It’s a fact. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (43.8 million, or 18.5%) experiences mental illness in a given year, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
We also know how exercise is one of the best drug-free ways to improve mental health and wellbeing, and not just in the short term. Research has shown that exercise can alleviate depression for the long run as well.
But, just why is exercise so beneficial for alleviating depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses? What is it about exercise that makes it such an effective all natural anti-depressant?
I see that homeless woman walking the streets near my home. She’s forever clutching her purse close to her breast, like it is the last semblance of who she once was.
Her jeans, dirtied by months -- probably years -- of wear with no washing, hang from her skin-and-bones body. Her hair, gray, frizzy and snarled, is in stark contrast of the past I envision… someone who never missed that appointment for touch-ups. Someone who left the salon feeling beautiful and refreshed.
She talks to herself, too. Not that we all don’t do that from time to time. But hers is a concerted conversation with who knows who. Maybe her previous self?
I have wondered how she got to this place. How she was a woman who had a full life, perhaps a family, possibly a career, and now she is just… this.
I think I might now know. Not necessarily her story, but stories of countless others who suffer from debilitating anxiety.
I’m one of those patients who researches everything on the Internet. I work for RadioMD, so of course I would.
About seven weeks ago, shortness of breath resulted in a fainting spell in my ballet conditioning class. I’m aware of an anaerobic asthma condition but usually don’t need my inhaler for ballet conditioning. I stepped out to catch my breath, blacked out, and woke up after 30 seconds of bonding with the floor.
I was breathing fine when I awoke and refused the ambulance offered to me. My husband zipped in to collect me. He knows I’m strong-willed and independent, so he didn’t argue when I said I’d see a doctor the next day.
I kept that promise. But, it was more complicated than it set out to be.
Both coffee and tea have their benefits, but which is better?
The debate continues…
As a tea connoisseur, my go-to beverage will always be tea. Tea has been a part of our global civilization for much longer, but coffee comes a close second in our choice of morning beverages. Teetotallers, like myself, will never cease to enlighten you about the benefits of a cup of warm tea to start your day, but coffee addicts are not far behind.
At the crux of it all, however, lies the fact that we are all alike because of our need for caffeine every morning. Some like their coffee strong, while some others like it milder with milk and sugar. With the latter, most of the benefits of coffee are lost. It can happen with different varieties of tea as well, as I found out. But, even among the many variants of tea (green, oolong, black, and white), I find white tea most refreshing. Also, it has more health benefits than coffee.
With summer and warmer weather comes getting out more often for dinner and hosting backyard BBQs.
And, with that, it follows that people tend to imbibe in their favorite alcoholic beverages a bit more often.
Wine seems to get the lion’s share of accolades when it comes to health benefits, particularly red wine due to the heart-healthy resveratrol it contains. Beer, on the other hand, often gets blamed for being laden with “empty calories” and causing the dreaded beer gut.
Emerging research is putting that myth to bed.
Turns out, beer has a number of health benefits. According to Men’s Health, beer can do everything from safeguard your heart and boost your immunity to bolster your bone health.
Between 2001 and 2001, the number of personal trainers in the United States grew by 44%. And that’s simply for one reason. More and more people are seeking the services of a personal trainer. According to the International Health and Racquet Sports Association, the number of people who have hired a personal trainer has jumped from 0.5% in 2003 to over 3% in 2013.
Problem is, however, many people don't know what to look for in a trainer, and most never bother to ask some very important questions of the trainer they are hiring.
In fact, it's really important to "interview" a personal trainer before hiring him or her to make sure they are a good fit and more importantly, that you don't get injured. According to the American Society of Exercise Physiologist, an estimated 50% of all health club members have suffered minor injuries.
There are many people who prefer to use one side of the body for certain activities, and the other side of the body for other tasks. Also known as cross-dominance, mixed dominance, or mixed handedness, it is often confused with ambidexterity, in which a person can use either side of the body equally well, with no preference for one side over the other, for activities like writing or throwing a ball.
As a cross-dominant individual, I write, paint, draw, and perform medical procedures with my left hand, but throw a ball and hold a racket with my right hand. Consequently, the right side of my body favors gross motor tasks, while my left side dominates when it comes to fine motor skills.
One of the best ways to protect brain function is to engage in activities which are mentally challenging, yet enjoyable. The trick is to pick an activity which promotes learning or skill, without aggravating or frustrating you.
Before you assume that you’re too old to make positive changes in your brain power, keep in mind that scientists have determined that older brains are still receptive to boosts in cognitive function.
It can be rather frustrating to find yourself struggling to remember a word, especially when you are engaged in lively conversation with someone and excited about the topic. It's the Tip-of-the-Tongue Phenomenon in action.
You stand there, pausing, digging into the far recesses of your mind, probably hanging on the fact that the word you are trying to find begins with an “S,” but it just won’t emerge, no matter how hard you try to locate it.
There are so many “healthy” eating diets, trends, tricks and new food miracles hyped in the media that it can be quite stressful to follow. Some of them encourage complete opposite food groups, like fat and sugar. Some have emphasis on a specific food group, and others offer one solution to fix all your problems.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to notice what they all have in common: eat foods that will promote health and cut out the junk.
Fish has three strikes; no, four strikes against it.
Many don't like the taste. They feel anxious about preparing it. Often thought to be a big ticket item for their food budgets, they avoid it. And, it is reported to be contaminated with the dreaded heavy metal, mercury.
Yet, fish has a huge nutrient plus side. It gives us at least five significant life-giving benefits:"major source of healthful long-chain omega-3 fats, rich in vitamin D and selenium, high in protein. Research reveals fish oil is good for your heart and blood vessels. An analysis of 20 studies involving hundreds of thousands of participants indicates that eating approximately one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish a week—salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, or sardines—reduces the risk of dying from heart disease by 36 percent.1"