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Exercises to Strengthen Bones and Joints

Being active is one of the best ways you can keep your bones and joints working well.
Exercise can help you:
  • Maintain bone density as you get older
  • Lessen joint pain
  • Keep off extra weight that can stress your joints
  • Help your balance so you avoid falls that can damage bones and joints

Strengthening Exercises

As we get older, we lose bone. But strengthening exercises can help slow that process and help prevent osteoporosis. Strengthening exercises are also helpful for joints.
"The best protection for a joint is having strong muscles around that joint," says physical therapist Alice Bell, vice president of clinical services at Genesis Rehabilitation Services in Kennett Square, Pa.
Bell suggests you do strengthening exercises two to three times a week to build bones and muscles around joints. To do that, you can use hand-held weights or resistance bands. The amount of resistance or weight should tire your muscle without causing joint pain.
You should work each major muscle group, including your arms and legs, as well as your core and the muscles that support good posture, Bell says.
Give yourself at least a day between strength training so your body can rest. "Our muscles actually gain strength during the recovery," Bell says.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise revs your heart. Weight-bearing exercise (such as climbing stairs, dancing, hiking, or walking) can help build bones and keep joints healthy, Bell says.
Biking and swimming are not weight-bearing activities. They may be great for your muscles, heart, and lungs, but they aren't the best choices to boost bones.
Your goal: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week, including some weight-bearing exercise. That amounts to about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
You don't need to do the 30 minutes all at once. Find ways to build activity into your daily routine, whether it's yard work or taking a brisk walk (just a leisurely walk doesn’t count) with a friend.

Flexibility

Flexibility exercises, such as stretching and yoga, are also good for joints. These can help preserve your range of motion. Do these at least 3 days a week.
Take care, though, that you don't stretch too far. Also, warm up for a few minutes first. To help prevent injuries, don't stretch a "cold" muscle.
Consider adding balance exercises to your routine three times a week, Bell suggests. She says simple exercises like standing on one leg can help prevent bone-breaking falls. Tai chi is another option to improve balance.

Getting Started

If you're not active now, ease into it.
"Don't measure yourself against others," says Jennifer Hootman, PhD, of the CDC's Arthritis Program.
If you have a condition like heart disease, or if you’re a man over 45 or a woman over 55, it’s a good idea to see your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

How to Avoid Injury

To keep your joints safe during exercise, Hootman offers these tips:
  • Don't be a weekend warrior. Spread exercise over the week to avoid overloading your joints.
  • Avoid extreme positions, like deep knee bends, which can harm your joints.
  • Exercise your back and abdomen to strengthen your core, which is important for good body mechanics.
Proper alignment is key for keeping bones healthy as well, Bell says. "You'll want to maintain good posture doing whatever activity you choose," she says. She also warns against doing exercises that involve rounding the back, such as crunches, which can cause spinal fractures in people with weak bones.
Consider working with a personal trainer to make sure you’re doing exercises correctly, since doing them incorrectly is a leading cause of injury.

Aches: Normal or Not?

It's normal to have some muscle aches and soreness after exercise. This is especially true if you're doing something new.
Regular muscle soreness should go away after a few days. Each time you change your exercise routine, which you should do regularly, or do a new exercise, the muscle soreness may return for a few days.
However, sharp muscle or joint pain, or severe swelling around a joint after workouts, could be a sign that you're going too hard or doing something wrong. Stop immediately if something hurts a lot. Check in with your doctor to see what happened. Later, when you're feeling ready, you might try switching to a less-intense exercise.
Soreness that lasts more than a few days is also a concern; you may be doing an exercise incorrectly or overloading your joints.
A physical therapist or trainer can help recommend activities that are safe and adapt exercises as needed to work with your body.

