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6 Ways to Put Your World on Ice This Season

Written on May 21, 2012 at 4:00 pm , by

Hit pause more often: 67 percent of nationwide respondents say they aren't able to take time for themselves at least once a day. (Photo courtesy of Deborah Jaffe)

It’s no secret–we’re pretty busy these days. Between work, family, friends and chores around the house, we often forget to pay attention to the most important person, ourselves. And when we do give ourselves a break, it’s a pretty weak attempt at one. In a recent survey of 3,000 people in 10 major cities conducted by Keurig, Inc. and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. people admitted to sneaking away for a ten-minute breather in their closets, the elevator at work and even the zoo! (That seems a bit ironic, don’t you think?) To help put the world on ice, Sissy Biggers, past host of the Food Network’s Ready, Set, Cook! and ABC’s Extreme Makeover and Donna Smallin Kuper, author of Organizing, Plain and Simple share their tips on how to stay sane through summer entertaining and your daily routine.

  • Plan your route. When running errands, map out where you need to go to avoid backtracking, says Kuper. “Trip chaining” saves gas and gets you home faster. Before you head out, prepare an iced beverage at home with a Keurig brewer to save time and avoid unnecessary stops.
  • Organize your day to maximize productivity. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or late at night, Kuper says there is a time of the day that’s generally your most productive time. Find out when that is and use it to tackle the things on your to-do list that require the most energy and brainpower.

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Long Commutes Are Detrimental to Your Health, Study Says

Written on May 15, 2012 at 7:00 am , by

Catch up on your Zzzs before your commute. (Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto)

Working a nine-to-fiver is mandatory for most people, and unfortunately, a long commute often comes with the territory. According to a study published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who travel 16 or more miles each way weigh more and have higher blood pressures than those with less than 10-mile commutes.

Of the almost 4,300 residents from Dallas and Austin involved in the study, researchers discovered that for every 10-mile increase in driving distance, the commuter’s BMI (body mass index) rose .17 units. People with lengthy commutes are nine percent more likely to be obese, either because they didn’t exercise as much, are eating fast food while driving, or they’re not getting enough sleep because their long commute forces them to wake up early.

Weight isn’t the only thing affected by a long drive to work. Spending that much time in the car, especially stuck in traffic, also makes a person tired, moody, and stressed out, which is one reason 52 percent of those in the study with a longer commute suffered from high blood pressure.

So what’s a commuter to do? Quitting your job is obviously not an option, and if working at home part-time isn’t feasible and neither is finding a job closer to where you live, here are some things commuters can do to avoid weight gain and other health issues.

  • Make time to move: With an extra hour or two stuck in the car, it may be tough to exercise before or after work, so set aside 30 to 60 minutes during your day to hit the gym. Make it a priority just as you would any other scheduled appointment. Follow our time-saving tips for a lunchtime workout.
  • Get enough Zs: Not getting enough sleep is linked to weight gain, so if you know you have to get up early to hop in the car, be sure to hit the hay early enough to get at least seven to eight hours of shut-eye. Here are some tips on how to get quality sleep.

Keep reading to learn what else commuters can do to avoid weight gain.

More from FitSugar:

For Better Sleep, Do These 3 Things 20 Minutes Before Bed

42 Percent of Americans Obese by 2030, 4 Easy Tips to Help You Steer Clear

Two No-Sweat Ways to Extend Your Life

World Lupus Day: One Woman’s Story

Written on May 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm , by

lauren finney

This was NOT a "bad face day" for Lauren! (Photo by Jennifer Steele)

Aspiring to work at a major fashion magazine since she was a child, Lauren Finney saw her dreams almost crumble when she was devastated by the diagnosis of lupus about five years ago.

Within weeks of her moving to New York and pursuing a career in the fashion industry, Lauren developed a hard, painful, red and growing rash all over her neck and face—a horror for someone trying to excel in a field so focused on appearances! This first warning sign was followed by extreme fatigue, hair loss and a multitude of doctor’s visits.  But, after multiple opinions and doctors, two hospitalizations, a strict medicine plan, and—thankfully—the enduring support of her fashion colleagues, Lauren was finally diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease that impacts the skin, joints, kidneys and other organs.

