Some ideas on why our backs hurt and some great and easy tips on how to help. Details from Lifehacker:
Not only are we killing ourselves by sitting all day, we’re probably sitting all wrong. Esther Gokhale, who has studied the posture of people in less industrialized places (where back pain is virtually unknown), shows us in this video what natural (“primal”) posture looks like for standing and sitting.
Essentially, you want to have a “ducky butt, not tucky butt,” she says in a profile of her work on SF Gate. Instead of tucking your tailbone in, stick your butt out, because good posture relies much on the pelvis.
If you don’t have time for the entire video, go to the 4:25 mark to see a sitting exercise that will help you get back into your primal posture.
Cool guide to find the best time of the day to do many things (although I take my naps a bit later than they suggest – just saying…. ) from RealSimple:
Experts reveal the ideal hours to nap, exercise, ask for a raise, and more.
Take a Nap
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Doctors used to think afternoon sleepiness was the result of a big lunch. “But we’ve found that in the early afternoon there’s a dip in body temperature, which causes sleepiness,” says Michael Smolensky, a professor of environmental physiology at the University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston and author of The Body Clock Guide to Better Health: How to Use Your Body’s Natural Clock to Fight Illness and Achieve Maximum Health ($19, amazon.com). Just as a similar decrease encourages you to shut down at bedtime, this midday dip can make you crave a siesta. An ideal nap, he says, should last 15 to 20 minutes. More than 30 and you may end up with sleep inertia―and feel even more groggy when you wake up. Richard Schwab, M.D., codirector of the University of Pennsylvania Penn Sleep Center, in Philadelphia, says that early afternoon is indeed when your circadian rhythms (the pattern of physical and mental changes we each repeat every 24 hours) are “more likely to want your body to sleep.” But Schwab insists that if we weren’t all sleep-deprived, we wouldn’t even need naps.
Read (and Retain) Information
8 a.m. or 10 p.m.
If you’re going over notes for today’s presentation or memorizing the names of your child’s classmates’ parents before the school open house tonight, do it early in the morning, when your immediate recall is highest. For longer retention (the book club meets in three weeks, but this weekend’s your only chance to finish The Good Nanny), evening is better. “This is just the way the brain is organized,” says Smolensky. “Memory depends on nucleic acids, and those show circadian rhythms.” In other words, your brain doesn’t store information with the same efficiency all day; there are peaks and valleys. “College students often unknowingly take advantage of the dual circadian rhythm by staying up late studying, then doing a quick review the morning of the exam,” says Smolensky.
Go to the Doctor
8 a.m. to 9 a.m., or 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
You’ll spend less time in the waiting room if you book the first appointment of the morning or the first after lunch, says Patricia Carroll, R.N., author of What Nurses Know and Doctors Don’t Have Time to Tell You($15, amazon.com): “Doctors start fresh in the morning and catch up when the office is ‘closed’ for lunch.” Many lab tests require fasting, so a morning appointment will help you avoid being hungry half the day. If you’re seeing a doctor who performs surgery (orthopedist, gynecologist), ask that your appointment not follow her operating time―a recipe for serious delays, says Carroll. Pediatricians’ and family-practice offices can get mobbed when work and school let out (5 p.m. to 7 p.m.). And if you leave with a prescription to be filled, try to visit the pharmacy before 3 p.m. on weekdays, when it’s least busy―”which also reduces the risk of error,” says Carroll.
Pop a Multivitamin
Taking your supplements with a meal is important because “vitamins are components of food, and whether water soluble or fat soluble, they are absorbed better with food,” says Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., a New York City and Hillsboro Beach, Florida, nutrition scientist and coauthor of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book ($17, amazon.com). “Also, as with many other pills, you’re more likely to get queasy if you take multivitamins on an empty stomach. Breakfast is the meal of choice. Because most people have it at home (whereas lunch and dinner are often eaten elsewhere), making the morning meal your time for vitamin-popping will help you stick with the habit. Another reason dinnertime may not be a good option, Lieberman adds, is that certain nutrients, including vitamin B, may keep you awake.
Walk the Dog
8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
To you, walking the dog may be about exercise. To him, it’s all about the social life, explains Jean Donaldson, author of Dogs Are From Neptune ($15, amazon.com) and director of the San Francisco SPCA’s dog-training academy. Owners have more time to stroll in the evening and to let their pets linger over exciting smells and sounds missed on the morning-rush walk. Evening walks also let him avoid midday overheating. He can make himself comfortable before bedtime, says David Reinecke, the founder of Los Angeles-based Dog Remedy behavioral training.
