Healthy Living


Walking doesn’t get enough attention. In a world of high-energy, intense workout routines like Crossfit and extreme kayaking, the simple walk often gets left out of the spotlight. To too many people, walking is the Werther’s Original Candy of exercise: plain, unchallenging, and appealing to an unglamorous crowd.

 

Walking is a great exercise, though, and it has some benefits you’re unlikely to find in other places. Walkers understand that not all workouts have to be high-stress or high-impact. A walk is good for your body and mind. When you start walking, expect to see some of these changes in your life.

Weight Loss

Walking will help you lose weight. If you get a brisk walk in for 40 minutes day, you’ll burn a significant amount of calories. Combined with healthy eating routine, walking can be one of the healthiest choices you make each week. And walking is easy. The low stress involved in a daily walk means that you can easily get into the habit. And it gets you off the couch.

Blood Sugar Control

For those of you who need to monitor your blood sugar closely, walking can be the perfect exercise. You’ll burn carbs at a reasonable pace, and—unlike with higher energy workouts—you won’t be in much danger of running your body into hypoglycemic levels (even if your blood sugar gets low, you’ll have to time to feel it coming and react). Of course, speak with your doctor ahead of time before beginning any exercise routine. People’s needs vary from person to person.

Mental Health

Walking helps you on the way to happiness and stability. When you walk, your brain increases production of chemicals associated with good feelings. Beyond chemistry, you’ll simply feel good when you get fresh air, focus on your surroundings, and get your heart rate up. Bonus points if you’re outside—walking in the outdoors, in the presence of trees, wildlife, and running water, imparts strong benefits on the brain.

Minimal Risk

Walking poses far fewer health risks than do other exercises. As long you stretch, wear good shoes, and pay attention to your body’s needs (and doctor’s orders), you’ll be at low risk for the problems associated with running, such as joint and bone strain, or higher tech exercise—even bicyclists need to watch out for car doors, debris in the roads, etc. As a walker, your likelihood of tripping over a surprise downed branch or struck by a vehicle is much lower than it would be if you were engaging in other exercises.

A Social Life

Walking has the potential to be a very social event. Social engagement is an integral part of your health, believe it or not, and your nightly walk can be an essential part of your social life. Walkers will tell you they have some of the best talks of their lives while out for strolls. Walkers tend to be thoughtful, introspective people with a lot to say. If you put together a walking group, you’ll develop important friendships. You might even strengthen your marriage if you and your spouse make a regular walk date.

 

Read More

We often talk about wanting to live our life to the fullest. We want to life as we want with the freedom to eat and do as we desire without limitations. Unfortunately as we age, our bodies change, and living the lifestyle that you lived in your teen years and even your twenties may not be an option. Who doesn’t love juicy hamburgers, pizzas and sodas? Enjoying life and eating whatever we want is enticing, yet it’s not always practical. What we eat eventually catches up with us and can lead to disease or other issues like a high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

If you are experiencing high blood pressure, it is imperative that you visit a doctor. Your physician will guide you in making specific changes to your lifestyle and diet that can make way for a healthier you. It may require sacrifices that you may not like, but making changes to your diet may the answer to lowering your blood pressure.

The dangers of high blood pressure

High blood pressure can lead to dire health conditions like heart disease, a heart attack, and damage to the heart and arteries. It is no laughing matter. If you’re experiencing any of these conditions, it may be time to make some serious changes to your diet and lifestyle. Be aggressive with your wellness. Start researching ways to lower your high blood pressure!

Some practical ways to lower your blood pressure

Sometimes our blood pressure rises with our daily lifestyle choices. Stress can also be a factor.

Consider the following options to help you keep your blood pressure in check.

Lose weight. It is sad but true that weight gain can affect your blood pressure. Being overweight can disrupt your breathing, and affect your sleep. Losing just ten pounds can help reduce your blood pressure. Women are usually at risk for high blood pressure if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches.

Reduce anxiety. Stress can induce anxiety and cause your blood pressure to rise. Learn to not take the entire world upon your shoulders. You can’t fix everything, so stop trying to. Make it a goal to eliminate stress triggers from your life. And if you’re an anxious eater, try to divert your stress by staying active or doing some yoga.

Limit alcohol consumption Alcohol can reduce your blood pressure if taken in small amounts. But like anything in life, moderation is key. If you enjoy a little wine with a meal or while reading a relaxing book by the fire, try to drink in small amounts. Drinking more than moderate amounts not only raises blood pressure, but it can also reduce the effectiveness of the medications you’re taking for your blood pressure.

Change your eating habits. Eating a well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains is essential to maintain overall health and wellness. Speak to your physician about a specific diet. Many doctors and medical experts call the Mediterranean diet the answer to a well-balanced meal.

Stay positive and maintain discipline!

Mindset is key in wellness. Eating healthy foods that help you maintain wellness and balance is key to a healthier you. Keep a journal if you must and strive for a healthier lifestyle. You are well worth it!

