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9 Tips for Exercising Outdoors

Living in South Florida, it’s always nice to take advantage of the sunshine and beautiful scenery. There’s nothing better than a cool breeze during an intense workout, like a run on the beach by the ocean. But are you exercising responsibly under the hot sun? Here are just a few tips for working up a sweat in the blazing heat.

1. Wear Sunscreen

It isn’t just for an afternoon at the beach. If you plan on spending any substantial length of time outdoors, put on sunscreen before you do. Make sure you choose a brand that provides UVA and UVB protection. Even if it’s cloudy outside, lather it on!

2. Choose Your Socks Carefully

Most exercise requires your feet, so if your sweaty socks are giving you infections, irritations or injuries, you might wind up sidelined while your feet heal. To avoid this fate, buy socks in light, breathable fabrics.

3. Eat Complex Carbs

Complex carbs work on a slow-release system. If you eat them the night before you work out in the sun, you’ll start converting them into energy the next day while you’re actually outdoors. It’s never okay to skip a meal, especially when you’ll be burning calories!

4. Take Your Vitamins

Vitamins C and E will help protect you from the effects of the sun. They can also take some of the sting out of your sunburn if you weren’t quite quick enough to grab them from your medicine cabinet. It’s good to stock up on aloe vera or an aloe vera gel just in case you get a little burn. Aloe is very soothing!

5. Watch Your Colors

You might already know that black clothing absorbs sunlight, but were you aware that any colored fabric can be a beacon for the sun? To avoid the worst of its heat, wear white. And keep it loose and light – or opt for clothing items that have SPF in the fabric!

6. Protect Your Scalp

Skin cancer can develop anywhere, including the small exposed sections of your scalp. For the best protection, wear a hat outdoors; if your sport or exercise routine won’t allow it, consider wearing your hair another way.

7. Take a Day Off

Heat stress can build up over time. If you exercised in blazing weather yesterday, you’re more at risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion than someone who didn’t. Remember to take breaks and allow your body to fully recover from the heat.

8. Mind Your Allergies

Stuffy noses and watery eyes aren’t conducive to a good workout. If you have a problem with pollen, start taking antihistamines before you hit the park. Give them time to work through your system before you expose yourself to allergens.

9. Stay Hydrated

We can’t stress this one enough! Last but certainly not least, always have a supply of fresh water when you exercise outdoors. Not only will it keep you from overheating in the sun, but it will also keep you performing at your strongest, fastest and most limber. Drink water before, during AND after your workout!

These are just a few tips for exercising outdoors. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to exercise on the green grass or sandy beach under a cloudless sky, but make sure you take precautions so you won’t regret your decision tomorrow!

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The Dirty Dozen

One thing that most of us have in common is the desire to live a long & healthy life. Part of reaching that goal includes getting adequate amounts of rest, exercise, fresh air and eating a healthy diet. Our diet is a large part of who we are and really contributes to our current state of health. So what should a healthy diet include? Food from the seven food groups of course, but especially fruits and veggies.

Have you heard the term “Dirty Dozen” buzzing around lately online and in the news? Many people will argue the point that organic produce is costly and when compared to non organic produce, it is all the same. But this is far from the truth. There is actually a list of fruits and veggies known as the Dirty Dozen that we must all look out for. Why? When it comes to non organic produce, there are many pesticides used in the farming process, to kill insects and protect the produce. Although these pesticides are successful at doing that, these from the dirty dozen are the fruits and veggies that are the most contaminated. Some of the pesticide residue still remains even after washing and peeling in some cases.

The fruits and veggies on the dirty dozen list include: Peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, celery, strawberries, cherries, spinach, imported grapes, lettuce, potatoes and pears.

What does this mean in terms of health? While eating fruits and veggies do help us remain healthy, eating those from the dirty dozen may actually contribute to a few medical problems. Pesticide residue is ingested when we eat this produce and has been shown to cause certain types of cancer, disrupt reproductive function and affect the endocrine system. In addition to these medical issues, heavy toxicity from these pesticides have also been shown to cause birth defects and neurological problems in unborn children.

If you simply cannot afford organic, you may avoid the dirty dozen altogether and buy certain fruits and veggies that are non-organic, but safe from pesticides. These fruits and veggies have very little to none in terms of pesticide residue, or their outer skins are so tough, this prevents any pesticides from touching their edible parts. These include: eggplant, avocado, asparagus, mango, pineapples, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, sweet potatoes, watermelon, cauliflower and cantaloupe. In the end, making even moderate changes to our diet can make a world of difference in overall health and longevity. We are truly what we eat!

