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Broke Your Right Arm? Exercise Your Left. It May Help, Really.

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Working out the muscles on one side of our bodies can keep the muscles on the other side fit, even if we do not move them at all.

By Gretchen Reynolds

May 16, 2018

If you sprain an ankle or break a wrist this summer and cannot use one of your limbs, the muscles there will weaken and shrink — unless you exercise those same muscles in your other limb.

According to a fascinating new study, working out the muscles on one side of our bodies can keep the muscles on the other side strong and fit, even if we do not move them at all. The finding has implications for injury recovery and also underscores how capable and confounding our bodies can be.

Many of us — or a family member — will at some point break a bone, tear a ligament or experience a neurological problem such as a stroke that makes it impossible to move an arm or leg normally.

When that limb is immobilized, its muscles will atrophy, losing size and strength, a process that begins within days or even hours of an injury.

There have been hints, though, that exercising one limb can affect the other. In past studies, when someone pedals a bike with one leg or lifts weights with one arm, muscles in the other limb often contract, a development known as mirroring.

But in most of those experiments, the unused limb was not completely immobilized with a cast and scientists did not focus on specific muscles, making it difficult to know whether exercising certain muscles in one limb affects all muscles in the other or only some.

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      Dr. Moskowitz said she was inspired by observations that people with AIDS, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic illnesses lived longer if they demonstrated positive emotions. She explained, “The next step was to see if teaching people skills that foster positive emotions can have an impact on how well they cope with stress and their physical health down the line.”
      She listed as the goals improving patients’ quality of life, enhancing adherence to medication, fostering healthy behaviors, and building personal resources that result in increased social support and broader attention to the good things in life.
      Gregg De Meza, a 56-year-old architect in San Francisco who learned he was infected with H.I.V. four years ago, told me that learning “positivity” skills turned his life around. He said he felt “stupid and careless” about becoming infected and had initially kept his diagnosis a secret.
      “When I entered the study, I felt like my entire world was completely unraveling,” he said. “The training reminded me to rely on my social network, and I decided to be honest with my friends. I realized that to show your real strength is to show your weakness. No pun intended, it made me more positive, more compassionate, and I’m now healthier than I’ve ever been.”
      In another study among 49 patients with Type 2 diabetes, an online version of the positive emotions skills training course was effective in enhancing positivity and reducing negative emotions and feelings of stress. Prior studies showed that, for people with diabetes, positive feelings were associated with better control of blood sugar, an increase in physical activity and healthy eating, less use of tobacco and a lower risk of dying.
      In a pilot study of 39 women with advanced breast cancer, Dr. Moskowitz said an online version of the skills training decreased depression among them. The same was true with caregivers of dementia patients.
      “None of this is rocket science,” Dr. Moskowitz said. “I’m just putting these skills together and testing them in a scientific fashion.”
      In a related study of more than 4,000 people 50 and older published last year in the Journal of Gerontology, Becca Levy and Avni Bavishi at the Yale School of Public Health demonstrated that having a positive view of aging can have a beneficial influence on health outcomes and longevity. Dr. Levy said two possible mechanisms account for the findings. Psychologically, a positive view can enhance belief in one’s abilities, decrease perceived stress and foster healthful behaviors. Physiologically, people with positive views of aging had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of stress-related inflammation associated with heart disease and other illnesses, even after accounting for possible influences like age, health status, sex, race and education than those with a negative outlook. They also lived significantly longer.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      1. Bad stress
