Monday, October 30, 2006

10/30/06 TIPS

Heal Up Your Bad Back Faster

If you've ever strained your back, you know that on a scale of 1 to 10, the pain ranks at a 692.

And you can think of nothing better than having someone deliver ice packs, ibuprofen, and the latest issue of your favorite magazine to your bed. But the people you live with shouldn't wait on you for days. It may feel like the right thing emotionally, but it's the wrong thing physically. Bed rest can weaken muscles, upping the risk of further injury and pain.

Statistically speaking, married people with back pain suffer two and a half times longer than single people -- perhaps because attentive spouses encourage a pattern of repetitive self-injury by playing nursemaid and pampering their patients. Staying in bed for longer than 48 hours is all it takes for back muscles to weaken -- which invites more trouble. In order to recover from strain, muscles need to grow stronger and stay active. The only way to do that is by moving them, even if it's only a little bit at first. The best method: Walk around the house. Don't push it, but don't give up. Step by step, the muscles will gradually strengthen, not stiffen.

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Eat More Weigh Less

Want to lose a few before the upcoming holidays? Fill up with fiber.

It's no news that boosting your fiber intake is good for your health. But boosting it at breakfast may be the key to staying lean, say RealAge doctors Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz. In their new-this-week book, YOU: On a Diet, they suggest putting fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, whole-grain toast, or a veggie-packed omelet on your morning menu to curb afternoon binging on Cheetos or cookies. That's because fiber acts like a speed bump in your gastrointestinal tract, slowing everything way down, so you stay fuller longer.

This is one way you can use your body chemistry, not willpower, to curb cravings and get to your ideal body size. Learn other science-based strategies like this from Roizen and Oz's YOU: On a Diet plan.

Believe it or not, enjoying a fiberful diet -- especially at breakfast -- can reduce your calorie intake for up to 18 hours a day. And it helps control blood sugar and lower insulin levels. Although you should aim for 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, avoid adding it all at once or you'll produce more gas than a Saudi oil field, say the doctors. Start with an additional 1 to 2 grams of dietary fiber -- the amount in a slice of whole-grain bread or 1/2 cup of green beans -- at and between meals and slowly increase from there.

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