Survive the Ups and Downs of Walking for Fitness

Let’s face it. Walking is a popular low-impact exercise. Now, new iPods are equipped with pedometers, half-marathons are packed with walkers and MapMyWalk.com and other apps can map and measure walking routes. But even with all of these new innovations, you’ll still want to pay attention to basics.

The national recommendation for regular physical activity to stay healthy is actually rather attainable. Adults are encouraged to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five times a week or more. This means that walking the dog, hiking, biking or walking to the metro instead of hailing a cab all count as exercise.

7 Home Filters You Probably Didn’t Know Should Be Changed

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Home cleaning is a catch-all phrase for the general de-clutter and organizational projects that abound when messiness trumps neatness. But in addition to clearing out the garage, don’t forget to change those oft-neglected filters that can harm your health if left unclean.
“Humidifier filters, for example, are designed to wick the water and make it easier to evaporate in the air to increase humidity. But, if not changed they can become oversaturated and susceptible to mold, mildew, and bacteria growth that can make you sick,” says Alex Hertzog, a water specialist with Filters Fast who is certified by the Water Quality Association.
Most of us eventually remember to change the obvious filters, like those on our stove vents or the PUR filter on our tap. But what about changing filters you don’t even know you have?
According to the experts, there are seven filters you probably don’t know you should be changing.
1. Microwave filter. The filter traps grease and odors from the air, thus protecting the appliance and also preventing odors from recirculating and affecting the taste and smell of your food. The microwave filter should be replaced every 6-12 months.
2. Showerhead filter. The filter reduces harmful chemicals that can dry out your hair and skin, leading to other negative effects on the body. It should be replaced every 3-6 months.
3. Humidifier. Most people know humidifiers have a filter that should be changed, but what they don’t realize is that many humidifiers actually have up to three filters. It’s important to change all three filters.
4. Coffee maker filter. A filter is used in most coffee makers, and it should be replaced approximately every 60 brews.
“They’re designed to remove the disinfection chemicals from tap water. If the filters aren’t changed, they cause more exposure to ingesting chlorine,” says Hertzog.
5. Furnace filter. To reduce allergens like pollen, dust, pet dander, mold spores and dust mites from leaking into the air, it should be changed every 3-6 months.
6. Dryer lint filter screen. The lint filter screen should be replaced as needed, if it has build-up or tears in the screen. Changing the filter can prevent fire hazards, extend the life of your dryer and reduce energy bills.
7. Refrigerator filter. The filter on a fridge keeps ice fresh and cleans the water dispensed from the refrigerator.
Get more filter-related advice at www.filtersfast.com.

Looking for Chef-Inspired Recipes in Your Kitchen? Start With Breakfast

Restaurant owners spend countless hours fretting over food stock and prices, catering to customers, negotiating with suppliers and supervising staff.  How does a super-busy food entrepreneur stay on top of business and make time for a healthy meal? We asked Megan Walhood and Jeremy Daniels, co-owners of the popular, Portland, Oregon-based Viking Soul Food, and the answer was: Plan ahead and eat a good breakfast!

“One of the things we try to do as busy business owners is plan ahead when it comes to our food,” says Walhood. “Making big batches of soup can sustain a family throughout the week. Even a big batch of beans combined with different veggies, cheese, chicken, fish, etc., will create a variety of healthy, satisfying meals.”

Irregular Bowel Movement? Your Medicine Could Be the Culprit

We sometimes associate constipation with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or poor diet, but did you know you can become constipated another way? A frequently overlooked cause of constipation is medication.

Medications like opioids and certain cholesterol-lowering agents, anti-hypertensives, anti-Parkinson’s agents, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, duodenal ulcer medication and over-the-counter products such as iron supplements may all cause constipation.

Your colon is the primary waste elimination system for your body and, while it is a highly efficient system, there can be times when it slows down. Constipation occurs if the colon absorbs too much water or if your colon muscles’ contractions are slow or sluggish and your stool moves too slowly through it. When you experience constipation there are several steps you can take to alleviate this situation.