      What, you ask, is bad stress? Stress that causes an ongoing and damaging adrenaline response in the body, accompanied by high cortisol, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and immune, tissue, and blood vessel damage. In other words, bad things that make you sick.
      Not all stress is bad. Good stress, for example, includes situations that are invigorating, challenging, and leave you stronger. An example would be a new job that is pushing you to the limits of your abilities and creativity and has your heart pumping, accompanied by a prevailing sense that you are going to get this done. Or the stress of training for a triathlon or learning a new sport, with your efforts rewarded by your gradual improvement.
      How can you tell the difference? Bad stress is stress that leaves you more terrified than stimulated, feeling hopeless and a victim of your circumstances, such as a verbally or physically abusive relationship with a partner or a boss. Good stress leaves you feeling challenged. Bad stress leaves you fearing for your life or your livelihood. Notice which you might be feeling in your life and in the situations you find yourself in.
      Can you sometimes turn bad stress into good stress? Sure. For example, when you are afraid you may fail at a task set for you at work, take a moment and breathe. Find the calm within you. Get the help or inspiration you may need from colleagues or friends. And turn that task into a challenge. What does not kill you only makes you stronger (thank you Nietzsche and Kanye).
      2. Unconscious eating
      Unconscious eating includes the automatic hand dip into the candy bowl or popcorn bowl. It also includes all categories of eating that are not due to actual hunger. If you find yourself looking into the freezer in search of ice cream because it's finals week and you're pulling an all-nighter, or because your girlfriend just dumped you, or because you're under the influence, this is unconscious eating. You're not actually hungry; you're upset or anxious or under the influence.
      In general, you want to be aware of what you're putting into your body. Almost all processed food is harmful to our bodies. As is all fast food. And packaged food. And we can pretty much blame packaged, processed and "fast food" for being the primary cause of all chronic diseases in the United States. Seriously. Heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis, and autoimmune disease are just a few of the issues made worse by processed and packaged foods.
      Be a conscious eater. If you're paying any attention to whether you're actually hungry, and to what your body truly wants to eat, you are far less likely to reach for the Cheetos.
      3. Skipping sleep
      Lack of sleep causes weight gain, which can then cause diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and exacerbate arthritis. This weight gain is related to the fact that lack of sleep reduces our natural appetite suppressant (leptin) and increases our appetite driver (ghrelin). Lack of sleep also exacerbates anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, and reduces concentration and productivity. Want to be healthy and successful? Sleep until you're feeling well-rested.
      4. Not brushing and flossing
      Periodontal disease from not flossing, brushing, and seeing the dentist regularly almost doubles the risk of heart disease because unhealthy gums allow bacteria and plaque to enter the bloodstream and increase inflammation. Isn't that crazy? Periodontal disease may also increase the risk of dementia. And the loss of teeth from poor dental care contributes to a less healthy diet—exacerbating all chronic health issues.
      5. Sitting
      Turns out that increased hours of sitting are associated with higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity, independent of any other risk factors. Scary stuff. Almost enough to get you off the couch. Sitting also increases your risk of dying from any cause.
      So no matter what kind of work you do, get off your ass and find a new position to do it in. Stand at your desk, stroll during meetings, limit your time in the car. And when you're home? Try to find something else to do besides sit. Exercise bike and Netflix anyone?
      If you can avoid most of these triggers most of the time, you will be well on your way to a healthier, happier, and longer life!

