20 Ways to Stay Fit and Healthy This Thanksgiving

This article was published on The Greatist. You can view the original here.

Here’s some serious food for thought: People probably consume 3,000 to 5,000 calories around the Thanksgiving table. Yikes. While eating often takes center stage during the holidays, that doesn’t we have to give up on good health. Check out these tips for a fit and healthy holiday, without sacrificing any flavor or fun.

Fitness

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade doesn’t air all day. Skip crowding around the TV and try to fit in some fitness in (the more the merrier!).

1. Get outside.

Up early? Go for a walk or run to enjoy some pre-festivities alone time, or grab your favorite second cousin to catch up. For something a bit more competitive, round up a group of family or friends and hit the backyard or local park for some flag football.

2. Do it fast.

Don’t have an hour to hit the gym? Don’t worry. Try an at-home circuit workout or Tabata training.  All take 20 minutes (or less!) to get in a good workout.

3. Split up the chores.

Everyday activities (like tidying up the family room) can burn more calories than you’d think. So offer to do the dishes or swiffer the floor—not only does it lend a hand, it gets you moving too!

4. Bust a move.

Nothing says family bonding more than a dance party. Gather a group, turn up the tunes, and get the blood flowing. It may help you digest all that stuffing too.

5. Find a turkey trot.

If up for the challenge, run a race Thanksgiving morning! Find a Turkey trot in your town (they range from a totally doable one-mile to 10K), sign up, and add crossing the finish line to your holiday to-do list.

Health

Before heading to the kitchen, keep these healthy tips in mind to enjoy the festive food without going overboard.

6. Eat in the a.m.

Skipping breakfast in order to “save your appetite” for dinner probably isn’t the best idea. Not breaking the fast ‘til the afternoon may lead to binging later on (read: four servings of mashed potatoes).

7. Hydrate.

Make sure to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Not drinking enough H2O could spark hunger pangs, which may actually be thirst.

8. Go easy on the apps.

Cheese and crackers can happen any day of the year. Save your appetite (and calorie consumption!) for dinnertime.

9. Use a smaller plate.

Stick all those Thanksgiving sides on a smaller plate. Research showsit’ll help you eat 22 percent fewer calories, while a bigger plate of food may be licked clean, even if we’re not hungry.

10. Dim the lights.

Studies suggest that eating in softer light may lead to consuming less food. So create a nice intimate ambiance that everyone will love.

11. Chew slowly.

How quickly we eat really does matter, research shows. In one study, fast eaters consumed around three ounces of food per minute, while slowpokes only ate about two ounces. Chewing slowly could mean less calories consumed, so take a chill pill when digging into the dinner plate.

12. Beware of dangerfoods.

Be careful with foods that aren’t as healthy as they seem. (Green bean casserole, anyone?) Gratins, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce may hide some sneaky ingredients high in fat and sugar.

13. Watch out for liquid calories.

Unfortunately, calories from alcohol can sneak up on us during the holidays. Go easy on the booze and stick to healthier cocktails like a vodka soda or Bloody Mary to avoid excess sugar.

14. Skip the seconds.

Wait 20 minutes (the amount of time it probably takes to feel full) before filling up the dinner plate again. Unless you’re really hungry, save some food for leftovers—the best part about Thanksgiving, right?

15. Don’t deny dessert.

The holidays shouldn’t be about restricting certain foods—just try to enjoy them in moderation! Stick to one slice of pie (or try one of these healthy dessert recipes) instead of going cold turkey at the dessert table.

Happiness

An overdose of family and food can be stressful. Here are some ways to feel rested, calm, and in control.

16. Inhale, exhale.

17. Write it down.

If choosing to count calories over the holidays, track your food in a journal so you know how much you’re consuming. (Wait, I did have a hearty breakfast!) This will keep you in control of what and how much you’re actually eating.

18. Meditate.

Whether enduring too much family time or unable to resist eating a whole pumpkin pie (we get it), meditation can help lower stress levels. All you need is a few minutes and a quiet corner. (Need some guidance? Check out this video on how to meditate while your mind is racing.)

