Learn how to beat fatigue and get feeling better

We all get tired every so often, from not enough sleep, overexertion or just the need to shut down for a few minutes. For most people, these feelings of fatigue happen occasionally. But if your need for sleep starts to affect your daily schedule, it might be something more than just being tired.

There are some health conditions that can cause you to feel fatigued, like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia. But there are other things like inflammation, chronic pain, anemia, depression, and stress that can cause you to feel tired, even though you may have just woke up.

When you’re in pain, fatigue can be triggered by insomnia and light sleep cycles. It can also be hard to find a comfortable position in bed when you have sore muscles and joints. When it comes to sleep, its more about the quality of sleep you get and not the quantity. You will feel better after getting some very deep sleep for five or six hours than if you spent eight or nine hours tossing and turning.

Beating fatigue can be challenging, especially if you’re still unsure of what is causing it. But there are some things you can do to beat fatigue and start feeling like your old self again. Regular exercise is a great example. It helps to increase muscle mass and strength and also improves circulation and flexibility. Go slowly at first, especially if you’re new to it and gently build up.

How is your diet? The food you eat is what fuels your body, which means if you’re not eating a well balanced diet, your body will run out of energy quickly. Again, start slowly and work your way into better eating habits. Make sure you’re always eating breakfast with protein and some complex carbohydrates like whole-grains or veggies. Skip the processed foods and opt instead for fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, and whole grains to give your body the energy you need.

There are other things that can help like maintaining a regular sleep schedule and routine, taking a break when you feel tired and taking care to not injure yourself. Chronic fatigue, no matter what the cause, can be frustrating and leave you feeling powerless. But taking a few key steps in the right direction can help you feel better.

Debunking common weight-loss myths

When it comes to weight loss, everybody’s an expert – or so they think.

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, chances are your friends and family were eager to dispense a few tips and tricks to help you reach your goal. But despite their best intentions, some of what they advised was likely a misrepresentation of the truth.

Luckily for you, we’re here to separate weight-loss facts from fiction:

Muscle weighs more than fat.

This is one of the most pervasive weight-loss myths around. Whether muscle, fat, feathers or apples, a pound is a pound is a pound. What is true is that muscle is denser than fat, which means it takes up less room in the body. That’s why it’s possible to look and feel slimmer even if the number on the scale doesn’t move.

Carbs are bad.

All carbohydrates aren’t created equally. While you should avoid processed carbs high in sugar and white flour – like white rice or cookies – whole grains (like brown rice), fruits and vegetables all contain carbs and are important components of a healthy eating plan.

Skipping breakfast leads to weight gain.

While it’s true breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than breakfast skippers, a controlled trial of 309 men and women found that breakfast had no effect on the overall weight of study participants. If you’re not hungry in the morning or simply don’t have time to eat before heading off to work, you can miss breakfast and still lose weight.

Exercise can fix your problem areas.

All the crunches and sit-ups in the world can’t get rid of stubborn belly fat. While some moves can help you develop muscle in certain areas of your body, you can’t spot-reduce fat, says Peter LePort, medical director of MemorialCare Center for Obesity at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

“Everyone loses weight differently,” LePort told U.S. News & World Report. “Some lose from their face or arms first, others from their thighs. No exercise you do will cause you to lose weight from a specific area.”

Try these simple tips to keep your sinuses clear and feeling good

Are you plagued by sinus problems, the yucky symptoms that make every part of life a little harder? Everyone has sinuses, but not everyone has sinus problems. You have eight sinus cavities in your head – two in the forehead, two behind each cheekbone, two within the bones between your eyes and two behind each eye. That’s a lot of places for bacteria to build up and cause sinus problems.

Your sinus cavities are hollow air spaces that when left alone, don’t do much, other than maybe make your head lighter. But when allergies, cold viruses or other environmental triggers block the sinus passages, your sinuses won’t be able to drain and you may start to feel sinusitis pain.

