Tuesday 23 July 2013

Spirit of play

spirit of play
We're all aware of the health benefits of exercise, but for many it has become the eat-your-vegetables activity of adulthood—something we know is good for us, though we don't particularly enjoy it. But as children, fitness was not a routine, it was simply routine—a natural, integral part of our lives. It had nothing to do with reps or sets or goals of any kind; it was about climbing a jungle gym, running through a sprinkler, and jumping rope just for the fun of it. Movement that increased strength, endurance, and flexibility had its own reward: a good time. 

Around the country, growing numbers of fitness enthusiasts have begun to put a childlike spirit of fun back into exercise. Alongside high/low aerobics and Spinning, you may also find classes called Recess and P.E. 101, where participants get their pulses racing in vigorous games of leapfrog, hopscotch, or tag. Other people, in groups or by themselves, are simply unleashing the child within while walking, running, or biking. By adding an element of play to workouts, getting and staying in shape can become something you might actually look forward to.

"Play is a very motivating part of exercise," says fitness instructor Mindy Mylrea. "When you're playing, you can exercise longer and harder without being aware of it. After a fun workout, you're not thinking, 'Oh, I'm glad it's over.' You're feeling alive and energetic."

Stacey Powells of Santa Clarita, California, tries to put a little bounce in her step during her daily walks with her two dogs. "I run up hills, walk backward down them, run zigzag across the street, create little obstacle courses out of trees and creek beds—anything to make my walk interesting," says Powells, 41. "I've taken step classes and found myself staring at the clock—doing something fun is much more appealing."

It was people like Powells who pushed the play trend into gyms several years ago. Many beginners complained that choreographed classes weren't cutting it for them. Although they liked the motivation and craved the camaraderie, they weren't crazy about the intimidating, hard-to- follow movements. 

source: http://www.oprah.com/health/Fun-and-Exciting-Workouts-from-O-Magazine

5 Ways to Add One Year (or More) to Your Life

1.Drive less, for everyone's sake. 
Vehicle emissions are a major source of pollution. When air pollution drops, life expectancy goes up, found a national study published in the journal Epidemiology. Proposed gasoline standards would be as effective as if we removed 33 million vehicles from the road, according to the American Lung Association. 

2. Know your D levels. 
It is unlikely that your doctor will screen your vitamin D levels without prompting. But it's worth knowing your score: After analyzing the vitamin D levels of more than 13,000 people, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that those with the lowest levels had a 26 percent greater chance of dying—from any cause. (Fatty fish and fortified milk are two great sources, or you could take a supplement—the recommended daily allowance is 600 IU). 

3. Start telling yourself that you can make a difference. 
A sense that what you do matters may actually protect your brain from the eventual effects of Alzheimer's disease, concluded the authors of a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. Researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago have been following more than 1,400 senior citizens since 1997, and they've found that those who believe they're living for a reason showed a 30 percent lower rate of cognitive decline. 

4. Set high standards—even if you feel unqualified to meet them. 
Those who persevered toward accomplishment despite high levels of stress and responsibility lived longer than those who had cushier gigs (i.e., a job with low stress, low expectations, low investment of time or energy), according to the results of an 80-year Stanford University study called the Longevity Project. 

5. Siesta at your desk. 
Midday napping reduced coronary mortality by about one third among men and women in Greece, found a large study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine. Those who took a 20- to 30-minute snooze at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of death from coronary heart disease than those who didn't, and occasional nappers had a 12 percent reduction in risk. (If your boss catches you, share this: Other studies show that a power nap can wake up the right hemisphere of the brain—and your creativity.) 

source: http://www.oprah.com/health/Longevity-How-To-Live-Longer-Secrets-to-Longevity/3

Simple health tips

  • Enjoy Ginger

The volatile oils in ginger have long made it a useful herbal remedy for nasal and chest congestion. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over a 1-inch piece of peeled, grated ginger; steep for 10 minutes; and strain. Add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to the water and drink as needed.

  • Get a Good Pair of Sneakers

Is your energy lagging? Though it may be the last thing you feel like doing when you're tired, exercise -- even a brisk walk -- can be more effective than a nap or cup of coffee at fighting fatigue.
  • Pop a Probiotic

To keep yeast infections at bay, head for the vitamin aisle. Supplementing with "good" bacteria (for example, Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium) may help restore the balance the of bacteria living in the female genital tract and inhibit the growth of yeast in women with recurrent infections. Foods such as naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir, as well as yogurt with active cultures, also contain these bacteria.

  • Eat Bananas

People whose diets are rich in potassium may be less prone to high blood pressure. Besides reducing sodium and taking other heart-healthy steps, eat potassium-packed picks such as bananas, cantaloupe, and oranges.

  • Love Lavender

To ease stress and prepare for bed, soak in a hot bath spiked with a few drops of lavender essential oil. Play soothing music while you bathe to unwind further.