While children long for the lazy carefree days of summer, many adults view the season as a reason to be active and get healthy. Whether it's to look good for an upcoming beach vacation or simply to have the energy to enjoy the season to the fullest, setting health goals is a great first step.
The weather is nice, so why not take your workout routine outdoors? So many outdoor activities are natural calorie-burners, plus they're a lot of fun. Ride bikes on the weekend, run around and play tag with your kids, or play fetch with the dog. Infuse your social activities with fitness, too. For example, finish a date night with a romantic walk outside, or have friends over for an outdoor barbecue and dance party.
Light foods pair well with warmer weather, so take a fresh approach to meal time. Visit your local farmers market to pick up fresh, seasonal food and get creative in the kitchen. Incorporate water-based fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and pineapple into meals. For dessert, freeze grapes for a sweet treat after dinner.
Stay hydrated by stocking the fridge with healthy drink options. A big pitcher of cold water with slices of strawberries, cucumbers and lime is a refreshing drink that's readily available. This low-calorie drink quenches on even the hottest days.
Rise and shine
Get some fresh air first thing in the morning; it will keep you energized all day long. Take a quick walk or practice yoga outside -- try it during sunrise for a great way to start your day. You'll be surprised with how cheery and upbeat you'll feel.
Green your thumb
Gardening is a great way to enjoy the warm weather, plus you burn calories without even knowing it. Try planting your own herb garden. It's a simple activity you can even do with your kids. Plus, you will have quick access to fresh herbs when you want to add a healthy flavor boost to your dishes.
Try new activities
Warm weather is the perfect time to try something new. Take tennis or golf lessons, or meet friends on a weekly basis to play a different sport. Hit the sand with the family and try some beach body Pilates; do a few crunches on your towel, try some planks in the sand, and even some crab walks. Don't forget sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes.
Scientists studying skin and pigment disorders believe they have found a way to reverse the process that causes hair to gray as people age. Hair turns gray when massive oxidative stress causes a build-up of hydrogen peroxide in hair follicles. The hydrogen peroxide build-up leads to hair bleaching itself from the inside out. Researchers discovered that PC-KUS, a UV-B activated compound, reverses the hydrogen peroxide accumulation. PC-KUS can also be used to treat patients with vitligo, a skin condition where depigmentation of the skin causes light-colored patches on certain parts of the body.
Number to Know
25,943: The CDC estimates that 25,943 people in the U.S. have asthma, according to a 2011 National Health Interview Survey.
"If you're a parent, whether you're aware of it or not, you are your children's fitness mentor," says Kara Thom, co-author of "Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Mom" (Andrews McMeel, 2011). "When parents exercise, they increase the odds their children will grow up to be active adults, making fitness a family value and turning exercise into family fun time."
For both fitness and nutrition, planning ahead is the key to encouraging kids to live the healthy way of life. Additional suggestions to make fitness important to kids include:
1) Join a fitness center where kid fitness is as important as adult fitness.
If you expect to exercise when you go to the gym, you should also capitalize on the opportunity to get your kids moving.
2) Pursue fitness goals together.
When Nina Hamza, 39, from Deephaven, Minn., signed her children up for kids swimming lessons, she saw the opportunity to sign herself up for adult swim lessons. The results exceeded her expectations. Not only did everyone improve in the pool, they found a way to bond as a family.
"My kids loved that I asked their advice on things; about how to breathe easier or what to do if you get a leg cramp," Hamza recalls. "Also, I appreciated their hard work more. I was in awe of their ability as I was learning and they were encouraged that I was so impressed by them."
3) Keep kids engaged in physical activity year round.
It's easier to schedule lessons and workouts when school is in session and there's a routine. But when summer comes around, you find your kids at "lump camp," on the couch with video games. Take some time in the spring to plan out the summer months and schedule physical activity most days of the week, whether they are walking the dog, getting to the neighborhood park, or attending special summer programming that keeps kids on the move.
When increasing your workout, don't bite off more than you can chew. Set short-term realistic goals that are attainable. Lengthening your running distance each week, upping the number of reps you do on your favorite machine or increasing the weights you lift (by no more than 10 percent each week) will create a sense of accomplishment. Even when you feel like you do not have enough energy for a full workout, go outside for a walk, hop on the treadmill for 15 minutes or simply make it a point to take the stairs when possible -- every little step counts!
-- Family Features/Rockin' Refuel
Parents often use the adage "you are what you eat" to encourage children to make healthy food choices, but the saying is equally true for adults. Providing your body with a variety of nutrients lets you feel your best, and may even prevent disease and help you live longer.
Allison Tannis is a nutritionist, author and professional consultant. She believes that aging well means eating well. She recommends these five super nutrients.
"It can be hard to see fat as healthy, but omega-3 fatty acids are potentially one of the most important nutrients for our health," says Tannis. "Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to the maintenance and function of our eyes, brain and nervous system - parts of us that start to weaken with increasing age. In addition, these healthy fats have great ability to fight inflammation that is the cause of painful joints, cardiovascular disease and even wrinkles."
