Is Your Spine Aligned?

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The Spine

The spine, made up of bones called vertebrae, helps provide the body with movement, stability, and strength. The spinal cord and its nerves send information out to the body and are considered delicate as injuries can affect the entire body. If the spine becomes misaligned, it will also affect the entire body and cause pain and discomfort. It is important to know when to recognize if there is a misalignment in order to correct the issue as soon as possible and to avoid chronic pain.

Signs that your spine is misaligned

There are multiple warning signs that indicate that your spine may be misaligned. Taking the steps necessary to align your spine will help ease pain and discomfort. Some signs that you may have a misalignment of the spine include:

  • You have a difference in leg length and your shoes wear out unevenly
  • You have a poor range of motion on your hips and neck
  • Your posture is poor
  • You feel stiffness on your back and neck
  • You get frequent headaches or sore spots
  • Your weight is not distributed equally if you place your feet on two different scales
  • Your feet flare out when you walk

What you can do

Fortunately enough, there are ways to stretch and help ease the pain that comes with a misaligned spine. In some cases, the spine may even be aligned through some of the techniques listed below. Here are a few things you can start doing today in order to align your spine and feel better:

  • Practice yoga: many poses are designed to help stretch and align the spine
  • Visit a chiropractor: a trained chiropractor will be able to align your spine and help improve your range of motion while reducing pain
  • Massage therapy: tension may cause your muscles to be out of line, getting regular massage therapy can reduce tension and pain and help keep everything aligned
  • Pilates: pilates helps with alignment while focusing on the abdominal muscles through a mind-body approach. Focused on strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance, it helps with full-body alignment.
  • Tai Chi: this exercise combines meditation with an aligned movement known to help both the back and joints.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For You?

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For many years, people have used Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) as a home remedy to cure infections and other health issues that arise. Although many of the wonderous claims people make on the internet are actually false, there are still a number of benefits and uses for ACV. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether ACV could help a condition you have or if you simply want to know more information about it, read on!

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
ACV is a vinegar made from apple juice. Yeast is added to the juice in order to turn the sugars into alcohol, in other words, it is fermented. The alcohol then turns into acetic acid thanks to bacteria that is added, giving the liquid the sour vinegary taste and smell that it’s known for.

Benefits
ACV is a good source of polyphenols (which are plant-based antioxidants), vitamin B and probiotics in “The Mother” that come from the added bacteria. These components are responsible for most of the health benefits people enjoy from ACV. Additionally, it is known to have high disinfectant properties.

Uses
Although many of the claims made on the internet are not backed up by scientific research, there are still a number of useful ways to incorporate ACV into your diet and life. To name a few:
Help to regulate blood sugar levels
As a natural disinfectant for wounds and fungus
Boost weight loss when paired with a healthy diet and exercise
As a natural household cleaner
Skincare and hair care
In recipes for dressings, food and baked goods

Precautions
ACV should always be diluted with as it is highly acidic and it can cause an upset stomach. It is also important to keep in mind that this acid can cause damage to teeth enamel, so drinking water immediately after ACV is recommended.

Bottom Line
Realistically, ACV will not magically cure cancer or make you lose weight. Nevertheless, it is a healthy household item to have on hand. It can be enjoyed in different ways for different benefits, but healthy lifestyle choices are still necessary in addition to nutritional supplements such as ACV in order to stay on top of your health and feel your best!

When to Ice or Heat an Injury

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Icing or heating an injury, also referred to as cryotherapy and thermotherapy, are quick and affordable ways to get instant relief at home from injuries and pain. While everyone can benefit from quick relief, not everyone has their facts straight when it comes to choosing one over the other.

Knowing the benefits icing or applying heat to specific areas of the body can make all the difference. In fact, it can be the difference between getting the relief you’re looking for or suffering from further pain. If you’ve ever asked yourself whether you need to apply ice or heat and didn’t know the answer to your question, read on…

Thermotherapy: benefits and uses

Thermotherapy, or heat therapy, is a form of relief used by applying heat to a particular area of the body. It is best used for conditions such as muscle pain, stiffness from stress and chronic pain. By increasing the temperature of a particular area you are increasing blood flow and improving flexibility, and it is best used prior to physical activity involving the muscle.

