How to improve the air in your house

1. Tidy up the house


This is the easiest way as well as the cheapest way to improve the air of your house. On the one hand doing a tidy up makes your house become clean and on the other it keeps the air pure and prevents you from many respiratory diseases.

Just spend a few minutes to tidy up your room and one hour on the weekend to clean the entire house, you will have a great area for working, studying and living.

2. Using an air-conditioner:


In tropical countries or religions, an air-conditioner is an essential household appliance. It is not only helps you to remove heat and moisture from the air, but also keep the living area clean. Many kinds of air conditioners have the function of cleansing dust, bacterium as well as the negative ion which may do harm for your health, give you the purest and cool air.

On the market, there are many kinds of air conditioners such as:

  • Ductless mini-split systems
  • Packaged central air conditioners
  • Heat pumps
  • Split systems

3. Have a humidifier:


For those whose skins are easy to be dry, alongside using the body lotion which provides the humidity for skin, you can use a humidifier to increase the moisture of the air. This machine creates a soft mist which is full of water particles by boiling water, creating water droplets or using a paper to draw water out of the reservoir. It not only helps to balance or increase humidity in the environment, but also makes your house’s atmosphere more comfortable and well-being. The humidifier is suitable for those families who have children with their highly discerning skin.

Furthermore, by increasing or balancing the moisture of the air, a humidifier helps you to save money by restraining the use of the air conditioner.

On the market, there are several kinds of humidifiers for you to choose, such as:

  • Tabletop humidifiers
  • Console humidifiers
  • In-duct humidifiers

4. Have an essential oil diffuser


This way seems to be luxurious but it is the most effective way to keep the air of the house always pure. The diffuser breaks down the essential oil into thousands of tiny molecules and creates a fine fog. In almost essential oil have a special ingredient called “terpenes” which is able to change the structure of the particles causing odor and makes them become useless. Besides, these tiny oil molecules will easily absorb through your pores or lungs and bring into play its effects such as flu resistance, mind and body relaxation, stress reduction, so forth and so on.

Moreover, made from the woods, leaves, flowers or roots, the essential oil diffuser creates the gentle fragrance for your house, which brings up to you the most comfort. On the market, there are many types of diffusers to choose the best essential oil diffuser for you:

  • The ultrasonic diffuser
  • The evaporative diffuser
  • The nebulizing diffuser
  • The heat diffuser

If you have a tight budget, you can make your own essential oil diffuser, not have to buy an expensive machine. Or you can find some best essential oil diffuser black Friday deals 2015 to grab the best essential oil diffuser that suits your needs.

Heading out for a ride 2

Check out part 1 here

Head Off Trouble


What can you do about it? After all, your busy brain–and the self-control it gives you–is still developing. You’ve got to figure out ways of using your noggin in order to avoid scrapes with the car and even tragedy.

Look outside yourself. Giedd, who has peered into many a teen brain, believes in your ability to regulate your driving, especially when you think of the friends you could hurt. “The teen brain is still highly plastic, or changeable,” he told Current Health. It has “many good things regarding the capacity to learn, an increased sense of social responsibility, and more.”

“Social responsibility” simply means your connections to everyone. “When you take risks on the road, you’re not just risking your life,” says Berardelli. Think of the other people in your car, in other vehicles, and on the street whom reckless driving could endanger.

Limit distractions. There’s real danger in grabbing a French fry from a crumpled fast-food bag or answering a phone while driving. Researchers at Vanderbilt University found that when a person is driving, the frontal cortex cannot process two tasks at once, no matter the driver’s age. When you drive, just drive.

“Anything extra beginning drivers do seems to increase the risk of accidents,” says Giedd. Dealing with someone else in the car divides attention too. That’s why many states limit the number of passengers–especially fellow teens–a new driver can take along.

