Feeling like your neck hurts? Your screen may to blame. Specifically, your phone. Based on a 2019 study, on average, people spend about 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones, pick up their phone 58 times a day, and cannot spend go longer than 1 hour and 43 minutes without touching their phones. These numbers have likely increased since 2019 due to COVID-19.

Unfortunately, the amount of time spent on our phones has physical impacts. Neck Pain, eye strain, and cramped hands are a few of the all-too-common problems from excessive phone use. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your discomfort through the following phone ergonomics tips: 

Hold your Phone Higher to Stop Tech Neck

Many of us tilt our head forward and down when viewing our phones, resulting in discomfort over time, known as “Tech Neck.” To prevent unnecessary strain on your neck, keep your shoulders relaxed and use your arms to lift your phone higher to view your screen. That way, you can maintain a neutral neck position by having your head directly above your shoulders and your chin parallel to the floor. 

Switch Up Your hands and Relax Your Grip

It’s common to use our thumb or one hand when on our phones. Instead, alternate hands and/or use both hands when holding your phone, and switch between your fingers and thumbs to scroll and type.

Also, to relax your hand when holding your phone, integrate a grip accessory on the back of your device, such as a strap or other attachment. Keep your wrists in a straight, neutral position when on your phone, as angling your wrists causes more strain.

Talk Hands Free

Do you ever find yourself on the phone for long periods of time, either cradling your phone between your ear and neck or holding your phone up with your arm? To take calls with ease, put your phone on speaker or use a headset/earbuds. This will help you maintain neutral neck posture and frees up your hands.

Take Breaks

Lastly, along good posture, make sure to take breaks! Staying in the same position for extended periods of time, no matter how good your posture, is not healthy. If you’re using your phone for more than 15 – 20 minutes, put it down and walk around, get water, use the bathroom – do something to change up your position. Your body is meant to move!

These tips are simple and will help you combat discomfort associated with the phone. If these sounds like a lot, try incorporating one recommendation at a time. With some practice, you can use your technology comfortably and get rid of tech neck!

From pumpkin to apples, fall offers some of the most delicious and nutrient-packed foods. Here are 12 of our seasonal favorites!            

Fall is a favorite time of year for many. The crisp, cool air and turning leaves are wonderful, but another reason to love the season is the delectable fall foods.

It’s harvest time, and that means that there are opportunities to enjoy fantastic foods that feature unbeatable flavor and texture.

When you put these foods on the table this fall, you’ll enjoy a more colorful plate as well as gain all of the benefits of antioxidants, protein and fiber. These foods offer quite a bounty of benefits. 

In fact, many of these items could be classified as superfoods. If you are committed to getting lean, supporting longevity and enhancing physical performance, it just makes sense to add these dishes to your regular nutritional routine.

Let’s take a look at some of the dishes and foods that are the stars of any fall meal plan.

1. Root Vegetables

Root vegetables are fall and winter vegetables that typically grow under the soil. Examples include sweet potatoes, carrots, jicama, and garlic. Root vegetables are packed with antioxidants and fiber.

So, how can you enjoy root vegetables? My favorite way to eat them is to roast them. Roasting makes them tender and caramelized. You can also shred them and make them into healthier hashbrowns. Some root veggies, like carrots, can be shredded and added to fall salads.

You could also try a whole wheat pasta with roasted veggies. What could be more satisfying than a big plate of pasta on a chilly day? The best part is that this pasta is good for you because it’s made with whole grains. That translates to a meaningful serving of fiber, which causes blood sugar levels to rise more slowly, thereby preventing food cravings. Whole wheat pasta also has a slew of valuable phytochemicals, minerals and vitamins. At the same time, it promotes gut health and contains more fiber than regular pasta. If that isn’t enough incentive, consider the veggies. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other good-for-you components, they are the perfect complement to a whole wheat pasta meal.

2. Brussels Sprouts

It turns out that there was a good reason why your mom always wanted you to eat your Brussels sprouts. They are incredibly good for you.

Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous family, the members of which are rich in items such as vitamin C and folate. Another reason to add them to your list of staple foods is the presence of cancer-fighting compounds. If your goal is lifelong health and fitness, Brussels sprouts can be an excellent choice.

3. Pears

Pears are sweet, crisp, and delicious — what’s not to love about them? Even better is the fact that they are a great source of both fiber and vitamin C. In fact, just one pear offers more than a quarter of your daily fiber needs (based on a 2,000-calorie diet).

Pears help keep hunger at bay thanks to the amount of fiber they have. This fact makes them a great snack in between lunch and dinner. Pears contain a type of fiber called pectin. This type of fiber helps slow down digestion. Studies have found that pectin may help to reduce the risk of heart attack.

Choose firm pears that give with gentle pressure. Store them in a fruit bowl or the fridge if you will not eat right away.

Tip: Splash cut pears with a bit of lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.

4. Butternut Squash

Inflammation is a chronic problem in modern life, but regularly including butternut squash in your nutrition can change that. Additionally, this amazing fruit is packed with antioxidants, fiber, minerals and vitamins. Butternut squash is high in potassium, which is essential for heart health.

Eating squash regularly may even help improve your bone density. That is because it is high in manganese, which is essential for bone health. Manganese may also help promote long-term eye health.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Forget the version of sweet potatoes that you see on the table at Thanksgiving. If you go without marshmallows and other unhealthy ingredients, sweet potatoes are a healthy dish.

Try roasting, broiling, or mashing sweet potatoes as an alternative to the annual Thanksgiving treat. Prepared in these ways, sweet potatoes are a powerhouse food that’s full of manganese, magnesium and fiber. These substances are excellent for your metabolism as well as lowering blood pressure and increasing bone density.

If you have diabetes or are concerned about your blood sugar, you have even more reason to appreciate sweet potatoes. This dish won’t cause your blood sugar to spike the way that regular potatoes do.

6. Pumpkin

Fall is that time of year when everything seems to be flavored with pumpkin, and for good reason. Pumpkin is amazing for your health.

Pumpkins are about so much more than Halloween. With a mega-dose of antioxidants as well as fiber, vitamins and protein, pumpkin deserves to be labeled as a superfood. The main antioxidant in pumpkin, beta-carotene, is believed to reduce your risk of certain cancers, protect you against heart disease, and can even help mitigate your risk of developing macular degeneration.

Looking for ways to enjoy pumpkin? Try pumpkin mini muffins. They make an excellent snack between meals. Roasted pumpkin seeds are also a very tasty snack idea.

7. Broccoli

Here’s another cruciferous vegetable that deserves to be a part of your regular nutritional rotation. One of the main reasons for eating broccoli is the incredible amount of vitamin K that it contains. Essential for the proper functioning of a variety of proteins that help with blood clotting, vitamin K is critical to good health.

Broccoli also boasts a good concentration of folate, which is crucial for producing and maintaining new cells. Don’t forget that this powerful fall vegetable also is packed with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber.

8. Cranberries

What gives cranberries their distinctive, deep-red color? It turns out that it’s a compound known as anthocyanin. This compound is more than just a pretty color. It’s also a valuable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Cranberries even have a decent amount of fiber, which means they help you feel fuller longer. Plus, regularly including cranberries in your routine supports the health of your bladder and may guard you against cancer of the lung, colon, breast and prostate.

9. Apples

This quintessential fall food is a powerhouse when it comes to fiber. Eating just one small apple gives you four grams of fiber, making it easier to meet your daily fiber goal. When you ensure that you’re eating sufficient fiber, you are lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and colorectal and breast cancer.

Make sure you eat the apple’s peel because it’s packed with antioxidants and polyphenols that guard you against the oxidative stress that is a precursor for many chronic diseases.

10. Leeks

Leeks are one of the most underrated foods. They have a milder flavor compared to onions but pack all of the same nutrients. Leeks are packed with antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin.  They are also fiber-rich.