Each sinus passage has a small opening called the ostium which is responsible for drainage. If the sinuses can’t drain, the mucus can back up and cause problems. Sometimes this inflammation and build up can cause sinus infections that might require a trip to the doctor. Many sinusitis concerns can be dealt with using home remedies like using nasal saline, neti pots, essential oils, and a combination of hot and cold packs, just to name a few. Before you try something new to deal with your sinus problems, be sure to check with your doctor.

Keeping the sinus areas hydrated will help reduce inflammation and prevent sinus flare-ups. Using a humidifier during dry times can help keep nasal passages moist and keep your sinuses open and unblocked. If you have access to a steam room or can sit in a hot, steamy bathroom, that can help too. Drinking plenty of fluids is another way to help thin out mucus which can cause sinus infections.

Despite your best efforts, sometimes your sinus problems just won’t go away on their own and surgery might be needed to clean and drain the sinuses. If you have a deviated septum or narrow nasal passages, surgery might be the best option to lessen sinus problems.

No one wants to be sick and sinus problems are no exception. Learning how to deal with your sinuses can lessen sinusitis episodes so you can get back to living. With a little effort, you can feel great and keep your sinuses clear and infection free.

Three traits of small-business owners

There are 28 million small businesses in America. More than 600,000 of those small businesses are franchises, accounting for 40 percent of all U.S. retail sales and employing more than 8 million people.

And those numbers just keep getting bigger.

Do you have what it takes to start a small business? If you can identify with the following characteristics, the answer might be yes:

You’re self-motivated. In other words, you don’t need someone else breathing down your neck to get stuff done. You’re driven to succeed and are committed to achieving your personal and professional goals. Whether you’re motivated by the freedom of being your own boss or want to earn money for your future retirement, you don’t hesitate to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty – figuratively and, sometimes, literally.

You’re never satisfied with the status quo. You don’t rest on your laurels once you achieve what you set out to do. You set new goals and reach higher. You love to learn and grow, and you always strive to be the best version of yourself.

You’re not afraid to fail. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, once wrote: “Few first ventures work out. It is how a beginning entrepreneur deals with failure that sets that person apart. In fact, failure is one of the secrets to success, since some of the best ideas arise from the ashes of a shuttered business.”

According to Bloomberg, 80 percent of new businesses fail within the first 18 months. However, that idea doesn’t scare you – because you know if you fail, it’s just a matter of picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and going for it all over again.

Think you’re ready to take the plunge? Level 3 Wellness has a proven system to help you change people’s lives – and your own. Contact us today to learn more.

Helpful tips for surviving cold/flu season this year

Don’t let the winter cold and snow cause your health to take a dip for the worse. Cold temperatures, wet conditions and an increase in germs can make it difficult to stay healthy, but here are some tips to keep the sick days to a minimum.

Getting a flu shot can be a big help to staying healthy this winter. The influenza vaccinations can help protect you and your family and give you a much lower chance of getting the flu this year. If you do catch one of the strains going around, the vaccines can help lessen the severity. The vaccines are especially recommended for people over the age of 50, those prone to infection and children starting at six months old.

The best way to avoid the flu is to avoid contact with people who have it. But how do you know when someone is contagious? One solution is to stock up on pens and keep one with you when you go out to keep germs at bay. Think about all the places you use pens and then think about the number of people, both sick and healthy, who use that same pen. Pretty gross, right?

There is no substitute for good old fashioned antibacterial soap and water when it comes to germ fighting. But when you’re on the go, you can’t always stop to wash your hands. One good solution is using hand sanitizer. Buy a few bottles of it and stash it in everyone’s bag or coat pocket. Sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol are the most effective. Also, look for those that don’t require water.

The foods you eat can also help boost your immunity so you don’t get sick. Selenium is found in shellfish like oysters, crabs and clams and it can help produce cytokines, which help rid the body of viruses. Omega-3 rich foods like salmon and mackerel are natural anti-inflammatory foods that can help protect your lungs from infection.

