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RWJBarnabas Health Tips
Embrace the benefits of a healthy lifestyle

Barnabas-HealthFrom fitness and nutrition tips to healthy recipes and more, the healthy living section of RWJBarnabas Health’s online Health Library offers a number of resources to keep your body and mind healthy.

New Tips for a successful New Jersey Marathon!  RWJBarnabas Health experts have complied two updated guidelines targeted to help you prepare well for the journey to race day.
Click Here to learn the key elements to Strength Training including Endurance and Cross Training, Core work, Flexibility, and the need to Rest and Repair.
Click Here to see how Nutrition plays a serious role in your ability to perform well in a race — and in general.  Notes include what to Fuel with before and after exercise, making the right Food Choices, all about Sugary Drinks, and Portion Control.

To browse the healthy living section and begin embracing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, please visit healthlibrary.barnabashealth.org.

A Guide to Sun Safety — UV Index

If you watch the evening news, you’ve probably seen the UV (ultraviolet) Index listed during the weather report. But what does it really mean in terms of sun safety?

The index is a next-day forecast that estimates the amount of ultraviolet radiation that will reach the earth’s surface, providing important information to help individuals prevent overexposure to the sun’s rays. The Index also includes the effects of cloud cover on the anticipated UV exposure level for the next day.

0-2 (Low)
Danger from the sun’s UV rays for the average person is low, but those who burn easily should cover up and use sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15.

3-5 (Moderate)
Take precautions if outside. Stay in shade near midday.

6-7 (High)
Individuals may be at high risk of harm from unprotected exposure to the sun. Cover up and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15, as protection against sunburn is needed. Reduce time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

8-10 (Very High)
Take extra precautions. Minimize exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Cover up and wear a hat and sunglasses. Wear at least SPF 15 sunscreen.

11+ (Extreme)
Individuals are at extreme risk of harm from unprotected sun exposure. Follow all of the above suggestions for protection from the sun.

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When Exercising, Don’t Skip Stretching

It’s no stretch to say that a lot of us underestimate the value of flexibility. Exercise, and other factors, can cause your muscles to shorten. By regularly stretching the muscles, you counteract that shortening. Stretching promotes flexibility, allowing you to move your muscles and joints through their full range of motion.

Muscles that are warmed up before being put under a sudden stress are more likely to be able to handle the stress. Mild warm-up exercises before vigorous exertion is always recommended. Stretching before exercise may help to decrease injury to your muscles, ligaments and tendons. Three good stretches include the following:

Quadriceps: Stand with knees together. Pull your left leg up behind you with your left hand; keep your torso upright and pull your heel toward your buttocks. Brace yourself with your right hand. Switch legs and repeat.

Hamstrings: Sit on the floor; extend your left leg in front of you. Put your right foot against your inner left thigh. Gently bend forward from the hips, keeping back straight. Switch legs and repeat.

Chest: Stand facing a wall. Put your right palm and forearm flat against the wall, then rotate your torso to the left. Switch sides and repeat.

Why Your Body Needs Water

Need a reason to drink water? Water is essential to good health—and life. Up to 60 percent of an adult’s body weight and about 74 percent of a newborn’s body weight is water, making it the largest single substance in the human body.

Here’s what water does for you:

  • It helps carry nutrients to all the cells in your body.
  • It helps carry waste products from the cells.
  • It is a part of essential reactions within the body.
  • It helps regulate body temperature by absorbing heat generated by your metabolism and eliminating excess heat through sweating.
  • It helps with digestion of food.
  • It helps lubricate your joints.

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How to Avoid Common Running Injuries

Running is a great way to get in shape, but it can also lead to injuries. Knowing about common injuries and how to prevent them can keep you on track toward achieving your fitness goals.

Experts recommend the following strategies to prevent injuries:

  • Identify your running goals. You may choose to start running to improve your physique, lose weight, increase cardiovascular fitness, or socialize with friends. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to identify this goal when creating your exercise program. If you want to improve cardiovascular fitness, for instance, you should run at a quick pace to maximize your heart rate. If you’re running to lose weight or reduce body fat, it’s better to run at a slower rate for a longer time. Depending on your goal, your doctor or personal trainer may decide that a modest walking or jogging program is appropriate. Setting goals helps you follow a safe pace and keeps you from overexertion, which can result in injury.
  • Have a physical evaluation. Certain health problems may hamper your running performance and increase your risk for injury. Specifically, osteoporosis, arthritis, and other degenerative joint diseases can increase your injury risk. If you have any significant health issues, you should discuss these with your doctor before you start to run.
  • Warm up before your run and stretch after you run. Doing so can prevent some of the most common injuries. It’s most important to stretch muscles that move joints. These include the calf muscle, which moves the knee and ankle, and the hamstring, which moves the knee and hip. Walk or gently jog for 5 minutes. Cool down at the same pace for another 5 minutes at the end of your run.
  • Wear the correct shoes. Buying shoes at an athletic store, where a salesclerk can help you choose a shoe that fits your foot type, can help prevent injuries.

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Ready, Set, Run!

It may not be as trendy as Pilates or power yoga, but running is still a great aerobic workout to burn fat and reduce stress. Experts have long linked many health benefits to running. It helps increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol; helps with weight loss; builds strong bones; improves balance and coordination; lowers your risk for heart disease and diabetes; and helps improve sleep.

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