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Every summer, families from all over visit petting zoos, zoos, aquariums, animal farms and summer camps that have animal exhibits. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), many people will get sick after visiting one of these animal attractions.

Wherever you visit, it is important to remember these tips to keep you and your families safe when enjoying animals:

  • Wash your hands regularly. Use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t prevelant.
  • Keep food and animals separate.
  • Always supervise children around animals.
  • Don’t take sippy cups and/or pacifiers inside an animal exhibit.
  • Remind children to keep their hands out of their mouths after touching animals and before washing their hands.

Any way you look at it the statistics regarding obesity are unbelievable…

 

In the U.S., 55% of adults are overweight, nearly 25% are obese. 

Each year there are approximately 280,000 deaths in the U.S. that can be attributed to obesity. 

There is no longer any doubt that the most widespread and the largest threat to our health is being overweight or obese. 

And while these statistics are shocking to most, there are still as many as 80 million people in the United States dealing with obesity. 

What experts are trying to get across to these millions of people who are dealing daily with this disease is that obesity is not going to cure itself overnight.   There is not a magic pill that someone can take that will reverse the toll we have taken on our bodies over the years.

There is not a magic pill that someone can take that will reverse the toll we have taken on our bodies over the years.

We, as a society, need to learn that losing weight and keeping that weight off is a commitment – a lifelong commitment – and something that won’t come easy to many people. 

Weight loss is not a short-term goal.  Instead it is a long-term lifestyle change that you must be ready to take on before you start any type of diet or fitness regimen. 

Keep in mind there are plenty of support groups out there that will help you get you where you need to be as far as diet and fitness goals and most importantly: don’t give up!

If your most recent workout has left you with a case of aches and pains, you may find yourself reaching for the closest pain medicine.  But if you are looking to manage your pain without taking pills, fortunately there are plenty of other ways that you can do so. 

Here are some ways to treat post-workout aches and pains without popping pills: 

Go see your chiropractor – Chronic and nagging pain can be alleviated oftentimes by a trip to your chiropractor.  There are many different pain patterns and chiropractors are trained to handle these pain patterns.  They can best determine how to handle your pain from the most invasive to the least invasive way. 

Ice bath – An ice bath is perfect for reducing inflammation in your joints and muscles.  The ice bath helps to constrict your blood vessels, pushing your blood to your core and then that blood returns to your muscles after you get out of the ice bath.

Contrast therapy – Another popular “anti-pill” method of pain management is contrast therapy, or “3,3,3.”  This method consists of three minutes of heat and 30 seconds of cold, three times in a row.  The heat dilates all the blood vessels, relaxes the muscles, and lets in nutrients and oxygen.  The cold does the exact opposite and pushes the fluid back out.  The combination of heat and cold creates an “artificial pump” through the muscle – bringing in nutrients and pushing out the waste that causes the pain. 

Anti-inflammatory diet – Inflammation causes much of the pain that people feel, so by eating an anti-inflammatory diet, with plenty of whole foods, this will help cut down on your discomfort.  Choose lean foods like chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds. 

Foam roller –Pain can be caused by adhesions, scar tissue or even repetitive use, and the body needs collagen to heal.  Foam rollers help to smooth out and realign fibers that are damaged in your tissue and promote healthy collagen growth.

Despite what many people think, our brain can remain sharp, active, vital and creative no matter what our age.

 

Our brain can create new brain cells and new connections between them over the years, but our brain vitality is completely up to us.  Maintaining that vitality is truly a “use it or lose it” situation. 

Studies done by several schools of medicine suggest that the more stimulating and intellectually challenging that we make our lives, the better our odds are to keep our brain sharp as we get older. 

Some ways to keep our brains sharp include:

Reduce stress: stress can wear down the hippocampus, which plays a major role in memory function.

Exercise regularly: exercising delivers more oxygen-rich blood to the brain which is vital for producing new brain cells and preventing atrophy.

Eat low-fat and healthy: glucose spikes and fatty plaque deposits due to overeating can damage the brain, so a lower-calorie diet promotes better circulation and helps to control weight.

Challenge your brain: challenging your brain by learning and doing something new every week helps to create new neural pathways, helping to make your brain more versatile and able to multi-task.

 

With the warm weather comes the opening of public pools and home pools and people break out the bathing suit for another season of swimming. For many people, swimming is a good way to wind down after a long day.  But others are using swimming as another means of exercise and they are finding that exercise in the spring and summertime can be fun!

 

Swimming is an excellent way to lose weight and strength train all the while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.  

Exercise experts recommend swimming as a form of exercise because of the great cardiovascular workout you get from swimming.  It is considered a great aerobic exercise because by definition it is an action that maintains an elevated heartbeat for a minimum of 20 minutes. 

You can simply add swimming to your pre-existing aerobic workout to help switch things up and keep your workouts fresh.  Alternate days that you decide to use swimming as your cardio for that day, so you don’t get bored with any one workout.

Like any exercise, you should also start any swimming workout routine by stretching first. You may not realize the affect swimming has on your entire body until it is too late, so be sure to stretch appropriately before you begin. Then start off slow by swimming strides and gradually increasing your speed in the pool.  This will help to elevate your heart rate at a safe pace and help you to last longer during your workout.

Swimming, and using swimming as your key workout, is more about endurance than quickness.  Experts suggest starting out swimming laps for approximately 20 minutes for women and 30 minutes for men.  You can begin to increase your time as necessary and as you continue your workout over the course of weeks or months. 

Again, this will prevent you from getting too tired, too sore, wore out or disappointed in your swimming workout. Try out different strokes when you are swimming, too.  Do some laps using the breaststroke, then switch up and do the backstroke, or even the doggy paddle.  Each swimming stroke using a different variety of muscles and therefore will give you the best overall workout.