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How to Beat Spring Allergies

Allergies are one of the most common medical problems that people experience, especially here in South Florida! In fact, it is estimated that 30 to 60 million people in America suffer from springtime allergies. Mold, pollen and dust mites are some of the most common springtime allergens. There are many things you can do to fight allergies and improve your overall health. Below is a list of ways to beat spring time allergies:

Limit your time outside:

Allergies are often triggered when one breathes pollen from the air into their lungs. That is why one of the best things you can do to beat spring allergies is to limit your time outside. Keep in mind that pollen counts are typically highest during the early morning hours so maybe wait until the afternoon to venture out.

Allergy medication:

There are a variety of medications that can be used to manage allergy symptoms. Talk to your medical professional about the medications that are right for you to use. Antihistamines are examples of medications that can be used to reduce allergy symptoms. They work by blocking the body’s responses to allergens. They can work very quickly. In fact, some antihistamines can work in less than an hour.

Allergy shots are often recommended by health care professionals. Every shot contains a small amount of the allergen. Exposure to the allergen helps your body build up a resistance to it. Most people need to get an allergy shot every month. Allergy shots typically have to be used for three to five years.

Take a hot shower:

Taking a hot shower can help reduce allergy symptoms. The steam will help clear out your sinuses. It is best to take a hot shower after you have been outside.

Eat a healthy diet:

A healthy diet can help you fight allergy symptoms – it’s great for your overall health! In fact, studies have shown that people who fill their diets with fruits and vegetables are less likely to experience allergy symptoms. Researchers do not know the exact link between diet and allergies. However, they do know that a healthy diet helps boost your immune system.

Increase your fluid intake:

Fluids can help thin out your mucus. That is why increasing your fluid intake can be beneficial. Not only should you drink water, but you should also consider drinking hot fluids, such as broths and teas. Amp up your fluid intake and your body will thank you!

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Staying Healthy During Spring Break

Spring break is a fun and memorable time for most people. Whether you are jet-setting to a foreign tropical island or having your own “staycation” here in South Florida, it’s important for you to take care of your health while on Spring Break. Taking care of your health will ensure that you get the most out of your vacation from work and/or school. Below is a list of tips for staying healthy during your break:

Stay hydrated:
You should keep a water bottle with you at all times. Being out in the sun all day can really increase your risk of getting dehydrated. Additionally, if you are drinking alcohol, then you are at an even greater risk for getting dehydrated even faster. Experts recommend drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day. This is equivalent to a half a gallon of water. Keep in mind that it is possible for you to be dehydrated without even feeling thirsty.

Stay active:
Spring break is a great time to get and stay active. Try to get at least 2.5 hours of exercise in per week – that’s just 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Swimming, volleyball, dancing and walking are some of the ways that you can get exercise in your day while enjoying the beautiful springtime weather outdoors!

Wear sunscreen & a hat:
If you will be out in the sun, then it is important to put on sunscreen and a hat! We discussed how to prevent skin cancer in our previous blog post and it’s so important while on Spring Break! You should apply the sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outside and reapply sunscreen every two hours or if you go swimming.

Pack healthy snacks:
Any hotel is going to have a minibar full of indulgent temptations. Resist temptation by packing your own snacks! Nuts and unsweetened dried fruit are portable and nutritious snacks that will help you stay on track during your vacation. Of course we all need to indulge every once in awhile, but seven days in a row will definitely make an impact!

Dry off:
When possible, try to always wear dry clothing. It’s not great for our health to sit around in wet bathing suits. If you’re done with the pool or beach for the day, change into a dry outfit rather than sit around in your wet bathing suit to prevent a possible cold.

We hope you all enjoy your Spring Break!

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Easy Ways To Prevent Skin Cancer

Living in South Florida is like living in paradise. However, many Americans are at a high risk for skin cancer, and the sunshine state can be a dangerous place if you aren’t careful. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and there are many different types. From Melanoma to Lymphoma, skin cancer affects thousands of Americans every year. The main cause of skin cancer is over exposure to direct sunlight. This may be hard to accept for those living in South Florida, but it is important to protect your health as best you can. Here are some ways you can alter your lifestyle to avoid developing skin cancer in the future.

Appreciate the shade

The hours between 9 AM and 5 PM are considered the most dangerous. This is when the sun is strongest, which means your chances of overexposure are high. The closer you get to midday, the greater your risk will be. Seek shade whenever spending long hours in the outdoors. At the beach, use an umbrella to shield yourself from the sun’s rays.