Get your head in the right place. The ultimate in distracted driving is a driver on alcohol or drugs; it goes without saying that those are off-limits when there’s a chance you’ll be behind the wheel. However, you also need to see beyond the obvious and minimize emotional driving. Collect yourself and breathe deeply before taking off. You can even put something in the car–a meaningful object–to remind you that you intend to take driving to heart.

When you’re driving, your brain is riding shotgun. So let your knowledge of how the mind works help you manage distractions, sleep needs (see “Sleep Away,” above), and feelings. That way you can truly enjoy the ride.

Teenage Brain: A Work in Progress

The teen driver’s brain is traveling too–on the long road to maturity. The fact that these parts haven’t finished developing in adolescents can make getting behind the wheel risky for new drivers.

Sleep Away

Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes annually. You don’t want to be in one of them! So check out these time-proven sleep tips from the National Sleep Foundation:

  • Organize your life to make sleep a priority.
  • Establish sleeping and waking times, and stick with them.
  • Indulge in an afternoon nap, but don’t doze close to bedtime.
  • Make your sleeping space cool, quiet, and dark.
  • Realize that nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine will keep you awake.
  • Get regular daytime exercise–that will help you sleep. But working out too close to bedtime can keep you awake.
  • Create a bedtime ritual: Take a relaxing bath, read, or listen to quiet music.

Ways to avoid gaining weight over the holidays

Holidays 2015 are coming. Follow these Q&A with our advisor below to update your knowledge for health care.

Q1: Are there ways. not to gain weight over the holidays?

holiday-weight-gainA: Around Thanksgiving many people start wondering about how to control weight gain. It’s traditionally believed that most people gain about 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, but research has shown the figure to be closer to 1 pound. The problem is, even 1 pound at a time can add up over the years. Here are a few hints to keep in mind:

  • Don’t starve yourself before a party or a big meal; you’ll just be more likely to overeat.
  • Go for your favorite foods, but try to eat smaller portions.
  • When you can, opt for lower-fat/lower-calorie items, such as spiced cider instead of eggnog.
  • Balance occasions when you have a big meal with ones where you cut back.
  • Keep exercising!

Q2: Is it true that antibiotics will soon no longer be effective for many people?

antibioticsA: Harvard University researchers reported recently that by the middle of 2004, nearly two-thirds of common strains of infection-causing bacteria may be resistant to both penicillin and erythromycin, two common antibiotics. “Resistant” means that a drug is not effective in treating the illness or medical condition. This issue has been a concern for a long time.

One way health care professionals are addressing the problem is to urge patients not to pressure their physicians to prescribe antibiotics. Likewise, public health agencies have strongly encouraged doctors to only prescribe antibiotics when absolutely necessary. The message seems to be getting across.

Last summer, the journal Pediatrics reported that antibiotic use by U.S. children fell by almost 25 percent from 1996 to 2000. More antibiotics are prescribed for children than for adults, the journal said.

Q3: Is antibacterial soap better for you than plain soap?

antibacterialA: Short answer: no. A survey reported this year by the Tufts University School of Medicine found that there was little difference in the levels of bacteria in homes that used antibacterial cleaning products and those that didn’t. Significant amounts of bacteria were found in both categories of households. They found the highest numbers of bacteria on kitchen sponges and in sink and bathtub drains.

Some experts warn that antibacterial products can cause long-term problems. These products may kill weaker strains of bacteria, while stronger, more resistant ones can flourish. You don’t need to throw away your antibacterial soap; use it up and then try something different.

And use common sense around your house: Wash your hands thoroughly before cooking and eating, and after using the bathroom. Wash cutting boards, utensils, and countertops after food preparation and cooking. Change dish towels and sponges often.

Q4: What are “baby boomers”? I hear the term a lot and I’m not sure what that means.

baby-boomersA: After the end of World War II in 1945, the United States and other countries experienced a “baby boom.” Couples were reunited after having been separated during the war. Young men and women who had served in the war came home, got married, and started families. That led to a large number of babies being born–a baby boom–that lasted from 1946 to approximately 1955. (Some social scientists extend that period to the early 1960s.)

