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Feel Good: How Meditation Helps an Olympian



Take the time to help yourself

Don’t have time to meditate? Take this advice from someone else who doesn’t have much time to give. Olympic swimmer Caroline Burckle (pictured left) started to get into meditation to help center herself before stressful days of training or competition. Think of it like this: Structure your unstructured time, she writes for Mind, Body, Green. Instead of filling her free time checking email or fiddling around with busy work (which only added to stress), she took a few minutes just to sit and focus on breathing. She found that it was the best way to find that so-called “inner peace.” Now that she’s no longer competing, she continues to meditate. A little inner peace can go a long way.   

 

A more accurate way to gauge your weight

Stepping on a scale really doesn’t give you the whole picture. Medical professionals like Laurent Millour of Naples Health Coach are starting to turn to some high-end technology to get a better idea of what’s happening within our bodies. He’s started using the SECA body composition analysis scale. Stand on the scale and grip the handles—the machine’s bioelectric analysis sensors can detect the difference between fat, bone, muscle mass, visceral fat and water weight in your body. The analysis can provide direction for the patient and professional—how exercise and diet should be tailored to lose the right amount of fat and gain the right amount of muscle, for example. Then, the hard work begins—the day-in, day-out routine to staying healthy. “The critical part is changing behavior,” he says.

 

The connection between sleep and overeating

Next time you have a restless night, keep track of what you eat the next day. If you’re not careful, you may start packing on the pounds. More studies are linking lack of sleep to issues like obesity and diabetes. The reason: When we don’t sleep we tend to get anxious or jittery, which in turn causes some of us to comfort ourselves with food. How much more? About 385 calories per day, to be exact, according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In a study between two groups—the sleep-deprived and the well-rested—researchers found that their sleepy participants tended to gobble up more fatty foods (385 calories is essentially like eating a big slice of pepperoni pizza). And, don’t think you can outsmart yourself: Staying up late doesn’t actually burn any extra calories.    

 

Ditch the diet drink

If you’re looking to lose weight, those diet sodas aren’t helping. A new study conducted in England found that, all else being equal, participants in a study lost about 3 pounds more when drinking water compared to diet soda.

 

Be sure to stay steady

Get rid of throw rugs and retire those high heels. Trip-and-falls are now the leading cause of fatal injuries among older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Put a little more light in your life

We all like sun down here. That’s probably a big reason we moved to the Sunshine State. But even in Florida, Seasonal Affective Disorder can strike. SAD, or the “winter blues,” affects about 1 in 10 Americans. The cure is simple enough: more natural light. Here’s where the SunSprite device (pictured) comes in handy. The gadget clips onto your clothing and can detect the level of broad-spectrum light hitting you. If you’re struggling with the winter blues, clip it on and it can let you know if you’ve achieved your daily dose of good light. A smartphone app can then track how much light you’re getting over a longer period of time. If anything, it’s a reminder to take lunch outside or go for a quick walk before dinner. Before you know it, you’ve beaten the winter blues.

 

Get fired up for the gym

We know the feeling. The alarm goes off early and you’ve got a choice—hit snooze or head to the gym. Getting motivated to work out can be a significant barrier to getting fit. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania may have found the ultimate way to get motivated: competition. Participants in their study went to almost double the classes if some sort of competitive element was introduced. If the atmosphere of the workout was more friendly or socially supportive, participants were actually inclined to work out less. So, embrace your competitive side. You may start to see better results.

 

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