Starting a Workout Routine – Tips to start moving and grooving @ClevelandClinic


Exercise
 is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. But if you’ve gotten out of the habit of being active — or have never found an exercise routine that works — it might feel like an impossible task to get started.
Luckily, it’s never too late to figure out a workout routine. Here’s how to start exercising — and tips to stay motivated when all you want to do is hang out on the couch instead.
What should I include in my exercise program?
Every exercise session should include a warm-up, a conditioning phase and a cool-down phase.
The warm-up
In a nutshell, a warm-up helps your body adjust slowly from rest to exercise. Making this part of your routine reduces the stress on your heart and muscles, and slowly increases your breathing, circulation (heart rate) and body temperature. A warm-up can also help improve your flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
The best warm-up includes stretching, range of motion activities and beginning the activity at a low-intensity level.
Conditioning phase
The conditioning phase follows the warm-up and is the time when you’re burning calories and moving and grooving.
During the conditioning phase, you should monitor the intensity of your activity. The intensity is how hard you’re exercising, which can be measured by checking your heart rate.
Over time, you can work on increasing the duration of the activity. The duration is how long you exercise during one session.
Cool-down phase
The cool-down phase is the last phase of your exercise session. It allows your body to gradually recover from the conditioning phase. Your heart rate and blood pressure will return to near-resting values.
However, a cool down does not mean to sit down. In fact, for safety reasons, don’t sit, stand still or lie down right after exercise. This might cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded or have heart palpitations (fluttering in your chest).
The best cool down is to slowly decrease the intensity of your activity. You might also do some of the same stretching activities you did in the warm up.
General exercise guidelines
In general, experts recommend doing a five-minute warm up, including stretching exercises, before any aerobic activity, and include a five- to 10-minute cool down after the activity. Stretching can be done while standing or sitting.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when starting a workout routine:
Determine the best exercise routine for your lifestyle
Not everybody likes to hop out of bed in the morning and go for a run. Figuring out a routine that fits your lifestyle can help you be more successful.
Here are some questions you can think about before choosing a routine:
What physical activities do I enjoy?
Do I prefer group or individual activities?
What programs best fit my schedule?
Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise?
What goals do I have in mind?
(These might include losing weight, strengthening muscles or improving flexibility, for example.)
Don’t try and exercise too much too fast
Gradually increase your activity level, especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly. Guidelines around how often to exercise also differ depending on your age, any health conditions you have and your fitness history.
Set big and small goals — and be specific
If you’re looking to reach a particular goal, exercise specialist Ben Kuharik suggests setting mini goals to achieve along the way. This ensures your motivation stays strong over the long haul.
Setting a specific goal is also important. “For example, if you want to lose some weight, it’s hard to be motivated or stick to a plan,” he says. “That’s because you don’t have the excitement in knowing you are getting closer to achieving it.”
Having smaller goals or milestones to reach in between the big ones keeps you on track. “If you want to lose 8 pounds in two months — and you set a mini goal of losing 1 pound a week in the process — you get the sense of accomplishment that reaffirms your efforts,” Kuharik says. “And this can snowball into achieving even greater goals.”
This also applies if you fall short of your goal. “If you only lose 7 pounds in two months, you’re still 7 pounds down than when you started,” Kuharik affirms. “You’ll feel great about the progress you’ve already made.”
Schedule exercise into your daily routine
Plan to exercise at the same time every day, such as in the mornings when you have more energy or right after work. Add a variety of exercises so you don’t get bored.
Where exercise is concerned, something is also always better than nothing. “Not every day will go as planned,” Kuharik notes. “If you unexpectedly have a tight schedule or are even just having an off day, doing half of your planned workout that day is much more rewarding and beneficial than skipping it altogether.”
Exercise at a steady pace
Keep a pace that allows you to still talk during the activity. Be sure not to overdo it! You can measure the intensity of your exercise using the Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. The RPE scale runs from 0 to 10 and rates how easy or difficult you find an activity.
For example, 0 (nothing at all) would be how you feel when sitting in a chair; 10 (very, very heavy) is how you feel at the end of an exercise stress test or after a very difficult activity. In most cases, you should exercise at a level that feels 3 (moderate) to 4 (somewhat heavy).
Keep an exercise record
Keep a record of how much and when you exercise. This can help you look at goal-setting, as well as get a sense of how much activity you’re doing in a given week.
Time your eating and drinking properly
Wait at least one and a half hours after eating a meal before exercising. When drinking liquids during exercise, remember to follow any fluid restriction guidelines you might have.
Only buy what you need
Exercise doesn’t have to put a strain on your wallet. Avoid buying expensive equipment or health club memberships unless you’re sure you’ll use them regularly. But you’ll want to dress for the weather (if working out outside) and wear protective footwear. Sneakers are the one thing you should prioritize, as you want to make sure your feet are protected.
Stick with it
If you exercise regularly, it’ll soon become part of your lifestyle. Make exercise a lifetime commitment. Finding an exercise “buddy” can also help you stay motivated.
Don’t forget to have fun
Exercising should be fun and not feel like a chore. “Consistency is key — but to do something consistently, it’s important to find a way to enjoy it,” Kuharik says.
So, above all, choose an activity you enjoy! You’ll be more likely to stick with an exercise program if you don’t dread working out.
“Try to look at exercise as an opportunity to get away from stress, clear your mind and leave nagging thoughts at the door,” Kuharik encourages. “With this in mind, over time, you will look forward to giving your mind a break and feeling good after a great workout session!”
Exercise: Where To Start
You should always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Together, you can figure out a plan to ease into regular physical activity.
And walking and climbing stairs are two easy ways to start an exercise program.
Walking guidelines
Start with a short walk. See how far you can go before you become breathless. Stop and rest whenever you’re short of breath.
Count the number of steps you take while you inhale. Then exhale for twice as many steps. For example, if you inhale while taking two steps, exhale through pursed lips while taking the next four steps. Learn to walk so breathing in and exhaling out become a habit once you find a comfortable breathing rate.
Try to increase your walking distance. When setting specific goals, you might find you can go farther every day. Many people find that an increase of 10 feet a day is a good goal.
Set reasonable goals. Don’t walk so far that you can’t get back to your starting point without difficulty breathing. Remember, if you’re short of breath after limited walking, stop and rest.
Never overdo it. Always stop and rest for two or three minutes when you start to become short of breath.
Stair climbing
Hold the handrail lightly to keep your balance and help yourself climb.
Take your time.
Step up while exhaling or breathing out with pursed lips. Place your whole foot flat on each step. Go up two steps with each exhalation.
Inhale or breathe in while taking a rest before the next step.
Going downstairs is much easier. Hold the handrail and place each foot flat on the step. Count the number of steps you take while inhaling, and take twice as many steps while exhaling.
Whichever activity you choose, remember, even a little exercise is better than none!