Lauren may have broken into the competitive fashion world, but not without simultaneously enduring a diagnosis that felt confusing, frightening and dream-destroying. But she is hardly alone; 1.5 million Americans suffer from lupus, 90 percent of whom are young women. Lauren’s work with the SLE Lupus Foundation  has allowed her to help others cope and find hope through research that’s taking place. Here, she answers a few questions about her experience:

Q: Why do you think more people don’t know about lupus?

LF: Lupus is such a weird topic. Every time I told someone I have it, they say,” Oh, I know someone who has it…what is that?” People know it’s out there, but what manifests as symptoms and issues in one person is not necessarily the same for someone else. This makes lupus hard to spot, hard to diagnose, hard to treat and hard to understand.

Q: Is the difficulty you had in getting diagnosed with lupus typical?

LF: Yes, it’s entirely common for someone to have trouble getting diagnosed. The symptoms one sees with lupus are often symptoms of other disorders and diseases. It takes on average three years for someone to get fully diagnosed. I feel lucky it only took a year for me.

Q: In your experience, what did you find to be the most common misconception about the disease and how did you overcome it?

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5 Last Minute Ways to Save Before Tax Day

Written on April 16, 2012 at 9:00 am , by

Staying healthy has many perks, but having extra cash is one of the bigger ones! (Photo courtey of Shutterstock.com)

If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, you’re in luck! We got some tips from FOX Business Network’s Melissa Francis on health and wellness deductions you might be able to make. Check out her tips to save some cash below.

1. A lot of people don’t know that can you get credit for medical expenses as long as they exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. That’s not a tough hurdle considering how quickly bills add up. Put together your receipts for the doctor and the dentist and don’t forget about eye doctors, chiropractors, psychologists and even acupuncture sessions! The IRS takes non-traditional medical practitioners into account as well.

2. Another reason to kick a bad habit: You can deduct what it costs to join a smoking-cessation program.

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Fit Links: More Reasons to Eat Chocolate and Trendy Ways to Sweat

Written on March 30, 2012 at 3:55 pm , by

Move over, Bikram. (Photo by Karen Pearson)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Doctor’s Orders: Relax! Do You Need a Health Break?

Written on February 22, 2012 at 3:46 pm , by

Nick Cannon gets a prescription for some R&R. (Photo courtesy of lev radin / Shutterstock.com)

Last week, America’s Got Talent host  (not to mention actor, radio personality, DJ, rapper, and dad — phew!) Nick Cannon announced that he was stepping down as host of “Rollin’ with Nick Cannon” at the 92.3  NOW New York radio station. Cannon was hospitalized in January for kidney failure and faced another health scare this February, this time involving blood clots near his lungs. Cannon tweeted that his doctors told him to slow down and stop working so hard.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about my fitness, the mental checklist I go through usually involves: How many times have I worked out this week? What nutritious meal can I have for dinner? Did I take my multivitamins? Am I getting a cold? Whether I’m feeling too stressed or getting quality sleep is usually last (if at all present) on that list.

But Nick’s diagnosis reminded me just how important it is to slow down and relax, too. To add a little more balance to my lifestyle, I’m promising myself at least one yoga session a week and a walk in the middle of every day as a health break. It’s no vacation on the beach, but I’ll take it!

Try these 3 simple ways you can relax whether you’re at home, work or on the go:

Photo courtesy of lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Tell us: What are you doing to de-stress?

Mariah Carey Teams Up with the American Heart Association

Written on February 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm , by

Mariah Carey is 30 pounds down and heart healthy! (Photo courtesy of Jenny Craig)

Before you go off and celebrate Fat Tuesday, you might want to read these shocking stats first. According to the American Heart Association someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds, with 1 in 3 women being at risk for heart disease.

That’s why Jenny Craig celebrity brand ambassador Mariah Carey is partnering up with the AHA in its healthy living initiative, My Heart. My Life. They’ve set a goal to reduce Americans’ risk for cardiovascular disease by 20 percent by 2020. To help, Jenny will be launching My Heart. My Life. My Jenny, which will help educate the public on weight-related diseases including cardiovascular issues and stroke. Check out the first PSA with Mariah below and then then get moving! You can sign up for one of 350 AHA walks around the country in 2012, get training plans, heart-healthy tips and more at jennycraig.com.

For more information on My Heart. My Life visit myheartmylife.org.