Now those “boomers” are, of course, growing older. It is estimated that within the next 30 years, the number of persons ages 65 to 84 will increase by 80 percent. One area where this will have a huge effect is health care. Because of modern medical advances, people are living longer. Caring for the medical needs of a large population of older people will be extremely expensive–and will require more health care professionals and workers and facilities to house the elderly.

Heading out for a ride: behind the wheel, you need the right mind set

The Department of Motor Vehicles said she was good to go. But after passing the written and road tests and getting her driver’s license, Emily Wensberg, 18, still wasn’t sure about driving. “I was a very nervous driver,” the Boston University freshman says. “Even after I got my license, I was very unconfident.”


Wensberg did what relatively few people do: She enrolled in yet another driving course. That daylong skills session in New Hampshire, called Street Survival, started with a presentation about the psychology and physics of driving. Instructors then had her practice driving in straight lines, circles, and figure eights around traffic cones, braking hard at times, while they talked her through the car’s reactions.

The instructors confirmed what Wensberg had suspected: Driving is not an automatic process. “It’s easy to feel overconfident when you’re driving,” she says. “I think it’s a big responsibility. You’re suddenly in control of this huge vehicle.”

Through the course, Wensberg found out what professional drivers know: To handle the roads, you need a firm grip on how both your vehicle and your brain work.

It’s Not You Until It’s You

In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) cited traffic crashes as the leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 24. “Road traffic crashes are not ‘accidents,'” Margaret Chan, WHO director-general, said in a statement. “We need to challenge the notion that they are unavoidable.”

Need proof? Last summer in Canandaigua, N.Y., Bailey Goodman, 17, fatally drove into an oncoming vehicle. She and friends were in a caravan, on the way to a cottage to celebrate high school graduation. No alcohol was involved. But her phone sent out text messages around the time of the crash.

Four of Bailey’s friends died with her. Crashes can injure or kill others–passengers, people in other vehicles, or pedestrians. Teen drivers kill other people five times as often as elderly drivers do, according to a five-year study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

You may hear crash stories and feel empathy. Then you distance yourself from them, as if bad luck were catching. You might rationalize that you’re too good of a driver to get in an accident, according to Phil Berardelli, author of Safe Young Drivers: A Guide for Parents and Teens.

Berardelli teaches driving skills to fill in where driver’s ed leaves off. When he addresses groups, he cites a 53-month period in which U.S. troop deaths in Iraq numbered 2,600; during the same time span, more than 26,000 people ages 15 to 19 died in vehicle crashes “every bit as suddenly and violently.” Shocking? Sure. But part of Berardelli’s strategy is to get parents to think about what comes naturally to teens–and how that might work against them.

An Owner’s Manual for the Brain


Year after year, vehicle crashes take more teen lives than AIDS, drugs, guns, and suicide combined. “It’s an enduring national health crisis,” says Berardelli. And it’s preventable.

Now, researchers are turning to the natural progression of the brain for answers. For more than 15 years, Dr. Jay Giedd, a principal investigator at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has been scanning brain activity in young people. What he and his colleagues have learned about how the brain morphs during adolescence helps explain the risks teens encounter behind the wheel.

According to the scientists at NIMH, young drivers have a lot going on “upstairs.” New connections are forming between neurons, the nerve cells in the brain. Useless connections are being weeded out.

Researchers can actually color code those changes. White matter, made up of fatty myelin sheaths that insulate neurons, increases. Gray matter–neurons without myelin–starts to thin. The “white” thickens through age 40. The result? High school students have fewer but more rapid connections than, say, their parents.

As people become adults, different parts of the brain finish growing at different times. The last section reaches maturity at age 25 or so, posing a danger for new drivers: The frontal lobes that act like brakes for thrill seeking and risk taking aren’t ready at age 16. The younger the driver, the more likely he or she might drive after drinking “just once”–or head down the road without buckling up.

