You Can Stop Smoking

Here’s how.

It started with a single cigarette 10, 20, 30 years ago. What began as an innocent gesture, a way to fit in, has turned into decades of addiction. Now you’ve tried every quit trick in the book without any success. But don’t give up. You’re about to make a change that will give your lungs a breath of fresh air and your life a boost of energy you never knew was possible. That’s right – you’re going to quit.

Why Now?

Ask anyone who quit smoking how they made the change, and you’ll hear the same thing: “I was ready.” If you’re finally willing and ready to kick the habit, you will be able to do it, even though it seems impossible. However, if you’re still unsure about quitting or are only going to try because a family member or friend keeps prodding you to give up cigarettes, you should probably know that you’re going to fail. Yes, it is vitally important to have the support of loved ones when attempting to stop, but if your heart isn’t in it, your attempt will not be successful.

So before you decide to quit smoking, ask yourself whether you actually want to quit or you’re just going to give it another shot. There will be hard times of temptation and a seeming incapacity to avoid the next drag, so you have to be mentally prepared for the challenges. Once you’re sure you want to quit, keep reading to find out how to make it happen.

How Now?

As mentioned before, having a good support system while you are quitting is essential. Once you’ve got that in place, it’s time to get down to work. The first step is easy. You have to determine how you want to quit. The second step isn’t so easy. You have to follow through with your chosen path. Here are a few ways available to help you quit smoking.

Cold Turkey – Loved by those who find success and hated by those who don’t, quitting cold turkey requires a smoker to put down a cigarette one day and never pick another one up again. Many who quit cold turkey pick up another habit to feed their need for putting things in their mouths. (Example: eating Tootsie Rolls, carrots, or other long, thin foods.)

The Patch – After a strong introduction to the general public and decent results, nicotine patches have proven their value to those truly dedicated to stopping their cigarette habit. However, as the patch gives a dose of nicotine to the patch wearer, it actually feeds the nicotine craving, causing some to become addicted to the patch as a result.

Alternative Therapies – For smokers looking for a novel way to move beyond smoking, there are now a number of alternative therapies available. From acupuncture and aromatherapy to meditation and even hypnosis, there is a therapy available to meet every smoker’s specific needs and wants.

Medication – Thanks to ongoing research, physicians can offer multiple medications to help you stop smoking. Regardless of which medication is chosen, the best results are found when the medication taker remains in close contact and counsel with health professionals who understand what it takes to stop smoking for good.

So Much Better

When you make the choice to stop smoking, your body begins to recover almost immediately. In a few years, it’s almost as if you never smoked at all. Here is a quick rundown of how kicking the habit will benefit your body.

20 minutes later, your heart rate drops.
12 hours later, your body’s carbon monoxide levels become normal.
2 weeks to 3 months later, your risk of a heart attack drops and your lungs begin working better.
1 to 9 months later, your lungs begin functioning better, your risk of lung infection decreases, and you don’t cough or suffer from shortness of breath as often.
1 year later, your risk of suffering heart disease drops to 50 percent of a smoker’s.
5 years later, you have the same likelihood of suffering a stroke as someone who never smoked.
10 years later, your risk for a variety of cancers decreases, and your risk of dying from lung cancer is 50 percent the risk of a smoker.

 

Introducing the New CPR

Think your CPR training from 1985 is going to do the trick? Don’t bet on it.

Unlike many things in the medical world, CPR (short for cardiopulmonary resuscitation) has been fairly consistent over the years. Sure, the number of chest compressions or breaths may have changed here and there, and the dummies used to practice are looking a lot better, but overall, the procedure has stayed the same.

Until now. Recent research has shown that you may have been doing it all wrong all along. Well…not exactly wrong. But there’s always room for improvement—right? So what is the newest and best way to do CPR?

Life-Saving Changes

After 50 years of evaluating and re-evaluating how CPR is performed, the American Heart Association determined it was time for a change. Actually, they decided it was time for a few changes. Having carefully reviewed the statistics and research, researchers realized that with a few minor modifications, CPR could be performed with greater efficiency, less hesitation on the part of the CPR administer, and more benefit for the recipient of CPR.

Here are the suggestions that are changing the face of CPR.

