5 ways to avoid workout burnout

The first few days of a new workout routine can be magical, but much like a thriving relationship, an exercise regimen requires attention and creativity to maintain its allure. True, any exercise is better than no exercise, but who wants to always hit up the same ol’ treadmill?

Remember, the healthier you are overall, the better chance you have of avoiding eye conditions like hypertension and glaucoma, which often result from larger health issues. Mix up your workouts to help avoid gym boredom, and give these 5 activities a shot!

Roll with the punches

We’re all about the “no hitting” policy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t channel our frustrations into a punching bag every now and then. It’s a great way to improve agility, balance, circulation, and general fitness. With proper precautions and protection, you can enjoy a stress-relieving, heart-healthy workout.

Get your yoga on

Throw a twist into your yoga routine by trying aerial yoga, Cy-Yo (cycling and yoga combined), or floating yoga on a paddleboard if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. Even small scale changes, such as moving your routine to the backyard or a different room in your house, can be invigorating and help you avoid the workout doldrums.

Bounce around

If you just so happen to have a trampoline hanging around, put it to good use and get jumping! If not, scope out the alternative workout scene in your neighborhood for a trampoline dodge-ball or cardio class. While an excuse to burn calories and improve muscle tone is reason enough to get jumping, the fun factor is also a plus.

Cross train it up

This approach is especially good for those who enjoy structured and compact workouts. Push your normal workout boundaries by letting your instructor guide you and your classmates from squats, to sprints, to weights, to whatever he chooses. Be forewarned: you’re in for some sore muscles the next day!

Swirl the pounds away

Hula hoops are no longer just for kids, although you can use the little ones as an excuse to squeeze in a wacky workout. Grab a weighted hula hoop for extra resistance and fat-burning power, and get swirling. The best part about this activity is you don’t have to leave your house (or your TV!).

The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only. Please consult your eyecare doctor or physician for actual advice.
 
By: Envision
 
Original Article: http://www.vspenvisionnewsletter.com/2013/03/5-ways-to-avoid-workout-burnout/
 

 

More Physical Health...

The first few days of a new workout routine can be magical, but much like a thriving relationship, an exercise regimen requires attention and creativity to maintain its allure. True, any exercise is better than no exercise, but who wants to always hit up the same ol’ treadmill?

Remember, the healthier you are overall, the better chance you have of avoiding eye conditions like hypertension and glaucoma, which often result from larger health issues. Mix up your workouts to help avoid gym boredom, and give these 5 activities a shot!

Roll with the punches

We’re all about the “no hitting” policy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t channel our frustrations into a punching bag every now and then. It’s a great way to improve agility, balance, circulation, and general fitness. With proper precautions and protection, you can enjoy a stress-relieving, heart-healthy workout.

Get your yoga on

Throw a twist into your yoga routine by trying aerial yoga, Cy-Yo (cycling and yoga combined), or floating yoga on a paddleboard if you’re feeling particularly adventurous. Even small scale changes, such as moving your routine to the backyard or a different room in your house, can be invigorating and help you avoid the workout doldrums.

Bounce around

If you just so happen to have a trampoline hanging around, put it to good use and get jumping! If not, scope out the alternative workout scene in your neighborhood for a trampoline dodge-ball or cardio class. While an excuse to burn calories and improve muscle tone is reason enough to get jumping, the fun factor is also a plus.

Cross train it up

This approach is especially good for those who enjoy structured and compact workouts. Push your normal workout boundaries by letting your instructor guide you and your classmates from squats, to sprints, to weights, to whatever he chooses. Be forewarned: you’re in for some sore muscles the next day!

Swirl the pounds away

Hula hoops are no longer just for kids, although you can use the little ones as an excuse to squeeze in a wacky workout. Grab a weighted hula hoop for extra resistance and fat-burning power, and get swirling. The best part about this activity is you don’t have to leave your house (or your TV!).

