You are here: Home / HPRC Blog

Filed under: Healthy behaviors

Journal entry icon

Which is better: 30 minutes of swimming or running?

HPRC Fitness Arena:
The Globe and Mail (Toronto) has an interesting piece on which activity is better for you – swimming or running?

Athletic man swimming

The Globe and Mail (Toronto) has an interesting piece on which activity is better for you - swimming or running? The conclusion, according to the article, is that swimming is good for muscles, joints and some (but not all) cardiovascular risk factors. But to get the full benefits from aerobic activity, include some land-based exercise in your routine at least once or twice a week.

Read the full article here.

 

Journal entry icon

Control portions to eat fast food healthfully

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Portion control is even more important when it comes to fast food.

It may be hard to avoid the convenience of fast food since it’s inexpensive, tasty, and well...convenient. But with that convenience often comes an overload of calories, fat, and sodium. To avoid these pitfalls, be mindful of your portion sizes.  For more tips on how to make healthier fast food choices, view this guide by Helpguide.org.

Journal entry icon

Choose your friends wisely!

HPRC Fitness Arena:
Friends can inspire us to be our best.

You are more likely to seek health information online when your friends are also doing so. A recent study found that individuals with multiple friends who sign up for an online health forum were more likely to sign up for it themselves. Similarly, you’re also more likely to practice healthy behaviors when your friends do the same. To enhance your health, choose your friends wisely!

Journal entry icon

What you eat affects how you sleep.

HPRC Fitness Arena:
If you have trouble sleeping, think about tweaking your diet for a better night's sleep.

Sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, but in general, most healthy adults need at least eight hours of sleep each night to function at their best. Food fuels our way through the day (can give you the necessary energy to pull you through the day), but did you know that food also has an effect on how we sleep? Watch what you eat in the course of a day – particularly in the hours before you go to bed – if you want to optimize your sleep at night. We give you some tips below on the best foods to eat to help you sleep soundly, and those to avoid if you have trouble resting at night.

Foods to avoid before bed:

  • Caffeine: Caffeine can cause sleep disturbances even many hours after drinking it. Some people find there’s a cut-off time for their bodies – caffeine before that time won’t affect their sleep, but anything after, say, 2:00 p.m. can cause problems with their sleep. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, and chocolate, among other foods.
  • Alcohol: Some people think of alcohol as a nightcap to help you sleep better. While it may help you get to sleep faster, it also reduces sleep quality by waking you up later, in the middle of the night. A glass of wine before bed should be fine; several stiff drinks are not.
  • Big or heavy meals: Fatty food takes time to digest and may keep you from getting to sleep. Spicy and acidic foods at night often cause stomach problems and/or heartburn. Try having an earlier dinner and avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of when you’ll be going to bed.
  • Liquids: Caffeinated drinks act as diuretics, resulting in frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom, and drinking too much water or other liquids close to bedtime also increases your trips to the bathroom in the night.
  • Sugar: Anything too sugary, like many desserts or nighttime snacks are, can interfere with your sleep.

    Best foods before bed:

    • Bananas: Bananas contain large amounts of tryptophan, which triggers the release of melatonin and serotonin in our brains, helping us relax.
    • Dairy: Dairy is also a good source of tryptophan, especially combined with some carbohydrates, like oatmeal. A warm glass of milk or a small bowl of oatmeal should help you sleep.
    • Turkey: Another good source of tryptophan. Think of the post-Thanksgiving turkey slump many of us experience! Combined with whole-wheat bread in a small sandwich, this is a recipe for a deep, relaxing sleep.

    Quality sleep is essential to our health. To start sleeping soundly, try some simple modifications to your diet and see if it helps you.

    Journal entry icon

    Eat well to help get a good night’s sleep!

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    If you have trouble falling asleep, look at what you're eating to make a difference.

    Did you know that eating right not only helps you stay healthy, but may also help you sleep better? The type of food that you eat has a significant impact on many aspects of health.

    Click here to read more about foods that may help you fight insomnia and get a good night’s sleep.

    Journal entry icon

    Sleep to live longer

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    Getting a good night's sleep is important for health.

    One way to lengthen your life is to sleep! Recent evidence suggests that men who have difficulty falling asleep, maintaining sleep, or only sleep for short periods of time may be at a higher risk of dying. In the study, men who reported to have insomnia or had insufficient sleep were much more likely to die over a 14-year period. Reduce your risk of death from all causes by sleeping!

    Journal entry icon

    Check out "Life’s Simple 7"™

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    An online resource by the American Heart Association lists steps that are crucial to our health.

    The Simple 7™ is an easy way to figure out how to achieve good health. This online resource, provided by the American Heart Association, lists seven steps that are crucial to our health. We list their steps for you below:

    1. Don’t smoke.
    2. Maintain a healthy weight.
    3. Engage in physical activity.
    4. Eat a healthy diet.
    5. Manage your blood pressure.
    6. Take charge of your cholesterol.
    7. Keep your blood glucose at healthy levels.

    With Life’s Simple 7™, you'll find out where you stand, how you're doing, and also get you your own personal heart score and health plan.

    Journal entry icon

    Make the next potluck a healthy one!

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    Potlucks can be healthy gatherings, too.

    Instead of asking your friends to bring their usual comfort foods to dinner at your house, suggest that everyone bring a healthy option instead. Place caloric restrictions or assign different people to fruit, vegetable, or meat dishes. This will help get everyone involved in healthier eating habits.

    Journal entry icon

    Go to “workout hour!”

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    Hanging out with your friends doesn't have to be unhealthy.

    Hanging out with friends may include habits that oppose your health goals. Instead of skipping out on quality time with them, invite them to participate in an activity like a group cycling class that will get everyone moving. A healthy social life contributes to good health, so get the group moving!

    Journal entry icon

    Take the stairs, not the elevator

    HPRC Fitness Arena:
    Improve your cardiovascular health on the stairs.

    A few minutes a day of stair climbing can improve your cardiovascular health, a recent study finds. A study of sedentary college-aged women who walked 199 stair steps a day the first week, and who worked up to six ascents, or climbs, a day by the sixth week, were significantly more fit (heart rate, oxygen uptake, blood lactate levels and increased HDL) by the end than in the beginning.

    RSS Feed