Wellness Wednesday – 9/2/20
WELLNESS AROUND THE WEB
Do You Know How To Breathe?
Like most people, you may think you know how to breathe, but a recent article by The Guardian suggests otherwise.
In the last few years, there has been a surge of interest in “breathwork.” The field offers a wide variety of exercises that promise better breathing, which, according to practitioners, can transform one’s physical and mental health by improving immune function, sleep, digestion and respiratory conditions, and reducing blood pressure and anxiety.
However, there is little quality research to back up many of these claims, although it has become widely accepted that diaphragmatic breathing (engaging the large muscle between the chest and abdomen to take bigger, deeper lungfuls of air) can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Want to know what healthy breathing looks like? When a toddler takes in a breathe, their stomach swells. Experts say that most people tend to be “upper-chest breathers;” when they breathe in, their intercostal muscles (between the ribs) and their shoulder muscles are overused. Their chests puff out and hardly anyone is breathing really well into their belly, which should be the foundation of the healthy breath. Others breathe through their mouth rather than nose.
Stress, sedentary lifestyles, air pollution and even tight-fitting clothes promote poor breathing. Luckily, engaging in healthy breathing techniques isn’t difficult at all. For an easy exercise, practice breathing in through the nose for four seconds, hold the breath for two, and then breathe out for six, and then repeat that for a few rounds. You can also practice on the move, ideal on your daily walk or commute, if you are back at work. Breathe in for five steps while you’re walking, and out for five steps, always in and out through the nose.
Long Naps May Be Bad For Health
“Daytime napping is common all over the world and is generally considered a healthy habit,” said study author Dr. Zhe Pan of Guangzhou Medical University, China. “A common view is that napping improves performance and counteracts the negative consequences of ‘sleep debt’. Our study challenges these widely held opinions.”
This study summarized the available evidence to assess the relationship between napping and the risks of all-cause death and cardiovascular disease.
The analysis found that long naps (more than 60 mins) were associated with a 30% greater risk of all-cause death and 34% higher likelihood of cardiovascular disease compared to no napping.
Overall, naps of any length were linked with a 19% elevated risk of death. The connection was more pronounced in women, who had a 22% greater likelihood of death with napping compared to no napping, and older participants, whose risk rose by 17% with naps.
Short naps (less than 60 minutes) were not risky for developing cardiovascular disease. Dr. Pan said: “The results suggest that shorter naps (especially those less than 30 to 45 minutes) might improve heart health in people who sleep insufficiently at night.”
The reasons why napping affects the body are still uncertain, but some studies have suggested that long snoozes are linked with higher levels of inflammation, which is risky for heart health and longevity. Other research has connected napping with high blood pressure, diabetes and poor overall physical health.
If you want to take a nap, keep it under an hour. For those of us not in the habit of a daytime slumber, there is no convincing evidence to start.
FARMERS MARKETS IN THE VALLEY
Local farmers and vendors are doing everything they can to continue providing fresh produce and products to the people. Whether it’s virtual or in-person, here’s a list of local farmers markets that are going above and beyond to serve the community.
The Haverhill Farmers Market returns for its 42nd season. Open each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the market runs through October 31, selling an expanded selection of farm-fresh fruits, herbs, eggs, vegetables, delicious baked goods, hummus, local wine, honey, fresh breads, handmade soaps, doggie treats, ice cream and more.
(978) 872-7535 | TeamHaverhill.org/projects/community/haverhill-farmers-market
This year, the Groundwork Farmers Market will be happening virtually. Order online or by phone, choose from four prepackaged choices, and pick up your delicious goods at their station.
(978) 701-5573 | GroundWorkLawrence.org
The North Andover Farmers Market happens every year, and this year is no different. Also, you can browse through a plentiful selection of fruits, veggies, breads and more at their virtual market.
The Salem Farmers Market boasts a family-friendly atmosphere featuring live music, children’s entertainment and seasonal special events. In the midst of COVID-19, the market is taking precautions to create a safe and enjoyable space for all patrons. For the time being, the market will be open every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Although the outdoor summer market is postponed, you can visit here to find vendor products.
Mill City Grows Mobile Market
Pick up fresh produce and more with this mobile market. Visit Lowell’s Mill No. 5 parking lot every Tuesday between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Lowell Senior Center any Thursday between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m; and Lucy Larcom Park on Fridays between 12 to 3 p.m.
Mill No. 5 The Farm Market
Mill No. 5 is not collecting any table fees and is not profiting from this market. The market facilitates healthy food options from local farmers and food producers. Stop by Mill No. 5 at 225 Middlesex Street for fresh fruit, veggies, meat and more.