The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only. Please consult your eyecare doctor or physician for actual advice.
 
By: Envision
 
Original Article: http://www.vspenvisionnewsletter.com/2013/03/5-ways-to-avoid-workout-burnout/
 

 

(Reuters) - U.S. hospitals are ripping out wall-mounted toilets and replacing them with floor models to better support obese patients. The Federal Transit Administration wants buses to be tested for the impact of heavier riders on steering and braking. Cars are burning nearly a billion gallons of gasoline more a year than if passengers weighed what they did in 1960.

The nation's rising rate of obesity has been well-chronicled. But businesses, governments and individuals are only now coming to grips with the costs of those extra pounds, many of which are even greater than believed only a few years ago: The additional medical spending due to obesity is double previous estimates and exceeds even those of smoking, a new study shows.

Many of those costs have dollar signs in front of them, such as the higher health insurance premiums everyone pays to cover those extra medical costs. Other changes, often cost-neutral, are coming to the built environment in the form of wider seats in public places from sports stadiums to bus stops.

The startling economic costs of obesity, often borne by the non-obese, could become the epidemic's second-hand smoke. Only when scientists discovered that nonsmokers were developing lung cancer and other diseases from breathing smoke-filled air did policymakers get serious about fighting the habit, in particular by establishing nonsmoking zones. The costs that smoking added to Medicaid also spurred action. Now, as economists put a price tag on sky-high body mass indexes (BMIs), policymakers as well as the private sector are mobilizing to find solutions to the obesity epidemic.

"As committee chairmen, Cabinet secretaries, the head of Medicare and health officials see these really high costs, they are more interested in knowing, 'what policy knob can I turn to stop this hemorrhage?'" said Michael O'Grady of the National Opinion Research Center, co-author of a new report for the Campaign to End Obesity, which brings together representatives from business, academia and the public health community to work with policymakers on the issue.

The U.S. health care reform law of 2010 allows employers to charge obese workers 30 percent to 50 percent more for health insurance if they decline to participate in a qualified wellness program. The law also includes carrots and celery sticks, so to speak, to persuade Medicare and Medicaid enrollees to see a primary care physician about losing weight, and funds community demonstration programs for weight loss.

Such measures do not sit well with all obese Americans. Advocacy groups formed to "end size discrimination" argue that it is possible to be healthy "at every size," taking issue with the findings that obesity necessarily comes with added medical costs.

The reason for denominating the costs of obesity in dollars is not to stigmatize plus-size Americans even further. Rather, the goal is to allow public health officials as well as employers to break out their calculators and see whether programs to prevent or reverse obesity are worth it.

LOST PRODUCTIVITY

The percentage of Americans who are obese (with a BMI of 30 or higher) has tripled since 1960, to 34 percent, while the incidence of extreme or "morbid" obesity (BMI above 40) has risen sixfold, to 6 percent. The percentage of overweight Americans (BMI of 25 to 29.9) has held steady: It was 34 percent in 2008 and 32 percent in 1961. What seems to have happened is that for every healthy-weight person who "graduated" into overweight, an overweight person graduated into obesity.

Because obesity raises the risk of a host of medical conditions, from heart disease to chronic pain, the obese are absent from work more often than people of healthy weight. The most obese men take 5.9 more sick days a year; the most obese women, 9.4 days more. Obesity-related absenteeism costs employers as much as $6.4 billion a year, health economists led by Eric Finkelstein of Duke University calculated.

Even when poor health doesn't keep obese workers home, it can cut into productivity, as they grapple with pain or shortness of breath or other obstacles to working all-out. Such obesity-related "presenteeism," said Finkelstein, is also expensive. The very obese lose one month of productive work per year, costing employers an average of $3,792 per very obese male worker and $3,037 per female. Total annual cost of presenteeism due to obesity: $30 billion.