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Being mistreated at work can make people take out their frustrations on loved ones at home. But a new study suggests that getting more exercise and sleep may help people better cope with those negative emotions by leaving them at work, where they belong.
      People who burned more calories on a daily basis—by doing the equivalent of a long walk or swim—were less likely to take out their anger about work issues on people they lived with, the researchers found in the new study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
      The researchers used activity trackers to record sleep patterns and physical activity of 118 graduate students with full-time jobs. Each participant, and one person he or she lived with, also completed surveys about sleep, exercise and feelings of mistreatment at home or work.
      Previous research shows that employees who are belittled or insulted by colleagues are likely to vent their frustrations and behave angrily toward people outside of work, says study co-author Shannon Taylor, a management professor at the University of Central Florida's College of Business.
      The new study backs up this idea, but offers a bit of good news, as well: Employees who averaged more than 10,500 steps a day or burned at least 2,100 calories were less likely to mistreat their cohabitants than those who averaged fewer steps or burned fewer calories.
      The researchers even calculated the exact energy expenditure needed to protect against work-to-home emotional spillover. Burning an additional 587 calories, the equivalent of a 90-minute brisk walk or an hour-long swim for a 195-pound male, can “substantially reduce the harmful effects of workplace undermining,” they wrote.
      The findings also revealed that when employees felt they had a bad night’s sleep because of work issues, they were more likely to be grouchy at home. “When you’re tired, you’re either less able or less motivated to regulate yourself,” says co-author Larissa Barber, professor of psychology at Northern Illinois University.
      Physical activity seems to counterbalance poor sleep, Barber says, because it promotes healthy brain functions needed to properly regulate emotions and behavior. “This study suggests that high amounts of exercise can be at least one way to compensate for sleep troubles that lead to negative behaviors at home,” she says.
      Barber acknowledges that finding time to work out and get a full night’s sleep can be difficult when work pressures are mounting—and that often, job stress can directly relate to sleep quality. (Her previous research suggests that not only can a bad day at the office keep us up at night, but that poor sleep can also affect how we interpret events at work.)
      But, she says, making the effort to burn some extra calories—and blow off some steam—can be worth it. It’s not only good for you, says Taylor, but it can benefit the people you live with as well.
      “I would advise people to think of sleep and exercise from an investment perspective rather than another task on the to-do list,” Barber says. “It may seem like more work upfront, but the boost in motivation and energy can help you avoid sinking deeper into workplace stress and productivity problems.”

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Why would a sports medicine physician teach fitness classes? It's a common question I hear all the time.
      My belief is that being a doctor is as much about preventing illness and injury as it is about treating these problems after they happen. Across the spectrum of the human body, no drug is as effective as the medicine of exercise. For that reason, I have focused my attention on preventive health using the medicine of fitness.
      In addition to my busy sports medicine practice, I have developed the world's biggest, free-standing, physician-led exercise clinic. My goal is to prescribe the medicine of exercise to my IronStrength community, thousands of people who show up and work out with me every year, and to teach doctors around the world how they can do the same.
      Over the years, it's become abundantly clear to me that intensity matters—so does consistency! That's why it's essential for all of us not to let bumps in the road—like holiday travel, too many holiday commitments, or too much time with family—get in the way of our motivation or our routine!
      HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is all about efficiency and intensity. It's about how hard you work and how much work you do in any given time period. It's the perfect workout for someone who has no time. These workouts are designed to hit as many muscles as possible in the simplest way possible. Many of the exercises involve multiple muscle groups and are based on functional movement—they'll train you for natural movements you do every day.
      I define fitness as a combination of cardiopulmonary fitness and strength. The beauty of these HIIT workouts is that they address both components of fitness at the same time and can be done anytime, anywhere.
      A 10-minute-or-less workout isn't ideal, but if you HIIT it hard (pun intended!), it can make a huge difference. Even if it's been the busiest day ever and you have no time and you have no motivation, just start exercising. Maybe you'll have to cut it short. But maybe after a couple of minutes you'll start to feel better. Maybe you'll get into it more and more as you go. Maybe your mood will brighten. And maybe, just maybe, you'll squeeze in more time than you thought, or work harder and fit more into the time you have.
      Here's another tip: Choose the workout wisely! Workouts do more than just make you sweat; they can help eliminate the excuses, too. Here's a short workout that doesn't need any equipment or even very much space! It's perfect for your bedroom, a hotel room, or anywhere you have just a bit of floor space. So simple! All you have to do is tie your shoes and get it done. Heck, you don't even need shoes. Try it barefoot.
      For a full-body HIIT workout in just 10 minutes, start with a three-minute warm-up of jumping jacks, pogo hops, and forward jacks. Rest for one minute. Perform these three exercises for one minute, cycling through the set two times.
      Then, give these exercises a try:
      Jump squats
      Stand with your hands on the back of your head and your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then jump as high as you can. When you land, immediately squat and jump again.
      Reverse lunge with toe touch
      Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step back with your right leg and lower your body until your knee almost touches the floor. Stand up, swing your right leg as high as you can, and touch your toes with your left hand. Alternate sides for the allotted time.
      Burpee with push-up
      Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat as deeply as you can and place your hands on the floor. Kick back into a push-up position. Do one push-up. Bring your legs back to a squat and jump up, throwing your hands above your head. Land and repeat.
      If you find yourself getting really into things, add on another 10 minutes by resting for one minute and then performing the next three exercises for one minute each, cycling through the set three times.
      Mountain climbers
      Assume a push-up position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your ankles. Without allowing your lower-back posture to change, lift your left foot off the floor and move your left knee toward your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat with your right leg. Alternate legs, moving quickly.
      Single-leg toe touches.
      Stand on your right leg with your left leg out in front of you, raised off the floor. Place your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height. Bend your right leg at the knee and squat down to touch your left hand to the toe of your right foot, then come back up. Repeat with your left leg and continue, alternating for the allotted time.
      Bicycle crunch
      Lie faceup with your hips and knees bent 90 degrees so that your lower legs are parallel to the floor. Place your fingers on the sides of your forehead. Lift your shoulders off the floor and hold them there. Twist your upper body to the right as you pull your right knee in as fast as you can until it touches your left elbow. Simultaneously straighten your left leg. Return to the starting position and repeat to the other side.
       
