encourage, encourage, encourage

If the kids know Dad is interested in what they are doing, they are more likely to keep it up. So dads, pay attention to your child’s activities. Notice when your son jumps rope 20 times in a row. Ask your daughter all about her Rally Cap game and what she liked about it. Watching your child, whether in an organized sport or in the backyard, shows that what they’re doing matters.

3. Play with your child

Playing with Dad not only gets kids active, but it helps them to regulate their emotions and develop their emotional intelligence, according to this Civitas article. If a child throws a tantrum while playing, Dad can address the issue with him. Children get on better with other children and become better suited for team environments – and life in general – if they understand their emotions and how to control them.

4. Roughhouse with your kids

Mom is typically the safe, nourishing parent, which allows Dad to be the unpredictable one. Roughhousing is good for kids for a number of reasons, as this Art of Manliness article points out. It improves your child’s resilience and helps them develop grit, rewires the brain for learning, helps build social intelligence, introduces respect for limits and boundaries, builds the father-child bond, and promotes physical activity. It also gives kids confidence to explore their environments and take risks, especially when Dad is by their side.

Don’t think this is just for boys, either – girls who roughhouse with their dads tend to have higher self-esteem and self-confidence, and are more prone to socialize during physical activity.

5. Get away with your child

The father-child – or family – getaway is a great way for children to get involved in a fresh batch of physical activities. My dad used to take me camping when I was a kid. We’d set up the tent. We’d walk down to the water station, fill up our thermoses and walk back. We’d hike through the bush.

Not only did this allow me to explore my surroundings as well as my physical capabilities, but Dad taught me about respecting the wilderness and all that lived within it. Instead of trying to hide the fact that there might be bears in the woods, he taught me what I’d need to do if I ever came across one.

The kind of life knowledge that fathers can impart during outings is invaluable.

6. Pass on your knowledge

Dads have had a lifetime of learning they can pass on to their children at different times – this is also true when it comes to physical activities. From a young age, my dad was teaching me how to throw a Frisbee, how to paddle the canoe properly (he gave me a kiddie paddle for my fifth birthday), how to fly a kite, and how to cast and reel the fishing rod. These are just a handful of things I learned from my dad when we were outside, playing and being active together, but they’re all things that still keep me active today.

7. Involve yourself

This Family Education article sites a study that followed a group of boys and girls for 26 years and examined the roles of both mothers and fathers in cultivating the child’s emotional health and empathy. The study found that the most influential factor in a child’s emotional health, by far, was how involved the father was in the child’s care. Children who have involved fathers are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their physical surroundings, and have better social connections – all of which relate to physical literacy.

This article was sourced from: http://activeforlife.com/7-ways-dads-influence-active-kids/
About the Author: Tyler Laing
Tyler has been coaching and helping coach kids in soccer since he was little more than a kid himself. Now, thanks to Active for Life, he will have a better idea of how to raise a physically literate child when he has children of his own. Tyler provides content for Canadian Sport for Life, and holds a degree in writing with a journalism minor from the University of Victoria.

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Coconut Beef Curry

September 4, 2014

curry

Start Shaping Up

August 19, 2014

IT’S TIME TO SHAPE UPshapeup

As a nation, our waistlines are growing. Today, over 63% of Australian adults and one in four children are overweight or obese.

Unhealthy eating and not enough physical activity can lead to overweight and obesity, and an increased risk of developing a chronic disease such as some cancers, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Shape Up Australia is an initiative to help Australians reduce their waist measurements and improve their overall health and wellbeing. There are many everyday changes you can make to help you Shape Up and get on your way to a healthier lifestyle.


GETTING ACTIVE

Life can be busy, and it’s easy to think that there just isn’t enough time to be physically active.  But being physically active doesn’t mean you have to spend hours exercising each day or that you have to push yourself to the point of feeling exhausted.

There are great benefits to getting even a small amount of physical activity each day, both mentally and physically.  Being active gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, reduces the risk of depression and can help to prevent a range of chronic diseases.

You can start with small changes, like increasing the distance you walk by getting off the bus earlier or parking your car further away from the shops.  Gradually increase the amount of physical activity you do – it all adds up.  Aim for 30 minutes (or more) of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week.

If you’re worried you don’t have the time, keep in mind that you don’t have to do your 30 minutes (or more) all at once – combine a few shorter sessions of 10 to 15 minutes each throughout the day.  Those short bursts are just as effective as longer exercise sessions.

