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February 13
Are you sick or just thirsty? 10 ways water works for you!

Did you know that just a 1-3% decrease in hydration affects your ability to concentrate? According to research published in the journal Nutrients, mild dehydration interferes with brain processing and breaks down the ability to focus. Just like sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting moderate daily exercise, water is one of the most essential needs of your body!

Unfortunately, water is also the most common nutrient deficiency in the U.S. One study found that a little more than half of American children and adolescents are dehydrated. Another survey determined 75% of all Americans may be suffering from chronic dehydration (1). The Standard American Diet is inundated with diuretics, which not only replace fluids during the day that could be precious H2O, but also excrete the water you've already consumed. You can go weeks without food, but only days without water.

A dry mouth is a sign you’ve already reached dehydration status.

So, before you get to that point, you need to properly hydrate yourself. How do you do that? By sipping water throughout the day and not gulping an 8 oz. glass at once. If you chug water just to catch up on your daily quota, you put pressure on your kidneys to dilute your blood faster and in turn excrete the very water you’re trying to hydrate with--this is why you rush to the restroom 10 minutes later!

Electrolytes are key. You can drink all the water you want, but if you're not also consuming the proper level of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium) then the water is not being properly assimilated into the body. Furthermore, you lose electrolytes throughout the day, especially through sweat. Try adding a pinch of sea salt and lemon juice to your glass or mixing in coconut water and other natural sources of electrolytes.

How much water should you drink? There are many variables that determine this answer including environmental factors, weight, diet, and exercise. A general rule of thumb is to divide your weight in half and that is the number of fluid ounces of water you should have consumed by the end of the day. If you consume diuretics (coffee, juice, alcohol, caffeinated teas), then you should add 1.5x water. For example, if you drank a 6 oz up of coffee, you would need to add 9 oz of water to your day (6 x 1.5 =9). If you are sweating while exercising or spending time in the heat, you would also want to increase your water quota. 

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Here are 10 ways water works for you! 

1.       Prevents fatigue 

2.       Prevents migraines

3.       Prevents heartburn 

4.       Counteracts arthritis & joint pain 

5.       Prevents asthma attacks & airborne allergies 

6.       Prevents colitis & constipation

7.       Regulates blood pressure 

8.       Prevents kidney stones 

9.       Improves brain function

10.   Metabolizes stored fat and carbohydrates

Resources:

1.       Survey of 3003 Americans, Nutrition Information Center”, New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, April 14, 1998

February 11
Do the Safety Dance!
February 08
Top 10 TEDTalks on Wellness

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Here is a list of 10 TEDTalks to inspire a healthier, happier approach to overall wellness! Hungry for more? Browse the TEDTalks online catalogue for thousands more innovative videos from around the world! 

1.     Matt Cutts: Try Something New for 30 Days
2.     Nilofer Merchant: Got a meeting? Take a walk.
3.     Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work
4.     Dean Ornish: Healing Through Diet
5.     Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend
7.     Wendy Suzuki: The brain-changing benefits of exercise
8.     Ben Saunders: Why bother leaving the house?
9.     Russell Foster: Why do we sleep?
10.  Nicole Avena: How sugar affects the brain 

 

 

Did you watch a video related to nutrition, stress management, mindfulness, exercise, or general health that should be added to the list? E-mail us  bewell@albemarle.org

February 07
5 Easy Breathing Exercises to Try at Work!

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5 breathing activities you can do anywhere, anytime! (by Dr. Axe)—great for helping you fall asleep, stay focused at work, or unwind and destress!

Yes, we all breathe, but are we doing it the right way? By changing the way we breathe, we change the way we feel and how our bodies react to what’s going on around us. You can do breathing exercises anywhere at any time! Like when you’re commuting to work, before a stressful meeting, or during a conflict with a coworker. You can also practice deep breathing while trying to fall asleep by giving your body permission to stop being on alert and, instead, relax. Ready to get started? Here are five easy breathing activities you can try now!
 
