Great Ways to Exercise Outdoors

Summertime is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than getting outside. In fact, June is National Great Outdoors Month! This is a great time to explore our nation’s beautiful and numerous parks, trails, and natural wonders. Here are five ways to get moving in the great outdoors. Go for a Walk or Run Whether you are on a quick lunch break or training for a race, a walk or run around the block is a great way to be active this summer. Very minimal equipment is needed for this kind of exercise, making it easier to squeeze into your day. All you will need is a supportive pair of gym shoes, extra water for hydration, and sunscreen. If you’re on the go, consider a small running belt to bring along any additional items like your phone, [...]

Spending Time Outdoors to De-Stress

Our days can be full of hustle and bustle, from long hours at the office to shuttling kids around all evening. It’s easy to see why stress can increase as our free time decreases. While we can’t always control the stress that comes our way, we can work to manage it better. Spending time outside is a beneficial strategy for stress management. Studies have shown that time spent in nature, even just a few minutes, can positively impact the body and mind in many different ways. Lift Your Mood Vitamin D is certainly important for maintaining strong bones, but did you know that recent studies have found it to help improve mood? According to Healthline, research has shown that Vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and decreasing the risk of depression. If you need a little [...]

Eat the Rainbow this Summer

In nutritional terms, absence of color often equals absence of nutrients and nutritional value. There are some exceptions, but most of the foods that are white are poor choices for today’s health-minded person. As a matter of fact, one of the ways to assure a healthy diet is to include a wide variety of different colored fruits, vegetables, and grains. The vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables come from ingredients that contain valuable phytonutrients that include antioxidants, vitamins, and other minerals. Antioxidants help protect the body against aging and disease by ridding the body of toxic substances called free radicals. Vitamins and minerals promote health and decrease the risk of disease. Swap the White for Whole Many foods without color such as white breads, white rice, sugar, and salt pose problems for long term health. There are several reasons to [...]

June is Men’s Health Month

In the United States, June is designated as Men’s Health Month to raise awareness about the ways men can improve and maintain their health. The five most important things that men (and women) can do for their health are to be tobacco free, stay physically active, eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight for your height, and get recommended screening tests. In addition to the top five, there are other health behaviors that can increase your likelihood of living a long, healthy life. Below are details about important health behaviors for men: Be Tobacco Free - This includes smokeless tobacco products as well. Visit CDC.gov for resources to help you be tobacco free. Stay Physically Active - Aside from being tobacco free, exercising is the best thing that you can do for your health. There are 336 thirty-minute segments [...]

Keep the Party Going! Food Safety

  The air is warmer, the sun is shining, and cookouts are quickly approaching. Did you know that approximately 1 in 6 Americans get sick from foodborne illnesses each year.  So, don’t commit these party fouls with these common food safety mistakes this summer.  Keep the party in the yard and not running to the restroom! Mistake 1: Washing your meat before cooking. Wash your hands, not meat or poultry. Washing meat or poultry can spread germs to countertops and other items in your kitchen like fruit, which can make you ill. Washing your hands not only keeps you safe but protects your guests as well. A study found that “only 5 percent of people who used the bathroom washed their hands long enough to kill the germs that can cause infections.” Grab that soap and be sure to wash [...]

Nutrition and Mental Health

  Eating healthy can help us to look and feel our best physically. But little is discussed about how the food we eat can affect our mental health. Eating a diet rich in nutritious foods can help us to feel more alert and think clearly. Well-balanced meals and snacks can also help us to concentrate and improve attention span. On the other hand, eating a diet high in unhealthy foods can affect our brain in a negative way. An inadequate diet can lead to fatigue, impair decision making skills, and slow down reaction time. A poor diet can aggravate or lead to stress and depression. Stress and Depression It has been shown that sugar and processed foods can cause inflammation throughout our bodies. Chronic inflammation can contribute to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. According to the Academy of [...]

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in the U.S. since 1949. Mental health refers to our emotional or psychological wellbeing, and many argue it is the most valuable aspect of health. Mental Health Month was instituted to raise awareness about mental health and signs and symptoms of imbalance that require help from a professional. Mental illness can affect people of any age, including children and adolescents. Our physical and emotional health has been increasingly challenged by the pandemic and other recent events, so maintaining psychological balance is as difficult as it has ever been. Mental illnesses, such as depressive and anxiety disorders, are among the most common conditions in the United States today, affecting one in five Americans at any given time. Despite the huge numbers, many people with emotional illnesses often feel [...]

Make Mental Health a Priority

  May is Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), “1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year.” Mental health affects all ages, from children to adults, and it is part of our overall health and well-being. Let’s explore why mental health is so important and how we can make it a priority. What is Mental Health? First, let’s start by defining mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) describes mental health as a “state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” Taking care of your mental well-being does not mean an absence of negative emotions or feelings, but it does mean practicing healthy [...]

Exercise and Mental Health

  Mental health is an important factor in overall wellness. Many Americans face mental health challenges daily, which magnifies the need for understanding and managing it. Exercise is proven to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. Let’s take a closer look at how exercise can aid mental health. The Benefits The latest exercise guidelines published by the Department of Health and Human Services noted how physical activity has “brain health benefits, including possible improved cognitive function, reduced anxiety and depression risk, and improved sleep and quality of life.” Exercise increases the body’s production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters help the body stabilize mood, feel more happy and motivated, and stay more focused (National Alliance on Mental Illness). Physical activity also releases endorphins, often referred to as the “feel-good” hormone, and are a natural pain killer for [...]

Move More Month-April

Did you know April is Move More Month? The American Heart Association (AHA) established this wellness campaign to raise awareness of the importance of physical activity. As nature is springing back to life this season, it’s time to relight our motivation for more movement.  How Much Exercise is Recommended? You might be wondering how much exercise is recommended. The American College of Sports Medicine and The Department of Health encourages adults to participate in at least 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activities along with at least two days of strength exercises each week. If you’re beginning, start small, then gradually work towards this amount. Even short bouts of activity can benefit your health! For more information on exercise recommendations for all ages and populations check out the Department of Health’s Guidelines HERE.  5 Ways to Sneak Movement into Your [...]