Summer Sun Safety

An oldie but a goodie – this post was originally published on June 23rd, 2016.

Summer is here and that means spending more time doing the things we love, like going to the beach, swimming, and just generally being more active outdoors. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who can’t wait to get a nice summer tan, read on. Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States? This week we’re sharing some important information you need to know to be safe in the sun this summer.

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Yoga Primer: Health Benefits and How to Get Started!

June 21 was International Yoga Day, so today we’re sharing with you some health benefits of this increasingly popular form of relaxation and exercise. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the practice of yoga. First, yoga is not a religion, nor do you need to subscribe to any particular religion or be of any particular ethnic background to practice yoga and enjoy its benefits. Second, you do not need to be super-flexible or look like a supermodel to do yoga! The beauty of yoga is that you can start where you are, no matter what your fitness level. Let’s get started!

You can do yoga anywhere, anytime

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8 TED Talks to Improve your Wellness and Work-Life Balance

Improving your overall wellness and striking a good work-life balance are wonderful goals – they can help you be happier, healthier, and more successful! However, actually achieving what you consider to be a well and balanced life can be easier said than done. To inspire you and give you practical tips and tricks, we’ve rounded up a set of TED Talks from experts on wellness and work-life balance:

How to Gain Control of Your Free Time

In this talk, Laura Vanderkam discusses practical strategies to help us “build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”

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This Summer, Try Eating Seasonally

“Eating seasonally” has become a trendy thing and you’ll likely see this phrase on many magazine covers at the grocery store. But what does it really mean and why should you eat seasonally? Seasonal eating is just what it sounds like—eating foods that are in season, right now. Most of us are lucky enough to have access to big grocery stores with a wide variety of fruits and veggies available all year round. But we don’t often stop to think: Are these tomatoes actually in season? Especially when we can go to the store and get those tomatoes even in December, where most of the country is under a blanket of snow.

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Lyme Disease: Protect Yourself From This Summer Foe

Summer is right around the corner and that means lots of outdoor activities. If you’re planning some camping trips this summer, or just enjoying the longer days by being outside more, there is something you need to prepare for that you might not have considered: ticks! Yes, those nasty little arachnids that love to hang out in central Florida, also love to infect humans with Lyme Disease. Read on to learn how to protect yourself from this infection.

Protect yourself from ticks this summer!

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The Best Apps for Managing Stress

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. In the short-term, low level stress can help us focus and improve our performance. It can give us the boost we need to finish a big project or make an important decision. However, I think we can all agree when we say that an overabundance of stress is the absolute worst.

First, a quick primer on stress: Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life.  When your brain perceives a threat (anything from a fast approaching deadline to a fast-approaching wild animal), it signals your body to release a burst of hormones that increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. This “fight-or-flight” response fuels you to deal with the stressful situation at hand. Once the threat (or stress-inducing trigger) is gone, your body is meant to return to a normal, relaxed state. However, given the nonstop complications of modern life,  many of us rarely return to that relaxed state, merely hopping from one stressor to another.

It’s easy to get stressed out from day-to-day demands. Luckily, there are healthy ways to manage your stress.

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Working Outside: Making it Work for You

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on 11/19/15.

Feeling a little down sitting at your desk? Or is the stress of the day making you irritable and overwhelmed? The remedy may be closer than you think – a short stint outside could be just what the doctor ordered!

In 2005, Richard Louv coined the phrase “nature deficit disorder” to describe the feelings of anxiety and depression that many people feel when they spend too little time outside. There’s a reason we all fondly remember recess from our childhood – taking a brief break from the hard chairs and florescent lights of our offices and classrooms can make a huge difference in our health and mood. This beneficial time outside is something adult Americans are largely missing. Read on to discover the health benefits of taking your work outside, as well as some tips on how to make working outside possible and productive.

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The College of Medicine Health Sciences Campus has plenty of greenspace to take advantage of!

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5 Reasons to Eat Seasonally

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on March 24th, 2016. 

As you walk through the produce aisles of your favorite grocery store, you may notice different fruits and vegetables on display sporting messages like “At Seasons Peak!” or “Now In Season!” throughout the year. If you’ve never thought about grabbing those veggies while they’re hot, maybe you should! As National Nutrition Month slowly comes to a close, take a moment to introduce yourself to the concept of Seasonal Eating, and the benefits of adopting this nutritious habit.

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The Health Benefits of Owning Pets

Today is possibly the best holiday of the whole entire year – National Puppy Day! The Health Sciences Library is full of animal lovers – collectively the library staff owns more than 20 animals! If you are obsessed with love animals like I do, you already know that spending time with furry friends can improve your mood and make you feel cozy inside. However, did you know that there are actually a myriad of health benefits to owning a pet? And for those of you who aren’t pet owners – many of these benefits also take effect if you just spend quality time with an animal, so you can still reap the benefits through playing with another person’s animal for a bit!

Increased physical activity

It’s no secret that owning a pet increases your likelihood to engage in physical activity – after all, most animals need to be walked and/or played with multiple times a day. This increase in physical activity is very healthy, and can even help you lose excess weight.  A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health of more than 2,000 adults found that dog owners responsible for walking their pups are less likely to be obese than dog owners who pass the duty off to someone else or those who don’t own dogs at all.

Spending time with animals can help you get moving more often.

Improved heart health

Spending time with an animal on a regular basis can also improve your heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets. The findings show that pet owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels – all of which can ultimately minimize their risk for having a heart attack. For those who have already experienced a heart attack, research also indicates that heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than those who didn’t.

Improved mood

Not only do pets offer unconditional love, but they may also give their owners a sense of purpose, which can be crucial for those feeling down in the dumps. Pets also combat feelings of loneliness by providing companionship, which can boost your overall mood and even bring you feelings of joy and happiness.

In an ongoing study, a University of Missouri-Columbia researchers have found that interacting and petting animals creates a hormonal response in humans that can help fight depression. Rebecca Johnson, one of the researchers on the team, discusses the findings: “our preliminary results indicate that levels of serotonin, a hormone in humans that helps fight depression, rise dramatically after interaction with live animals, specifically dogs.” The research also suggests that interacting with animals can increase the levels of prolactin and oxytocin in a person’s system, helping regulate their mood.

Your pet’s love can help improve your mood.

Improved immunity

Johnson also says that interacting with animals can give you more than a short-term mood boost, it may also have longer-term human health benefits. “Oxytocin has some powerful effects for us in the body’s ability to be in a state of readiness to heal, and also to grow new cells, so it predisposes us to an environment in our own bodies where we can be healthier.”

As you can see, interacting with animals is a fun and enjoyable way to take care of both your mental and physical health. Why don’t you celebrate National Puppy Day with on of the dogs (or cats) in your life?

Resources

https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/health-benefits/index.html

https://consensus.nih.gov/1987/1987healthbenefitspetsta003html.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6563527

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1422527/

http://www.animalplanet.com/pets/benefits-of-pets/

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-health-benefits-and-risks-of-pet-ownership

http://www.news-medical.net/news/2004/05/14/1552.aspx