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aerobic exercise exercise exercise and heart health exercise plan moderate exercise

12 Truths About Drinking Everyone Should Know @mindbodygreen

1. “I wish I had known how much I was self-destructing with alcohol.”

All the embarrassing situations, the things you’ve said that you shouldn’t—after you stop drinking, you realize just how destructive the alcohol was. “It’s so easy and convenient to delay your problems with alcohol. But it sure doesn’t solve them,” says one OYNB veteran.

2. “I wish I’d known alcohol was causing so many of my chronic health issues.”

From reflux to IBS, acne to vitamin deficiency—the list goes on. Once people quit the booze, they see just how many chronic health issues disappear. The problem started inside you, and the solution might be there, too.

3. “I wish I had known how much more self-respect I would have after I quit.”

So many of us drink because we lack the confidence to be vulnerable without “liquid courage.” But consistently losing control doesn’t cultivate self-esteem. Over time, it erodes it. Learning how to handle your life, and eventually realizing that you can conquer any challenge—without any numbing agents—is the best thing you can do for your long-term self-acceptance and personal growth.

4. “I wish I’d known how much younger I’d feel.”

“I’ve got an extra spring in my step that people my age just don’t have. People think I’m 10 or 15 years younger than I actually am. My eyes are gleaming again; my skin is vibrant. There’s a sparkle in my life that has been missing since I was young and free. I thought the closest I would get to feeling that sparkle was getting drunk. Turns out, the alcohol is exactly what was keeping me from it.”

5. “I wish I’d recognized how significantly it would improve my relationships.”

“My wife and I were on the brink of divorce, and now we’re more in love than we’ve ever been. Friendships rooted in shared vices have fallen away, and authentic, loving relationships have risen up in their place.” When you remove the veneer of alcohol, meaningful relationships will flourish.