Energy-Efficient Heating Keeps Cost-Conscious Homes Cozy

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – With many Americans watching their budgets, heating homes has become an unwanted, though necessary, expense.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, many American homes will experience higher heating costs this winter due to increased fuel prices. Thankfully, simple behavior changes and energy-efficient appliances can help homeowners cut their heating bills and still enjoy the same level of comfort.
“Energy-efficient heating means that you use less energy to heat the same space,” said Phil Weeks, chief operating officer of Rinnai America Corporation, a company that manufactures gas heating appliances. “This saved energy translates into reduced utility costs for homeowners.”
Some energy-efficient heating devices, like Rinnai’s hydronic furnace, which works in conjunction with the company’s tankless water heater, can heat a home while still conserving energy. Featuring a high-efficiency motor that offers up to 48 percent better efficiency than a comparable traditional motor, the hydronic furnace is powered by Rinnai’s gas-modulating tankless technology, so it uses only the energy needed to maintain a room’s desired temperature. Because the unit utilizes hot water from the tankless water heater to heat air, the heat it provides is less dry than that of a typical forced-air furnace.
Another efficient heating option is to forego a traditional furnace in favor of a direct vent wall furnace. These ductless units are capable of comfortably heating whole homes or specific zones, depending on the need, and save energy by constantly adjusting heat output and blower speed to meet current demand. Rinnai’s gas-modulating direct vent wall furnace also can serve as a supplementary heat source for basements, guest rooms, room additions and generally hard-to-heat areas, thus reducing the demand placed on a home’s central heating system.
Of course, homeowners can take steps to help their current heating units operate on less energy. Consider the following efforts:
* Seal and weather strip doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping the home.
* Reverse the direction of ceiling fans (so they turn clockwise) to push warm air down from the ceiling.
* Minimize the use of bathroom and kitchen hood fans as they can quickly remove heat from the air.
For more information, visit www.rinnai.us.

When Meds Cause Constipation, Find the Right Answers for You

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – We sometimes associate constipation with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or poor diet, but did you know you can become constipated another way? A frequently overlooked cause of constipation is medication.
Medications like opioids and certain cholesterol-lowering agents, anti-hypertensives, anti-Parkinson’s agents, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, duodenal ulcer medication and over-the-counter products such as iron supplements may all cause constipation.
Your colon is the primary waste elimination system for your body and, while it is a highly efficient system, there can be times when it slows down. Constipation occurs when the colon absorbs too much water or if your colon muscles’ contractions are slow or sluggish, and your stool moves too slowly through it. When you experience constipation there are several steps you can take to alleviate this situation.
Try eating regular meals and keep your mealtimes on a schedule. Eating on the run or missing a meal could throw off your digestive system. Take a look at your diet, and make sure you are eating the right foods. Bran, whole grains and certain fruits and vegetables are good choices because they’re high in fiber. It’s best to avoid over-processed foods with little fiber. Also avoid large amounts of milk, cheese, meat, fatty foods and refined sugar.
Besides watching your diet, it is important to stay hydrated. Drink sufficient amounts of water throughout the day, and stay away from caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. Make sure you are listening to your body and setting aside time for your bowel movement so that it becomes routine. Daily workouts help keep you regular, but check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
For occasional constipation associated with certain medications, you may get relief with Senokot-S Tablets. Senokot-S Tablets combine the natural vegetable laxative ingredient senna with docusate sodium, a stool softener.
If you are experiencing constipation, visit www.senokot.com and the Constipation Answer Center to find further information.

Beat the Winter Blahs

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – For many of us, sticking to our health routine can be difficult. Morning runs outside get replaced with snuggling under the covers, and healthy eating goes by the wayside as sweets become the norm. Well, you can indulge and still stick to a healthy routine with just a few simple tweaks to your lifestyle. Valerie Waters, celebrity fitness trainer and contributor to publications like In Style, Fitness, Self and People, offers motivational tips just for you:
1. Get your Omega-3s, even if you don’t like fish. The body produces low levels of Omega-3s, and the average diet contains insufficient amounts, so supplementing is important. Omega-3s have heart, brain and eye benefits. For those who would rather not swallow a giant pill, the makers of Centrum just launched ProNutrients, a new line of supplements from the most trusted multivitamin, with an Omega-3 that comes in a concentrated MiniGel.
2. Eat dinner earlier. When you eat dinner between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., you are less likely to munch early or eat something late at night.
3. Eat seasonal fruits and veggies. Pick the brightest fruits and veggies and experiment with new flavors. Fresh produce improves your skin, gives you more energy and builds up your immune system. Options include butternut squash, kale, sweet potatoes and grapefruit. Complement your choices with a multivitamin, especially one for your specific health needs. Recently launched, Centrum Specialist multivitamins with heart, vision, energy or prenatal benefits gives you confidence you’ve made a smart nutritional choice.
4. Quench your thirst before you feel it. Dry rooms and extra heat cause you to lose more water in the winter. If your lips are chapped or you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Drink a glass of water during each meal and while you workout to help stay hydrated.
5. Get off the couch, but stay close to it. If you don’t want to go outside to work out, modify your routine to exercise indoors. Squats, lunges, planks and pushups can all be done in your own home. Aim for at least 15 to 20 minutes a day. Also, park farther away while shopping at the mall, and use the stairs when possible.
For more of Waters’ healthy living tips, visit www.facebook.com/Centrum.

