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Gastonia to dock pay for employees who ditch health assesssments - Gaston Gazette - 09 Dec 2016 20:34


[[html]]&#13;By Michael Barrett moc.ettezagnotsag|tterrabm#moc.ettezagnotsag|tterrabm&#13;<br><br>Beginning next year, Gastonia city employees will be asked to take part in a new program aimed at monitoring and improving their health.<br><br>And if they decline, they'll pay for it.<br><br>The expanded wellness initiative, approved by City Council members Tuesday, will encourage workers to go through a periodic biometric screening process. It will involve getting a "finger stick" to have blood work done, and having other measurements taken to monitor weight, blood pressure, body mass index, glucose levels, and the like.<br><br>A two-year contract the city has signed with CaroMont Health will also provide health education counseling for employees, as well as health risk assessments.<br><br>A "wellness program incentive clause" will be part of that new venture. Employees who choose not to participate in the health risk assessment program and biometric screening will have $20 per pay period deducted from their paychecks. The city will apply that $20 toward the cost of the employee's health insurance premium.<br><br>City Councilman David Kirlin, who chairs the city's Audit/Bids/Insurance Committee, said there was a lot of discussion about whether to apply such an incentive clause.Based on the best practices of other municipal wellness programs of similar size and complexity to Gastonia's, city leaders decided the 'insurance premium adjustment method' would be the most effective.<br><br>Only participation, not health improvement or performance, is what will matter. The idea is to get employees to become more receptive and inspired to live healthier lives, said Kirlin, who likened it to the classic 'carrot on a stick' incentive.<br><br>"That is to say, hey, all were going to ask of you is to fill out this questionnaire, get some blood work drawn, get your weight taken, and if you do that, youre good to go," he said. "If you dont, were going to ding your paycheck $20 every two weeks."<br><br>The new wellness program marks just the latest example of the city's efforts to lower its employee health care costs in the last decade.Gastonias health insurance costs were skyrocketing eight years ago when City Council members agreed to implement a wellness clinic in City Hall. It serves as a cheaper option for employees, who can pay $3 to see a licensed physicians assistant, rather than enduring a much pricier standard co-pay at a doctors office or minute clinic.<br><br>When the clinic debuted, a nurse practitioner on site could handle minor injuries, such as administering stitches, or writing prescriptions for colds, allergies or the like. As time went on, more services have been offered, such as biometric screenings for high cholesterol, and providing certain care for worker compensation claims.<br><br>The city is also negotiating discounted memberships for its employees at a number of local gyms, which will be available early next year. And as part of the new health initiative, other programs will be offered to get workers thinking about being more healthy. That will include 12 "lunch-and-learn" sessions hosted by local physicians each month, exercise classes, and targeted disease and wellness programs throughout the year.<br><br>You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.<br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

Grant Awarded to UTEP, Jz University Professors to Identify Occupational Risk of Hispanic Construction Workers - 22 Sep 2016 07:05


[[html]]Related Articles&#13;&#13;<br><br>Gabriel Ibarra-Mejia, M.D., Ph.D., an assistant professor in UTEPs Department of Public Health Sciences, and Aurora Mynez-Guaderrama, a professor and researcher at the Instituto de Ingeniera y Tecnologa in Ciudad Jurez, were awarded a $30,000 grant by PIMSA to identify cultural barriers that influence the perception of occupational risks and work-related injuries among Mexican migrant construction workers in the Paso del Norte region.<br><br>PIMSA is the Programa de Investigacin en Migracin y Salud, a program from the Health Initiative of the Americas at the University of California, Berkeley, that funds binational research teams whose research proposals focus on migration and health.<br><br>According to Ibarra-Mejia, migrant workers of Hispanic origin in the United States have a higher rate of work-related injuries and mortality compared to other population groups.<br><br>As part of the study, researchers will examine the cultural barriers that influence workers safety in association with their health and safety behaviors.<br><br>The results generated from the study will be used to design culturally appropriate prevention programs that will reduce occupational risk behaviors and injuries among Hispanic construction workers.<br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

World's largest medical imaging study will scan 100000 Britons - The Guardian - 14 Apr 2016 00:08