Source:  http://www.webmd.com/

5 Tips for Better Work-Life Balance

If you're finding it more challenging than ever to juggle the demands of your job and the rest of your life, you're not alone.
Many people are putting in extra hours, or using their smartphones to be on call when they're not physically at work.
"A lot of people are having a more difficult time finding balance in their lives because there have been cutbacks or layoffs where they work. They're afraid it may happen to them, so they're putting in more hours," says psychologist Robert Brooks, PhD, co-author of The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence, and Personal Strength in Your Life.
"But even if you don't have much control over the hours you have to work, you can ask yourself: In what other ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life?" Brooks says. "Focus your time and attention on things you can control."
Here are five ways to bring a little more balance to your daily routine:

1. Build downtime into your schedule.

When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends, and activities that help you recharge.
If a date night with your spouse or a softball game with friends is on your calendar, you'll have something to look forward to and an extra incentive to manage your time well so you don't have to cancel.
"It helps to be proactive about scheduling," says Laura Stack, a productivity expert in Denver and author of SuperCompetent: The Six Keys to Perform at Your Productive Best. "When I go out with my girlfriends, we all whip out our cell phones and put another girls' night out on the calendar for 1 month later."
Stack also plans an activity with her family, like going to a movie or the park, every Sunday afternoon. "We do this because if there's nothing on the schedule, time tends to get frittered away and the weekend may end without us spending quality time together," she says.
Michael Neithardt, an actor and television commercial producer in New York City, wakes up 3 hours before he has to leave for work so he can go for a run and spend some time with his wife and baby.
"A lot of my friends tend to wake up, shower, and go straight to work. And they often complain about having no time to do anything," he says. "I find that if I can get those 3 hours in the morning, I have a more productive and peaceful workday. I can sure tell the difference when I don't."

2. Drop activities that sap your time or energy.

"Many people waste their time on activities or people that add no value -- for example, spending too much time at work with a colleague who is constantly venting and gossiping," says Marilyn Puder-York, PhD, a psychologist and executive coach in New York and Connecticut.
Her advice: Take stock of activities that don't enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them.
You may even be able to leave work earlier if you make a conscious effort to limit the time you spend on the web and social media sites, making personal calls, or checking your bank balance. "We often get sucked into these habits that are making us much less efficient without realizing it," Stack says.

3. Rethink your errands.

Consider whether you can outsource any of your time-consuming household chores or errands.
Could you order your groceries online and have them delivered? Hire a kid down the street to mow your lawn? Have your dry cleaning picked up and dropped off at your home or office? Order your stamps online so you don't have to go to the post office? Even if you're on a tight budget, you may discover that the time you'll save will make it worth it.
Stack also suggests trading services with friends. Offer to do tasks that you enjoy or that you were planning to do anyway.
"You could exchange gardening services for babysitting services," Stack says. "If you like to cook, you could prepare and freeze a couple of meals and give them to a friend in exchange for wrapping your holiday gifts."

4. Get moving.

It's hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, but it may ultimately help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate.
"Research shows exercise can help you to be more alert," Brooks says. "And I've noticed that when I don't exercise because I'm trying to squeeze in another half hour of writing, I don't feel as alert."
Samantha Harris, a lawyer who works for a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, goes to her gym 2 or 3 mornings a week before her family wakes up. "It's been a real boost in terms of the way I feel for the rest of the day," she says. "I feel like my head is clearer and I've had a little time to myself."

5. Remember that a little relaxation goes a long way.

Don't assume that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life. Brooks recommends setting realistic goals, like leaving the office earlier 1 night per week.
"Slowly build more activities into your schedule that are important to you," he says. "Maybe you can start by spending an hour a week on your hobby of carpentry, or planning a weekend getaway with your spouse once a year."
Even during a hectic day, you can take 10 or 15 minutes to do something that will recharge your batteries. "Take a bath, read a trashy novel, go for a walk, or listen to music," Stack says. "You have to make a little time for the things that ignite your joy."

