Category: Live A Healthy Life
Step Into Spring Fitbit Challenge
Join The 2016 Step Into Spring Fitbit Challenge, a #LiveAHealthyLife initiative of the Dignity & Respect Campaign.
Each week for six weeks–beginning March 20, the first day of Spring–the top three STEPers will win a Dignity & Respect Visa gift card.
- First place will receive a $100 gift card.
- Second place will receive a $75 gift card.
- Third place will receive a $50 gift card.
So that everyone has a chance to finish in a weekly top-three position, participants can only win a Visa gift card prize once over the period of the Challenge. At the end of the Step into Spring Fitbit Challenge, the participant with the highest number of steps over six weeks can identify a nonprofit organization to receive a $1,000 donation in his or her name.
Make this spring count for you and your favorite charity and JOIN HERE #LiveAHealthyLife
Take a Healthy Step: Quitting Smoking
This month we are asking all our fans and followers to take a healthy step. If you are a smoker, you probably are aware of all the negative repercussions of smoking. But self-shaming is often a terrible motivator for change. Think instead about all the positive aspects of quitting and you may feel more motivated to change your life for the better. You owe it to yourself to feel great!
Did you know…
Immediately after your last cigarette:
- No more burns in your clothes, furniture, and car.
- Your body’s healing processes begin.
20 minutes after your last cigarette:
- Your blood pressure lowers.
- Your hands and feet warm up.
8 hours after your last cigarette:
- The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal.
24 hours after your last cigarette:
- Your heart attack risk decreases.
- You are less short of breath.
- You save money ($6 per pack).
3 days after your last cigarette:
- Your family and friends are happier.
- Your senses of taste and smell improve.
- Your skin begins to look and feel better.
- You have increased energy.
About 1 week after your last cigarette:
- Your mood improves.
- You are less irritable.
2 weeks after your last cigarette:
- Your circulation improves.
- Your lung function increases.
1 to 9 months after your last cigarette:
- Smoker’s cough decreases.
- Your lungs’ cleansing function returns to normal.
- Your risk for infection decreases.
1 year after your last cigarette:
- Your heart attack risk is half that of a smoker.
- You’ve saved $2,190 or more from not buying cigarettes.
- Freedom! You’re not a slave to smoking any longer.
5 to 15 years after quitting:
- Your stroke risk is equal to that of a non-smoker.
10 years after quitting:
- Your lung cancer risk is half that o a smoker.
- Your risk of cancer decreases (including cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder, etc.).
15 years after quitting:
- Your risk of heart disease is equal to that of a non-smoker.
Learn more about the benefits of quitting here: http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/smoking/Pages/smoking-facts.aspx
Share your ideas on how to take a healthy step on our Facebook wall or message us on Twitter!
Take a Healthy Step: Re-Think Meditation
This month we are asking all our fans and followers to take a healthy step. The wellness of your body starts with a healthy mind and positive outlook. We all need a chance to step back and gain perspective. By giving ourselves the time to re-orientate and reflect, we reduce the stress that leads to so many health issues such as heart disease and high blood pressure. This is why meditation is now proving to be as great for the body as it is for the soul.
Calming of the Mind
Probably the greatest benefit of meditation is that it calms the mind. Studies have shown that people who meditate regularly are happier and better balanced. They have a much easier time handling stress and keeping depression, anxiety and negativity at bay. There’s just something about spending some time each day doing nothing but sitting and breathing that has an almost magical effect on the brain.
People who meditate regularly report that they find their focus and concentration better. Perhaps the reason for this is that when you meditate, you focus only on this exact place and moment. By concentrating all of your energy on the simple activity of sitting, you’re essentially practicing concentration. It tunes your focus so that you can bring it to the other things you do each day.
Recent scientific studies show that people who meditate daily over a period of several weeks have more grey matter in the part of the brain known as the hippocampus, an area that’s associated with learning and memory. Scientists are clueless as to why this is, but MRI scans show that there is a significant difference between the brains of meditators and non-meditators.
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies also suggest that meditating may lower your blood pressure. They even suggest that the practice is just as effective as certain anti-hypertension medications and possibly more so, without the added side effects and risks. This benefit, along with the power of meditation to stop stress, means that meditating is good for your heart and can prevent you from suffering heart problems.
Find out more about meditation and its benefits here: http://www.meditationtips.net/benefits-of-meditation/the-7-key-benefits-of-meditation.php#more-738
Share your ideas on how to take a healthy step on our Facebook wall or message us on Twitter!
Back to School Healthy Steps
It’s a new school year! Right now is a great time to get a fresh start both academically and physically. Why not take this time to start off this year on the right foot. This year, take time every day to make sure you are taking a healthy step. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Walk to school.
2. Pack a healthy lunch (watch out for sugary sodas and fruit juices!)
3. Take an hour of exercise after school. This is a great way to decompress from your day.
4. Be sure to eat breakfast. This will keep you energized and focused all day long.
5. Try out for a new sport. Try something new! You’ll meet new people and you might find your new passion.
6. Sleep! A full night’s sleep will allow you to stay more focused in class and will give you the energy to be more active all day long.