  • Instead of compressing (pushing) the victim’s chest approximately 100 times per minute, you should now have 100 compressions as a minimum goal. In other words, if you can push out more than 100 compressions within a minute, go for it.
  • Whereas you used to be advised to push between 1.5 and 2 inches into the victim’s chest during compressions, you ought to go a little deeper. Aim for a minimum of 2 inches (5 centimeters) with each compression for adults and children and about 1.5 inches (or 4 centimeters) for infants.
  • Big, overpowering breaths are not going to improve your likelihood of reviving someone who has lost consciousness. You’ll still want to provide full breaths. Just don’t overdo it.
  • No matter what is going on around you, stay focused throughout the process—especially when compressing the individual’s chest. This will ensure there are no interruptions during chest compressions. You should also pay careful attention that the chest is allowed to return to its original position before starting another compression.
  • Previously, CPR began with opening the airway of the victim and breathing into his or her mouth. Well, that’s changed also. Now, you should start CPR with chest compressions. After your initial 30 compressions, open the airway and breathe two breaths into the victim’s mouth.

Good Things Never Change

While there are many changes to the recommended CPR technique, some things are staying the same. For instance, it’s still recommended that you give two breaths for every 30 chest compressions.

Additionally, it is still recognized that it’s better to do something than nothing. Therefore, even if you can’t remember everything about the new recommendations for performing CPR, your efforts can still make a difference.

Because many people’s lives have been saved through improper CPR technique—and none of the survivors complained.

Forget the Mouth

Not trained in CPR? Afraid of pressing your mouth against a stranger and don’t have a protective barrier? Listen up! You don’t have to stand around wondering what to do when a life-or-death situation is at hand. In fact, even if you’ve never had CPR training, you can still lend a helping hand or two.

How can you save the day without breathing life into someone who is unconscious and not breathing? Start by putting your hands together and in the middle of the victim’s chest. Begin pushing up and down on the person’s chest, attempting to maintain a speed of 100 compressions per minute. Continue doing this until an emergency responder arrives on the scene and tells you to stop.

Wish you knew a bit more about CPR? Contact an agency near you that provides CPR training to find out when the next class takes place.

How’s that Drink Affect You?

You’ve got plans to sip on a beer or a glass of wine. But what’s it going to do to you and your athletic prowess?

No matter what you may hear, a drink here or a drink there won’t cause irreparable damage to your insides. In fact, a little alcohol on occasion seems to reap some health benefits. But more on that later. Because not knowing how to drink in moderation can lead to some serious performance downsides.

So how does alcohol affect your physical abilities, and what does that mean for your drinking days?

It Puts You at Risk

Got plans for anything athletic or physically demanding? You’d be better off – much better off – leaving the alcohol for another time. Because as great as a cold one may taste right now, ingesting alcohol before or while playing softball, riding a snowboard, or lifting heavy objects puts you at greater risk for injury.

The causes of increased injury risk are many. As you may know, alcohol consumption may cause you to lose your coordination and have a decreased reaction time. These two side effects result in many sports-related injuries and cause all sorts of dangerous and deadly accidents. Pile on the fact that alcohol decreases your strength significantly, and it becomes clear that alcohol and athletics should not be combined.

The first thing in the human personality that dissolves in alcohol is dignity. – Author Unknown

You’ll Run Down Faster

When exercising, the last thing you want is to run out of gas before you’re ready to be finished with your routine. Therefore, you’re going to have to keep alcohol at arm’s length. Because not only will an alcoholic beverage increase your risk for injury during exercise, but it will also prevent you from working out as long and hard as you planned.

And before you decide to settle down with a drink after a hard workout, there’s something else you should know. That drink you have to celebrate a hard day at the gym may keep you from having an equally successful day tomorrow – especially if it’s the first thing you ingest post-workout. So instead of ruining tomorrow’s workout with today’s celebration, drink some water and eat a meal before tossing back a brew or mixed drink. Once you have a drink, you should also be wary of drinking too many more, as this can fill you up with unneeded calories that will serve to slow down your weight-loss or weight-maintenance efforts.

You’ll Be Healthier

Now that you know the downsides to drinking at the wrong time, you’re probably ready for some good news about alcohol. Ready? Drinking alcohol in moderation is good for your health. That’s right – sip on a little wine now and then or enjoy your other alcoholic beverage of choice, and you’ll actually help improve your health. How? Good question. Alcohol, when drank in moderation, drops your risk for heart disease, but you’ve got to be careful. Drink more than one or two glasses of alcohol a day, and your risk for heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure stops going down. When you drink more than a little bit of alcohol each day, and your risks for these issues all begin to climb.