Source: http://www.webmd.com/

'Craze' Sports Supplement Contains Meth-Like Substance: Report

Two popular supplements appear to contain a chemical similar to methamphetamine, according to an investigation by USA Today.
The products include the Craze pre-workout powder, made by New York-based Driven Sports, and a pill called Detonate, marketed as a diet aid by New Jersey-based Gaspari Nutrition. Both are marketed as containing only natural ingredients, the newspaper said, but its own analysis conducted in both the United States and South Korea found they contained an amphetamine-like compound called N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine.
"These are basically brand-new drugs that are being designed in clandestine laboratories where there's absolutely no guarantee of quality control," Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the analysis of the Craze samples, told USA Today.
"It has never been studied in the human body," Cohen said. "Yes, it might make you feel better or have you more pumped up in your workout, but the risks you might be putting your body under of heart attack and stroke are completely unknown."
The newspaper noted that Craze was named the "New Supplement of the Year" by Bodybuilding.com. While Walmart and many online retailers have stopped selling the supplement, it continues to be available on some websites and the GNC health supplement chain of stores, USA Today said.
A lawyer representing Driven Sports declined to comment on the latest findings. "We have previously provided USA Today with a plethora of data from a DEA Certified Lab indicating the absence of any amphetamine-like compound in Craze," attorney Marc Ullman said in an e-mail to the newspaper. "In light of USA Today's decision to ignore the data we have provided, we respectfully decline to comment for your story."
Officials at Gaspari Nutrition did not respond to the newspaper's requests for comment.
Cohen said his team informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May about discovering the amphetamine-like compound in Craze. Due to the federal government shutdown, officials at the FDA could not be reached for comment on the latest findings, USA Today said.

Source: Health Day News

10 Best Fast Food Meals

So you're trying to eat healthy and/or lose some extra pounds, but you're on the road and in a hurry – so you find yourself in the drive-through line. Not to worry: There is such a thing as healthy fast food (or at least healthier). You can order a meal at most fast food chains with less than 500 calories, moderate amounts of fat and saturated fat, and ample protein and fiber.
Here are 10 of the healthiest fast food meals from some of the top fast food chains.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 1. Grilled Chicken Sandwich and Fruit Cup (Chick-fil-A)

Several fast food chains offer a grilled chicken sandwich. The trick is ordering it without mayo or creamy sauce, and making sure it’s served with a whole grain bun.
One of the healthier grilled chicken sandwiches out there is made by Chick-fil-A. Grilled chicken sandwiches at Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s, and McDonald’s are close seconds. The Carl’s Jr. sandwich comes with BBQ sauce, while the Wendy’s sandwich includes a calorie-friendly honey mustard sauce. Make sure you order the McDonald’s sandwich without mayonnaise.
Nutritional breakdown: A Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich (without the honey-roasted BBQ sauce), along with a large fruit cup, has 400 calories, 3.5 grams fat (8% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 1120 mg sodium, 65 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, and 30 g protein.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 2. Chili-Topped Potato (Wendy's)

You won’t find a "chili topped potato" on the Wendy’s menu. But you can make this savory and satisfying meal happen by buying the plain baked potato and a small chili. Together, they make a balanced meal with ample protein, carbs, and fat, and half a day’s worth of fiber (12 grams).
A plain baked potato and small chili from Wendy’s has 460 calories, 6 g fat (12% calories from fat), 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 855 mg sodium, 80 g carbohydrate, 12 g fiber, and 21 g protein.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 3: Grilled Chicken Breast with Mashed Potatoes, Corn on the Cob (KFC)

When you want something far from standard fast food fare, KFC’s meal deal can be a healthful solution. Choose their tasty grilled chicken breast as your entree, and mashed potatoes and corn as your two sides. This combination offers plenty of protein (41 grams) with a moderate amount of carbohydrate (49 grams) and fat (10 grams).
A meal of grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and 5.5-inch corncob from (KFC) contains 430 calories, 10 g fat (21% calories from fat), 2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 905 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, and 41 g protein.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 4: Chick-n-Minis Breakfast (Chick-Fil-A)

What’s the best fast food breakfast sandwich? Believe it or not, there are a few contenders. There’s the Breakfast Jack from Jack in the Box, which is fairly low in calories, fat, and sodium (284 calories, 11 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 790 mg sodium). And then there's McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, which has more fiber and protein (2 g fiber, 18 g protein) than many other breakfast sandwiches. But the title goes to Chick-Fil-A’s Chick-n-minis -- the lowest in calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium among the offerings at the major chains.
Chick-Fil-A's Chick-n-Minis have 260 calories, 10 g fat (35% calories from fat), 2.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 650 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, and 14 g protein.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 5: Chicken Teriyaki Bowl (Jack in the Box)

