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Monday, February 24, 2014

Workplace ergonomics & desk exercises are necessary to reduce the effect of the silent plague of the 21st Century - Repetitive Strain Injury

Can a harmless mouse and keyboard inflict painful injuries?

Recently I was a guest at a lecture given by an ergonomic specialist for some 200 Investment Bankers and their staff at their headquarters. The speaker listed the most common computer injuries such as upper and lower back-pain, neck and shoulder pain, or painful wrists, and then turned towards his audience and asked how many have experienced one or more of those complaints. About a quarter of the bankers lifted their hands. A young participant stood up and said to the ergonomic specialist: "If you want the true answer you should phrase your question in a different way", she turned to her colleagues and asked: "Is there anyone in this room who did not suffer from one or more of those complaints?" No one raised a hand. Why did 75% of the bankers choose not to raise their hands if they all had experienced some form of computer injury?

Computer injuries are by definition to Repetitive Strain Injury – RSI. 

They are not accidents happening in split seconds, creating drama and drawing attention. They creep on us unaware and defenseless and when we become aware of a problem it often takes a long time to figure out the cause. Like bad habits, we tend to be ashamed of them: we feel it was so silly to have let such minor details like the distance of the mouse or keyboard from us develop into such major injuries through repetitiveness. Not knowing how to protect ourselves against RSI, or how to reverse a developing acute problem we postpone taking action until we have no other choice.

Computers and other gadgets are powerful instruments being operated for long hours by people who when reading the Users Guides will find nothing relating to the exposure to Repetitive Strain Injuries and to ways of avoiding those. 

Unlike medicines where counter-indications show up fast and often dramatically clearly indicating the cause, the slow and subversive nature of the RSI creates an absence of responsibility to the problem. The manufacturer sells the hardware and software and can not be held responsible for the use one makes of them. Employers often do not know of a problem and may not want to be bothered by such "trivial" problems like a distance between employees and their keyboards. External advisors are often asked not to put into their reports matters that may incur costs on the corporation and going to the gym is rarely regarded as a solution for a pain one has developed in the wrist. Physicians will treat the symptoms. They can not be expected to check every patient's work-station, or trace a shoulder problem all the way back to the use of a certain device.

The nature of the RSI problem and the size of it suggest that the only viable way to address it is to provide computer users (and other gizmo users) with an integral software/content accompanying product of both an ergonomic and protective training nature which is part of the package the user receives when buying/operating the device. Ergonomic instructions should be there for users to consult with, exercises should be available to call upon as training for protection, as training for pain relief and for injury reversal.

One unique solution to this problem has been developed by Desk-Trainer Ltd., a small company from San Rafael, CA and Tel-Aviv. Desk-Trainer has identified the need for an urgent solution/service to fill the void and created a software/content solution it offers as a subscription service over the web and in a corporate version. Their web-site offers advice for office workplace ergonomics as well as desk exercises, office stretches to protect against Repetitive Strain Injuries and to relieve computer injuries. Desk-Trainer is also adapting the content for PDAs and cellular to assist people on the move.
Individuals and corporations looking for ways to reduce the risk of RSI and increase employee productivity, should consider taking a proactive approach to the problem and investigate solutions such as Desk-Trainer as a way to reduce lost productivity and medical claims.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Winter Weight Gain . The Reasons And The Cure!

Winter weight gain of a few pounds over the winter, happens quite often. It seems that every winter we acquire a few pounds, and come summer we don't lose them all again either. A few of them always stick around, adding to our weight every year. They can be quite hard to lose, those extra pounds!

Why does this happen and what can we do?

There are quite a few things involved. First, it seems likely that we have an inherited trait to store more fat as winter approaches. Several animals do this and it was probably necessary to survival for our antecedents. More layers of fat on the body protect us against the winter temperatures and then can be used as fuel in the late winter and early spring when food stocks would historically be very low. We likely have a tendency to eat more in the fall, when food is abundant after harvest time, to help this process along. We may also probably choose foods that are higher in fat
content at this time.

Hormone levels can also affect our weight gain. The interaction of hormones and other chemicals in the brain can bring about changes in appetite and desires. Some neurotransmitters can also affect the way we eat. People who have difficulty losing weight often have low levels of these neurotransmitters and the consequences can include excessive appetite, depression and sleep disorders. At the same time, the lack of daylight caused by the shortening days during late fall and winter can bring on Seasonally Affected Disorder(S.A.D.) or winter depression.
(question-Does vitamin D play a roll?)
One of the fastest ways to give a lift to the energy levels and emotions is to eat foods, that have a high carbohydrate level, including sugar treats, chips and cereals that give us a rapid blood sugar 'fix'. So people who feel down in the winter will tend to overeat or eat the wrong foods, leading to weight gain, more depression and a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.
(note: S.A.D. shouldn't be confused with clinical depression or bipolar.)
So altogether there are plenty of reasons why we eat more high carbohydrate foods such as cookies, pies and chocolate in the winter, and to make matters worse, most of these foods also have high levels of fats. The best way to handle this is generally to substitute other foods that are also high in carbohydrate so that we get what our body craves, but which are fat free and have plenty of fiber. This means potatoes, wholegrain bread without butter, wholegrain rice, cereals, and fresh whole fruit.