How can you get your daily dose of 1 to 2 grams of omega-3s, as recommended by the American Heart Association? Wild-caught fish like salmon, sardines and Arctic char are good sources of omega-3s. Plant sources of omega-3s include flax, chia and hemp. It can be difficult to get enough omega-3s from food sources, so supplements are a good alternative.
2. Vitamin D
"Vitamin D is really only available to us from the sun," explains Tannis. "Sure, there are foods such as milk and orange juice that have added vitamin D. For some, these foods are a great choice, but for others, it can be hard to ensure you're getting enough of this essential vitamin through fortified foods."
Older people are prone to vitamin D deficiency, and therefore, may experience muscle weakness or impaired intestinal absorption. Tannis suggests that everyone, no matter their age, consider a vitamin D supplement if diet and sun exposure aren't adequate. From tasteless liquid drops to pills that combine multiple nutrients, there are a variety of options for vitamin D supplementation.
"Probiotics fight inflammation, promote digestive health and much more," says Tannis. "With age, there is a decrease in the most prominent probiotic in the colon, Bifidobacteria, leaving the colon prone to inflammation, which increases the risk of disease and discomfort."
Foods like kefir and yogurt are common sources of probiotics, but often it's not enough to get the full benefits. Probiotic supplements are a great way to maintain and rebuild probiotic levels in your digestive tract. "Seek out one with lots of different probiotic species," recommends Tannis. "You've got hundreds of kinds of probiotics in you. Each probiotic offers its own unique health benefits to your body, so having lots of different kinds in your system can help your body be at its best."
4. Green foods
"Greens are packed with more nutrients per bite than almost anything else on your plate. They are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and more," says Tannis.
What green foods are the best?
"The best greens to eat are the ones you like -- you don't have to hate your food. Love your food! Choose some greens that you enjoy and then, once a week, try something outside your comfort zone," Tannis suggests. "If you simply can't stomach enough greens, there are plenty of powders available, from simple single ingredient products to complex formulas."
No matter what your age, eating a balanced diet provides your body with plenty of nutrients. "Try to ensure that at some point each day you enjoy foods from each color of the rainbow, and artificial coloring doesn't count," says Tannis.
Taking a multivitamin is one way to ensure your body has the minimum amounts of the essential nutrients it needs each day to function properly. If you are considering a multivitamin, look for one that is designed for your age, activity level and gender.
"Food hasn't changed, even though it feels that everyone is telling you something new about it," says Tannis. "Enjoy a well-balanced diet, rich in colorful fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains and fish. Nutrition really can be easy to swallow."
Researcher at the Tel Aviv University in Israel may have found a way to diagnose schizophrenia by testing microRNA molecules in neurons from the nose. Neurons would be removed through a biopsy. MicroRNA molecules regulate gene expression. Researchers found that schizophrenic patients had more of one type of microRNA than non-schizophrenic patients. More testing is required before this method can be used to diagnose the disease, however, as researchers are unsure of whether the microRNA changes begin before or after schizophrenia symptoms begin to show. Currently, the only way to definitively diagnose schizophrenia is through sampling the brain during autopsy.
Number to Know
164 million: number of American homeowners who have gardened in the last 12 months, as stated in a 2012 report on GreenhouseManagement.com.
Boomer Health: Tips for avoiding physical discomfort while gardening
Fresh packets of seeds, the dirt between your fingers, and the smell of freshly churned earth - gardening season has officially begun. Whether you're a seasoned green thumb or a newbie to home planting, gardening is a great activity that provides both physical and mental health benefits.
In addition to burning calories while enjoying the peacefulness of Mother Nature, one unwelcome part of taking up gardening as a hobby is the potential for strain and injury. To get the most out of your time gardening, consider these tips for avoiding physical discomfort:
Start with a few stretches
Before grabbing your tools and heading to your yard, spend five or 10 minutes doing stretches focusing on your arms, legs, back and neck. You'll be moving and turning a lot, so be sure to stretch and loosen muscles to avoid strain when you're out tending your garden.
Avoid bending and lifting the wrong way
Chronic back pain is an issue for many Americans both young and old. Just because you have back issues doesn't mean you can't enjoy gardening. Consider installing raised garden beds, which allow you to garden without having to bend over. Additionally, container gardens can be placed on tables or deck railings for easy access. If you don't suffer from back pain, avoid back injury by bending and lifting the right way. Remember to maintain good posture, minimize quick twisting motions, bend at the hips and knees only, lift items in a slow and controlled manner, and enlist help if necessary.
Protect skin from the sun
One of the best parts of gardening is you get to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, but that can mean extended time in the sun so it's important to protect your skin. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and light cotton clothing that covers exposed skin are good first steps. Always apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum lotion that is SPF 30 or higher at least 15 minutes prior to going outside, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.
