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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.

Take small breaks from sitting

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Filed under: Healthy Tips
If you are sitting hours at a time, try standing breaks to improve health

A recent article suggests taking small breaks from hours of sitting. Try standing to answer phone calls or visiting a coworker instead of emailing them.  Although this doesn’t replace regular physical activity, taking one-minute sitting breaks can help decrease your waistline and improve metabolic health. Click here to read more.

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Family Matters: Couple dynamics: Good or bad?

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Couple dynamics can be a significant resource for individuals when positive and emotionally supportive. For example, in a study of civilian families under economic distress, a key buffering factor to feeling distress was spouses who were emotionally supportive to each other. In contrast, couples with similar external financial stressors who had relationships low in emotional support reported greater feelings of distress (Conger & Conger, 2002). Therefore, how the couple interacts with each other is an important factor that can either buffer or enhance feelings of distress.

Source:
Conger, R., & Conger, K. (2002). Resilience in midwestern families: Selected findings from the first decade of a prospective, longitudinal study. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 361-373.

Family Matters: Communicating well

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Communicating well is extremely important for family well-being.

Communicating well is extremely important for family well-being. Being able to speak clearly, listen well, show a range of emotional expression while being respectful and showing regard for family members’ are all aspects of good communication. You can help foster positive family communication by appreciating your loved ones verbally on a daily basis.

Sources:
Walsh, F. (2006). Strengthening family resilience. NewYork, NY: Guilford.
Walsh, F. (2003). Family resilience: A framework for clinical practice. Family Process, 42(1),1-18.
Walsh, F. (2007). Traumatic loss and major disasters: Strengthening family and community resilience. Family Process, 46(2).

Did you get enough sleep?

If you needed an alarm clock to wake up this morning, you probably didn't get enough sleep. You know you have had enough sleep when you are able to wake up naturally, feeling refreshed.

The amount of the time spent sleeping is decreasing: the average amount of sleep reported for middle-aged people in the late 1050s—around eight to nine hours—has decreased in recent times to about seven or eight hours. And the number of individuals who sleep less than six hours each night has significantly increased. These changes in sleep patterns may be indicative of sleep deprivation in society at large. This is not surprising, as the modern society seems to offer twice as much work (on the job, at home, etc.) and half as much time to complete it. Consequently, we are awake for extended periods of time, thus reducing the amount of time we spend sleeping.

However, we all know that sleep is essential! Sleep is vital to restore and renew many body systems; and sleep deprivation may result in poor performance, increased sleepiness, reduced alertness, delayed response time, difficulty maintaining attention, decreased positive mood, and increased long-term health risks. Some research studies have even shown that sleep deprivation is associated with increased risk of death.

So adequate sleep is vital for everyone to optimally perform the activities of daily living. But you may wonder, “How can I determine how much sleep I need to function at my best?” Dr. Michael Bonnet, director of the Sleep Laboratory at the Dayton. Ohio, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center provides a very simple but practical test you can use to determine how much sleep you need. According to him, if you need an alarm clock to wake up, try going to bed a little earlier the following night (e.g., 15 minutes earlier). If you still need an alarm clock to wake up the next morning, push your bedtime a little earlier again (i.e., another 15 minutes). Continue doing this until you no longer need an alarm to wake up.

I actually tried this test and found out I was not the “night owl” I thought I was. It looks like I function at my best if I retire for the night a couple of hours earlier than I used to. Sleep is important! It significantly affects your performance, health, and quality of life. And it is especially important to Warfighters, who can rarely get enough when deployed. So in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, try to get enough sleep each night whenever your situation makes it possible.

Source: National Sleep Foundation

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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The online version of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is now available.

The online version of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is now available. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans establishes the scientific and policy basis for all Federal nutrition programs, including research, education, nutrition assistance, labeling, and nutrition promotion.

Click on the link below to access the guideline. The guidelines are located on the HPRC Nutrition page and can be found under "The Basics" tab.

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

FDA Recall Alert: Fruta Planta weight loss dietary supplements

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Godi International, Corp., located in South Florida is announcing a recall of Fruta Planta weight loss dietary supplements.

Godi International, Corp., located in South Florida is announcing a recall of Fruta Planta weight loss dietary supplements because the products contain Sibutramine an undeclared drug ingredient. Sibutramine is an FDA approved drug used as an appetite suppressant for weight loss. This poses a potential threat to consumers because Sibutramine is known to substantially increase blood pressure and/or pulse rate in some patients and may present a significant risk for patients with a history of coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmias or stroke.

Click below to access the recall alert.

Recall of All weight loss formulas and variation of formulas of Reduce Weight Fruta Planta/Reduce Weight Dietary Supplement

Choose a variety of foods for adequate calcium intake

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Your body needs calcium for optimal bone health and a number of other functions essential to daily life.

Your body needs calcium for optimal bone health and a number of other functions essential to daily life. Good food sources include: fat-free or low-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt; leafy greens such as spinach and kale; and broccoli, and pinto and red beans.  Many other foods such as high fiber cereal, soy beverages, and orange juice are fortified with added calcium.  Adding these foods to your diet will improve not only your calcium intake, but many other nutrients as well!

Stay connected to improve your health

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Social relationships are good for your physical health!

Social relationships are good for your physical health! According to a recent Science Daily article, relationships improve your chances of living by up to 50 percent. Recent research found that increased interaction with others is similar to avoiding  behavioral health risks such as smoking, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, and being obese. Staying connected in meaningful relationships can pay off not only for your social life, but also for your health.

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Family Matters: Deployment communication

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Military families have created unique ways to maintain close communication through deployments and long duty times.

Military families have created unique ways to maintain close communication through deployments and long duty times. Merolla (2010) studied military spouse communication during deployment and found that while deployed, families deal with the stress of being separated well through balancing talk of everyday things (such as routines and everyday information) with deeper more meaningful conversations. Additionally, another key finding was that though there were individual differences – with creativity among couples an asset – couples seemed to benefit from keeping deployment communication similar to nondeployment communication in both planned and spontaneous discussions (Merolla, 2010).

Source:
Merolla, A. (2010). Relational maintenance during military deployment: Perspectives of wives of deployed US Soldiers. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 38(1), 4-26.

New York Times: "Serious dangers" of alcoholic energy drinks

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A recent New York Times article reports that scientists are worried about highly caffeinated beverages like Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster and Full Throttle, which are popular among teenagers and young adults.

A recent New York Times article reports that scientists are worried about highly caffeinated beverages like Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster and Full Throttle, which are popular among teenagers and young adults.  According to the article, the often bizarre combination of ingredients in these drinks prompted three researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Queensland in Australia to examine what is known — and not known — about the contents of these beverages, which are sold alongside sodas and sport drinks in supermarkets, drugstores and highway rest stops.

Click below to access the article.

Scientists See Dangers in Energy Drinks

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