Chances are you’re sitting down reading this blog. How’s your posture? Push your shoulders back and straighten up. Feel better?
If you spend two-thirds of your working hours at a desk, as most employees do*, then it probably feels great. But how do you make it a part of your daily life? Well, start by doing it. You’ll feel better. We promise. Proper posture can decrease back pain and help you feel better overall.
Here are a couple tricks for better posture:
- Sit with both of your feet flat on the floor in front of you.
- Keep your back as close to the back of the chair as possible.
- Always keep your shoulders back and your back straight.
- Do not simply sit all day. Every half hour or so, get up and walk around the office. Walk to a co-workers desk instead of calling them, get a glass of water, anything to get you standing and walking for a couple minutes.
If you are feeling the stress of sitting in a desk all day, proper posture might not be the only thing you need. WebMD offers a couple more ideas for those people stuck in a chair:
- Sitting tall in your chair, stretch both arms over your head and reach for the sky. After 10 seconds, extend the right hand higher, then the left.
- Let your head loll over so that your right ear nearly touches your right shoulder. Using your hand, press your head a little lower (gently, now). Hold for 10 seconds. Relax, and then repeat on the other side.
- Try this yoga posture to relieve tension: Sit facing forward, then turn your head to the left and your torso to the right, and hold a few seconds. Repeat 15 times, alternating sides.
- Sitting up straight, try to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold, and then relax.
- To ease the hamstrings and lower back, push your chair away from your desk and put your right heel up on the desk. Sit up straight, and bend forward just until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Flex your foot for a few seconds, and then point it. Bend forward a little farther, flex your foot again, and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Implement these simple tricks and let us know how you feel after a day of proper posture and stretches!
Associated Content – Improve Your Posture
Exercise at Your Desk
* According to Ipsos, a private research firm.
What was that? I can’t hear you!
Typically we blame others for not talking loud enough, or having a bad cell phone connection. But the real problem might lie on either side of our heads. Ears are incredibly important; once hearing is damaged it cannot be repaired. However, we rarely worry about taking care of our ears.
Here are a few warning signs that your hearing may be at risk:
- Ringing of the ears
- Trouble hearing others
- Playing the radio or TV loudly
- Speaking loudly
- Trouble hearing common sounds, like the doorbell or the telephone
- Trouble following a conversation in a large group
In order to help keep your ears healthy, try these easy steps:
- Limit your exposure to loud noises (and use protection like earplugs or earmuffs). A rule of thumb is if you have to shout to be heard, the noise is too loud.
- Keep the radio or television volume low
- Schedule regular health screenings
- Protect your head from injury (which could damage the temporal bones)
- Don’t poke anything into the ear canals, you may injure your eardrums
- Dry your ears after bathing
- Avoid swimming in unclean water
If you notice a change in your hearing, contact your doctor. Hearing issues can become serious and permanent damage if left unchecked.
For more information on ear health, please visit:
ENTnet – Hearing Protection
Beltone – Hearing Loss Warning Signs
MyOptumHealth – Preventing Hearing Loss
Better Health Channel – Ways to Protect Your Hearing
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One of the first things you notice on another person is their smile. Take a look at the following tips on how to keep your smile in sparkling shape!
Brush regularly: Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day to keep them clean and bacteria-free. According to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, the toothbrush should be held at a 45-degree angle against your teeth. You should also brush with a back and forth rolling motion.
Floss: Flossing helps to get rid of plaque between teeth that a toothbrush can’t always reach. When flossing, keep a 1”-2” section tight between your fingers, slide it between your teeth using a zigzag motion and move the floss up and down between teeth, cleaning each one with a new section of floss.
Avoid foods and drinks that can cause stains and bacteria: According to Discovery Health, if it can leave stains on clothes or carpets, it will probably leave them on your teeth. Stay away from sweets, sticky foods and sugary drinks to keep cavity-causing bacteria far away from your pearly whites.
Schedule regular cleanings: Teeth should be professionally cleaned twice a year or as scheduled by your dental hygienist.
Replace your toothbrush every three to four months: Thousands of microbes can grow on a toothbrush’s bristles and handle. Regular replacement can help cut down on harmful bacteria.
Teach the kids these healthy habits to keep them smiling!
For more information, please visit:
Columbia is bustling with back to school fever. The binders are flying off the shelves and the kids are lining up for the bus. Sending kids back to school doesn’t have to mean sending them back to pizza, french fries and tacos every day. Consider packing your child a nutritious lunch. That way, you’ll be able to monitor what they eat and the sugars they consume.
