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Have you heard about “life hacks”? These shortcuts or tips can help make life easier.  I started thinking about “health hacks” – things we could do to improve our health.  Many of these suggestions may be routine for you but look through them and see if you can find a new “health hack” to try.

  • Drink Water instead of a Beverage with Calories. Are you interested in seeing the savings in calories? Visit this CDC site for calorie comparisons. Water is refreshing and calorie free. If you want to jazz it up, add lemon, lime, strawberries, peaches or mint. For tasty combos, check out this blog featuring infused waters. Start slow and substitute water for a soda (diet or regular).
  • Get your Blood Pressure Checked. Uncontrolled blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. You may have high blood pressure and not have any symptoms – so check it to see. Many pharmacies and stores have blood pressure monitors available. Get yours checked and talk to your health professional if you have any concerns about your blood pressure.
  • Find a Healthy Weight. Do you know the weight that is right for you? Click on this link to find out. Most of us know when we are a little over our best weight. Are your clothes tight or too loose? Do you want a free tool that will help you manage your weight? Check out SuperTracker – it can help you plan, analyze and track your nutrition and physical activity. You can join a challenge; receive virtual coaching, and motivation. SuperTracker is part of MyPlate which contains many resources
  • Farmers Market. Visit your local market and pick up vegetables or fruits. Not sure how to find a market near you? Visit this USDA website to find one near you. Eating locally grown food is a great way to get in vegetables and fruits. This past week I purchased two kinds of berries, summer squash, zucchini and beets. Try something new and support a farmer from your area.
  • Move More. If your health care provider could tell you one “health hack” to do, I bet it would be to increase your physical activity. Think about these benefits: weight management, blood pressure management, and blood sugar control. Need more motivation to move?
  • Let’s add these benefits of Physical Activity:
    • Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
    • Reduce your risk of Cardiovascular Disease
    • Reduce your risk of some Cancers
    • Strengthen your Bones and Muscles
    • Improve your Mental Health and Mood
    • Improve your ability to do Daily Activities and Prevent Falls

Do you have a favorite “Health Hack”? Share it with me through the comment section.

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

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Why do you listen to music? Take a moment to think about where you are at, what you are doing or how you are feeling when you choose to play music.
People listen to music:
• for a boost and to relieve stress
• to keep them awake during a long car journey
• to help them relax or fall asleep
• to soothe their baby
• to dance with their children or family
• to break up the work day
• to run faster
• to deal with a break up
• to influence their creativity

While we know music helps us daily to accomplish tasks, change our moods, deal with problems, relax, exercise and even celebrate – it can also be a therapy.

Music and rhythmic sounds have been used as healing powers for centuries throughout the world. It is only recently that modern physicians have rediscovered how music can help emotional and physical health and wellness through music therapy. Through music’s rhythm, order and predictability, it can help people express themselves and improve speech, walk, and move better, and improve memory. Music therapy can also help relieve pain, anxiety and long term illnesses (cancer, stroke, heart disease, respiratory conditions) or help with a progressive disease such as Parkinson’s.

Research has also shown that:

  • Music helps the brain produce a calming substance and slow down your body when it’s overactive.
  • Listening to music can have a real effect on various parts of the brain such as memory and vision.
  • Music really can change our mood and even help us concentrate.
  • While listening to music, patients’ blood pressures and heart rates became more stable.
  • Listening to pleasurable music is good for your heart because it can produce ‘musical chills’ which trigger the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine.

Even though the science of music therapy is still in the early stages it has shown to have a significant positive impact on our health and well being.

Ah, the healing power of music – that’s music to my health – and your health too!

Graceland gate

Writer: Candace J. Heer, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Morrow County, Heart of Ohio EERA, heer.7@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/balance/rm-quiz-health-benefits-music

http://www.webmd.com/balance/music-therapy

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/cancer-and-music/bgp-20056417

http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/health-benefits-of-music.htm

Photo credits:

Stocking around – http:///www.freeimages.com/photo/522119

graceland memphis tennessee gates musical notes –

http://pixabay.com/en/graceland-memphis-tennessee-gates-395039

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