It is also important to take more exercise. Often our physical activity levels reduce in the winter and we have a tendency to want to stay home and rest. This is common when it is cold outside. But we are not our ancestors! We have heating in our homes and can be sure that there will still be adequate food in the stores come February. We do not need to store fat the way that they did. Join a gym or get a stationary bicycle for the den. Transform those carbs into energy now instead of keeping them on the waistline until spring. Winter weight gain is easily avoidable this way.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Naturally!

Do you know what is Cholesterol is? We hear it almost everyday, so my guess is that YES. But just in case you don't, Cholesterol is a fatty substance present in the human body, 80% of which is manufactured by the liver. The other 20% comes from your diet such as meat, eggs and dairy products. 

We have always considered cholesterol to be bad. But that is not the case; there are two types of cholesterol, good cholesterol - HDL (High-density lipoproteins) and bad cholesterol - LDL (Low-density lipoproteins). High levels of LDL cholesterol present in the body enter the inner walls of the arteries and harden it, leading to coronary artery disease. Similarly, high levels of HDL cholesterol minimize the harmful effects of LDL cholesterol. Some measurements you can keep in mind to maintain healthy LDL cholesterol level.

Less than 100 mg/dL would be optimal
100 to 129 mg/dL is near optimal/ above optimal
130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high
160 to 189 mg/dL is considered high
190 mg/dL and above is very high

Regular check up or screening of your cholesterol level is very important. 

It is recommended for men and women of 20 years or above to get the test done every five years. This kind of screening helps to keep your health in check. It also helps if the patient has a family history of diseases like diabetes, obesity or cardiovascular disease.

Tips to remember

Do your exercises regularly to keep your heart healthy. It also helps in burning out the excess fat you

Avoid trans fatty acids like French fries, cookies, cakes and many other fried fast foods.

Consume fewer carbohydrates by avoiding sugar, flour, potatoes and white rice. Avoid food which contains too much cholesterol like egg yolk, liver, kidney, brain etc. Stop smoking, it increases HDL levels by seven points.

Natural Ways to Increase HDL

Red wine consumed in reasonable quantity gives a positive result. It contains antioxidants such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir that slows down oxidation of HDL and LDL cholesterol. By drinking wine HDL level does not shoot up, but it contains higher level of various types of blood fats, thus making it useful for the body.

Drinking orange juice every day increases HDL level by nearly 21%. This is possible due to the presence of flavonoids.

Kidney and red beans are another source to increase HDL level. They contain low-glycemic carbohydrates which do not require insulin spikes during digestion.

Eating fish several times a week is very useful in increasing HDL level as it contains omega-3 fatty acids. Fishes like sardine, salmon, sea bass, herring and many more are some of the sources of good cholesterol. If you do not like fish, you can have fish oil supplements.

Olive oil contains the highest number of mono-saturated fats. Having 1-2 teaspoons in your daily diet would help you tremendously.
Olive Oil

Oat bran lowers LDL and increases HDL. Studies have shown that two ounces of oat bran per day helps in reducing 16% LDL and 15% increase in HDL.

Half raw onion per day increases HDL level by 30%.

Soy products increase HDL level thereby decreasing LDL.

Soluble fiber found in fruits like apples, grapes and citrus fruits are useful in increasing HDL level.

Guggul lipid a native herb used mainly for Ayurvedic medicine also helps in maintaining healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Green tea lowers LDL levels by increasing HDL levels.

Eat more fiber and include raw garlic in your diet, these are very useful in lowering cholesterol levels.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.


Monday, February 10, 2014

4 Easy Steps To lost weight in 2 weeks flat!

So you want to know how to lose weight in 2 weeks? It won't be easy, unless you are only very slightly over your target weight, but it is certainly possible. 

If you want to lose weight safely, you are much better off seeing these initial two weeks as the start of a consistent ongoing program. To give yourself the best chance of learning how to lose weight in 2 weeks, keep reading.

Lose Weight in 2 Weeks – Step 1

Setting realistic goals is vitally important in this situation. If you expect to lose too much weight, you could easily end up trying an extreme regimen that will be counter productive. Magic cures don't exist in weight loss, and it is critical not to over stretch and attempt too much. By following a realistic goal, such as, say, ten pounds lost, you can make a solid achievement.


Lose Weight in 2 Weeks – Step 2

To practice a weight loss program properly, you will need to know your optimum calorie intake. Any time you are over this limit, you are setting yourself back, so make sure you know it, and make sure you stick to it rigidly..


Lose Weight in 2 Weeks – Step 3

Perform regular exercise. Although it is possible to lode weight pure;y by dieting, you will never achieve the sort of results in a short space of time that you will by including vigorous exercise. Aerobic workouts which burn fat are easily the most effective, but do weight training as well if you want to. Your body will still burn calories, by exercising different muscle groups than usual. Be mentally prepared for the fact that you will need to do a lot of work to achieve much weight loss in two weeks!


Lose Weight in 2 Weeks – Step 4

Make the most use of free time. If you have set yourself such a close time target as two weeks, taking advantage of every spare moment makes perfect sense. Exercising can be done during short breaks in an office routine, often without anyone even realising you're doing them. If you can find ways to regularly make positive use of normally non productive time, it will help you meet your target.


Learning how to lose weight in 2 weeks is simple enough – it is a combination of frugal eating and a consistent exercise program to help remove excess fat.


Mukund Kolhatkar