 

Should Soda Be Taxed Like Alcohol and Tobacco?

Written on February 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm , by

A glass of soda may be a bit more pricey if a tax is approved. (Photo by Jack Miskell)

The debate around whether or not consumers should be taxed more for soda continues to spread, as the journal Nature recently published additional expert opinions. A few of their points, which are in line with numerous other reports:

  • More and more scientific evidence suggests chronic sugar consumption has a slow-moving, complex—but devastating—role in metabolic syndromes, such as hypertension and diabetes.
  • This class of diseases cost the U.S. $65 billion a year in lost productivity and $150 billion in medical care.
  • A levy on added sugars would help meet the growing costs of sugar-related health problems and discourage consumption.

Tobacco and alcohol are both already taxed differently, and we can’t help but understand why scientists (and the government) feel that soda might be the “new” cigarette or scotch.

Should there be a tax on soda? Tell us what you think, below!

The Surprising Reason Your Metabolism May Be Working in Slo-Mo

Written on January 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm , by

Do you feel like you've hit a wall during your training? It may be time for a check-up. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Approximately 30 million Americans have some sort of thyroid gland disturbance, and more than half of those people are unaware that anything is wrong. Why is this so important? The thyroid, a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the lower neck, produces hormones that affect nearly every cell in the body and play a large role in metabolism. Thyroid disease is more common than heart disease and diabetes, so why do we rarely here about it? The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists is out to change that this month, marking January as Thyroid Awareness Month.

To learn more, we spoke with Jeffrey Garber, M.D., President-elect for the American College of Endocrinology and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. R. Mack Harrell, M.D., secretary for the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and physician at Memorial Integrative Endocrine Surgery in Hollywood, Florida.

Did you know?

  • Six percent of miscarriages are linked to thyroid issues during pregnancy. Since the thyroid hormone crosses the placenta to help with the growth of the fetus, you’ll need 50 percent more iodine then when you’re not expecting. Speak with your doctor about finding a prenatal vitamin with the proper balance of vitamins and minerals.
  • While about five percent of the general population is at-risk, 15 to 20 percent of those with diabetes are likely to develop thyroid disease.
  • Women are more likely to be affected than men.
  • If thyroid disease goes untreated, it may lead to elevated cholesterol, heart disease, infertility or osteoporosis.
  • If you’re active on a regular basis, you can use your performance and recovery as a barometer for your internal health. If you feel weaker, can’t reach your typical speeds or are more sore or longer than usual, it may be a sign that an organ system is malfunctioning due to a thyroid issue. Time to check in with your M.D.!
  • Thyroid disease is genetic, so ask tell your doctor about any related issues in your family tree and ask if a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test is a good idea.
  • You should be performing a neck check, like a breast self-exam, on a regular basis to keep tabs on your thyroid health. Click here to find out how to do it.

Click below for more details about the different types of thyroid disease.

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The Icky Stat About Your Contact Lenses

Written on January 17, 2012 at 6:00 pm , by

When it comes to your contacts, stick to solution. (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

I’ll admit, I’ve definitely dozed off with my contact lenses in, but after hearing these two recent studies I’m about to make a healthy change for my peepers. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that 99 percent of contact lens wearers don’t wear their contacts appropriately and another survey from Bausch + Lomb discovered  20 percent of contact lens wearers have used alternative liquids such as beer (seriously!), baby oil,  coke, petroleum jelly, fruit juice and their own saliva to moisten their lenses.

Creative, yes, but is it safe? Not so much. Here’s why – the average adult harbors 500 to 650 different types of bacteria and when you use your own spit to lubricate a lens, that bacteria is going straight to the last place you’d ever want to see it – your eye. Using tap water, juice, or any other kind of substance other than solution has been linked to Acanthamoeba keratitis, a corneal infection that often resists treatment.

After Googling what this infection looks like (search at your own risk!) I’m making it a point to take my contacts out every night to soak in a lens-approved solution like Biotrue Multi-Purpose Solution, and to pop in a new pair in when recommended, not when I feel like it and/or lose one.  Follow suit to keep your eyes in check this year, because they’re just as important as keeping the rest of your body germ-free. Besides, the only unconventional thing we should be using beer for is this recipe!

 Photo courtesy of Shutterstock