To get started, check out these physical activity tips or find activities in your local area using the activity finder.

GETTING PHYSICAL TIPS

Tips for being more physically active every day

  • The saying “no pain, no gain” is a myth.  Some activity is better than none, and more is better than a little.  But you don’t have to exercise to the point of collapse to get a health benefit.  Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
  • Set a date for when you will start. Write the date down and stick to it.
  • Make time to be physically active and schedule it as you would an appointment.  The Shape Up activity planner can help you plan and track your activity.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals.  Make your goals specific, measurable and achievable.  Rather than a vague goal like “I will get fit”, try “I will walk every day for 10 minutes after meals” or “I will get off the bus/train two stops earlier than my usual stop”.
  • Build up gradually.  If you are starting a new activity or have been inactive for some time, start at a level that you can manage easily and gradually build up.
  • Choose activities that are right for you.  Do something that you enjoy or go for something different you’ve always wanted to try, such as walking, jogging, joining a team sport, taking a group fitness class, dancing, cycling or swimming.
  • Mix it up.  Consider changing your activities every so often to avoid becoming bored.
  • Plan physical activity with others.  This can help you stick to your plan and achieve your goals.
  • Do not give up before you start to see the benefits.  Be patient and keep at it.
  • HAVE FUN! Physical activity can make you feel good about yourself and it’s a great opportunity to have fun with other people or enjoy some time to yourself.

FINDING TIME TO GET ACTIVE

It can seem hard to find time for physical activity.  One solution is to look for opportunities to build as much physical activity into everyday activities as you can.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Rather than spend five minutes circling a car park looking for that “perfect space” right near the entrance, park five minutes away and spend that time walking instead.
  • If you arrive at a bus or tram stop early, why not make use of the time to walk to the next stop?
  • Walk rather than rest on escalators… it’s quicker so you’ll actually save time! (Or better still, use the stairs).
  • Work in the garden – get into some energetic gardening activities like digging, shifting soil and mowing the lawn to raise your heart-rate.
  • Clean the house! Activities like vacuuming, cleaning windows and scrubbing floors that raise your heart rate are all good examples of moderate intensity physical activity.
  • Park further away from work (or get off public transport a few stops early).  If you walk for 10 minutes to and from work, you’ll have done 20 minutes without even noticing.  Add a 10 minute brisk walk (or more!) at lunch time and you’ve met the guidelines for the day.

ACTIVITY INTENSITY

What is moderate intensity activity?

Moderate-intensity activity will cause a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate.  A good example of moderate-intensity activity is brisk walking; that is, at a pace where you are able to talk comfortably, but not sing.  Moderate-intensity activity should be carried out for at least 10 minutes at a time.

What is vigorous activity?

Vigorous activity is where you “huff and puff”; where talking in full sentences between breaths is difficult.  Vigorous activity can come from such sports as football, squash, netball, basketball and activities such as aerobics, speed walking, jogging and fast cycling.

Note: If you are pregnant, have been previously inactive, or suffer from any medical conditions, it is recommended that you seek medical advice before commencing vigorous physical activity.

WHAT SHOULD I BE EATING

Eating a diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods every day helps us maintain a healthy weight, feel good and fight off chronic disease.

Best of all, healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard if you follow these seven golden rules:

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Eat more vegetables and fruit
  3. Watch how much you eat – even foods that are good for us, when eaten in large portions, can lead to weight gain
  4. Eat less processed food
  5. Eat regular meals – don’t skip meals – and always start the day with a healthy breakfast (e.g. a bowl of hi fibre cereal with sliced banana and low fat milk)
  6. Restrict your alcohol intake
  7. Remember that some foods are high in added fat, salt and sugar and so are best eaten only sometimes or in small amounts.  Examples include lollies, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, chips, pies, sausage rolls and other takeaways.

To help you eat well every day, check out these healthy recipes and snack suggestions, tips for staying on track when eating out, our guide to healthy eating on a budget, and tips for drinking to health.

