Back Health

Back Health

Does your back hurt at the end of the day? You are not alone, as back pain and back injuries account for 1 in 5 doctor visits. While some back pain is directly related to trauma or lifting incorrectly, most back pain is chronic and develops over time. The most common cause of chronic back pain is poor posture. Poor posture and physical imbalances directly affect your bones, the supporting ligaments, and your muscle tone.

Here are a few back health tips to improve your posture and decrease musculoskeletal imbalances and the resulting pain and fatigue:

Stand up straight. Your mother and your drill instructor had this one right. When you slouch or lean forward or to either side, the resulting imbalance causes bones, ligaments and muscles to strain and fatigue leading to even greater imbalances. When you stand, the middle of the ear should line up with the middle of the shoulder, hip, knee and ankle. When you sit, the middle of the ear should line up with the middle of the shoulder and hip.

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Breathe evenly and deeply. Taking a deep breath lifts your diaphragm, ribcage and oxygenates your body and allows you to release tension.  

    1. Many people with lower back problems and back pain have overly tight muscles and lack flexibility. Stretch your upper back, your iliopsoas muscle and your calf muscles. Stretching your upper back will decrease strain and increase mobility. The iliopsoas muscle is a deep set lower back muscle that connects your spine, pelvis and the top of the thigh. Your calf muscles are distantly connected by fascial tissue that run the length of your body from the bottom of your feet to your neck and the base of your skull. Releasing tension in your calves will help relieve stress all the way up to the skull.

  Develop your core. When your abdominal muscles and the muscles that surround and support your spine are strong and toned they work together to support your skeleton and improve your posture. Your lower back pain may be a sign of weak core muscles and today’s prolonged periods of sitting at work also weakens your core. A stronger core will also improve your body movement and flexibility, and should always include rotational exercises to stretch and strengthen the areas immediately involved in spinal rotational and twisting movements. Pilates is one exercise approach that focuses on building core strength and improves flexibility, but there are many effective exercises to help you strengthen your core muscles.

These back health tips – posture, breathing, flexibility and core strength will help alleviate back pain symptoms and prevent future back problems.

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How to Protect Yourself from Harmful UV Rays

How to Protect Yourself from Harmful UV Rays

How to Protect Yourself from Harmful UV Rays

 

While we enjoy being out in the sun, unfortunately too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause a host of problems. Too much exposure can cause all manner of problems with your skin, the most severe being cancer, melanoma and carcinoma. Exposure to sunlight and solar radiation can also cause wrinkles, dry skin and premature aging.

 

Sunlight emits both UVA and UVB rays, both are harmful to the skin. UVA rays emit a longer wavelength and penetrate the layers of the skin causing a tan, overexposure to UVA rays can cause direct skin damage. UVB rays affect the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. Sunburn is a result of overexposure to UVB rays. Both UVB and UVA rays play a role in causing skin cancer and UVA rays also promote premature wrinkling.

 

Sunlight does have its health benefits. Exposure to sunlight stimulates your body’s vitamin D production. Sunlight increases the number of white blood cells in your body thus increasing your body’s immunity. Sunlight also improves your sense of happiness and wellbeing and protects you from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression common during winter season when there is little sunlight.

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Sunscreens and sunblocks can protect your skin from the harmful UV rays. Sunblocks literally block both types of harmful rays, if you use a sunscreen, ensure that the label indicates protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Protecting your skin from UV rays can minimize the appearance of wrinkles and age spots and greatly reduce your risk of cancers, melanoma and carcinoma.   Some additional sunlight and UV considerations you should be aware of:

  • Some medications increase your sensitivity. Oral contraceptives, antihistamines, antibiotics and high blood pressure drugs may increase your sensitivity, check with your medical provider.
  • UV rays can burn through three feet of water. Swimmers also need protection from sun damage. Use sunscreen before going into the water and re-apply liberally after swimming.
  •  Protect your eyes. Lengthy exposure to UV rays can harm the lens, retina and cornea of your eyes and eventually lead to cataract formation. Wear sunglasses.
  • Dark skin needs protection. While darker skinned individuals as a general rule are able to withstand more sunlight, dark skin does burn and is susceptible to skin cancers. Use sunscreen and avoid overexposure.
  •  Children are more susceptible to direct and indirect UV radiation. Small children and especially babies under six months have thinner and more sensitive skin. Check with your pediatrician if you plan extended periods of sun exposure.

 

 Protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays is as simple as utilizing the correct sunblock or sunscreen to prevent sunburn, premature aging, wrinkling and carcinoma and melanoma.

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Benefits of Drinking Water

benefits of drinking water

Benefits of Drinking Water

Our bodies are made up primarily of water, yet we rarely drink enough of it to stay properly hydrated. Water helps our bodies work at peak efficiency. We learn as children about the importance of drinking water yet somehow we forget to use that water fountain or water bottle as we grow older, which is unfortunate as there are so many benefits of drinking water.

Water keeps you hydrated. Chronic dehydration often caused by a combination of too much caffeine and cola and too little water can cause headaches, dizziness and hypotension, and low blood volume. Water also fills your cells, tissues and organs, helps produce synovial fluid to cushion your joints and also helps cushion your brain and spinal cord.

Water keeps your skin healthy. Water moisturizes your skin from the inside out. If you (and your skin) are dehydrated it will “tent” when pinched and very slowly return to its original position. Your skin when properly hydrated should immediately snap back when pinched. Water also promotes sweating, that may seem unpleasant, but sweating removes harmful toxins from the skin.

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Water helps digestion. When you are properly hydrated, your body is better able to absorb and transport nutrients as food moves from the stomach through the intestines. Proper hydration also prevents constipation. Water also helps elimination and removal of wastes from the liver and kidneys through urine and fecal waste.

