Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to Travel Without Jet Lag

One serious downside of air travel is the jet lag that inevitably follows. Jet lag, scientifically known as desynchronosis, is the body’s physical response to alterations to circadian rhythms, which for humans is slightly longer than the day long (24 hour) cycle of our biochemical and physiological processes. When these rhythms get interrupted, it can leave us feeling tired, unable to concentrate, give us headaches and upset stomachs.

Jet lag occurs when we cross several time zones very rapidly and is worse as we travel from West to East, because we are losing time and therefore sleep. Scientists often say that it takes one day to recover for every time zone your cross.

To combat those nagging feelings of jet lag, try the following tips:

  1. Try to sleep on the plane, especially on long West to East flights.
  2. Set your watch to the local time of your destination as soon as you board the airplane.
  3. Avoid alcohol on flights, as it acts as a depressant and can dehydrate you, worsening the effects of jet lag. Instead, drink plenty of water.
  4. Get up and walk around during the flight. Keep your muscles loose and your blood flowing.
  5. Eat a diet high in carbs, as carbohydrate rich foods can also hydrate us.
  6. If you’re tired upon arrival, consider at taking a 15-20 minute power nap if you don’t have time to get a full night’s sleep.
  7. Upon arrival, physical activity can help get the body back into a regular sleeping pattern.
Jet lag is inconvenient for most and debilitating for some. Try some of these tips on your next flight to combat the feelings of jet lag. If you have any questions about jet lag or air travel, feel free to contact your family physician or Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winter Activities

Winter is finally here. And if you don't want to be cooped up indoors for the next few months, its time to get outside and enjoy all the activities you can only do when it snows.

I browsed a great website. Adirondack Sports and Fitness (, for more information on local outdoor activities.

Snowshoe racing - I've heard that if you can walk, you can snowshoe. The Dion Snowshoe Series hosts races every weekend (snow permitting) beginning on Dec. 27 and continuing through March. Snowshoeing takes a bit of endurance and is more about the journey than racing against the clock. If you're new to the sport, consider attending the Dion Demo Day at Albany Fleet Feet on December 20 from 12-2pm, followed by a run at the Crossing.

Cross Country Skiing - This area offers a great deal of cross country skiing centers for skiers of all abilities. For less than $20 per person, you get access to plenty of groomed trails, a lodge, lesson options, rental and food services. Also, check your local center for special programs like women's day, kids ski club, guided tours and festivals. Cross country skiing is thought to be on of the best aerobic exercises by exercise physiologists. It's also a low impact sport, so it's easy on knees and joints.

For more information about these and other great winter activities, contact Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Apps" Make Healthy Living Easier

Technology makes our lives so easy! (For the most part.) GPS's ensure we're never lost, laptops let us work from home or on vacation, cell phones keep us in touch with friends and family and so on. And now for those of you with Apple products like the iPhone of iTouch, staying healthy and getting into shape just got simpler.

With an iPhone or iTouch, you can download applications or programs that let you do everything from count calories to work out on the go.

For example, one program called "iFitness" is a comprehensive database of exercises. It delivers photos, vidoes, and detailed step-by-step instructions of over 230 exercises right to your handheld device. These exercises are sorted by body region or target muscles. Track your progress, create custom workout lists and even upload your own exercises with "iFitness."

One of my personal favorite apps is called "Lose it." This handy program lets you set healthy goals, like losing weight, then helps you track your daily food intake and exercise regimen so you can reach your goals successfully. Also, there is a searchable database where you can easily find the food you eat and detailed reports available online that let you track your progress.

So, if you have an iPhone or iTouch, look into these programs to make your healthy lifestyle just a little easier. And as always, for questions about healthy living, feel free to contact Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4406 or visit our website at

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Drink Up!

Water is essential for all known life on Earth, including the human body. 55-75% of your body is water! (People that are more fit have a higher percentage of fluid, as muscle holds more water than fat.)

Not only do we need water to survive, we also need water to function properly. Even a 2% loss of our bodily fluids can effect athletic performance, brain function and cause fatigue. Doctors and health professionals often advise people to consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day to maintain the proper level of hydration. But why? Below, we have outlined the health benefits of drinking enough water.

- Helps metabolize stored fats which can lead to weight loss.
- Lubricates joints and can ease the pain associated with rheumatoid joint pain and arthritis.
- Helps prevent heart disease and strokes by preventing the clogging of arteries of the heart and brain.
- Lessens the severity of illnesses like the common cold or flu.
- Lessens the burden on kidneys and liver by flushing out harmful toxins in the body and also lessens the chance of kidney stones.
- Improves circulation and thereby the appearance of skin.

Water is universally important to keeping our bodies healthy and working properly. We have only touched on a few of the reasons why we should all drink more water. If you have any questions about the benefits of water, please feel free to contact Empire Health and Wellness Center at 518-690-4460 or visit our website at