6. “I wish I’d known that quitting booze was the gateway to overhauling my life.”

The impact of alcohol isn’t limited to the changes you experience while you’re drunk or while you’re hungover. It negatively affects your life in a thousand other ways. It exacerbates anxiety, anger, depression. It encourages bad habits like eating junk food and skipping workouts. When you ditch the booze, your life will experience a total metamorphosis.

7. “I wish I’d known it was limiting my ability to be a good parent.”

This is a bit of a gut-wrencher. But almost without exception, parents who have gone off the booze say they are better parents now than they ever could’ve been while drinking. When it comes to parenting, the only argument that booze is a good thing is the one that says a stressed parent is a better parent. But we all know there are a million healthier coping mechanisms for anxiety and tension than drinking. And your kid, more than anyone else in the world, deserves a fully present, engaged parent. From rushed bedtime stories to short-tempered outbursts, a drinking problem can rob you of the ability to be the kind of parent you want to be.

8. “I wish I’d known it was robbing me of my memories.”

So many events missed, so many moments gone. From weddings to birthday parties, vacations to intimate conversations, a booze-addled brain can never be counted upon to hold on to what’s important. Perhaps the scariest memory failure the frequent drinker experiences is the inability to answer the question, “How did I get home last night?”

9. “I wish I’d realized how much money it was costing me.”

You’re already paying rent, spending money on vacations, putting food on the table, etc. You probably don’t realize how much money you waste every month on liquor—especially if you socialize in a metropolis like London or New York. A few nights of heavy drinking a week can easily add up to a thousand-dollar-a-month habit. Think about all the things you’d rather spend that money on than drinking your life away.

10. “I wish I’d known how much liquor was holding me back.”

We forget our hobbies, deprioritize our families, put our business ideas on the back burner. Under the veil of alcohol, nothing seems all that important. It’s only when you clear away the film of booze that you can feel the true importance of those things you set aside. And often, by then it’s too late.

11. “I wish I’d known how much peace it would bring me.”

“Changing my mindset and cutting out booze helped me find a level of peace I don’t think I’ve ever had in my adult life. I just can’t believe how different I feel. It’s like a fog has been lifted. A cloud that had been following me around for years is finally gone.” We all know that alcohol is a depressant, but we often choose not to recognize how it may be controlling us. You have to remove that variable from the equation in order to recognize how it changes the outcome.

12. “I wish I’d done it sooner.”

Looking back on the years of misguided drinking—time spent trying to appease someone else or hide hurtful or shameful feelings—the newly sober are confronted with a profound sense of regret that they wasted as much time as they did. Once you see how good life can be sans alcohol, it’s hard to perceive time you spent drinking as time well-spent.

Thousands of people are happier, healthier, fitter, more productive, more well-rested, achieving their dreams, starting their businesses, running those marathons, feeling happy, loving their partners, spending time with their kids, being present, and absolutely loving their lives.

So what are you waiting for? You can learn more about the alcohol-free challenge here.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/12-truths-about-drinking-everyone-should-know

Starting a Workout Routine – Tips to start moving and grooving @ClevelandClinic


Exercise
 is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. But if you’ve gotten out of the habit of being active — or have never found an exercise routine that works — it might feel like an impossible task to get started.
Luckily, it’s never too late to figure out a workout routine. Here’s how to start exercising — and tips to stay motivated when all you want to do is hang out on the couch instead.
What should I include in my exercise program?
Every exercise session should include a warm-up, a conditioning phase and a cool-down phase.
The warm-up
In a nutshell, a warm-up helps your body adjust slowly from rest to exercise. Making this part of your routine reduces the stress on your heart and muscles, and slowly increases your breathing, circulation (heart rate) and body temperature. A warm-up can also help improve your flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
The best warm-up includes stretching, range of motion activities and beginning the activity at a low-intensity level.
Conditioning phase
The conditioning phase follows the warm-up and is the time when you’re burning calories and moving and grooving.
During the conditioning phase, you should monitor the intensity of your activity. The intensity is how hard you’re exercising, which can be measured by checking your heart rate.
Over time, you can work on increasing the duration of the activity. The duration is how long you exercise during one session.
Cool-down phase
The cool-down phase is the last phase of your exercise session. It allows your body to gradually recover from the conditioning phase. Your heart rate and blood pressure will return to near-resting values.
However, a cool down does not mean to sit down. In fact, for safety reasons, don’t sit, stand still or lie down right after exercise. This might cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded or have heart palpitations (fluttering in your chest).
The best cool down is to slowly decrease the intensity of your activity. You might also do some of the same stretching activities you did in the warm up.
General exercise guidelines
In general, experts recommend doing a five-minute warm up, including stretching exercises, before any aerobic activity, and include a five- to 10-minute cool down after the activity. Stretching can be done while standing or sitting.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when starting a workout routine:
Determine the best exercise routine for your lifestyle
Not everybody likes to hop out of bed in the morning and go for a run. Figuring out a routine that fits your lifestyle can help you be more successful.
Here are some questions you can think about before choosing a routine:
What physical activities do I enjoy?
Do I prefer group or individual activities?
What programs best fit my schedule?
Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise?
What goals do I have in mind?
(These might include losing weight, strengthening muscles or improving flexibility, for example.)
Don’t try and exercise too much too fast
Gradually increase your activity level, especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly. Guidelines around how often to exercise also differ depending on your age, any health conditions you have and your fitness history.
Set big and small goals — and be specific
If you’re looking to reach a particular goal, exercise specialist Ben Kuharik suggests setting mini goals to achieve along the way. This ensures your motivation stays strong over the long haul.
Setting a specific goal is also important. “For example, if you want to lose some weight, it’s hard to be motivated or stick to a plan,” he says. “That’s because you don’t have the excitement in knowing you are getting closer to achieving it.”
Having smaller goals or milestones to reach in between the big ones keeps you on track. “If you want to lose 8 pounds in two months — and you set a mini goal of losing 1 pound a week in the process — you get the sense of accomplishment that reaffirms your efforts,” Kuharik says. “And this can snowball into achieving even greater goals.”
This also applies if you fall short of your goal. “If you only lose 7 pounds in two months, you’re still 7 pounds down than when you started,” Kuharik affirms. “You’ll feel great about the progress you’ve already made.”
Schedule exercise into your daily routine
Plan to exercise at the same time every day, such as in the mornings when you have more energy or right after work. Add a variety of exercises so you don’t get bored.
Where exercise is concerned, something is also always better than nothing. “Not every day will go as planned,” Kuharik notes. “If you unexpectedly have a tight schedule or are even just having an off day, doing half of your planned workout that day is much more rewarding and beneficial than skipping it altogether.”
Exercise at a steady pace
Keep a pace that allows you to still talk during the activity. Be sure not to overdo it! You can measure the intensity of your exercise using the Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. The RPE scale runs from 0 to 10 and rates how easy or difficult you find an activity.
For example, 0 (nothing at all) would be how you feel when sitting in a chair; 10 (very, very heavy) is how you feel at the end of an exercise stress test or after a very difficult activity. In most cases, you should exercise at a level that feels 3 (moderate) to 4 (somewhat heavy).
Keep an exercise record
Keep a record of how much and when you exercise. This can help you look at goal-setting, as well as get a sense of how much activity you’re doing in a given week.
Time your eating and drinking properly
Wait at least one and a half hours after eating a meal before exercising. When drinking liquids during exercise, remember to follow any fluid restriction guidelines you might have.
Only buy what you need
Exercise doesn’t have to put a strain on your wallet. Avoid buying expensive equipment or health club memberships unless you’re sure you’ll use them regularly. But you’ll want to dress for the weather (if working out outside) and wear protective footwear. Sneakers are the one thing you should prioritize, as you want to make sure your feet are protected.
Stick with it
If you exercise regularly, it’ll soon become part of your lifestyle. Make exercise a lifetime commitment. Finding an exercise “buddy” can also help you stay motivated.
Don’t forget to have fun
Exercising should be fun and not feel like a chore. “Consistency is key — but to do something consistently, it’s important to find a way to enjoy it,” Kuharik says.
So, above all, choose an activity you enjoy! You’ll be more likely to stick with an exercise program if you don’t dread working out.
“Try to look at exercise as an opportunity to get away from stress, clear your mind and leave nagging thoughts at the door,” Kuharik encourages. “With this in mind, over time, you will look forward to giving your mind a break and feeling good after a great workout session!”
Exercise: Where To Start
You should always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Together, you can figure out a plan to ease into regular physical activity.
And walking and climbing stairs are two easy ways to start an exercise program.
Walking guidelines
Start with a short walk. See how far you can go before you become breathless. Stop and rest whenever you’re short of breath.
Count the number of steps you take while you inhale. Then exhale for twice as many steps. For example, if you inhale while taking two steps, exhale through pursed lips while taking the next four steps. Learn to walk so breathing in and exhaling out become a habit once you find a comfortable breathing rate.
Try to increase your walking distance. When setting specific goals, you might find you can go farther every day. Many people find that an increase of 10 feet a day is a good goal.
Set reasonable goals. Don’t walk so far that you can’t get back to your starting point without difficulty breathing. Remember, if you’re short of breath after limited walking, stop and rest.
Never overdo it. Always stop and rest for two or three minutes when you start to become short of breath.
Stair climbing
Hold the handrail lightly to keep your balance and help yourself climb.
Take your time.
Step up while exhaling or breathing out with pursed lips. Place your whole foot flat on each step. Go up two steps with each exhalation.
Inhale or breathe in while taking a rest before the next step.
Going downstairs is much easier. Hold the handrail and place each foot flat on the step. Count the number of steps you take while inhaling, and take twice as many steps while exhaling.
Whichever activity you choose, remember, even a little exercise is better than none!