19. Get enough sleep.

Make sure to get seven to nine hours of sleep the night before Thanksgiving. Not getting enough sleep could amp up appetite levels the following day. (Can’t sleep? Try these tips to catch some ZZZ’s.)

20. Give yourself some wiggle-room.

At the end of the day, Thanksgiving should be enjoyed with loved ones. Don’t stress about enjoying some good food with even better company!

Originally published November 2012. Updated November 2015.

Lumo Run Success Story: How Lumo Run has helped this user shave 30 seconds off his mile time

Guest post by Lumo Run user Jose S.

I love my new Lumo Run. It is completely unnoticeable attached to the back of my shorts. I wondered about the clip, but I forget it is there – usually until well after the run is over and I’m taking the shorts off. I’ve had zero problems with the app or syncing with my iPhone. The appearance of the app is sharp and easy to navigate. The videos and text on what the data are measuring are clear and easy to understand.

Most important though is the data it provides. I love numbers and collecting data on my runs, so I’ve purchased lots of gadgets searching for that extra bit of data that will help me improve my running. GPS, heart rate monitors, power meters, cadence, etc. With everything else, it was always initially interesting to get the data, but then what do you do with it? How do you use it to get better? This is where the Lumo Run is the best! It coaches you on which measurement needs the most work, and gives you specific drills to improve on that. The drills are short, simple, and the videos in the app make them easy to learn, but the best part is that they actually work! The first measurement it had me work on based upon my own running form was cadence. Using the drills and the voice over coaching I’m definitely getting closer to my goal, sometimes even exceeding it.

Best of all is that it’s not just the measurement that is improving. I really do think my form is improving. It still feels a little uncomfortable to get my cadence up to 180, but as I continue to do so I am seeing various improvements in my running. First off, my pace has increased. On a normal steady-state runs I’ve seen 20-30 second per mile improvement. On speed workouts it has been a little less, but still a definite improvement. In addition, this improvement has come without having to increase my heart rate. Second, I notice that my legs (upper hamstrings) and lower back are no longer sore after my runs. I am guessing that is a result of there being less pounding on the ground as my form improves. Another interesting benefit is that during my runs I seem to notice my fatigue less. I think some of that is psychological as I am not focusing on how I feel at the moment, but rather on getting that fast turnover in my training. I find I really have to concentrate on cadence to increase it, and that takes my mind off of feeling tired. In addition, instead of telling myself to “run faster” which of course you then hear yourself say “I’m going as fast as I can already!” I’m telling myself to speed up my cadence/leg turnover – this seems to be much more easily accepted by my brain at least.

I’ve only been using it for a month, so to see this much improvement already really has me excited. I hope the gains continue, and maybe even less injury as I continue to work on the other aspects of my form.

5 Really Great Reasons Why Good Posture Is Super Important

This article was originally featured on Huffington Post by Ann Brenoff. Read the original here

So it turns out, your mother was right after all: Good posture really matters ― even in your older years.

Slouching impacts you in ways you wouldn’t have imagined, says Dr. Charles Wang, the COO and co-founder of Lumo Bodytech, a company that has brought tech to the quest for good posture. The Lumo Lift gives you a vibrating reminder when you start to slouch. Kind of like Mom, but in the form of a wearable device.

Wang helped us compile this list of five reasons why good posture matters.

1. Bad posture can adversely impact your sex life.

Research shows that slouching ― the opposite of “power posing,” meaning standing up tall and straight ― results in low energy and low self-esteem. Standing straight up with your shoulders back and neck aligned with the rest of your spine is considered a “power pose” that can boost your energy and confidence levels. By regularly practicing good posture, you’ll feel more confident and energized in and out of the bedroom.

2.  Slouching makes you look older. 

If you’ve spent years sitting at a desk, hunched over a computer, you may be more likely to develop that unnatural hump in your neck or back resulting from “text neck.” For women, the forward slouching motion and rounding of the shoulders can cause breast sagging. To avoid your slouching from developing into skeletal or spinal issues, stay mindful of your posture in any position you’re in, whether you’re seated, standing, or walking, said Wang.