Do not use tanning beds 

Many living in South Florida like to have a good tan before they start going to the beach. A slight tan is fine, as long as it is natural. Tanning beds are death traps when it comes to skin cancer. In fact, over tanning naturally is just as dangerous. If you feel you need to tan, keep it light and wear sunscreen. Any medical professional will tell you that a dark tan is not worth the risk.

Sunscreen and clothing are crucial

If you cannot avoid direct sunlight for hours every day, you should be using sunscreen that is about 15 SPF. Also wear long sleeve shirts and long pants. This is not popular advice in South Florida, but a long sleeve shirt is the best way to protect your skin when outdoors. There are even shirts designed with SPF within the fabric. Such shirts can be purchased at most dive or surf shops.

Regular checkups with your doctor are important

If you live in South Florida, you are at a higher risk of skin cancer than most other Americans. You should schedule a routine checkup at least once a year. More if you fear you may be at risk or find any unusual new spots on your body.

Skin cancer is no joke. It is responsible for many lives, but most cases could have been prevented with the proper attention and care. It is never too late to start a healthier life!

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Staying Healthy While Traveling

It always seems to be travel season down in sunny South Florida! Traveling is not only sometimes necessary for business, but a great way to vacation and see the great big world abroad. However, when most people travel, they neglect their health. While traveling we sometimes don’t exercise enough or eat properly, and don’t take proper precautions to avoid infectious diseases that can easily be avoided. Several things can be done to protect the health of travelers. This article is going to cover the top ways to stay healthy while traveling!

Avoid Jet Lag

Jet lag is a disruption of your body’s internal clock that results from quickly traveling into a different time zone. There are several factors that make jet lag worse such as early or late flights. Getting up earlier than normal or getting up late at night to catch a flight can impact your sleep cycle alone. But when it combines with jet lag, the problem becomes worse.

To combat the effects of jet lag, avoid caffeine or alcohol and drink plenty of water. Caffeine and alcohol will further disrupt your sleep cycle, especially since they’re dehydrating. Don’t eat any heavy or salty meals right before a flight, even the night before can impact your trip. Drinking water and staying hydrated will help maintain your energy level. It will also fight the symptoms of jet lag, such as fatigue, headache, and dizziness.

Make Healthy Food Choices

Packing your own snacks and/or making healthy food choices abroad is a great way to stay in your best condition when traveling. Protein bars, nuts, and granola are great to bring on trips – as long as your airline or destination allows them. They will not spoil and they provide vital nutrients for our wellness. Try to avoid fast food restaurants as much as possible, as those meals aren’t filled with the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy!

Protect Against Disease

Airports, airplanes, and hotels are ideal places for germs and infections to spread, and this can present a medical hazard. It is important to take steps to reduce the odds of getting sick while at an airport and on the airplane. Getting a flu shot and taking vitamins is a great way to boost the immune system. A healthy immune system is more likely to fight off infections and reduce the odds of disease. Using hand sanitizer is another great way to stay safe as well as staying hydrated.

Stay Fit

Staying fit while traveling can be a challenge. Many people find it difficult to keep up with their regular workout routine while they’re away from home. However, there are several ways to overcome this. Getting a universal gym membership is one method. Universal gym memberships have locations in most major cities. Travelers can also choose to stay at a hotel that has a gym on the premises. However, it is important that travelers call ahead to find out what equipment the gym has. A walk outdoors is another great option and a great way to see the sights!

It’s easy to stay healthy while traveling if you take the necessary precautions! Safe travels, everyone!

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Foods That Provide Hydration

Living in Florida, hydration is very important! Adequate hydration is a key factor in your maintaining your overall health and well-being. Staying properly hydrated is essential for your body to regularly perform important functions such as: regulating your body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Although the consumption of water or other liquids on a daily basis is an essential part of staying hydrated, there are multiple foods that you can incorporate into your everyday routine to increase your water intake.

Eating the USDA recommended amount of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis will assist you in providing enough water intake for your body. The foods listed below have a high water content, and contain: fiber, vitamin C, electrolytes, potassium, magnesium, and numerous other essential nutrients. Sufficient nutrient intake can help prevent common medical ailments such as headache, fatigue, and dizziness.