For improved protection against heart disease, you’ve probably heard that you need to improve your good cholesterol. Known as HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, this good cholesterol is found in one of your favorite dinner drinks: white or red wine. But as with all other alcohol, you’ll need to be cautious. Don’t get the cheapest wine available, as it may contain chemicals that are known for causing breathing difficulty and headaches. Instead, hunt down organic wines. It’ll taste better and leave you feeling good immediately after drinking and well after.

 

Surviving Sweaty Hands

What you can do to get on with life – even if your hands are a bit damp.

Your hair or makeup is in place, you smell fantastic, and your teeth are gleaming white. But you feel uncomfortable. You want to make a great first impression, but the pouring out of your palms makes it unlikely.

What is causing your clammy hands, and what can you do to control it on a daily basis? Read on to find out!

Behind the Sweat Scene

It’s normal to sweat a little bit – especially if you’re stuck in hot weather or are performing physical labor. If you find your hands are sweaty even when you’re working in the air conditioning at your office, it may be caused by excessive sweating, a condition also known as hyperhidrosis. Capable of causing excessive sweating in the hands, feet, face, and armpits, excessive sweating is not just embarrassing. It may be a sign of something more dangerous.

While many cases of hyperhidrosis are brought on by certain emotions (fear, anger, etc.), others are linked to conditions ranging from infection to spinal cord injury. Therefore, if home treatment does not remedy the sweaty problem, you should consider seeking medical attention to ensure your sweating is not a complication of another disease. If it is, getting the underlying condition taken care of should also resolve your wet-hand dilemma.

Stifle Your Sweat

Ready to put hand sweat in its place? You can kick the puddles off your palms by taking a few steps at home. First, regularly wash your hands to prevent potentially harmful bacteria from piling up. Additionally, grab a bar of antiperspirant from your local store and apply it to your palms at night. You will probably want to try something scentless to make the experience more tolerable for you and less likely to result in skin irritation. As you begin to gain control over your sweaty palms, cut back on the frequency of applying the antiperspirant. It can also be helpful to take up yoga or other relaxing exercises that help you get control over the stresses of life that may bring on palm sweating.

Tried all these and still find yourself stuck with sweaty palms? Your next option will have to be discussed in a doctor’s office. The first treatment your doctor will likely recommend is a stronger antiperspirant. By going with a prescription antiperspirant on your hands, you may find the relief you seek. Otherwise, you may require more invasive treatments. These treatments often require a multidisciplinary team consisting of neurologists, neurosurgeons, dermatologists, and other specialists.

Depending on your specific case, you may be prescribed oral medication to help your body cut back on its sweating ways. Or you may be prescribed a device that sends an electric shock through your hands in order to change the outer surface of your skin and ultimately block sweat from passing through.

Additionally, you may be prescribed BOTOX to paralyze your sweat-inducing nerves and keep them from pumping sweat into your hands. The final option involves surgical removal of the nerves that are the cause of palm sweating. Thanks to medical advances, this procedure can now be done on an outpatient basis in a minimally invasive manner.

Why Sweat?

Whether on your palms, feet, pits, or face, sweating shouldn’t be viewed only as a nuisance. In most cases, it serves a very important purpose. When you exercise or are in a hot environment, your body has to find a way to keep from overheating. Instead of giving you an unexplainable desire to go swimming, your body forces you to sweat. That way, your body is kept cool and you don’t wind up passed out from getting too hot.

If you’re very hot and aren’t sweating, you better drink some more water. You may be suffering from dehydration.

 

Fall Proof Your Life

Want to stay healthy and happy all your life? You’ve got to stay on your feet.

All it takes is one misplaced step and you’re laid up with a throbbing knee. Or maybe you wind up needing surgery from which you never quite recover. No matter how long you suffer from the ramifications of a fall, avoiding them in the first place will help you stay involved in your own life and those of your loved ones.

If you’re ready to fall proof your life, read on to determine what modifications you need to make.

Know Your Health Conditions and Medications

There are many health conditions that can result in balance issues. Additionally, there are medications that can cause you to have balance problems that lead to falls. In order to stay on your toes, manage any health conditions you may have and ask your physician for a new prescription if a medication causes you to be dizzy.