[[html]]The bodies and brains of 100,000 Britons will be scanned, measured, shared and compared, in the worlds largest medical imaging study to shed light on the onset and progression of major diseases.<br><br>The project, which launches on Thursday, will create an unprecedented library of images that capture details of volunteers bones, brains, arteries and hearts, alongside the distribution of fat around their midriffs.<br><br>Combined with other information already held on the participants, the stack of images equivalent to 500 ebooks-worth of data per person will help doctors understand how the environment, genetics, lifestyle and diet affect human health and, eventually, death.<br><br>With the haul of data to hand, researchers expect to learn more about the ways in which specific diseases trigger damage throughout the body. For example, scientists will investigate how diabetes and heart disease may trigger changes in the body that ultimately cause harm to the brain.<br><br>Researchers will scan volunteers from the 500,000 middle aged people already taking part in UK BioBank, a massive project set up in 2006 to gather medical and lifestyle data on the UK population, in sickness and in health. Participants have donated blood and tissues, had their DNA read, their lifestyles analysed, and cognitive abilities scored with online tests. Compiling the data should help scientists develop new tests for diseases in their earliest stages, and highlight factors that either protect or predispose to illness.<br><br>These images will help us understand the risk factors that could be used to prevent future disease, just as the discovery of a link between smoking and cancer helped us change the entire prevalence of that disease, said Paul Matthews, head of brain sciences at Imperial College, London.<br><br>Armed with the images, researchers hope to gain deeper insights into the multiple causes of frailty in old age, a state influenced by muscle and bone condition, heart and lung function, and the health of the brain. In old age, calcium loss makes the bones brittle. With thousands of images of bones from different people, researchers can learn how other common conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and muscle weakness affect bone health.<br><br>Stephen Smith at the Oxford University Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain, said that in one 30-minute session, each volunteer would have six different brain scans. Together they will provide information on the brains anatomy, electrical activity and the wiring of the white matter. All of this can change with ageing and disease, said Smith. This is truly big data. We can learn early, possibly subtle, markers for diseases like Alzheimers. Discover those, and doctors can identify people for early interventions.<br><br>Data from the project will be made available to scientists all over the world. Images of the heart, the major artery, the aorta, and others in the neck, can be compared as people age, to show how they thicken and stiffen. Other images can help doctors test hypotheses, such as whether visceral fat creates inflammation that ultimately damages neurons, leading to accelerated ageing in the brain. The promise, said Matthews, is for new breakthroughs, faster.<br><br>Those who volunteer for the scans do not, as routine, receive feedback about their health. But if imaging experts spot serious abnormalities in the scans, the information will be passed on to the participants so they can have further medical checks.<br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

