Exercise Helps to Balance Cholesterol
Many factors influence cholesterol levels including diet, family
history, body weight, and even hormones. But when people start an
exercise program, good HDL cholesterol levels begin to rise within a few
Exercise also has another big benefit. It changes the makeup of the
cholesterol particles themselves, making them less dangerous to the
heart. It's good news to hear that exercise can create these positive
changes regardless of diet and body weight, according to a study
published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers found that it was the amount of exercise that brought
about these changes. Many people think they have to exercise vigorously,
but that was not found to be the case. The length of time spent in
exercising was more important.
The fact that these benefits came from
exercise alone is significant. They were not from weight loss as some
other studies assumed. That means that exercise decreases cholesterol
problems even in people who are overweight.
When you know you'll be lunching at work, remember that your tasty,
healthful carry-in begins at the grocery store. Just taking whatever
happens to be in fridge doesn't cut it.
Plan to eat well by including sandwiches and vegetables with fruit
If you feel a mid-afternoon slump coming on, get a glass
of water. Dehydration creates a low-energy feeling. Walk around to get
your blood pumping, or eat popcorn, almonds, or fruit. Coffee and sweets
give an energy boost but can result in an energy crash shortly
Large outbreaks of whooping cough have prompted the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention to call for all adults to get the Adacel
Booster shot. It protects against whooping cough, diphtheria, and
tetanus. The shots people got as babies may no longer be effective.
Adults who catch the highly contagious cough usually get a mild but
long-lasting infection, which explains the disease's nickname, the
100-day cough. Getting the booster is especially important for adults
who are around children.
Meditation improves memory
Everyone knows that meditation can reduce stress. But researchers at
Massachusetts General Hospital say it directly affects the function and
structure of the brain. It increases attention span, sharpens focus, and
With the aid of advanced brain scanning technology, one study shows
that daily meditation thickens the parts of the brain's cerebral cortex
responsible for decision making, attention, and memory.
The test subjects were Boston-area workers practicing Western-style
meditation, called mindfulness or insight meditation. For 40 minutes a
day, they focused on an image, or a sound, or on their own breathing.
The Insight Meditation Society recommends just sitting in a chair.
Close your eyes and follow your breath. Feel the rise and fall of
your chest or abdomen. If your mind wanders, it's OK. Watch what happens
when your mind wanders. Notice it, observe it, then let it go and go
back to breathing. Be aware of what you're thinking without being caught
up in it.
With practice, you can develop a state called mindfulness, which is
being aware of what's going on as it arises without jumping to
conclusions, judgments, hopes, fears, or plans.
A growing number of corporations, including Deutsche Bank, Google,
and Hughes Aircraft offer meditation classes to their workers. Making
people think better is one benefit, but meditation also improved
productivity and reduced absenteeism, probably because it prevented
Meditation seems to help regulate emotions, which helps people get
along better. It acts on emotional intelligence, which neuroscientists
at the University of Wisconsin say is more important for life success
than cognitive intelligence.
To learn more, read Insight Meditation (Sounds True) by Sharon
Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein.