The latest guidelines have made the importance of maintaining lower blood pressure numbers abundantly clear. Indeed, now nearly half of American adults are considered to have high blood pressure, with double the risk of heart attacks and strokes as well as increased risk of kidney failure, loss of eyesight, and even Alzheimer’s. You don’t have to be in that group. You can effectively and successfully lower your blood pressure. Those who suffer from Hypertension (high blood pressure) should not take their blood pressure control lightly. Now there are many drugs available to control blood pressure from going high. Check with your doctor. Buy a blood pressure measuring equipment to monitor blood pressure at home and discuss the readings with your doctor so that he/she could prescribe you the right medications.
2. Six tips for safe stretches
Virtually every activity you do relies on ease of motion. Stretching can help in numerous ways. It can often relieve back pain, stiff necks, and sore knees when tight muscles are to blame. It can counteract too much sitting whether you’re doing it for work or a pleasurable activity. If you’re a runner, a tennis player, a golfer, a hiker, or a biker, the right stretching program may set you on a path toward better performance. And as you age, stretching can help keep you active and flexible, making it easier to accomplish innumerable everyday tasks involving walking, climbing stairs, or reaching.
While it’s tempting to skip right to the stretches, it’s best to think about safety first. These will help you make the best flexibility gains possible, while reducing your risk of injuries.
1. Warm up first. Much like taffy, muscles stretch more easily when warm. It can be as simple as marching in place with arms swinging for five minutes or dancing to a few songs. Moist heat packs or a warm shower are effective first steps, too.
2. Feel no pain. Stretch only to the point of mild tension, never to the point of pain. If a stretch hurts, stopimmediately! Reset your position carefully, then try again. With time and practice, your flexibility will improve.
3. Pay attention to posture and good form. Posture counts whether you’re sitting, standing, or moving. Good form translates to better gains in flexibility and less likelihood of injury when stretching tight muscles.
4. Focus on the muscle being stretched. You’ll notice that one side of your body often is tighter than the other. Work on balancing this over time.
5. Breathe. Breathe comfortably while stretching, or use yoga breathing. Whatever you do, don’t hold your breath while you are holding a stretch.
6. Practice often. You’ll make the best gains if you stretch frequently-daily, or on as many days of the week as possible. At the very least, aim to do stretches two or three times a week.
Newsweek reports researchers led by Christopher Petrilli of New York University Grossman School of Medicine examined more than 4,000 cases of COVID-19 in New York City and found that “obesity appears to be one of the biggest risk factors related to COVID-19 hospitalizations and critical illness.” The researchers concluded “that after age, obesity was one of the most significant factors associated with poorer health outcomes of coronavirus.” The findings were published on medRxiv.
4. 4 ways to get better sleep
People with insomnia struggle to get a good night’s rest and wonder how to sleep better They may be plagued by trouble falling asleep, unwelcome awakenings during the night, or fitful sleep – alone or in combination. They may feel drowsy during the day and yet be unable to nap. Insomnia can leave a person feeling anxious and irritable or forgetful and unable to concentrate.
Finding an effective solution requires uncovering the cause. Nearly half of insomnia cases stem from psychological or emotional issues. Stressful events, mild depression, or an anxiety disorder can make falling asleep and staying asleep difficult. Ideally, once the underlying cause is treated, the insomnia improves.
If you are having trouble sleeping or sleeping well, the following four techniques may help you sleep better.
Sleep restriction. Fight the tendency to spend a lot of time in bed with the hope of falling asleep. In reality, less time in bed helps you to sleep better and make the bedroom a welcome sight instead of a torture chamber.
Reconditioning. A few simple steps can help people with insomnia to associate the bedroom with sleep instead of sleeplessness and frustration. For example, use the bed only for sleeping or sex and go to bed only when you’re sleepy. If you’re unable to sleep, move to another room and do something relaxing. Stay up until you are sleepy, and then return to bed. If sleep does not follow quickly, repeat.
Relaxation techniques. A racing or worried mind is the enemy of sleep. Sometimes physical tension is to blame. Techniques to quiet a racing mind – such as meditation, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and biofeedback – can help you sleep better.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT for insomnia aims to change the negative thoughts and beliefs about sleep into positive ones. People with insomnia tend to become preoccupied with sleep and apprehensive about the consequences of poor sleep. This worry makes relaxing and falling asleep nearly impossible. The basic tenets of this therapy include setting realistic goals and learning to let go of inaccurate thoughts that can interfere with sleep.
5. The physical benefits of yoga
Yoga promotes physical health in multiple different ways. Some of them derive from better stress management. Others come more directly from the physical movements and postures in yoga, which help promote flexibility and reduce joint pain.
Following are some of the physical benefits of yoga that have a growing body of research behind them. In addition to the conditions listed below, preliminary research also shows that yoga may help with migraines osteoporosis, balance and mobility issues, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, and ADHD.
Back pain relief
Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the United States. Four out of five Americans will suffer from it at some point. But yoga appears to help. A 2013 meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials found “strong evidence for short-term effectiveness and moderate evidence for long-term effectiveness of yoga for chronic low-back pain.” In fact, the American Society of Pain urges physicians to consider recommending yoga to patients with long-term pain in the lower back.
While it is tempting to stay in bed when your back hurts, doctors no longer recommend extended bed rest. Although lying in bed does minimize stress on the lumbar spine, it also causes muscles to lose conditioning, among other problems. In general, the sooner you can get up and get moving, the faster you will recover. Yoga helps alleviate back pain by increasing flexibility and muscle strength. Relaxation, stress reduction, and better body awareness may also play a role.
In one study, published in the journal Spine, people with back pain who did two 90-minute sessions of yoga a week for 24 weeks experienced a 56% reduction in pain. They also had less disability and depression than people with back pain who received standard care, such as pain medication. The results also suggested a trend toward the use of less pain medication in those who did yoga. When the researchers followed up with the participants six months after the study, 68% of the people in the yoga group were still practicing yoga an average of three days a week for an average of 33 minutes per session. That’s a good indicator that they found yoga to be helpful.
Less arthritis pain
Exercise has been shown to help alleviate the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis; however, these symptoms can make it difficult to be active in the first place. Yoga offers a gentle form of exercise that helps improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles around painful joints.
In a 2014 study of 36 women with knee osteoarthritis, those who did yoga experienced significant improvements in their symptoms compared with women who didn’t do yoga. The yoga group had a 60-minute class one day a week and then practiced at home on several other days, averaging 112 minutes of yoga a week on their own. After eight weeks, they reported a 38% reduction in pain and a 35% reduction in stiffness, while the no-yoga group reported worsening symptoms.
People with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, may also benefit. In a 2015 study, women with rheumatoid arthritis reported improvements in their physical health, walking ability, pain levels, energy, and mood, and had significantly fewer swollen and tender joints, after doing two hour-long yoga classes a week for eight weeks.