Take the Bite out of Pesky Mosquitoes

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Mosquitoes are breeding by the billions, and they are more than a minor outdoor nuisance. These blood-suckers can spread diseases such as West Nile virus, encephalitis, dengue fever and malaria. In the United States, West Nile virus is of most concern, which is why most municipalities monitor and sample mosquitoes and treat known mosquito breeding areas.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. documented 1,021 cases of West Nile Virus in 2010, of which 57 resulted in death.
Because of the ease with which mosquitoes can breed and spread disease, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds homeowners to be vigilant about mosquito prevention, especially as excessive rain and flooding experienced by much of the country in recent weeks provides perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Many people may not be aware that mosquito season does not end when summer does, but actually lasts through October. The NPMA recommends the following preventive measures to safeguard you against mosquitoes:
* Prevent mosquito nesting and breeding sites by eliminating standing water and other sources of moisture in and around the home in flowerpots, water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, baby pools, sandboxes, children’s toys and other objects that can collect water. Mosquitoes need only about 1/2 inch of water to breed. To keep birdbath and pond water fresh, homeowners should add a fountain or drip system.
* Keep windows and doors properly screened. Repair even the smallest tear or hole.
* Clean clogged gutters, and periodically check them to ensure water is flowing freely.
* Ensure there is no standing water pooling under decks.
* Minimize outside activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
* If you must spend time outdoors during peak mosquito times, avoid wearing shorts or short-sleeved apparel, dark colors, loose-fitting garments, open-toe shoes and sweet-smelling perfumes or colognes. Instead, wear long pants and sleeves, and be sure to use an insect repellant containing DEET.
* If you are concerned about mosquito activity on your property, contact a pest management company or local mosquito abatement district that may be able to treat your back yard, specifically trees and shrubs where mosquitoes hide during the day.
For more information, visit www.pestworld.org.

Hunkering Down With Home Improvement: 3 Sensible Projects

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – With many Americans watching their budgets, heating homes has become an unwanted, though necessary, expense.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, many American homes will experience higher heating costs this winter due to increased fuel prices. Thankfully, simple behavior changes and energy-efficient appliances can help homeowners cut their heating bills and still enjoy the same level of comfort.
“Energy-efficient heating means that you use less energy to heat the same space,” said Phil Weeks, chief operating officer of Rinnai America Corporation, a company that manufactures gas heating appliances. “This saved energy translates into reduced utility costs for homeowners.”
Some energy-efficient heating devices, like Rinnai’s hydronic furnace, which works in conjunction with the company’s tankless water heater, can heat a home while still conserving energy. Featuring a high-efficiency motor that offers up to 48 percent better efficiency than a comparable traditional motor, the hydronic furnace is powered by Rinnai’s gas-modulating tankless technology, so it uses only the energy needed to maintain a room’s desired temperature. Because the unit utilizes hot water from the tankless water heater to heat air, the heat it provides is less dry than that of a typical forced-air furnace.
Another efficient heating option is to forego a traditional furnace in favor of a direct vent wall furnace. These ductless units are capable of comfortably heating whole homes or specific zones, depending on the need, and save energy by constantly adjusting heat output and blower speed to meet current demand. Rinnai’s gas-modulating direct vent wall furnace also can serve as a supplementary heat source for basements, guest rooms, room additions and generally hard-to-heat areas, thus reducing the demand placed on a home’s central heating system.
Of course, homeowners can take steps to help their current heating units operate on less energy. Consider the following efforts:
* Seal and weather strip doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping the home.
* Reverse the direction of ceiling fans (so they turn clockwise) to push warm air down from the ceiling.
* Minimize the use of bathroom and kitchen hood fans as they can quickly remove heat from the air.
For more information, visit www.rinnai.us.

Community Gardens Make a Bountiful Oasis for East African Villages

In the Horn of Africa, barren landscapes and dirt fields surround large riverbeds that are totally dry. Herds of goats and camels, tired and emaciated, walk through parched lands in search of food and water. It’s the worst drought the region has seen in 60 years.

As ChildFund International continues its drought emergency operations across this region, it also remains focused on long-term development projects aimed at minimizing food crises.

In Kenya’s Turkana region, the Food for Assets program, operated by ChildFund International in conjunction with the U.N. World Food Program, is producing crops in a desert.