Stay Active

Exercising on a regular basis is key to maintaining your balance. And in the event you do fall, being physically strong will help you avoid serious injury and recover afterward. For the greatest protection against falls, you’ll want to do exercises that test your body’s balance, improve your flexibility, and increase your strength. Been out of the gym for a while? Talk with an exercise specialist to make sure your re-entry to exercise is a safe one.

Dress Properly

If you consider clothing to be nothing more than a statement, think again. To make sure your clothing doesn’t impede your ability to get around safely, don’t wear anything that touches the floor, avoid clothing that catches at the knee and makes it difficult to walk naturally, and only wear properly fitting shoes – even when you’re around the house.

Clean the House

While falls can happen anywhere, they often occur inside your home, where you feel safest. By keeping your home tidy, you’ll go a long way toward fending off potential falls. On top of having a clean house, you should also be wary of potential hazards in your way. This means removing throw rugs or taping them to the ground with double-sided tape, not placing electrical cords in your walking path, marking raised entryways, installing non-slippery flooring, and keeping furniture positioned in a way that allows you to navigate your home with ease.

Go with Lights

No matter where you are or what age or shape you’re in, your risk for falling increases exponentially in the dark. If you’re up and about at night, turn on a light. Even if you think you know how to navigate an area without seeing, your overconfidence could lead to a painful fall. Leave a nightlight on as you sleep, carry a small flashlight if you’re walking in the woods, and don’t be afraid to ask someone to guide you along or turn on some lights if you’re making your way along an unknown and dark hallway.

Make Life Easier

Many people store items in out-of-the-way places out of habit. However, doing this could put you in harm’s way. Instead of tossing your cereal on the top shelf in your kitchen and climbing on a stool to get it down, put the cereal on a lower shelf. You should also stop trying to be a superhero by carrying all your luggage in a single load. Take a more manageable amount inside at a time. It may take longer, but you’ll stay upright, and spending extra time unloading the car is better than pain.

A Big Loss

If you don’t think fall prevention is a big deal, consider this: Nearly half of all people who fall and suffer a hip fracture as a result are never able to return to independent living.

 

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Tired of having a bad attitude? Do something about it.

In life, there are some things you can’t change: your family history of cancer, the grades you made in elementary school, your lopsided smile. But your attitude is something you can give a complete makeover to – if you’re willing.

What can you do to take your poor attitude and flip it on its head? You’re about to find out some of the tricks of the happy trade!

Believe It

Want to kick your sour ways to the curb? You’ve got to know you can do it! Only when you’re confident in your ability to change your attitude will you be prepared to change your attitude. Don’t feel capable of such a modification? Then you’ve already lost the fight. Feel good about your likelihood of changing your attitude for good? Then keep reading.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. –Winston Churchill

Stick with Smiling

Know the old mantra, “Fake it ‘till you make it”? You’ll need to live by this one when changing your attitude. Because while you may think your good attitude will automatically transform how you see the world, you’ll still have bad days. Instead of letting these days drag you back into your old bad attitude, be ready for them with a smile. Not sure how to smile through the frustrating times life brings your way? Don’t stop reading!

Focus on the Positive

There will always be something bad going on in the world. Watch the news, and you’ll learn that something bad happens every day. But don’t let it get you down. Because the news rarely ends on a sour note. After a long broadcast displaying the woes of modern society, most news shows end with a positive story: a firefighter who saved a kitten or a dyslexic child who won the spelling bee. Watch these stories, too, and let them remind you that life isn’t always bad. It’s actually quite wonderful if you pay attention. So pay attention to the positive, and dwell on it.

Think before Reacting

Have a problem blowing up when a problem comes your way? You need to think a bit more. By spending a little time thinking through an issue, you can calm yourself down and even put a positive spin on it. While it is very upsetting that your dishwasher isn’t working, you don’t have to get upset. Take a deep breath, think about what the problem could be, and smile. Then pop open the dishwasher and correct the problem. Or if you get angry when doing projects (because they never seem to go your way), call someone to do it for you.

Speak Well

When you have a bad attitude, certain words come out of your mouth. The most obvious ones are those nasty words that no one should say – the ones you would discipline your children for saying. Get rid of them. Equally important is to get rid of some other words that are keeping your attitude change from affecting your whole person. These words include “can’t,” “maybe,” and “try.” If you’re going to have a positive attitude, you need to be ready to do things. There is no room for trying, riding the fence, or doubting your abilities. A positive attitude is one that says, “Yes!”

