Monday, January 9, 2017

The 5-minute Break Resolution

Want to feel better at work? Take a 5-minute break from sitting, standing up and walking around, every hour. Research shows this formula compared to other routines helped volunteer subjects feel “greater happiness, less fatigue and considerably less craving for food …. Their feelings of vigor also tended to increase throughout the day, … .”

The volunteers were directed to simulate one working day sitting with no breaks except for bathroom use, one day with a 30 minute moderate walk at its start and one day with 5-minute breaks each hour. Positive results were seen with the 5-minute break routine. Volunteers felt more energetic with concentration and focus not impacted by the breaks.

Reflexology Helping Wounded Warriors

For some veterans the experiences of serving continue after the trip home. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and, for those who have lost a limb, phantom limb syndrome create issues seeking a solution. Research shows potential for reflexology to help. Researchers in Israel and physiotherapists in England demonstrated such potential.
PTSD and Reflexology
It is estimated one-third of veterans who returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Common symptoms include depression, outbursts, muscle tension, concentration levels and sleep disruption. 
Researchers analyzed results following reflexology work applied to 15 Israeli soldiers suffering from PTSD following the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Sessions of 50 to 60 minutes were applied over 14 weeks. Improvements of 75% to 80% in the common symptoms were found the day after a session. General feelings improved by 90% and medication was reduced by 50%. Improvements were reduced two days after a session and measured at 50%. Day 3 found symptoms back as before. Researchers suggested 2 or 3 sessions a week to achieve a more effective result.
Phantom Limb Pain and Reflexology
Phantom limb pain (PLP) is experienced as pain or sensations such as tingling, cramping, heat or cold coming from a part of the body that was removed. Some 60% to 70 % of amputees experience PLP. A 30-week study found that reflexology work made a highly significant overall difference and was “effective in eradicating or reducing the intensity and duration of phantom limb pain.”
Seven men and 3 women “with unilateral lower limb amputations and a history of phantom limb pain” followed a five phase program conducted by British physiotherapist and reflexologist Tina Brown at the Prosthetic Services Centre in Wolverhampton, England. 
Notes researcher Brown “Although I do not think that reflexology is the answer to everyone’s PLP (Phantom Limb Pain), I do feel that it is a pleasant, non-invasive therapy that does help in some situations. Another benefit found was that the patients could self-treat after being taught how to use reflexology on their hands. … I would love to see if it helped pre-amputation: i.e. would it help prevent PLP from occurring?”

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Actor John Goodman: Couch potato no more, Loses 100 pounds

Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

“We’re seeing a lot more — and a lot less — of John Goodman. The burly “Roseanne” star, who’s featured in the new films “Trumbo” and “Love the Coopers,” has been displaying a shockingly sleek physique lately on the red carpet. No wonder: He lost 100 pounds.

“He made a big step toward doing just that in 2007, when he stopped drinking. Shilstonetook Goodman even further when he introduced him to a “Mediterranean-style eating plan” — one that leans heavily toward fish, nuts, olive oil, vegetables and fruit.
He also exercised six days a week, making sure to take 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day. An elliptical bicycle and treadmill played a big part in whittling the pounds. All told, he says, Goodman’s success lay in the way he changed his life these past two years.”

“John Goodman is no longer a couch potato (according to
“‘I know it sounds sappy, but it was a waste,” the 58-year-old actor tells PEOPLE. “It takes a lot of creative energy to sit on your ass and figure out what you’re going to eat next … I wanted to live life better.”…
“Mission accomplished: The Treme actor has lost more than 100 lbs. thanks to his healthy new lifestyle.” (

“"I just stopped eating all the time," Goodman, 63, told Peter Travers. "I’d have a handful of food and it’d go to my mouth. I was just eating all the time. I was just eating alcoholically. In the old days, I would take three months out, lose 60 or 70 pounds, and then reward myself with a 6-pack of bud or whatever and just go back to my old habits. Then this time I wanted to do it slowly, move, exercise. I’m getting to the age where I can’t afford to sit still anymore. And it gives me the energy to work, ‘cause work is very draining.”’ (

Un-Sit Your Life.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Under the desk classroom cycling machines in class? An idea whose time has come

Fidgeting is down and focus is up with the installation of under the desk cycles in classrooms of an 8th grade math teacher in North Carolina. 

‘Before, they were drumming on their desks, they were touching other people, they don’t do that anymore. Their feet are getting the movement out,’ (teacher) Bethany (Lambeth) told ‘There has been a huge increase in the quality of our student’s work and a decrease in the amount of missing work.’

“The students like them too. ‘I’m a really energetic person, so this takes all my energy out,’ said Quinn Spear, who worked out he’d already pedalled 5.5 miles before morning break at 10am.

‘The kids are not picking on each other, they are not needing to walk around, they are not needing to go explore, they are able to get their activity out and get their work done,’ added Bethany.

Is sitting too much the cause of increase in cardiovascular deaths

Death rates due to heart disease are up for the first time in almost 50 years—and sitting too much could be the culprit.

Or at least that’s one conclusion to be drawn from the reasons cited for a 2015 increase following a decline of 70% since 1969. “Researchers say the obesity epidemic is probably mostly to blame for the higher death rate from heart disease, because it has driven increases in rates of hypertension, diabetes and other heart-related problems.”

Studies show sitting too much increases risks for weight gain, diabetes, and abnormal measurements of the cardiac-related metabolic indicators of blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. The amount of time spent sitting by Americans both at work and at home has been increasing for years. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Use Fitness Tracker, Lose Weight—Or Not

Using a wearable fitness tracker may not automatically put you on the path to losing weight. Those who used such a device actually lost less weight in research discussed by Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times as noted in the article below.
As a user of a wearable fitness tracker, this author wonders: would this study have been more useful if the researchers had replicated real-world use? The devices were worn around the upper arm by one group of participants in the study. Many users wear the fitness tracker on the wrist. Easy viewing of steps taken and other data serves as a motivator. 

Un-Sitting May Not Be All that Simple

Sitting less to lose weight, improve one’s well being and/or lessen risk for a long list of health maladies may not be as simple as, well, sitting less. Walking when taking a break from sitting expends more calories and does more good than standing still.

Research noted by New York Times reporter Gretchen Reymolds showed that those who stood up while taking a break from sitting expended only 8 or 9 calories more in an hour than they did while they were seated for an hour. When they took a break and walked, however, they expended 130 more calories than while seated.

Why would these be? Inactivity researcher Dr. Marc Hamilton found answers to such questions when he studied what happens to inactive mice. Mice whose hind legs were inactive for a day showed  a change in levels of an enzyme in their bloodstreams. The levels of the enzyme were one-tenth of that for active mice. The enzyme, lipoprotein lipase, metabolizes fat and is an indicator of moving muscles. Humans share the enzyme with mice. 

The less one’s movement the lower the levels of the enzyme. Lower levels are linked to a myriad of lifestyle conditions: atherosclerosis, obesity, Alzheimer’s Disease, metabolic syndrome, and a low HDL (“good fat”) / high LDL (“bad fat”) condition associated with diabetes and insulin resistance. 

Next time you take a break from sitting, take full advantage of your time. Don’t just stand there. Walk.

How Many Calories We Burn When We Sit, Stand or Walk
By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS date published JUNE 22, 2016 5:02 AM date updated
June 22, 2016 5:02 am