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Archive for July, 2011

Ah, summertime! This carefree time of year is not always so carefree if you forgot the most basic survival tips that can keep you healthy and feeling good.

Here we look at some hydration hints for your health and the health of your whole family!

You have left home for a day at the beach, a picnic with friends or a long awaited hike into the woods. Or perhaps you plan to visit the local wildlife park or amusement park with the kids. As you head out on your adventure you realize that you have packed all of the essentials such as hats, sun block, healthy snacks, sunglasses, the first aid kit and a change of clothes but you have forgotten one important thing- your water bottle. Uh oh! Should you:

A. Not worry about it and just get on with your plans?
B. Turn the car around and go back to get it?

If you answered B then you would be doing the right thing for your health and well-being. While it may seem inconvenient and may slow you down being without water is not very smart. This is especially the case during the warmer months and when you are doing physical activity of any kind. Plus you want to teach your children to be smart about their health.

Consuming enough fluids is important when the sun is beating down on you and when you are exerting yourself. Water is the number one beverage for your health. It keeps you hydrated and provides your body with what it needs to work its best. Drink in the range of six to eight glasses of water daily. When the weather is hot you need to increase your water intake. The same can be said when you exercise, or when you encounter low humidity or high altitude.

If you decide to go for a long walk or hike without a full water bottle accompanying you then you have a greater potential of getting headaches, becoming overly tired and exhausted and feeling cranky. This is not the way to enjoy the summertime!

Drink even when you do not feel thirsty. Thirst is a sign that you have become dehydrated. If your urine is dark yellow then you are not drinking enough water. If it is only slightly yellow or almost clear then that is a good indication that your fluid consumption is where it should be.

Juices and sports drinks can help you to get the water content you need but are not the best choice if you are watching your weight. Some of these drinks are high in calories and contain too much sugar.

According to the United States National Research Council every calorie you take in should be matched with one mililiter of water. Think of it this way – 2,000 calories of food would need to be matched by drinking 3,000 mililiters of water.

Here’s a drink to your health – and I’m lifting water!

Becca

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Senior citizens and even those not so senior, such as those in mid life need to take precautions in the summer months to ensure that they do not have to cope with a heat-related medical problem such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

There are ways to prevent heat-related illnesses from affecting you or someone you love. One of the most important things you can do is very simple. You must drink plenty of fluids on a daily basis. Do not wait until you feel thirsty, instead drink up frequently! Just keep drinking and sipping (especially water!) throughout the day. The more active you are the more you should drink. One exception to this is if your physician has restricted the amount of fluids you are to take in due to a medical problem.

You want to avoid alcohol and caffeine as much as possible because they both can increase the amount of fluids you can lose.

If you have an air conditioner and the evening is very balmy then leave it on when you go to bed. This can help you to have a fitful night’s sleep. If you do not have an air conditioner or do not want to run it throughout the night then open  some windows if it is safe to do so in order for cross ventilation to take place.

During the daytime when the sun is at its hottest close the curtains or blinds in your home. This should help out block out some of the heat and light and will help to make the rooms in your home cooler.

Buy as many fans as you need. Choose whatever sizes are most appropriate for your house. Put a fan in every room if necessary. Make sure you place them in a safe place that is away from the fingers of little children and the paws of any pets you may have.

If despite your best efforts your place is still sweltering during the day (or if you do not own an air conditioner) then go someplace where you know that there is air conditioning. Take a stroll through the local mall or go visit a friend. Visit the public library or drop by the local senior’s center to cool off, enjoy some conversation and to get refreshed. Spend at least two hours in an air conditioned place when the heat is really high.

Choose natural fabrics such as cotton or cotton blends that are cool and fit your body loosely. Clothing that is light in color will reflect the sun and the heat much better than will colors that are dark. When you go outside wear a wide brimmed hat to keep your face shaded. If you must be outside for a while then consider setting up an umbrella for shade.

It is not advisable for seniors (and in fact those of any age) to exercise too vigorously when it is really hot out. If you must, engage in light physical activity only. Save more strenuous workout for when the weather is cooler.