Do Your Cardio Workout
5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“For increasing fitness, decreasing the chance of injury, and improving sleep, the best time to exercise is late afternoon or early evening,” says Matthew Edlund, M.D., author of The Body Clock Advantage: Finding Your Best Time of Day to Succeed In: Love, Work, Play, Exercise ($15, amazon.com) and head of the Center for Circadian Medicine, in Sarasota, Florida. At these times, he says, your lungs use oxygen more efficiently, you’re more coordinated, and your muscles are warmed up, so you’re less likely to suffer a sprain or strain. Finish exercising at least three hours before bed so that when your head hits the pillow the extra adrenaline will no longer be pumping through your bloodstream (and other factors that keep you awake will also have subsided). Bonus: “If you’re all wound up at the end of the day, exercise may be a great stress reliever,” notes Shirley Archer of the Stanford Health Improvement Program, in Palo Alto, California.
Ask for a Raise
“The key is finding a moment when your boss is not rushed and has time to truly listen,” and that’s most likely to be the end of the day, says Lynn Ellis, a career coach in Austin, Texas, who has worked with employees and bosses at global companies like Unilever. “That’s when I’m getting ready for the next day or looking ahead to the next week, and I’m in a good mood because I’m going home soon,” says Amy Holloway, a vice president at Angelou Economics, in Austin. And you’ll have a biological edge then, since, as Edlund, points out, your elevated body temperature makes you more alert in the late afternoon. But asking for a raise is not an exact science. Ellis advises tracking your boss’s daily habits to find the ideal, low-key time for him or her. And, in the end, if you’re at your best in the morning, just go for it.
Arrive with your what-was-I-thinking sweater within the first hour a store is open. Workforces are leaner these days, but “retailers still need enough staff to open up, so that may be when they have the best ratio of staff to customers,” says Edward Fox, director of Southern Methodist University’s JCPenney Center for Retail Excellence, in Dallas. It may also be the only time all day when staff are at assigned posts, “so you can usually get someone to help,” notes former fashion stylist Linda Arroz, who spent years returning things she didn’t end up using for movies and TV shows. Fox adds that “the most experienced people get the best hours, so they will be working the day shift.” Finally, consider customer flow. “A city store may be busier during weekday lunch hours, a suburban store on weekend afternoons,” says Target spokesperson Lena Michaud.
Go to the Post Office
7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
The U.S. Postal Service may have more than 700,000 employees, yet there never seems to be enough of them when you’re waiting in line to mail a birthday present. Your best chance, according to USPS spokesperson Monica Suraci: Find out when your post office opens (generally between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.) and arrive a half hour or so later. You’ll hit a midmorning lull, missing the rush of early birds lined up at the door (as well as distracted window personnel chatting with carriers sorting the day’s mail). Heavy traffic is more likely at lunch, at the end of the workday, and just before closing, so those are times to avoid. Suraci’s tip: Look for USPS “contract stations,” which offer services in locations like supermarkets and drugstores, and for machines in some post-office lobbies that weigh and stamp packages most any time.
Get a Haircut
8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Booking the first appointment of the day will help you ease into the shampoo bowl on time. That’s because no latecomers will have thrown off the schedule, says Serena Chreky, co-owner of the Andre Chreky salon, in Washington, D.C. Saturday mornings (after busy workweeks) are usually the least frantic, says Allen Ruiz of the Jackson Ruiz Salon Spa, in Austin. However, some salons fill up then with bridal parties, Chreky cautions, so ask when you book. An early appointment may also get you the best cut. “Stress levels are at their lowest,” says Michelle Breyer, cofounder of NaturallyCurly.com, which deals with salons nationwide. “Even if you’re only the third or fourth client of the day, your stylist may not look at your hair with the same enthusiasm.” For the best service, Breyer and Ruiz both suggest asking your stylist, “What’s your favorite time of day to do hair?”
The Best Time of Day to Fly
“Scheduling arrivals and departures between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. local time,” Caparas says, “will help you avoid most delay-causing weather patterns. This will also help you avoid airport rush hours, “which mostly coincide with workday rush hours,” says Robert Baron, president of the Aviation Consulting Group, in Fort Lauderdale.
For best results, check for regional weather patterns and schedule accordingly. “For example, for the West Coast, fly in or out after noon Pacific Standard Time, when marine-level fog has dissipated,” says Caparas. For southeastern and Gulf Coast hops, steer clear of the thunderstorms that kick up around 3 p.m. “Airline schedules are based on perfect weather conditions,” he says. “You’re more likely to be punctual if you follow Mother Nature’s schedule.”
Clean the House
You’re more likely to whistle while you window wash (and not kick over the bucket) if you do it in the late afternoon. That’s when hand-eye coordination is at its peak and mood levels are high, says Smolensky. If anyone in the house has allergies or asthma, avoid insomnia-hour and morning cleaning sprees (nasal-allergy symptoms are most severe between 6 a.m. and noon, asthma attacks more likely between midnight and 6 a.m.), and finish well before that person walks in the door. “It takes about an hour for allergens and dust to settle after you clean,” says Martha White, M.D., director of research at the Institute for Asthma and Allergy, in Wheaton, Maryland.