Read More

If you’ve made the choice to live in a warmer climate, the summer months are probably some of your favorite months of the year. With beautiful weather and a brightly shining sun, it’s hard to stay cooped up inside. You can ditch the gym and instead revel in that fresh, natural air as you exercise. The problem though is the heat itself. If you live in an extremely warm climate, the heat can be almost unbearable. The last thing you want is to pass out from heat exhaustion. Check out these 10 tips for exercising safely in the heat of the summer.

  1. Stay Hydrated!

This is (somewhat obviously) the number 1 important factor for exercising in the heat. Really, it’s the most important tip for safely exercising in any temperature. Body temperature increases even more when you exercise in hot weather, so it’s important to keep yourself cool by drinking water during and after your workout.

  1. Try to Avoid the Hottest Part of the Day

It’s best to make it out in the morning when the air is still cool, or go outside as the sun is setting or even later in the evening.

  1. Start Slow

Give your body time to get acclimated to the heat. Don’t push yourself too hard to begin with. You might even start by exercising in the heat for just a few minutes at a time.

  1. Go Easy on Yourself

Heat and humidity will wear you down much quicker than milder temperatures. Remember that even if you can’t do as much as you normally can, that’s completely typical of exercising in the heat. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

  1. Run on the Beach

Running barefoot, and especially through sand, can help reduce impact-related injuries. Plus, you’ll get that cool ocean breeze even when it’s sweltering outside. You’ll also have the perfect place to take a dip after you get done with your workout!

  1. Eat Healthy Snacks throughout the Day

Keep your energy high by snacking on healthy goodies throughout the day. Juicy snacks like grapes, apples and oranges are a great way to keep you hydrated as well.

  1. Wear Light Clothing

Imagine stepping barefoot onto dark asphalt in the heat of the day. How hot is it? Dark colors absorb heat, so you end up getting incredibly hot if you’re wearing dark clothing. Think about the material too. Try to wear wicking fabrics and avoid heavy cotton. The looser the clothing, the more air will be able to circulate across your body and the cooler you’ll be.

  1. Try Water

If it seems way too hot to even be outdoors, why not try an activity in the water? Swimming is an awesome way to really get a workout and not overheat. Any ocean, lake or pool will do!

  1. Bring a Buddy

Heat exhaustion can happen quicker than you’d think. If you’re going to be exercising outdoors, it’s a good idea to bring a buddy along just in case.

  1. Listen to Your Body

If you’re body is physically telling you to give it a rest, listen to it! Exercising in the heat can be far more challenging than in more moderate temperatures. Know when enough is enough. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep at night as well to let your body fully recharge.

Read More
Summer Health Tips

Summer Health Tips


Posted By on Jun 14, 2016

 

For millions of Americans, summertime is a welcome sight, particularly for those who live in the Northern states where winter weather can be tough. If you want to get the most out of the summer season, it’s important to take care of yourself by staying healthy and safe. Here are some tips to stay on top of your health so you can enjoy everything that summer has to offer:

Stay Hydrated and Eat Well

 

Although summer marks the season of ice cream, backyard BBQs, and festive alcoholic beverages, make sure you balance all the indulgences with a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. Whether you take advantage of the local and in season produce at your Farmer’s Market or plant your own garden, it’s the perfect time of year to stock up on a variety of fruits and vegetables.

 

Staying hydrated is important year round, but even more so when the temperatures begin to rise. Whether you’re running errands around town, heading out for a nature hike, or are just doing some work around the yard, it’s crucial to stay on top of your water intake. Experts recommend drinking at least 64 oz. of water a day (throughout the day) and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to get caught up on your water intake. It’s also important to recognize signs of dehydration, a potentially serious issue, particularly during summertime. You may have mild dehydration if you are feeling thirsty, have a headache or feel lightheaded, feel fatigued, have less frequent urine (or dark yellow) output, and constipation.

Protection From the Sun

 

Spending time in the sun can give you a much needed dose of Vitamin D, but too much sun can be bad for your health. Too much exposure to the sun can put you at risk for skin cancer and a severe sunburn is also known as “sun poisoning” and can make you feel very ill. A severe sunburn can result in skin redness and blistering, pain, tingling, swelling, headache, dehydration, dizziness, and flu like symptoms. The best way to avoid a sunburn is by wearing broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF and by avoiding being in the sun for long periods of time.

 

In addition to wearing sunscreen and limiting your exposure to the sun, don’t forget to protect your eyes from sun by wearing sunglasses and wear a wide brimmed hat. If you begin to feel too overheated in the sun, try to find a shady spot and make sure you stay hydrated.

Be Responsible During Summer Activities

 

Summer is the perfect time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you prefer to go on a bicycle ride with your family, a short getaway on your motorcycle, or heading to the beach for a day of fun by the water, it’s important that you stay safe and avoid risky behavior. Everyone in your family should wear a helmet when riding bicycle or operating a motorcycle.

 

If you’re heading out to enjoy water sports, make sure that you wear a Coast Guard approved life preserver and make sure you dive into water feet first to avoid head injuries.

 

Read More

The news may be tough to hear for many drinkers, but the British government recently unveiled new recommendations for alcohol consumption. The recommendations suggest fewer drinks per weeks than have past recommendations.