1. Pursed lip breathing

With relaxed shoulders, take a normal breath for about 2 counts. Then pucker your lips up (think of your mouth when you’re about to whistle — that’s what your lips should look like!) and exhale for 4 counts. Do this for a few rounds.

 

2. Diaphragmatic breathing

With your shoulders back, keep one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. As you breathe in deeply for about 2 seconds, your belly should stick out a bit. Feel the air expanding your stomach and then breathe out slowly through the lips.

 

3. Yoga breathing

Place your right thumb over your right nostril as you breathe in through the left nostril. Then take your right ring finger and place it over your left nostril as you exhale from the right one.

Leaving your ring finger where it is over the left nostril, inhale from the left, then switch to the right side, putting your thumb over the right nostril and exhaling through the left.

 

4. 4-7-8

Exhale through your mouth and then close it and inhale through your nose for 4 counts. You hold the breath in for 7 counts, then release it in 8 counts, and repeat at least three times.

 

5. Breath counting

Sitting comfortably with your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths, then settle into a pattern of “normal” breathing. When you exhale, count “one.” The next time, count “two.” Do this until you have exhaled (and counted to) five, then start the pattern over. Don’t count past five, and if you find you’ve lost count, start again at one. 

December 14
Fitbits are not just for counting steps – track sleep, set goals and more!
 
BeWell Fitbit store open through Feb. 1, 2019
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 For employees:  preferred pricing plus $25 subsidy

For employee's friends and family:  2 discount codes to share

 Click here for details!!

December 14
You got the flu shot...now what?

                                                                                winterwellnesstips


Just because you got the flu shot, doesn’t mean you’re 100% immune from the flu or other respiratory infections. Here are 10 more ways to stay healthy this season!

1.       Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Disinfect surfaces and objects that may also be contaminated with germs. The flu virus can remain viable without a host for about 24 hours. (1) Keep your hands away from your mouth and nose, and make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes.

2.       Stay well hydrated! You should aim to drink half of your body weight in fluid ounces. Your body needs water to produce lymph and to flush out toxins. Without lymph, immune cells would not be able to travel throughout the body to fight disease. (2)

3.       Increase your Vitamin D by supplementing with dietary sources including cod liver oil, wild-caught salmon, tuna, fortified milk, and eggs. Vitamin D levels are lower in the winter due to less sun exposure, and is required to activate disease fighting cells. (3)

4.       Eat the rainbow! Focus on eating antioxidant-rich fruits & veggies. The USDA's Dietary Guidelines recommend adults eat AT LEAST 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Think dark berries, citrus, and green leafy veggies!

5.       Exercise regularly. Moderate activity promotes good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move efficiently through the body! Try taking a 20 minute walk on your break, even if it’s indoors! A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder. Exercise also increases the capacity of the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory, and indirectly improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. (4, 5)

6.       Increase anti-inflammatory, healthy fats including nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, & coconut oil. Essential fats also help increase the absorption of Vitamin D. (6)

7.       Explore stress reduction. Chronic stress weakens the immune system, making you more likely to get a cold or the flu. Tools include meditation, yoga, light exercise, deep breathing, and stress counseling. (7)

8.       Avoid sugar. Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners can invoke stress in the body and suppresses the immune response by destroying white blood cells. (8)

9.       Get enough rest. Sleeping allows your body to focus its energy on fighting infections. The average adult should clock between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. (9)

10.   It’s not too late to get the flu shot! While the flu peaks between November & March, the virus can continue to spread until May. (10) All employees can go to any pharmacy to get a free shot. Click for details. Remember, if you begin to feel sick while at work, go home as soon as possible. Read more on workplace wellness from the CDC.

References:

1.       https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits/index.htm

2.       https://www.cdc.gov/bam/diseases/immune/immunesys.html

3.       http://time.com/4672626/vitamin-d-cold-flu/

4.       https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking

5.       https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

6.       https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

7.       https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/

8.       https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/26/11/1180/4732762

9.       https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256323/

10.   https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/index.html

 

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