Heat therapy should never be used after physical activity and should never be used on open wounds or inflamed areas. Heat therapy is most useful when applied for longer periods of time, around 15 to 20 minutes,frequently throughout the day. Heat can be applied using heating pads, steamed towels, saunas or warm baths.

Cryotherapy: benefits and uses

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy, provides relief from injuries where the body is experiencing inflammation, redness, heat and swelling. An example of a good situation where cryotherapy is useful is for pulled muscles or IT band syndrome. By increasing the temperature of a particular area, you help calm down superficial tissue that is swollen, stop bleeding and reduce pain. Cold therapy is best applied immediately after an injury and within the first two days.

Cold therapy should not be applied directly on the skin. It is best to cover an ice pack with a towel in order to avoid damaging the skin. Cold should be avoided if you have stiff muscles, joints, or poor circulation. People commonly mistake lower back and neck pain symptoms and applied cold, but applying cold to trigger points can increase pain. Cold therapy is best applied for short periods of time, around 10 to 15 minutes, several times a day.

Bottom line:

Heat and cold therapy are used for very different reasons. The most important step to take before deciding which route to go is to analyze your symptoms and then decide what will work best for pain relief. In some cases, such as people with arthritis, both hot and cold therapy will help provide relief. Heat and cold are only quick ways to get relief from symptoms, if symptoms persist you should see your doctor for further direction.

Swimming Lessons and Physical Health

fdxcSwimming lessons offer a myriad of benefits when it comes to mental and physical health. Whether you’re an adult looking to take on a new hobby or searching for a good after-school activity for your kids, swimming lessons are one to consider. Have you ever wondered how swimming lessons can help you thrive and improve your health? Keep reading to find out!

Full-body workout: One of the top reasons why swimming is great for our health is that it offers a low impact full-body workout. Through regular practice, swimmers are actually able to develop and strengthen pretty much all of their muscles groups.

Anyone can practice: Swimming is versatile meaning there are many levels and styles of practice. This is wonderful due to the fact that anyone from young children to seniors can enjoy the health benefits. In fact, swimming is even safe for women during pregnancy. Although it is encouraged for children to start early, it is never too late to sign up for swimming classes or to pick it up as a hobby!

Improves cardiovascular health: Swimming is a form of cardio, and as mentioned before, it puts very little stress on the body because it is low-impact. With that being said, those who have joint issues or injuries and are looking for ways to keep up with their heart health should look into swimming.

It may help with injuries: Swimming is a great way for those with injuries to bounce back and recover. Swimming is sometimes used as a form of therapy, and those who have permanent issues such as joint issues can enjoy the benefits of being involved in physical activity without further injuring themselves.

It’s great for safety: Not only is swimming an excellent skill to have at all ages, but it also allows the ability to practice a sport that is less likely to cause injuries overall. Due to water buoyancy, our weight is reduced when we are swimming. Therefore, we are less likely to experience stress or injuries due to its low-impact nature.

It’s great for mental health: Swimming is a great physical exercise, but the benefits go well beyond that. One study found that swimmers perform great on aptitude tests and they also tend to be more coordinated. Children who practice swimming are more likely to be more advanced in areas such as reading, writing, and comprehension when compared to those who don’t swim. Swimming also boosts energy levels, helps with insomnia and aids in stress management due to the fact that it is a cardiovascular activity which releases endorphins. It is also considered a fun activity that keeps your mind active, happy and healthy!

Overall, swimming offers a great way to engage and tone the muscles and also keep your mind at its optimum. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never practiced it before, picking up swimming is something which can be done at any stage in life no matter your fitness level. So what are you waiting for? Whether you are looking to practice indoors or outdoors, with a team or solo, you can start enjoying the benefits of swimming today!

Prevent Childhood Obesity by Following These Tips!

