A Good Night’s Sleep May Mean a Good Day’s Work

Tony:

The researchers even narrowed the ideal amount of nightly sleep for workers down to seven hours, 38 minutes for women, and seven hours, 46 minutes for men, according to the study in the September issue of the journal Sleep.

The team also found that insomnia-related symptoms — waking early in the morning, feeling more tired than others and using sleeping pills — were all linked with a significant increase in time off from work due to illness.

For more on the importance of sleep please check out my Page – How Important is a Good Night’s Sleep?

Tony

Originally posted on Cooking with Kathy Man:

Too much, too little slumber linked to raised number of sick days, researchers say.

Getting enough sleep each night may mean you’re less likely to take time off from work due to illness, a new study suggests.

The study included more than 3,700 people in Finland, aged 30 to 64, who were followed for an average of seven years.

Those who slept less than six hours or more than nine hours a night were much more likely to have extended absences from work due to illness, the investigators found. People with the lowest risk for taking time off from work due to sickness were those who slept between seven and eight hours a night.

The researchers even narrowed the ideal amount of nightly sleep for workers down to seven hours, 38 minutes for women, and seven hours, 46 minutes for men, according to the study in the September issue of…

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Nine Days After Skin Cancer Surgery: Update

This is meant to be just a brief updater. I am in my second week following Mohs skin cancer surgery. Regarding  exercise, I still haven’t ridden my bike or done anything outside of brief walks that would be described as exertion. This is just following doctor orders, also I have very low energy.

Yesterday was the first day since the surgery that I did not take a one to two hour nap in mid-afternoon.

While I have been careful about eating, I have not been crazy scrutinizing every calorie in fear of gaining weight since I am not riding 20 miles a day on my bike as I usually do. In view of that, I am surprised that I have not gained a pound. Most pleasant surprise.

I thought it might be interesting to compare two pictures of the incision on my face. The first was taken two days after the surgery and was the first time the wound was exposed since the nurse bandaged it after the operation. The second was taken this morning. For the record, these stitches are the kind that dissolve over time, so they will not have to be removed. My apologies to the squeamish for these photos. I share your squeam.

Two days after surgery

Two days after surgery

Here is the one from this morning:

This morning ...

This morning, 10 days after surgery.

I have put nothing on this wound except Vaseline to protect it. This morning is my first day to leave it uncovered without the big rectangular bandage.

If interested in the details on this surgery, check out my posts What Happened During My Skin Cancer Surgery, What About Life After Skin Cancer Surgery? and I Have a Second Skirmish With Skin Cancer.

To complete what I had thought was going to be a very brief post I want to let you know that I had similar surgery on my face in August 2012. I blogged about how well the facial scar healed in How Emu Oil and Coconut Oil Hid a Facial Scar in August 2013.

Tony

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5 steps to improve your brain health

Tony:

Staying in shape physically is only half of the equation, and as people live longer and longer with the progression of medical technology, it’s time mankind took a serious look at how to improve brain health. It’s important to learn how to treat your brain properly, especially since it is the key to making sure the rest of the body is in working order.

Check out my previous post on the 12 Mental Benefits of Exercise.

Don’t miss my Page Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits), as well as What Are the Best Foods for My Brain?

Tony

Originally posted on Voxxi:

Improve your brain health

Easy ways to enhance your brain health. (Shutterstock)

Everyone knows it’s important to exercise your body and maintain a healthy diet if you want to reach optimal physical fitness, but experts say we are neglecting a very important part of our health.

Staying in shape physically is only half of the equation, and as people live longer and longer with the progression of medical technology, it’s time mankind took a serious look at how to improve brain health. It’s important to learn how to treat your brain properly, especially since it is the key to making sure the rest of the body is in working order.

SEE ALSO: Top 9 ways to exercise your brain

5 steps to improve your brain health

First, brain health isn’t just about exercising your brain–though that is indeed one of the steps. Brain health is about all the aspects of treating your…

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What Are 12 Mental Benefits of Exercise? – Infographic

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Be sure to check out my Page Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits), as well as What Are the Best Foods for My Brain?

Tony

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Overcoming Resistance to Change: The Secret to Lasting Health

Tony:

Walking is one of the best habits  you can have.

Walking is one of the best habits you can have. It burns calories and benefits the health of your brain as well.

According to neuroscientist Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief, 95% of your life is dictated by the subconscious mind. This is the part of your brain that runs a large portion of your life on autopilot enabling you to do many tasks without thinking about them, everything from tying your shoes to driving a car.

When you do something often enough, it becomes a habit. Habits are activities you do effortlessly with minimal thought on your part. You can appreciate the power of a habit when you try to stop a bad one. It’s tough!