See the Impact

While you may think your negative attitude only affects you, it has a direct impact on the people you interact with each day. The good news is that your positive attitude can do the same thing. By smiling and being kind, you can encourage others who may be feeling down. In fact, a kind word spoken at the right time can have significant, life-long impacts on someone’s life. So the next time you feel like letting your bad attitude ruin your day, remember it may also ruin someone else’s and get positive for the sake of others.

 

Good Carbs vs Bad Carbs

Understanding the difference between refined carbs and those other ones.

You’re bombarded with information about carbohydrates. You may have even been frightened of them at one point – or maybe you are right now. However, not all carbs do the same thing. Actually, some carbs are good for you and necessary to keep your body going strong. Where do refined carbohydrates fall on the health scale? You’re about to find out.

Not the Best

To get a refined carbohydrate, a food is taken that contains carbs. Then, everything else in the food is taken away, leaving only the refined carbohydrate, which is either a starch or a sugar.

When eaten, refined carbohydrates give your body a quick boost in glucose (a.k.a. sugar), which can be helpful right before you get started in some sort of athletic endeavor, such as a sprint or a soccer game. However, eating refined carbohydrates on a regular basis, regardless of what you’re doing afterward, can leave you with a rather useless store of carbs.

See Them Now

To avoid eating too many refined carbohydrates, you should know what they look like and where they’re most often found. Thankfully, they’re rather easy to see, so you can sidestep them with ease. Most often, refined carbs are white on their own, but they can hide inside various foods without being recognized.

The following are a few common foods that contain refined carbohydrates:

  • white bread
  • white rice
  • foods ending with the word “starch”
  • foods that use puffy or shredded grains

What to Choose Instead

Since refined carbohydrates aren’t doing your body much good, you ought to do your best to go for foods with the other kind of carbohydrates. Whether you call them good carbs or all-natural carbs doesn’t matter. What matters is what comes with these carbohydrates that is stripped from their refined peers.

One of the items that gets stripped from carbohydrates during the refining process is fiber. Since fiber is helpful in your goal of good bowel health; avoiding diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and kidney stones; and obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight, you don’t want to spend much time eating foods that have gone through a fiber-stealing process. Instead of going with fiber-stripped carbohydrates, choose foods that contain fiber-rich carbs. Good choices include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.

Your Need for Carbohydrates

Still not convinced that you need carbohydrates in your diet? Has the popular no-carb diet craze messed with your head so much that you continue to fear this necessary part of your daily regimen? Then there’s something you should know.

While you don’t want to fill up on refined carbohydrates (as you already know), you do want to eat plenty of good carbohydrates. In fact, otherwise healthy adults ought to use as much as 65 percent of their daily intake of calories to consume carbs. That means that every other bite you eat should contain healthy carbohydrates for optimal health. So what are you waiting for? Wave goodbye to those white, worn out refined carbohydrates, and open your arms and your mouth to health-boosting whole grains, fruits, and vegetables!

Why No-Carb Diet Works

If you’ve ever gotten into a diet that cuts you off from all carbohydrates, you probably lost some weight. If you’re supposed to need carbs, why did you have such great weight loss success when you cut them from your diet? There are three reasons.

The firstis that cutting carbohydrates from your diet often results in a loss of water weight, as not eating carbs may cause you to urinate more frequently and with greater volume.

The secondis that any diet that forces you to avoid one sort of food altogether will result in eating fewer calories. While this is a good thing at first, it’s healthier to trim calories from all the food groups instead of picking on carbohydrates only.

The third is that diets that trim carbohydrates do not trim protein or fat, which both cause you to feel full faster and longer, reducing your desire to eat.

 

Protect Your Neck

What you can do to keep your neck out of harm’s way when pumping up in the gym.

Everyone who has spent much time working out has felt some neck pain now and then. However, with a few small precautions, you can help your neck avoid carrying the brunt of your workout burden. Here are a few things you can do to keep your neck from feeling the strain and pain of your routine.

Focus on Technique

Unless you’re performing exercises that are supposed to work out your neck, you should not feel stress on your neck. One of the main reasons you may experience neck stress when there should be none is improper technique. To get over this pain, you’ll need to pay closer attention to how you perform each repetition of every exercise.