821103205070159-repije0njbsvldkxb7lw_height640Whether you’re a new parent or not, one of the most important things to keep up with when raising a child is their health. Young children should be taught important life lessons such as proper hygiene and nutrition early in on in order for them to form healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

A common epidemic we face in our country today is childhood obesity. A lack of exercise, improper nutrition and too much time with technology can all contribute to the epidemic. While many schools and organizations teach young children healthy habits, it’s important to implement them at home as well. Turning meal and exercise time into delicious and fun activities will both motivate and help children to be interested in healthier habits!

When it comes to food, here are a few tips to begin implementing:

  • Swap foods for their healthier counter parts… opt for baked chicken nuggets instead of fried chicken fingers.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar consumption by eliminating artificially-sweetened beverages… encourage kids to drinks water or make natural fruit juices and smoothies together.
  • Increase the amount of veggies consumed… mac and cheese night? Try mixing in extra veggies.
  • Encourage kids to make healthier decisions by packing lunch together and purchasing fresh, healthier snack options such as fruit and nut butters or veggies and hummus.
  • Don’t just encourage children to “eat healthy,” spark up conversations and teach them about why and how eating healthy is important.

Physical activities to try:

  • Sign your children up for after school activities, whether it’s at the school itself or a local institution.
  • Allow them to explore the activities they are interested in whether they are sports, creative arts, cooking, etc.
  • Encourage play time with neighbors and peers.
  • Set an electronics or technology schedule to ensure they are not spending all of their time in front of screens.
  • Participate in activities together over the weekend by going to the beach, pool or even local parks to play sports.

Children who are obese have a higher chance of being teased by their peers, becoming obese as adults and developing other health conditions later on. Fortunately, all of this can be prevented by implemented healthier habits at an early age.

How to Train for a Half Marathon

821103205070157-dsjqsgnvftsgqgm3wuso_height640Training for marathons is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. Most of the time, the most important thing you need to reach that final stretch is the mental endurance to keep you going all the way to the finish line.

While many people enjoy everything between 5K’s to full marathons, it takes a lot of dedication. It’s important to have a plan in mind and give your body the proper amount of time to train, prepare and most importantly rest. The following are a few tips you can follow in order to ensure your best performance when running a half marathon.

Plan ahead: determine your level of strength and endurance when it comes to running and decide from there. If you fall into the beginner category you will need more time to train than someone who already runs a few times a week and has participated in half marathons in the past. Map out your weekly and monthly running schedule a few months ahead. Preparing well in advance leaves room for sick days or any injuries that may require rest days.

Cross train: once you have your running schedule set, remember to add in cross training. Cross-training benefits runners by strengthening the legs (which makes for a  better runner). Examples of cross training include short distance runs, long distance runs, and other forms of cardio such as cycling or the stairmaster.

Include recovery days: Long runs should be done about once a week with your longest run leading up to race day. With that in mind, remember to give yourself recovery days in between long runs and proper sleep in order to avoid over-exerting yourself and risking injuries.

Fuel your body the proper way: as with all forms of physical training, nutrition is a fundamental part of achieving your ultimate goal. A lack of proper nutrition can lead to exhaustion and decrease performance, the opposite of what we want when we work toward reaching a goal such as completing a half marathon. The majority of your meals should include complex carbs followed by unsaturated fats and protein. Map out a meal plan that meets your specific needs according to your body type and training schedule.
Wear proper gear: the best way to be prepared for race day is to train with the proper gear in the months leading up. Practice your runs using the same shoes you will be using on the day of the half marathon, wear comfortable clothing and socks that won’t slow you down, and headphones that will stay put. The last thing you want are unnecessary distractions. The best way to be prepared is by testing what you will be wearing on the day of the race throughout your training period.

Follow These Tips to Prevent Premature Aging of the Skin

hgWhether we like it or not, we all experience aging of the skin. As we get older the skin loses its natural elasticity and begins to feel drier than it once did. Unfortunately, this is a natural human process that can’t be stopped. The exact timing of aging skin varies from person to person depending on their genetics, but the good news is that there are a number of ways to prevent it from occurring prematurely. Use the following tips to care for your skin and maintain a youthful glow for as long as possible!

