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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

The opinions and thoughts expressed here those of the authors and do not necessarily correlate with those of the National Wellness Institute. Read more.


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Outer Emotions Reflect Inner Stress Response (March 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 27, 2012

According to research published in February in Brain, Behavior, and Inmmunity, your emotional response to challenging situations could predict how your body responds to stress.

The research was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh by Dr. Judith Carroll and Dr Anna Marsland, an Associate Professor of Psychology and Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh.

A greater outward stress response was linked to increases in a marker of inflammation—moreso than for those who remained relatively calm. This research helps to explain why individuals with high levels of stress experience chronic health problems. Dr. Carroll explained most people show increases in heart rate and blood pressure when they complete a stressful task but some also show increases in a circulating marker of inflammation known as interleukin-6.

The results of the study link the possibility that individuals who become angry or anxious when confronting relatively minor challenges in their lives are prone to increases in inflammation and over time, this may render these emotionally-reactive individuals more vulnerable to inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, the authors suggested.

The research, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, is part of a burgeoning field, known as Psychoneuroimmunology, which investigates the interactions between psychological processes and health.


Judith E. Carroll, Carissa A. Low, Aric A. Prather, Sheldon Cohen, Jacqueline M. Fury, Diana C. Ross, Anna L. Marsland. Negative affective responses to a speech task predict changes in interleukin (IL)-6?. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 2011; 25 (2): 232 DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.09.024

Tags:  Emotional  March 2011  Physical  Stress 

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Pumping Iron for a More Mature Audience (March 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 27, 2012
According to recent NPR coverage and Dr. David Heber, director of UCLA's Center for Human Nutrition, an average male who weighs 180 pounds might after age 60 lose as much as 10 pounds of muscle mass over a decade. This can be turned around! New research published in the journal Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise finds older adults who begin lifting weights after 50 may win the battle against age-related muscle loss.

So why does it matter if we stretch or build muscle as we age?

When you stretch a muscle to the point of straining it, as is the goal during weight lifting, you set in motion the body's natural muscle-building response. The muscle has to adapt to the damage and build itself up to be prepared for the next weightlifting assault. In this way, muscles build fiber and actually increase in size. Muscle strength and balance help prevent falls, one of the most common reasons seniors end up in the hospital. In addition, weight-bearing activities help to improve bone density and can actually grow muscle no matter the age of the individual.

According to the National Strength and Conditioning website, http://www.nsca-lift.org/, the common perception of the elderly is that they become weak and fragile due to an age induced muscle wasting. However, studies involving injury and disuse have clearly demonstrated that inactivity can also induce muscle wasting, and is a major factor in the loss of muscle mass. In addition, current research shows that muscle strength can increase regardless of age. It has been shown that resistance training can enhance muscle mass and function even in 90 year old subjects, and is the most effective way to maintain the quality of life as we age.

What does it take?

Start simple. Simply getting in and out of a chair might be a good place to start. Do 10 repetitions and see how you feel the purpose is to challenge yourself gradually and in a safe way. And, after exercising, don't forget to eat.

Tags:  Aging  Exercise  March 2011  Physical 

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What You Need to Know About Health Insurance from an Insider (March 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 27, 2012

A recent interview published in the New York Times conducted by Walecia Konrad with a 20-year health insurance veteran, Wendell Potter, left readers with the following advice:

  • Ignore marketing materials when looking for affordable insurance. Don’t be persuaded by slick messages; instead, make sure you understand the coverage.
  • Read everything carefully, even if you are covered by your employer.
  • Be wary of mini-med or limited benefits plans. Many have very low-lifetime caps and others do not pay for hospitalization. The health law eliminates these plans in 2014, when no lifetime or annual caps on coverage will be allowed, but in the meantime these policies trouble me a great deal. And the insurance industry will lobby heavily for more flexibility to offer limited benefits even after 2014. So, be on guard.
  • Visit healthcare.gov to get straightforward information on plans. The industry must comply by supplying accurate information for this site.
  • High deductible plans have good and bad points. Consumers should do their best to know exactly what they can afford. If the out-of-pocket costs are going to be impossible for you, it may well make sense to pay more in premiums for more extensive coverage. For the most part, high deductibles make sense only for the young and healthy or wealthy.
  • Consumers have a right to appeal when coverage is denied. With the new law, all consumers will have access to two layers of review. That’s a significant victory.Most important, if you feel you have been denied something you should have and that your doctor has prescribed and approved, don’t accept the denial as the last word. Insurers count on people just giving up.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/19/health/19patient.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&ref=health

Tags:  Emotional  Healthcare  Insurance  March 2011  Physical  Policy  Work 

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Quotes (March 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 27, 2012

This month’s quotes are inspired by an event on March 22: World Water Day. The international observance of World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. You can now start preparing actions for World Water Day 2011. The theme will be Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge. UN-WATER and UN-HABITAT are organizing the day, content and key messages.