Decreased productivity can reduce wages, as employers penalize less productive workers. Obesity hits workers' pocketbooks indirectly, too: Numerous studies have shown that the obese are less likely to be hired and promoted than their svelte peers are. Women in particular bear the brunt of that, earning about 11 percent less than women of healthy weight, health economist John Cawley of Cornell University found. At the average weekly U.S. wage of $669 in 2010, that's a $76 weekly obesity tax.

MORE DOCTORS, MORE PILLS

The medical costs of obesity have long been the focus of health economists. A just-published analysis finds that it raises those costs more than thought.

Obese men rack up an additional $1,152 a year in medical spending, especially for hospitalizations and prescription drugs, Cawley and Chad Meyerhoefer of Lehigh University reported in January in the Journal of Health Economics. Obese women account for an extra $3,613 a year. Using data from 9,852 men (average BMI: 28) and 13,837 women (average BMI: 27) ages 20 to 64, among whom 28 percent were obese, the researchers found even higher costs among the uninsured: annual medical spending for an obese person was $3,271 compared with $512 for the non-obese.

Nationally, that comes to $190 billion a year in additional medical spending as a result of obesity, calculated Cawley, or 20.6 percent of U.S. health care expenditures.

That is double recent estimates, reflecting more precise methodology. The new analysis corrected for people's tendency to low-ball their weight, for instance, and compared obesity with non-obesity (healthy weight and overweight) rather than just to healthy weight. Because the merely overweight do not incur many additional medical costs, grouping the overweight with the obese underestimates the costs of obesity.

Contrary to the media's idealization of slimness, medical spending for men is about the same for BMIs of 26 to 35. For women, the uptick starts at a BMI of 25. In men more than women, high BMIs can reflect extra muscle as well as fat, so it is possible to be healthy even with an overweight BMI. "A man with a BMI of 28 might be very fit," said Cawley. "Where healthcare costs really take off is in the morbidly obese."

Those extra medical costs are partly born by the non-obese, in the form of higher taxes to support Medicaid and higher health insurance premiums. Obese women raise such "third party" expenditures $3,220 a year each; obese men, $967 a year, Cawley and Meyerhoefer found.

One recent surprise is the discovery that the costs of obesity exceed those of smoking. In a paper published in March, scientists at the Mayo Clinic toted up the exact medical costs of 30,529 Mayo employees, adult dependents, and retirees over several years.

"Smoking added about 20 percent a year to medical costs," said Mayo's James Naessens. "Obesity was similar, but morbid obesity increased those costs by 50 percent a year. There really is an economic justification for employers to offer programs to help the very obese lose weight."

LIVING LARGE, BUT NOT DYING YOUNG

For years researchers suspected that the higher medical costs of obesity might be offset by the possibility that the obese would die young, and thus never rack up spending for nursing homes, Alzheimer's care, and other pricey items.

That's what happens to smokers. While they do incur higher medical costs than nonsmokers in any given year, their lifetime drain on public and private dollars is less because they die sooner. "Smokers die early enough that they save Social Security, private pensions, and Medicare" trillions of dollars, said Duke's Finkelstein. "But mortality isn't that much higher among the obese."

Beta blockers for heart disease, diabetes drugs, and other treatments are keeping the obese alive longer, with the result that they incur astronomically high medical expenses in old age just like their slimmer peers.

Some costs of obesity reflect basic physics. It requires twice as much energy to move 250 pounds than 125 pounds. As a result, a vehicle burns more gasoline carrying heavier passengers than lighter ones.

"Growing obesity rates increase fuel consumption," said engineer Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois. How much? An additional 938 million gallons of gasoline each year due to overweight and obesity in the United States, or 0.8 percent, he calculated. That's $4 billion extra.

Not all the changes spurred by the prevalence of obesity come with a price tag. Train cars New Jersey Transit ordered from Bombardier have seats 2.2 inches wider than current cars, at 19.75 inches, said spokesman John Durso, giving everyone a more comfortable commute. (There will also be more seats per car because the new ones are double-deckers.)

