geralt / Pixabay

Surprise: You’re More Stressed At Home

When you think stress, almost everyone thinks work, but your body appears to behave otherwise. The levels of stress hormone cortisol are more apt to go up when you’re at home according to research appearing in the journal Social Science & Medicine. That’s right, the average cortisol levels of both men and women, single or married, childless or not, were lower at work.

How can this be? Work is the place where the phone won’t stop ringing, emails are jamming your inbox, there’s a schedule packed with meetings, unending responsibility with shrinking support… working is hard, there’s no doubt about it. When you’re at home there’s plenty of thankless, difficult tasks to do as well… housekeeping, yard work, meal preparation, cleaning, laundry, child care… being at home is not an easy road, despite what Hollywood and the media might have you believe.

The good news is that there are aspects of work that are good for us. And there are things we do at work that might work well at home too.

To conduct this most recent work on stress, researchers from Penn State University used subject-supplied samples of saliva to keep track of the cortisol levels of 122 healthy adults from a midsize northeastern city in the U.S. All were over 18 and reported working out of the home five days per week anywhere from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm. The subjects were taught how to swab the inside of a check for samples, and given a palm device that reminded them to do this, six times each day. At these times, they also reported their location, how stressed they felt and how happy they felt. The team looked at cortisol only, no other hormones were studied.

Surprisingly, even to the researchers, was the finding that stress levels were far higher while subjects were at home then they were at the office. Both men and women sowed this result, though women were more likely to report feeling happier at work, men felt happier at home. Occupation made no difference in work/home stress levels. Being married or single also didn’t affect the result, or even if a subject reported liking the job or not. This effect was even more obvious for low-income earners and those without kids.

What’s more, the only subjects who didn’t have lower levels of cortisol at work (levels stayed the same as at home) were those earning over $75,000 per year. This number might be higher in a city where the cost of living is higher.

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Surprise: You’re More Stressed At Home Continued…

Also, while both parents and adults without children were both less stressed at work, the difference was bigger for those without kids. This may be because most parents bring some home stress in to work with them. It also may be that the job of children helps relieve some of the natural stress of the home.

Even so, the participants in the study reported feeling more stressed on workdays than on days when they stayed at home.

We do know that there’s lots of research linking a steady job to higher rates of both physical and mental health. Our culture puts a very high value on tasks that are completed for professional or financial reasons, compared to the things you do at home, unseen and unpaid. The sense of satisfaction from taking part in tasks that are culturally valued may in part explain the drop in stress. Also we get better at a job over time – meaning less tress, more rewards.

When it comes to parenting, marriage, or the things we do at home, not many of us feel like an expert. Our efforts here go unnoticed, unpaid.

If you can manage it, a flexible work schedule is a big key to bringing down stress and enhancing your feelings of well-being. This works far more effectively than cutting off professional ties and staying home.

To your good health,

Snapographic / Pixabay

Obesity Linked To Light In The Bedrooms

Here’s an odd thought… could sleeping in a bedroom with too much light be the reason you’re gaining weight? Darkness may in fact be far more important than we had previously thought. A team from London’s Institute of Cancer Research found that women had larger waistlines if their bedrooms were light enough to see across during the night. Of course there isn’t enough evidence to suggest everyone get thicker shades or turn off the night lights, but it is an intriguing finding.

Light in the bedroom can come from clocks, cell phones, tables, even the light on the panel of the TV.

The work involved 113,000 female subjects who were taking part in the Breakthrough Generations Breast Cancer Study and were asked to rate the amount of light in their bedrooms during the night as light enough to read, light enough to see across the room but not read, light enough to see your hand, but not across the room, or too dark to see your hand or you routinely wear a sleeping mask. The answers were compared to different measures of obesity – body mass index (BMI), waste-to-hip ratio and waist circumference. All were all found to be higher in those subjects who reported having a lighter, brighter bedroom.

In this group there was an association between light exposure at night and being overweight or obese. The researchers ruled out other things that might influence sleep and weight such as a lack of exercise, having young children at home and the duration of your sleep. Still, despite the findings, there isn’t enough evidence to show that making your bedroom darker at night would make a difference in terms of the numbers on the scale in the morning. But this is a change that’s easily made.

Continues below…


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Fact: Poor Sleep Increases The Risk of Death/ Disease

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Obesity Linked To Light In The Bedrooms Continued…

One possible explanation for the findings on a light bedrooms and obesity is our own inborn body clock. Perhaps light in the bedroom at night is disrupting this natural system. This clock has been a part of us since the time when we were active during the ay and resting at night… it has remained working into our modern times. We also know that light changes mood, physical strength and the way we process food. Artificial light is known to disrupt the body clock by holding off the natural production of the hormone melatonin.

