Your ultimate post-containment health boost starts now

1. To feel younger: Drop it and do 40

A study of more than 1,100 firefighters found that those who could do more than 40 push-ups had a lower risk of a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke, over the next decade compared to guys who could do less than 10. The ability to hammer those reps is a sign of full body musculature strength, which is associated with good blood pressure and metabolic health. Can’t do 40 in a row? No sweating. Do as many as you can in a row, then rest for 10 seconds and start again; Repeat this until you have done 40 reps in total. Do it three times a week; you will soon have the strength to do 40 in a row.

Pro tip: “Most of the time I start with 150 push-ups,” says Dr. John P. Higgins, professor of medicine at McGovern Medical School in Houston. He uses the Perfect Push-up tool. “It has handles that rotate on a base, which helps me be more stable and use the correct shape,” he says. “Since doing 150 a day, my upper body, breathing and abs are better. And it really wakes me up.

2. Act according to your heart: Focus on high fiber carbohydrates

You might like donuts and muffins, that is, simple or refined carbohydrates – those that are low in fiber and nutrients and quickly raise your blood sugar – but not your heart. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people whose diets contained the most of these foods had a 14% higher risk of a major cardiovascular event over 10 years (and a 25% higher risk of death whatever the cause). than the people whose diet had the least. In terms of heart health, too many simple, low-fiber carbohydrates can lower “good” HDL cholesterol while increasing triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol.

Pro tip: Dr Spencer Kroll, a lipodologist (expert in treating cholesterol problems), noticed that his patients with unhealthy blood sugar and insulin function also had more dangerous blood fats. So he revised his own diet, cutting out simple carbohydrates like bread and pasta to cut carbs by 40-20% of his kilojoules. The remaining carbohydrates are high in fiber. For example, for breakfast, “I’ll eat a small bowl of nuts, berries and a barley cereal,” he says. He also switched to high fiber snacks. “I saw significant improvements in my LDL cholesterol,” says Kroll. “My triglycerides are better, and so is my insulin function.”

3. To control your blood pressure: Fight stress

One of the best ways to be healthier is to control your blood pressure. When high, it can damage almost any organ in your body. And one of the most overlooked ways to help keep it down is to deal with stress. Stress that lasts all day can increase your BP while you’re awake, says cardiologist Dr. Christopher Kelly. Even though it becomes normal overnight, it still takes a toll on your system.

Stress can also lead to binge drinking, smoking, and other choices that don’t help BP, he says. In addition to seeing a doctor about high BP and exploring the DASH diet, take time to reduce stress. Meditation and yoga are far from the only ways to do this. Lean into your own stress relievers, even if they are eccentric,
like making playlists or solving a Rubik’s cube.

Pro tip: “I love going to Costco when I need a break,” says Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, a urologist. “Something about this place is calming. I’m watching newer TVs and maybe buying something that I might not always need. It’s been a ritual since high school, when my friends and I went once a week. It brings back memories of that time. “

4. To finally get some sleep: relax your brain

One of the main reasons we flip and flip is that “we’re really good at learning to refuel, but sometimes we’re not particularly good at relaxing and we don’t give it the space that it is.” suits him, ”says Dr W. Christopher Winter. “The liquidation process does not need to be elaborate; it’s just important to have a process.

Close screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime – their light can suppress your body’s production of sleep-inducing melatonin – and do something relaxing. Stop thinking of this moment as doing nothing and fill it with something you are passionate about: podcast, sex, music, jot down some good things about your day or your partner.

Pro tip: As a tech-free transition to sleep, Dr. Raj Dasgupta works with his wife on 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles for 15 to 30 minutes. “With each piece of the puzzle found and placed correctly, the puzzle receives a little boost of dopamine, which rewards the brain and, in turn, relaxes the body,” he says.

5. To stop languishing: Find what focuses you

As COVID lockdowns drag on, you might be feeling. . . absolutely effing blah. You stagnate. Without any goal. You are not depressed but not excited either. The term for it is languid, and “I see an epidemic of it in my practice,” says psychotherapist Allison Abrams. Recognizing and naming it is important and helps validate how you are feeling. One way to help clear things up is to do something that puts you in a state of flux – when you’re completely engrossed and focused on something outside of yourself, she says. Take a step towards whatever gets you there: maybe it’s fly fishing, rock climbing, painting, or planting.

Pro tip: “I kitesurf once a week,” says Dr Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine
in California. He considers this to be “wind therapy,” which is his oceanic version of forest bathing, a tradition in Japan of rejuvenating oneself by spending time in the woods. It requires concentration, and “the feeling of the wind against my body makes me feel fresh and alive, especially on working days from home,” he says.

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