Water helps in weight loss. Drinking water before and with meals and snacks will help you feel full sooner and longer and decrease the number of calories you take in. Water also prevents you from drinking empty calories that you would normally consume through syrupy drinks like colas, sodas, bottled juices and frappucinos.

Water maintains blood volume. The blood in your veins that carries vital oxygen and nutrients throughout your body is primarily water. Dehydration causes “hypovolemia” or low blood volume and leads to dizziness, fainting and eventually hospitalization. Easily avoided by adequate water intake.

How can you tell when you are dehydrated? Unfortunately, the most reliable signs of dehydration, thirst and dark urine, only appear when you are already dehydrated. Interesting fact, if you have the sensation of thirst, you are already a liter of fluid behind. You may soon experience a headache and feel slightly dizzy. As the dehydration progresses, you may become tired and lethargic, exhibit dry flaky skin, and experience short-term memory loss. Severe dehydration usually caused by environmental factors, overheating and exhaustion, or neglect will need to be medically treated, often by the introduction of intravenous (IV) fluids to quickly restore blood volume and to re-hydrate the patient.

You can also check out the very 1st episode of For the Health of It where I talk about, yes you guessed it, the Benefits of Drinking Water!

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Get Out and Do Something – National Recreation Week

 Get Out and Do Something!

Get Out

It is National Recreation Week! So it is a perfect time to get out and do something!

A lоt оf people associate рhуѕісаl fitness wіth vіgоrоuѕ activity. Hоwеvеr, thе truth іѕ that еxеrсіѕе саn be fun! Furthеrmоrе, thеrе is аbѕоlutеlу no rulе rеgаrdіng the tуре of physical асtіvіtу you muѕt engage in аnd where. For instance, уоu dо nоt have tо have a costly gym mеmbеrѕhір іn order to lоѕе wеіght. Hеrе аrе ѕоmе оf the lеѕѕ еxреnѕіvе and fun wауѕ tо kеер fit.

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Thе fіrѕt thіng thаt everyone ѕhоuld knоw іѕ thаt рhуѕісаl асtіvіtу іѕ very beneficial to уоur overall hеаlth. Whеn уоu еxеrсіѕе rеgulаrlу уоu rеduсе your ѕtrеѕѕ lеvеlѕ, maintain a healthy wеіght, improve уоur fосuѕ, іmрrоvе уоur mind, and іmрrоvе уоur ԛuаlіtу оf life. The best diet ріllѕ are nоt thе оnlу wау tо аttаіn weight loss. Exercise and a hеаlthу dіеt ѕhоuld bе thе first іtеmѕ оn уоur hеаlthу wеіght рlаttеr. Onе wау tо mаkе physical fіtnеѕѕ more еnjоуаblе is to gеt the whole fаmіlу іnvоlvеd. Thеrе are countless асtіvіtіеѕ that уоu can engage іn wіth thе еntіrе fаmіlу, such аѕ: bаdmіntоn, dodge bаll, vоllеуbаll, bаѕkеtbаll, аnd оthеr team ѕроrtѕ. Thеrе are еvеn fun video games whісh encourage physical асtіvіtу.

Cеrtаіn оthеr асtіvіtіеѕ that the whоlе fаmіlу саn get іnvоlvеd in іnсludе swimming, hіkіng, аnd wаlkіng. Yes, еvеn ѕоmеthіng аѕ ѕіmрlе аѕ walking саn bе рhуѕісаllу rewarding.

Exеrсіѕе wіth a friend, ѕроuѕе, bоуfrіеnd or gіrlfrіеnd to make thіng mоrе іntеrеѕtіng. It would bе even more fun іf thеrе was сhаllеngе to ѕее whо can run thе farthest, dо mоrе push-ups оr sit-ups, fоr example. Dоіng these things will gеt уоu mоtіvаtеd tо exercise mоrе.

If уоu gо tо thе gym, mіx іt uр a lіttlе bit. Dоn’t just uѕе 1 ріесе оf еxеrсіѕе еԛuірmеnt each tіmе you gо to thе gym. Uѕе аll the rеѕоurсеѕ аnd equipment thе gym hаѕ tо оffеr. Tаkе ѕwіmmіng classes, dо yoga, рlау bаѕkеtbаll (if the gуm has a соurt), rасԛuеtbаll аnd uѕе all the wеіght lіftіng mасhіnеѕ thаt аrе there fоr you tо uѕе.

Gоіng to thе рlауgrоund іѕ nоt juѕt fоr kids. Use thе monkey bаrѕ to do uрреr bоdу ѕtrеngth wоrkоutѕ ѕuсh аѕ pull-ups. Lеt уоur imagination flоw whеn іt соmеѕ tо рlауgrоund equipment.

Gо оn a bike ride оn a mоuntаіn trаіl, thrоugh уоur neighborhood оr a lосаl раrk. A nice visit to the park is also a great place to do yoga. If уоu hаvе kids, hаvе уоur ѕроuѕе оr a fаmіlу mеmbеr bаbу ѕіt the сhіldrеn so thаt уоu саn еnjоу thе реасе аnd ԛuіеt оf doing уоgа іn thе раrk.

Get іnvоlvеd in соmреtіtіvе ѕроrtѕ. You will nоt оnlу іmрrоvе your ѕосіаl health bу mееtіng new friends, thе competition wіll gеt уоur hеаrt gоіng аnd you wіll get in the best ѕhаре оf уоur life. Go tо thе сіtу rесrеаtіоn оffісе tо see whісh ѕроrtѕ аrе available to join now and tо ѕее whісh оnеѕ аrе соmіng uр

Thеѕе are just a fеw tips to hеlр уоu gеt fit whіlе having fun!

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