The built environment generally is changing to accommodate larger Americans. New York's commuter trains are considering new cars with seats able to hold 400 pounds. Blue Bird is widening the front doors on its school buses so wider kids can fit. And at both the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, seats are wider than their predecessors by 1 to 2 inches.

The new performance testing proposed by transit officials for buses, assuming an average passenger weight of 175 instead of 150 pounds, arise from concerns that heavier passengers might pose a safety threat. If too much weight is behind the rear axle, a bus can lose steering. And every additional pound increases a moving vehicle's momentum, requiring more force to stop and thereby putting greater demands on brakes. Manufacturers have told the FTA the proposal will require them to upgrade several components.

Hospitals, too, are adapting to larger patients. The University of Alabama at Birmingham's hospital, the nation's fourth largest, has widened doors, replaced wall-mounted toilets with floor models able to hold 250 pounds or more, and bought plus-size wheelchairs (twice the price of regulars) as well as mini-cranes to hoist obese patients out of bed.

The additional spending due to obesity doesn't fall into a black hole, of course. It contributes to overall economic activity and thus to gross domestic product. But not all spending is created equal.

"Yes, a heart attack will generate economic activity, since the surgeon and hospital get paid, but not in a good way," said Murray Ross, vice president of Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Policy. "If we avoided that heart attack we could have put the money to better use, such as in education or investments in clean energy."

The books on obesity remain open. The latest entry: An obese man is 64 percent less likely to be arrested for a crime than a healthy man. Researchers have yet to run the numbers on what that might save.

(Editing by Michele Gershberg and Prudence Crowther)

Originaly article found at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/30/us-obesity-idUSBRE83T0C820120430

 

Asthma is a chronic condition in which the airways that carry air to the lungs are inflamed and narrowed.

Inflamed airways are very sensitive, and they tend to react to things in the environment called triggers, such as inhaled substances. When the airways react, they swell and narrow even more, and also produce extra mucus, all of which make it harder for air to flow to the lungs.

Asthma symptoms

When the airways react to asthma triggers, people can experience an asthma flare-up or asthma attack. Symptoms of an asthma attack include: coughing, chest tightness, wheezing and trouble breathing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some people have mild asthma symptoms that go away on their own, or only experience asthma symptoms in response to certain activities like exercising. Other people have more serve and frequent symptoms.

What causes asthma?

The underlying cause of asthma is not known, but it's thought to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. People with asthma may have genetic risk factors that make them more susceptible to the disease, and certain environmental factors, such as exposure to allergens or certain viral infections in infancy, may increase the risk of developing the disease, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Symptoms of asthma can be caused by triggers. Common asthma triggers include: tobacco smoke, dust mites, air pollution, pollen, mold, respiratory infections, physical activity, cold air and allergic reactions to some foods

Asthma treatment & medications

There is no cure for asthma. People who experience asthma symptoms should speak with their doctor about how to best treat and manage their condition.

Managing asthma usually involves avoiding asthma triggers, and taking medications to prevent or treat symptoms.

There are two types of medications to treat asthma: long-term medications and quick-relief medications.

Long-term medications are typically taken daily to help prevent asthma symptoms from starting in the first place. A common medication is inhaled corticosteroids, which reduce airway inflammation and make airways less sensitive. Other long-term medications include omalizumab, a shot given one or two times a month to prevent the body from reacting to asthma triggers, and Inhaled long-acting beta2-agonists, which help open airways.

Quick-relief medications provide relief from acute asthma symptoms. A common quick-relief medication is inhaled short-acting beta2-agonists, which help relax muscles around the airways, allowing more air to flow through them. People with asthma should have a quick-relief inhaler with them at all times to case they need it, according to the NHLBI.

Childhood asthma

Anyone can have asthma, but it most often starts in childhood. Of the 25 million asthma sufferers in the United States, 7 million are children, according to the NHLBI.

