Posts tagged with "stretch"

Alex Bogdan for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Tips to Maintain a Healthy Back

With the COVID-19 pandemic reaching another surge this holiday season, its more important than ever to stay safe, protected and healthy. With the pandemic continuing throughout the winter season, it’s easy to forget that the chilling winter weather can result in the muscles and ligaments of our bodies to contract and tighten significantly more. The muscles and ligaments that strengthen the back and spine, as well as the shoulders and knees, are considerably impacted by these seasonal changes.

From the Pinkston News Service comes a series of tips from Dr. Rita Roy, Chief Executive Officer of the National Spine Health Foundation, on how to protect and keep your back healthy during these frostier months.

Stretch regularly

Implementing a consistent stretching routine can lower your risk of injury, and can even elevate the healing process of a previous injury. Engaging in basic back stretches such as the child’s pose or cat-cow and enhance strength and flexibility to your spine.

Wear proper footwear

Dr. Rita Roy encourages everyone to be mindful of the shoes that you plan to wear depending on the weather you may be dealing with. Make sure that your footwear is a fitting size, by trying them on in-store first, if you can. Ensure that your shoes have proper lining to keep you warm during the chilling temperatures. Making note to purchase a set of footwear that has non-stick rubber soles and treads on the bottom of the shoe for an extra level of safety from slipping. Remember to also take those shoes off when you head indoors, replacing them with socks or slippers, so you don’t run the risk of slipping inside as well.

Be aware of your surroundings

If you know that you may be heading outside, make sure to pay attention to what surfaces you step foot on. To get ahead of the game, keep up on the weather conditions heading your way. If you live in an area with a lot of icy roads and sidewalks, make sure to take your time, walk slowly and steer clear of carrying large items along your path. Make sure to look around you and use the objects that are not moving to your advantage; hold onto a handrail or tree to give yourself some extra balance. Keep your eyes peeled and watch around you to avoid unwarranted hazards.

Stay active

While winter follows the holiday season, this may warrant a lot of eating, sitting around and mood shifts. Seasonal depression is ever apparent through this time of year, so it’s extremely crucial to get your body moving to aid the dreariness that comes with winter. Moving around in between meals through exercising can help you in more ways than you may know.

Don’t overextend yourself

While it is crucial that you keep exercising, be sure to not overreach these efforts. The end of the holiday season raises a whole new set of physical activities, such as, hanging Christmas lights and shoveling snow. These unique tasks pose risks to the body because these are not activities that are regularly carried out year-round. Shoveling snow can cause intense stress to your back. It is vital that you use proper techniques and equipment when carrying out these tasks. Give yourself well-needed breaks and time to rest while participating in these endeavors.

Always wear a seatbelt

This may seem like a misplaced tip among the rest, but nonetheless this one is exceptionally valuable. Studies have found that a large amount of weather-related auto accidents happen throughout the winter, and around 76,000 people become hurt in accidents that result on snowy or slushy roads. Back pain can result from a mere low-speed fender-bender since the body was not anticipating the impact. So, keeping your seatbelt on can limit these sudden movements.

Gaming illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Fifteen Health Tips for Gamers

Gaming is a fun pastime, but it’ll only stay fun if you keep yourself healthy enough to enjoy it for years to come. Nourish your body properly and give it time away from screens to relax and repair. If you start taking excellent care of yourself, you may notice that your mood and energy levels improve, too

Gaming has become one of the most popular pastimes in the last few decades. The world contains around 3.24 billion self-proclaimed gamers, all people who take comfort in fictional worlds or pave their paths through a story. With gaming being so interactive and engaging, it can be hard to pull yourself away or take care of yourself as you need to. Try out these tips to keep yourself healthy through your long gaming sessions and beyond.

1. Take Breaks

When you’re gaming for multiple hours in a row, your body is bound to feel it. When you start to feel like you’re getting stiff or can’t remember the last time you stood up, take a break. Use your break time to stay away from technology, as tempting as it may be to check your phone. This practice gives your eyes a rest from straining against technology, and you can take the time you need for a bathroom break or rehydrate yourself.

2. Sit Up Straight

Gaming doesn’t always mean you have the best posture. You should watch your posture, especially when in front of electronic devices. When you angle your head the wrong way for hours at a time, you apply more pressure to your neck than necessary, rivaling the weight of a child. If you’re gaming on a couch, try to adjust your posture and sit up straight. If you play from a chair, make sure the one you’re using supports your body well.

3. Hydrate Adequately

Many gamers turn to energy drinks and other liquids laden with sugar to keep their energy levels high while gaming. While these drinks can give you a boost, they aren’t the greatest for your body and don’t give you much nourishment. Opt for water instead — you can always mix in flavor powder if you don’t like the taste of plain water.