      By Dr. Jordan Metz/MBG
       @
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      It all starts at home. A great day begins with an amazing morning. With constant distractions and the daily pressure of responsibilities, it’s important to start your morning right to get your mind and body prepared for your daily routine. These 11 tips will bring out the best of your morning, day, week, and life.
      1. Wake Up Earlier. We often wake up as late as possible, but losing precious time in the morning puts pressure on our bodies and minds. Throughout the day, our time feels tight when it doesn’t have to feel that way. By waking up early, you can give your body and mind time to unwind and set your routine at an even pace.
      2. Drink a Glass of Water as Soon as You Wake Up. Your body essentially shuts down while you’re sleeping. Drinking water will help you get ready to start running. This will also help to rehydrate you and allow for an easier digestive flow throughout the day.
      3. Avoid Technology for The First Hour. It’s tempting to wake up and check your email and social media timeline, but all of those things will still be there an hour from when you wake. You won’t miss out on much, and you’ll start your day on your own terms. How often do you wake up in a great mood, and then check your email or messages only to receive a message that disrupts your mood first thing in the morning. Hold off and take control of your emotions at the start of the day.
      4. Think of Something You’re Grateful For. The choice is yours. Wake up and find something you’re appreciative of. Your bed, family or even a cup of coffee. The more things you find, the more positive energy you bring to your day.
      5. Sunlight, Fresh Air, and A Deep Breath. Even if it’s cloudy, open your blinds and let natural light in. This will awaken your senses and add positive sensory to start your day. Next, open a window, or if you have direct access to a door that leads outside, open your front door and fill your lungs with fresh air. Oxygen provides energy to heal and grow the brain.
      6. Move Your Body/Exercise.  No matter what you’re doing for the rest of the day, your body will be active if you begin your day with movement. There are various morning workouts you can do that are convenient and quick. If you don’t want to work out, you can also do stretchesto help loosen your muscles and joints.
      7. Eat a Healthy Breakfast. A healthy breakfast is your initial fuel for the day. Avoid quick fixes such as cereal, fruit juices, or donuts. Take the time to invest in a healthy breakfast that will have your body feeling energized until lunch time.
      8. Say Positive Affirmations. Self-appreciation is important. Find different things you enjoy about yourself and say them out loud to yourself while looking in the mirror. Face yourself and speak positive truths.
      9. Plan. Work day or off day, planning ahead allows you to be productive, and to fit in as much as you want throughout the day. Spread out your day so that you know what to expect and avoid feeling rushed. Commit to your plan as much as you can, but allow room for the random disruptions that life can occasionally bring.
      10. Leave Yesterday Behind. A new day is a fresh start to life. Yesterday’s arguments, frustrations, and negative thoughts don’t belong in your new day.
      11. Read. Start your day with some positive thoughts. Whether it’s the news, quotes, or a novel you love, literature helps stimulate your brain and your imagination.

