Burn Calories with Common Holiday Activities

This holiday season, as your social calendar fills up and you find less spare time to fit in a workout, look for ways to burn extra calories in many of the activities you already plan to partake in. Use these non-traditional activities to help burn off the extra calories consumed in some of your favorite seasonal snacks. 

Hanging Lights: Turn this holiday activity into a low-impact workout by focusing on using your core to stabilize you, isolating different muscles and working on your balance.

Amount burned in 1 hour of stringing lights: About 200 calories 

Ice Skating: Take your friends and family over to the local ice rink for a fun filled winter treat. Your laps around the rink are a great way to burn a substantial amount of calories.

Amount burned in 1 hour of ice skating: About 534 calories 

Shopping: To give is to receive. In buying presents and lugging shopping bags around the local mall, you’ll burn calories and strengthen your arm muscles. So remember, the heavier the bag the better the workout.

Amount burned in 1 hour of shopping: About 274 calories 

Stacking Firewood: Stock up on firewood to have on-hand for a cold winter night. Lifting and piling can burn a few calories and make snuggling up with a warm hot cocoa near the fire even more rewarding.

Amount burned in 1 hour of ice skating: About 190 calories

Do you have any calorie-burning holiday activities? Leave them in the box below and spread some holiday cheer!

Source: Robard Corporation


Healthcare Providers Should Aggressively Treat Unhealthy Lifestyles

In a statement made by the American Heart Association (AHA) earlier this month, healthcare providers should treat unhealthy behaviors as aggressively as they treat high blood pressure, cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors. Behaviors such as smoking, unhealthy body weight, poor diet quality, and lack of physical activity can all lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. The AHA believes that an increased focus from providers can help improve these unhealthy behaviors that people may have, and be able to steer them towards a healthier lifestyle.

This change could mean a more comprehensive evaluation of someone’s health, urging physicians to use the “Five A’s” when caring for patients, which are:

  • Assess a patient’s risk behaviors for heart disease.
  • Advise change, such as weight loss or exercise.
  • Agree on an action plan.
  • Assist with treatment.
  • Arrange for follow-up care. 

This is all part of the AHA’s “2020 impact goals” which are to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. 

What impact do you think this could have? Do you feel that your healthcare provider evaluates your behaviors enough, or should they be doing more? Let us know in the comment box below. 

Source: American Heart Association


Spotlight on: Calcium

Best known as the bone builder, not only does calcium help prevent osteoporosis – a bone-weakening disease that afflicts eight million women in the United States – it is used by every cell and tissue in the body. For example, it helps muscles contract, including those you use consciously (like your biceps) and those you use unconsciously (like your heart). 

Recent studies show that consuming calcium can help both your heart and your waistline. A University of Tennessee study found that people who get their recommended daily allowance of calcium through dairy products burned fat faster than those who didn’t, and a study at the Harvard School of Public Health found a lower risk of hypertension in adult women who consumed the recommended amount of calcium daily. 

The average woman over the age of 20 only gets about 858 milligrams a day, which is far less than the 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams recommended daily. It is also important to note that as you age your body becomes less adept at absorbing calcium, so once you reach age 51 or hit menopause, you should aim for a minimum of 1,200 milligrams. 

Where can you get it from? A cup of nonfat milk has 302 milligrams and a low-fat yogurt has anywhere between 245 and 415 milligrams, but if you don’t eat a lot of dairy products, you can get your calcium from other foods too, including: sardines, cooked kale, raw broccoli, fortified juices and cereals, and many soy products.



Pay Attention: Mindful Eating Habits

Let’s face it; we live in a society of rushing, multitasking, and trying to squeeze more and more into our schedules. Do you ever find yourself eating a meal in the car, in front of the TV, or at your desk? Right after your done eating, do you still feel hungry? Do you remember what you ate? Mindless munching can be part of your daily routine and you may not even know it. 

Paying attention to how you eat is just as important as paying attention to what you eat. Certain messages such as sensation of taste and satisfaction occur during eating, but when mindless eating is takes place; your brain may not receive these messages. As a result, your brain sends additional signals of hunger out, which can lead to health problems such as digestive distress, overeating and obesity. 

Mindful eating means eating with awareness or awareness of the experience of eating. You can achieve this by paying close attention to what you’re eating and stopping when you’re full. 

