5-minute fixes for better health

Focusing on small ways to improve health may feel less daunting to some people than taking on big lifestyle changes. Ideas include doing five-minute bursts of a helpful activity. These include five minutes of exercising, meditating, removing fall hazards in the home, moisturizing the skin, watching an educational video about an unfamiliar subject, calling a friend, throwing out expired medications, removing a junk food item in the pantry, and tossing spoiled foods from the refrigerator. Another suggestion is to get five more minutes of sleep each night. More »

Do hangovers damage the brain?

Evidence suggests that alcohol hangovers impair concentration, memory, and psychomotor speed. It’s unclear, however, if hangovers cause lasting brain damage. (Locked) More »

Should you add foam rolling to your workout routine?

Foam rolling helps release tension in the muscles, relieve muscle soreness, and improve flexibility and range of motion. It’s not clear exactly how that happens, although it could be that foam rolling and sustained pressure on the muscle signals the central nervous system to reduce muscle tension, similar to the effect of a deep tissue massage. Most people will benefit from foam rolling as part of a pre or post-workout routine, or simply as a quick break from sitting. (Locked) More »

Gifts to inspire healthy eating

There are many gift ideas to inspire healthy eating. Kitchen tools—such as a stem stripper or mezzaluna knife—may encourage a person to eat more vegetables. Someone who has trouble getting food to his or her mouth because of tremors may appreciate a gift of adaptive eating utensils. Other gift ideas to inspire healthy eating include small appliances that help create healthy meals, such as a spiralizer, a frozen fruit dessert maker, or an air fryer. When shopping for a gift, one should consider the recipient’s dietary needs, dexterity, and physical ability. (Locked) More »

Season of receiving: Use free services to stay independent

Nonprofit groups offer many types of health-related services. Examples at the local level include low-cost dental clinics, emotional support groups, meal or grocery delivery services, transportation, in-home health evaluations, exercise classes, health education classes, home evaluations for fall prevention, companion programs, and caregiver respite services. Examples at the state or national level include services to link people to free or low-cost prescription medications, hearing aids, and gently used home medical equipment. To find such services, one can ask for referrals at a doctor’s office, a local senior center, or a local Area Agency on Aging. More »

What’s causing that belly bloat?

 Image: © Thunderstock/Getty Images You just finished a meal, but the meal isn't quite finished with you. It's causing an uncomfortable bloated feeling and the perception that you suddenly have a big belly that lasts for hours. And it's not just your imagination. "Very quickly it can make you look like you have a bit of a pooch. There's an enlargement of the abdomen and a sensation of distention," explains Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. But the cause of belly bloat is often hard to pin down. (Locked) More »