Find Your Way Around The Fitness Maze With This Advice - 02 Dec 2015 04:59


[[html]]Did you find it hard to get out of bed today? Do you feel tired and sluggish? There's a chance you aren't getting enough exercise and taking care of your fitness needs. Getting fit gives you more energy and makes you think clearer in addition to all the physical benefits it provides. Here are a few ways to put fitness first so you feel better.
<br><br>Increase your activity level by not taking the easy routes during your day. Everyone has difficulty squeezing workouts into a hectic schedule, so increase your movement during the course of your normal day. Instead of parking near the entrance of the store, park at the end of the lot and walk. Avoid elevators and take the stairs whenever you can.
<br><br>When selecting a fitness routine, don't fall for gimmicks that say you can lose weight or build muscle without needing to work hard. The whole point of a fitness program is to work hard. Pick a workout routine that fits with your schedule and is difficult enough to challenge you without resulting in injury.
<br><br>Instead of only doing seated calf raises or only doing standing calf raises, mix it up! Calves are actually made up of two separate muscles. By doing both straight-leg reps and bent-leg reps, you are ensuring that both muscles in your calves are getting a proper workout. This will allow you to see noticeable results much sooner.
<br><br>Mix up your intake of sugars before working out. Multiple sugars are better for a workout than sticking to one type of sugar for energy. While manufactured foods usually offer one type of sugar, natural foods such as fruits and granola can give you more than one type of sugar and increase your energy output and stamina.
<br><br>Skip the pre-workout warmup on the treadmill, as you prepare for a strength training workout. Instead, increase the efficiency of your workout by spending those fifteen minutes warming up the targeted muscle groups that you will be working on during your session. You can then spend those fifteen minutes on the treadmill, after you complete your routine.
<br><br>Remember two key things if you want to work on toning up and gaining muscle strength: rest your muscles and don't overdo it. All weight workouts should be kept fairly short because after an extended period of time your body begins to create a stress response. It is also important to take time off between muscle workouts in order to allow your muscles to recharge and rest.
<br><br><img style="float:right;margin:10px;border:none;" src="" width="312" /><br><br>Make sure to work out all the muscle groups, one after another, in your arms to get better results. Try working out the different groups in succession in your workouts. For example, work out your biceps and then immediately work out your triceps afterwords. This will cause one set of muscles to rest while working the other and you won't require long breaks for all of them between sets.
<br><br>If you enjoy watching television, try adding a little workout to your TV watching. Watching TV while working out may help you forget that you are working out, which will increase the length of your workout. Try using television shows as a timer. Tell yourself that you will work out for two shows if you know that a show runs for half an hour.
<br><br>Keep a nice upbeat pace when cycling. Try to keep your pace between 80 and 110 rpm. This will help you ride longer without becoming too tired since you are not going too fast. You can keep track of this number while riding by counting how many times one of your feet's pedal hits the top in 10 seconds. Then take that number and multiply it by 6 to get your pedal rpms.
<br><br>A great fitness tip to help you build up your legs, is to start doing step ups. Step ups are sort of similar to lunges but you take a step onto a higher platform. You can also hold a dumbbell in each hand to make them even more effective.
<br><br>Try to achieve more birdies with your golf putt. Try aiming 17 inches past the hole when you are putting because there is 17 inches of green that will be footprint-free, to do this. This means there will be thicker blades of grass around the hole that will slow down your putt.
<br><br>Don't forget to stretch your muscles out between each set. When stretching, do so for twenty to thirty seconds. Studies have shown that frequent stretching can optimize muscle growth by up to 20%. Doing stretches can also protect you from injury.
<br><br>Never exercise if you are not feeling well. When you exercise, your body is causing a bit of damage to your muscles, which it needs to repair to make them stronger. Your body is busy repairing other issues if you are sick. Exercising will only make you feel worse.
<br><br>Many do not hold their stretches long enough, although most people know the importance of stretching before a workout. Younger people should opt for a minimum of 30 seconds for each stretch. When you are topping 40 it becomes important to hold for at least 60 seconds because muscles are less pliable as we age. Allow time in your routine for full stretching.
<br><br>Do not waste your time and money when trying to get to your fitness goals. There are many products and devices out there that will gladly take all that you will give. Why go for that when you have a free resource outside your front door? Your sidewalk is free to use and has no limit as to where it can take you.
<br><br>If gaining muscle is your fitness goal, you will need to consume more calories than you burn and lift heavier weights for fewer repetitions. So, determine how many calories your body needs to maintain its weight, then make sure you are consuming more than that. As for the weights, aim for six to eight repetitions per set.
<br><br>When training with weights, you should not use a weight lifting belt. Using a weight belt will, over time, gradually weaken your lower-back and abdominal muscles. Training without a belt will increase the strength of your back and ab muscles and force you to lift with proper form and technique.
<br><br>Aligning the spine properly to ensure good posture is more important than you may think. Improper postures can affect your rib cage, damage your lungs and heart and cause gastrointestinal problems. Your slouch is reversible as long as you do some slight changes. Examples to improve posture are by using a headset for your phone, centering your computer monitor and lowering your armrests on your office chair.
<br><br>Commit yourself to fitness. Find something that motivates you. It might be hard to find the time and the motivation to exercise, especially after a busy day. Make an active decision to change your lifestyle when you choose fitness. Do not let someone else convince you to do it fitness is a personal commitment.
<br><br>The results will pay you back handsomely, though reaching your goals will take effort. Becoming fit improves your overall health. If you stay fit, you will lead a better life and be able to do more in it.<br><br>[[/html]] - Comments: 0

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