First and foremost, protect your skin from the sun. You’ve probably heard this before, but we’ll emphasize it once again. The change in color you experience from tanning is actually the damage caused by the sun’s harmful UV rays. Although a little color here and there looks nice, many people tend to overdo it without thinking about the negative repercussions this will have in the future. Opt for natural self-tanners instead and wear sunscreen daily (rain or shine) to protect your skin and keep it at its optimum state.

Collagen, the main structural protein found in the skin, is what keeps our skin looking tight, plump, and youthful. The natural levels of collagen begin to decline in our mid-20’s, but eating a well-balanced diet can help maintain these levels in your system. Many foods such as leafy greens and fish contain collagen and many vitamins and minerals that help give your skin a youthful glow.

Smoking, excessive drinking, and lack of sleep are all bad habits that contribute to premature aging of the skin. Avoiding unhealthy habits such as these are a sure way to keep your skin healthy. Instead, get your sweat on and drink plenty of water throughout the day. These healthy habits are known to benefit your skin by improving circulation and keeping your skin hydrated rather than looking dry, dull, and tired.

Establish a daily skincare routine. Maintaining a regime with products that benefit your skin-type can make a huge difference in how you look and feel. Make sure to moisturize and keep up with your routine daily and you will thank yourself in the long-run. The best time to moisturize the body is right after the shower as it will best absorb the products you use. And as a helpful tip, don’t forget about your hands, neck, and decolletage when you follow your routine every morning and evening.

And finally, pick and choose the right products that work for your needs. Some people have dry skin, while others have oily, combination, or mature skin. Read labels and opt for products that have good-for-you ingredients and less harmful chemicals. Nowadays there are many options for clean skincare that will benefit your skin, and it doesn’t have to be expensive! Natural oils, such as Jojoba oil, are full of nutrients that will feed your complexion and help maintain it’s glow.

How Are Dogs Beneficial to Mental Health?

dogFor centuries, dogs have been known to be domestic human companions. More than any other animal in the world, they have evolved and adapted to humans in a way that sparks a deep emotional connection. Some even say that dogs have been able to pick up on traits similar to that of infants making them highly dependent on their human owners.

Whether someone is a “dog person” or not, there’s no denying that dogs and humans share a special bond. To add to this, recent studies show that owning a dog can also benefit a person’s mental health in a number of ways. The following are a few of the reasons why owning a dog can benefit your mental well-being:

Exercise: Dogs require a lot of exercise in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and live a longer life. Responsible dog owners know that every day at about the same time, those puppy eyes will creep up on you and require that you go outside and take your furry friend for their daily walk. Owning a dog requires that you go outside daily, whether it’s a run or a walk, and also encourages friendly play. This encourages an active lifestyle and increases the amount of exercise an owner gets on a weekly basis, all of which play a positive role when it comes to mental well-being.

Social: Many dog owners are known to be social people. Taking your dog for a walk or to the park means you will occasionally run into neighborhood friends who want to play or curious people who want to pet your adorable companion and maybe even learn more about their breed. Dogs encourage owners to speak to people they come across, meet new people, and keep up with friends. This benefit can last well into a person’s later years in life when feelings of loneliness tend to be more common as a pet’s companionship seems to ease symptoms of depression or isolation.

Responsibility and routine: Dogs are creatures of habit, and if you own one you know this to be true. Owning a dog means establishing a feeding and walking routine. A dog’s internal clock will mark the time when they are hungry or need to relieve themselves and they will be sure to remind you. This can come with great benefits to those looking to establish a daily routine, and it can also benefit young children as it will teach them responsibility at an early age, all of which make for a more positive and healthier mind.