Originally posted on Our Better Health:

27th August 2014      By Deane Alban  Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

What do you want to do when you retire? The most common answers to this question are to spend time with friends and family, travel, volunteer, exercise (finally!), learn new things, live abroad, and write a book. [1] But you won’t be able to do these things later if you don’t take care of your body and your brain now.

If you’re like most people, you’ve tried to change, but you find it really, really hard (as in “impossible”). You’ve made the resolutions and set the goals. When you’ve failed, you’ve tried even harder, but making change stick has still eluded you.

Let’s take a look at why the usual ways of making lifestyle changes often fail. Then I’ll give you some super-easy but counter-intuitive tips to create new, healthy habits.

Change the Usual Way Is…

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American waistlines still expanding, study says

Tony:

BMI may not be an accurate measure of abdominal obesity, because it gives a measurement of overall body mass. BMI can’t measure how the weight is distributed.

“There are some researchers that feel waist circumference is a better measure of abdominal obesity,” Ford said.

Please check out my Page - What Are The Dangers of a Big Waistline?

Tony

Originally posted on Our Better Health:

BY ANDREW M. SEAMAN    NEW YORK Tue Sep 16, 2014  

(Reuters Health) – The average waistline of Americans increased by more than an inch over the past decade, according to a study from U.S. health researchers.

Along with the increase in waist circumference measurements, the number of Americans with abdominal obesity increased by about eight percentage points between 1999-2000 and 2011-2012, researchers from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found.

“We’ve been doing these studies for a number of years now,” said Dr. Earl Ford, the study’s lead author. “We’ve had three previous publications. Our last one looked through 2008 so we wanted to see what was happening in recent years.”

Many studies on obesity use a measurement known as body mass index (BMI), which is a measurement of weight in relation to height.

BMI may not be an accurate measure of abdominal obesity, because it…

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Sitting Too Much is Killing Us – New York Times

Eat less; move more is the mantra of this blog. I have always considered that to mean you should exercise daily. But, an article in Wednesday’s New York Times has a fascinating clarification of those words.

It turns out that moving more, means not only exercising daily, but also being less sedentary when we are back home or even at the office. Don’t sit so much.

The watch on the right displays the three movement measurements.

The watch on the right displays the three movement measurements.

Gretchen Reynolds writes that it all has to do with the length of our telomeres. “If you are unfamiliar with the componentry of your genes, telomeres are the tiny caps on the ends of DNA strands. They shorten and fray as a cell ages, although the process is not strictly chronological. Obesity, illness and other conditions can accelerate the shortening, causing cells to age prematurely, while some evidence suggests that healthy lifestyles may preserve telomere length, delaying cell aging.”

A Swedish study split sedentary seniors into two groups, one began an individualized exercise program and also advised to sit less. The second simply were to continue their lives, but try to lose weight and be healthy with no specific recommendations.

Six months later the groups were brought back and their blood was drawn again to check their telomeres. The exercise group who sat less had telomeres that actually lengthened. “Their cells seemed to be growing physiologically younger. But perhaps most interesting, there was little correlation between exercise and telomere length. In fact, the volunteers in the exercise group who had worked out the most during the past six months tended now to have slightly less lengthening and even some shortening, compared to those who had exercised less but stood up more.”

It was the reduction in the sedentary time that had lengthened the telomeres, not the exercising, the scientists concluded.

So, in the future, make an effort to stand up and get away from your desk at work, or your couch at home in the evening and move a little. You may live longer as a result.

This reminded me of one of the features on the new Watch from Apple. The Activity App on the new watch has a display that measures how much you stand in a day. “Apple Watch senses when you stand up and gives you credit when you do. So you can minimize your sedentary time throughout the day. If you’ve been sitting too long, it reminds you to get up. You close the Stand ring when you’ve stood for at least one minute in 12 different hours during the day. “

So, if you have been looking for an excuse to pay $350 for the new Watch when it comes out next year, you have it. The Watch can help you to live longer.

If you don’t care to go all high tech in your efforts to live longer, remember to stand up more often. The results will be the same. Eat less; move more.

Tony

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Foods with No Calories – Infographic

It can almost seem like something for nothing to eat foods that have no calories. Remember, reducing your calorie intake by just 100 each day can cut your risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, reduce your risk of heart disease and ease joint pain.

These zero calorie foods actually burn more calories than they contain.

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Tony

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6 Things That Improve Your Memory

Tony:

Some helpful ideas here on building up the old memory muscles.
r4_light-brain

Regular readers know that I feel strongly about keeping the brain as well as the body healthy. Please check out my Important Facts About your Brain (and Exercise) for further details.

