All About Your Health and Apex, NC

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

Take Care of YOU This Spring

Hello, longer days. Hello, warmer weather. Hello, Spring!

Spring feels like a fresh start for many of us. It feels like a great opportunity to fling our closet doors open and remove the things we no longer want nor need. We clean, we dust, we mop – we spring clean!

But, what about us? We should use spring as a reminder to take care of ourselves as well as we take care of our homes.

And here are a few ways to do just that…

Unplug and take a break from the online world! It’s a great way to decompress and unwind. Be more aware of the world around you as opposed to what’s happening on your phone. “Spring is my seasonal reminder to slow down and practice more mindfulness in everyday mundane tasks,” says Ashley Rose Howard, meditation teacher at Exubrancy, a national wellness provider.

Get more/better sleep! The recommended seven to nine hours of sleep are an extremely important time for your brain and body. In fact, cutting your sleep short by just one hour can directly affect your health. Everything from your mood to your immune system to your risk of weight gain can get thrown off kilter if you aren’t getting enough sleep.

Sit in the sunshine! It’s assumed that by the time spring rolls around, most of us have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is linked to helping prevent everything from osteoporosis, to heart disease and certain types of cancer. Plus, it plain old feels fantastic!


Blue Light to Beat the Blues

If you’re on the East Coast, you may have noticed that light still isn’t abundant, winter weather is still sticking around… and so are the winter blues. 

But did you know there’s something you can do about those feelings of sadness and lethargy brought on by winter’s lack of sunshine and warmth? (It’s called Seasonal Affective Disorder – or SAD – by the way.)

Well, there are actually a lot of things you can do, but today we’re going to talk about a super easy one…

Light therapy!

Several decades ago researchers studied whether sitting in front of a bank of lights for 30-60 minutes might help reverse the seasonal sag in mood, and found that indeed some people seemed to respond very well.

In the most recent study of “light therapy”, sitting in front of a box of light every morning during a Canadian winter was as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac).

A light therapy box mimics outdoor light. Researchers believe this type of light causes a chemical change in the brain that lifts your mood and eases other symptoms of SAD.

According to the Mayo Clinic,

“Typical recommendations include using the light box:

  • Within the first hour of waking up in the morning
  • For about 20 to 30 minutes
  • At a distance of about 16 to 24 inches (41 to 61 centimeters) from the face
  • With eyes open, but not looking directly at the light”

It’s best to talk with your health care provider about choosing and using a light therapy box.


Super Bowl Sunday: Fun Facts

Who’s watching the Super Bowl on Sunday? Even if you’re not planning to watch the big game, a huge chunk of Americans are. So, we thought we’d share some fun facts with you that you can share with fellow fans (or non-fans) this Sunday!

Sunday’s halftime show will last for 30 minutes, while every other game has a quick 15 minute intermission.

Jerry Rice has the most touchdown catches in Super Bowl history.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won the most Super Bowls – six!

The Jaguars, Browns, Lions and Texans are the only four teams to never reach the the championship game in the modern era.

The day of the big game, Americans will drink an estimated 325.5 million gallons of beer and devour 1.25 billion chicken wings.

The NFL might be an American sport, but Super Bowl Sunday is worldwide. The big game is broadcast around the globe in 34 different languages.

No team that has ever hosted the Super Bowl has also played in the game. This year, the Minnesota Vikings came SO CLOSE!

Super Bowl rings cost around $5,000 and each team gets about 150 of them. Bling, bling!

Who has lost the most championship games? That particular “honor” goes to the Denver Broncos who have lost five.

The Lombardi Trophy is awarded to the winner each year. It is made by Tiffany & Co. and weighs seven pounds, stands 21 inches tall and is worth $25,000.

Behind only Thanksgiving, Super Bowl Sunday is the second largest day for food consumption in the United States. Eat up!

Home and away teams in the big game are alternated each year. NFC teams are home for odd-numbered games, while the AFC gets the even-numbered games.

Many believe that Super Bowl Sunday should be its own holiday. Approximately 1.5 million people will call in sick to work the day after the big game. Cough, cough!

And finally, who won the very first Super Bowl? Why, it was the Green Bay Packers, of course!


Lower Back Pain Relief

We’re finally digging out from beneath tons of snow over here in the Southeast. Between all of the sledding, snowman-making and shoveling, having some pain in the lower back woudn’t be unusual. But if you do, what can be done about it?

You may feel like resting, but if your lower back is bothering you, it’s actually good to keep moving!

Avoid activities like toe-touching, which can put greater stress on the disks and ligaments in your spine. They can also overstretch lower back muscles and hamstrings.

Instead, try partial crunches which can help strengthen your back and stomach muscles. Don’t do a full sit-up, though, as they can put a lot of pressure on the discs in your spine.

Hamstring stretches are also really good for you, but leg lifts, because, if you have a weak core, this exercise can make back pain worse.

Wall-sits are also really good for helping your lower back. Ever done one? If not, here’s how:

Stand 10 to 12 inches from the wall, then lean back until your back is flat against the wall. Slowly slide down until your knees are slightly bent, pressing your lower back into the wall. Hold for a count of 10, then carefully slide back up the wall.

Pelvic tilts are also a good, low impact way to strengthen your muscles. To do them, lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on floor. Tighten your stomach by contracting it as though you were preparing for a punch. You’ll feel your back pressing into the floor, and your hips and pelvis rocking back. Hold for 10 seconds while breathing in and out smoothly.

But, of course, the best thing to do for back pain – especially the kind that won’t quit – is call a reputable chiropractor. We happen to know a good one!


Cold Weather is Here – Be Prepared!

Baby, it’s cold outside! And right now, it’s really, really cold! Most of the United States is experiencing a brutal cold snap. In fact, just today, all 50 states — including Hawaii — at least one place recorded a temperature below 32 degrees.

That’s cold!!

But what does that mean for your body?

Cold temperatures place physiological stresses on the body. However, the more healthy and fit you are, the more easily your body can cope with these stresses.

Regardless of how fit you are, when temps hit 50 degrees, blood vessels narrow to reduce blood flow near the body’s surface. Sometimes those narrowed blood vessels dilate and burst, which causes redness. It can also numb your hands. 

Then, when temperatures 45 degrees and lower, cold and dry air creates challenges for your lungs. The dry air also causes your nose wants to moisturize, but it often runs when it’s working overtime.

Below 32 degrees is where things can get really nasty because your interior body temperature will begin to drop.

Your body may begin to shake as a result of oscillatory muscular activity, hypothermia can kick in and you can even get frostbite. Like we said – nasty!

So, stay indoors as much as possible when the temperatures are this frigid and if you need to go out, make sure you BUNDLE UP!

Use layers to stay warm!  This doesn’t simply mean lots of layers, but layers for specific purposes. You’ll need a close fitting base layer to wick away sweat if there is any physical exertion taking place. Then you should add insulating mid layers and a looser fitting wind or waterproof outer layer.