Lots of people try to follow the eight cups of water a day rule, but how much water you need depends on several factors like your height, weight and activity level. If you’re concerned, talk to your doctor about the water requirements your body needs.

4. Take Care of Your Teeth

Your teeth are one of the most important parts of your body. If you don’t care for your oral hygiene, you might get toothaches or other preventable issues that could affect your body as a whole. Poor oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay, but it can also affect the rest of your body by keeping you at risk for other diseases. You should aim to brush at least twice a day, and brush thoroughly, not just the spots you can see.

5. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is your body’s time to relax. It’s best not to use any technology for a while before your bedtime so that you can transition easily into sleep. Set a “winding down” period where you can ensure that you unplug from your gaming setup and start preparing for bed.

You’ll want to aim for around seven or eight hours a night if you’re an adult and more than that if you’re a teenager. Getting enough sleep ensures that your body will function properly in the days ahead.

6. Snack on Wholesome Foods

Instead of snacking on processed foods while playing games, consider swapping them out with healthier options. Opt for an apple instead of potato chips if you’re searching for something with a crunch factor. You can even make chips by baking kale. Find a sugar-free substitute for your favorite candy — or if you need a dose of sugar, consider eating some naturally sweet fruit instead.

7. Eat a Balanced Diet

Even if you don’t change your snacking habits, you should consider eating balanced meals to offset the processed foods. Healthy foods can make you feel stronger and give you the proper energy you need for long gaming sessions.

To best safeguard your health, focus on eating lean meats and other proteins, fruits and vegetables. Since you aren’t very active while you’re gaming, you don’t need a ton of carbohydrates, but you shouldn’t cut them from your diet entirely. A balanced diet consists of all food groups in moderation, with healthier foods being more plentiful.

8. Find an Active Game

Gaming can take up a lot of time, so if you’re dedicated to getting in a few hours of games every night, you may not find yourself as active as you want. Consider picking up a game that requires you to be involved, such as “Just Dance,” which can get your whole body moving.

You also have the option to go for “Ring Fit Adventure,” a popular Nintendo Switch game that lets you progress through a fantasy world by keeping you active. Active games will help you feel good about yourself while also giving you the pride of accomplishing something.

9. Wear Blue Light Protection

Staring at a screen for hours on end can mess with your eyes and impair your vision. Consider focusing on something far away for around 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of gameplay. By following this 20-20-20 method, you can safeguard your eyes against some damage.

Another option is to wear blue light protection. Some special glasses, with or without prescription, can limit the amount of blue light rays that your eyes take in. If you’re planning to sit down for a more extended gaming session than usual, consider putting on a pair of these glasses to protect your eyes.

10. Improve Your Social Life

When you spend hours gaming, you’re away from your phone or other people who may want to talk to you. Instead of gaming alone, try to pull your loved ones into your favorite game with you. Whether you play co-op or competitive, you’ll have a fun time socializing with friends and family while introducing them to your interests.

Having a thriving social life could be linked to being healthier. When you have a great support system, you can feel more confident and more likely to accomplish your goals. Gaming with your loved ones might be an excellent stress relief.

11. Remember to Stretch

Reduce stiffness in your joints by stretching now and then. When you work at a desk, you’re supposed to take short breaks every hour or so. Why should it be any different when gaming? Giving yourself a break means allowing time for stretching.

Research some stretches for your hands and push in the direction you aren’t using them. For example, if you find your thumbs stiff from clamping down on the controller too long, you may choose to bend your thumbs back or rotate them to alleviate some of the soreness.

12. Stand Up

When you’re sitting for a long time, you open yourself to risks you may not have been aware of. Sedentary lifestyles can lead to more blood clots in your legs, leading to more complications or even death.

Make time to move during your gaming sessions, and stand up if you can. While it may be challenging to stand up and game with PC setups, you can easily stand up when playing on a console. Move around and pace a bit to get the blood flowing, especially if you’ve been sitting for a long time.

13. Care for Your Mental Health

Even your favorite game can take a toll on your mental health. If you find yourself becoming overly sensitive to the events that happen while you’re gaming — whether it’s the topics in the content or the frustration of PvP matches — it might be time to step away for a bit. Do something else to refresh your mind so you can come back to your game with a renewed mood.

14. Rest Your Eyes

If your eyes start to hurt while gaming, it should be time to take a break and rest them. Allow your eye muscles to relax by pausing your game and leaning back. Close your eyes and just rest for a few minutes, allowing your eyes to relax from any straining they had been doing. After a few minutes of letting your eyes rest, you can get right back to gaming while feeling fresh.

