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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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Be Smarter than the Sun! (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

Spring has sprung and summer's right around the corner! In these late spring/early summer months it can be easy to ignore the sun; it doesn't seem nearly hot enough to cause harm. Without realizing it, the sun could be damaging your eyes or your skin. Take the necessary precautions to prevent UV radiation complications.

Being exposed to too much UV radiation has been shown to cause a variety of visual impairments. The American Optometric Association (www.aoa.org) informs, "The sun's UV radiation can cause cataracts; benign growths on the eye's surface; cancer of the eyelids and skin around the eyes; and photokeratitis, sometimes called snow blindness, which is a temporary but painful sunburn of the eye's surface." They recommend practical over fashionable sunglasses. For more information on what to look for while shopping for sunglasses search the AOA website. Many people realize that their skin needs protection from the sun, but they neglect to protect their eyes. Putting sunglasses on can save your eyes from overexposure to the sun.

Name five items you would never forget to bring to the beach . . . go! Ok, I imagine that a towel and a beach ball were at the top of your list, and I hope sunscreen was too. In the hot summer months it's easy to remember your sunscreen. What many people don't realize is that it's just as important in these late spring/early summer months to apply sunscreen before spending time outdoors. Where there is sun, there is UV radiation and it's important to protect your skin against the harmful effects of over-exposure. Minimal sunburn is usually just a nuisance and disappears in a couple of days, but it's also an indication that you should have applied more sunscreen. The Skin Cancer Foundation warns that, "One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime." Take preventative steps to deter becoming one in five. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outdoors and to continue applying sunscreen every two hours of sun exposure. For more skin cancer prevention tips visit www.skincancer.org.

Don't let the sun fool you. Wear your sunglasses and sunscreen whenever you spend time outdoors!

Tags:  Cancer  Intellectual  May 2010  Physical  Sun 

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When Chocolate is Not Good (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Depression: Individuals who consume large amounts of chocolate are more likely to be clinically depressed, according to a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, the Wall Street Journal reports (Corbett Dooren, Wall Street Journal, 4/27). Study participants who tested positive for possible depression consumed about 8.4 servings of chocolate monthly, compared with 5.4 servings among those with lower depression test scores. Those who scored highest -- and were most likely to be depressed -- consumed 11.8 servings per month (Tong, Sacramento Bee, 4/27). While the findings were similar for both women and men, the researchers noted that it is unclear whether depression influences the consumption of chocolate or vice versa (Wall Street Journal, 4/27).

Tags:  Chocolate  Depression  Diet  May 2010  Nutrition  Physical 

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Five-Minute Test Could Slash Colon Cancer Risk by One-Third (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
Colon cancer: A five-minute "flexi-scope" colon cancer test could reduce cancer risk by one-third and the risk of dying from colon cancer by 40%, according to a study in the Lancet, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. For the study, British researchers compared the results of 40,000 patients who received the flexi-scope test, which removes potentially cancerous polyps and small growths, to more than 113,000 individuals who did not receive the test. Researchers said the test only needs to be performed once in a person's lifetime to garner its benefits, ideally when they are in their 50s. According to experts, the findings could encourage authorities to adopt a new strategy for detecting colon cancer (Cheng, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/27).

Tags:  Cancer  Health  May 2010  Physical 

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Workplace Stress and Obesity: Fruits and Vegetables Fall Short of Exercise--and Watch Out for TV! (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012
A 2010 study done at the University of Rochester Medical Center showed chronic job stress and lack of physical activity are strongly associated with being overweight or obese.

Of note, researchers found a diet rich in fruits and vegetables did little to offset the effect of chronic job stress on weight gain among the most sedentary employees. In those cases, exercise was the key to managing stress and keeping a healthy weight. The study looked at 2,782 upstate New York manufacturing facility employees.

The lead study author, Diana Fernandez, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D, agreed the study is among many associating stress with cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, exhaustion, anxiety and weight gain. She advocates better corporate health policies especially in a poor economy when stress is a constant factor.

The upstate New York workplace mirrored the national statistics. Researchers collected baseline data from the nearly 2,800 employees, using body mass index (BMI) as the measurement for weight status. Overweight/obesity was defined as BMI greater than 24.9, and healthy/underweight was defined as less than 24.9.

They found that 72 to 75 percent of the employees were overweight or obese. Most of the study volunteers were middle-aged, white, married, highly educated (college degree or more), relatively well-paid (earning more than $60,000 a year), with an average of almost 22 years at the company.

Another important statistic: More than 65 percent of the employees said they watched two or more hours of television per day. Among those who reported watching two to three hours, 77 percent were more likely to be overweight or obese, and those who watched four or more hours of TV a day increased their odds of obesity by 150 percent, compared to people who watched less than two hours of daily TV.

In addition, investigators discovered employees working in the most high-job-strain conditions had almost one BMI unit more of weight than people who worked in more passive areas. Researchers did not find that chronic stressors (general dissatisfaction at work) and acute stressors (being a layoff survivor, or having entire operations decommissioned) together had a larger effect on weight than when examined independently.

The study concluded workplace wellness programs should not only offer ideas on how to be healthy, but should examine the organizational structure and provide ways to minimize a stressful environment for everyone.

Source: University of Rochester Medical Center, http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/index.cfm?id=2803

Tags:  Diet  Exercise  May 2010  Obesity  Occupational  Physical  Stress  Work 

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Behavior Change Resource Series: Social (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

Social, this dimension of wellness encompasses the concepts of beneficial impacts, communication, and actions within the communities and environments we coexist in. Consider the different communities you are a part of and the environments in which you participate.