3. Bad posture can damage your back.

Yes, of course you knew that. Did you know that back pain is the second most common reason people visit the doctor every year, and poor posture is directly correlated to the increase in back pain in people who spend a great deal of their time sitting. Lumo Bodytech’s posture database research found that during an average workday, people spend as much as 38 minutes per hour slouching.

4. Poor posture can cause irregular bowel movements.

We kid you not. It’s not just your back that will feel the affects of your slouching ― your intestines will take a hit, too. Having good posture means your stomach and intestines can easily push food through ― but poor posture can cause your gastrointestinal system to lock up or function poorly. Research has also shown that people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome who suffer from bloating and gas can ease their symptoms by standing up straight.

5. Bad posture makes you more selfish.

Research shows that sitting upright helps reduce self-focus, allowing you to tune in more on the needs and emotions of the people around you.

How to fall in love with running

Guest post from Harry Wilson, the author of GoodHealthPlanning

Running is the easiest and cheapest way to get fit fast and it’s unbelievably therapeutic too! But what if running just isn’t your thing? Growing up I was always much happier playing in a field with a ball or on a court with a racket than going on a run. Until I signed up for my first marathon in 2013, and after that I kept on running. It just clicked and now I can’t stop! Here are my tips on how you too can fall in love with running:

  1. Don’t time yourself or worry about pacing. It’s all well and good if you are a professional runner or training for a specific race, but if you’re spending your run thinking about how far you have still to go or how fast (or slow) you’re going, you won’t be able to enjoy it.
  1. Go somewhere new. 18 months ago I moved to South London to an area I barely knew. The way I got to find all the great places around was by running. Just put your trainers on and go and see where you end up. It’s a great way to explore if you’re on holiday or bored of your usual lap of the park.
  1. Music or silence. It’s one or the other for me. Either you want to be romping along to your favourite tunes (I recommend a classic 90’s girl-power playlist), or in silence, taking in what’s around you. A random shuffle of your iPod won’t do it, you’ll get distracted skipping through all those songs that you’ve heard 1000 times already.
  1. Run in the rain. Trust me on this one. When it’s wet and miserable and you’ve had a disastrous day at work the last thing you want to do is go out into the cold. But instead of stuffing your face and wallowing, force yourself to go out, even if just for 20 minutes! Letting go of all your stress and anxiety and getting soaked with rain and sweat is the best therapy. This is tried and tested, believe me.
  1. Run with other people. As with any experience, it’s all the more fun to share it with other people. Local running clubs, meet-ups or friends. Feed off that group energy and just see how much easier it becomes.

And, finally…

  1. Start calling yourself a runner. Being a ‘runner’ isn’t like calling yourself a Doctor, it’s just a mindset. I run an OK 5k, a sloppy 10k, an average half marathon and I barely made it through my first marathon on two legs! I’m no Paula Radcliffe but I call myself a runner because I love to run. Follow these steps and you might too!

 

Lumo Lift Success Story: This Dental Hygienist uses Lumo Lift to prevent back pain

Guest post from Lumo Lift user, Christine B. 

I have been working as a Registered Dental Hygienist for eight years. One of the symptoms known to my profession is back problems. It is difficult to have patients lay in the proper position, which causes me to do a lot of hunching over and leaning. I found myself exploring options to prevent future back problems as I am still fairly young. I came across Lumo lift on one of my professional dental hygiene pages that I belong to and decided to purchase one for myself.

One of the big selling points was the price.  I began to use the lumo lift daily at work and as expected, I was doing a lot of slouching and needed to correct my posture. The gentle buzzing reminder often corrects me. I’ve found that the longer I used it, the more I could anticipate when it would correct me and found I was already correcting myself.

I like that it has different options for me to wear it It came with two different colors to wear outside my shirt so I can have it blend with my scrubs and be discreet if I do choose. I’ve had a lot of coworkers and friends ask me about it and I love to spread the word. Not only to colleagues but also to friends because it seems bad posture is a problem for a lot of people.