Some great simple tips for getting exercise while sitting at your computer! From TheSecretYumiverse:
If you are sitting in front of a computer all day for your work, make the most of it by exercising your different muscle groups even while you are finishing a PowerPoint presentation or filling out cells in an Excel worksheet.
Stretch your upper body muscles to keep your neck and back from going stiff. Do regular wrist rolls to avoid getting carpal tunnel syndrome. And if your boss allows it, sit on an exercise ball instead of a regular desk. You might look a little goofy, but at least you will have a better chance of achieving a perfect six-pack than if you sit on a regular desk chair with wheels.
Got your own tips for exercising while sitting at your computer? Share with us by commenting below.
Click on image to enlarge.
I swim – need I say more?
The Ultimate Treadmill Fails Compilation
I always knew my son-in-law was smart – and now scientists confirm it! He has been a big advocate of intense interval training. It has worked for him and it is now my exercise regimen! See this from Gizmodo:
Scientists Find the Bare Minimum Exercise You Need to Get Fit
We all know we need to exercise to stay fit and healthy, but sometimes it’s difficult to find the time. Don’t worry: scientists have worked out the minimum amount of exercise you can get away with in order to get fit.
The New York Times reports that a group of researchers are turning health and fitness studies on its head, by investigating just how little exercise we really need. Turns out, as long as you’re willing to work hard during your exercise, you probably don’t need as much as you think.
Most world-class athletes do intervals: short, sharp bursts of strenuous activity, interspersed with rest. Inspired by that, researchers at McMaster University developed a version of high-intensity interval training that involves one minute of strenuous effort, at about 90 percent of a person’s maximum heart rate, followed by one minute of easy recovery. Their version sees that process repeated ten times, meaning a total exercise times of 20 minutes, and is supposed to be carried out just twice a week.
But can two interval sessions a week really get you fit? Well, despite the infrequent nature of the exercise, the researchers have shown that, after several weeks of practicing it, both unfit volunteers and cardiac patients taking part in the study showed significant improvements in their health and fitness. In the words of the researchers:
“A growing body of evidence demonstrates that high-intensity interval training can serve as an effective alternate to traditional endurance-based training, inducing similar or even superior physiological adaptations in healthy individuals and diseased populations, at least when compared on a matched-work basis.”
So, if anybody says that when it comes to exercise you need to do a little and often, tell them where to shove it. A better maxim might be hard and fast. [Journal of Physiology and Ne[w York TImes; Image: Rido/Shutterstock]
With some 17 percent of 2- to 19-year-olds meeting the criteria for obesity, medical professionals have said it’s important for society to stay on top of a child’s weight.
Even so, according to a 2011 report released by Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., only about half of parents believe it is “very important” to seek medical care for an overweight child.
“It’s not just a cosmetic issue,” said Sarah Hampl, the medical director of Weight Management Services at Children’s Mercy Hospital & Clinics in Kansas City, Mo., when the report was released in August. “There are medical and psychological complications that are occurring in these kids, and with increasing frequency into their adult years.”
Perhaps the associated mental and physical health issues are not as explicitly tied to obesity as they are with other health problems. In fact, the Mercy Hospital survey showed that 81 percent of participants said it would be very important to take a child to the doctor if the child had diabetes symptoms, and 80 percent said the same of asthma.
“With obesity, you don’t see what’s going on inside the child’s body. You don’t see the high blood pressure, you don’t see the high lipids, you don’t see the prediabetes conditions, so that may be a reason that parents don’t recognize it as needing more immediate medical attentio,” Hampl said.
Parents and nonparents surveyed agreed that parents play the largest role in preventing childhood obesity. However, another survey, this one by Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released in March 2011, suggests Americans don’t think parents should bear the sole responsibility in this fight. In fact, results showed that 57 percent of Americans say the government should play a significant role in reducing childhood obesity, while 39 percent say it should not.
Whether or not one group or another plays a more dominant role, preventing a bulging waistline in kids may start at home. A study published in 2010 suggested three simple steps may help prevent obesity in kids: having family dinners, getting enough sleep and limiting weekday TV time. To get the needed exercise, perhaps a pet dog is in order, as researchers have found kids with family dogs were more active than those without a fluffy pet.
Street views of the National Parks! YAY!
Nearly a century ago, Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service, galvanizing a widespread movement to preserve the country’s heritage and promote tourism. At the time, President Wilson could only have imagined the technological and organizational tools that would help achieve these goals. And, almost guaranteed, not once did he imagine a huge part of this effort would be brought to us by the makers of mouthwatering granola bars.
Funny how things change.