It’s understandable if you can’t put a lunch together every morning, but take small steps. Set a lunch packing schedule for certain mornings, or pack lunch the night before. Small efforts go a long way to ensure your child isn’t running on empty.
Have a little fun with the menu by putting a new spin on some old favorites!
Make a sandwich on a stick:
- Cut up cubes of bread, cheese and lunch meat.
- Slide the cubes onto a skewer with other foods your child likes, such as a grape tomato, a piece of lettuce, a pickle or an olive.
- Set out a side of mayo or mustard for dipping.
Or try a banana dog:
- Spread a whole-grain hot dog bun with peanut butter
- Sprinkle with wheat germ or sunflower seeds
- Top with a whole, peeled banana and a squiggle of jam.
Add a side of milk to round out the meal. Variation: For a Banana Burrito, substitute a tortilla for the bun.
Check out Family Fun at http://familyfun.go.com/back-to-school/back-to-school-lunches-snacks/ for more recipes!
It’s back to school season, and it’s the perfect time to wake your brain up with some cognitive exercise. While it is important to stay physically healthy, it is equally important to stay mentally healthy. Here are some tips to help increase memory, concentration and cognitive abilities:
Partake in “neurobics” regularly – Neurobics are basically brain games that help sharpen cognition. Neurobic exercises include getting dressed in the dark, wearing your watch on the opposite wrist and brushing your teeth with your other hand. According to neurobiologist Lawrence Katz, these activities help create new associations in your brain.
Keep your brain on its feet, so to speak – Memorizing poetry and learning a new language or musical instrument can do wonders for concentration. According to the research of Dr. Dennis Foth, increased brain activity can slow the mental decline that comes with age.
Getting enough sleep can increase memory – The brain requires a lot of energy to run efficiently, so the more sleep you get, the better your brain will be at processing information. Try to avoid naps during the day, which make it harder to sleep at night.
Keep your stress levels low by volunteering – According to Schoffro Cook, author of The Brain Wash, “Good Samaritans have been found to have lower stress level and a sense of well-being, factors that add up to better overall health.” Reduced stress can help increase mental functioning.
It’s back to school season once again, which means it’s time to remind your kids how important it is to wash their hands. Although it is impossible to stay germ-free, washing your hands properly and frequently can help eliminate the spread of microbes and viruses.
The Mayo Clinic suggests washing your hands before eating and handling contact lenses. It is also important to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, touching animals, blowing your nose, taking out the garbage and coughing or sneezing.
Here are simple steps from KidsHealth for properly washing your hands:
- Wet your hands with warm water in the sink.
- Apply a generous amount of soap.
- Work up a lather, making sure you cover your wrists, both sides of hands and between your fingers. Washing your hands should last as long as it takes to sing the ABC’s.
- Rinse your hands and dry well with a clean towel.
Teaching your kids to correctly wash their hands will kill more germs, and in turn, keep the whole family healthy.
Don’t forget to help in the back to school preparation by donating school supplies to our school supply drive. Drop off your donations at either D&H location by August 18!
We know you’ve heard of calcium before, but what exactly is it? Calcium is one of the most important nutrients that humans require. Our bodies use it to ward off problems like high blood pressure, heart attack and colon cancer. It also helps muscle contraction, which makes the heart operate more efficiently. Calcium is also the main component of bones and teeth. Our bodies don’t produce calcium, so we have to get it from the food we eat. The following are good sources of calcium:
Dairy Products: Dairy products are a major source of calcium. A 200ml glass of milk provides about 55 percent of the daily recommended dose of calcium for a six-year-old child. An 8 oz cup of yogurt contains roughly 415 mg of calcium. According to The Dairy Council, three dairy products a day are recommended to meet the daily calcium requirement.
Non-dairy sources of calcium: The Harvard School of Public Health stresses that milk and dairy are not the only sources of calcium. Tofu, sesame seeds, nuts, white bread, dried fruit, green leafy vegetables, white and navy beans, chickpeas, oranges and orange juice, mustard greens, okra, broccoli and seaweed are all rich in calcium.
While it is important that we all get enough calcium, we must remember that calcium is an essential nutrient in the growth of children. The National Institute of Health recommends for men and women in the age group of 19-50 to take in 1,000 mg of calcium per day. For people age 50-70, the recommended daily dose is 1,200 mg. Calcium deficiency can lead to thinning of bones and, in severe cases, osteoporosis.