I’m now noticing more and more that my back pain has become less and less. I don’t ever leave for work without my lumo lift. I’m also impressed with the many features it includes. The lumo lift doesn’t need to be charged every day and also charges quickly. So there is an option on the super helpful app that lets me know how much battery life is left so that I know when I need to charge.

Overall I think that this was an incredible investment in myself, my career and my health. I find myself feeling better and happier and posture is extremely important in my life. I recommend this product every time someone asks me about it or mentions any type of back pain or posture products. I’m sure this product is very helpful for everyday life and other careers and jobs as well, but for dental professionals it’s pretty much a necessity. Lumo lift has changed my life and I will continue to wear and use it every day.

Lumo Run Guest Post: Getting il-LUMO-nated! Part 1

Guest post from Lumo Run user, Susan Oyler. You can read the original post on her blog ESSENTIAL OYL.

Last month, I was awarded a Lumo.Run smart running sensor as a runner-up prize from the #ThisIsMyCoach contest.  Upon delivery, I quickly tore into the box and started getting acquainted with my new gadget.  You clip this powerful little device on the back of your shorts and it analyzes your run form based on several metrics:
•    Cadence (how frequently your foot contacts the ground, per minute)
•    Bounce (also known as vertical oscillation, is the up and down movement that your body experiences while you run)
•    Braking (the change in forward speed experienced by your body during a step)
•    Drop (the side to side motion of the pelvis)
•    Rotation (the twisting motion of the pelvis)

As an engineer, I believe the more gadgets, the better!  I LOVE data and digging into numbers.  Also, as an engineer, I know that no patterns can be established from a single data point.  In order to properly identify patterns in my run form, I decided to put in a month of running with my sensor and reviewing the data.  As a busy mom who frequently forgets things, I LOVE that this device is waterproof and will survive the wash cycle (I’ve been guilty of leaving it clipped on the back of my shorts)!

After my first run with the sensor, I was REALLY nervous to look at the analysis.  I was worried it was going to tell me I was a MESS!  I was happy to see that my form reflects my running background.  For the five different criteria, my numbers were pretty much at, or near, the threshold values.  Phew!

It was really interesting looking at the data from this past month.  Especially comparing my slow, easy runs to my fast, interval runs.  The two run types produced different areas for improvement.  For my slower runs, my cadence was a bit below the lower threshold of 180 spm.   For my faster runs, my bounce moderately exceeded the threshold value of 3.30 inches.  The criteria that was frequently exceeded for both the slow and fast runs was braking (threshold value of 1.31 ft/s).

With solid data collected and trends established, I have now identified the areas that need improvement.  That’s the other great thing about the Lumo.Run sensor.  It does more than just provide you analysis.  It provides you exercises and drills to work on to improve your specific issues with your run form.  And now that I’ve completed my last race for the season, I have more time to work on improving swim/bike/run efficiency and strength.

 Over the next month or two, I am going to focus on the drills and exercises recommended by the app and follow up with a second post to detail my progress to improve my run form.

 

Is Your Cell Phone Killing Your Back?

This article was originally published on Spineuniverse.com by Joshua M. Ammerman, MD

Millions of people do it throughout the day and are totally unaware that cell phone use can be detrimental to the back. Did you know that cell phone use can double or triple the weight of your head and can strain your neck? If you are reading this article on a cell phone or tablet, you are probably doing it right now:Tilting your head forward and down in order to look at your device.

Cell phones and tablets are changing the way we access information and entertainment. The use of these devices influences our posture and body mechanics in unhealthy ways that contribute to neck, upper back, shoulder, and arm pain. Furthermore, poor posture while sitting, standing, walking, or in a static position can lead to more than upper body pain and stiffness—poor posture affects other parts of the spine, such as the middle and low back.

How much does a human head weigh?
Typically, an adult human head weighs between 10 and 12 pounds. As the head tilts or angles forward, the cervical spine’s (neck) muscles, tendons, and ligaments support the head during movement and when static; such as holding the head in a forward tilted position. Even the neck’s intervertebral discs are involved and help absorb and distribute the forces exerted on the neck.