Take a moment and enjoy your food. For dinner, try Vegetarian Sloppy Joe or Fettuccine Alfredo, and since they are easy to make, use the extra time to sit down and enjoy your meal. The appropriate portion size will help you decide when to stop. If you are really in a hurry, don’t put just anything in your mouth; take something nutritious with you. Grab a Crisp n’ Crunch Cinnamon or Fudge Graham nutrition bar; they have enough nutrients to replace a meal and, since they’re ready to eat, they are the perfect grab and go treat.



Tricks to Boosting Your Immune System

Carrying extra weight can impair your immune system and make it harder for your body to fight off infections. Keep these tricks in mind to weather the season change and boost your immune system. 

Get regular exercise: Getting your heart rate up for just 20 minutes three times a week can help increase immune function, improve your sense of well being and sleep quality. If the cold weather is stopping you from an outdoor jaunt, take a trip to the local mall (sans shopping) to walk the concourse. 

Eat brightly color fruits and veggies: Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc—found in many bright colored fruits and vegetables—can help neutralize free radicals so they can’t damage cells. 

Get adequate sleep: You’re more likely to catch a cold or other infection when you’re not getting enough sleep, so make sure you’re getting enough—usually 7 to 9 hours for an adult. 

Get connected: Studies show that people who have strong social networks and feel connected to friends have stronger immunity than those who feel alone. Nurture your relationships, make new ones, and re-connect with friends you haven’t seen in a while to boost your mind, body, and spirit. 

Have a knee-slapping good time: Laughing—or anticipating a funny event—can decrease levels of stress hormones and increase white blood cells that fight infection. So get together with friends and family and have a great time!



Make Healthy Habits and Keep Them!

Have you made being active a habit? If not – it’s time to! When something becomes a habit, it can be hard to change (which is what makes turning unhealthy habits in healthy ones so hard). But, starting new, healthy habits takes time, patience, practice, and about three months of repetition, according to experts.  

During this time, and even after, slip ups are inevitable. Instead of feeling guilty or angry, work to overcome the barriers and get back on track. One way to do this is to plan for them in advance. Sit down and come up with a list of possible barriers – and solutions to these barriers – so that if they happen, you’re prepared. For example: 

Barrier: I might be too busy.

Solution: My back-up plan will be to break up my normal routine into two shorter periods of activity that I can do throughout the day.

Barrier: I might get bored.

Solution: I’ll continuously change the playlist on my mp3 player to keep it fresh; I’ll enlist a friend or neighbor to join me in my activity. 

Barrier: It might rain.

Solution: I’ll buy a good rain jacket; I’ll use a DVD or exercise equipment in front of my TV when the weather is bad. 

If you encounter a situation that isn't on your list of barriers – stay calm, think out the problem, and come up with a solution, or leave a comment in the box below to see if someone has any suggestions. And remember, you can always turn to a friend, family member, or your counselor for help.



3 Tips to Labor Day Eating

Labor Day is considered by many to be the end of the summer and is marked with one last get-together with friends and family before it’s back-to-school and the Autumn grind catches up to us. Most of these gatherings will be barbeques, where the tables are filled to the brim with food.

As a dieter, navigating through the food could be difficult, but here are some ways to keep your diet in mind while enjoying the holiday.

Be a snacker: Some do not like to eat before going to a barbeque so that they can maximize the amount of food they are able to eat once they get there. However, this can lead to overeating during your next meal. Before you go, eat a nutritious snack (think high protein snack for satiety) before you go.

Pile on the produce: Even if you have a burger or a hot dog, try using vegetables like zucchini, cucumbers, or sautéed mushrooms as toppings. And for dessert, instead of the cake or water ice, grab a fruit bar or a fruit pop. You will be adding flavor to your meal without the unneeded calories.

Watch what you drink: Drinks like soda and beer are popular, but unfortunately they add a lot of calories to your meal. Instead, replace these drinks with water, especially if you are outside all day in the heat and need something to be properly hydrated.

Keep portion size in mind: Don’t fill your plates with high-calorie pasta and potato salads, sides, and more. Make sure half your plate is of the fruit and vegetable variety!

Don’t be afraid to bring a healthy dish of your own, at the very least you are providing a healthy alternative for not only yourself but to your friends and family as well. If you have a dish in mind or other healthy Labor Day tips, leave a comment in the box below. 


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    Weight loss, nutrition, diet, exercise, education, support, maintenance. Whether you're a professional looking for information about Robard's weight management programs and products or a dieter looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, read on for interesting, informational, and entertaining entries to meet your weight management needs.

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