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Posts Tagged ‘activity’

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the United States (about 1 in 4 deaths). In this blog we have shared how dietary choices, including adding more plant foods reduces the risk of heart disease. Increasing physical activity is another important way to strengthen our hearts and bodies. Researchers are always learning more about heart health and ways to reduce the risk of disease. Here are some recent updates and recommendations.

Add some steps.  A 2020 study supports the evidence that increasing your daily step count reduces the risk of mortality of all causes. That’s right, all causes. The intensity of these steps did not have a significant difference on the overall reduction of risk. The takeaway? Make it a goal to take 8,000 steps each day, for your heart and your overall health. Movement does not have to make you sweat buckets to have a positive, long-term impact on health.

Schedule your flu shot. Did you know getting a flu shot can help to protect your heart? It is true! The flu can cause stress or damage to our heart and other organs. In a study of over 80,000 U.S. patients hospitalized with the flu, more than 1 in 10 had an acute cardiac event before discharge. An acute cardiac event could be acute heart failure, a heart attack, or a hypertensive crisis. Almost a third of those patients then required intensive care.

Image of a blooming tea flower in a clear mug on a wooden table.

Make time for tea. Studies have shown that adding tea to a heart-healthy diet can have many benefits. Some benefits may include:

  • improved brain function
  • protection against some cancers
  • better weight maintenance
  • increased HDL or “good” cholesterol
  • decreased LDL or “bad” cholesterol
  • better smelling breath

Adding sweeteners like sugar and honey can counteract the benefits that come from drinking tea. Tea contains tannins and drinking too much can lead to poor iron absorption. Tea also contains caffeine, which can cause anxiety or trouble sleeping. Most healthy individuals can safely consume 3-4 cups of tea each day. Check with a healthcare professional before starting a new diet or exercise routine.

When taking care of our heart, small changes can make a big difference. Check back to this blog often for new research findings. If you are interested in learning more about heart health join our Strong @ Heart email challenge that starts February 1! Sign up here: go.osu.edu/LHLWopen


Written by: Courtney Woelfl, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Cuyahoga County, woelfl.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

References: https://www.heart.org/en/around-the-aha/aha-names-top-heart-disease-and-stroke-research-advances-of-2020

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“Want to come out and play?” This simple question was the catalyst for many grand adventures as a child. Whether we explored in a park or played a game of tag in the back yard, we had fun!

a tire swing

As an adult, do you ever wish someone would ask, “Do you want to come out and play?” If so, maybe it is time to take a break from your normal routine and “Go Play”.

What is play? By definition, play means “engaging in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.”

“My take is that any activity can be play or not play. The secret sauce is playfulness.” — Ben Mardell, researcher and educator

Do you need motivation to make time for play? Consider these important aspects of play:

  • Play is freedom. True play is not a duty but the desire to engage in the activity.
  • Play is the means, not the end. Play is about the process, not the result. Play means engaging in an activity for the joy of the activity.
  • Play is present-focused, not future goal-oriented. To actively engage in play, you must be in the current moment with a creative, active, and focused mindset.
  • Engaging in play keeps our minds sharp and memories as strong as we age.
  • Children do as we do, not necessarily as we say. This is an added reason to make time for play. Be an example to the children in your life.

If you need some fun ideas, you can: 

a dog playing fetch in the snow
  • Play fetch with a dog
  • Color a picture
  • Play charades
  • Blow bubbles
  • Play board or card games
  • Dance like no one is watching!
  • Explore a new street. This may sound like a strange suggestion, but consider the experience below:

I signed off work and headed out to explore a new street about 15 minutes away by foot, and I’m glad I did! The sun and the breeze welcomed me right away. I felt my body move effortlessly as I took in all the sights that I can’t check out when I’m driving. Plenty of flowers were blooming and fall decorations were beautifully placed on doors and on lawns. I found a fairy garden with toadstools for chairs and seashells marking a garden path. The shells instantly took me to Cape Cod for a restful mental break I hadn’t expected. I saw neighbors chatting on every street and many waved to me – it boosted my spirits to see such camaraderie! It felt like I was in a Disney movie! I came home refreshed and content.

If you desire an experience like this, I encourage you to find a friend, partner, or child and ask the question we all love to hear, no matter our age: “Want to come out and play?”

Written by Melissa Rupp, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fulton County

Reviewed by Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Sources:

Elkind, D. (2008). Can we Play? Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/can_we_play

Gray, P. (2008). The Value of Play. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/200811/the-value-play-i-the-definition-play-gives-insights

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depression

Depression is different for everyone.  Managing depression is challenging.  Often going to work, socializing with family and friends, or getting out of bed may feel like a struggle.  Here are some strategies to manage depression and live your best life:

  • Develop a Strong Support Groupsupport system
    • One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to create a strong social support. Stronger ties with family and friends are important.  Join a support group – online or join a group that meets in your area.
  • Reduce Stressstressed
    • When we are stressed, the body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is effective short-term as it helps to cope with what may be causing the stress in your life.   Long-term cortisol may result in elevated cortisol levels, which is linked to depression.  Keeping stress levels low will reduce cortisol levels and reduce your risk of depression.  Use stress-reducing techniques to overcome stress.
  • Improve Sleepsleep
    • Lack of sleep affects our moods. Recent studies find people with major depressive disorders experience sleep disturbances.  Often many find they cannot fall asleep and struggle to get out of bed in the morning.  Take charge of your sleep by avoiding caffeine at night, turning off electronics one hour before going to bed and if you read in bed use a dim light.
  • Eat wellmyplatedep
    • Choose good nutrition and take care of yourself. Improving your diet will be key to reducing your symptoms.   There is a link between essential nutrients that affect depression.  Zinc deficiency has shown in studies to increase symptoms of depression.  Good sources of zinc include meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts, dairy, eggs, whole grains and dark chocolate.
  • Stop Procrastinationproc
    • Set goals and deadlines to manage your time well. Establish short-term goals and be diligent to achieve the most important items first.
  • Try Something Newnew
    • A new hobby, exercise or meeting a friend for lunch will have an impact on your symptoms. Read the local newspaper in your area to see what is happening around you and join in the activity.
  • Be Kindbekind
    • Simple kindness is powerful. Hold a door open for someone, let someone cut in front of you in traffic or return the cart to the store are all ways to show kindness.
  • Tackle Your Daily Choreschore
    • Take control of your daily chores. Start small and work on one project.  Moving around and seeing your progress is uplifting.
  • Create a Wellness Toolkittoolbox
    • A wellness toolkit is a set of tools to use when you are feeling blue. Create your toolkit with things you like to do and is inspiring.  Listening to your favorite music, talk a walk with your dog, take a warm bath, read a good book or call a friend are a few ideas.

Take time for yourself daily.  Each day dedicate energy towards your appearance.  There is value to the theory, “when you look good, you feel good.”  Treat yourself well.

This year we are creating a Live Well series.  Join us each month, as we discuss Living Well.

Written by:   Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County. stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County.  lobb.3@osu.edu

Resources:

https://medlineplus.gov/depression.html

https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/depression

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9290-depression

https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/natural-treatments#1

 

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