Men’s Health Awareness – Strategies for Healthy Aging

June is Men's Health Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about the health challenges men face and encouraging them to take proactive steps towards maintaining their well-being. Men’s health encompasses a wide range of issues, including physical fitness, mental health, and preventative care. This month offers an opportunity to highlight the importance of regular health check-ups, a balanced lifestyle, and the need for mental and emotional support. Overcoming stigmas and taking proactive measures can ensure age related problems are dealt with in a productive manner. Understanding Men’s Health Issues Men have a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and sudden death than women. They are less likely to seek and get treatment for emotional conditions such as major depression, even though studies tell us over 30% of men suffer depression in their lifetime. Men are also more likely to [...]

Dining Out Mindfully: Tips for Making Healthy Choices at Restaurants

Dining out at restaurants often goes hand in hand with times of celebration, social connection, and enjoyment. While dining out is an exciting part of life, it can easily disrupt healthy eating habits. We’ve compiled several ways to dine out mindfully and keep your nutrition goals in focus. Plan Ahead If you will be dining out for a meal, plan for it. Adjust your day for healthier or lighter meals before and after. Incorporate physical activity into your day, or add a few more minutes to your exercise session. If you know where you’ll be eating beforehand, consider looking up the menu to familiarize yourself with the options available. Whenever you plan for it, you can make adaptations to help you keep your goals on track rather than feeling guilty for enjoying a meal out. Don’t Arrive Too Hungry Skipping a [...]

5 Ways to Incorporate Mindful Moments into Your Day

Life can seem busier every day, making it easy to rush through our busy days on autopilot. Practicing mindfulness allows you to pay attention in the present moment purposefully and without judgment. Instead of quick reactions or thoughtless choices, mindfulness brings intentionality and focus to decision-making. If you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to practicing mindfulness or if you feel like you don’t have time in your day to think about one more thing, here are five easy ways to incorporate mindful moments into your day. Mindful Breaks Even on the busiest day, you can have a mindful break for a few moments. As responsibilities and stress pile up, our thoughts start racing as well. Mindful breaks bring our thoughts back to the present and quiet the chatter. Take a mindful break by practicing several rounds of [...]

5 Benefits of Outdoor Workouts for Mind and Body

As the warmer, sunny weather rolls around, our motivation to move more tends to rise. We might feel more inclined to take a quick walk outside during our lunch break or hike with friends on the weekend. The weather can certainly impact our will to exercise, but did you know outdoor activity can benefit the mind and body? Let’s explore five reasons to get outside and get moving. Stress and Mental Health Management Research has shown that outdoor activity can help decrease feelings of anger and depression while improving mood (ACE Fitness1). Sunlight increases our body’s production of the hormone serotonin. Serotonin is known for being a mood booster and promotes feelings of calmness (Healthline2). Studies have also shown that the Vitamin D we get from time spent in the sunshine also helps to stabilize mood and lower depression risk [...]

Food Reactions: Navigating Dietary Restrictions for Wellness

In the journey toward wellness, maintaining a healthy relationship with food is crucial. Part of this involves an awareness of chronic conditions caused by overindulgence, such as diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and high blood pressure. For others, it can involve understanding why certain foods make you feel uncomfortable or ill after eating them. These uncomfortable symptoms are suggestive of three possible reactions: food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances. These conditions can significantly affect you and your family’s quality of life, and careful navigation and intervention can reduce risks and improve overall health. Understand the Differences: Allergy, Sensitivity, and Intolerance To understand uncomfortable reactions a person can have with a particular food, it’s helpful to understand the way doctors and other nutritional professionals classify the reactions. Allergic reactions involve our body’s immune system and may be triggered by even [...]

5 Ways to Take Charge of Your Health During Women’s Health Month

May is women’s health month. This month brings more awareness to the importance of health for women and girls and encourages actionable ways to make it a top priority. Our plates are constantly full as women. We care for other people and things daily, while our own needs often slip to the bottom of the to-do list. Let this time be your reminder to take stock of your health and learn to prioritize your care. Prevention Regular preventive physicals and screenings are a necessary part of healthcare. They help establish baselines, acknowledge family history, and monitor any changes in health that could become more serious. While preventive health is equally important for men and women, there are a handful of conditions that are more prevalent in women, including Breast Cancer, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Osteoporosis, and Stroke (Advent Health1). For many [...]

The Connection Between Stress and Blood Pressure

Stress affects the body in many ways, including blood pressure management. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, when left unmanaged, can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and more (American Heart Association1). Stress is acute or chronic, so each has a unique connection to blood pressure. Exploring these different connections will help us find healthier ways to manage stress and control our blood pressure. Times of Acute Stress Acute stress is typically emergent and temporary, such as slamming on your brakes in traffic to avoid an accident. Our body enters flight or fight mode to protect itself during an emergency. It naturally produces stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol to initiate specific body functions like increased heart rate, blood flow to muscles, and respiration. This reaction also temporarily raises blood pressure as a result. Responses like these are [...]

Butterflies in Your Stomach – A Great Example of the Gut-Brain Connection!

Have you ever felt "butterflies in your stomach" before a significant event or during moments of stress? This sensation is not just a metaphor but a vivid illustration of how closely our gut and brain communicate, influencing our overall health and well-being. The notion that gut health and well-being are connected is not new. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, famously stated, "All disease begins in the gut", over 2000 years ago. Throughout history and across various cultures, dietary practices have long been devised with a focus on promoting overall health. Your Brain and Belly talk in several ways. Your brain and gut have bidirectional communication through several different mechanisms including: Direct nerve connections. The vagus nerve, a key player in the autonomic (“fight or flight”) nervous system connects directly to nerves lining the intestinal walls. These nerves are sometime called [...]

Stress Less: Response vs. Reaction

Stressful situations arise often, but they are not always in our control. However, the way we respond or react in these situations is something we can control. While these two words may sound similar, they are two very different approaches to managing stress. Let’s explore how your approach can make all the difference in daily stress management. It’s Natural to React Our bodies naturally react whenever they encounter a stressful situation. Once our brain recognizes a real or perceived threat, it tells our automatic nervous system (ANS) that it is time to act. The ANS first signals our sympathetic nervous system by increasing stress hormone production and initiating our flight or fight reaction. This reaction causes quick changes in bodily function, such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, elevated blood pressure, contracted muscles, and digestive changes. When the stressor passes, [...]

Prioritizing Wellness in a Busy World

Keeping up healthy habits can be a tall task when juggling all the responsibilities of daily life. Wellness often slips down our priority list the busier we get. Knowing the importance of health is easy, but it is often harder to make time for it. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you add quality to your years while navigating a busy schedule. Set Realistic Goals Set yourself up for success by making goals that are realistic and attainable. Begin with smaller, more manageable plans that you can build upon as you go. This gradual approach will help build resilience and confidence along the way. As you set your ambitions, let them align with your current schedule and season of life. Then, revisit your approach often, as we all know how constantly changing our schedules can be. This reflection [...]