Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to many conditions. But a little time in the sun can help you get enough of this essential nutrient. Find out when the sun is right for vitamin D production—and when you might need to supplement your intake.
Entries tagged with: outdoor safety
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You may think the air quality index on the local weather forecast is meant only for people with heart and lung problems. Here's why everyone should pay attention.
When it comes to seasons, I'm more of a spring and fall guy. I don't like extreme cold or heat and I'm not partial to wintery snow or summer's mosquitoes. But if you like to exercise outdoors, you really can't beat summer for its long light, consistent weather and abundance of activities.
Plus, it's the perfect season to change up your routine and work out some new muscles. Here are 5 ways to celebrate summer through exercise:
Sign up for a run ... walk or ride. Research shows that when people set a goal like taking part in an organized run, walk or bicycle ride, they stick to their exercise routine better. Although marathons are traditionally run in spring and fall, shorter runs, walks and rides abound during the summer.
Get out of the pool ... and into a lake, river or ocean. I love swimming, but I hate doing laps. I prefer swimming loops in a lake. Summer is the perfect time to move out of an indoor pool and into a body of water. Just remember swimming in open water can be more dangerous than swimming at your local pool. Be aware of your surroundings and know your limitations.
Play kickball ... or badminton. Most major cities have adult kickball leagues. You'll be surprised at how many calories a child's game can burn. Or play badminton with your family. Chasing a shuttlecock for 45 minutes will burn 230 calories.
Take a hike ... at a National Park. There are more than 360 national parks, many with easily accessible hiking trails, so chances are good you live near one. They're an inexpensive way to spend a day burning calories and enjoying natural and historical sites. You can enter any national park for free June 21, the first day of summer. Just remember to pack sunscreen and bug repellent.
Pick up a racquet ... or a baseball bat. It's no surprise that all four tennis majors take place in the summer (technically, it's summer down under when the Australian Open takes place). And you don't have to be Rafael Nadal to have a good time or burn some calories. Or join a baseball or softball league and take part in the national pastime.
Tornadoes can hit anywhere–and any time. Here's what you need to do when you hear a warning.
Meteorologists don't just predict thunderstorms and sunny days. They can actually predict allergies. Find out how they do it.
The same weather that makes us shiver or sweat can ravage our body's largest organ, the skin. Learn how to protect your skin from the weather no matter what the forecast says.
Bad air day? Find out why you might want to exercise inside on days when the air quality is poor.
As the days grow short, you may be tempted to skip your outdoor workout because of the dark. But you can still walk, run or bike if you follow a few safety tips:
Stick to well-lit routes. This will help you see obstacles like potholes and help motorists see you.
Wear light-colored, reflective clothing.
Carry a flashlight or make sure your bicycle is equipped with a light.
Leave your music at home. Because it's harder to see, make sure you can use all your other senses.
Run or walk in groups. There is safety in numbers.
Related Links:No time to exercise? Sneak in 60 minutes a day with these moves.
Not every race or run is a personal best. Here's what you can learn from a bad race.
Until recently, you wouldn't have known it was fall in much of the country. Sure, the calendar had changed, but the temperatures were still hovering in the 90s along the East Coast and in the Midwest. The only signs of the season: Football and sneezing. That's right, the ragweed wrath is upon us.
Although many people associate spring with allergies, fall wreaks havoc in many households. Ragweed, a yellow-flowering weed that begins blooming in August, in particular is a major nasal offender. A single plant, which grows in the East and Midwest, can produce up to one billion pollen grains. And three-fourths of Americans are allergic to those grains, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of American.
Mold spores from decaying leaves and grasses are another common fall allergy trigger. (Find out how to spot and remove mold in your house.)
And for people firing up dormant heaters, dust mites can be a real bear. (Learn how to improve your indoor air quality.)
But just because mold spores, ragweed pollen and dust mites cause you to sniffle, doesn't mean you have to suffer. Here are six things you can do to make managing your allergies easier:
• Cut down on your exposure. If ragweed pollen is really wafting in the outdoor air, stay inside and limit your outdoor activities to times of the day when the pollen count is at its lowest. Sites like Pollen.com can help you determine how much pollen is floating in your air and when to go outside.
• When you have to go outside, take off your shoes before you come back in. That way you won't track pollen all over the house. You may want to change the outer layer of your clothes and take a shower, too.
• Leave the pets outside in their fur. If you let them inside, keep them off the furniture to cut down on allergies.
• Use your heating and air conditioning system instead of opening windows. That breeze may feel good, but an open window is an avenue into your home for mold spores and pollen.
• Change your filters. Any dust or pollen left in your heating ducts will just get stirred up when you crank up your furnace. A new set of filters should help cut down on recirculated allergens.
• Develop an allergy management plan. See your doctor and plan for the season. Your physician should be able to direct you to the right prescription or over-the-counter drugs to manage your allergies.
Here's what we're reading this week at Everwell:
Are We Swimming in Chemicals?
What's swimming in the pool with you this summer? Perhaps a dangerous concoction of chemicals that occur when chlorine mixes with sweat and urine. Before you take a dip, consider what environmental engineer Ernest R. Blatchley III told NPR's Science Friday.