What are the new guidelines? What is the reasoning behind them? And does this new announcement signal a global change in recommended alcohol intake? Let’s find out.

Stick to Two Drinks a Day

The basic new National Health Service (NHS) advice is that regular drinkers should stick to 14 drinks per week. This has long been the standard advice given to women, but it now applies to men as well. Luckily, regular drinkers can still safely get some of their evening drinking in; 14 drinks per week averages out to 2 a night. Not too bad. And since men and women now get the same recommendations, sticking to this schedule will be easier for couples to stick to.

Pace Yourself Over the Course of a Week

Regular moderate drinking is still preferred over quick binges. It would not be safe to have seven drinks twice a week, for instance. Binge drinking is never safe or advisable. Bingeing is associated with high risks of long-term health problems, and it leads to greatly increased risks of accidents, falls, and other physical damages that come with drunkenness.

The NHS advises drinker to pace themselves, to consume food with alcohol, and to alternate alcoholic drinks with nonalcoholic drinks. This will prevent drunkenness and encourage a huge variety of healthy lifestyle choices.

Pregnant Women Should Avoid Alcohol Completely

If you’re pregnant, you should cut out drinking completely. Everything you consume will filter down to your unborn child, and your future child’s body is not yet up to the challenge of dealing with alcohol. You wouldn’t give beer to a toddler, and you should give one to a fetus.

This advice is, of course, not new. Pregnant women have been told for years to avoid alcohol, but the new guidelines reiterate this important point.

Why Were the Guidelines Changed?

Governments have been offering drinking advice for decades, so why has the NHS recently changed its tune? Science always improves on itself, and more data means that public health experts are always improving their knowledge and advice. The NHS had not updated its policy in about twenty years, so researchers figured it was time for a fresh look at the guidelines that included more information. They took that look, and the new guidelines are the result.    

What About Other Governments?

Every government in the world offers drinking advice. Why should you be paying attention to the NHS’s guidelines, especially if you’re not a British citizen?

The UK’s guidelines are much more limiting than most of the world’s governments’, at least for men (14 per week is a common recommendation for women around the world). One thing the British research takes into account is the link between alcohol and cancer. 21 drinks per week may not be immediately dangerous for men, but it may increase risks for many cancers.

Read More
Delirium in Hospitals

Delirium in Hospitals


Posted By on Nov 10, 2015

Delirium is harrowing condition characterized by hallucinations and confusion. Delirium sufferers can experience vivid waking nightmares, which can appear without warning and last weeks. Hospital delirium is scary. Hospitalized patients are already in weakened states, and hospitals contain a huge number of hazards for people who are in a confused state.

 

Luckily, medical professionals, families, and journalists have been raising awareness about this strange and nightmarish condition. Several articles have lately pointed to the acute dangers presented by delirium appearing in already hospitalized patients. Medical professionals are still not entirely sure about the causes of or solutions to hospital delirium, but they and the care teams of patients are discussing the big relevant issues and trying to identify solutions.

What is Delirium?

First, delirium is not the same thing as dementia. Delirium can come and come, and it is generally less predictable than dementia. The two can be present together, and ruling out delirium is an important step in identifying dementia. Delirium patients frequently recover fully, so the distinction is an important one.  

 

Delirium is often preventable but is regularly missed or misdiagnosed (research suggests it can be missed in up to half of all cases). Part of the reason delirium is so often missed is because its symptoms can include things present in other conditions. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), these symptoms can include:

  • hallucinations
  • exhaustion and disrupted sleep  
  • memory loss
  • trouble completing normal tasks like going to the bathroom
  • mood swings

Many of these symptoms will look familiar to anyone who has dealt with dementia. Even trained physicians miss it. Unlike dementia, though, delirium can often be stopped (dementia is usually permanent and degenerative). Delirium is often directly related to medications, and taking a patient off these medications can make the problem vanish.

Why Does Delirium Occur in Hospitals?

Delirium hits hospital patients most often when they’ve been sedated (in fact, some doctors refer to the condition as “ICU psychosis”). The sedatives which medical professionals use to numb patients during highly stressful and invasive operations—ostensibly to keep patients’ emotions safe—appear to be associated with delirium. Additionally, the intense stress that comes with an operation, and the unfamiliar location of the hospital, can put patients at risk of developing the condition.

 

Hospital delirium is a common occurrence, affecting 7 million patients every year, according to an article which ran this summer in the Atlantic. If one of your loved ones is sedated during an operation, monitor her or him for any sign of delirium. Don’t write off strange behavior as simply the normal reaction of an elderly person to stress. Additionally, don’t assume someone who acts strangely around the same time as their surgery is developing dementia. Remember how frequently delirium diagnoses are missed.   

 

Keep an eye on any hospitalized loved ones you suspect may be suffering from delirium. Hospitals are not good places to wander around confused in. Medical equipment can be dangerous when misused. Moreover, hospitals can be cold and frightening to a person suffering from hallucinations and confusion. Stress will not help someone with delirium, and may even prolong the effects.

Read More