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TWITTER
LINKEDIN
PINTEREST

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aerobic exercise exercise exercise and heart health exercise plan moderate exercise

Exhausted? 6 Ways To Help Your Baby Self-Soothe and Find Calm @ClevelandClinic ❤️

Cleveland Clinic

@ClevelandClinic

·

A baby who can self-soothe will fall asleep on their own and play calmly without your intervention. It’s a process, and a skill, that will help throughout their lives. Follow these tips to get started.

It’s naptime — thank goodness. But your baby isn’t having it. They cry. They fuss. So, you bounce them, rock them or even drive around town until they fall asleep.

It’s the question on the top of your mind (and you’re not alone): When — and how — will my baby learn to self-soothe and calm down without so much effort?

Pediatrician Matthew Badgett, MD, answers this important question, and shares ways to help your baby learn to self-soothe. 

Why is self-soothing important? 

When your baby self-soothes, they can calm down on their own and they:  

  • Fall asleep without your help. 
  • Fall back asleep if they wake up in the middle of a nap or during the night. 
  • Sit or play calmly by themselves.  

But self-soothing isn’t just for little ones. It’s an important skill throughout your life. Whether you realize it or not, you use your own self-soothing methods to feel better when you’re stressed or anxious. 

“Self-soothing is a way of regulating your emotions,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Babies might suck their thumb or hold a stuffed animal. Adults might listen to music, take a walk or do yoga. The type of self-soothing you use changes throughout your life, but it’s a key part of your emotional health.” 

When can my baby learn to self-soothe? 

Every exhausted parent wants to know: When will my baby lie in their crib and drift off to sleep without my help? Or When can I put them in their bouncy seat for five minutes without screams of protest? 

“In general, don’t try to teach your baby to self-soothe before they are 3 months old,” advises Dr. Badgett. “Newborns need you to help soothe them because they don’t have the ability to control their emotions. Learning emotional control is a process that takes years, so don’t expect too much from an infant or toddler.”  

And self-soothing is a gradual process — not a switch you can flip. “Self-soothing is really co-soothing because the parent is still involved,” says Dr. Badgett. “Your baby plays a more active role in soothing, but you set them up for success. You figure out how your baby can calm down with less of your help.” 

Self-soothing tips and techniques 

If your baby is past the newborn stage but still cries relentlessly when you put them down, there is hope. These tips can help your baby gain self-soothing skills: 

1. Meet your baby’s needs first 

Before you assume that your baby is just cranky, review their list of needs. Your baby won’t be able to self-soothe if: 

  • Their diaper is wet or soiled. 
  • Their clothing is too hot or too cold for the environment. 
  • There are too many distractions in the room, like a noisy TV or other children. 
  • They have gas or need to be burped. 
  • They’re hungry or thirsty. 
  • They’re overtired.  

After you’ve ruled out those issues, move on to the next steps.