15. Start Today

The best thing you can do for your health is to start now. When you’ve already done the damage, making adjustments later on won’t help you prevent the adverse outcomes you could potentially face. You can choose to make changes one step at a time. Each step forward is a move toward a better and brighter future.

Get Your Head in the Game

Gaming is a fun pastime, but it’ll only stay fun if you keep yourself healthy enough to enjoy it for years to come. Nourish your body properly and give it time away from screens to relax and repair. If you start taking excellent care of yourself, you may notice that your mood and energy levels improve, too.

Dog and child illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Backyarding Trends

The TurfMutt Foundation Predicts “Backyarding” To Become Permanent Trend

“Backyarding,” the new trend to move many indoor activities–from working in an office or classroom to dining and recreation–to the great outdoors, is growing. Under pandemic conditions, yards and other managed landscapes became a safe haven for social gatherings, celebrating milestones/holidays, working, studying, playing, exercising, relaxing.  
 
“Your own backyard is nearly limitless with possibilities, and homeowners got really creative as they expanded and enjoyed their yards over the last year,” said Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the TurfMutt Foundation. “We predict, long after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, our yards will become an even greater part of our lives. The notion of ‘backyarding’ is here to stay.” 
 
In 2020, home improvements – many of them in the backyard – skyrocketed. So did the demand for outdoor power equipment as homeowners invested in making their outdoor spaces fabulous, functional and flourishing. Overall, shipments of outdoor power equipment increased 16 percent in 2020.
 
“Expect people to continue to invest in their outdoor life this coming spring,” said Kiser. “Many homeowners who put time and effort into their landscapes last year will be rewarded when that yard comes back to life this spring. But, even if you did little last year, it’s never too late to start – just start.”  
 
Here are some ways to bring more “backyarding” into your life:  
 
1.    Invest in your yard. Design a dream lawn and garden. Consider its purpose. Don’t design just for aesthetics. Do you have kids and pets who need a place to play? Will you be hosting safe gatherings? Do you need a place for rest and relaxation and/or games and recreation?
 
2.    Get the whole family involved. Create a game or a friendly competition with your family to help identify all the ways you can move your indoor life to the great outdoors – and right out your backdoor. Can you take office calls and video meetings to the patio or porch? Can your kids do their online learning outdoors? How often can you take dining outside? Keeping safety in mind, can you gather outdoors for family celebrations, birthdays, graduations and reunions? 
 
3.    Plant something—as early as you can. (Or plant more). Adding trees, bushes, grass and flowering plants is a good yard investment, but they often take time to grow. Plant as early as recommended so you can enjoy the benefits faster.  Just remember “right plant, right place.”  Location, maintenance, sunlight and watering needs should all be considered, as well as your climate zone.
 
4.    Stretch winter-weary muscles. Take workouts, yoga classes and meditation sessions outdoors. You also can let off some steam by mowing the grass, trimming the hedges, or edging the lawn. Working in the yard not only helps our living landscapes look better and stay healthy, it also gives us a sense of accomplishment and control in trying times. 
 
5.    Plan a staycation. A makeshift “resort” or vacation spot could be just out your back door. Pitch a tent, build a campfire, hang a sheet between trees to make a movie screen, set up games – these are just a few ideas to make the backyard a vacation spot. 
 
6. “Level up” nature care. Add flowering plants, trees and shrubs to give wildlife and pollinators food and shelter. Your yard is part of the larger ecosystem, so check your climate zone for landscaping options that support your birds, bees, butterflies and other wildlife. Don’t forget to take time to just sit and drink it in, observing the wildlife and nature around you.
 
Research shows simply spending time in nature – which starts in your backyard – is good for reducing stress, boosting heart health, boosting Vitamin D levels, and enhancing memory.  Thanks to the family yard, the health and well-being benefits of being outside are just a few steps away.
 
To learn more, go to TurfMutt

7 Tips to Increase Effectiveness of Your Workout

Workouts can do a lot more than just improve your physical fitness, it builds your confidence, keeps stress and anxiety at bay, extends life expectancy and keeps you happy. If you spend hours at the gym for same reasons but are not satisfied with the result, then you have to bring in a few changes. Otherwise sooner or later you are bound to give up. Few practices can increase the effectiveness of your workout and make it a fun activity. Take notes, put your shoes on and get started.

  1. Always Warm Up First

Never ever skip warm up sessions. If you think just doing heavy workout is enough to achieve physical fitness, then you are wrong. When you do warm up sets, you are conditioning your body for all the intense activities that are to follow. Warming up increases your speed and endurance, gives you flexibility and is very crucial to prevent injuries, which are very common during gym sessions.