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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Diet sodas may undermine weight loss efforts, a new study suggests.
      Researchers put 81 overweight women with Type 2 diabetes on the same weight-control diet, except that half drank diet beverages five times a week after their main meal at lunch, while the other half substituted plain water. The study is in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
      After 24 weeks, the water group had lost an average of 14 pounds, while the diet soda group lost 11.5 pounds. Average body mass index declined by 2.49 in the water group compared with 2.06 in the diet-drink group. Compared with the diet soda group, the water group also had greater improvements in fasting insulin, postprandial glucose level and other measures of diabetes severity.
      Waist circumference declined in those who drank water or diet beverages, with no significant difference between the two groups.
      According to the senior author, Dr. Hamid R. Farshchi, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Nottingham, the mechanism remains unclear.
      But, he said, “The best drink for your health not only for weight loss but also for carbohydrate metabolism is water. Still, obese people are used to a sweet taste, and it’s very difficult for them to just say goodbye to sugary food.”

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    • By JAMMY
      The Biggest Cancer Causing Food Ever (Your Kids Unfortunately Love It)
      Photo credit: bigstock.com
      "...you know that there are certain foods strongly linked to cancer; foods containing aspartame, refined sugar, trans-fats, and GMO’s.  However, did you know that there is one particular food that has been so strongly linked to cancer, that the American Institute for Cancer Research has recommended that people cut their consumption to zero?"

      Full article:
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      WASHINGTON — Having a happy spouse may be related to better health, at least among middle-aged and older adults, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association. 
      In a nationally representative study of 1,981 middle-aged heterosexual couples, researchers found that people with happy spouses were much more likely to report better health over time. This occurred above and beyond the person’s own happiness, according to the study, published in the APA journal Health Psychology®. 
      “This finding significantly broadens assumptions about the relationship between happiness and health, suggesting a unique social link,” said William Chopik, PhD, an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University and principal investigator of the study. “Simply having a happy partner may enhance health as much as striving to be happy oneself.” 
      Previous research suggests happy people are generally healthy people, but Chopik wanted to take it one step further by exploring the health effects of interpersonal relationships. He said there are at least three potential reasons why having a happy partner might enhance a person’s health, irrespective of one’s own happiness:
      Happy partners likely provide stronger social support, such as caretaking, as compared to unhappy partners who are more likely to be focused on their own stressors. Happy partners may get unhappy people involved with activities and environments that promote good health, such as maintaining regular sleep cycles, eating nutritious food and exercising. Being with a happy partner should make a person’s life easier even if not explicitly happier. “Simply knowing that one’s partner is satisfied with his or her individual circumstances may temper a person’s need to seek self-destructive outlets, such as drinking or drugs, and may more generally offer contentment in ways that afford health benefits down the road,” Chopik said. 
      The study examined the survey information of couples age 50 to 94, including happiness, self-rated health and physical activity over a six-year period. The results showed no difference between husbands and wives in the study. Eighty-four percent were white, 8 percent were African-American, and 6 percent were Hispanic. Participants answered questions about their health, including level of physical impairment, chronic illnesses and level of physical activity, as well as any concerns they had regarding their spouse’s health. Participants rated their own happiness and life satisfaction.
      Article: “Happy You, Healthy Me? Having a Happy Partner is Independently Associated with Better Health in Oneself,” by William J. Chopik, PhD, Michigan State University, and Ed O’Brien, PhD, University of Chicago. Health Psychology, published online Sept. 19, 2016.
      William Chopik may be reached at (517) 355-6645 or via email.
      The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 117,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.

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    • By JAMMY
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