Welcome to the HPRC Blog. We've got lots of information here, from quick tips to in-depth posts about detailed human performance optimization topics.
Although salt is an essential nutrient, very little is needed in the diet. High-salt diets are associated with increased blood pressure and higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Reduce your intake by using fresh or frozen vegetables not canned; cooking with fresh meat, fish, and poultry rather than processed or canned; and using salt-free seasonings, spices, and herbs. Avoid instant and prepackaged foods. If you do eat canned foods, rinse the contents to wash off excess salt. Read these links for more ideas: HealthDay News and American Heart Association.
According to researchers at Northwestern University, regular exercise may improve your sleep quality and mood. They studied two groups: one that exercised four times per week for 16 weeks, and one that took part in recreational and educational activities but did not exercise. Participants who exercised reported that their sleep quality improved. They also reported fewer depressive symptoms, more vitality, and less sleepiness in the daytime. Sleep is important to good health, so stay physically active to improve your sleep quality and mood! Read HealthDay News for more details.
Having children help out with dinner and keeping the same routine when a parent is deployed; marking a calendar with an X for every day their parent is away, and having a great support system are just a few of the strategies that the Sesame Street Workshop's program on "Preparing for Deployment" offers.
They also have age-appropriate workshops for younger children on "When Families Grieve," "Coping with Changes," and "Homecomings Family Routines."
Eggs are a good source of protein but the yolks are high in cholesterol; egg whites are cholesterol-free. A diet high in cholesterol may contribute to high blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Experts recommend that you limit your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg a day if you are a healthy individual and less than 200 mg a day if you have heart condition. Since one egg has about 213 mg of cholesterol, consider limiting other sources of cholesterol on days you eat eggs. The Mayoclinic offers tips to reduce cholesterol intake.
Remember to include nuts and seeds in your diet. Try them as snacks, on salads, or in main dishes. You can even use nuts to replace meat or poultry. For example, add toasted peanuts to a vegetable stir fry instead of meat. Or, add walnuts or pecans to a green salad instead of cheese or meat.
We don’t give much thought to our skeletal systems until we do something that results in a broken bone. But bones play a vital role in a person’s general health and fitness. Our bones support us, allow us to move, and protect our vital organs from injury. They also store minerals—such as calcium and phosphorus—that are released into the bloodstream when our systems need them, for example, for muscle contractions.
Bone loss usually occurs gradually over a long period of time. By taking steps now to maintain healthy bones, you could ward off medical conditions such as osteoporosis.
One way to maintain optimal bone health is to eat foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Without enough vitamin D, the body cannot absorb enough calcium from the foods we eat. This causes calcium to be taken our bones, which prevents the growth of new bone and results in weaker bones.
Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, nuts and seeds, beans, broccoli and other leafy green vegetables, and fortified products such as orange juice that have added calcium. Good sources of vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish, beef liver, and milk with vitamin D. We also make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun, although not everyone is able to get enough vitamin D this way.
Another way to keep your bones strong is to engage in physical activity. The best exercises are the strength-building and weight-bearing kinds such as walking, climbing, lifting weights, and dancing.
Other ways to maintain bone health include preventing falls by reducing the risk factors that you can control. Improve your balance and strength through exercise, maintain good vision, and make sure that your home is free of “falling dangers” such as poor lighting and loose rugs. Risk factors such as smoking, alcohol, medications, and body weight are also controllable. Smoking cigarettes, like vitamin D deficiency, can keep your body from using the calcium in your diet. Alcohol and certain medications (glucocorticoids, for example) also can cause your bones to become weak or lose mass. Moreover, being too thin increases one’s risk of developing weak bones that are more likely to break. If necessary, boost your diet with calcium and vitamin D supplements. Also consider talking to your physician about your bone health.
You may have heard again and again how important calcium and vitamin D are. Maybe you’ve even taken some or all of the steps above. But if you haven’t, start now and take action! Eat the right foods and exercise for strong bones.
Jumping rope is a good way to maintain fitness, particularly in confined environments such as on board a ship. If the pace is fast, the energy expenditure is similar to running. The Navy Seals Fitness Guide suggests the following ways to add variety into your jump rope routine:
- Boxer’s Dance: Shift weight from right to left with both feet together.
- Run: Jump to the right while lifting the right knee, then switch to left side.
- Jumping Jack: Jump 2 times with feet together then on the third time, do a jumping jack.
- Knee-toe: Tap right toe on the floor, jump to your left foot while lifting left knee up high, then switch.
This new study provides evidence for health and well-being benefits as a result of overcoming moderate adversity. Healthy coping skills are essential to overcome difficult times and bounce back stronger than before. For examples of helpful coping strategies, read this fact sheet .
When reuniting with your family, the “Soldier and Family Guide to Redeploying” offers tips for maintaining successful family relationships. A few of their suggestions:
- Take time to re-establish communication with each of your loved ones.
- Use romantic communication to help transition into love relations easier.
- Reinforce the good things your family has done.
- Move slowly in making adjustments.
- Discuss division of the family chores.
- Spend time alone with your spouse.
- Focus on successes and limit criticisms.
- Expect some changes in your child(ren).
- Spend relaxed time with your child.
Autumn is here and so are the leaves! Rake your own leaves, or your neighbor's leaves, for a great workout. Raking is an aerobic exercise and can help strengthen your core muscles. For tips on how to safely rake leaves, read this article by Medicine.net.