7 Tips to Improve Your Memory

The Mayo Clinic website provides 7 tips for sharpening your memory:

  • Stay mentally active  Mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape.
  • Socialize regularly Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss.
  • Get organized Organize your surroundings, keep to-do lists current, and set aside a certain place for your wallet, keys and other essentials.
  • Focus Limit distractions, and don’t try to do too many things at once.
  • Eat a healthy diet Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. Drink plenty of water.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain.
  • Manage chronic conditions The better you take care of yourself, the better your memory is likely to be.

Click here for the complete article from the Mayo Clinic:  Memory loss: 7 tips to improve your memory

Friendships: Improve Your Health and Enhance Your Life

Friendships can have a major impact on your health and well-being. Tara Parker-Pope, in an article on the health care blog of the New York Times, wrote, “In the quest for better health, many people turn to doctors, self-help books or herbal supplements.  But they overlook a powerful weapon that could help them fight illness and depression, speed recovery, slow aging and prolong life: their friends.

The Mayo Clinic website says the following about the benefits of friends:  Good friends are good for your health. Friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too. Friends can also:

  • Increase your sense of belonging and purpose
  • Boost your happiness
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve your self-worth
  • Help you cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one
  • Encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise

The Mayo Clinic website also gives ideas for meeting people and nurturing friendships.  Click here to access the Mayo Clinic website:  Friendships

Physical Activity

“Currently, 60 to 70 percent of the United States population is not physically active.” -Dr. Jessica Whiteley, PhD.

Physical Activity expert Robert Seegall said that the biggest problem with America’s health is that the nation focuses more on nutrition and diet trends rather than exercise. Research has shown that physical activity can prevent heart disease, stroke, some cancers, osteoporosis, diabetes, and obesity.

Americans are so busy that most struggle to find even 30 minutes to exercise.  With Heart Disease being the leading cause of death in America, it is time to make exercise a priority. Both nutrition and exercise are equally important in overall health, so it is important that in our daily living we put equal emphasis on both.

Additional Benefits of Physical Activity:

  • Emotionally – Physical activity can reduce stress by helping release endorphins, which are the feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. Regular exercise also increases self-esteem.
  • Socially – Physical activity allows friends to get together, giving an opportunity to improve relationships, and even create new ones.
  • Physically – Increased energy, flexibility, range of motion, muscle tone, and improvements in endurance and cardiovascular capacity are all results of consistent physical activity. It also increases HDL (good cholesterol), and decreases unhealthy triglycerides.

For more information:

http://www.welcoa.org/freeresources/pdf/aa_5.7_july06.pdf

http://www.startwalkingnow.org/home.jsp

4 Steps to Minimize Stress


In a Gallup Poll sponsored by the Marlin Company it was reported that 80% of American workers feel stress on the job. Although some stress is productive, prolonged stress can lead to illness. Experts tell us that about 80% of all disease may actually be stress-related.

Dr. David Hunnicutt, one of the nation’s leading experts on wellness, gives us 4 steps to help minimize stress:

  • Set Boundaries (in regards to your usage of technology)
  • Learn to Quiet the Mind
  • Turn off the TV
  • Practice Compassion

To learn more about these steps to minimize stress click here:  Stressed Less

Quick Stretches

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Frequent stretching and body movement is important to keep a proper blood supply to your working muscles and tissues.  Stretching helps  to prevent fatigue and
discomfort, and can reduce your risk for some injuries. Stretches can also help reduce your stress level, and increase your energy level.
Stretches could be done 2-3 times per day. Stretches should not be
forced.  Some discomfort is expected, but you should not experience pain. Also don’t bounce at the end of any stretch as this significantly increases the risks for sprains/strains.

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Here are a few simple stretches that can be done virtually anywhere:

  • Reach for the Sky
  • Cat Back Stretch
  • Standing Trunk Extension, Side Bend, and Rotation
  • Chin Tuck
  • Neck Stretches
  • Wrist Stretches
  • Shoulder Stretches
  • Quadriceps Stretch,
  • Sitting Piriformis Stretch
  • Seated Twist
  • Calf Stretch

For pictures and a discription from St. Luke’s of each exercise click here:  WorkSmart Stretching Plan

Starting a Conversation

Whether in the work place, dating, or just standing in an elevator; being able to start a conversation with people is an important skill.  The Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) provides 7 steps for having a great conversation.  Here is a brief summary:

  • Start With an Introduction
  • Look Around – point out something you can talk about
  • Ask Questions  – most people love to talk about themselves
  • Jump on to Any Conversation Starters
  • Look Them in the Eye – it initiates trust
  • Just be Yourself – don’t be afraid to open up and put your personality into the conversation
  • Begin with Something That Would Sound Interesting - it helps to have a knowledge on a wide variety of topics

For more detailed information from WELCOA regarding these steps click on the following link:   How to Start a Conversation

Osteoporosis Prevention


According to the 2004 Surgeon General Report, each year an estimated 1.5 million individuals suffer a bone disease related fracture. By 2020, roughly 14 million individuals over the age of 50 are expected to have osteoporosis.

Keep your bones strong with physical activity and adequate calcium and  vitamin D intake.

Physical Activity
All types of physical activity can contribute to bone health. Impact, strength, and balance training are particular helpful in building and maintaining bone mass throughout your life.

Calcium
Make sure you’re getting the Dietary Reference Intake of calcium for your age and gender. Calcium recommendations are:

Female:

  • Age 19-50yrs      800 mg per a day
  • Age 51-70 yrs     1,000 mg per a day

Male:

  • Age 19-50 yrs      800 mg per a day
  • Age 51-70 yrs      800 mg per a day

(800mg/d translates to approximately three 8 oz glasses of low-fat milk each day, in addition to the calcium from the rest of a normal diet.)

Vitamin D
Vitamin D enables calcium absorption in your body, so it’s essential for bone health! Very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. However, many foods are fortified with Vitamin D, so look for “Vitamin D fortified” on milk, orange juice, and other products like yogurt or cereal. The other good news about Vitamin D, is that you can get it from the sun! According to the National Institutes of Health getting 10-30 minutes, 2-3 times per week of sun exposure on the hands, face, and arms can contribute to getting adequate vitamin D.

Vitamin D recommendations for males and females are:

  • 600 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D per a day. Vitamin D fortified milk has about 125 IU of Vitamin D per a 8 oz glass.

For more information on what to do for bone health click any of the following links:

http://www.nof.org/aboutosteoporosis/prevention/healthyliving

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/bonehealth/content.html

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/