The Truth About SunScreen-What You Need To Know

sunscreenAs the Summer’s heat continues to press on, more and more people are hitting the pools and the beach to soak up some rays. Others are traveling and taking advantage of the beautiful weather and everyone in general is outside more. So what are the risks of more exposure to the sun and how does one use sunscreen effectively.

Skin Cancer Connection has great information about sun tan lotion and proper skin care in the sun. They even have an online quiz you can take to find out how much you now about sunscreen and skin care.

Skin Care Connection recommends that on a daily basis, “one should apply sunscreen to the face, neck, ears, and the back of the hands as these areas are commonly exposed to the sun despite the clothing that we wear. If you wear short-sleeved shirts daily, then applying the sunscreen to the exposed areas of your arms is also wise.

The sunscreen you choose should protect you from a broad range of sunlight, and should contain at least one of the following three ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or parsol 1789 (avobenzone). SPF of 15 or greater is appropriate for daily use. Of course, if you expect to be out in the sun for an extended period of time, then a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater should be applied every 2 hours to all sun exposed areas.This may sound cumbersome, but just a few extra minutes of applying sunscreen will protect you from future cancers!”

Encourage your children and other (as well as yourself) not to go out into the sun for extended periods of time without sunscreen. Taking care of skin now can prevent issues like cancer and burns later. Sunscreen also prevents large amounts of energy from being zapped from your body while enjoying the sun and uncomfortable burns and peeling down the road.

First Aid Myths Exposed

first-aidWith summer here and kids active, the risk of injury and accident can increase. Over at the Health Watch Center there is information about some common first aid mistakes that can be made when treating people with medical conditions or in accidents. Here are just a few to think about.

1. A child pulls a pot of boiling water off the stove or sticks their hand on a hot burner:

Do you put butter or mayonnaise on the burn? Hurriedly remove the child’s clothing because it is stuck to the burn? Get out the ice?

Those are the common reactions in the case of a burn, but all of them are myths.

Butter, mayo or other types of grease may cause even more damage to tender skin and pulling clothing or other materials stuck to the burn could damage the tissue or pull the skin off completely.

The correct action is to rinse gently with cool water and coat the burn with antibiotic ointment. If the burn is on a sensitive area of the body such as the face or if there are a lot of blisters, then go to the ER and do not pop the blisters.

You also want to seek medical assistance if a burn completely circles a limb or is larger than your hand.

2. You step in a hole in the yard and sprain your ankle

Is it ice or heat you use? Do you prop it up? Rush to the ER?

This is a very common injury that many people blow off without seeking medical attention.

In most cases that is okay, but you do need to know how to treat it and when to seek help.

The biggest problem is remembering when to use ice and when to apply heat.

For an ankle sprain you want to apply ice. Heat will actually increase the swelling and could slow down the healing process. If it is painful to put any weight down on the foot then it may be a fracture and you should see a doctor.

3. You are walking through the woods and someone is bitten by a snake.

o you rip off your shirt and wrap the wound? Suck out the poison and spit it on the ground? Get out your pocket knife and carefully cut the wound open so the poison can drain?

You guessed it! These are all myths that can actually be quite dangerous and lead to more injury than is actually necessary. If you cut the wound even slightly you may slice tendons or nerves that cause more damage. Tourniquets often lead to the blood circulation being cut off and could lead to the loss of a limb.

The safest response is to immediately splint the wound or wrap it in something clean and get to the ER right away.

You can find other first aid myths exposed here.

Save money while pregnant with WIC

wic_logoRecently my wife and I found out we are having twins! We are very excited but have, no more than ever, been thinking about ways that we can save money. We both work part-time and so we have to be very efficient with our finances. A friend of ours told us about an Oregon program called WIC which provides nutrition and free groceries to mothers who are expected or have newborns. The process was easy and we qualified! We went shopping yesterday and received $25 of groceries for free! Things like milk, cheese, beans, cereal, some fruits and vegetables and other essentials are available for those that qualify.

Food, nutrition counseling, and access to health services are provided to low-income women, infants, and children under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, popularly known as WIC.

WIC provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children who are found to be at nutritional risk.   State Contacts

Established as a pilot program in 1972 and made permanent in 1974, WIC is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Formerly known as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children, WIC’s name was changed under the Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act of 1994, in order to emphasize its role as a nutrition program.