7. Eat dinner with the family. Not only will you get a healthy meal you can spend some time with the people who love you the most.
What healthy ideas do you have for the school year? Share them with us!
National Childhood Obesity Month
September is National Childhood Obesity Month! As we head back to school, let us take the time to develop healthier habits and greater self-respect. But let us also let us continue to respect the struggles of others and know that all people are beautiful no matter what shape or size they are!
In the past four decades, obesity rates in the United States have soared among all age groups. This rise in obesity rates has affected our youth in alarming fashion. Childhood obesity has increased more than fourfold among those ages 6 to 11. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic. And this epidemic puts nearly one third of America’s children at early risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke – conditions usually associated with adulthood. Even greater disparities exist among young Hispanics and children of color.
Read more about this epidemic and learn how to take a healthy step here: http://www.healthierkidsbrighterfutures.org/
Make the Most of Your Spring in the Great Outdoors!
Spring is here! Time to get outside and breathe in some fresh air. Not only does outdoor exercise reap great health benefits, but studies have shown kids who love the outdoors develop better leadership skills, study habits, and a love of the natural environment:
The nature of childhood has changed. There’s not much nature in it.
American childhood has moved indoors during the last two decades, taking a mental and physical toll on today’s kids. The negative impact of decreased time outdoors includes a doubling of the childhood obesity rate–accompanied by an incremental hundred billion dollar cost to our health care system–as well as declining creativity, concentration and social skills.
Some say it takes a village to raise a child. We say it takes a backyard, a playground, a park.
Studies show outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances imaginations and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. In addition, children who spend time in nature regularly are shown to become better stewards of the environment.
Read more here: http://www.nwf.org/Get-Outside/Be-Out-There/Why-Be-Out-There.aspx
Low Self-Esteem and Your Teen
Is your teen suffering from low self-esteem? Feelings of inadequacy can drive young people into performing numerous self-destructive acts such as drug abuse, anorexia, and suicide. Know the warning signs! Learn more about this epidemic courtesy of DoSomething.org:
1. Low self-esteem is actually a thinking disorder in which an individual views himself as inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view of self permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behavior.
2. Seven in ten girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.
3. A girl’s self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight, than how much she actually weighs.
4. 78% of girls with low self-esteem admit that it is hard to feel good in school when you do not feel good about how you look (compared to 54% of girls with high self-esteem).
5. 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities such as disordered eating, cutting, bullying, smoking, or drinking when feeling badly about themselves (compared to 25% of girls with high self-esteem).
6. 61% of teen girls with low self-esteem admit to talking badly about themselves (compared to 15% of girls with high self-esteem).
7. More than one-third (34%) of girls with low self-esteem believe that they are not a good enough daughter (compared to 9% of girls with high self-esteem).
8. One of the main factors in teen promiscuity is self-esteem. When a teen has little or no self-confidence, he or she will use sex as a means to build confidence.
9. Recent years have seen a significant increase in body dysmorphia in teen boys. Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a psychiatric disorder in which the affected person is excessively concerned about an imagined or minor defect in their physical feature.
10. Teenage boys can be prone to obsessive exercising, binge eating, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, steroid abuse and diet aid abuse.
Read more about the frightening statistics here: http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-teens-and-self-esteem
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Dignity & Respect Month but it is also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer impacts the lives of almost 1.3 million women annually and is the most prevalent cancer in the world today. While the causes of breast cancer are unknown, let us use this month to change the tide of this disease. Here are a few things you can do courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure:
1. Know your risk
• Talk to your family to learn about your family health history
• Talk to your doctor about your personal risk of breast cancer
2. Get screened
• Ask your doctor which screening tests are right for you if you are at higher risk
• Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
• Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40
3. Know what is normal for you and see your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:
• Lump, hard knot or thickening
• Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening
• Change in the size or shape of the breast
• Dimpling or puckering of the skin
• Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
• Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
• Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
• New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
4. Make healthy lifestyle choices
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Add exercise into your routine
• Limit alcohol intake
Show yourself respect by protecting your health. Find out more information about this disease and its treatment, click here.
Take a Healthy Step!
Part of Dignity & Respect is respecting yourself. Make sure you respect yourself and your body by following some of these helpful health tips!
There are many energy and sports drinks on the market that promise hydration, energy, wellness, and more. Although these beverages offer some benefits, they come with added sugar and calories, which could end up slowing you down. The most important drink for your body is good, old-fashioned water. Water makes up more than half of your body weight, so when rehydrating, it only makes sense to put back in what you lost. Some functions of water include:
· protecting body organs and tissues
· regulating body temperature
· lubricating joints
· carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells
After a long exercise or game, pick up a bottle of water instead of the popular sugar-based sports drink. Your body will be hydrated and healthy, without the added sugar and calories.
Just how much water should you drink each day? Depending on your health, where you live, and how active you are, your water needs vary. You lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements. As a general rule, doctors recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
With our busy schedules, it can be difficult to have eight glasses of water each day. To fulfill your daily water intake, try fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and tomatoes, or beverages such as milk and juice. These all have a sufficient amount of water in them and can help your body stay hydrated.