Monthly Archives: June 2014

Guest Article: Sitting is the New Smoking

It’s been well known for many years that smoking has huge negative implications for your health, even if you’re otherwise fit and active. New research, however, shows that just sitting down for long stretches of time can have comparable negative health effects. One of the easiest ways to improve your health is to fight the negative effects that sitting too much can have on your metabolism. Whether you are a young professional just starting out or someone gearing up to retire, walking every opportunity you have to do so can make a great improvement in your overall health. If you’re someone who requires professional home care and home health services, you can turn those services into opportunities to improve your health even more.

How Sitting Affects You and Your Health
The human body, at its core, is made to be in motion. Keeping certain muscles immobile, especially certain leg muscles, slows down circulation, which in turn causes the body to use less blood sugar and burn less fat. This effect has huge long-term health implications including increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. New research also indicates that sitting suppresses a gene called LPP1, which prevents clotting and inflammation to keep the cardiovascular system healthy. In short, if you exercise regularly but spend most of your non-exercise time sitting down, you’re undermining the benefits of that exercise.

Get Outta That Chair!

Go for Walks: It’s almost always possible to find a few minutes in your day to go out and walk around. If you are using home care services, ask the caregiver if you can go for a walk together. Those 15 minutes will not only improve your health, but also help you get to know someone who’s visiting your home so often. If you are working at a desk all day, take a break and walk about the building. Make sure to take the stairs and just take a lap around the office. It’s amazing how much better and refreshed you will feel after a break from sitting.

Find Standing Activities: Cooking, cleaning, organizing, and many other activities around the house don’t require you to sit down. Even if you’re in need of homecare services, you can likely find low-stress activities that keep you moving without exerting yourself too much. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, consider investing in an adjustable desk to stand at least part of the time. If you have an adjustable desk, the general rule is to spend 45 minutes sitting with 15 minute intervals of standing. ABC news reported, “When you sit for long periods of time, there is a very little contractile activity going on in the skeletal muscle, and after more than a thousand studies, we believe that small, low level contractions are very important for good health.” Check out the full article here.

Get Up and Stretch: Even a one-minute stretch break from sitting down, at home or at the office, can get your body moving again and help your metabolism. Even if you require professional caregiving services in the home to complete your daily activities, ask if the caregiver can help you do the tasks rather than do them for you so you can get up and move about when you are able. Just ask your care professional to get up and stretch with you periodically during each visit.

Drink More Liquids: Yes, trips to the bathroom are a perfectly legitimate way to keep your body moving. The more liquids you consume, the more often you’ll have to get up. The extra liquids will also help you keep your digestive system moving and improve your metabolism.

Exercise While Seated: For some people the daily commute requires you to sit down whether you like it or not. Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises you can perform while sitting to keep your metabolism moving. Even something as simple as shifting your weight from one side to the other can have health benefits. In some cases, people have been known to carry light weights in their car to work out their arms while they wait patiently in traffic.

Use Reminders: Alarms on your mobile phone or computer can remind you to get up, stretch and exercise. Alternatively, you can go low-tech with sticky notes around your clock or a posted exercise schedule in your office. People receiving professional home care and home health services can also ask their caregivers and health professionals to remind them to exercise.

Walk and Talk: For both in-person and phone conversations, there’s no need to sit down if you’re talking to another person. Get up and walk around, and encourage your conversation partner to do the same. Again, this is a great opportunity to chat with your home care services professional or learn something new about a coworker.

At Homewatch CareGivers, we’re dedicated to helping your loved ones stay healthy. Whether it involves coordinating home health care services for you or offering assistance with daily chores around the house, it’s possible to stay safe and maintain independence when even routine tasks become difficult. Even when it’s as simple as encouraging clients to get up and move around or as complex as working directly with doctors and other health care providers, we do what it takes to take care of people of all ages.

Written By: Alison Johnston is a writer living in the greater Denver area who enjoys writing about overall health and well being.