Sit-ups are a common exercise resulting in neck pain. By using only your core muscles to lift your body toward your legs, you can protect against neck pain. The same is true with other exercises, such as the military press. Keeping your head in the right place at all times and using proper form allows you to take great strides away from potential neck pain.

Get Neck-Centric

It’s important to pay attention to your entire body when working out, and that includes your neck. Though you ought to be careful not to cause undue stress to your neck when working out other body parts, you can help your neck handle the stress by exercising it appropriately. This will strengthen your neck and help you avoid neck pain brought on by other exercises.
For stronger neck muscles, try the following exercises:

  • Chin to Chest – Sitting on the floor with your legs extended straight out, lock your hands together and put them behind your head. Next, pull your head to your chest in a gradual, fluid motion. Once your chin is touching your chest, hold the position for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Isometric Neck – Standing upright, place your right hand on the right side of your head. Use your hand to slowly push your head toward your left side. As you push, tighten your neck muscles to stop your head from moving. Continue pushing and fighting the push for 10 to 15 seconds, return your hand by your side, and repeat with your left hand on the left side of your head.
  • Rolling Neck Stretch – Holding a neck roller with both hands, place the roller behind your head at the top right side of your neck. Carefully roll the muscle roller down your neck muscles, holding for 10 to 30 seconds wherever you feel tension in your neck. Repeat for the left side of your neck. If no neck roller is available, a rolling pin works fine.

Always Be On Guard

Neck strains and pains may be most notable after a hard workout in the gym, but they don’t start there. Rather, they typically begin during your normal daily activities. With that in mind, you ought to pay particular attention to how you go about everything in your day-to-day routine.

Do you have poor posture while sitting at your desk working on the computer? Do you often slump on your couch for an hour of television? Do you sleep in a position that leaves you hurting in the morning? Do you participate in aggressive sports and have little care for how you absorb hits from other players? All these can lead to neck pain that becomes more obvious during your time working out at the gym. Taking steps to protect your neck’s good health during the day will go a long way toward your ability to fend off neck strain in the gym.

Feel the Burn

If you’re working out in the hot summer sun, you are at risk for another painful problem with your neck: sunburn. Keep your neck from feeling the burn by spreading plenty of sunscreen on your neck before heading out for your routine. For extra protection, wear a wide-brimmed hat.

 

You Are What You Drink

So be careful to avoid these high-calorie alcoholic beverages.

When you’re out on the town, living it up with your best friends, the world is your playground. Unless you’re not enjoying yourself, counting calories is the last thing on your mind. Before you head to the bar and wind up drinking more calories in a couple hours than you should consume in an entire day, you should know which drinks to steer clear from. Want to know what drinks would be better left behind the counter and in the bartender’s hand? Good for you. Get the answer below!

Beer

Considered one of the most innocent drinks when it comes to intoxication, beer is also rather light when it comes to calories. In a 12-ounce can of beer, you can count on picking up about 150 calories. Go with the light beer and you’ll shave off 40 or so calories. And while 150 calories isn’t too much, these calories are detrimental when it comes to maintaining your get up and go. They also add up rather quickly if you order a pitcher or more than one small beer.

Champagne

Typically designated for weddings and other life-changing events, champagne may seem light and tingly, but it can be a bit heavy on the hips. With a whopping 84 calories in only four ounces of alcohol, champagne may not ruin your hot new diet, but it sure doesn’t help you maintain your impressive physique either. Save it for a special occasion and champagne will never get the best of your waistline.

Think alcoholic calories are nothing to sweat about? Think again. On top of being filled with relatively useless calories, alcoholic beverages have the tendency to make you hungry. So after filling up on beer calories, you’re ready for some wing, hamburger, and cheese fry calories!

Wine

Like champagne (which is a wine), red, white, and sweet wine are viewed as lesser evils when it comes to alcohol-based calories. And for good reason. Boasting about the same amount of calories as champagne, these more common varieties of wine are relatively tame when it comes to pushing your calorie count over the edge. In four ounces, you can count on picking up between 75 and 80 calories from red or dry white wine and another 25 to 30 for sweet wine. Not too bad when you consider the various health perks that are associated with drinking a little wine each day.

