Weekly Health Watch with items on minimalist shoes and their benefits, grocery shopping for healthy food on a tight budget, the four simple behaviors that can increase your life span and more.
Many exercisers are exploring the concept of barefoot running by using increasingly popular minimalist running shoes.
These shoes follow the notion that the barefoot style offers better balance, improves your connection with the earth and allows you to move in a more natural way.
Some research claims traditional running shoes force the heel to hit the ground first, while a barefoot runner's mid-foot or forefoot is the first to strike the ground, causing less impact and reducing the risk of impact-related injuries.
Minimalist shoes are also designed to provide no-movement friction between the shoe and the foot, reducing blisters. They also easily conform to your foot shape.
It’s important to let your body get used to the new form gradually. Follow these tips from Life Fitness, and consider giving barefoot running a try.
1. Run on soft ground: Minimalist shoes allow your feet to absorb much more of the surface underneath you, so try finding grass or Astroturf for your first few 'barefoot' jogs.
2. Shorten your stride: Quicker, shorter strides will help you land steps with your forefoot first, taking stress and impact off your heels.
3. Stretch: When you are running with minimalist shoes, more pressure is put on your calves, which can take some getting used to. Be sure to keep your leg muscles warmed up and limber to reduce soreness.
4. Adapt gradually: Increase your mileage slowly until your body is comfortable with the lessened support.
New Research: Military suicide linked with low omega-3
Scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism teamed with researchers at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences to analyze a sample of suicide deaths among U.S. military personnel on active duty between 2002 and 2008. The researchers compared levels of omega-3 fatty acids of 800 individuals who committed suicide with those of 800 randomly selected controls — service members who were matched with the suicide cases by age, sex and rank. They found all the service members had low omega-3 levels and that suicide risk was greatest among individuals with the lowest levels of docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, the major omega-3 fatty acid concentrated in the brain.
-- National Institutes of Health
Did You Know?
Fruits and vegetables can still carry a risk of foodborne illness, so always rinse produce under running tap water. – FoodSafety.gov
Health Tip: Grocery shopping on a budget
You can still shop healthy even if you are on a tight food budget. Craft a shopping list, and never shop on an empty stomach. Also, choose fruit and vegetables that are in season because they are the most nutritious and the least expensive. Finally, stay on the perimeter aisles of the grocery store, where products for a health- and cost-conscious eating plan can be found.
Number to Know
63 percent: A recent study shows people who practice four simple healthy behaviors –– not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity and limiting alcohol -- are 63 percent less likely to die early. Not smoking provided the most protection from dying from all of the causes examined.
-- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Children’s Health: Ways to prevent window falls
During a 19-year period, an estimated 98,145 children were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries sustained in falls from windows. Researchers found that windows falls occur more frequently during spring and summer months. The rate of injury is higher for children younger than 5 years of age, and those children were more likely to sustain serious injuries. Window fall prevention measures for young children should include the use of window guards or window locks and moving furniture away from windows to decrease a young child’s access. Another way to reduce injuries is to consider the surface below windows. Simply planting bushes or plant beds under windows can soften the landing surface, reducing impact and the resulting injuries.
-- American Academy of Pediatrics
Senior Health: Remodel for a safer, better house
Considering remodeling? Check out the hottest small-project remodeling trends for 2011, from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. As you're planning, incorporate universal design principles to help make your home safer and more functional.
Bathroom renovations. Updating bathrooms? Add slip-resistant surfaces to minimize potential falls in bathtubs and showers. Walk-in showers and safety bars are also smart choices.
Necessary repairs.As they update their homes, consumers are fixing problems, like replacing broken hardware and glass on windows and doors. For safety's sake, make sure your windows and doors are not jammed, painted or nailed shut. If they are, it could be time to replace them.
Patio and outdoor rooms. Staying home more? Spending more time in the yard? Creating a new patio area off a kitchen or dining room can add space for entertaining.
GateHouse News Service