Fruits and Their Water Content
Cucumbers : 96.7%
Watermelon: 91.5%
Oranges: 87%
Cantaloupe: 90.2%
Strawberries: 91.0%
Grapefruit: 90.5%
Tomatoes: 94.5%

Vegetables and Their Water Content
Broccoli: 90.7%
Cabbage: 95%
Sweet Peppers: 93.9%
Celery: 95.4
Spinach: 92%
Iceberg Lettuce: 95.6%
Radishes: 95.3%
Zucchini: 95%

By incorporating fruits and vegetables with a high water content into your diet, and regularly consuming water, you are helping your body to work better for you. If you feel thirsty, you are already in the process of becoming dehydrated. Including high water content foods into your meals is a straightforward way to keep the entire family properly hydrated and healthy. More information about the recommended serving of fruit and vegetables per day is available through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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How to Sleep Better at Night

Sleep plays a vital role in your physical health, emotional well-being and overall quality of life. Yet medical reports show that one in three adults experience insomnia. Ongoing sleep deprivation impacts the way that our brains function and can even make us more at risk for certain chronic diseases. However, medical research has shown that there are numerous strategies that can greatly improve our sleep quality!

Exercise:
Daily exercise can help us sleep better. Researchers determined that adults who exercise for 30 minutes at least three to four times per week sleep on average, nearly 45 minutes to an hour longer than adults who do not exercise regularly. In addition to an improvement in sleep quality, people also feel more alert during the day. Although, it’s important not to exercise right before bed because this could actually keep you awake rather than helping you sleep!

Get on a schedule:
Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day can reinforce your body’s sleep-wake cycle and improve sleep quality. Erratic sleep schedules can leave you feeling groggy during the day since it impacts your body’s biological clock. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a consistent sleep pattern on workdays, weekends and holidays – no matter how badly you might want to sleep in!

Limit caffeine and alcohol intake:
Caffeine, a common stimulant in coffee, chocolate, sodas and tea, causes hyperactivity and sleeplessness. Try to avoid consuming caffeine after lunchtime. Additionally, health experts also claim that tyrosine-rich foods like fermented cheeses, avocados, some types of beer and red wine can worsen sleep quality. While some studies show that moderate alcohol might help you fall asleep, it actually contributes to sleep disturbances and frequent early awakening.

Manage stress:
Stress often contributes to insomnia by making it difficult fall asleep and stay asleep. The right amount of stress can help keep us alert and energetic during the day. Too much stress can make us anxious and tense, making it difficult to stop our racing minds when trying to fall asleep. It sends our brains into overdrive and can create a vicious cycle of insomnia. If you have a stressful job or find it difficult to turn off your mind at night, it may be beneficial to incorporate a stress management program into your daily routine.

Unplug:
Recent studies show just how much the white light from our smartphones, laptops, and televisions impact our sleep. Try to unplug and read a book instead an hour before you wish to fall asleep. This might take away some of your stress too!

Sleep is vital to our health – physical and mental! Get the rest your body needs by following our tips!

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How to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

Sickness can be difficult to avoid during the winter months, even in South Florida. Germs are easily passed from person to person and studies have shown that cold weather can weaken the immune system. The good news is that there are many ways you can protect your health during cold and flu season! Below is a list of tips that will be helpful this season:

Get a Flu Shot

One of the best things you can do in order to protect your health during the winter months is to get a flu shot. A flu shot can cut your risk of developing the flu by up to 70%.

Follow a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet helps support your immune system. If you have a strong immune system, then you are much less likely to develop the cold or flu! Vitamin C is one of the nutrients that helps support a healthy immune system. You can find vitamin C in green peppers, citrus fruits and broccoli.

Vitamin E is another one of the nutrients that supports a healthy immune system. You can find vitamin E in nuts, sunflower seeds and corn oils. Additionally, you should limit the amount of sugar you take in. Sugar has a tendency to suppress the immune system, as well as many other negative effects.

Wash Your Hands

Washing our hands frequently is one of the best practices in reducing the risk of getting sick. In order for you to kill bacteria and viruses on your hands, you will need to wash them in warm water for at least 20 seconds. You can keep hand sanitizer with you at all times just in case you do not have access to soap or water.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

The importance of a good night’s sleep is often overlooked. However, it is one of the best things you can do to keep yourself healthy during cold and flu season. A lack of sleep can impair your immune system, which can put you at a greater risk for getting sick. Medical experts recommend getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise helps reduce stress. Stress can impair immune system functioning. There have also been studies done to show that regular exercise can decrease one’s chances of getting the cold or flu.

Reduce your chances of catching a cold or the dreaded flu this season by following our tips! We aim to keep you healthy and in your best shape.

Flip Flops & Bow Ties Gala Weekend

The upcoming 2016 Gala Weekend will be held at the famous PGA National Resort & Spa just two weeks prior to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic. This year’s event will honor our U.S. Veterans of the Armed Forces, with all proceeds going to our research collaboration with RAND Corporation and the National Association of Veteran Serving Organizations.

View more information on the North American Spine Foundation website here.

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