Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tips for Summer Activity

It's the summer season and time to think about eating well and getting in plenty of activity. If you haven't been very active this year, now is the time to get out and enjoy the warmth and the sunshine. Developing a routine of regular physical activity is important for both your physical and mental well being. And what better time to either build or refine your routine than the long, warm days of summer. Here are some tips to having a healthy, productive season of activity:
Mind the temperature- Considering that it can get dangerously hot in many places during the summer, it's important to choose your activities wisely and to get out during the right time of day to prevent heat stroke and dehydration. The early morning and early to late evening are usually the best times to get outside since afternoon temperatures can often reach dangerous highs. If you must work out in the heat of the day, try to do so in a shady area. Otherwise, you're better off going to the gym or waiting until the sun is lower in the sky.
Focus on a balanced diet- Eating well is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and is a great way to feel a little better during the day. Whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, and lean meats are good alternatives to the high fat, sodium packed food that we all sometimes use to fuel our day. Portion size is also important to good digestive health and balanced consumption. Too much at once and your body is going to expend a lot of energy digesting and you'll feel bloated and weighed down; too little and you won't have the blood glucose level to stay motivated and keep exercising. A good idea is to keep some healthy snacks on hand (like dried fruit or nuts) between meals to maintain good energy.
Stretch well and choose a fulfilling activity- Before you go running a triathlon or hiking the highest mountain in sight, make sure you warm your muscles up with a solid stretching routine. Never underestimate the power of stretching before any physical activity--you'll always perform better. Don't worry if you're not that flexible--just take it slow and gradually increase your flexibility. When it comes to finding your niche, you only need to dedicate yourself activities that interest you and give you satisfaction. Whether its hiking, jogging, racquetball, rock climbing,or yoga, you'll be more likely to maintain an active lifestyle if you're passionate about the activity--don't force it too much.
Outfit Yourself- Wearing the right exercise apparel will help you perform in whatever activity you're doing. You don't have to spend a small fortune on clothing, but having a selection of comfortable shoes and quality workout apparel will help you feel better about your performance. The point is to be comfortable and feel good about being active.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Physicals and Why You Should Get One Every Year

Due to a variety of reasons - expense, inconvenience, etc. - most people have a hard time keeping up with their preventative health care. Even those who place a premium on eating right and getting exercise may not see their doctor as often as they should. Today, more people than ever are without a primary care physician at all. Even if this is the case for you, it's time to stop overlooking the importance of annual physicals. No one wants to spend the afternoon in a doctor's office, but a couple of hours once a year is hardly a major inconvenience for the sake of your health. Here are some of the reasons this checkup is so important.
Early Detection
If you've ever spoken with a mechanic, they will tell you that the earlier a problem can be diagnosed, the more they can do. The same principle holds true with your body. Disease that is caught early can often be treated successfully. When you wait until it has caused serious symptoms, it may be too late. Physicals are the health equivalent of getting a full service oil change. Your doctor will take a look at your vitals and perhaps run some tests. If nothing is wrong, then you'll have the peace of mind that comes with good health. If something is found, you can get it taken care of before it turns into something untreatable.
Warning Signs
Of course, physicals aren't just designed to detect a major disease before it spreads. It is particularly effective at identifying warning signs with your system that you should be aware of. Most people with high blood pressure, for instance, aren't going to experience many symptoms. Almost no one with high cholesterol will have any reason to know that they have it unless their arteries start getting clogged up. By getting checked out and having some blood tests run, you can identify these issues before they manifest into bigger problems. By themselves, high cholesterol and high blood pressure aren't really problems. But they can and will lead to serious health conditions if not treated.
Address Nagging Concerns
Most of us live with small health concerns that we don't address because they are annoyances more than anything else. You don't want to make an appointment with a doctor because of your flaky eyebrows, for instance, or because you feel a bit more tired than usual. Physicals present the perfect opportunity to bring these problems to a doctor's attention. You can get a recommendation for treatment or perhaps set your mind at ease that you aren't dealing with something serious.