Five Everyday Activities to Protect Your Physical Health

Does your body ever feel stiff or sore? As we go through the motions of our often sedentary activities, it can be easy to forget that our bodies need tending too. With just a little conscious thought, you can increase your physical well being today.

Incorporate these easy activities into your daily routines to help keep your body healthy:

    1. Stand up and stretch. Whether you’re home watching TV or at work behind your desk, sitting for long periods can really take its toll, especially on your back. To ensure that you stay healthy and flexible:

    • Avoid slouching in the chair or couch if you have to sit for long periods.

    • Take a 1-minute break every 30 minutes to walk around and stretch your legs and back muscles.

    • Support your back. Perhaps you would be more comfortable in different chair. You may also find that a lumbar cushion or back brace would be helpful.

    2. Avoid spending hours at the computer. Your job may require you to work at a computer all day. However, no matter how busy you are, you can take a moment or two every hour to rest your eyes. Here are some suggestions to ease your eyes:

      • Use an anti-glare screen to decrease contrast.

      • Take frequent breaks and rest your gaze out a window or at far-away object. Relaxing your eyes will help you avoid eyestrain.

      • Ensure that you have good lighting; there should be light around your monitor, and even behind it. Avoid using the computer in the dark!

      • Minimize the amount of clutter around your monitor. Your eyes have more work to do when there are excess items in your frame of vision.

        3. Lift with your legs. As we go through “the motions” on a daily basis, we often overlook the impact small things can have on our physical health. For example: how we lift. Like most of us, you may forget sometimes that lifting with your back can cause damage. Try to remain conscious of this fact to protect your body.

          • Bend at the knees, not at the waist to take the pressure off your sensitive back muscles and prevent unnecessary damage.


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            Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression in Your Parent

            As an adult, it often becomes imperative to recognize how the health of your parents is changing. For older adults, one of the most common conditions suffered through is depression. If you’re concerned that your mother or father may be suffering from depression, here are a few of the warning signs that you should be looking for.

            In most cases, recognizing depression in an older adult can be problematic. Most people who suffer from depression don’t automatically threaten suicide. It is usually entangled with physical ailments, and many friend and family members wrongly believe that the feelings of depression will automatically cease once the parent becomes better. In actuality, the many medicines that older adults take often have side effects that can mask depressive symptoms, making the depression harder and harder to treat. So sometimes a simple question of “are you all right” will be answered with an honest “yes”.

            It is also important to realize that the symptoms of depression for an older adult is often much different than those for a younger adult. Often expressions of frustration, irritability, and prolonged sadness are indications that the depression experienced by your parent may be more problematic than first realized. For example, while depression after the death of a spouse is normal, a prolonged sense of sadness that goes well beyond what is considered normal may indicate a case of clinical depression.

            The best way to gauge symptoms, especially when they can be so subjective, is to have a conversation with your parent on a regular basis. Ask them non-judgmental questions. Ask them how they are feeling, or try and see what their interest levels are like for everyday activities. Check to see if your Mom still enjoys her weekly bridge game, or if your father still likes to watch every sport report from the evening news. If you see changes in their attitude, or if they no longer enjoy activities that they previously were passionate about, it may indicate depression.

            By learning how to recognize the symptoms of depression in an older adult, you can possibly help your parent in ways that neither of you realized was possible. Depression is one of the most common conditions suffered by older adults, and it can be treated once it is recognized for what it is.

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