Most children with asthma develop it before age five, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI). In children, asthma can appear as wheezing or whistling sound when breathing, coughing, rapid or labored breathing, complaints of chest pain and feeling weak or tired, AAAAI says

In children, asthma is the leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and missed days of school, according to the Mayo Clinic. A child's asthma symptoms may continue into adulthood, the Mayo Clinic says.

By: Rachael Rettner

Orginal Article: http://www.livescience.com/41264-asthma-symptoms-treatment.html

Diabetes management requires awareness. Know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall — and how to control these day-to-day factors.

When it comes to diabetes management, blood sugar control is often the central theme. After all, keeping your blood sugar level within your target range can help you live a long and healthy life. But do you know what makes your blood sugar level rise and fall? The list is sometimes surprising.

Food

Healthy eating is a cornerstone of any diabetes management plan. But it's not just what you eat that affects your blood sugar level. How much you eat and when you eat matters, too.

What to do:

  • Keep to a schedule. Your blood sugar level is highest an hour or two after you eat, and then begins to fall. But this predictable pattern can work to your advantage. You can help lessen the amount of change in your blood sugar levels if you eat at the same time every day, eat several small meals a day or eat healthy snacks at regular times between meals.
  • Make every meal well-balanced. As much as possible, plan for every meal to have the right mix of starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats. It's especially important to eat about the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack because they have a big effect on blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor, nurse or dietitian about the best food choices and appropriate balance.
  • Eat the right amount of foods. Learn what portion size is appropriate for each type of food. Simplify your meal planning by writing down portions for the foods you eat often. Use measuring cups or a scale to ensure proper portion size.
  • Coordinate your meals and medication. Too little food in comparison to your diabetes medications — especially insulin — may result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Too much food may cause your blood sugar level to climb too high (hyperglycemia). Talk to your diabetes health care team about how to best coordinate meal and medication schedules.

Exercise

Physical activity is another important part of your diabetes management plan. When you exercise, your muscles use sugar (glucose) for energy. Regular physical activity also improves your body's response to insulin. These factors work together to lower your blood sugar level. The more strenuous your workout, the longer the effect lasts. But even light activities — such as housework, gardening or being on your feet for extended periods — can lower your blood sugar level.

What to do:

  • Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan. Ask your doctor about what type of exercise is appropriate for you. If you've been inactive for a long time, your doctor may want to check the condition of your heart and feet before advising you. He or she can recommend the right balance of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise.
  • Keep an exercise schedule. Talk to your doctor about the best time of day for you to exercise so that your workout routine is coordinated with your meal and medication schedules.
  • Know your numbers. Talk to your doctor about what blood sugar levels are appropriate for you before you begin exercise.
  • Check your blood sugar level. Check your blood sugar level before, during and after exercise, especially if you take insulin or medications that lower blood sugar. Be aware of warning signs of low blood sugar, such as feeling shaky, weak, confused, lightheaded, irritable, anxious, tired or hungry.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water while exercising because dehydration can affect blood sugar levels.
  • Be prepared. Always have a small snack or glucose pill with you during exercise in case your blood sugar drops too low. Wear a medical identification bracelet when you're exercising.
  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. If you take insulin, you may need to adjust your insulin dose before exercising or wait a few hours to exercise after injecting insulin. Your doctor can advise you on appropriate changes in your medication. You may need to adjust treatment if you've increased your exercise routine.

Medication

Insulin and other diabetes medications are designed to lower your blood sugar level when diet and exercise alone aren't sufficient for managing diabetes. But the effectiveness of these medications depends on the timing and size of the dose. And any medications you take for conditions other than diabetes can affect your blood sugar level, too.