Interesting to think that the increase in exposure to artificial light at night has also come at the same time as jumps in obesity and diseases like diabetes. No one can say if this is a coincidence or that one causes the others. The possibilities are intriguing.

It’s quite likely that your own bedroom is lighter than you think. People are often not aware of just how bright this space has become. Tonight, look around and see what you might do to make your sleeping space darker, more restful. Pull down the shades to keep street lights from shining in, shut off cell phones, tablets and the like and choose alarm clocks or night lights with an eye for how bright they will seem in a dimly lit space.

The work appears in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

10 Unexpected Things Leading To Poor Immunity

You’re doing all you can to keep yourself healthy, and yet you still come down with a cold… fever or worse yet, the flu. There are things that aren’t all that obvious that might be impacting your immunity. So keep washing your hands, drinking all the orange juice you like, and avoiding close contact with anyone who is obviously sick, watch for these added immunity sappers.

You’re breathing polluted air: The smog in the air isn’t doing your lungs or your immune system any good. Research has shown that dirty air causes inflammation in the body and suppresses T cells, essential in terms of your immunity. Invest in an air purifier for your home or office so you can breath easy inside.

You’re sitting too much: If you have a desk job, you likely spend lots of time in the chair at your desk. This can slow down your metabolic rate, causing your body to naturally absorb immunity boosting nutrients at a slower rate than normal. Every hour and a half, get up and step out of doors for a five-minute break. The movement will activate your muscles, fire up your metabolism, and the fresh air will wake you up, make you feel more alert.

You’re using the wrong beauty products: Things like foundation, concealer and lipstick not only sit on your skin, they are absorbed into the body all day long. Some of these products have artificial ingredients that your immune system isn’t used to breaking down, so the bad stuff can readily slip past your internal defenses. Go all-natural with as many products as you can. The fewer ingredients a product lists, the safer it is for your body and immunity.

You’re eating too much white flour: The white flour in some baked goodies actually impairs the T cells and B cells, both key illness fighters in the body. Make sure the grains you’re eating are primarily whole grains, as they have lots of immunity building fiber.

You don’t make sleep a priority: If your body doesn’t produce enough melatonin naturally as you sleep, your immune system isn’t able to make the white blood cells it uses to fight off bacteria and keep your body in good repair. Try for seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and make getting that a priority, not a luxury.

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10 Unexpected Things Leading To Poor Immunity Continued…

You’re eating too much animal protein: Too much animal protein causes the body to naturally produce more of the IGI1 hormone, known to speed up the aging process and impact your immunity. Try to keep your intake of meat and dairy to 10% of your daily intake of calories. You might even consider cutting animal protein consumption even more, to about 5% of your daily intake, and you should see a difference.


Your diet doesn’t have enough good fat
: Healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats from fish, avocados and nuts do have anti-inflammatory properties that help improve your immunity. So avoid the processed foods, limit your intake of animal protein, but try and add foods such as salmon, sardines, almonds and kale.

You’re lonely: Lonely souls tend to be less resilient in terms of stress, which causes the immune system to struggle. If this is you, schedule some time with those you like, friends, co-workers, neighbors, members of groups of like-minded people. People who have more relationships in their lives also appear to have a greater resistance to infection.

You think you thrive on stress: People think they work well under pressure, but long term stress brings up cortisol levels, and this reduces levels of other hormones like testosterone and estrogen. When hormones are out of balance, your immune system can’t react to threats as quickly. Lean how to stress less, or find quick ways to relax.

You’re not doing yoga as part of your workout: This type of workout appears to have the most impact on Immunity as it stimulates the body’s circulatory, digestive, endocrine and nervous systems, and these all work together to make the immune system stronger. There are tons of tips out there for beginners so there’s no reason not to give yoga a try.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

Boost Sports Performance With Vision Training

There’s no denying sharp eyes are involved in sports… whether baseball or football, golf or another sport, good vision is key to doing well. Now many athletes are adding a new thing to their practice – vision training. This technique has been around for a while, but only recently has research suggested there might be something to it, you might be able to train yourself to see better without using glasses or having surgery.

Vision training has been able to help cadets pass pilot vision proficiency tests. Professional teams are experimenting with the idea and some players report the technique has made their vision sharper.