Wondering what to do with leeks?  These slim vegetables are a great substitute for onions. You can add them to your favorite pasta dish.

Tip: Choose a pile of leeks that are crisp. Make sure you wash them carefully before cooking.

11. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are perfect when you need something to enhance your meal. Earthy mushrooms pair perfectly with so many foods. A good source of vitamins B and D, mushrooms are a great addition to everything from pasta to salads because the texture is similar to meat.

12. Radishes

Radishes are often ignored but they shouldn’t be. They are packed with nutrients including vitamin K, calcium, and potassium. The tiny radish is a versatile veggie that you can add to any fall dish. They are especially good with chicken street tacos. The radish adds a nice crunchy bite.

Let’s Recap

Thanks to the beautiful fall colors, changing leaves, and abundance of healthy and tasty fall vegetables, fall is one of the best seasons of the year!

What secret does your heart rate reveal about your health? When it comes to heart rates, a low heartbeat score may help you beat some disease risks. A healthy resting heart rate

(RHR) can be beneficial for your health. Take a look at what we know about the connection between a lower resting heart rate and a higher level of health. Knowing the full picture of the heart-health connection can help you get motivated to live a life with healthy meals, appropriate amounts of activity and all of the other factors that go along with getting into the correct heartbeat zone.

How Often Do You Think About Your Resting Heart Rate?

Resting heart rate refers to the number of times your heart beats per minute while you’re at rest. Most people you might poll on the street aren’t likely to know their own stats for resting heart rate. It’s simply not something we talk about enough! Do you know your resting heart rate? It’s easy to figure out. While there are many apps and devices that can help you to track your heart rate, you can also measure it using the following wrist technique:

  • Place your second and third fingers from one hand on the inside of the wrist of the opposite hand just below the base of your thumb.
  • You should be able to feel the movement of your pulse.
  • Next, count the number of beats that occur in a 60-second span.
  • Repeat a few times for accuracy.

A healthy resting heart rate is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. However, many factors can impact heart rate. People who are fit tend to have lower resting heart rates than people who don’t exercise regularly. In addition, factors like health conditions, medications and genetics can all influence your resting heart rate.

Making Sense of Your Resting Heart Rate

Focusing on the range for your resting heart rate can be much more important than obsessing over a specific number. A normal resting heart rate for women and men is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. However, trying to get to the extreme on either end isn’t necessarily something to strive for.

When your heart rate is lower, your heart can pump more blood with each contraction. This leads to a steady heartbeat.

However, bradycardia is a condition where the resting heart rate is considered too slow. Generally, it refers to a resting heart rate under 60 beats per minute. Before feeling alarmed, what is considered too slow is dependent on many factors including age and physical health. Many athletes and physically active adults have RHR under 60 beats per minute. And it’s not uncommon for a person’s heart rate to slow down below 60 BPM during sleep. A sign that a slow RHR is potentially too low is when you’re experiencing dizziness and shortness of breath when resting.

The opposite of a low resting heart rate is a high resting heart rate. When your resting heart rate is consistently above 100 beats per minute, your risk for a cardiovascular event is higher. When your heart rate is high, your heart is working harder to finish every contraction. As a result, your heart could potentially become overstressed.

How Your Resting Heart Rate Impacts Your Health

Resting heart rate is something that researchers studying cardiovascular health have been focused on for years. There are mountains of data pointing to the connection between heart rate and health. In a 2013 study, researchers tracking 3,000 men over a period spanning 16 years discovered that a high resting heart rate was closely linked with the following:

  • Lower levels of physical fitness.
  • Higher blood pressure.
  • Higher body weight.
  • Increased levels of circular blood fat.

The most concerning finding of this study was that a higher resting heart rate increased the risk for premature death. When heart rates reached between 81 and 90 beats per minute, the risk of death doubled. For participants with resting heart rates above 90, the risk for death was tripled.