2. Set a schedule 

Babies love routine. Try to put your baby to bed at the same time every day. Don’t skip naps or keep your baby up late. A schedule keeps them from becoming overtired — that’s when any hope of self-soothing goes out the window.  

“If your baby goes to bed at the same times each day, their body clock will get used to it,” Dr. Badgett notes. “Then, they will start to feel sleepy right at naptime or bedtime. Babies that are drowsy, but not exhausted, are better able to fall asleep on their own.” 

3. Use white noise 

The sound of a fan or a white noise machine can be music to your baby’s ears. “Many babies prefer a steady sound over a perfectly quiet room,” Dr. Badgett says. “It helps drown out other sounds that could startle them, and it has a calming effect.” 

Turn on the white noise machine when it’s bedtime. This can serve as a cue for your baby to learn when it’s time for dreamland. 

4. Stay close without picking them up 

After you place your baby in their crib or seat, don’t leave right away.  

“If you give your baby some attention without holding them, they learn that being put down isn’t a bad thing,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Talk to them, or gently put your hand on their belly. After a few minutes, calmly leave the room.” 

5. Try a pacifier  

Pacifiers are a useful tool for babies under the age of 1. But use caution. It can be hard to take the paci away from a baby who can’t calm down without it.  

“Pacifiers help young babies learn to self-soothe before they learn other techniques,” Dr. Badgett says. “But limit pacifier use to naptime and bedtime. Use them with other methods, like white noise and a consistent routine. That way, your baby won’t learn to rely on the pacifier alone.” 

6. Wean them off feeding to sleep 

It’s normal for young babies to fall asleep at the bottle or breast. But as your baby grows, they need to learn other ways to drift off. 

“Don’t feed your older baby right at naptime with the sole purpose of getting them to sleep,” Dr. Badgett suggests. “They might end up overeating or relying on the nipple even when they’re already full.”  

You can avoid the feed-to-sleep method if you: 

  • Stop feeding if you see your baby getting sleepy. 
  • Gently burp your baby to wake them up a little if they fell asleep feeding. Then, use the other self-soothing techniques to help them calm back down. 

With a little persistence, perseverance and patience on your end, your little one could be self-soothing to sleep in no time.

Exhausted? 6 Ways To Help Your Baby Self-Soothe and Find Calm @ClevelandClinic ❤️

Cleveland Clinic

@ClevelandClinic

·

A baby who can self-soothe will fall asleep on their own and play calmly without your intervention. It’s a process, and a skill, that will help throughout their lives. Follow these tips to get started.

It’s naptime — thank goodness. But your baby isn’t having it. They cry. They fuss. So, you bounce them, rock them or even drive around town until they fall asleep.

It’s the question on the top of your mind (and you’re not alone): When — and how — will my baby learn to self-soothe and calm down without so much effort?

Pediatrician Matthew Badgett, MD, answers this important question, and shares ways to help your baby learn to self-soothe. 

Why is self-soothing important? 

When your baby self-soothes, they can calm down on their own and they:  

  • Fall asleep without your help. 
  • Fall back asleep if they wake up in the middle of a nap or during the night. 
  • Sit or play calmly by themselves.  

But self-soothing isn’t just for little ones. It’s an important skill throughout your life. Whether you realize it or not, you use your own self-soothing methods to feel better when you’re stressed or anxious. 

“Self-soothing is a way of regulating your emotions,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Babies might suck their thumb or hold a stuffed animal. Adults might listen to music, take a walk or do yoga. The type of self-soothing you use changes throughout your life, but it’s a key part of your emotional health.” 

When can my baby learn to self-soothe? 

Every exhausted parent wants to know: When will my baby lie in their crib and drift off to sleep without my help? Or When can I put them in their bouncy seat for five minutes without screams of protest? 

“In general, don’t try to teach your baby to self-soothe before they are 3 months old,” advises Dr. Badgett. “Newborns need you to help soothe them because they don’t have the ability to control their emotions. Learning emotional control is a process that takes years, so don’t expect too much from an infant or toddler.”  

And self-soothing is a gradual process — not a switch you can flip. “Self-soothing is really co-soothing because the parent is still involved,” says Dr. Badgett. “Your baby plays a more active role in soothing, but you set them up for success. You figure out how your baby can calm down with less of your help.” 