Snack suggestions

  • Add fruit and yoghurt to low fat milk and blend them together to make a great tasting smoothie.
  • A slice of wholegrain bread or raisin toast with a healthy spread such as avocado or low-fat cream cheese, makes a filling, healthy snack.
  • A piece of fruit – like a banana or apple – can make a great “on the run” snack.
  • Instead of reaching for a chocolate bar or packet of chips, try vegetable sticks with low-fat hummus.
  • An occasional handful of unsalted nuts or dried fruit makes a nutritious snack.
  • Grab a tub of natural low-fat yoghurt and add your own fruit.
  • Air-popped popcorn with a sprinkling of salt makes a great afternoon snack.
  • When the weather is hot, fruits such as oranges and grapes make delicious frozen snacks.

Other useful links:

Australian Dietary Guidelines www.eatforhealth.gov.au

Stay On Track When Eating Out Fact Sheet

Your Guide To Buying Fruit And Veg In Season Fact Sheet

Information sourced from this Government Website: http://www.shapeup.gov.au/start-shaping-up

Humour Really is the Best Medicine

August 10, 2014

A good sense of humour is one of the most important tools in your self-care kit. In fact, studies show that laughter affects both your body and your mind.laugh

Laughter is also readily available, free, has no side effects, and you don’t have to worry about overdosing. Moreover, it’s good for everyone around you too. And laughter can relieve stress, boost your immune system and even change your perspective on things.

Stress relief. Laughter lowers your blood pressure and pulse rate and helps your muscles to relax. It counteracts your body’s stress response by lowering the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine, adrenaline and dopamine. In addition, it releases “happy chemicals” in your brain, leaving you with a sense of well-being or even euphoria.

Increased immunity. Laughter increases the number of antibody-producing cells and enhances the effectiveness of killer T-cells. This means a stronger immune system, as well as fewer physical effects and immune suppression caused by stress.

Pain relief. Laughter increases the production of natural painkillers, thereby improving our tolerance to pain.

Muscle relaxation. Laughter exercises the diaphragm, contracts the abs and even works out the shoulders, leaving muscles more relaxed afterwards. It even provides a good workout for the heart. According to the late Dr Laurence Peter, author of The Peter Principle, the bigger the laugh, the lower the tension and the more long-lasting the relief.

Perspective. Humour gives us an entirely different perspective on our problems. By viewing a problem a little more light-heartedly, it becomes a challenge instead of a threat, and your body won’t react with a stress response. This gives us a sense of mastery and control over our environment, which helps us cope with adversity.

Distraction. Laughter diverts our attention away from our negative feelings like guilt, anger, and stress.

Improved social interaction. Laughter is contagious. If you laugh, people laugh with you, even if they don’t always know what you’re laughing about.  It connects us to those around us, and can even be used to ease interpersonal tension – crack a joke during your next heated argument and see the tension melt away.

How to lighten up

Raise your laughter level with the following strategies:

Surround yourself with humour. Watch a funny movie, read a humorous book or a comic, or listen to your favourite stand-up comedian. When you’re stressed at work, take ten minutes to read jokes on the Internet or listen to something silly on your iPod.

Laugh with a friend or colleague. People tend to laugh more in social situations, so share the funnies with a friend. It will strengthen your relationship and the contagious effects of laughter may mean you’ll laugh more than you otherwise would have.

Look for humour in everyday life. Why wait to “look back on it and laugh”? Find the humour in every situation, even the stressful and unpleasant ones, and enjoy a good giggle now.

Laugh at yourself. Poke fun at your own behaviour and idiosyncrasies. As the saying goes, “Laugh at yourself and the world laughs with you.”

Comedian Bill Cosby once said, “If you can laugh at it, you can survive it”. With the improved immune system, reduce stressed, better coping ability and positive attitude that comes with laughter, you can survive almost anything too.


The latest episode of the podcast “WTF With Marc Maron” features humor researcher (and friend of Science of Us) Peter McGraw, who was on with writer Joel Warner to discuss the book they wrote together called The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny. Among the things they talked about in the interview is the cliché “laughter is the best medicine” — which is at least partially true, as clichés often are. Because a good sense of humor gives us a coping mechanism, which can help us withstand both mental and physical ills. McGraw explained more:

Humor’s this positive emotional experience, and there’s a good deal of evidence that positive emotions help buffer us from stresses and strains in life.

Another thing is that if you have a good sense of humor, it helps rally support. So when you’re in times of trouble, people won’t abandon you. If you’re funny … they wanna be around you. You’re not a downer, you’re not bumming them out all the time.

And then the last one, which I think is the most important one … is that the act of creating comedy from pain can fundamentally change the way you think about your pain. And so it can rob stress of its teeth.