What to do:

  • Store insulin properly. Insulin that's improperly stored or past its expiration date may not be effective.
  • Report problems to your doctor. If your diabetes medications cause your blood sugar level to drop too low, the dosage or timing may need to be adjusted.
  • Be cautious with new medications. If you're considering an over-the-counter medication or your doctor prescribes a new drug to treat another condition — such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol — ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medication may affect your blood sugar level. Sometimes an alternate medication may be recommended.

Illness

When you're sick, your body produces stress-related hormones that can help your body fight the illness, but they can also raise the level of blood sugar. Changes in your appetite and normal activity may also complicate diabetes management.

What to do:

  • Plan ahead. Work with your health care team to create a sick-day plan. Include instructions on what medications to take, how often to measure your blood sugar and urine ketone levels, how to adjust your medication dosages, and when to call your doctor.
  • Continue to take your diabetes medication. However, if you're unable to eat because of nausea or vomiting, contact your doctor. In these situations, you may need to temporarily stop taking your medication because of risk of hypoglycemia.
  • Stick to your diabetes meal plan. If you can, eating as usual will help you control your blood sugar level. Keep a supply of foods that are easy on your stomach, such as gelatin, crackers, soups and applesauce. Drink lots of water or other fluids that don't add calories, such as tea, to make sure you stay hydrated.

Alcohol

The liver normally releases stored sugar to counteract falling blood sugar levels. But if your liver is busy metabolizing alcohol, your blood sugar level may not get the boost it needs. Alcohol can result in low blood sugar shortly after you drink and for as many as eight to 12 hours more.

What to do:

  • Get your doctor's OK to drink alcohol. Alcohol can aggravate diabetes complications, such as nerve damage and eye disease. But if your diabetes is under control and your doctor agrees, an occasional alcoholic drink with a meal is fine.
  • Choose your drinks carefully. Light beer and dry wines have fewer calories and carbohydrates than do other alcoholic drinks. If you prefer mixed drinks, stick with sugar-free mixers — such as diet soda, diet tonic, club soda or seltzer.
  • Tally your calories. Remember to include the calories from any alcohol you drink in your daily calorie count. Ask your doctor or dietitian how to incorporate calories from alcohol into your diet plan.

Menstruation and menopause

Changes in hormone levels the week before and during menstruation can result in significant fluctuations in blood sugar levels. And in the few years before and during menopause, hormone changes may result in unpredictable variations in blood sugar levels that complicate diabetes management. Also, the similarity of some symptoms of menopause and low blood sugar can result in errors in adjusting what you eat.

What to do:

  • Look for patterns. Keep careful track of your blood sugar readings from month to month. You may be able to predict fluctuations related to your menstrual cycle.
  • Adjust your diabetes treatment plan as needed. Your doctor may recommend changes in your meal plan, activity level or diabetes medications to make up for blood sugar variation.
  • Check blood sugar more frequently. If you're likely approaching menopause or experiencing menopause, talk to your doctor about monitoring blood sugar levels. You may need to do so more often or when you're experiencing symptoms that you normally interpret as low blood sugar.

Stress

If you're stressed, it's easy to abandon your usual diabetes management routine. You might exercise less, eat fewer healthy foods or test your blood sugar less often — and lose control of your blood sugar in the process. Additionally, the hormones your body produces in response to prolonged stress may prevent insulin from working properly.

What to do:

  • Look for patterns. Log your stress level on a scale of 1 to 10 each time you log your blood sugar level. A pattern may soon emerge.
  • Take control. Once you know how stress affects your blood sugar level, fight back. Learn relaxation techniques, prioritize your tasks and set limits. Whenever possible, avoid common stressors.
  • Get help. Learn new strategies for coping with stress. You may find that working with a psychologist or clinical social worker can help you identify stressors, solve stressful problems or learn new coping skills.

The more you know about factors that influence your blood sugar level, the more you can anticipate fluctuations — and plan ahead accordingly. If you're having trouble keeping your blood sugar level in your target range, ask your diabetes health care team for help.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-management/DA00005