Happy New Year from the UAB Office of Media Relations! We are planning a big year ahead when it comes to bringing you the news you can really use. This month, the focus is on ways to live better. A variety of UAB physicians from different specialty areas have provided suggestions for better living habits in the coming year, we’re also going to share the many benefits of a great stress reliever, plus, we’ll lay out the top five foods that a UAB dietician suggests should be added to the grocery cart in 2013. These stories and more will come your way throughout the month of January, so be sure to check in as we share better living News You Can Use.
Massage therapy can lower blood pressure, help prevent colds, enhance skin tone and more, according to an expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
Licensed Massage Therapist Arnold Kelly, who provides massage therapy at the Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic at the UAB Spain Rehabilitation Center, said massage provides two types of benefits: immediate and cumulative.
“Immediately following massage, you can experience reduced tightness in the muscles, improved blood flow and breathing, plus reduced anxiety and stress,” Arnold explained.
“Over the long-term, the benefits of massage accumulate; massage can increase a person’s range of motion, strengthen the immune system and provide an improved sense of well-being,” Arnold added.
Stress seems to creep into the lives of almost everybody at some point, and Arnold said a massage can do a lot to help.
With the hectic hustle and bustle of daily life — managing family, career, home and more — it is no wonder that creativity in the kitchen can fall to the wayside. To help people get out of a food rut and eat healthier this year, a dietitian from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) suggests adding five foods to the grocery cart.
As defined by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy eating pattern emphasizes nutrient-dense foods and beverages: vegetables and fruits; whole grains; fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; seafood, lean meats and poultry; eggs, beans and peas; and nuts and seeds.
According to Lindsey Lee, R.D., clinical dietitian with EatRight by UAB Weight Management Services, there are numerous often-ignored foods that fit the bill for healthier eating.
“There are many foods that, while unfamiliar to some, are readily accessible in most grocery stores and can really expand a person’s daily diet without expanding their waistlines,” Lee explained.
Here are five foods Lee recommends:
Losing weight – especially when the goal is to lose double-digit amounts – can seem like a daunting task, but a health and wellness expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) said the key is to take it one step at a time.
“If we set lofty weight loss goals, like 10, 20 or 30-plus pounds, and we don’t make progress quickly enough, it’s too easy to get distracted and have our emotions convince us that the goal is not achievable,” said Lauren Whitt, Ph.D., director of UAB Employee Wellness.
Whitt explained that breaking down goals into smaller, more manageable short-term targets, like losing one to two pounds per week, can lead to better chances of success.
“Once those first one or two pounds are lost, you can celebrate,” Whitt added. “Then the next mini-goal can become the focus.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a benefit to these smaller weight-loss goals: People who lose weight gradually and steadily are more successful at keeping the weight off. Since one pound equals 3,500 calories, the CDC recommends reducing caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day.
By mid-January, many well-intended New Year’s resolutions have already faded into memory, but it is not too late to make lasting changes for improved health. Doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) encourage staying on top of those resolutions until they become habit in order to make this year and every year the best yet.
To turn those resolutions into habit, UAB Wellness Director Lauren Whitt, Ph.D., said the new behavior needs to be repeated for at least 21 days. But, Whitt warned, day four is where many new actions begin to wear off.
“The first day of a new behavior – you’re excited – and that positive feeling carries over into day two,” Whitt said. “By day three, you start to get tired of it. By day four, it can drop off. Make it past day four and you are well on your way to making a new behavior a habit.”
Many people who resolve to get fit or lose weight in January tend to start strong but taper off within weeks. University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) experts recommend starting the New Year with simple changes, because too much change can be a recipe for failure.
“One easy option is to replace high-calorie, sugary beverages with zero-calorie options like water or diet soda,” said Lindsey Lee, R.D., director of the EatRight by UAB Weight Management Services program.
Lee also suggested focusing on portion control by using a food scale, measuring cups, measuring spoons or simply changing a plate.