As it happens, General Mills brand Nature Valley has embarked on an ambitious initiative called Trail View to bring the parks experience to the indoors- and outdoors-oriented alike. “Nature is something you have to get close to in order to be moved by it,” says Scott Baldwin, Senior Marketing Manager at Nature Valley. “It’s easy to just show a picture of nature, but people want to have deeper experiences.” To deliver that deeper experience, the company sent content-gathering teams throughout the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon this past summer to digitally capture 100 odd miles of each area, and replicate them online. Eventually, users will be able to experience, in real-time, a first-person perspective of hiking these trails, clicking on embedded points of interest along the way for pop-up information and videos. It’s a virtual hiking expedition anyone can take.
Although Nature Valley has long been a supporter of the national parks (it’s practically in the brand name), most recently raising money through its “Preserve the Parks” campaign, the company had been brainstorming ideas for how to do more to actually preserve them. The resulting concept, developed through agency partner McCann-Erickson, is a model for how marketers can make a useful contribution to a cause without over-branding it. In addition to removing the barriers to entry so people can experience these trails remotely, Trail View will spread awareness of the parks at a time when funding is low, and digitally record them for posterity.
“This initiative lets [Nature Valley] stand for something,” says Leslie Sims, executive creative director at McCann. “They aren’t just pushing granola bars on hikers.”
It was only because of Nature Valley’s long-standing relationship with the National Park Conservation Association that the company was able to garner approval for the project. The parks are famously very protective when it comes to filming on their grounds, but the company approached each park individually and promised to leave zero impact on the environment.
Between March and June of 2011, Nature Valley and McCann-Erickson went to work, putting together a mixed team of talent for a project with many moving parts. The agency would need a content strategy team for web distribution, a design team that would also put together custom 360 degree photography equipment, a hiking team to lead the expedition, and a skilled camera person to shoot it all. The creatives would also have to participate in the fieldwork. Both figuratively and literally, there was a lot of ground to cover.
Editors from Backpacker Magazine agreed to lend their expertise in national park trails and lead the hikes. Content strategy firm In the MO came aboard soon after. The project required a team with best-of-class designers who would also be able to hike, so the agency recruited digital agency Your Majesty. In a meeting with YM co-founder, Jens Karlsson, Catherine Patterson, executive integrated producer at McCann offered this simple plea: “You’re the only ones crazy enough to do this, and you’re the only ones who can do this. Also, you’re going to get to hike your asses off.”
Everyone involved had to engage in four to six weeks of training to ensure that nobody would get dehydrated or otherwise crap out during the shoot. Each member of the crew logged 150 miles of mandatory hiking experience, done on their own time.
Because this initiative marks the first application of street view-style camera technology in hikes or on mountains, the cameras required specially designed backpack rigging. “A lot of equipment was involved,” says Mat Bisher, associate creative director at McCann. “There’s a good reason why street view is done in cars.” During a June test run in the Grand Canyon, the panoramic cameras fell apart and started melting during discovery. They were supposed to be heat-resistant up to 120 degrees, but not at sustained exposure to those conditions. After customizing the cameras further, the design team suggested saving the Grand Canyon for the final leg of the hike, where they’d know to anticipate the cameras falling apart eventually, rather than at the beginning of the trip.
The actual filming went off without a hitch, however, barring the occasional alarming grizzly bear scratch mark on trees. From a distance, the assembled masses would have looked like a caravan of settlers. The field crew from Backpacker Magazine (or “bear bait” as Patterson referred to them) headed up the front, setting the pace and keeping the operation environmentally sound. Shortly behind them were the agency creatives, who scouted locations and points of interest. The next wave included the tech team–who kept lenses clean, adjusted settings, and kept the cameras out of contact with each other–as well as master cameraman, Brandon McLane. Finally, trailing behind, was a sweeper team, who made sure nothing was left behind. Although some of the crew only stayed for shorter periods, the hike lasted 45 days total.
The biggest surprise along the way, according to Catherine Patterson, who stayed for the entire hike, was the sparse tourist traffic on the trails. “We anticipated having to avoid filming crowds, and blurring out logos when we did,” she says, “but there was hardly anyone hiking at all some days.” Seeing firsthand the lack of tourism in tough economic times only made the prospect of evangelizing the national parks more attractive to everyone involved.
The first stage of Trail View will debut online in February 2012. It will operate as its own platform, with an exploratory feel. Once utility is up and running, Nature Valley will add layers for user-generated content, social networking and mobility, and perhaps form partnerships with travel sites—encouraging visitors to actually take a trip to visit the parks. Eventually the company hopes to digitally map other locations and build an educational, curated layer to the initiative. “This is not just a piece of entertainment,” says Bisher. “We’re committing to an ongoing proposition.” As this proposition is aligned with the National Park Service’s original goals, Woodrow Wilson would have likely approved.
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