Water is a basic requirement for all life, yet water resources are facing increasing demands from, and competition among, users.

Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody. – Mark Twain

Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams - they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do - they all contain truths. – Muhammad Ali

My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them. – Mitch Hedberg

When the water starts boiling it is foolish to turn off the heat. – Nelson Mandela

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. – Nelson Mandela

Water, air, and cleanness are the chief articles in my pharmacy. – Napoleon Bonaparte

In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it. – Lao Tzu

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. – Lao Tzu

If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water. – Ernest Hemingway

If you must speak ill of another, do not speak it, write it in the sand near the water's edge. – Napoleon Hill

Water is the driving force of all nature. – Leonardo da Vinci

Iron rusts from disuse; water loses its purity from stagnation... even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind. – Leonardo da Vinci

There's something wrong with a mother who washes out a measuring cup with soap and water after she's only measured water in it. – Erma Bombeck

I'll do whatever it takes to win games, whether it's sitting on a bench waving a towel, handing a cup of water to a teammate, or hitting the game-winning shot. – Kobe Bryant

My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too. – Jack Welch

The man who never alters his opinions is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind. – William Blake

Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. – John Muir

Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants. – William Osler

Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer. – Dave Barry

If you can't stand a little sacrifice and you can't stand a trip across the desert with limited water, we're never going to straighten this country out. – Ross Perot

Tags:  Environment  Inspiration  March 2011  Physical  Quotes  Social 

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Fun Facts (March 2011)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Updated: Thursday, December 27, 2012

March brings with it the Spring or Vernal Equinox and more hours of daylight. In salute to increased daylight and sunshine, this month’s Fun Facts are dedicated to the environmental dimension of wellness. Below are some great facts about solar power.