These are just a few tips that can help you weather cold/flu season better. Other preventative measures such as eating better, taking supplements like zinc and avoiding large crowds when a viral outbreak hits your community can help you avoid the flu and feel better. A warm bowl of chicken soup or a cup of tea sweetened with honey doesn’t hurt either.

Resolution realization

Planning to lose a few pounds in 2016? You’re not alone – among all Americans making a New Year’s resolution this year, weight loss is the No. 1 goal.

The resolution-related facts don’t end there. We hate to be the bearer of bad news; however, research suggests just eight percent of resolutioners actually achieve their goals. Did you know that?

Before you assume the odds are stacked against you, rest assured you’re completely capable of accomplishing your New Year’s resolution. But as the saying goes, if you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done. So maybe this year, it’s time to approach your 2016 goals a little differently. Here’s how:

Start small. The human tendency to “go big or go home” is one culprit behind the usual lack of resolution success. Instead of setting a single, overwhelming goal to lose 100 pounds, try establishing several smaller goals, such as shedding weight in 5-pound increments. Alternatively, consider making your goals habit-based (e.g. aim to exercise for 30 minutes a day, three days a week) instead of focusing on results only.

Write it down. Thinking and talking about your New Year’s resolution is all well and good, but studies show putting your goals in writing increases your chances of success. So grab a pen and paper and articulate exactly how you plan to lose weight in 2016; to further boost your likelihood of reaching your target weight, share your intentions with a trusted friend or family member for accountability purposes.

Plan to screw up. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, perfection really is the enemy of progress. Accept that slip-ups will happen and don’t feel guilty when they do. Making long-term lifestyle changes versus chasing a quick fix will serve your goals much better – and truthfully, do you really plan to eat nothing but chicken and broccoli forever?

Whether you want to lose weight or start a business, your dreams for 2016 and beyond are in reach. With a less-rigid approach, chances are you’ll stick to your plan way longer than the typical resolutioner. Good luck!

The rise of senior cohousing

From senior apartments and assisted-living facilities to nursing homes and more, there’s no shortage of housing options for older adults. But there’s one increasingly popular and nontraditional alternative you may not be aware of, and that’s cohousing communities. Simply put, a cohousing community is an “intentional neighborhood in which residents actively participate” in its design and operation. Members of these communities own their homes privately but share certain facilities and amenities, some examples of which might be on-site healthcare providers, common meals and green space.

The Cohousing Association of the United States is a nonprofit dedicated to bringing attention to cohousing and its benefits, with a growing focus on the development of age-targeted cohousing communities in response to the nation’s growing population of senior citizens. In fact, a two-day conference scheduled for May 2016 is dedicated to this very topic.

Curious yet? As awareness of these unique communities rises, here are three things to know about senior cohousing:

1. Glacier Circle, the very first U.S. senior cohousing community, opened in 2005 in Davis, California. With just 12 seniors living in eight houses, residents enjoy thrice-weekly common meals and shared outdoor spaces. Glacier Circle is unique in that most residents knew each other for long periods of time before creating the community – a characteristic not typical of most senior cohousing.

2. Early cohousing communities were multigenerational and consisted mostly of couples and families, but people quickly saw a need for more specialized communities for older adults (i.e. featuring accessible housing and activities geared toward seniors). The idea of age-targeted cohousing has enjoyed success abroad, most notably in Denmark.

3. Seniors who live in such communities have noted less social isolation and more sharing of information about aging issues. The typically smaller homes and shared yard work (among other responsibilities) are just some of the characteristics helping to lower the cost of living for retirees who call these neighborhoods home.

Would you ever consider living in a senior cohousing community? Why or why not? Join the conversation on our social media channels!

Ways to avoid holiday weight gain

Did you know a majority of annual weight gain occurs during the holiday season? The period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is fraught with big meals, office parties and more desserts than meets the eye – and each delicious cookie, cake or pie is another obstacle to achieving your weight-loss goals.