  1. Short and Intense Workout

Spending three hours in the gym would not yield result if all you do is few minutes of cycling, take half an hour break, then a few crunches and a juice break. When working out, focus on quality, not quantity. Thirty to forty minutes of intense workout is enough for the day. But make sure in that time you are doing everything from push-ups to squats to crunches to weightlifting. Time is not an excuse now.

  1. Supplements

Even after a proper diet, your workout sessions can make you feel drained for the rest of the day. And that’s where supplements come in. Supplements like multivitamins, whey protein powder, creatine, and even caffeine is emerging as an effective supplement for workout. If you’re into taste then checkout best tasting protein powders 2019.

  1. Golden Rule – Proper Diet

It has been stressed enough that a balanced diet is the key to living healthy and longer. All the workout would be of no use if you end up munching on burgers, pizzas, donuts and sipping coke every day. Your body needs fuel to keep up with your energy requirements during and after workouts. Design and follow a balanced diet and take a good intake of protein and carbs. Drink water regularly and switch from coke to natural juice.

  1. Workout Partner

If going to the gym seems like an ordeal to you and you end up skipping gym days too often then get a workout partner. It can be your better half, any friend, family member or even a colleague. When you have a companion to accompany you, train with you, talk about the common topic and share progress with, you are most likely to stay motivated for longer duration ensuring continuity.

  1. Let the Music Play

Many researches show that music enhances your durability during workout sessions. High beat motivating music gives you an adrenaline rush and gives you mental strength to do that one more set. It also motivates you and distracts your mind from recognizing body pain from exertion. Design your own playlist of songs that activates your mind and body and makes you want to move. You’ll see the difference.

  1. Keep Track

How will you progress if you don’t remember the last milestone that you achieved? If you want to do better than yesterday, then it’s important to know what exactly you did yesterday so start keeping track of your workout sessions from the beginning. Note down the days, session time, break time and all the numbers. This way you can actually see if you made any progress or not. If not, time to increase those numbers.

If you’re into exercising and working out, then you are already in the right direction my friend. You choose to live better every day when you choose to work out every day so keep the spirit high and earn your good health.

‘What’s Good with Stretch & Bobbito’ Returns

NPR’S WHAT’S GOOD WITH STRETCH & BOBBITO RETURNS FOR SEASON 2 ON PODCAST FEEDS EVERYWHERE AUGUST 15

Co-hostedby dynamic duo Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia, the blockbuster NPR podcast What’s Good With Stretch & Bobbito launches its highly anticipated second season on August 15, 2018.

Catch up on previous episodes and subscribe to the show ahead of the new season on npr.org.

Last year, the podcast emerged as a fan favorite, featuring free-wheeling and candid conversations with some of the most interesting people throughout the worlds of music, film, television, comedy, culture, media, and beyond. Among season one’s 17 interviews, guests ranged from legendary comic Dave Chappelle, Academy Award-winning actor Mahershala Ali [Moonlight, Luke Cage], and Stevie Wonder to Run The Jewels, Bootsy Collins, Chance the Rapper, Linda Sarsour, and many more. Along the way, it landed looks from Hypebeast, Billboard, and Okayplayer, to name a few. 2018 promises yet another slate of high-profile subjects to be announced very soon. Don’t miss What’s Good With Stretch & Bobbito on NPR!

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International Day of Yoga

Consulate General of India presents The 4th International Day of Yoga on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 11am at Picnic Point on Governor’s Island.
The admission to the event is free for to participate, but advance registration is required:
Free ferry access to Governor’s Island at 10am.
Consulate General of India is back again with the celebration of the 4th International Day of Yoga on June 16, 2018, bringing together communities to enjoy the spirit of Yoga.
Fifteen minute yoga and meditation sessions will be led by such organizations as Hindu Temple of North America, Mallakhamb Federation USA, Isha Foundation, Sahaja Yoga and the Art of Living Foundation, and the event will conclude with a live performance.
The United Nations proclaimed June 21, as the International Day of Yoga at the initiative of the Government of India. Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit, means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and mind. Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity. International Yoga Day aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.
About Consulate General of India
Sandeep Chakravorty, Consul General of India in New York, a member of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS) since 1996, has served in India’s Missions in several countries. Prior to becoming Consul General of India in New York in August, 2017, he was the Ambassador of India to Peru and Bolivia. Earlier he had been India’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh. He has also served in Indian Embassies in Madrid and Bogota. In India’s Ministry of External Affairs he has held several positions including Press Relations Officer, Staff Officer to Minister and worked on desks dealing with Central Asia, East Asia and China.
Before joining the Government, Mr. Chakravorty worked with civil society organizations dealing with natural resources and environmental issues.