Earlier work on vision training has shown that it helps the performance of table tennis players, golfers and field hockey players. Still the sample sizes in these projects were small and variables not easy to manage. Athletes are notoriously hard to study or understand what motivates.

It’s easy to understand why vision training has been getting so much attention from psychophysicists, neurologists, optometrists and vision scientists, but in truth has little to do with improving eyesight. The technique is a form of perceptual learning that is more about improving the ability to process what you see. The idea being that if visual sensory neurons are activated a lot, they increase their ability to send electrical signals from cell to cell across the synapses.

If the neurons aren’t used, over time transmissions get weaker. Just like with your muscles, the sensory neurons need to be used, or they are lost. Training your vision doesn’t call for anything particularly difficult – focus one at a time on beads held at intervals on a length of string, one end held at the tip of your nose. This particular exercise improves convergence and the ability to focus both near and far away.

There are companies who make products that are thought to strengthen peripheral vision. It’s a game much like Whack-a-Mole, smacking at bulbs as they flash on and off, while keeping the gaze focused straight in front of you. The targets get progressively harder to pick out.

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Boost Sports Performance With Vision Training Continued…

There is research from a team of psychologists that appears in the journal Current Biology that shows baseball players from the University of California, Riverside were able to improve in reading of eye charts (and batting averages) by 30% after finishing over two dozen 25 minute sessions of vision training with a computer
program.

The players who didn’t get the training didn’t have the improvement.

Another study of University of Cincinnati baseball players showed impressive improvement in the batting average of players who took six weeks of different types of vision training. The team batting average rose 34 points from the previous year, a bigger improvement than on other NCAA teams. What’s more, errors went down by 15%, and fielding assists increased by 8%.

There’s also work appearing in a recent issue of JAMA Ophthalmology on stroke, glaucoma and brain injury patients whose vision has been vastly improved as a result of vision training. Computer based vision training improved glaucoma patient’s peripheral vision by an amazing 19%. Vision may be able to be improved with practice, not just in the optics of the eye, but in the central processing centers of the brain itself.

Just as physical training is today, may suspect vision training must be tailored to the person. A bit of discomfort is normal.

To your good health,

flickr-3829063385-medium

More Cancer Outcomes With Obesity

Now you have even more reason to lose weight, especially if you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer. Experts know that obese patients have a risk of getting several different types of cancer, but a new bit of research released in advance of the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting has found that being obese also ups the risk that cancer may come back for some people, and ups the chances these people will die from this disease.

We all know that smoking and cancer are linked, but fewer people think about the danger to the body of carrying all that extra weight. Yet in the last several decades, the number of overweight or obese people (including kids) has gone up drastically. Obesity may well, one day, replace tobacco as the leading cause for cancer deaths. Experts have already found obesity is associated with higher risk of cancers of the esophagus, breast, endometrium, colon and rectum, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder and perhaps others as well. As if cancer wasn’t enough, obese people are also at increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and a number of different chronic, life-altering diseases.

When it comes to weight and cancer, here’s what we know…

-High birth weight is linked to higher cancer risk.

-Gaining weight during adulthood is linked to a higher risk of several cancers.

-Gaining and losing repeatedly may also be a cancer risk factor.

The current project on obesity and cancer included 80,000 patients in 70 different trials on early breast cancer and body mass index (BMI) estrogen receptor, menopause status, cancer recurrence and the prognosis each patient was given. They compared those with high BMIs (over 30.0) with subjects who had a normal BMI (18.5 to 24.9) over a decade long period. The team saw that for younger, pre menopausal women who had early stage cancer of the breast, obesity appears to be strongly linked to poorer outcomes, up to and including death.

Those with BMIs over 30.0 had a 21.5% chance of dying, while women with average BMIs had a 16.6% chance of death. This only applies to those who had hormone receptor positive breast cancer; there was no effect of obesity in those who had the negative estrogen receptor form of disease.

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More Cancer Outcomes With Obesity Continued…

These findings support the current thinking of healthcare professionals – women need to maintain a healthy body weight following being diagnosed with breast cancer. Doctors may also want to more closely monitor obese women who are premenopausal, and encourage them to move toward a more healthy weight.

One reason obesity is such a problem is because it does cause inflammation all through the body. The inflammation may activate the aromatase gene, which is responsible for converting estrogen and this hormone is known to fuel cancer growth in the hormone receptor positive form of disease. Obese people also have more fat, hormone producing tissue and this can be involved in the growth of cancer.