Meanwhile, the amygdala, a small mass of gray matter associated with emotional reactions, is in overdrive, helping teens read situations. Emotions kick into gear more often, which affects driving. Young drivers might speed up when nervous or gun the car when angry.

To complicate matters, the pineal gland, at the base of the brain, is slow to release the sleep-inducing chemical melatonin in teens. Therefore, it’s natural for new drivers to stay up late and, as a consequence, drive when they haven’t had enough sleep. That’s bad news: A sleep-deprived driver is as impaired as someone with a .08 percent blood alcohol content–the legal limit in every state. In July and August, an average of more than 100 16- and 17-year-olds die in drowsy-driving accidents, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.


Your health-in your hands: do you dread those annual health checkups?

It’s time for your annual medical checkup. Your morn drives you to the pediatrician’s office. The waiting room, which is decorated with pictures of the characters on Sesame Street, is full of crying babies. When the nurse finally calls your name, Mom follows you into the examining room. Your doctor arrives and starts asking Mom questions about your health.

Medical Checkup

Sound familiar? As you get older, you may find that doctor visits leave you with a headache. Most pediatricians’ offices, with their pint-size chairs, sets of blocks, and stacks of parenting magazines, aren’t very welcoming to teens. If your longtime doctor is of the opposite sex, you may feel strange being examined by him or her, even though it never bothered you before. And having a parent around makes it tough to ask questions on subjects like sex, alcohol, smoking – even dieting.

If circumstances like those are keeping you from getting adequate health care, you’re not alone. According to a recent article in the journal Pediatrics, the number of doctor visits being made for 11- to 21-year-olds is dropping. Even though there are sufficient numbers of physicians, nurses, and healthcare workers available to treat them, kids this age aren’t seeing their doctors as often as they need to.

Healthy Behavior = Healthy Body

Don’t let childish decor at your doc’s office keep you from getting the care you need. It is important that teens stay on top of medical issues that affect them. Although statistics show that adolescents are healthier overall than members of other age-groups, many of the lifestyle choices that teens make at this age have long-term consequences on their life and health.

health-and-teenConsider these 2003 figures, courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1. Smoking. Fifty-eight percent of ninth through 12th graders admitted that they had tried cigarettes at least once.

2. Alcohol. Nearly 75 percent reported that they’d tried booze at least once.

3. Sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy. Every year, approximately 3 million teens in the United States contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Nearly 900,000 teenage girls in the United States become pregnant. Diet and exercise. Obesity is on the rise among American adolescents, 38 percent of whom admitted that they watched three or more hours of TV a day.

Getting Comfortable

At about age 12, many kids begin the gradual process of assuming responsibility for their own health care. This is the age when pediatricians often start to direct questions to the adolescent, not the parent, says John Seiverding. Seiverding, who has worked with teens in San Francisco and upstate New York, is one of a small but growing number of pediatricians who have trained as specialists in adolescent medicine.

“Adolescence is a dramatic period of social change. Kids are learning how to make life decisions, like how to take care of their health,” he explained. “Around the age of 14 or 15, most kids begin to really view themselves as the patient.”

As the patient, you may decide that you’d be more comfortable seeing a new doctor. The guidelines for doing so are “the same as they would be for a person of any age,” Seiverding told Current Health. “Ask yourself, Does the doctor listen to you? Does he or she take you seriously? Is the doctor someone who addresses your concerns and you?”

Whether you settle on a pediatrician, a family practitioner, or an adolescent specialist, find a doctor you feel you can trust and who is aware of “how adolescents perceive the world,” he advised. He added that some adults are dismissive of issues that are monumentally important to teens, such as acne and body image. Teens appreciate a doctor who empathizes with them and helps them address those problems.

Keeping It Quiet

girl-and-doctorKnowing that a doctor will respect their privacy is another vital consideration for most teens. Kids under age 16 need a parent’s permission to receive medical treatment. (A letter from a parent is usually all that is needed for a teen’s current doctor to see the teen on his or her own.) Certain issues – including sexual issues, substance abuse, and mental health – are considered to be privileged information in many states. That means a doctor cannot disclose this information to anyone, including the patient’s parents, without the patient’s permission.