To get a better idea of all that you impact and that impacts you, begin to examine your life in the environments where you spend the most time and move towards environments you rarely spend time in, for example: home, work, public spaces, and nature. You can even consider the environments which you rarely are in, for example: a once a year vacation spot. Environments describe more than the natural environment of the earth we live in. Environments are different in our homes than they are at our jobs. Some actions may be acceptable or commonplace in one but not the other.

Next examine the different communities you contribute to and are affected by. Your: family and friends, neighborhood, town or city, state, nationality. These communities also cover different groups you might be a part of. These could include: support groups, sports groups or teams, religious affiliation, even communities which seem to have little to do with your life can affect you. An example would be the friend of your spouse. They may not be your friend directly but if your spouse discusses friends with you then they are impacting your life.

These exercises will give you a better picture of how wide your web is and what environments and communities might have an effect on you. It is very important to try to increase the quality of communication in our communities and the impact of our actions on our environments.

Test your environmental impact at: http://www.myfootprint.org/en/. Once you have taken the quiz, be sure to visit Reduce Your Footprint for ideas to lessen your impact at: http://www.myfootprint.org/en/take_action/reduce_your_footprint//.

This website gives some great tips on successful communication with others: http://www.ncsu.edu/health_promotion/Stress/communication.html

This website: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/eq6_nonverbal_communication.htm addresses nonverbal communication skills.

The National Wellness Institute offers the following tenets to strive for physical wellness:

  • It is better to contribute to the common welfare of our community than to think only of ourselves.
  • It is better to live in harmony with others and our environment than to live in conflict with them.

Tags:  Behavior Change  May 2010  Social 

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Quotes (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

There are many great events occurring in May. Among them, Older Americans Month, brough to us by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging at www.aoa.dhhs.gov and Better Sleep Month, brought to us by The Better Sleep Council atwww.bettersleep.org. For more information on these events and a complete Health Observances Calendar visit www.nationalwellness.org.

No day is so bad it can't be fixed with a nap. – Carrie Snow

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. – Leo J. Burke

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book. – Irish Proverb

Many things--such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly--are done worst when we try hardest to do them. – C.S. Lewis

A well-spent day brings happy sleep. – Leonardo da Vinci

[Sleep is] the golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. – Thomas Dekker

The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night's sleep – Anonymous

Problems always look smaller after a warm meal and a good night's sleep – Anonymous

Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone. – Anthony Burgess

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter – Mark Twain

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul – Samuel Ullman

Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. – Chili Davis

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. – Mark Twain

Man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. – John Barrymore

Everyone is the age of their heart. – Guatemalan Proverb

I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now. – Author Unknown

Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. – Henry Ford

Tags:  Aging  Inspiration  May 2010  Physical  Quotes  Sleep  Social 

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Fun Facts (May 2010)

Posted By National Wellness Institute, Saturday, May 1, 2010
Updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

There are many great events occurring in May. Among them, Older Americans Month, brough to us by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging at www.aoa.dhhs.gov and Better Sleep Month, brought to us by The Better Sleep Council atwww.bettersleep.org. For more information on these events and a complete Health Observances Calendar visit www.nationalwellness.org.

Increase your odds of living 12 years longer!

A recent study appearing April 26 in the Archives of Medicine, done over a 20-year period on 4,886 adults (18 years and older), concluded that individuals who don't smoke, or have quit; women who had less than two alcoholic beverages daily and men who have less than three; individuals who get more than two hours of physical activity a week; and those who eat fruits and vegetables more than three times a day lived an average of 12 years longer.

The healthy behaviors work together and, combined, lead to an overall healthier outcome.

TANNER, L., (April 26, 2010) Yahoo! Health: Diet & Fitness, Mind & Mood, Longevity, Conditions & Diseases, & Drug Guide. Bad habits can age you by 12 years, study suggests" Retrieved April 26, 2010 from .

Are You Sleeping?

It's impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. People can take catnaps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.

Some Zzzz's

Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night means you're sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you're still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.

A Bundle of Joy

A new baby typically results in 400 to 750 hours of lost sleep for parents in the first year.

Sweet Dreams

Dreams, once thought to occur only during REM sleep, also occur (but to a lesser extent) in non-REM sleep phases. It's possible there may not be a single moment of our sleep when we are actually dreamless.

Stay Alert

Seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%.

Who Knew?

The extra hour of sleep received when clocks are turned back at the end of daylight saving time has been found to coincide with a fall in the number of road accidents.

All Above: http://www.achooallergy.com/interesting-sleep-facts.asp

Nap Time

Daytime naps improve memory! They also help you remember important facts and cut risk of heart disease.

Squidoo, http://www.squidoo.com/fun-facts-about-sleep

The Good Life

Current retirees are more interested in an active life, including continuing to work, than their parents' generation.

Buzzle, http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/10-6-2001-5119.asp

Give Back

15 million older persons volunteer, nearly half the 65-plus population in the U.S.

Buzzle, http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/10-6-2001-5119.asp

Livin' it Up!

The overall difference in life expectancy at birth in the United States is about 7 years (i.e., 72 for men vs. 79 for women); and at every age women, on average, can expect to live longer than men.

Psych Central, http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/facts-about-aging/

Tags:  Aging  Fun Facts  May 2010  Physical  Sleep 

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