It’s been a busy weekend, but a gorgeous one for the middle of November. Today was sunny, calm and warm with highs in the upper 60’s. So, I got out for a great, brisk walk at my favorite Metro Park – Sharon Woods.
I was thinking about all the good things that were happening for my body and brain as I walked. According to this brief article here’s the ten good things going on for me:
Walking puts you in the express lane on the highway to better health. Let’s recap all the perks of ambulating:
1. Fat burn
2. Strong bones
3. Sunny mood
4. Sharp mind
5. Healthy heart
6. Toned muscles
7. Enhanced immunity
8. Deep sleep
9. Dementia protection
10. Longer life
Will be it nice weather this week where you live? If so (or even if it’s not), as the article concludes:
Are you pumped to lace up your walking shoes?
You likely learned (or perhaps taught) in Biology class how a virus multiplies inside of a cell. Chances are though that you’ve never seen this process like it’s illustrated in a new video from NPR:
Convinced that you should indeed get a flu shot this season? What else can you do to stay healthy this winter? From CNN comes The Ultimate Cold and Flu Survival Guide.
And you can also enact this “immodest proposal” from Ozy: “Don’t Shake On It” because:
Beyond the power politics, handshakes are also natural vehicles for spreading infectious diseases. They’re ticking germ bombs — with the CDC estimating that nearly 80 percent of infections are transmitted by hands, which teem with millions of bacteria and viruses. This led Dr. Tom McClellan of West Virginia University to laud a safer salutation — the fist bump — while other health officials promoted the elbow bump during Haiti’s cholera outbreak, Mexico’s swine flu scare and the recent Ebola epidemic.
OK, it’s Sunday night (ugh!) And of course I worked much this weekend, but didn’t get as much grading, planning, etc done as I wanted to do.
As I was getting ready to head downstairs to do my Sunday night task – folding laundry – and my every night task – washing dishes – I came across an encouraging article about the value of what I’m about to do.
Time Magazine offers a brief, yet insightful article about a study which showed that washing dishes can be a great stress reliever – if you do it mindfully. I like the reading excerpt which the researchers had one group of subjects read:
While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes. This means that while washing the dishes one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing is a wondrous reality. I’m being completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.
After the group which read this excerpt, washed dishes and then responded with higher levels of inspiration and lower levels of nervousness, it lead the study authors to conclude:
“It appears that an everyday activity approached with intentionality and awareness may enhance the state of mindfulness,”
I’ve written on this blog previously about the many benefits of mindful meditation. And I have many more articles to share and reflections to offer on what I’ve discovered regarding the benefits of it. But, I can’t share these now — I have dishes to do and laundry to fold!
Well, sort of. More and more scientific evidence is mounting that a sedentary life-style, especially in which one sits at a desk all (or most of) the day, can actually subtract years off of your life expectancy!
This article does a nice job of summing up this research while offering recommendations.
The main take-aways from the article:
- New research continues to mount that the more hours you spend sitting in a day, the shorter your lifespan may be – even if you engage in regular exercise
- Women who sit for 10 or more hours a day have a significantly greater risk of developing heart disease than those who sit for five hours or less
- The key to counteract the ill effects of sitting is to repeatedly interrupt your sitting; try setting a timer and standing up at least once every 20 minutes or at least 30-35 times (spread out) in a day
- Correct posture and standing up 30 times per day may compensate for the damage that is done by long periods of sitting.
I don’t know about you, but I actually sit for less than two hours during my work day teaching. And I imagine nearly 100% of teachers sit far less than the 10 hours a day that puts one into the “significantly greater risk” category.
And standing every 20 minutes? How about if I try sitting for even a few minutes each hour?
What is actual teacher mortality rate compared to other professions? According to the study cited at this blog, teaching has the third lowest rate after religious clergy and accountants and is quite a bit lower than architects and engineers. So, I guess standing and being a “sage on the stage” is much better for you long term than hunching over a desk.
When I’m not on Christmas Break, I often find myself so sleepy in the afternoons (or during the 5th period Study Hall I facilitate) that I can hardly keep my eyes open.
This eye-opening article is a wake-up call for me to find ways to get more sleep each night – not just on break, but every day!