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Health Tip Recap #4 - September 2023


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Taking care of your body can equate to a stronger physical state, with a placid mind to match. The trick to arriving at the peak of that metaphorical Mount Everest? That would be motion and maintenance. September 2023's collection of health tips shines light on what we can do to feel physically better and feel more ourselves, both in the short term and long term.

Stop and Stretch:

Taking time to stretch can help release tension, increase flexibility, and brighten our mood. Here are four stretches from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

1. Cross shoulder stretch
Sit or stand up straight. Keep shoulders even. Extend right arm across chest. Place left hand on the right elbow to gently support your arm. Feel the stretch in your right arm and shoulder. Breathe in through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth. Hold stretch for a count of 15. Repeat this stretch on opposite side, using right hand to stretch left arm and shoulder. 
  
2. Triceps stretch

Stand up straight, with knees slightly bent, toes facing forward. Place feet hip distance apart. Keep shoulders even. Bend right arm at elbow, with elbow pointing to the sky. Lift arm next to your head. Position right fingers so they touch the shoulder blade area. Place left arm across top of head, and place left hand on the right elbow to gently support the arm during this stretch. You should feel a stretch in the back of your right arm. Breathe in through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth. Hold stretch for a count of 15. Repeat this stretch on the opposite side, using right hand to stretch left triceps. 
  
3. Chest stretch

Stand up straight, with knees slightly bent, toes facing forward. Place feet hip distance apart. Keep shoulders even. Place arms behind your back. Clasp your hands together, lifting your arms behind your back. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Feel the stretch in your chest. Breathe in through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth. Hold stretch for count of 15. 
  
4. Quadriceps stretch

You're going to be standing on one leg, so you may want help staying steady. If so, stand facing a wall or other surface, about 1 foot away from it. Put your right hand against the wall. Raise your left leg behind you and gently grab your foot with your left hand. Relax your left foot in your hand. Press your right hip forward to stretch the muscles in the front of your left thigh. Keep your knees close together. Hold stretch for a count of 15. Repeat the stretch with your right leg. 

Why We Dance:

There are several reasons why and how dancing is important. Here are just some of them.   

To Activate                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Music stimulates the brain's reward centers, while dancing helps activate sensory and motor circuits.

To Feel Better 
- Dancing has been shown to improve balance, gait, and quality of life. 
  
To Nurture Our Minds 
- Mastering dance movements and patterns may produce larger advances in memory and problem-solving than walking does. 
  
To Grow and Heal 

- This rhythmic activity encourages healthy muscles and bones. 
  
To Enhance Our Health 
- It can also increase aerobic capacity and may help lower blood pressure. 
  
Because It Has No Limits 

- Dancing is accessible to everybody, no matter the type of movement. 
  

Ergonomics in the Office:

Ergonomics is defined as the study of people's efficiency in their working environment. For today’s Health Tip, we feature practices to help ensure your office area is as efficient as it is supportive of your health.  

Chair 
Use a chair that supports your spine. Adjust the height of the chair so that your feet rest flat on the floor. Or use a footrest so your thighs are parallel to the floor. 
  
Desk 
Under the desk, make sure there's enough room for your legs and feet. Avoid storing items under your desk, as this can shrink the amount of available space and make it difficult to sit correctly. 
  
Keyboard and Mouse 
Put your computer keyboard in front of you so your wrists and forearms are in line and your shoulders are relaxed. If you use a mouse or another type of pointer connected to a computer, place it within easy reach, on the same surface as your keyboard. 
  
Monitor 
Place the computer monitor straight in front of you, directly behind your keyboard, about an arm's length away from your face. The monitor should be no closer to you than 20 inches and no further away than 40 inches. 

Taking these measures into account can be quite simple. But integrating them into your way of living and doing them each day can present some difficulty. But many of the ideas and measures explained above are about what nurtures us and how we do it. As always, it's advisable to consult a healthcare professional with questions. To view August 2023's Health Tip recap, go here. You can also visit the ManhattanLife LinkedIn and Facebook pages for weekly health tips and far more.



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