Tony

Originally posted on Our Better Health:

Posted by Casie Terry

What’s worse than not being able to remember something when it’s right on the tip of your tongue? It’s infuriating. And worse, it only happens more frequently as the years pass. But, luckily, there are certain foods, supplements and tricks that can help you sharpen your memory and keep it way. Here are six easy ways to start improving your memory now!

1. Coconut Oil: Researchers are growing more and more optimistic about the relationship between coconut oil and memory preservation. One prominent researcher, Dr. Mary Newport, discovered that coconut oil showed exceptional promise with regards to dementia and Alzheimer’s prevention, as the medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil fuel certain brain cells that have a difficult time utilizing carbohydrates, the brain’s main energy source. (Read more about coconut oil and it’s benefits for brain health)

2. DHA from Fish and Fish Oil: While the brain’s…

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Adding Vitamin D for the Winter Months – Guest Post – Kelli Jennings

Regular readers know that I am a nearly daily bike rider here in Chicago. As such I read some cycling blogs, too. One of my faves is Loving the Bike.

And, one of that blog’s regular contributors is Kelli Jennings, an Expert Sports Nutritionist who writes Ask the Sports Nutritionist.

Kelli is not only a world class athlete, but also a first rate nutritionist who writes clearly and accurately about her healthy and intelligent eating.

She recently wrote an item Adding Vitamin D for the Winter Months that I thought would interest you. Most importantly, you do not have to be a cyclist to benefit from Kelli’s information. I have written about Vitamin D as beneficial to every person. These ideas should benefit you, too, whether you ride a bike or not.
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If you are out on your bike most days, you likely believe you get plenty enough sunshine to make plenty enough Vitamin D.  I get it.  I’m lucky enough to live in a state that boosts more than 300 days a year of sunshine.  So, how come so many of us are Vitamin D deficient?

vitamind550

If you’ve never had your Vitamin D levels checked, you may be in for a surprise.  And, if you find your motivation and mood wavering and eventually diminishing each year in the cold-weather months, you may just find out why.

In fact, it’s not only an issue for athletes, but it’s estimated that at least 25-50% of adults in the United States are deficient in Vitamin D; which is a bit ironic, as it is the only vitamin that our bodies are able to produce (with adequate sunlight).  However, it may be this ability to produce it that gives us a false sense of optimism and a lack of urgency in eating Vitamin D food sources and supplementing.  There are many reasons why we become deficient, and even more reasons to make sure you’re not.

So, what are the implications for cyclists and how can you get enough?

It’s long been known that Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium, and therefore, for bone health.  In fact, it was historically thought that the main benefit of Vitamin D was to reduce risk of rickets.  In the last two decades, however, more and more research is finding that Vitamin D’s reach goes far beyond bones.  In fact, it has significant implications on overall health and wellness, respiratory infections, athletic performance, and mood.

Here’s what every cyclist needs to know:
Vitamin D for Athletic Performance:

Reduces Inflammation: After intense exercise, elevated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines circulate throughout athletes’ bodies.  Vitamin D, along with omega-3 fats from fish oil, reduce the production of cytokines, while increasing the production of anti-inflammatory components.  This can improve recovery, reduce fatigue, and improve overall health.
Improves Immune Function: In studies, Vitamin D deficiency has been correlated with colds, influenza, and respiratory infections. On the other hand, adequate levels of Vitamin D trigger our immune system macrophage cells to release antibacterial peptides, which play a role in infection prevention.  If you want to stay well this Winter, get your Vitamin D.
Prevents Muscle Weakness and Fat Accumulation in Muscles:  Vitamin D deficiency is associated with elevated fat accumulation in muscles, which in turn reduces muscle strength and performance.  In at least one study, the deficiency and loss of muscle strength was demonstrated independent of muscle mass…muscle was actually displaced with fat AND weaker than it should be.  What’s more, there is evidence that supplementation of Vitamin D in deficient persons increases fast twitch muscle fibers in number and size, and reduces injuries (in athletes) and falls (in elderly).
Improves Overall Performance: Studies have shown a steady decline in performance in low-sunlight months, improved performance when athletes are exposed to UV rays (1950s), and peak performance when blood levels of 25 (OH) D are at or above 50 ng/mL.  What’s more, maximum oxygen uptake, or VO2 Max, drops in athletes in months when less UV rays reach the Earth, such as in late Fall months.
Vitamin D for Overall Wellness:
In addition to athletic performance, Vitamin D’s also important for:

Regulating Blood Pressure
Normalizing Blood Sugars and Insulin
Preventing Cancer, especially bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate, and rectal cancer
Steady Moods and Prevention of Depression

Now that we know how important Vitamin D is, it’s no wonder that many experts believe the recommended amounts, and  “normal ranges” for lab values should be much higher than previously established.  But what other factors contribute to our seemingly inadequate intake and levels? Continue reading

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