It is always a good habit to get into to watch weather reports on television or check them out online. The risks to your health increase with high temperatures and increased humidity levels. You should also pay close attention to the alerts regarding air pollution.

Samantha

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We all look for ways to keep cool in the summer heat but this is especially important for senior citizens in terms of their health and safety.

Hot weather can be particularly dangerous for those who are elderly. In order to be able to help the senior citizens in your life it helps to understand who is at the greatest risk. Here we look at that. In part two we will look at how to prevent these heat-related problems from affecting you or someone you care about.

Heat-related illnesses often strike those most vulnerable to them. That includes people on either side of the age spectrum – the very young and the older population.

Heat cramps is something that many older people suffer from as is heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Deaths among elderly people are very common during the summer months. It is important to keep in regular contact with older individuals in your life, be they family members, friends or neighbors to make sure that they are staying cool when the temperature starts to rise.

Find out if they are consuming an adequate amount of fluids. This is necessary to prevent dehydration.

There are some people who are at the greatest risks of health problems connected to the heat. These include those over the age of 50 as well as those who have high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease or lung problems. There are some types of medications that make it difficult for the body to cool itself off through sweating.

Any person who is taking these types of medications has a greater chance of developing a condition associated with the heat. Examples of these include certain types of heart and blood pressure meds, diuretics, sedatives and tranquilizers.

Individuals who live in homes without air conditioning or homes that lack good circulation can also find themselves at a higher risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke, etc. Be aware that the temperature during the summer months does not have to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit in order for a person to be stricken with a heat- related sickness.

Those who are overweight or underweight are also at a greater risk for a health problem connected to the heat. If you tend to drink alcohol frequently then you increase your risk as well.

If you take different types of medications for a variety of health issues then talk to your doctor about how these drugs (and /or the combination of them) can cause you problems in the summer when you are sweating and trying to cool down. Do not stop taking your prescription medication in the summertime without your doctor’s knowledge. Instead talk to him or her first about your concerns.

Continue onto part two to learn about how to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Samantha

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Just when you thought the stress level in your life could not get any worse it has. Well hold on there! There are plenty of ways to ease the stress you are feeling. All you need to do is to tap into the methods that are most beneficial for you. Here we offer five more ways to send stress out the door! 

  • Take a close look at your habits (your bad habits that is).We all have them so be honest with yourself. If you smoke give serious thought to quitting. While you may crave your pack of cigarettes when you are feeling stressed the nicotine in them is actually a stimulant that can worsen your stress symptoms – even if you think it is making them better. Smoking is bad for you in so many ways so ending the habit can help to reduce the stress you are experiencing and can improve your health. Do an inventory of your other bad habits and take steps to correct them as well.
  • Learn to assert yourself and to say no when it is required. You need to stand up for yourself while at the same time respecting other people. You also need to learn not to always give in to the demands and high expectations of others. This tends to be more difficult for women to do than men as they fear the disapproval of others more. If you do not have the time, energy, resources or even interest in doing something then graciously learn the art of saying “No thank you.” Once you stop agreeing to everything that is requested of you then you will be able to breathe easier and feel less overwhelmed by stress.
  • Explore the different types of relaxation techniques that are available and then put them to use. Take time to relax your body and mind each and every day. Choose light methods of relaxation and intersperse them with deeper relaxation strategies. Here are some examples of relaxation methods to learn more about- deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, relaxing to music and mental imagery relaxation.
  • Never forget your spirit and the core of you which is your values and beliefs. Base your actions, behaviors and decisions on your values and what you believe in and stand for. When you do what you know to be right for yourself intrinsically you can reduce your stress because you are being true to yourself.
  • When stress threatens to engulf you remind yourself that you are a worthwhile person. Learn an affirmation and repeat it to yourself when you are feeling under pressure. Do what you can to cultivate your self-worth and sense of self-esteem.  This will help anchor you when you are not feeling so good about life.

Stress is something that we cannot eliminate completely. Instead it is important to look for ways to reduce stress in your life. Try as many ways as you can in order to discover what works best for you!

More tips to reduce stress here.

Becca

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