How much heavier is the human head when tilted forward?
To find out, Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, created a computer model of the cervical spine. In an article published in Surgical Technology International, he reported that this model showed that the strain on your neck rises as the forward angle of your head increases.

  • At 15 degrees of forward tilt may equate to a head weighing 27 pounds.
  • At 30 degrees forward, the strain on the neck equals a 40 pound head.
  • The greater the angle, the greater the strain: 45 degrees forward equals 49 pounds of strain, and 60 degrees forward equals 60 pounds.

Now consider the fact that the average person is holding his or her head forward to look at a phone or read a tablet for 2 to 4 hours a day, according to Dr. Hansraj. Teenagers spend even more time each day looking down at their devices, he added. As you tilt your head, you also move your shoulders forward into a rounded position, which is another aspect of poor posture. All this excess strain creates extra wear and tear on the structures of the neck, upper spine and back, and contributes to/can lead to spinal degeneration that may require surgery.

Postural awareness a positive first step
Making good posture a habit can help prevent neck or back pain from developing, along with related posture and biomechanical problems. Good posture means that your head is upright, your ears are in line with your shoulders, and your shoulder blades are down and retracted.

“In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished. It is the most efficient position for the spine,” Dr. Hanraj said. Good posture is not only good for the health of your spine; it is good for your over-all health and mood as well as, Dr. Hansraj noted. Other researchers have found that standing straight elevates testosterone and serotonin levels and decreases cortisol levels, hormones that affect your mood, he reported.

However, modern life still requires you to check your phone or use your tablet many times a day. How do you do that and safeguard your neck?

  • First, don’t use your cell phone or your tablet for extended computer work, according to Stanford University’s Environmental Health and Safety Department.
  • Use your desktop or laptop computer for extended work and make sure these devices are arranged ergonomically.
  • When you use a cell phone, instead of bending your head to look down at it, raise your phone.
  • When you are reading the screen, bring the phone up level or just a little below your face.

 

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Customer Success Story: How one developer used Lumo Lift to practically eliminate back pain

Programer slouching

Guest post by Lumo Lift user Tim H.

I am a professional software developer and have “programmers hunch” even though I have tried different reminder software tools to sit up straighter.

In addition, I have suffered from mid back pain resulting from a house move in 2008. Massage and chiropractic relieved the pain somewhat, but only temporarily.

When I read about Lumo Lift, I was really impressed by the potential of having a constant companion to remind me to fix my posture! I bought one shortly thereafter.

In the mornings after I exercise, I put on my Lumo and align it. It helps me sit up straight in the car for my commute. When I’m in the office, I (now instinctively!) align it when I sit down or stand up. Every now and then I get a gentle buzz reminding me to fix my posture. When I’m at home, I keep it on and get little reminders to sit/stand properly.

When I go to bed at night, I put the Lumo in my gym bag for the next day (I keep a portable USB charger in my bag to keep my exercise gadgets charged without needing an outlet, so the Lumo Lift uses that if necessary).

In the two months since I’ve been using it, I feel better! I feel taller for one thing, my mid-back pain has almost entirely disappeared (who knew it was posture!!) and both my massage therapist and chiropractor noted that my shoulders are much easier to manipulate and sit in a much better position naturally. It feels great to know that my posture is getting better after so many years of knowing that I had to improve it but failing to stay on top of the problem.

The Lumo Lift is also an interesting conversation piece! My family, friends, and strangers strike conversations if they happen to notice the magnetic back. When I explain what it’s for and show them the Lumo Lift and Android app, they universally exclaim that they want one too. It seems that poor posture is a common problem!

I did develop one small issue with my Lumo Lift and had to contact support. They were very prompt, helpful, and did eventually send me a replacement with no charge or hassles. That’s pretty rare these days!

I am extremely happy with my Lumo Lift, and use it all of the time. It’s one of the best purchases I’ve made in years, and I recommend it for anybody who wants to improve their posture, suffers from back pain, or just wants to look more confident and poised!

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