Self-soothing tips and techniques 

If your baby is past the newborn stage but still cries relentlessly when you put them down, there is hope. These tips can help your baby gain self-soothing skills: 

1. Meet your baby’s needs first 

Before you assume that your baby is just cranky, review their list of needs. Your baby won’t be able to self-soothe if: 

  • Their diaper is wet or soiled. 
  • Their clothing is too hot or too cold for the environment. 
  • There are too many distractions in the room, like a noisy TV or other children. 
  • They have gas or need to be burped. 
  • They’re hungry or thirsty. 
  • They’re overtired.  

After you’ve ruled out those issues, move on to the next steps.

2. Set a schedule 

Babies love routine. Try to put your baby to bed at the same time every day. Don’t skip naps or keep your baby up late. A schedule keeps them from becoming overtired — that’s when any hope of self-soothing goes out the window.  

“If your baby goes to bed at the same times each day, their body clock will get used to it,” Dr. Badgett notes. “Then, they will start to feel sleepy right at naptime or bedtime. Babies that are drowsy, but not exhausted, are better able to fall asleep on their own.” 

3. Use white noise 

The sound of a fan or a white noise machine can be music to your baby’s ears. “Many babies prefer a steady sound over a perfectly quiet room,” Dr. Badgett says. “It helps drown out other sounds that could startle them, and it has a calming effect.” 

Turn on the white noise machine when it’s bedtime. This can serve as a cue for your baby to learn when it’s time for dreamland. 

4. Stay close without picking them up 

After you place your baby in their crib or seat, don’t leave right away.  

“If you give your baby some attention without holding them, they learn that being put down isn’t a bad thing,” Dr. Badgett explains. “Talk to them, or gently put your hand on their belly. After a few minutes, calmly leave the room.” 

5. Try a pacifier  

Pacifiers are a useful tool for babies under the age of 1. But use caution. It can be hard to take the paci away from a baby who can’t calm down without it.  

“Pacifiers help young babies learn to self-soothe before they learn other techniques,” Dr. Badgett says. “But limit pacifier use to naptime and bedtime. Use them with other methods, like white noise and a consistent routine. That way, your baby won’t learn to rely on the pacifier alone.” 

6. Wean them off feeding to sleep 

It’s normal for young babies to fall asleep at the bottle or breast. But as your baby grows, they need to learn other ways to drift off. 

“Don’t feed your older baby right at naptime with the sole purpose of getting them to sleep,” Dr. Badgett suggests. “They might end up overeating or relying on the nipple even when they’re already full.”  

You can avoid the feed-to-sleep method if you: 

  • Stop feeding if you see your baby getting sleepy. 
  • Gently burp your baby to wake them up a little if they fell asleep feeding. Then, use the other self-soothing techniques to help them calm back down. 

With a little persistence, perseverance and patience on your end, your little one could be self-soothing to sleep in no time.

How Alcohol Affects Your Heart @ClevelandClinic

You likely know that drinking alcohol too often or to excess isn’t a good idea, health-wise. But when it comes to alcohol and heart health, you may have heard different sides. Is drinking all that bad for your heart? Can a glass of wine help reduce your risk of heart disease — or make it worse? 

First things first: If you drink alcohol, you should do so in moderation to avoid alcohol-related heart issues. And you should never intentionally use alcohol to try to reduce your risk of heart disease. 

To further explore the relationship between your ticker and your favorite glass of merlot or IPA, we chatted with cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD.

Ways alcohol can impact heart health

Here are some of the effects of alcohol on your heart:

Increased heart rate

One of the most important things your heart does is keep a rhythm. On average, a regular heart rate is about 60 to 100 beats per minute when your body is at rest. But alcohol can lead to your heart rate temporarily jumping up in speed, and if it goes over 100 beats per minute, it can cause a condition called tachycardia. Too many episodes of tachycardia could lead to more serious issues like heart failure or going into irregular rhythms, which can cause heart attack and stroke.

Raises blood pressure

That fourth drink at the bar may feel like it’s relaxing you, but it’s actually affecting your body differently than you might think. Alcohol can affect your blood pressure, causing it to go up temporarily. This is especially true when you engage in binge drinking (that’s defined as four or more drinks within two hours for women and people assigned female at birth, and five or more drinks within two hours for men and people assigned male at birth).