"Best Place to Live" Also Among Healthiest
What does it take to top Money magazine's Best Places to Live ranking? Eden Prairie, Minnesota has jobs and a family-friendly community. But the magazine also gave a shout out to the town's healthy features like 17 lakes, gently rolling hills, year-round swimming and ice skating--and its "125 miles of running, hiking, and biking trails."
Waiter: There's a Food-Borne Illness in My Salsa
New data from the Centers for Disease Control has indicted one of America's favorite appetizers: Salsa. Apparently 1 in 25 food-borne illnesses are caused by salsa or guacamole.
ED Drug Takers Have Higher Rates of STDs
Men on erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra maybe having more unsafe sex than men who don't take the drugs, according to a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. They're at an especially higher risk for contracting HIV and chlamydia, reports the New York Times.
Fireworks. Backyard barbecues. A day at the beach or lake. Nothing says summer quite like July 4. But each year thousands of Americans end up spending part of the holiday in the emergency room thanks to avoidable injuries. This is especially true of small children, for whom July 4 is the most dangerous U.S. holiday.
Whether you're lighting sparklers or grilling brisket, here's how to have a safe Independence Day:
1. Don't let your kids play with or ignite fireworks. Children and young adults account for 58 percent of injuries from fireworks every year. Get more firework safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
2. Wear a life jacket. If you're going to be on the water over the July 4 weekend, wear your lifejacket. More than two-thirds of victims in fatal boating accidents drowned; 90 percent of those weren't wearing a life jacket. Most drowning victims were in boats smaller than 21 feet. Get more safe boating tips (.pdf) from the National Safe Boating Council.
3. Protect your head. Surprisingly, most injuries to children on July 4 are linked not to holiday fireworks, but to everyday activities like riding bicycles or playing sports, according to one recent study in Pediatrics. That's why it's important to observe safety rules every day -- including holidays.
4. Grill safely. Even if you're master of the grill, you may still get burned if you don't follow these simple grilling safety steps.
5. Beat the heat. And the bugs. If your July 4 activities take you outside, remember to stay hydrated, apply sunscreen and wear the right clothing. Plus keep a first aid kit on hand. Here's what it should include.
6. Lay off the alcohol. Alcohol consumption is the biggest contributor to fatal boat and auto accidents. And you should never drink and handle fireworks. It's a recipe for disaster.Crazy 4th of July Injuries (and How to Prevent Them)
By the first week of spring, our Alabama farm has turned yellow on its way to turning green. Pollen showers us from every water oak, dogwood and cedar tree. It coats the cars, the porch, the patio furniture even the black labrador retriever. And it causes coughing, itching, runny eyes and noses, and general discomfort to every member of our family, including the dog.
The sad thing about tree pollen which is where much of the yellow stuff comes from in spring is it starts early and keeps coming. If you're allergic, it can make for some real misery. But there are steps you can take to limit your exposure.
First, leave your shoes outside. A surprising number of outdoor allergens become indoor allergens when they hitch a ride on your shoes. Leave them outside your door or in a mud room or entry hall so that you won't track pollen and spores onto your carpet and into your bedroom.
Or establish a home entry system that captures allergens[PDF] like the one outlined by the University of Georgia. (Here's handyman Jay Baker on how to eliminate more allergens from your house).
It's also not a bad idea to put your outer shell of clothing in the wash as soon as possible, especially if those little flakes on your shoulder are actually yellow.
Give the dog a bath. If your pets come in and out of the house, you may need to bathe them more regularly. Our normally black lab won't set foot in our house during pollen season without a serious hose down. And while they may be cuddly, letting your pets up on the furniture or bed just spreads pollen (and pet dander) to the places you frequent the most. If your four-legged friend is a feline, limit her exposure to the outdoors or give her a bath, too. (Here's how to safely wash your cat.)
Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. That which doesn't enter your home on your pets or your shoes and clothes, often still finds a way in. Allergy specialists recommend you vacuum at least once a week and use a vacuum with a HEPA filtera high efficiency filter that catches some of the smallest allergens.
Which vacuum works the best? Check out Consumer Reports vacuum cleaner reviews.
Keep your windows closed and your air conditioner on. After weeks of winter, this may sound like a bummer, but if you open your windows, pollen will blow in on that fresh breeze. Plus, your home's HVAC system if it's equipped with top notch HEPA filters can trap pollen out of the air it recycles. If you want to take it one step further, consider buying an air cleaner. They've been shown to improve allergy symptoms.
Keep an eye on the weather. Your local weatherman probably hasn't interrupted your favorite show for an update on the pollen countyet. More and more spring and summer weather reports are just as focused on pollen counts as thunderstorm warnings. And for good reasons. High pollen count can cause allergy sufferers greater misery. What makes up a pollen count? It's how many grains of plant pollen were measured in a set space. You can find the pollen count in your area by tuning into your local weathermen or by going to sites like Pollen.com and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
When you hear thunder, do you know what to do? Weatherman Flip Spiceland shows you the safest places to go when lightning strikes.
Clothes are an underused way to shield your skin from the sun's UV radiation. Here's what to look for in the storeand in your closet.
Concerts, iPods, and lawnmowers can take a toll on your hearing. Here’s how to prevent hearing loss before it starts.
Why are mosquito bites so itchy? See if this question can stump Dr. Charlotte Grayson.
Thousands of children end up in emergency rooms each year thanks to poorly set up and maintained playground equipment. Here's how to keep your home playset safe for your kids.