There is a lot more to understand in terms of breast cancer and obesity. One thing to recognize right now is that carrying too much weight is not good for you. It keeps you couch bound, has you feeling awful and puts you at risk for serious diseases. Losing the weight is possible, but it won’t come quickly or easily – anyone who tells you differently is not being honest. That does not mean change isn’t possible and sustainable for you as it has been for others. Tap into the resources around you, including your own doctor or a dietitian.

To your good health,

Greyerbaby / Pixabay

Laughing Is Good For Your Health

Humor is infectious… in a good way. Shared laughter binds people, increasing feelings of both happiness and intimacy. Researchers think that laughter is truly good medicine as it lifts your mood, helping you feel better, more energized. It can ease pain and protect your from the damage of stress. What we don’t know is if it’s the act of laughing that makes the difference or is simply having a good sense of humor, a positive outlook and support of a network of friends and family that is responsible for the improvements in health.

Definitive research on the benefits of laughter hasn’t been done. We do know that nothing works faster to rebalance your body and that laughter is a powerful antidote to conflict and stress. The ability to laugh, freely, easily and often may well be an untapped resource for solving problems, enhancing relationships and doing all you can for your physical and emotional health.

Science has established that we undergo physiological changes when we are laughing. Muscles stretch all through the face and body, pulse rate and blood pressure increase and our breathing gets faster, which sends more oxygen to all the tissues of the body. Some people believe that the benefits of laughter equal that of a mild workout.

Here’s what science knows about how laughter affects the body…

-
Laughter keeps blood flow normal, so vessels expand and contract easily.

-
The ability to see humor might just raise levels of infection fighting antibodies;
boost amounts of immune cells.

-
Lower blood sugar levels are the result of laughter according to a small study
of those with diabetes.

-
Improved relaxation and better sleep come from watching things that make you
laugh, ten minutes has been shown to bring up to two hours of pain free rest.

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Laughing Is Good For Your Health Continued…

A pioneer in research on laughter, William Fry, found that it took ten minutes
on a rowing machine to get his heart rate to the same level it was after only
a single minute of hearty laughter. Laughter also seems to burn calories; studies
have found that 10 to 15 minutes of laughing burns 50 calories.

When it comes to researching laughter, most of the work on laughter and the body involved small groups and was not well conducted, with many researchers having a rather obvious bias. This is an area where it’s pretty tough to determine cause and effect. It’s hard to say if laughter is an agent of change, or simply a sign of what a person was like to start.

One potential benefit of laughter that is supported by science is its ability to ease pain. There are many projects that examined people in pain and found that laughing brought reports of pain not being as bothersome. It may just be the distraction that works, and not the laughter itself. Or, it may be that being with family and friends is the benefit, and having a strong connection to others rather than laughing is responsible for the positive effects.

Even though the research can’t show why, being with those we are close to, feeling happy and laughing delivers a real boost to mood. And that’s a quality of life boost we all deserve.

To your good health,

geralt / Pixabay

Study: Higher Risk Of dementia With Cynicism Linked

Negative thinking is really not very good for your health, not to mention your mental outlook or peace of mind, but it can be surprisingly easy to slip into and hard to shake. New research in the journal Neurology finds that cynical people have a greater chance of developing dementia. Cynicism is a deep mistrust of other people, and psychologists think of this as a kind of chronic anger that comes on over time. The type of cynicism examined as part of the study involved subjects doubting the truth of what people said, believing most of us are motivated by self interest rather than other, more positive drives.

Earlier work in this area has found that those who are cynical are more likely to die sooner and have poorer health than others, but no studies have specifically focused on dementia risk. There has been research that discovered those who are more open and upbeat have a lower risk of dementia, so the opposite is an area worthy of investigation.

The project involved 1,449 subjects of an average age of 71, who took a test for dementia and another to measure how cynical they were. Both were consider3ed reliable measures by experts. Those who agreed with cynical statements on the exam were considered to be highly cynical. Those with the highest level of cynical distrust had a 2.54 times higher risk of having dementia than those with the lower cynicism ratings. The team also examined the results to see if the participants who were highly cynical died earlier than others, but once compounding factors were removed they didn’t, even though earlier work has shown a link between cynicism and earlier death.

This research doesn’t prove that having a negative, cynical attitude toward life brings on bad outcomes to your health. This research wasn’t designed to do that. More work is needed to reproduce the conclusions found here, though the results do compliment a wide body of study that shows how over time, those with high levels of cynical hostility do worse in terms of health. They certainly are not happy people.

