Your ultimate post-lockdown health kick starts now

1. To feel younger: Drop it and do 40

A study of more than 1,100 firefighters found that those who could do 40+ pushups were at lower risk of a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke than men who could do less than 10 over the next decade. The ability to hammer these reps is a sign that the entire body is muscular Strength associated with good blood pressure and metabolic health. Can’t you do 40 in a row? No sweat. Do as many in a row as you can, then rest for 10 seconds and then walk again. Repeat until you have done a total of 40 reps. Do this three times a week; You will soon be building the strength to do 40 straight.

Professional type: “I start with 150 push-ups most days,” says Dr. John P. Higgins, professor of medicine at McGovern Medical School in Houston. He’s using the Perfect Push-up Tool. “It has handles that rotate on a base which helps me be more stable and use the correct shape,” he says. “Since I’ve been doing 150 a day, my upper body, breathing, and abs have improved. And it really wakes me up. “

2. To do it to your heart’s content: Focus on high fiber carbohydrates

You like donuts and muffins, also known as simple or refined carbohydrates – those that are low in fiber and nutrients and raise your blood sugar quickly – but your heart doesn’t. A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people whose diet included the majority of these foods were 14 percent more likely to have a major cardiovascular event (and 25 percent more likely to have any) over a 10-year period Cause to die). than people whose diets had the least. In terms of heart health, too many simple, low-fiber carbohydrates can lower “good” HDL cholesterol while increasing triglycerides and unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

Professional type: Dr. Spencer Kroll, a lipodologist (an expert in treating cholesterol problems), found that his patients with unhealthy blood sugar and insulin function also had more dangerous blood lipids. So he revised his own diet and cut out simple carbohydrates like bread and pasta in order to cut the carbohydrates by 40 to 20 percent of his kilojoules. The remaining carbohydrates are high in fiber. At breakfast, for example, “I have a small bowl of nuts, berries, and some barley flakes,” he says. He’s also switched to high-fiber snacks. “I’ve seen significant improvements in my LDL cholesterol,” says Kroll. “My triglycerides are better and so are my insulin functions.”

3. To check your blood pressure: Coping with stress

One of the best ways to be healthier is to get your blood pressure under control. When it’s high, it can damage almost every organ in your body. And one of the most overlooked ways to keep them down is by managing stress. All-day stress can drive your blood pressure up while you are awake, says cardiologist Dr. Christopher Kelly. Even if it gets normal overnight, it still puts a strain on your system.

Stress can also lead to excessive drinking, smoking, and other choices that don’t help BP, he says. So, instead of just taking a trip to the doctor for high blood pressure and exploring the DASH diet, take your time to relieve stress. Meditation and yoga are nowhere near the only ways to do this. Lean on your own stress relievers, even if they are whimsical,
like creating playlists or solving a Rubik’s Cube.

Professional type: “I like going to Costco when I need a break,” says Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt. a urologist. “There is something comforting about this place. I watch the new TVs and maybe buy something that I may not always need. It’s been a ritual since high school when my friends and I went once a week. It brings back memories of that time. “

4th To finally sleep: relax your brain

A big reason we jump back and forth is that “we’re really good at learning how to get excited, but sometimes we’re not that good at relaxing and not giving it the right space,” explains Dr. W. Christopher Winter. “The degradation process doesn’t have to be laborious; It’s just important to have a process. “

Turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bed – their lights can suppress the body’s production of sleep-inducing melatonin – and do something relaxing. Stop thinking of this time as doing nothing and fill it with something you enjoy: a podcast, sex, music, and jot down some great things about your day or your partner.

Professional type: As a technology-free transition to sleep, Dr. Raj Dasgupta and his wife worked on 1000-piece puzzles for 15-30 minutes. “With every piece of the puzzle that is found and placed correctly, the puzzler receives a small shot of dopamine, which rewards the brain and in turn relaxes the body,” he says.

5. To stop languishing: Find out what is focusing you

As the COVID lockdowns drag on, you may be feeling. . . absolutely effing blah. You stand still. Aimless. You are not depressed, but neither are you excited. The term for it is languishing, and “I have seen an epidemic of it in my office,” says psychotherapist Allison Abrams. Recognizing and naming it is important and helps confirm what you are feeling. One way to clear that up is to do something that gets you into a state of flow – when you are fully absorbed and focused on something outside of yourself, she says. Take a step towards what gets you there: fly fishing, climbing, painting, or planting.

Professional type: “I kite once a week,” says Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine
in California. He calls it “wind therapy”, his oceanic version of forest bathing, a tradition in Japan of recharging yourself through time in the forest. It takes focus, and “the feeling of wind on my body makes me feel fresh and alive, especially during the days when I work from home,” he says.

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