These simple tips will help position you for a full season of gardening delights. Without injury or other physical irritations, you'll be able to savor the fruits of your labor in the beauty of the warm weather.
With an online community you can commit to your goals and share struggles and successes alongside others in your same position. Fitness community sites range from free, forum based communities to monthly subscriptions with access to exercise and nutrition experts and structured programs designed to fit your personal goals. Pick one that fits your personality, goals and budget.
-- Life Fitness
Sunshine and fresh air make us fall in love with summer every year. It's a time to explore the outdoors and enjoy fashions like tank tops, flip-flops and sun dresses. How can you get beautiful summer-ready skin while keeping it protected from the sun's hot rays?
Get healthy, radiant skin that you'll be proud to show off with these skin care tips and tricks for warm weather months:
Toss your old sunscreen
Long days playing in the sun are a part of what makes summer such a special season. Be sure you protect your skin. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time, so it's best to toss the remnants from last year and get fresh bottles. Look for options that are water-resistant, broad-spectrum and SPF 30 or higher. Apply 30 minutes before heading outside so sunscreen can be properly absorbed and reapply regularly to ensure constant protection.
Cleanse and moisturize
Cleansing daily not only helps to ensure skin looks fresh, but a clean base also allows sunscreen to be absorbed more easily and makeup to be applied more evenly. If your skin feels tight and dry after showering with soap, do not mistake that feeling for clean! That tight, dry feeling means soap has stripped your skin of essential nutrients.
Don't skip the exfoliation, especially in the summer. Exfoliation helps to boost skin's glow. It removes the top layer of dead skin cells and helps your skin to more evenly absorb moisturizers and sunscreens.
Hydration is essential inside and out. In the summer when you are more active and temperatures are warm, it is easy to become dehydrated. Ensure you are drinking plenty of water as well as hydrating your skin.
Nourish skin from the inside
Summer's bounty of flavorful produce isn't just a tasty way to reinvent meal time, it's also an opportunity to choose foods full of nutrients that are good for your skin. Colorful fruits are bursting with antioxidants that may help to protect your skin cells from external damage from the sun, smoke or even stress. Try berries like blueberries and raspberries, as well as dark-skinned grapes.
Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology finds that college students who regularly binge drink have blood vessels with damage simliar to that caused by high blood pressure and cholesterol. This increases the risk for heart disease later in life. Binge drinking was defined by researchers as five or more drinks in a two-hour time span for men, and four or more in the same time span for women.
-- Medical News Today
Number to Know
61,646: The CDC reports 61,646 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with melanoma in 2009.
Most new parents are anxious when their infant has a fever, or is fussy, stuffy and simply not acting right. But how do you decide to call the pediatrician or to wait -- especially in the middle of the night?
Ciampa encourages all first-time parents to take advantage of the postpartum care, newborn CPR and safety classes offered at many hospitals and community centers. Knowledge and information can reduce stress when your baby isn't feeling well. She offers the following tips on what to look for when you suspect your baby may be sick:
Fever helps the body fight infection and doesn't always need to be treated. But sometimes, fever in a newborn can be serious. A temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher in a baby under the age of 2 months should be reported. Your doctor will likely ask whether the baby is feeding, urinating and sleeping adequately. Never give medicines or other home remedies to a baby without first consulting with a pediatrician.
- Your baby's skin appears yellow or you suspect jaundice
- The newborn's stools appear red, white or black (aside from the first black meconium bowel movements)
- Your little one has a persistent cold, cough or is vomiting (more than spitting up)
- Your baby is unusually fussy, lethargic or not waking up for feeds
- The baby is not wetting enough diapers (look for six or more daily after 6 days of age) -
Head neutral, back flat, core tight, shoulders retracted -- these are some of the instructions your personal trainer is likely to command. Just don’t take them lightly. Better body positioning on cardio and strength-training equipment will help you maximize each movement and avoid injury.
-- Life Fitness
One in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime, according to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer, has steadily increased over the past three decades -- to the rate of one American dying an hour from it, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Detecting melanoma when it is most treatable is key to survival. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer, and improve your chances of catching it in its most curable stages.
Preventing skin cancer
- Always wear sunscreen when you go outside, even during winter months. In summer, use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Avoid tanning, including tanning beds. Multiple studies have found that indoor tanning increases your risk of melanoma by 75 percent, and the risk grows with every use.
Detecting skin cancer when it is most curable is one of the most important ways to ensure a positive outcome for skin cancer treatment. Your detection efforts should include:
- Visit a dermatologist for an annual skin cancer check.
If your dermatologist finds skin cancer, it's important to know you have treatment options. Patients whose melanoma is diagnosed when it is most curable have a survival rate of 97 percent, according to the American Cancer Society. Discuss your options with your doctor, and work in tandem with health care providers to ensure the best possible outcome for any treatment.