This dish would be better if it had brown rice instead of white rice, and the sodium is definitely high (1461 milligrams). Still, it's very low in saturated fat yet contains plenty of protein (25 grams) and some fiber (4 grams). I chose the Chicken Teriyaki Bowl over Jack in the Box’s Steak Teriyaki Bowl because the steak option has even more sodium (1739 mg) plus 2 more grams of saturated fat.
The Chicken Teriyaki Bowl from Jack in the Box contains 585 calories, 6 g fat (9% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat (2% calories from saturated fat), 0 g trans fat, 36 mg cholesterol, 1461 mg sodium, 106 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, and 25 g protein.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 6: Chargrilled Chicken Cool Wrap (Chick-fil-A)

I think this is the best-looking, best tasting, most satisfying fast food chicken wrap on the market. It doesn’t compare to the smaller wraps made by a couple of other chains. Although you’d probably need two of the smaller wraps for a meal, one of these wraps is likely to satisfy. It’s packed with fiber (9 grams) and protein (33 grams) and moderate in fat and saturated fat. However, it is high in sodium (1,300 mg) and any dressing served with it would add to that. The two Chick-fil-A dressings lowest in fat and sodium are Fat-Free Honey Mustard (60 calories, 0 g fat, 210 mg sodium) and Reduced Fat Berry Balsamic Vinaigrette (70 calories, 2 g fat, 150 mg sodium).
Chick-fil A's Chargrilled Chicken Cool Wrap with Fat Free Honey Mustard Dressing has
470 calories, 12 g fat (23% calories from fat), 4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 1510 mg sodium, 64 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 33 g protein.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 7: Southwest Salad and Fruit n Yogurt Parfait (McDonalds)

The grilled chicken salads offered at a handful of fast food chains are among the best options -- as long as the chicken is grilled, not fried, and the dressing is light. One standout is McDonalds' Southwest Salad, which is the highest in fiber and protein and among the lowest in saturated fat among the major chains' chicken salads.
Another good choice would be the Chargrilled and Fruit Salad from Chick-fil-A, the lowest in fat and cholesterol. (Adding a large bowl of their Hearty Breast of Chicken Soup would make this a filling meal.) Not including dressing, the Burger King Tendergrill Chicken Garden Salad is the lowest in calories, and Carl’s Jr.'s Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Salad is the lowest in sodium.
A meal of McDonald's Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken (not including dressing) and Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait has 480 calories, 11 g fat (21% calories from fat), 4 g saturated fat , 0 g trans fat, 75 mg cholesterol, 1045 mg sodium, 61 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, and 34 g protein.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 8. Veggie Burger and Garden Salad (Burger King)

Veggie burgers come and go at fast food outlets, and at this moment the best one is also the only one among major chains. You should order Burger King’s Veggie Burger without mayonnaise, but the cheese slice is up to you.
This surprisingly tasty sandwich, which is more like a garden burger than a soy substitute trying to be a beef burger, contributes 7 grams of fiber and 22 grams of protein (25 if you opt for the cheese). Make it a meal by adding a garden salad.
A Burger King Veggie Burger (without mayonnaise), Garden Salad (no chicken) and half a packet of Light Italian Dressing totals 450 calories, 12.5 g fat (25% calories from fat), 4.2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 1320 mg sodium, 52.5 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 26 g protein.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No. 9: Veggie Delite Sandwich and Tomato Orzo Soup (Subway)

Another good vegetarian option, particularly if you watching your sodium intake, is the Veggie Delite Sandwich from Subway with 5 grams of fiber and 410 milligrams sodium. Pair it with a bowl of vegetable soup for a filling lunch.
A 6-inch Veggie Delite sandwich plus Fire-Roasted Tomato Orzo soup from Subway totals 360 calories, 3.5 g fat (9% calories from fat), 1 g saturated fat , 0 g trans fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium, 69 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 14 g protein.

Healthy Fast Food Meal No 10: Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme and Pintos 'n' Cheese (Taco Bell)

Need a protein-and-fiber boost in the middle of the day? The Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme gives you 8 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein with only 21% calories from fat. The sodium is high, however – 1,410 milligrams. If you're looking for a vegetarian choice, Taco Bell's Fresco Bean Burrito has similar nutritional statistics, and goes great with a side of Mexican Rice.
A Chicken Fresco Burrito Supreme with Pintos ‘n Cheese from Taco Bell has 520 calories, 15 g fat (26% calories from fat), 5.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 2140 mg sodium, 69 g carbohydrate, 17 g fiber, 28 g protein.

Source: http://www.webmd.com/