However, facts that indicate that a teen is in danger from physical or sexual abuse or is at risk for suicide or homicide must by law be reported to the authorities. Keep in mind that confidentiality can be compromised by a teen’s health insurance. Because many teens are covered by their parents’ insurance plans, bills for telltale tests and sensitive procedures may end up being sent to the parents’ homes.

However, most doctors who treat teens are accustomed to balancing a teen’s right to privacy with a parent’s right to know. “Many parents are more than happy to step out of the room to allow doctor and patient a chance to have a private discussion,” Seiverding told CH. “Parents want doctors to talk to their kids about the things, like sex, that they themselves are uncomfortable talking about.”

From height and weight to skin care, you may have many questions, and your doctor is just the person to consult about them. “Get your questions answered,” urged Seiverding. “You might not think you can voice them, but you can, and your medical provider can help you.”

9 drinks for cooling during summer time

During summer time, it is easy for you to get sick with all the heat and sweating. Drinking enough or more than enough water is highly recommended. However, water might be too bland for your taste.

Here we have some suggestions that not only hydrate your body but also taste good.

  • Coconut milkcoconut-milk

According to Eastern medicines, coconut milk, with its natural and warm sweetness, is toxin-free and it has the effect of cooling your body and enhancing your vitality.

  • Green tea

According to Health, when the weather is too hot, drinking tea does not only help to cool you off but also offer some benefits for your health. High concentration of Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) in tea leaves has been proved to have the effects of fighting off fatigue, cooling your skin and removing toxins from your body.

Drinking 4 to 5 cups of tea (about 800-1000 ml) a day also helps to prevent some kinds of diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, atherosclerosis, etc.

Since drinking tea at late hours can result in difficulty falling asleep, we recommend drinking tea early in the morning or early in the afternoon. A cup of green tea will give you a feeling of refreshment to tackle any work that might come your way.

  • Orange or lemon juice


Orange and lemon juice has the effects of hydrating your body and preventing any sickness and symptoms caused by heat built up in your body. Its antipyretic effect is undeniable. In addition, its sweet and sour taste will definitely improve your mood.

  • Kudzu

Kudzu is lightly sweet and balanced nature, according to Eastern medicines. It has antifebrile effect, which quenches your thirst, reduces fever and treats dysentery… It detoxifies your body and let your body sweat more. Isoflavon concentration in Kudzu can increase blood flow to your brain and lower blood pressure.

Kudzu juice is easy to make. Add Kudzu powder to water, mix it well. Squeeze 2 cumquats to add more flavor to your drink. Add sugar, maybe a little salt to your taste. Add ice and enjoy your drink.

  • Watermelon or wax gourd


Watermelon or wax gourd juice has been proved to be very well antipyretic. The taste is delicious and refreshing.

According to Eastern medicines, not only its flesh is good for your health, its rind is good too. Watermelon rind can detoxify your body and have antipyretic effect. Wax gourd rind can reduce swelling and inflammation, which is very good for people who are suffering from diabetes to use.

You can wash the rinds; chop it into small slices and pieces. You can either dry it in the sunlight or use it fresh. Boil it with water to drink every day.

  • Corn silk

According to traditional Eastern medicines, corn silk is lightly sweet and naturally balanced. You can use it fresh or dried in the sunlight. Boil it with water for daily uses. You can even add sugarcane or pineapple leaves.

This can be used in place of water daily for those who suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes.

  • Centella

Its bitterness and sweetness together gives a unique taste. It has the effect of longevity. Its juice is good for your health. It helps improve your memory, your sight and it is also diuretic.

Crush 30-50g fresh centella to get its juice or boil it to drink like tea. This juice can even lower blood pressure.

  • Mung bean

Its sweetness and cooling effect is incredible. You can boil it to drink. It is even processed to powder form. This powder when mixed with water taste good and good for your health, also.

