How to keep your New Year’s resolutions

Ginny Grimsley shared in a Daily Herald article that if you’re one of the millions of Americans who will make a promise to improve yourself this New Year, there’s bad news: You’re 92 percent likely to fail in sticking to your resolutions, says a recent study from the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology.

About 45 percent of Americans make resolutions. Ranking at the top is losing weight and staying fit and healthy ranks No. 5.

“Of course, those statistics represent the average – you don’t have to be average,” says Dr. Virender Sodhi, founder of the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Medical Clinic. “There are plenty of things individuals can do to improve their odds of success if they resolve to become healthier and fitter.”

Dr. Sodhi, author of the new guide, “Ayurvedic Herbs: The Comprehensive Resource for Ayurvedic Healing Solutions,” believes we can move much closer to a world of disease-free societies by following the laws of Mother Nature. Individual commitment to health via New Year’s resolutions is one path to take us there. Dr. Sodhi offers five tips for staying true to your goals.

• Get away from the instant-gratification mentality and avoid unrealistic goals. Don’t expect to go from zero to 60 — 60 being your ideal body image — in just a few months, especially if you have little background in training. Unfortunately, most who have resolutions like losing plenty of weight and quitting smoking are used to easy snack foods and quick rewards. Health is long-term labor of love; commit to the love and wait for results.

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Kids Aren’t Getting Much Exercise

Kate Elizabeth Queram, a Staff Correspondent for Government Executive’s Route Fifty and based in Washington, D.C. shared that more than three-fourths of children nationally between the ages of 6 and 17 do not get enough daily physical activity, and activity levels vary depending on gender and other factors, according to a recent national report card.

The 2018 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, released this month, provides a comprehensive assessment of activity levels by reviewing and summarizing national health statistics and data from multiple national surveys. Metrics are broken into nine indicators, including overall physical activity, health-related fitness and sedentary behaviors like watching television or playing video games. Each metric is given a letter grade, from A to F.

The report, released by a subcommittee of the nonprofit coalition National Physical Activity Plan, aims to assess overall levels of physical activity among minors but also to serve as an advocacy tool to help parents and policymakers “implement new initiatives, programs, and policies in support of healthy environments to improve the physical activity levels and health of our children and youth.”

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American Children’s Level of Exercise

The Editor of Children’s and Nature Network reported that a team of researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio have uncovered some startling information about the amount of exercise the average U.S. child gets in a week.

According to the study, a majority of children are not getting the recommended amount of physical activity they need, and only 5% are meeting the goal of 60 minutes per day.

While this may come as a surprise to some, not everyone will be shocked by these findings.

Research has found that kids are spending more time on smartphones, tablets, or TV every year.

They also discovered that only one hour of screen time can increase a child’s chance of becoming anxious or depressed.

These results are worrisome because young children are in desperate need of physical activity.

Exercise is important for healthy growth and development, increasing bone density and strengthening muscles.

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Research Shows Eyesight Epidemic for Children Caused by Lack of Time Outside

FREYA LUCAS shared in the Sector’s Early Education News, Views, and Reviews, that scientists have concluded that children may reduce the risk of myopia (commonly referred to as being short-sighted) by spending more time engaged in outdoor play, a study recently published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology has found.
These findings echo Australian early childhood education and care (ECEC) advocates, who have called for children’s outdoor play needs to be better served by the sector, and by communities as a whole.

The study discovered that genetics played a factor in whether or not a child would become myopic, however, screen-based activities – such as time spent on an ipad or playing computer games – also increased the chance of a child becoming short sighted. This risk was reduced when children spent more time outdoors.

Researchers also found that children who entered the formal schooling system at a younger age were more likely to develop short sightedness than their peers, noting that the change in work environment from the less structured preschool years to the formal schooling system, which required more near work – such as focusing on printed words – resulted in changes to the shape of the eyeball, which is linked to myopia. Read more

Workout tricks?

Christopher Ingraham shared in The Washington Post that according to Richard Thaler, the University of Chicago economist who last year won a Nobel Prize in part for his work on the subject, a  “nudge” is a policy intervention that “alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives.”

Nudges are typically used to get people to do things that are good for them or for society as a whole, but which they may be otherwise disinclined to do. Famous nudges include flies painted on urinals, giving men a target to aim at and thereby reducing spillage; automatic 401(k) enrollment; and getting people to use less electricity by showing them how much their neighbors are using.

One type of nudge that has shown great promise is the planning prompt, which asks people to lay out the concrete steps they will take to achieve a certain goal. Research says these prompts are effective at getting people to do things such as vote, get their flu shots and go to the dentist.
What about going to the gym?