The link between an attitude and health outcome is very complex, though doctors will say that poor attitudes can lead patients down a road to poorer health. Author Dr. Hilary Tindle, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh was also the lead author on research that looked at the health outcomes of just over 97,000 women and saw that the cynical ones had a higher risk of cancer related death.

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Study: Higher Risk Of dementia With Cynicism Linked Continued…

Cynical people have also been shown to smoke more, workout less and be heavier overall. They have a harder time following medical advice because their cynical thought process refuses to let them believe what anyone tells them. Cynical souls also have greater stress responses, and this suggests a higher heart rate, higher blood pressure peak and a tendency to more inflammation in the immune system. Chronic inflammation is what experts tell us is harmful to your overall health and has been linked to conditions like Crohn’s disease, high cholesterol and even Alzheimer’s.

Previous studies have also shown t hat those who are cynical also have a higher risk of heart disease, cardiovascular issues and death related to cancer. Cardiovascular disease is a condition that can contribute to dementia by damaging the small blood vessels all over the body, and that includes your brain.

It’s always possible to change your cynical attitude… you are not doomed to stay this way, be plagued by damaging, negative thoughts. You can change, just like people do when they stop smoking, go on a diet, cut back drinking or cut out unhealthy relationships. People make changes for the better every day, you can too.

To your good health,

makunin / Pixabay

Living Alone Ups Risk Of Death From Skin Cancer

Here’s a tip on skin cancer for those who live alone. Our skin is, after all, one of the largest organs of the body, but one we don’t usually think about in terms of healthcare and diseases that put our very lives at risk. Research from the Karolinska Institutet on skin cancer is the first to show that there are differences in the prognosis of a particularly dangerous form of the disease (known technically as cutaneous malignant melanoma) depending on both your gender and living status.

That’s right, a single man, no matter his age, is more likely to die from this disease than is a man living with a partner. This form of skin cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers for white populations and is increasingly a health problem for younger people.

Doctors will tell you that there are three forms of skin cancer, melanoma being the hardest to treat. The other two, basal cell and squamous cell, are more common and can be effectively treated, often in the doctor’s office. You can cure melanoma of the skin if the tumor is surgically removed before the cancer has had chance to spread to other parts of the body. If your cutaneous malignant melanoma is caught early the long-term survival is over 90%. Advanced disease at the time of diagnosis makes the prognosis far more dire.

The latest study used data from the Swedish Melanoma Register, a nationwide, population based sample of those with cutaneous malignant melanoma diagnosis in Sweden during the years 1990 to 2007. The team looked at the risk of dying of melanoma for over 27,000 patients and any relationship to their living status at the time of diagnosis. During the study period 13,400 men were diagnosed and about 2,400 died. The statistical formula used adjusted for things that researchers know affect a prognosis like the characteristics of the tumor itself, gender, level of education and the part of the body where the tumor developed.

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Living Alone Ups Risk Of Death From Skin Cancer Continued…

Living alone for men was found to be significantly (from 30 to 50% in fact) linked
to a reduced survival that’s partially attributed to a more advanced stage of
disease at diagnosis. This applies to men of all ages, regardless of education
level or where they live. Older women living alone also have a more advanced
disease at time of diagnosis, but this group didn’t show any effect on prognosis.

Clearly we need more targeted interventions to detect this cancer earlier in men since this is key to surviving the disease. Skin exams during doctor visits or clinic checks are possible options. Of course, living on your own, it’s hard to do skin self checks, so it will be especially important for singles to get careful skin exams on a regular basis.

To check for melanoma, your doctor, or a dermatologist, will do a close, thorough exam of your skin surface, and perhaps a biopsy of any suspicious area. You may also have your lymph nodes checked to see if they are enlarged, including a sentinel lymph node biopsy. Imaging tests such as PET scans, CT scans or MRI scans may be ordered to see if cancer has spread to other areas of the body such as the lungs, liver or brain.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Exercise?

We’re always talking about how exercise is good for you… but can you get too much of a good thing? Some new research finds that moderate intensity activity is the best thing for those who have a pre existing heart condition. In fact, a
schedule of intense workouts appeared to boost the risk of death by heart attac
k or stroke in older folks who already had heart disease. Another research project found that young adult men who did a good deal of endurance exercises were also at a higher risk for heart rhythm issues later in life.

This does not mean that exercise is not good for you, or change any recommendations professionals make for staying healthy, with or without heart disease. Rather, the take home message is that too much intensity can be harmful for some people.