Cocktails

The cream of the crop when it comes to party drinks, cocktails come with a calorie punch as large as their flavor. In fact, no matter what cocktail you pick, you’ll be drinking more calories than you would with three beers of the same size. Two of the lightest cocktails are daiquiris (122 calories, four ounces) and cooler cocktails (150 calories, six ounces). Pick up a martini and you’re looking at 140 calories in a meager three and one-half ounces. Go with a three and one-half ounce Manhattan and get 164 calories, a four-ounce margarita, 168 calories.

Regardless of what alcoholic drink you decide to go for at your next outing, the calorie count of a single drink isn’t the most important thing to consider. Drinking too much is. Because beyond the obvious problems that arise with intoxication, returning to the bar time and again means hundreds of extra calories hitting you right where it hurts – whether that’s your hips, your stomach, your under arm, or your thighs.

So enjoy your favorite drink, have a great time out and about, but keep the drinking under control. Your good judgment and good health are counting on it.

A Little More Besides

Treating salad as a meal may be a difficult concept to grasp. If you’re having a hard time eating nothing but salad for your meal, take heart! It is possible to keep salad as the center of your meal without losing out on your other favorite foods.

To do this, make sure your salad is on the largest plate at your table. So if you use a salad plate for your salad, you’ll need a smaller plate or a bowl for your other items. Once you figure out what else you just have to eat, place it in a bowl or plate and keep this second dish to one side or the other – wherever you typically place your salad. This will help your hunger stay focused on the healthy, gorgeous, colorful salad right under your nose.

 

Get More from Your Body

How you can improve your body’s performance in four steps.

It seems everybody who knows how to exercise has a tip or two on how to get your body to operate at its maximum potential. Which ones should you use? The ones that work for you. Believe it or not, most tried-and-true ways to get more from your body work. At least they work for a certain group of people.

Trying these different techniques will help you determine what it takes to help your body get to the next level of fitness and provide you with a better, stronger self.

Strengthen Your Core:

Just the name of your core should be enough to convince you of your need to keep it strong and healthy. When your core is weak, the rest of your body is at a distinct disadvantage. Add some muscle to your core with sit-ups, double crunches, crunches while resting on an exercise ball, and other core-strengthening and core-stabilizing exercises. The end result will be more than a good-looking set of abdominal muscles. It will be a set of good-looking abdominal muscles that supports you properly and efficiently in all endeavors you undertake – whether walking briskly through the airport with two carry-on bags tossed across your shoulder or going for a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling.

Get Vitamin D:

You’ve known for a long time that vitamin D is important for strong bones, and strong bones are important if you want your body to do its job as well as possible. Did you know that vitamin D is also important for another reason? Recent research shows that vitamin D may play a great role in whether an athlete is able to take his or her performance to the next level. Runners who underwent rigorous training reduced their sprint times by 7.4 percent with the aid of vitamin D, while their counterparts who did not receive vitamin D increased their times by a meager 1.7 percent. So if you want to get the most from your body, take a vitamin D supplement or get out in the sun.

Kick Back:

Taking some time off to relax seems counterproductive when you want your body to be stronger and more efficient. But if you don’t take time to relax and get proper amounts of sleep, your body won’t be there for you when you need it most. Instead, it will be ready for naptime. In addition to getting plenty of sleep, you should also relax your body during the day. By forcing yourself to let your limbs hang loose and your fingers drop carelessly, you stretch out your entire body and reduce your stress levels immediately. Take this time to breathe, and breathe deeply. Deep, focused breathing is a great way to reinvigorate your muscles with oxygen-rich blood, and it’s easy to do. So relax a little now and your body will be ready to help later.

Drink It Down:

Water is one of your body’s main building blocks, making up nearly three-fourths of your body mass. Are you getting enough of it? If not, you’re putting your body at a disadvantage that is difficult to overcome with energy bars and electrolyte-filled drinks. When in doubt, drink water. It will give your body what it needs to stay strong and healthy, keep you from growing weak and faint, and will help you feel fuller faster, all benefits that help your body operate at its peak all the time.

Slow It Down

There are countless ways to keep your body from reaching and operating at its potential all the time. What are a few of them? Let us count the ways…

One one-thousand…sugary sweets
Two one-thousand…focusing only on aerobic exercises
Three one-thousand…focusing only on strength exercises
Four one-thousand…a negative attitude
Five one-thousand…poor posture when standing and performing exercises