#WOD2016

Nope, this isn’t a CrossFit post, WOD isn’t referring to the Workout of the Day, but instead an issue that deserves our attention – October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day(WOD).

The reason we have an annual WOD is to raise awareness and take early action to look after our bones and muscles.

Osteoporosis is thought of as being a disease of older people, however, often the risk factors are present earlier in life. It has been referred to as a silent disease and this is why knowing what the risk factors are can help us to be proactive.

Osteoporosis is more common in females and your risk also increases if you have a direct relative with an osteoporotic fracture.  There are also some conditions, medications and ways of eating that can affect bone density.  That said, there is a simple test that can be done to see if you are affected.

Again, its about knowing your risk factors and doing what you can to protect your health.

I’ve talked about this notion before – know your risk (in this case for Osteoporosis) and take appropriate action – knowledge is power!!

Even before you trip off to the GP, there are 5 steps you can take to healthy bones and to be free of fractures (except for accidents – we can’t stop those!)

As according to http://www.worldosteoporosisday.org this is the action you can take:

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The 5 steps to healthy bones and a fracture-free future:

1. Exercise regularly

Weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening and balance-training exercises are best.

2. Ensure a diet rich in bone-healthy nutrients

Calcium, vitamin D and protein are the most important for bone health. Safe exposure to sunshine will help you get enough vitamin D.

3. Avoid negative lifestyle habits

Maintain a healthy body weight, avoid smoking and excessive drinking.

4. Find out whether you have risk factors

and bring these to your doctor’s attention, especially if you’ve had a previous fracture or have specific diseases and medications that affect bone health.

5. Get tested and treated if needed

If you’re at high risk you will likely need medication to ensure optimal protection against fracture.

For more information on each of these steps click here.

 

Have you got risk factors? Talk to your doctor, ask for testing.

If you are over the age of 50 and you have one or more risk factors you should discuss these with your doctor and ask for an assessment of your bone health status. Lifestyle changes may be recommended and, for those at high risk, medication may be prescribed for optimal protection against fractures.

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So, on Thursday, for WOD – ask yourself many of the 5 steps you can ‘tick off’ and take on the responsibility to #loveyourbones !!

 

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Sleepy?

This morning when I was so rudely woken by my alarm, I seriously felt like I’d been asleep for like 10 minutes!  I hadn’t, I had almost 9 hours sleep, but it set me to thinking about how amazing sleep is!  I have always felt empathy for people who have trouble sleeping, however, never truly understood it!!!

Sleep is a human necessity and the benefits of sleep are truly astonishing!!  Who doesn’t love a good sleep??

Here is some facts I found for you in the ABC’s National Sleep Research Project (in bold)(These are from 2000 – its a little old now, but these facts are ones which won’t change with time.)

  • Seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%.  Being a nurse who has done some shiftwork in her time – I believe this to be true!)
  • Teenagers need as much sleep as small children (about 10 hrs) while those over 65 need the least of all (about six hours). For the average adult aged 25-55, eight hours is considered optimal.  If you have had the pleasure of spending time with an adolescent, you will know sleep is very high on their priority list, and here it is, backed by research!)
  • Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet. And further to this, backlit screens actually decrease a person’s melatonin secretion – which is the hormone that helps us sleep.
  • A new baby typically results in 400-750 hours lost sleep for parents in the first year (wow, I’ve not seen it laid out like that, any new parents out there, you are doing awesome, don’t stop reading, I promise to be the bearer of some tips too!)

And this is what I know about sleep:

Good quality sleep is good for weight loss! – Poor sleep has a slowing effect on metabolism, and we know our metabolism needs to be working well if we want to lose weight.

Lack of sleep has been used as a form of torture – prolonged periods of sleep deprivation mess with the entire body’s biological functions and therefore effect mental and physical health.

A sleep routine can actually help you sleep better.  Psst, sleep routines aren’t just for babies!!  Its not about timing how long you sleep for and sleeping for intervals and waking up, its about getting in the ‘sleep zone’ before you even go to bed.  Again, its about creating habits!

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Here are just a couple of things to try:

Try getting up at the same time each day – for people who are particularly fond of their sleep, this might be difficult to start with, but it helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm.  And when you wake up, get out of bed, so for you serial snoozers, its time to ‘disable’ the snooze function.

Avoiding caffeine after about lunchtime – for obvious reasons, being zinged up on stimulants before bed clearly has detrimental effects on your sleep pattern.

Exercise, especially in the afternoon – physically tiring, but also there is a link to body temperature and it being back to normal by the time bedtime comes around.

I’ve saved the best until last, though perhaps it will be the least popular of all…

Turn off your backlit screens at least one hour before you want to go to sleep.  As mentioned above, the melatonin secretion is affected by that light.  The ‘one last look’ at your social media for bed has got to be a thing of the past if you want to sleep better!

There you have it, Wellness Assist’s sleep tips in a nutshell, have a great, sleep-filled week!

 

Just do something

This week, I started explaining to someone about the vision I have for Wellness Assist.  I must admit, when I said it out loud, even I was impressed!  But it is one thing to say you are going to do something and then its a whole different thing to wake up each day and take action!!

In simple terms, taking action is just about starting from where you are!  Consistent action brings results!  The motto for Wellness Assist is ‘Sustainable.  Balanced.  Achieveable.’ Does that sound like I’m suggesting you to give up EVERY kind of chocolate biscuit you enjoy?  Or commit to an exercise class EVERY night?  Or that I really believe that you can get 10 hours sleep EVERY night?  In case there is any confusion, I would not ask you to do any of those things.  I wouldn’t expect that you would consistently do any of those things because for one, they certainly aren’t sustainable, balanced or achievable in the long term.

I would, however, believe that you would be capable of getting a distant car park when you go to the shops to do some incidental exercise, or consciously examining how many teaspoons of sugar you are eating each day or even that you might dedicate five minutes to a daily deep breathing and/or meditation exercise.  Could you do those things?  You are more than capable of achieving those things and I may have bought them to the table to give you some ideas.  In light of those facts, do you think  I would be surprised if you didn’t make them into your own habits???  Do you know, I wouldn’t?!  I wouldn’t be surprised, because they are MY suggestions and not YOUR intentions that YOU are emotionally connected to. Bam!!

‘ Just do something’ will only work if you are emotionally connected to the ‘something’.  When I say emotionally connected, I’m referring to how good you would feel if you actually added those actions to your repertoire. Or if it suits you better, how you will feel, say, come the end of the year, those intentions are still that, intentions and not actions?!

Start from where you are, be consistent and take action on the things you know will get you closer to your intentions!

Have a great week!