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NORTH SHORE TODAY / JANUARY 30, 2013

Sitting Too Long is Bad for Your Health Whether you have a desk job or otherwise sedentary lifestyle, prolonged periods of sitting may be unavoidable for you. Chances are you are sitting as you read this article. New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and other journals shows that sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to your health, contributing to a variety of complications, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic kidney disease. “The best defense — the only defense — is to move more,” says Dr. Keith Overland, president of the American Chiropractic Association. WALK The simple act of walking can help you get in shape and feel great. It’s easy, burns calories, reduces the risk of heart disease, tones muscles and increases cardiovascular endurance. Walking as little as 12 minutes a day can have a significant, positive effect. Take the stairs, park faraway on a warm day or take a short walk during your lunch break. To get the most from your walk, move your arms freely in coordination with the opposite leg, walk “with purpose” to maximize your cardiovascular workout, don’t stoop your head or look down as you walk and don’t carry weights, as they’re better used as a separate part of your PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Ivonne Wierink – Fotolia exercise regimen. ALLEVIATE PAIN Aches and pains prevent many people from even taking that first step toward better health. Chiropractic physicians — experts in treating muscles and joints — offer not only a drug-free approach to alleviating pain through spinal adjustments and manipulation, they also promote overall health and wellness through nutritional counseling, rehabilitation and exercise and lifestyle recommendations. Search for a chiropractor in your area by using “Find a Doc,” the American Chiropractic Association’s online member database, acatoday.org/FindaDoc. SIT CORRECTLY “When you do sit, make sure to do it correctly so you don’t ruin your posture or strain your muscles, leading to pain that could inhibit you from getting the activity you need,” suggests Dr. Overland. To prevent problems, keep your feet on the floor or a footrest and don't cross your legs. Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips. Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your lower and mid-back or use a back support, and avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time. Include frequent micro-breaks into your sitting time, stretching your neck, arms, wrists, back and legs. Simple stretches include neck rotations, fist clenches, arm dangles, and shoulder shrugs. Most of all, don’t sit for too long. Stand up and stretch your legs with a short walk about every 20 to 30 minutes. Avoid working through lunch. MAINTAIN GOOD POSTURE Poor posture not only consumes more energy, but can also lead to excessive strain on your postural muscles and may even cause them to weaken when held in certain positions for long periods of time. The postural muscles are prone to injury and back pain, but maintaining good posture, sitting properly and moving regularly can help you stay painfree. You can learn more healthy tips at ChiroHealthy.com. While you may not be able to quit your desk job, you can prevail over inactivity and move yourself closer to better health. - Statepoint

DIGITAL EBOOK

Is it Important to Feed Kids Organic Food? The nutritional choices you make for your children are crucial, setting the stage for good health and good habits for years to come. Once they leave the house, you want to be able to trust that you’ve sent them on the right path and they continue to make healthy food choices. Until then, these tips and pieces of information can help you make the best choices for them and for yourself. If you’ve heard about the benefits of organic food, you may be wondering if it’s worth the extra expense or if it actually makes a big difference. Despite economic troubles, organic food continues to be in demand, so it must be helping people in some way.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Ivonne Wierink – Fotolia

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recently weighed in on the subject of organic food for the first time, what’s most important is that children eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy products, whether those are conventionally or organically grown. “Organic foods do have lower levels of pesticides and drug-resistant bacteria,” says Dr. Thomas K. McInerny, president of the AAP. “That may be important for kids because young children are more vulnerable to chemicals, but we simply don’t have the scientific evidence to know if the difference will affect a person’s health over a lifetime,” he says. Both organic and conventionally grown foods have the same vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, lipids and other nutrients that are important for children’s health. “If you’re on a budget, don’t buy the most expensive organic option if it’s going to reduce your family’s overall intake of healthy foods, like fresh produce,” advises McInerny. “It’s better for kids to eat five servings of conventionally grown produce a day than for them to eat one serving of organic vegetables.” Families can also be selective in choosing particular organic foods to stretch their budget. The Environmental Working Group has created a Shopper’s Guide that rates the level of pesticides in produce. Their guide indicates that conventionally grown onions, sweet corn and pineapples have relatively low pesticide rates, making them safer to purchase. If you can budget a few extra dollars to spend on groceries, opt for organic apples and celery, which are among the most pesticide-laden crops. According to the AAP, organic milk is not healthier for kids than conventional milk, but parents should make sure all milk they purchase is pasteurized. The jury is still out on the long-term health benefits of organic produce, but in the meantime, keep your eyes and ears open for new information as it becomes available, so you can make the best possible choices in the future. You can find nutrition tips for kids on the AAP website for parents, healthychildren.org. No matter the size of your budget, you can do your kids a world of good by ensuring they get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. - Statepoint

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