One of the projects to examine the intensity of exercise and heart disease was led by Dr. Ute Mons who is from the German Cancer Research Center. The work included over 1,000 subjects, most in their 60s, who had stable heart disease and were followed for a decade. Almost 40% did a workout from two to four times a week, 30% exercised more often, 30% less often.

Compared to those who did regular workouts, the most inactive subjects were about two times as likely to have a heart attack/stroke, and four times as likely to die of heart disease and all causes. However, those who did the most strenuous daily workouts were also two times more likely to die from a heart attack when compared to those who exercised at a more moderate level. Inactivity and too much intensity appear to be equally bad for your body.

The other study, led by Dr. Nikola Drca of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, examined healthy men and past workouts. The project included over 44,000 Swedish men who were aged 45 to 79 years old. All were asked about their activity levels at different ages, and their heart health was tracked for an average of 12 years.

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Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Exercise? Continued…

Those who had exercised intensely for more than five hours a week when they were
younger were 19% more likely to have been diagnosed with a heart rhythm disorder
(known as atrial fibrillation) by age 60 than those who exercised for less than
an hour a week.

The risk rose to 49% among those who worked out even longer than five hours a week at age 30, but did less than an hour by the time they reached 60. Those who cycled or walked at a brisk pace for an hour or more a day at 60 years old were 13% less likely to be diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

Of course it’s not standard practice anywhere to advice strenuous activity for those who have heart disease. Moderate physical activity is best for coronary patients, with your own doctor’s okay. Sitting around is not good for you, there’s actually a large amount of research that shows a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease, so being more active is something you must do to reduce your risk.

The current American Heart Association guidelines call for 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity most days of the week, or 20 minutes of vigorous activity three times a week. Work on attaining these goals first.

To your good health,

bohed / Pixabay

7 Things To Know To Control Your Sense Of Taste

It’s no secret that our taste buds have a whole lot to do with our preferences for some foods over others. But there are still some surprises in just how deeply those preferences are tied to the very natural survival instincts of the body. Yes, even in our modern world, survival instincts remain very strong, and as it turns out, still rather active.

1. You can’t see your taste buds
, those bumps on your tongue when you say “ahh” are called fungiform papillae and each of those has six taste buds buried under the surface. Special receptors in the taste bud themselves allow us to tell the difference between sweet, salty, sour and bitter, as well as a potential fifth taste known as umami (savory), by sending a message to the brain. What’s more, there are taste buds on the roof of the mouth, the throat and even in the stomach.

2. Not everyone has the same number of taste buds
, on average an adult has from 2,000 to 10,000 taste buds. Anyone with more than 10,000 is considered a supertasters since these folks do taste things more intensely than the rest of us. A sensitivity to the bitter taste is likely why they don’t like veggies all that much. These people may also find some desserts to be too much in terms of sugar taste.

3. Taste and flavor are two different things
. Taste is the thing your taste buds react to, flavor is a combination of taste and smell, and something known as retronasal olfaction, or how your brain registers when you eat something. The scent message combines with taste to give you flavor.

4. Our taste buds keep us alive. These natural body structures tell your brain if it should swallow what’s in your mouth. Infants are born loving the sweet, hating bitter because natural sugar is the best brain fuel there is. Bitter is the cue for something poison. The taste system came into being to protect a baby who doesn’t know what is good and bad for itself yet. Sodium, essential for keeping our nerves and muscles working, might be the reason for craving salty snacks.

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7 Things To Know To Control Your Sense Of Taste Continued…

5. Flavor preferences aren’t set for life. You can train your taste buds to like
different things. While we learn what foods are good by watching parents and
friends, the palate can be expanded – try pairing a veggie with cheese for instance,
or roasting to pull out the natural sugars. Eat with someone who really enjoys
a new food, or someone who you admire, and this helps you expand your taste range
even more.

6. Taste can fluctuate with hormones; just ask any pregnant woman about the changes in taste that come with pregnancy. Often she can’t eat veggies in the early months, likely in response to an age old reminder that bitter taste and poison are linked, and the brain is sensitized to this in an effort to protect the baby. Pregnant women also tend to crave foods that are high-energy sources, something very much in demand during pregnancy.

7. Taste buds constantly regenerate
. Our taste buds go through a life cycle, anywhere from 10 to 14 days. Burning your tongue on hot things can kill taste buds, but they do grow right back. Though our taste remains robust as we get older, the ability to distinguish bitter taste does go down in women as they go through menopause. This may be due to certain receptors in the brain no longer working once the childbearing years are over.

To your good health,