Negative effects of lack of sleep to your health

As you know, sleep plays an essential part in each person’s life. With the lack of sleep, both physical and mental health of a person can be affected negatively over time, which can result in seriously bad conditions. This is some health problems you can get after long period of lacking sleep:

lack of sleep

1. Obesity:

  • There is a connection between the length of your sleep and blood plasma concentration of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin. The shorter your sleep is, the higher level of ghrelin is secreted.
  • And as its name might already suggest, ghrelin makes you feel hunger. And with ghrelin goes wild, leptin cannot do its job of repressing the feeling of hunger. This results in you eating more than you actually needs and in the end, obesity awaits you.
  • There is one way to prevent this from happening. You should sleep more than 6 hours a day.

2. Heart condition:

Heart condition

  • There is high chance that you might get some conditions due to the lack of sleep, some are dangerous heart conditions. You can get attacked by a myocardial infarction, heart failure, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disorder… all are fatal and deathly.
  • Heart conditions will prevent you from achieving many greater things in life and can eventually lead you to an early death.

3. Damages to the skin:

Damages to the skin

  • If you are thinking about having panda eyes or some pimples, it is not that simple.
  • When you sleep, your skin goes into the regenerating process.
  • Lack of sleep and sleeping disorder results in hormone cortisol being secreted more. This hormone affects your skin’s protein badly.
  • After a while, your skin will lose its elasticity. You will soon get wrinkles and creases on your face, which will make you look older than you really are.

4. Forgetfulness


  • Your brain will also be affected without enough sleep, which results in your memory being affected too.
  • You will start to find it hard to remember where you put things or new faces, new names. Eventually, this can make your grade go down if you are a student or if you are working, you might screw up something.

5. Bad decision making:

  • You cannot really consider all sides of think thoroughly and carefully without letting your brain have some rest.
  • Eventually, you will make some decisions that you will soon regret.

6. Obstruction of your studying process:

  • Things you learn in daytime will get strengthened at night, when you sleep and let your brain does what it is supposed to do. This will help create long-lasting memories about all the knowledge and information you manage to gather.
  • When life is all about learning new things, the lack of sleep can be the biggest enemy ever on your way of improving yourself and discovering new abilities. Losing against this enemy means your development will be severely affected.

7. Depression

  • Lack of sleep leads to depression  and depression again leads to even longer time of staying awake. This is a repeated, no-way-out cycle. Getting stuck in this cycle means your physical and mental health is seriously at stake.

Working continuously is not the way to improve your abilities and to achieve greater goals. You have to get enough rest, enough sleep. Be responsible with your own body. When it says it needs rest, you cannot say no.

Get the help of expert if your problem gets out of hand. At this age, you have to really take care of yourself not to let you be sucked into the vicious gear of all work and no rest and get crushed.

5 Ways To Avoid Gaining Weight During The Winter

Practice to lose weight seems to be an impossible mission during the winter months. Therefore, gaining more pound is not inevitable. This article will recommend 5 ways for burning these calories easier.

exercise-in-winterFirst, individuals should understand the reason why they are getting fat after these cold days. In fact, there are lots of reasons which lead to weight gain in the winter, not just only lack of exercises.

  • Lack of vitamins D. To illustrate, in the winter, people rarely go outside so that fat will be stored in the body.
  • People tend to eat foods with high level of sugar. These snacks will lower the level of blood sugar in your body. Therefore, individuals tend to crave for more food.
  • Individuals are less likely to be happy during this time. They will have different types of feeling include dark, cold or sad. For most people, they often consume too much food when experience the sad and disappointed feeling.

Tips to get rid of fat body during winter:


You should eat more high-water content food such as noodles, soups or drink more water. Studies have shown that soup, vegetables and cereal are three main food which contains a great amount of water. For instant, soups and vegetables contain up to 90% of water, cereal contains 85% of water. In addition, water can help people get out of starvation without adding more calories.


