Amish Doshi, MD, an internal medicine physician with Edward Medical shared in the Edwards-Elmhurst Healthy Driven Blog that we get used to our routine surroundings — the office, our cars, our homes. Deliberately leaving those spaces and moving to natural surroundings for a while, unplugged, could seriously improve your health.The phrase “forest bathing” recently spent some time in the spotlight, and deservedly so. When done correctly, forest bathing, or spending time in nature, can provide an important boost to your mind and body.
So what is forest bathing? First, go to a nature preserve. Leave your cell phone locked in your car. Then, let go of the thoughts in your head and focus on the present; the way the tree bark feels, the way the dirt smells, the sounds of birds singing and wind rustling leaves. Take a relaxed, meandering walk that gives you time to breathe and break from the pace of everyday life.
It turns out a nature walk can actually improve your physical health, besides giving you a mental rest.
Among the many benefits, spending time in nature can:
Improve your memory. One study found a nature walk improved short-term memory by 20 percent.
Lower stress hormones. Nature has a calming effect, which allows your body to focus on improving its systems. Many plants release immunity-boosting organic compounds into the air. Forests provide shade, help filter the air and can reduce levels of stress hormones in your body.
Ken Miller, a certified personal trainer, and fitness specialist shared in the Edward-Elmhurst Healthy Driven Blog that as the days lengthen and sunshine becomes a staple, it’s easy to let your fitness routine slip away. Resist! It’s important to continue with a routine, even a modified one, in order to avoid regression through the summer months.
There are many ways to accomplish this. Take a look at some simple, effective, methods to meet your summer fitness goals.
Smarter time spent in the gym
As outdoor obligations pick up during the summer, take advantage of the time you can spend in the gym.
- Focus on strength training. Build muscle while you’re in the gym. Outdoor activities like walking, or even yard work, have a significant cardiovascular benefit and could supplement or replace your normal cardiovascular routine.
- Perform compound (multi-joint) exercises at the gym. Think squats, deadlifts, lunges, pushups, pull-ups, rows and overhead presses. These movements have a greater demand on larger muscle groups.
- Cut down on rest periods. This is an issue many people struggle with. It is important that you get the maximum amount of work done with the time you spend. Bring a stopwatch to make sure you’re resting for a prescribed amount of time between exercises.
Hallie Levine wrote in the AARP Newsletter that there’s plenty you can do to take control of your weight as you get older. Whether you’ve battled the bulge for what seems like forever — or just since your last birthday — it’s true that age can have a lot to do with the number on the scale. As with crow’s-feet and varicose veins, you’re simply more susceptible to gaining weight once you hit the big 5-0. And it’s not your imagination: It also becomes increasingly more challenging to shed those pounds once they’ve settled around your hips.
“The two big reasons people tend to gain weight as they get older are the loss of muscle mass and decreased activity,” explains Caroline Apovian, M.D., a weight-loss specialist at Boston University Medical Center. People experience a 5 to 10 percent loss of muscle mass each decade after age 50, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. As a result, your resting metabolic rate declines by an average of 2 to 3 percent every decade.
And this means you can be eating the exact same amount that you did at 40 — not a morsel more — and still gain weight.
Becoming more sedentary with age can also skew the equation, especially if you begin to develop arthritis or other joint issues that restrict activity. “As we get older, we spend less time running around and physical activity decreases,” Apovian points out. “But as you get older, if you don’t use your muscles, you’ll lose them.”
And while these facts are sobering, there’s plenty you can do to take control. “You’re not doomed to failure! I’m 60, and I have more muscle on my body than I did when I was 30,” Apovian says with pride.
It’s true that few of us may have the time or energy to follow Apovian’s grueling workout schedule (she rises at 5 a.m. most days to either swim for an hour or run six miles on her treadmill), but we can follow her advice, as well as that of other leading obesity specialists, on how to fit into our jeans once we enter our sixth decade and beyond. Read more
SIDNEY FRY, MS, RD , a two-time James Beard Award-winning food and nutrition writer, editor and mom based out of Birmingham, Alabama who is a registered dietitian with a passion for research and being proactive about health, shared with My Fitness Pal asks, “Is what you drink affecting your ability to lose weight?” The short answer is yes. Liquid calories play a huge part in our health, and the amount you consume is directly related to your ability to control the number on that scale.