Most State WIC programs provide vouchers that participants use at authorized food stores. A wide variety of State and local organizations cooperate in providing the food and health care benefits, and 46,000 merchants nationwide accept WIC vouchers.

The WIC target population are low-income, nutritionally at risk:

  • Pregnant women (through pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after birth or after pregnancy ends).
  • Breastfeeding women (up to infant’s 1st birthday)
  • Nonbreastfeeding postpartum women (up to 6 months after the birth of an infant or after pregnancy ends)
  • Infants (up to 1st birthday). WIC serves 45 percent of all infants born in the United States.
  • Children up to their 5th birthday.

Benefits

The following benefits are provided to WIC participants:

  • Supplemental nutritious foods
  • Nutrition education and counseling at WIC clinics
  • Screening and referrals to other health, welfare and social services

You can check out the eligibility requirements at more here.

The Best Way to Beat Cellulite

There a ton of creams out there that say they can take care of cellulite but if it were that easy we would all have perfect behinds and legs. Everyone wants the easy way out, the easy cure all, thats why so many people buy into the creams but really the only way to beat cellulite is EXERCISE.

A study found that 75% of women who did just 20 minutes each of cardio and strength training three days a week  saw a dramatic reduction in dimpling after two months.

Starbucks New Healthier Food Options

imagesAs I made my way to Starbucks this morning, I was ready to order my regular coffee and doughnut when I noticed the coffee sign was different. I asked the lady about it and she said “yes today is the premiere of the new healthier food options”. So I politely asked what they were and on the glass case where the food is was a new sign that read – No Artificial Trans Fats, No  Artificial Flavors, No Artificial Dyes and No High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Along with these changes they have added some new menu items, such as Bluberry Oat Bar, Banana Walnut Bread, Marshmallow Dream Bar, and the best part – the Farmers Market Salad – it sounds amazing, with blue cheese, almonds, cranberries, and apples on a bed of romaine lettuce with all natural balsamic vinaigrette and only 300 calories.

Bringing the same passion Starbucks has in serving customers some of the best coffee in the world, the company went back to the kitchen and started from scratch. Starbucks baked and tasted hundreds of recipes to make its food more as nature intended, cutting out all artificial flavors, dyes and high fructose corn syrup, as well as artificial preservatives wherever possible.

I am so impressed by these changes, it makes me feel better knowing that Im not ingesting all that artificial junk. Get out and enjoy some – Real Food. Simply Delicious.

Make Your Own Deodorant

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Yep its definitely summer, you can feel it in the warmth of the air and the see it in the constant sweat collecting on the armpits of many a shirt. What better way to help combat the sweat than to make your own deodorant.

Over at Instructables.com they have a step by step instructional guide to help you make your own deodorant, using just a few simple ingredients.

This is perfect for those with allergic reactions to the chemicals in the store bought deodorant or for those with sensitive skin. Whats nice about making your own is that the ingredients are almost all already in your cupboard.

You start by picking out your favorite scent in an essential oil, something that wont be too strong or cause sensitivity. Then after you mix the ingredients you use your old deodorant container and fill it up and let it sit for a day or two. It really seems like an easy project and well worth it.

They claim it takes only 5 minutes, I guess I have to try it out to see if it sincerely will only take 5.

Quit Doing Crunches!

sit-upsAs summer nears and we are ALL working to look better in a swimsuit, the area that always seems to need the most ‘trimming’ from those long winter months and nights of hot chocolate and cookies is, you got it, our abs. Abdominal muscles are one of the most difficult muscles to strengthen, yet one of the most important to overall health and well-being. Besides having a great looking six pack, the core of your body is important for all of the activities that you’ll be doing this summer. I’ve always been trained then, to strengthen my core with crunches. Quick sit ups that will strengthen my ab muscles and shape and tone them as well. But the question is, “Are crunches really the best way to strengthen your core?”

“We stopped teaching people to do crunches a long, long time ago,” says Dr. Richard Guyer, president of the Texas Back Institute. That’s because the “full flex” movement—the actual “crunch” part of crunches – puts an unhealthy strain on your back at its weakest point. The section with the most nerves (and most potential for nerve damage) is in the back of the spine, which is the very part that bends and strains during a sit-up.