That’s what the team of researchers behind a new working paper set out to discover when they ran a randomized field experiment among 877 members of a private gym in the Midwest. In the realm of exercise, in particular, a notoriously large gap exists “between intentions and actions,” as the researchers put it. Most Americans know they should exercise more, but fewer than a quarter of them get the federally recommended amount of physical activity each week. A 2015 experiment conducted among workers at a Fortune 500 company found that “workers’ targeted levels of exercise are 43 percent higher than their actual levels of exercise,” according to the new paper’s authors.

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Flexibility matters

Marlene Cimons wrote for The Washington Post that from the 1960s to the late 1990s, fitness professionals firmly believed that static stretching was a useful adjunct before exercise, warming up the muscles and, in doing so, preventing injury.

Later, however, research suggested the opposite was true — that it caused muscle fatigue and slower sprinting times in elite athletes.

This prompted many of them to abandon it for “dynamic” stretching, which looks more like real exercise.

Today, many experts think a combination of both before a vigorous workout or competition is the best approach.

At the cellular level

To understand the controversy, it’s important to know what happens at the muscles’ cellular level during static stretching.

“Our muscles are made of thousands of muscle spindles — like hairs in a ponytail — that give the muscle cell the ability to stretch and contract by sliding past each other in a coordinated fashion,” said Michael Jonesco, an assistant clinical professor of sports medicine and internal medicine at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. “Static stretching pulls on the cell to the max, and can cause some stretch injury that takes time to recover, and can, therefore, cause a temporary drop in performance.” Read more

Sneak More Movement Into Your Workday

Our Healthy Lombard Partner, DuPage Healthcare, LTD suggests that if you drive to work and park yourself in your office chair for hours, fitting exercise into your daily routine may seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some easy ways to get moving:

Talk and walk. Whether you’re on a conference call or engaging in a brainstorming session, walk during the conversation.

Take the stairs. By choosing the stairs, you can add some significant steps to your day, depending on what floor you work on.

Just dance. If you have a standing desk, dance while you work. Put your headphones on and crank up your tunes. This approach, however, may be best for those working from home. Read more

Any kind of regular physical activity can lengthen your life

 

 huge international study has confirmed that physical activity may really be the best medicine.

Moving, lifting, walking, sweeping, scrubbing, or doing almost anything physical for the equivalent of at least 30 minutes five times a week can cut your risk of dying by at least 20 percent, compared with being less active.

The Study

More than 130,000 healthy men and women aged 35 to 70 from urban and rural areas of 17 countries, including Canada, Brazil, Turkey, Zimbabwe, China, and Poland, volunteered to fill out questionnaires about their regular physical activity. None had cardiovascular disease.

Over the next seven years, those who reported being physically active for 2 ½ to 12 ½ hours a week were 20 percent less likely to die. Those who were active more than 12 ½ hours a week were 35 percent less likely to die.

The physical activity included housework, walking to work, job-related exertion, as well as jogging or going to the gym. It all counted toward better health.

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Schools putting real ‘play’ back into playgrounds

,  EDUCATION REPORTER for The Globe and Mail shared that for 15 minutes on a blistering Wednesday afternoon, students at Chester Elementary School in Toronto were set free to run through the sprinklers in their shoes and regular clothes on the field. Others preferred to climb nearby trees or hop off an old stump to get onto the roof of the storage shed – all with the principal’s enthusiastic blessing.

It was a way to cool off or find shade on a humid day. But there was something else at play.

In an era when so many parents seem to be filling every free minute of their child’s day with organized activities – sports teams, music lessons or tutoring – a growing number of educators across the country are embracing the idea of putting unstructured play back into school playgrounds.

Raktim Mitra, an associate professor in the school of urban and regional planning at Ryerson University, said research has shown that engaging in creative and spontaneous play is important for the physical and mental well-being of children. “The idea is that when your free time is more creative and more imaginative, then you can concentrate more on the structured elements of your day,” he said.

Prof. Mitra and his colleagues have been evaluating how students fare at Chester and a handful of other Toronto schools that signed up to participate in a pilot project funded by Earth Day Canada. The charity is the only organization in Canada licensed to deliver the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) program, developed in Britain. It pushes to bring back unstructured play and encourage children to use all sorts of “loose parts” – spares tires, ropes, sticks, logs, and other castoffs – to build whatever comes into their heads. The program has expanded to 25 Toronto-area schools this year.

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What is metabolic syndrome?

Neha Shah, M.D., who specializes in bariatric & obesity medicine and internal medicine at Edwards-Elmhurst Health share that if you carry a lot of weight around your waist, you’re boosting your risk for heart disease.

If you have high blood pressure or diabetes you are also at a higher risk.

When you have all three, you have what we call metabolic syndrome.

A metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that increase your chance of developing certain conditions. It’s not a disease in itself but describes the condition of having symptoms that could spur serious disease—such as heart attacks and stroke—down the road.

There are some things that put you at risk for metabolic syndrome (and, thus, a higher risk for future heart disease, diabetes or stroke). The more of these you have, the higher your risk: Read more