Technology Series: Tablet VS Computer

shutterstock_23529769Elderly people wanting to get more technologically savvy is both a beautiful and frustrating thought. I experience this first hand every week with my elderly Grandmother who is over 80 years old and wants to learn how to shop online.  In this case, I make technology way scarier than it actually is, in reality I don’t want her spending her fixed income on useless items and exposing herself to all sorts of scams, virus’ and whatever else lurks out in the internet world, especially when I won’t always be there when she opens her email or enters in her credit card number.

There are so many options out there for adults to choose from that muddling through some of them can be hard. I do not subscribe to the belief that you buy something and learn what it does, especially with those who are less technologically savvy than I. I do however believe that you should figure out what you want to do and buy something to fit that.  With that, there is the question of Tablet VS Computer.

Tablets

Tablets are handheld devices made by a variety of manufacturers.  Tablets are great for minor document work, camera, social media, some shopping, watching videos and face to face virtual chatting with Grandchildren. There are thousands of apps (short for applications) you can buy to do a variety of things on tablets.  You can also have your tablet connect to the internet without being in a Wi-Fi network, mostly offered through your cell phone carrier, which will eliminate you needing to have a Wi-Fi model at home or finding an area that has Wi-Fi available for you to use. I truly enjoy the mobility of these devices, if you already have a smartphone, the capabilities are very similar however the tablet has a larger screen.  The best thing about tablets for the purpose of this article, you can pick it up and learn how to use it almost instantly. Increase the size of apps and text with a few swipes of your finger.  Some manufactures make it so the tablet comes with voice commands without having to purchase an app.

I am not a fan of using Tablets for document work, some is fine but if you’re always typing it’s much easier and faster to use a computer.  You also have a lot more formatting options with computer document generation, which is limited in tablets. Not all websites, especially those where you enter a lot of information such as work reporting and private sites like those for colleges or certain groups, are not tablet friendly. There are also software that you would buy for a computer that offer lighter versions for tablets, or apps, however not all software are offered as apps.  So if you’re buying a tablet to do design work, you might be limited in some of the things you want to accomplish.

Price Range roughly $45-$1500 depending on the features, brand, etc. Remember the lower priced tablets will be slower and have less capabilities.

Computers

Computers can be both mobile (laptops) and stationary (desktops).  Computers can do everything that tablets can do, minus some of the available apps, and more. So much more sometimes that if you don’t have previous computer experience, you’re facing a large learning curve.  Just to change the size of icons and fonts can take a while to find, if you find it at all.  There is also a lot more regular maintenance with having a computer.

Price Range roughly $200-$$$$ depending on the features, brand, etc. Check to see what you are purchasing, if you are looking at desktops you will want to make sure to get a monitor, keyboard and mouse as well, you may even be able to find a set.

Netbooks

These are smaller and lighter versions of laptops with limited capabilities. Most of the time you don’t have the ability to insert a disc as these don’t come with disc players, this keeps netbooks cheap and lighter in weight. I have seen a variety of netbooks with on board web cams.  If you’re looking to communicate with children or grandchildren, this feature will be important to you.

Price Range roughly $120-$$$ depending on the features, brand, etc. If you are looking for something with an on board camera, verify that this is available in the models you are looking at.

Computer and Tablet Classes

No need to be embarrassed about your lack of knowledge or wanting to learn more. Classes are usually offered by local community centers or adult education learning classes in your area, best part is that you get hands on training and smaller classes to assist you in learning your new equipment.

Additionally manufactures such as Apple offer training and support, called the Genius Bar, for your equipment (smart phones known as the iphone, computers/laptops known as MacBooks; iMacs; G5, tablets known as the iPad, tv known as Apple TV and mp3 players known as iPods) at their retail locations for free, however if you need more advanced support and/or repairs outside of your warranty period, this may cost you. I would check with the manufacturer of the device you are looking to purchase to see what their warranty and support can do for you if ever needed.  Let’s face it, technology can be difficult for even the most advanced user such as myself but remember that we all have something to learn.

Written by Valerie Michel Buck

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