 Sunlight produces hormone and boosts the brain which give individuals a sense of fullness. Moreover, according to Norman E. Rosenthal – a researcher, if people have an average amount of sunlight in the morning, they can suppress the food starvation and overeat.


By increasing the amount of protein in each meal, you will cut off the calories which results in getting slimmer. In addition, consuming more protein will fool the brain that you have eaten more food on the plate.

There are a variety of protein food which you can add in the daily diet gradually. For people who love meat, fish and lean chicken breasts are two typical types of food. People often get hungry at nights during their diet process, you can have a cup of yogurt or soymilk. These types of food will not only help passing through the starvation, but prevent individual from being fat as well.


control-foodFor people who want to lose weight, searching for cookbook from the internet or bookstores is a great idea. These books will show you how to cook meals which are simple and healthy for the body.

On the other hand, avoid drinking soft drink or beers. To illustrate, one bottle of beer has up to 150 calories. Therefore, people who drink beer regularly then spend time working in the office are more likely to get beer belly. Soft-drink is also the same.


People are more likely to eat lots of food during winter months. Therefore, it is better to do exercises for burning out these calories. You can practice the body in some small activities such as taking the remote or going down the stairs. Moreover, make use of the housework as well.

spin-bike-workoutOn the other hand, winter means that you don’t have a chance to practice outside your house. So some people choose to have one exercising at home in order to workout whenever they want. Beginners are often suggested to pick up a good spin bike such as Sunny SF-B1203 to work out regularly at home without being restricted by the changes of weather.

These 5 strategies will keep you far away from gaining more weight during the winter months. Just keep in mind two main things include eating healthy and practicing exercises regularly. Maintain these habits and you will find it easy to get away from weight gain in the winter, even throughout the year.


Building better bones

WHILE WE SIT AND TALK, work and breathe, architects are constantly at work in our bones. Consisting of bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) and bone-removal cells (osteoclasts), these construction engineers take part in what you might call the Battle of the Bone — a tug-of-war over your skeleton.

Simply put, the bone removers are winning. After you reach maturity they work faster, stealing up to 4 percent of your bone each year after menopause. Meanwhile, the bone formers manage to crank out new bone at only a 2 percent rate. The pluses and minuses don’t add up in our favor. And too often the results is osteoporosis, the bone-thinning disease that can lead to “spontaneous fractures.”

Enter a secret weapon to assist the bone-forming cells and help bring that equation back into balance: resistance training. We told you about it in our December 1990 article “Interior Bodybuilding.”

resistance training

All-around physical activity can maintain and even increase bone mass. But what can resistance training do for your bones? Cutting-edge research is beginning to suggest that resistance esxercises — primarily those that target specific osteoporotic hot spots — may actually prevent bone loss and stimulate an increase in bone mass in those vulnerable areas. This is new territory, but here’s a lhint of what preliminary research indicates so far:

* In a recent study, pushing exercises using the forearm helped boost bone in that area in a group of 70-year-old osteoporotic women. The women pushed against a wall or clasped their hands together and pushed them against each other in three weekly workouts for five months. They experienced a 3.8 percent increase in bone in the distal radius (wrist), while the nonexercisers saw a decline of 1.9 percent (Calcified Tissue International, February 1987). “Even in a short period of time, they saw increases in an area of bone where many fractures occur,” says Sydney Lou Bonnick, M.D., director of osteoporosis services at the Cooper Clinic, in Dallas.

* In another study, this time of middle-aged women, exercise helped stave off bone loss that usually accompanies the middle years. The four-year study included use of light weights and resistance bands to strengthen the upper body. Ten of the 18 areas of bone mass measured showed significantly reduced bone loss among the xercisers. Projected over 20 years, the bone mass of the ulna (the forearm bone on the side of the little finger) normally would decline 25 percent. In the exercise group, that steep decline was projected to tilt up in a big way — slowing to just 5 percent (Calcified Tissue International, 1989, vol. 44, 312-21).

