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Leap Into Leap Year!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Every four years we get to celebrate leap year, so why not leap into 2012 with 29 fun fitness and food tips to stay healthy all year long!

1. Make breakfast happen every day to keep your energy levels up and motivated throughout the morning!

2. Start off your morning with an 8 oz. glass of water before you have your coffee.

3. Snack on raisins to combat drowsiness.

4. Walking sideways burns 78% more calories than walking forward.

5. To increase body toning, cardiovascular fitness and burn more calories, walk uphill.

6. Blend equal portions of nonfat yogurt and your favorite salsa for a fat-free, low-calorie dressing for chicken, fish or salads.

7. One of the best ways to protect yourself during the cold and flu season is to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.

8. Walking on a rough but level track requires 50 percent more energy than walking on a paved road.

9. Your shoes should be replaced every 500 miles.

10. A weight gain of 11-18 pounds increases your risk of heart disease by 25 percent. More than 25 pounds and your risk goes up by 200 to 300 percent!

11. High protein/low carbohydrate diets don't work in the long run. Instead follow a balanced food plan which includes foods from all of the food groups.

12. Park your car as far away from the entrance as possible so you can get in some extra fitness while running your daily errands.

13. Pack a lunch for work if you can't find a restaurant that offers whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

14. Get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way to your destination.

15. Use physical activity as a reward instead of food. For example, everyone goes ice skating for a good report card instead of out for pizza.

16. Join the local YMCA or health club.

17. Build an obstacle course in your basement or garage on a rainy day!

18. Dig and plant vegetables in a garden. Get your whole family in on the fun.

19. Take a nature hike.

20. Go to a driving range or enjoy a game of miniature golf.

21. Go camping where you can pitch a tent, fish, cut and stack firewood and hike.

22. Visit farms throughout the year where you can pick your own berries, apples and peaches.

23. Take a long walk or a jog on the beach.

24. Have fun in the snow, build a snowman, a snow fort, or make snow angels.

25. Rake up the leaves and then jump in them!!

26. Use a map and map out a course in your area.

27. Take everyone to the grocery store to pick out healthy meals and learn to read nutrition labels.

28. Enter to walk or run individually and in teams in local charity events.

29. Adopt a highway and keep it clean!

Ring in a Healthy New Year!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Once again we are about to welcome in a New Year. If your New Year's Resolution is to maintain your health and eat better in 2012, then these foods (and drinks) should be high on your grocery list!

Grains: Dieticians suggest that you increase your intake of oats, barley and rye in 2012. For years, doctors have been telling patients that eating oats can bring down your cholesterol and recent studies show that rye can, too. The American Diabetes Association has also noted that eating a diet high in fiber and grains, like rye, can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Adding barley to your diet, whether it is as a side dish or inside a soup or casserole, can also lower your cholesterol and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Salmon and other oily fish: If the diagnosis is to get more vitamin D this year, then get your fill with salmon and other oily fish : such as, mackerel, sardines, herring, fresh tuna, trout and anchovies. Oily fish are some of the only food sources of vitamin D. These fish are also good for curbing cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of oily fish per week, but warns against eating too much more than that because some oily fish contain mercury, which can affect your brain and nervous system.

Soy: If 2012 is your year to help reduce your risk of cancer, then soy may be your answer. Research has shown that soy can ward off certain cancers as well as have an impact on your heart. The Food and Drug Administration states that 25 grams of soy protein a day can reduce heart problems by helping to lower cholesterol levels. To add soy to your diet, you can find it in soy burgers, tofu and soy milk.

Red Wine: While you will rarely hear any doctor advising that you drink any alcohol, red wine may just be the exception. Research shows that antioxidants in red wine, polyphenols, aid in protecting the lining of blood vessels in the heart. These antioxidants come in the form of flavonoids and nonflavonoids, which red wine has more than any other food or drink. Experts advise that you should stick to red over white wine because red grapes have 10 times more benefit to your health than white grapes. But, as with any alcohol, red wine should be enjoyed in moderation : approximately 5 ounces a day for women and 10 ounces a day for men.

Straight From the Headlines: Understanding Your SPF

Written by Lisa Jillanza

According to an About.com report, SPF is actually determined indoors by exposing human subjects to a light spectrum to determine how the light affects their skin.

The study said that sunscreen with an SPF of 15 filters 92 percent of UVB rays. In other words, a sunscreen with a SPF of 15, will “delay the onset of sunburn in a person who would otherwise burn in 10 minutes to burn in 150 minutes. The SPF allows a person to stay out in the sun 15 times longer.”

Unfortunately there is currently no measure of UVA absorption that has been determined. Most sunscreens offer protection from UVA and UVB rays, although the time factor that a person can stay out in the sun and not be affected by UVA rays cannot be determined like that of UVB rays.

Either way, it is extremely important to wear sunscreen of at least a SPF of 15 when you are outdoors and reapply every two- to three hours.

 

Tell Those Bugs to BUZZ OFF: Handling Pesky Summertime Pests

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Just like we have been cooped up all winter, so have been a number of those creatures that we've come to despise: insects.

With summer in full bloom, insects are also in full swing and are ready to attack when necessary.

So, what do you do to avoid these nasty creatures biting you?

Environmentalists suggest that the best way to deal with insect bites and stings is to prevent them before they happen.

Ways that you can avoid or prevent bug bites include:

Applying repellents to exposed skin. Do not apply repellents directly to your face, instead spray the repellent into your hands and apply to your face that way.

Wearing shoes when walking around outdoors. Avoid going barefoot whenever possible.

Do not swat or attempt to hit a flying insect. This will only make them mad and attack you more frequently.

Covering food when it is outdoors. Insects flock to food and the less chance you give them to get to the food, the greater your chance of avoiding them all together is.

Avoiding bright colored clothes when you are outdoors for extended periods of time as insects are attracted to bright colors.

Trying not to wear heavy smelling perfumes outdoors as insects are also attracted to the smells.

Keep these tips in mind before you head outdoors and you won't be dealing with insects biting or stinging you this summer.

Bug bites are going to happen now and then, but enjoy your summer while it lasts ,winter will be here before we know it!

 

Straight From the Headlines: Learn CPR Today to Save a Life!

Written by Lisa Jillanza

According to a report on CNN.com, “getting CPR within minutes is crucial for someone who's suffered from cardiac arrest, as brain death and permanent death start to occur just four to six minutes after the heart stops.”

Unfortunately, the report also states that more than 95 percent of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital.

But, if more people would learn CPR, then many of these deaths may not occur. Many people do not want to take the time to learn how to perform CPR, but medical experts say that learning how to do it is much easier than it used to be.

As stated on CNN.com, Dr. Kenneth Rosenfield, an interventional cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, once had a patient whose life was saved because the man's quick-thinking wife knew to perform CPR to the rhythm of the song “Staying Alive”. As a result of a one minute American Heart Association spot she heard on the radio she knew to push very hard, 100 times per minute to the tune of “Staying Alive”.

According to Rosenfield, “You should take a class, but it's easier than it used to be. There's no mouth to mouth. You push on the chest very hard and don't worry about breaking a rib.”

Anyone interested in learning where they can take a CPR class, can visit either the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association to find a class in your area.