“There are only so many bends or a ‘fatigue life’,” in your spinal disks,” says Stuart M. McGill, a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo. Inside each disk is a mucus-like nucleus, he says, and “if you keep flexing your spine and bending the disk over and over again, that nucleus slowly breaches the layers and causes a disk bulge, or a disk herniation.” A herniated disk won’t show through your swimsuit, but it’s no fun, and can cause persistent back and leg pain, weakness, and tingling.” (The Human Condition)

In reality, your abs were designed to keep your back straight and to stabilize your core in all activities. The best way—for both your back and your beach body—to work your midsection is to do movements that challenge the muscles to perform the way they’re designed and expected to work in real life, and not to train muscles in isolation.

So instead of crunches this summer, try push ups, planks or leg drops. Design your workout to include multiple exercises that work your core such as squats and other exercises that focus on a more dynamic work out. These exercises will strengthen your core, as well as tone your muscles in an effective and healthy way.

Bike-to-Work-Day

May is national bike month but today is Bike-to-Work-Day. So in the spirit of trying to be healthier and be more eco-friendly I decided to bike to work today. If you are thinking of riding your bike to work there are some things you should know before you hop on your bike.

From the League of American Bicyclists, they have a list of Tips for Commuters, helping you with proper gear to bike parking and storage. Click here to view the commuter tips.

Make sure you know your hand signals:

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Some simple tips to remember:

  • Make sure and do a safety check each time you ride your bike. Click here for a six point bicycle safety check.
  • Protect your head and wear a helmet. Always wear a helmet and make sure it fits properly. If you have questions click here.
  • See and be seen. Make sure you are visible.
  • Stay alert. Listen and look.
  • Use your hand signals
  • Don’t ride in traffic until you can safely negotiate it.
  • Be predictable.

So before you start out on your journey down the streets of your town, do some research and be prepared for what may come your way. You wont regret it when you do. Enjoy!

Why You Need to Exercise?

901908_85408308Its so hard to start an exercise routine, but when you look at what exercise does for you physically and mentally, it becomes apparent how important it is to exercise.

Ongoing research shows us that exercise can:

  • Improve Memory
  • Speed up our reaction time
  • Improve balance
  • Increase our flexibility
  • Increase bone strength
  • Improve our psychological health
  • Improve quality of life

I think the best reason to exercise is because of how it makes you feel. It has been proven that exercise makes you happy. Researchers have found that after exercise, the levels of the chemical phenylethylamine in the body rise by around 77%.  Making exercise an obvious choice for those who suffer from depression or anxiety, it naturally eases symptoms.

You should be exercising at least 3 times a week. Working up to 20 minutes per session for general health maintenance. If your trying to lose weight, gradually work up to 45 minutes but keep the pace comfortable. Its always important to measure your heart rate, keeping your exercise heart rate within a range of 55 to 80 percent of an estimated maximum heart rate(220 minus your age).

Once you start an exercise routine, you will see the benefits of how your body looks and feels then you will start to enjoy working out. It takes some time but the way you feel after you get into your exercise groove will help keep you going. If you need help starting an exercise program, Web MD has 10 fitness tips to help you get started with a workout program and stick with it.

7 Healthy Habits You Should Start

1164944_861563801. Don’t drink coffee – Instead drink water, at least 8 glasses a day to keep your skin and body nourished. If you must drink something hot, try some tea, its much better for you than coffee.

2. Laugh Often – Laughing and smiling help keep stress away. ABC did an article on Can Laughing Help Me Cope With Stress?

3. Quit Smoking – If you quit smoking it will help save you from wrinkles, lung cancer, emphysema and will save you a lot of money. About.com has tips to help you stop smoking, Quit Smoking 101.

4. Get Your Beauty Sleep – 7-9 hours of sleep is what the average person needs every night. A great article to check out for more information on How Much Sleep Do We Really Need, check out National Sleep Foundation.

5. Make Exercise a Priority -Try to get in at least 3 days of exercise a week. Wellness Tips Blog has some great information on How long, how often and how hard Exercising is.

6. Every Morning do Yoga or Meditate – There are major health benefits to practicing Yoga or Meditation daily. Stress relief being the most prevelant with these relaxation practices. Health Day has an article, Meditation, Yoga might switch off stress genes.

7. Eat Healthier – Know whats going into your body. Stop ordering take out or driving through those fast food chains. Start preparing your own food or going to places that use fresh and locally grown produce.