Medicine, obviously, remains the best actual medicine. 

Articles sourced from:
http://www.nib.com.au/home/onlineservices/wellbeing/pages/laughter.aspx
http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/funny-people-have-more-friends-in-tough-times.html?mid=facebook_nymag

Reflexology … what’s it all about?

August 5, 2014

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Reflexology is massage of the feet or hands that aims to promote healing in other areas of the body. Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body. For example, on the left foot, the tip of the big toe corresponds to the brain’s left hemisphere.

Many ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practised foot therapy as a form of healing. In the early 20th century, the Americans Dr William Fitzgerald and physiotherapist Eunice Ingham rediscovered and refined the techniques.

Reflex points

According to the philosophy of reflexology, all the organs, glands and parts of the body have representing reflexes on the feet. Any health problem in the body can usually be detected in the corresponding area of the foot. The left foot generally relates to any organs, glands etc on the left side of the body while the right foot relates to any organs, glands etc on the right side

Practitioners believe that by massaging or stimulating the reflexes using specific techniques there will be a direct effect on the corresponding organ.

A reflexologist may interpret foot marks or problems such as corns and calluses as an indication of a possible health imbalance in the corresponding area of the body.

A range of disorders

Supporters of reflexology believe that it can effectively treat a wide range of disorders including:

  • Stress
  • Circulation problems
  • Impaired immunity
  • Digestive disorders
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Reproductive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Lack of energy
  • Oedema (swelling)
  • Common childhood complaints such as colic, teething pain and bed-wetting
  • Emotional problems.

The procedure

A typical session lasts approximately one hour. The practitioner first asks detailed questions about lifestyle and prior and current medical problems. The patient sits or reclines on a couch with their feet bare, while the practitioner examines the feet before working on all the areas of the feet.

Generally speaking, the greater the degree of tenderness felt by the patient, the more likelihood there will be a possible imbalance in the corresponding area of the body. The practitioner relaxes the feet with gentle massage, and then works on the reflex points using specific techniques. Practitioners are well used to handling feet and apply sufficient pressure so that ticklishness should not be a problem! Reflexology is not meant to hurt, but should be felt. Strong pressure does not necessarily have a greater effect on the reflexes.

Medical evidence is still limited

Foot massage, including reflexology, encourages relaxation and improves circulation in the feet. However, clinical trials on the efficacy of reflexology as treatment for other health problems have produced mixed results. For example:

  • Premenstrual symptoms – in one study to assess reflexology as treatment for premenstrual symptoms, participants who received weekly therapy reported, on average, a reduction of symptoms by 62 per cent.
  • In another study, the benefits of reflexology were no different to the benefits of regular foot massage performed by people with no training in reflexology.

For further information regarding clinical trials and the efficiency of reflexology go to www.reflexology–research.com

General cautions

Treatment for foot problems such as corns, calluses, bunions and ingrown toenails are not in the scope of practise of a Reflexologist and should be treated by a podiatrist. In particular, people with diabetes are prone to serious foot problems and should be guided by their doctor about appropriate treatment. Reflexology can be an excellent therapy for people with diabetes, however if in doubt about your medical condition it is always recommended that you consult with your doctor before seeing a reflexologist.

Reflexologists do not diagnose, prescribe or treat specific conditions. If an imbalance was detected in a particular reflex during a treatment, the practitioner is likely to refer you to a doctor to get checked. Do not stop any medical treatments on the advice of your reflexologist.

Choosing a reflexologist

To find a reputable and qualified reflexologist in your area, contact the Reflexology Association of Australia. All professional practitioners have undergone extensive training, hold a current Level 2 first aid certificate, have professional indemnity insurance and can provide you with a professional receipt that you can use to claim back part of the treatment from participating private health insurance companies.

Where to get help

  • Your doctor
  • Reflexologist
  • Podiatrist
  • Reflexology Association of Australia Tel. 0500 502 250
  • Australian Podiatry Association (Vic) Tel. (03) 9866 5906

Things to remember

  • Reflexology is massage of the feet that aims to promote healing in other areas of the body.
  • Modern reflexology is based on the principle that the foot has ‘reflex’ points that correspond to the various structures and organs throughout the body.
  • Always consult your doctor if you have a medical condition.

Article sourced from: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Reflexology

Healthy Inspirations Recipe of the Week – Salmon Florentine

July 31, 2014

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