While you shouldn’t try to lose weight during the holidays, maintaining the number on your scale is entirely doable. Try these tips to help prevent seasonal indulgences from wreaking havoc on your healthy lifestyle:

Stay hydrated. It’s easy to confuse thirst for hunger, especially during mad dashes to retail shops and grocery stores to buy presents and prepare for incoming guests. Keep a bottle of H2O handy so you’re not reaching for a snack when all you need is a drink.

Act like a kid (i.e. be a picky eater). Let’s face it; you can eat mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables anytime. But Grandma’s deliciously gooey sweet-potato casserole only comes around a couple times a year. Make room for the foods you’re really looking forward to and enjoy them – in moderation, of course.

Don’t skip meals. If you’re planning to forgo breakfast and save the calories for that evening’s holiday soiree (complete with buffet!), think again. Showing up hungry is a recipe for overeating, and you’re bound to consume way more than you would after eating a healthy and filling breakfast. Try a bowl of oatmeal or classic bacon and eggs!

What tricks have you used to fight against holiday weight gain? Join the conversation in our social media communities!

Considering a second career in retirement? Try these on for size

According to CareerBuilder’s annual retirement survey, 54 percent of senior workers (age 60+) plan to continue working after retiring from their current positions. Whether you want to start a second career to help pay your living expenses or simply because you enjoy working, the key is finding a gig that works with your schedule and utilizes your strengths. Here are three job possibilities worth exploring:

  • Real estate. With flexible schedules and easy entry into the field, real estate is an appealing career choice for many retirees. The industry provides opportunity to build on your existing community connections, meet new people and stay mentally active, as agents must take continuing education courses once licensed. Even part-time agents can earn a respectable salary and those currently working in real estate report above-average job satisfaction – what more can you ask for?
  • Retail. It might be a cliché, but working as a part-time retail salesperson offers older employees the flexible schedules and customer interaction they want and the extra income they need. Since many retailers offer employee discounts as an added perk, you could benefit further from working at a shop you already frequent. Some larger corporations even provide health coverage for part-time associates, which is especially beneficial for older Americans whose healthcare costs represent their second-largest expense after housing.
  • Self-employment. According to Gallup, adults over the age of 50 are one of the fastest-growing groups of U.S. entrepreneurs. If the thought of having yet another supervisor is less than appealing, why not consider becoming your own boss? Admittedly, this option is probably better suited for seniors who don’t need extra money right away – as it can take time for a new business to get off the ground – but self-employment is a great way to reinvent yourself and turn a passion into an income-producing venture.

Do you have a plan for how you’ll spend your retirement years? Join us on social media and let us know!

Five reasons why water is wonderful

When it comes to reaping the health benefits of hydration, you’ve likely heard the recommendation to drink half your body weight (in ounces) of water daily – at minimum. And while that sounds like a lot, the benefits of H2O definitely outweigh the inconvenience of a middle-of-the-night trip (or two) to the bathroom. Don’t believe us? Check it out:

  • Water influences 100 percent of your body’s processes. From aiding in digestion and circulation to creating saliva, your body simply needs water to maintain its many functions. (You know, because humans are made up of roughly two-thirds water …)
  • Water can help you lose weight. Drinking a glass of water before a meal helps you feel fuller (so you eat less) and can help boost your metabolism (so you burn more calories). Sounds like a win-win to us!
  • Water helps keeps things moving, if you know what we mean. Hydration can prevent constipation. Combine water with fiber and you should have more regular bowel movements.
  • Water makes us happier. Mild dehydration has been shown to negatively impact our state of mind. To improve your mood and even increase cognitive function, drink up!
  • Water protects your heart. Drinking more water means a lower risk of death from coronary heart disease. In other words, it’s good for your ticker.

What benefits have you realized from drinking water? Join us on social media and let us know!