Provide comfort and make you smile: Pets are not critical. By literally always being there for their owners, dogs can lend an ear and be there to comfort humans when they notice they are feeling down. They also provide mental and physical peace simply by being next to humans and allowing them to pet them. They can even teach us a thing or two about being mindful by reminding us that there is no need to think ahead or look behind, but rather appreciate what’s right in front of you. All of these things are a gateway to stress relief and making humans feel happier overall. This companionship brings a sense of ease and a smile to our face which leads to long-term mental benefits.

Do You Have an Exercise Addiction?

weightsExercise, like many other things, is best done in moderation and at an appropriate level depending on your age and health condition. The majority of people enjoy a regular amount of exercise while others, like athletes or professional trainers, may have a habit of hitting the gym more frequently.

Although there are some professionals that require more frequent exercise than others, exercise addiction is a very real issue that needs to be addressed.

What is exercise addiction?

Exercise addiction is defined as a form of over-exercising that may cause a person to continually workout to the point of pain or exhaustion. Unfortunately, exercise addiction is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), making it difficult for people to receive proper diagnosis and treatment options.

People who suffer from an exercise addiction typically have an obsession with fitness, withdraw themselves from social activities in order to work out and take part in physical activities and workout multiple times throughout the course of the day on a daily basis. This is due to the fact that exercising releases endorphins, making the person feel rewarded and happy at the end of their workout session.

Who is at risk?

Those who have body image issues have an increased likelihood of suffering from an exercise addiction due to feeling pressured to look good or stay in shape. People who have dealt with past addictions or already show signs of addictive behavior may also have a higher risk.

Common symptoms of exercise addiction are similar to those of common addictions like drugs and smoking such as:

  • Obsessive behavior
  • Engaging in the behavior continually, even if it causes physical pain
  • Continuing to take part in the behavior despite wanting to quit
  • Secretly engaging in the behavior

What are the treatment options?

People who suffer from addictive behavior such as exercise addiction may have a hard time acknowledging that there is a problem. Self-control is vital to treating an exercise addiction and needed in order to take the necessary steps to stop it. Logging your daily routine to help you become more mindful of your habits and avoiding excessive trips to the gym may help. Unfortunately, sometimes this is not enough. If you or someone you know needs professional help, do not hesitate to seek it. You are only a step away from leading a healthier mental and physical lifestyle.

Upcoming Hospital Stay? Here’s How to Prepare

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Hospital stays are not typically something we look forward to, but depending on your circumstances there are many ways to make the entire experience easier. Being well prepared can truly go a long way when you have an upcoming trip to the hospital. Additionally, knowing and following general safety guidelines can reduce the risk of preventable accidents and human error.

How to prepare:

  • Make sure you pick the right hospital for your condition by doing research beforehand.
  • Bring any medications and supplements you are currently taking for your care team to review.
  • Make sure you know and provide the names of all medications you are currently taking (generic and brand names). Also be prepared to provide the names of medications you are allergic to.
  • Bring a family member or trusted friend who will be there to keep you company or help as needed. They are a positive reinforcement and an essential part of your care team.

Safety tips to follow:

  • Get to know your care team and ask them questions about any concerns that may arise.
  • Observe and try to remember the medication you are given, if you see that any of them changed, be sure to ask prior to taking them to help minimize medical error.
  • Let someone know if you experience pain in order to get checked and catch any potential issues on time.
  • Never try to get up on your own, asking for assistance can help decrease the risk of injury or death from hospital falls (which are more common than you might think).
  • Make a list of your medications and corresponding dates in which they are to be taken. Make sure a family or friend is in the loop so they can help whenever it’s necessary.

What to pack:

This may vary from patient to patient depending on the medical circumstances and what activities can be performed.

  • Necessary documents and paperwork needed for your stay.
  • Comfortable clothes that are easy to change into.
  • Toiletries.
  • Personal items such as photos that bring back positive memories.
  • A comfortable pillow.
  • Items to stay distracted such as books, magazines, a craft project, and if allowed, electronics for music and entertainment.

Hospital stays are never easy. Whether it’s you or a family member, following simple measures may help you feel more prepared and instead focus your energy on recovering!