Jay Ell Alexander is the owner and CEO of Black Girls RUN!. Black Girls RUN! is an organization aiming to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to new and veteran runners. Recently she shared the Office of Women’s Health that
Many of us have experienced times in our lives where we’re less active or not active at all. We may exercise every now and then but not as much as we should. And we want to believe there are tricks and quick fixes, but the truth is that starting and maintaining a healthy routine can be hard. I lived it — I know! I have sizes in my closet ranging from 10 to 16 to prove it. But I knew that if I wanted to make a lasting change for a healthier me, I couldn’t get around putting in the effort and overcoming exercise challenges.
Personally, I had a lot of mental barriers about working out. I thought of exercise as “all or nothing,” and I often talked myself out of exercising before I could even get started. I’ve since learned that it’s not necessary for me to spend hours at the gym or force myself to do exercises that feel boring or painful. I learned I could get fit and enjoy the benefits of exercise through activities that I actually enjoy, such as dancing and walking with friends. Some exercise is better than none, and adding exercise to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your health and well-being. Here are four ways I’ve made exercise a bigger part of my life, and you can, too!
- Confront your exercise excuses.At first, exercising seemed scary, and honestly, I felt a little self-conscious. But I quickly realized that I was not the only person trying to lose weight and become healthier. I started working out alone, choosing to walk during lunch or on the treadmill at the gym. After gaining some confidence, I asked my friends and husband to join me, and we started attending classes together. After a short time, I noticed that exercising was easier than I thought. I already moved every day — all I had to do was move more.
Therese Gracey, M.D.Specialty: Pediatrics with Edwards-Elmhurst Health shared in their Healthy Driven blog that
Moms know what a big change it is to have a newborn at home. You’ve waited for months for your baby to get here. Now she’s here and you aren’t quite sure what to make of this tiny creature.
During the first couple of weeks after you give birth, you may wonder: is this how a newborn is supposed to look and behave?
Here are some common newborn traits you should know, and some not-so-normal things to look out for:
- Crying. All newborn babies cry, all the time. You’ll get familiar with your baby’s normal pattern of crying. Until then, make sure your newborn is fed, burped, has a clean diaper, and isn’t too cold or hot. You can also try holding, rocking, swaddling or singing to her.Contact your pediatrician: If your baby won’t stop crying after trying the above.
- Breathing. Newborns tend to breathe through their noses, and their nasal passages are narrow. Your baby may breathe noisily, sneeze, or sound congested even when she doesn’t have a cold. A bulb syringe can help with clearing out her nasal passages.Contact your pediatrician right away: If your baby has trouble breathing. When in doubt, go to the ER or call 911.
Steve Thurston, Program Manager, Edward-Elmhurst Health and Fitness, shred in their Edward-Elmhutst Healthy Drived Blog that people often go about weight loss with a short-term plan to drop some pounds. They set a goal, achieve it and that’s it. Soon the weight creeps back on. This is commonly referred to as yo-yo dieting (weight up-weight down-weight up).Sustained weight loss is not a quick weekend trip. It is more like a journey around the globe in a row boat (a long-term effort with physical activity at the helm).
The weight-loss equation on paper sounds quite simple: use more calories than one consumes. The reality is much more complex — physiological, psychological and social factors all impact weight loss success.
Edward Elmhurst Health & Fitness (EEHF) uses a behavior modification approach to weight loss. Someone who needs to lose weight (be it 20 lbs. or 100 lbs.) can have long-term success following our path to weight loss.
Commit to lose
The first step is to commit to losing weight by becoming a member of EEHF and scheduling a complimentary appointment with one of our fitness specialists. The fitness staff will design a program tailored to your current capabilities and advise you how often/how much/what to do when starting.
Generally, this program includes cardiovascular exercise (working toward at least 150 minutes per week) as well as strength training to increase your fat-free mass. The consultation will also help define specific goals. “I will exercise three times a week” is vague. “I will walk for 20 minutes on M-W-F after work for four weeks” is specific.
The Village of Lombard shared that the National Weather Service is predicting hot temperatures for the area this weekend, with a heat index of up to 110 degrees on Saturday. The Lombard Fire Department is reminding residents to beat the heat by following these tips:
- Stay hydrated! Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids. Drink 2-4 cups of water every hour if you are in the heat.
- NEVER leave a child, senior citizen, or pet in a car. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly decrease the heating rate. A car can soar to 100 degrees in 10 minutes on an 80 degree day.
- Check on family members or neighbors who live alone.
- If you, or someone around you experiences dizziness, nausea, headache or confusion, seek medical attention.