And sure, we’ve all had a night here or there where we’ve had one too many and we know it. But it’s important to make sure those nights of overindulgence are the exception and not the rule. If you’re not sure, make a note to tune into how much you’re having over the course of the next month or so. If it’s more than recommended, try to consciously pace your drinking to help reduce the spike in your blood pressure that excessive alcohol causes. 

And if you have a history of high blood pressure, it’s best to avoid alcohol completely or drink only occasionally, and in moderation. 

Irregular heartbeat

Whether it’s a glass of red wine with your turkey or toasting champagne for the new year, alcohol definitely becomes more present during the holiday season. And while enjoying celebratory spirits in moderation is alright for most people, it’s important to be aware you can fall victim to holiday heart syndrome if you overdo it. This is when overeating and overindulging in alcohol lead to an irregular heartbeat.

Holiday heart syndrome can happen if you don’t typically drink alcohol, but then have a few at a holiday party or if you binge drink. This can cause you to develop an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation, which can increase your risk of strokeheart attack and heart failure.

Prolonged drinking can cause alcoholic cardiomyopathy

The short-term effects of alcohol (headache, nausea, you know the rest) are easy to pinpoint. But there are ways that alcohol affects your body over time that are important to understand. One of the long-term effects of alcohol on your heart is alcoholic cardiomyopathy. This is when your heart-pumping function gets weaker and your heart gets larger due to changes from heavy alcohol use over a long period of time.

OK, don’t panic. If you’re an occasional drinker, there’s no cause for worry. But it may be worthwhile learning about what counts as binge drinking and whether or not you may be drinking too much and don’t even know it.

Is some level of alcohol safe or beneficial?

It’s true, red wine is a better choice than hard liquor. But can a trip to the wine bar boost your heart health?

You should never consider wine or any other alcohol as a way to lower your heart disease risk. And, in fact, the study also showed that drinking one or fewer drinks per day was related to the lowest likelihood of dying from a stroke. However, Dr. Cho points out that more recent data shows that there may be no amount of alcohol that is truly safe. “The myth that wine is beneficial for heart health is no longer true,” she states.

“It’s not a good idea to start drinking alcohol in an effort to lower your risk of heart disease,” Dr. Cho continues. “It’s better not to drink any alcohol at all.” 

The American Heart Association recommends the same. 

Other factors to keep in mind

It’s also important to know that the ways in which alcohol affects your heart will vary from person to person, depending on your age and other conditions you may have.

Age

Let’s face it, a hangover in your mid-40s doesn’t feel the same as one in your early 20s. This is because your age plays a factor in how well you tolerate alcohol. While some people develop a tolerance to alcohol over time, this isn’t true for everyone — and this ability doesn’t last forever, Dr. Cho notes.

“As we get older, our ability to clear alcohol definitely decreases and our sensitivity to alcohol probably increases,” she explains. “Also as we get older, we end up having more diseases, so we could be on medicines that can interfere with the way our bodies metabolize alcohol.”

Other medical conditions

In many ways, your medical history (and present) can tell you a lot about your future with alcohol. That means, if you’re living with other medical conditions and/or taking certain medications, this will all have an impact on how alcohol affects you.

“Certain health conditions can make drinking alcohol more dangerous,” Dr. Cho says.

For example, some people who are on cholesterol-lowering medicines may experience muscle aches when they drink alcohol. Because alcohol and cholesterol medicine both are processed through your liver, they are, in a sense, competing for clearance. So, it’s important to think about your overall health and talk to a healthcare provider about your personal risk factors.

“Alcohol is made out of sugar,” Dr. Cho points out. “So, if you’re predisposed to diabetes or if high triglycerides are one of your issues, it’s not a good idea to drink alcohol.”

Dr. Cho also warns that if you have liver dysfunction or take other medicines that are processed through the liver, your risks might be different. Talk to your healthcare provider about how alcohol might interact with your prescription medicines.

The last thing you want is for that casual drink after work or glass of wine at dinner to negatively impact your heart health. There’s a way to have a healthy, balanced relationship with alcohol that lets you enjoy a drink occasionally and celebrate with friends and family. But your heart is an important organ that should also be cared for, so be sure to drink in moderation, learn about binge drinking and know what your body can (and can’t) tolerate before opening that tab.FACEBOOKTWITTERLINKEDINPINTERESTEmailalcoholalcohol and healthalcoholic beveragesbinge drinkingheart health