YIKES: The average treadmill has 74 times more bacteria than a public bathroom faucet, according to equipment reviews site FitRated.
Fight Back Against Gym Germs
Follow this quick checklist to stay healthy while you exercise.
Cover any cuts or broken skin with a bandage before you go to the gym.
Wash your hands before and after your workout.
Wipe down machines before and after use.
Bring your own water bottle, towels, and exercise mat.
Never share your towels.
Don’t sit on the locker-room bench naked.
Always wear flip-flops in the locker room and shower.
Don’t shave at the gym or immediately before going there.
Whenever possible, shower at home after your workout.
Keep dirty clothes and sneakers in separate gym bag compartments or place sweaty duds in a plastic bag.
Wipe down your gym bag with a disinfectant spray and wash gym clothes after each use.
Examine your skin weekly. If you find a painful red spot or a bump, see a doc. It could be a MRSA infection, which needs immediate treatment.
“Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake now and then. The key is moderation. Get a mix of lean proteins, healthy fats, smart carbs, and fiber.”
It takes a long, long time for caffeine to completely leave your system, with its zippy side effects gradually wearing off as time passes and your body metabolizes it. Typically, the half-life of caffeine is around four to six hours, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning that four to six hours after consumption, about half of that caffeine is still in your system. At this point, you may still be feeling some stimulant effects of the caffeine. Then, another four to six hours later, half of that amount is gone. If you drink a cup of coffee containing 100 mg of caffeine at 10 a.m. (about one 8-ounce cup of coffee) as much as 25 mg may still be in your system when you lay down at 10 p.m., whereas if you drink 200 mg at 4 p.m. (two-ish 8-ounce cups), about 100 mg can still be in your system at 10 p.m.
Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?
That simple question is the basis for a burgeoning new area of psychological research called self-compassion — how kindly people view themselves. People who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, it turns out, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising.
The research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight.
Eggs Take a Beating (Again)
For decades, eggs were seen as coronary landmines because of their high cholesterol content. But in recent years, eggs’ reputation improved as accumulating research suggested that dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol in most people. The latest headline-making twist in the egg-and-cholesterol saga was a major study in JAMA in March, which linked increasing egg intake with small increases in heart disease and mortality rate.
An August 2017 paper published in Nutrients . . . found that choline is essential for brain development, cognitive performance and resistance to cognitive decline associated with aging and neurodegenerative diseases. Rich sources of dietary choline include:
- Egg yolks
- Green split peas
- Mung beans
Change Your Perspective
Lifestyle changes start with taking an honest look at your eating patterns and daily routine. After assessing your personal challenges to weight loss, try working out a strategy to gradually change habits and attitudes that sabotaged past efforts. Move beyond simply recognizing your challenges — Plan how you’ll deal with them to succeed in losing weight. Setbacks happen. Don’t quit. Start fresh the next day. It won’t happen all at once. Stick to your healthy lifestyle and the results will be worth it.
Get Active, Stay Active
Exercise can help burn off the excess calories you can’t cut through diet alone. Exercise also offers numerous health benefits, including boosting your mood, strengthening your cardiovascular system and reducing your blood pressure. Exercise can also help in maintaining weight loss. Studies show that people who maintain their weight loss over the long term get regular physical activity. . . . One of the best ways to lose body fat is through steady aerobic exercise — such as brisk walking — for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Any extra movement helps burn calories.
Enjoy Healthier Foods
Adopting a new eating style that promotes weight loss must include lowering your total calorie intake. . . . One way you can lower your calorie intake is by eating more plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to help you achieve your goals without giving up taste or nutrition.
- Eat at least four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruits daily.
- Replace refined grains with whole grains.
- Use modest amounts of healthy fats, such as olive oil, vegetable oils, avocados, nuts, and nut butters and oils.
- Cut back on sugar.
- Choose low-fat dairy products and lean meat and poultry in limited amounts.
Set Realistic Goals
Over the long term, it’s best to aim for losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilogram) a week. Generally to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 500 to 1,000 calories more than you consume each day, through a lower calorie diet and regular physical activity. Depending on your weight, 5 percent of your current weight may be a realistic goal. Even this level of weight loss can help lower your risk for chronic health problems, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If you’re 180 pounds (82 kilograms), that’s 9 pounds (4 kilograms). When you’re setting goals, think about both process and outcome goals. “Walk every day for 30 minutes” is an example of a process goal. “Lose 10 pounds” is an example of an outcome goal.