* Studies of the racket arms of tennis players show a much higher bone mass in that limb than the nonracket arm (Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 244, no. 10). “The bone density is greater in that arm simply because it encounters more resistance,” says Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., president and founder of the Institute for Aerobics Research. “Any resistance exercise targeting a bone tends to do that.”


Weight-bearing exercises like stair climbing and walking — targeting the lower limbs — have also caused significant increases in bone mass. Small increases in the spine have been shown to occur, even though the resistance exercises used didn;t target that crucial zone. These increases (less than 1 percent in a group of 34 women at Texas Woman’s University) may be considered insignificant in this 12-month study. But over a sustained period they could add up. Even more, gaining or maintaining bone mass means one simple yet monumental thing — you aren’t losing any. In that sense, it’s not insignificant that you’re slowing — even reversing — one of the so-called inevitables of aging.

Bone experts agree. “Exercise may be the greatest stimulator that bone ever gets, and may maintain and even increase your bone mass,” says Everett L. Smith, Ph.D., director of the biogerontology lab, department of preventive medicine, University of Wisconsin. “It may help maintain a younger bone — a younger bone that is more resistant to fracture.”


For a full-on preventive attack against the onslaught of osteoporosis, we’ve asked the top researchers for a little advice on protecting crucial parts of the skeleton — the hips, spine and wrists. These areas are the most vulnerable and most common victims of osteoporotic fractures, with fractures of the hips and spine resulting in the most illness and death. Wrist fractures are obviously much less life-threatening, but are often painful and delibitating.

With the experts at hand, we’ve come up with an exercise program targeted at those flash points of fracture, to prevent these breaks from happening and bone from leaving home. (Remember, though, that exercise is not a substitute for other osteoporosis-prevention measures, such as a good diet and proper medical care.)

And don’t forget the main benefit of resistance training — it builds muscle. By boosting strength, you may reduce the risk of falling and the force of impact if you do. That alone may cut the risk of many osteoporotic fractures. So while you’re working the bone, you’re also creating and improving upon a fracture-proofing jacket of muscle — surrounding your skeleton and providing a cushion against falls.

Keep the spine in line. For the spine, back exercises are key. “For a beginner, a good thing to start off with are floor exercises or stretches in which you work at arching your back,” says Dr. Bonnick. They’re easy to learn and can be done anywhere with relative ease.

The next rung up the spine-protecting ladder might be back extensors. This calls for some mechanical assistance. “The back-extension machine, which is found in almost every health club, is probably the most underused machine and probably one of the most effective,” says Dr. Bonnick. Dr. Bonnick believes this machine may be the most important tool in tageting the vertebrae. Once you have mastered these exercises, you might feel confident enough to try a tougher one, the squat. “If you really want to stimulate the spine, you need an exercise that affects the whole structure,” says William Kraemer, Ph.D., director of research at the Center for Sports Medicine, Pennsylvania State University. “Squats improve upon bone mass by providing adequate loading on the spine and hip.” Squats are easier said than sweated. But if done slowly and carefully, they can be accomplished and t heir benefits reaped.

Assist your wrist. “Spine and hip fractures get most of the attention because they are the most devastating,” says dr. Bonnick. “But wrist fractures are extremely common and very painful.” Dr. Bonnick has her patients target that area with wrist curls. “I have them do two or three sets of wrist curls, with plenty of rest in between” she says. Rest is important with any exercise than requires a lot of gripping (this includes riding an exercise bike, for example). “Gripping for a long period of time without rest can boost blood pressure,” says Dr. Bonnick. When doing wrist curls, do two or three sets with no more than eight repetitions for each set.

Get hip to your hips. For this major target zone, squats can also help. But to get an even better bulls-eye on the bone, Dr. Bonnick advises hip flexion and extension, and hip adduction and abduction. These exercises call for stretch bands, pulleys or tubing. Health clubs usually have pulley machines that allow you to do a number of exercises that work the hip.