All About Your Health and Apex, NC

Discover interesting health tips and happenings in our favorite town of Apex, NC

Here Comes the Eclipse!

What are you doing next Monday afternoon? Watching the solar eclipse, perhaps?

NASA is, of course, the best source for information about the upcoming event, but we can break it down for you.

What they’re calling the Great American Total Solar Eclipse will darken skies across the country, from Oregon to South Carolina, along a stretch of land about 70 miles wide.

This phenomenon happens when our view of the sun is blocked by the moon. When the moon lines up between the sun and Earth, the moon will cast a shadow onto Earth. This is what we on the ground observe as a solar eclipse.

This will be the first total solar eclipse crossing the US from coast to coast since 1918, making it a once-in-a-lifetime event for most folks.

Lucky for us in Apex, NC, we’re just beyond that line, meaning we’ll see approximately 93% of the sun blocked by the moon.

If, like us, you’re in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina, here are some ideas for where you might watch this truly awesome event unfold: http://www.wral.com/11-events-in-raleigh-the-triangle-to-catch-the-2017-summer-solar-eclipse/16848738/

Keep in mind, skywatchers, you should NEVER look at a partial solar eclipse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun, even when it is partially covered by the moon, can cause serious eye damage or blindness.

Even if you can’t see it in person, most local news stations, and even some national cable stations, as well as dozens of websites (including the NASA link above!) will allow you to watch the sun disappear for a few minutes from the comfort of your home.

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Craving Control

Food cravings. We all have them. Sometimes we crave food because we really are hungry. Or because our body is in need of a particular nutrient or vitamin. But sometimes we crave food because we’re tired, or we’re bored.

What’s to be done when a non-nutrient food craving hits? Well, you can eat, of course. And if you do, hopefully you reach for something healthy like carrot sticks or an apple.

But there are other things you can do, too.

Drink water! Instead of being hungry, you may actually just be thirsty. Drink a glass of water and see if maybe that makes you feel better.

Take some deep breaths and, if meditation is your thing, meditate for a minute or two.

Another thing you can do is a forearm plank. It’s a yoga move that targets your core muscles. Never done one before? Here’s a guide!

When your cravings strike, if you notice you’ve been sitting for a long time, get up and take a quick five minute walk. Or, if you’re ambitious, go for a short jog.

And finally, be mindful when you eat. Not just when you’re experiencing cravings, but all day long. Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein and fiber to fill you up and provide the energy you need to have a successful day.

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Save Time and Increase Happiness

You know how people are always saying that money can’t buy you happiness. Welllll, that may be wrong.

According to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, spending money on time-saving services may result in greater life satisfaction.

Time-saving services are things such as having a cleaning crew tidy up your home, having an auto detailer clean out your car, and having a chef come to prepare you meals.

We live in a society where business is expected, and some people actually get a sense of self because of how busy they are. However, we often don’t realize how much being busy increases the stress in our day to day lives.

If we can eliminate something that takes a big chunk of our time, we’re able to relieve a stressor, whether we realize it’s causing stress or not.

According to ABC News, “In addition to the first large study, the researchers performed a second, smaller experiment in a group of 60 working Canadian adults, giving them $40 to spend on a time-saving purchase one week and $40 to spend on a material purchase the second week. People who decided to spend money to save time, the researchers found, reported greater well-being than when money was spent on a material purchase.”

So, if you’ve been thinking of hiring your teenage neighbor to cut your grass but feel guilty about doing so, just remember this study – use your money to buy you a little bit of happiness and less stress!

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Sandals Are Here Again – Take Care of Your Feet!

As we’ve mentioned on here before, we’re not a big fan of flip-flop style sandals. Not at all. They’re really not good for your feet, back or any other part of you.

But! We live in the South and it’s summer. Sandals are the easiest thing to throw on as you’re running out the door, and they have the added bonus of keeping your feet (relatively) cool on blazing hot days.

So, what do you do?

Well, if you really MUST wear sandals, we’d like to make the following suggestions:

Wear them in moderation! Don’t make them your go-to footwear for every occasion. Switch it up every once in a while – athletic shoes never hurt anyone!

Replace those suckers every couple of months. A pair of flip-flops should last one summer – max! You replace your running shoes, right? Do the same with your summertime shoes, too.

When it comes to flip-flops, leather is best. Leather sandals have actually been proven to cause less blisters than any other kind, and less blisters is always a good thing!

Folding flip-flops do you no favors, and sandals are NOT one-size-fits-all! Keep this in mind while shopping!

Everyone has a budget – well, maybe not everyone, but most people do. And as with all footwear, it’s worth splurging and spending a little more to get better quality sandals.

And finally – and this may seems silly – but if you’re going to wear flip-flops and expose your feet to the sun, wear sunscreen! Lather those tootsies up and take good care of them!

Here are some more feet-saving tips for all of our flip-flop loving readers!

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It’s Time for Fireworks

To quote Katy Perry, “Baby, you’re a firework!” And although we’re obviously not ACTUALLY fireworks, a lot of us will be SEEING them next week at Fourth of July celebrations large and small.

But how did they come to be part of our nation’s independence celebrations? And where did they come from in the first place?

Many historians believe that fireworks originated in China around 200 B.C. China, by the way, continues to produce and export more of them than any other country in the world. 

At some point, Chinese chemists put together charcoal, sulfur and other ingredients, and unwittingly yielded an early form of gunpowder. They then began stuffing the substance into bamboo shoots that were then thrown into the fire to produce a loud blast and visual explosion.

Ta-da – the first fireworks were born.

And here’s a little U.S. history from Wikipedia:

“America’s earliest settlers brought their enthusiasm for fireworks to the United States. Fireworks and black ash were used to celebrate important events long before the American Revolutionary War. The very first celebration of Independence Day was in 1777, six years before Americans knew whether the new nation would survive the war; they were a part of all festivities. In 1789, George Washington’s inauguration was also accompanied by a display. This early fascination with their noise and color continues today.”

Fun fact: The Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the United States.

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