You can’t make it to the gym. You don’t have time for an hour-long workout. You don’t want a fitness instructor barking instructions at you. I understand, and I’ve heard these reasons before. But know this: It’s not as hard to make exercise a part of your life as you assume it is. In many cases, you can get fit using the environment around you. A few simple tips will help get you started.
Caffeine is almost ubiquitous. Coffee beans, tea leaves, kola nuts and cacao naturally contain caffeine. It’s in many beverages and even, in small amounts, in chocolate. But while caffeine is safe, it can be harmful — or even fatal — when misused or consumed in excess. Daily doses of up to 400 milligrams per day appear to be harmless. To put that in perspective, here are rough estimates of caffeine content for: Coffee and tea: One cup of brewed coffee has about 100 to 200 milligrams of caffeine, and one cup of white, green or black tea has about 20 to 80 milligrams of caffeine. Soft drinks: The caffeine limit for a 12-ounce cola or “pepper” soft drink is 71 milligrams per 12 ounces. Energy drinks: The caffeine in energy drinks can exceed 200 milligrams per serving. Note: It is easy to be misled by the heavy caffeine content in small drinks — or the number of servings in a container — and inadvertently consume too much. (The high doses of caffeine make energy drinks unsafe for smaller children.)
As an athlete, you train and condition your body to perform at its maximum ability but there are times when the body cries out in pain, either because of injury or overuse. Pain can hinder your ability to perform, and it’s especially important to seek help for back pain. Treatment options for back pain vary, depending on the cause of the pain. Options range from conservative treatments like rest and ice to the most aggressive approach of surgery. In addition to conventional treatment options such as medication and physical therapy, acupuncture is gaining in popularity. It can be used as a stand-alone therapy or could be considered as an additional treatment in a multidisciplinary approach to managing back pain.
Do people seem to mumble or speak too softly much of the time? Do family members get tired of repeating themselves? If so, consider getting your hearing checked. Hearing aids can help — and they’re improving all the time. While they can’t restore your hearing, hearing aids will help you hear sounds you previously had trouble detecting. They can help you keep up with all the conversations going on around you. The thing is, you may miss out on more than a few words or sentences. How does your hearing loss affect you? There are sometimes serious medical and psychological consequences of hearing loss if it isn’t managed early, says audiologist Craig Newman, PhD, Vice Chair and Section Head of Allied Hearing, Speech, and Balance Services at Cleveland Clinic. Researchers have found that reduced hearing may be associated with cognitive decline. Those with hearing loss often have a poorer spatial awareness, which could increase a person’s risk of falling, he says. There’s also the danger of a reduced awareness of what’s going on around you. “If you don’t hear well and are driving, you won’t hear the sirens of an ambulance or a police car,” Dr. Newman says. “If you’re walking, you won’t hear people running behind you or riding bicycles behind you as easily.” Some people with hearing loss compensate by avoiding activities and social settings. But you shouldn’t just give up on the things you enjoy doing, he says. “If you withdraw from social situations, it could create social isolation and potentially lead to withdrawal and possibly even depression,” Dr. Newman says. “Wearing hearing aids will keep you connected to family, friends and co-workers and allow you to participate in your favorite activities.” How to tell if you’re having hearing problems Here are five warning signs that you may suffer from hearing loss: You frequently think others are mumbling Your often strain to hear someone speak You ask people to repeat themselves, especially when you’re in a noisy setting, such as a restaurant or during family gatherings You crank up the volume on the television or radio — louder than others in the room find comfortable You have difficulty hearing at movies, theaters, or at other large social gatherings “If you’re experiencing any of these social or situational problems, you should get evaluated by an audiologist,” Dr. Newman says. If you need hearing aids, he or she can help you choose the best kind.
I often am asked what people should eat to help maintain their heart health. One reason might be that the topic of diet has become very controversial in recent years. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture told Americans for years in dietary guidelines to avoid eating more than three eggs a week. It turns out that only about 10 percent to 15 percent of the cholesterol in your bloodstream comes from cholesterol in the diet. Most of it is actually made by your own body. So getting rid of eggs and foods that contain cholesterol doesn’t have a very big impact on your cholesterol levels. Eggs are fine. They’re actually a very healthy food.
Many products are marketed to prevent and treat colds and other viral upper respiratory infections. These range from plain vitamin C to fancier powders you mix with water for an effervescent drink. Unfortunately, evidence that these products show actual benefits is sparse. Vitamin C is an important nutrient. Yet studies evaluating its effectiveness during acute illness show, at best, an 8 percent speedier recovery — meaning you’ll feel better 13 hours sooner during a typical seven-day illness. At worst, the studies demonstrate no benefit at all. Some cold prevention products contain zinc. While an old study on its use in treating colds was promising, the results were questioned because a zinc product manufacturer funded the research. No studies on zinc have since shown any benefit. What’s more, toxicity from taking high amounts of zinc (beyond what you’d normally get in a multivitamin) is a definite risk. It’s hard to know whether taking these cold products might produce a placebo effect or if any perceived benefit is due to hydration and electrolyte replacement. So while taking vitamins when you’re sick probably won’t hurt you, the best medicine still seems to be time, fluids and rest.
Your skin is a reflection of your overall health. If you’re healthy inside, you’re healthy outside. You can’t stop yourself from aging. But here are some foods I recommend that can help firm and protect your skin.
Nobody can lead an entirely worry-free life. And that’s OK. But can feelings of stress spiral into sickness? Here’s the upside of stress: While, anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling, it’s often what prompts us to act. For example, if layoffs are happening at work and you’re worried that you’re next, anxiety may prompt you to update your resume and start looking for another job. “Experiencing a manageable amount of anxiety and worry helps prepare us to face the challenges of daily living,” says psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD.
Have trouble falling asleep? Wake up at 3 a.m. for no reason? Insomnia can rob you of energy the next day, fog your thinking and put you in harm’s way on the road. If you’re relying on common crutches for sleeplessness, they won’t help your cause. Here, our sleep experts share their favorite and least favorite remedies for insomnia:
Breast itching is not uncommon. Although it is not typically a sign of breast cancer, any breast symptom should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to be sure. Itching may develop following breast surgery or cancer treatment. But assuming you have not had previous breast problems, it may be a sign of dry skin or minor inflammation. Using a good moisturizer such as Lubriderm® can help. If the itching is truly “inside,” it might be helpful to stop caffeine. You can also try an herbal supplement called evening primrose oil, 1000 milligrams twice a day for three to four months, to try to “calm down” breast tissue. The one thing I would worry about is if the nipple itself looks abnormal — reddened, flaky or ulcerated. A rare form of breast cancer, called Paget’s disease, can present in this way and may cause itching.