  • SOLAR ENERGY: The production of oxygen and food would be impossible without solar energy. Today less than 0.1 percent of our heating, transportation and power energy comes from direct sunlight although it is now possible to meet all our energy needs with this simple, renewable resource.
  • SOLAR HOUSE: A solar house is any house that makes good use of the suns energy. It's a solar energy fact that an ordinary house becomes a solar house when it gains more energy than it loses. Passive Solar greenhouse additions can transform ordinary houses into solar houses, but these additions are best suited for arid sunny areas. Active solar, hydronic systems are best suited for cold climates where sunlight is minimal and extended heat storage is critical.
  • SOLAR COLLECTORS AND SOLAR PANELS: Solar Collectors transform short wavelengths into long wavelengths and trap this energy in the form of heat which is transferred and transported into a heat storage vault. Solar panels convert selected wavelengths of light into electricity.
  • ENERGY IN SUNLIGHT: The energy from the sun varies from place to place and is very dependent on weather conditions. Without an atmosphere 1.4 KW/m2 per hour is available, but with an atmosphere we can only count on 1KW/m2 per hour in the absence of clouds.
  • VALUE OF SUNLIGHT: How much is one hour of sunlight on three square meter worth? If we are talking about electricity and we say that electricity is worth $0.10 per KWH than 3KWH are worth $0.30. The problem is that PV panels have a radiant energy conversion rate of about 20 percent or less so three hours of sunlight on one square meter of a solar panel is worth less than $0.06. How about heat? How much is 3 hours of sunlight on one square meter of a solar collector worth if we are talking about heat? Well 1KWH = 3400 BTU so 3KWH = 10,200 BTU. Since one gallon of fuel oil contains 150,000 BTU 10,200 BTU are the equivalent of .07 gallons of fuel oil. Now if fuel oil is selling for $2/gallon which it soon will be the value 10,200 BTU is about $0.14. How about the value of heat energy over the period of one year on a roof (20’ x 50’). At $2.00/gallon our solar roof, constructed optimally, could save us as much as $6,460/yr.
  • COST OF SOLAR ENERGY: It will typically cost a person between $100,000 and $200,000 to convert their house into an energy independent house using commercially available solar application retrofit products and commercial installers. Even at a cost of $200,000 this kind of retrofit may not be feasible if the roof is too small or oriented in the wrong direction. Sounds like a lot of money huh? It is a lot of money. This is why most people don not take solar energy seriously. You could dabble with a few solar toys if you like, but if you are seriously interested in declaring energy independence at a reasonable price you should consider designing and building an energy independent house from the ground up for not much more than a conventional house. The more involved you get with the process the more you will save.
  • Why is solar energy so expensive? Competition is minimal. Government regulations will not allow house owners to install their own systems. And many more reasons…What can we do to change the current climate?
  • Why do other countries use more solar energy than the U.S.A. ? Oil is three or four times more expensive in many non American countries. Solar energy alternatives are less expensive than fossil fuels and grid power. It is as simple as that. If you had to pay $7 gallon would you consider the possibilities of solar?
  • May I install my own solar electric system? Legally speaking, most state regulations prohibit individuals from installing their own system even though these installation fees are excessive. If you do install your own system you could easily cut your bill in half, but then you would not be entitled to a rebate.
  • May I install my own solar hot water system? Legally speaking, most state regulations prohibit individuals from installing their own solar hot water system, but the rebates are at best minimal and very difficult to apply for. The penalty for installing your own system could be as harsh as an order to remove it when you sell your house. If you think you have the necessary plumbing skills go for it, but do not expect your insurance company to cover any plumbing damages.
  • Can I heat my house with sunlight? Most definitely. If you live in the south west all you need is a simple passive solar greenhouse. Northern climates require lots of insulation as well as an entire solar thermal roof dedicated to the process of gathering heat and an enormous heat storage vault for storing it. The labor and materials required to heat a house with sunlight are minimal compared with the government regulations and the building permit headaches.
  • How does a solar hot water system work? Most hot water systems are designed to preheat water before it enters a conventional hot water heating system. The five parts of the system include a collector, a pump, a heat storage tank and a differential thermostat.
  • How does a solar heating system work? Hydronic solar heating systems work the same way as solar hot water systems except that the stored hot water is used for house heating rather than domestic hot water systems. Hydronic solar heating systems are typically ten or more times larger than domestic hot water systems. In mild, sunny areas the hot air from solar greenhouses are often used for house heating, but hydronic systems are more suited for cold climates.
  • Is an integrated system possible? Solar heating and solar hot water systems may share the heat from the same heat storage vault.
  • What is radiant solar heating? Radiant heating is a method of heating slab of material. Since the temperature of stored solar hot water is low radiant heating is preferred. This is true because the large surface area of a radiant heating system is required to obtain the same results of a conventional concentrated heat source. A warm floor is a warm house. Radiant solar heating systems circulate hot water through a network of plastic tubes into the flooring of a concrete slab. Plastic tubes are used because they will not corrode in the presence of concrete.
  • What is a solar greenhouse retrofit? A retrofit is sort of an after thought. After a house is built the owner decides to add something. If a house is oriented properly and landscaping permits a fair amount of sunlight into the proposed solar greenhouse a practical method of heat gain is possible. Solar greenhouses are different than standard greenhouses in that they have a net heat gain effect on the house.
  • What is a multi tank heat storage vault? A multi drum heat storage vault system is a practical, efficient, method of collecting, storing and distributing large quantities of heat at low cost.
  • What is a solar thermal roof? A solar thermal roof is basically a roof converted into one giant collector. The materials needed to make a solar thermal roof of this size cost about $4,000. It takes two men two days to assemble. A 3,000 gallon heat storage vault takes a full day to build. The plumbing and radiant heating system could take another day. The material cost of the entire system would be about $6,000. The problem is that most roofs are not oriented south with the steep pitch needed to maximize winter heat gain so a radical roof and house reconstruction might be necessary to make a solar thermal roof practical. This is why more thought should go into new construction and house builders should be educated about the possibilities of a solar thermal house.
  • What is a solar thermal power? Commercial solar power plants use superheated steam to generate electricity. A residential solar hot water storage vault stores hot water system operates at a much lower temperature.

Tags:  Environment  Fun Facts  March 2011  Social 

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