Getting in the Zone: Are There Ways to Reduce Resting Heart Rate?

A healthy resting heart rate is the result of a complicated amalgam of health-related factors. The good news is that most people can make strides with reducing resting heart rate to reach an optimal zone after struggling with high resting heart rates. If you’re just now discovering that your resting heart rate is slightly higher than what would be considered ideal, it’s essential to know about some outlying factors that can be inflating your heart rate.

Stress and anxiety are two contributors to high resting heart rates that are often overlooked. When we’re feeling stressed and anxious, the adrenal gland releases a “stress hormone” called cortisol as part of the body’s natural “fight or flight” response. While this response is designed to keep us alive by throwing our response into overdrive at the sign of danger, it robs years from your life if you allow stress levels to stay elevated. That’s because cortisol causes both your heart rate and blood pressure to stay elevated. While it may not seem like the most satisfying answer, the reality is that taking steps to become more relaxed is vital for stabilizing your resting heart rate.

It’s also known that keeping cholesterol levels healthy can help with maintaining a low resting heart rate. That’s because cholesterol restricts blood flow through the blood vessels and arteries. As a result, your heart needs to try to operate much faster to keep blood moving. Unfortunately, this can tax your heart to its breaking point. Cholesterol levels are closely linked with diet. In fact, diet is one of the most powerful tools we can use to achieve a lower heart resting heart rate.

Which Foods Can Lower Your Heart Rate?

First, cutting out sodium is a great way to naturally bring down your heart rate without any drastic lifestyle changes. Many people find that switching from processed foods to naturally flavorful foods helps them to reduce salt intake without feeling deprived. It’s also known that foods high in potassium can reduce the impact of sodium on blood pressure. Some potassium-rich foods to add to your heart-healthy diet include:

  • Avocados.
  • Dairy.
  • Bananas.
  • Melons.
  • Leafy green vegetables.
  • Potatoes and sweet potatoes.
  • Tuna.
  • Salmon.
  • Beans.
  • Nuts and seeds.
Try our avocado toast!

Reducing your intake of processed sugars and refined carbohydrates is also vital for achieving a healthy heart rate. It’s also known that eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce heart rate. One meta-analysis published in 2012 found that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids significantly reduced heart rate. Fish is considered to be the best source of natural omega-3 fatty acids. That means that entrées like Broiled Blue Circle Salmon or Tilapia With Grits and Walnuts are perfect for someone looking to stay satisfied without making a heartbeat blunder. For those who aren’t fans of fish, there are still plenty of ways to get in those omega-3 fatty acids naturally through diet. Avocados are very high in omega-3 fatty acids. That makes options like guacamole and avocado toast very attractive.

Don’t Forget Exercise

Nutrition is primarily considered to be the most important factor in a good resting heart rate. However, peppering in some regular exercise while staying on track with meal prep can only make things better. How much exercise do you need to reduce your heart rate? First, knowing the type of exercise that makes the biggest impact is important. According to one study, the average 55-year-old adult only requires one hour per week of high-intensity aerobic training to significantly lower resting heart rate. We also know that keeping up with exercise is the key to keeping the heart stronger. That’s because the heart becomes stronger with more exercise. Using exercise to “train” your heart to get to a place where it pumps more blood with each beat means that your heart doesn’t need to work harder to catch up! This is where you get a lower resting heart rate.

When you don’t know where to start with an exercise plan, there’s one thing to know—simply following the American Heart Association’s recommendation of getting in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week should be enough to keep your heart fit. If you’re pressed for time, consider the American Heart Association’s alternate recommendation of fitting in 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week.

Final Thoughts: Achieving A Good Resting Heart Rate Resting Heart Rate Comes Down To Lifestyle

Are you unhappy with your resting heart rate? Change is possible. Remember that giving your heart a rest through diet is the best way to speed up your vitality! Consider doing meal prep to ensure that you have low-sodium, heart-healthy foods waiting for you at every meal to avoid the trap of grabbing for foods that are quick and easy.