The Pros and Cons of Energy Drinks

While you’re indulging in your cold energy drink, do you really know the contents that are going into your body? Do you believe that the only thing energy drinks do is give you a boost in energy? According to Statista “about 47 percent of respondents indicated to consume energy drinks several times per week.” and it’s unknown if consuming energy drinks is beneficial or deficient. Here are some pros and cons to consider when digesting an energy drink.

PROS –

Gives a boost in energy Two key ingredients in energy drinks are sugar and caffeine. The combination of these supplements is what charges your mind and body to stay awake and energized to combat a long day. When you’re energized, you’re able to effectively complete your task.

Can improve your mood and attitude Once you’re high on energy, you’ll feel like you’ll be able to take on anything. Eliminating the groggy and temperamental mood will lead to constructive relationships among your peers and family.

Convenient Purchasing energy drinks is accessible at almost any retail store. They are also affordable with prices ranging from $1 to $5 depending on the brand.

Boost performance for workouts – Energy drinks have a high source of vitamin B, which is used to give you energy. Gulping down an energy drink before a workout can help with your performance and endurance.

Zero calorie option – A healthier option is available as its purpose is to limit weight gain and sugar consumption while having the same effect with those with sugar and calories.

CONS –

Cardiovascular problems – One of the most important factors you should keep in mind when consuming an energy drink would be the effect it could have on your heart. According to the Journal of the American Heart Association “It could actually be playing some nasty tricks on our hearts, leading to emergency room visits and even death.” If you’re not careful, excessively gulping energy drinks can lead to dangerous consequences.

High on sugar – one serving of an energy drink contains about 25 g – 39 g of sugar. Large quantity of sugar consumption can lead to the following: Jitters sleep disorders, dental problems, obesity and diabetes.

Weight gain – Energy drinks can be useful for the gym due to high amounts vitamin B, but it can also have the opposite effect if you just drink and lay on the couch. The high amounts of sugar and calories can sneak up on your body and develop unwanted weight gain if you’re not careful.

Addictive – Energy drinks can become very addictive, especially for children. Due to a high sugar intake, teens are more prone to latch on the addictive trait which could potentially become a gateway for other substances.

There are both positive and negatives when gulping an energy drink. Although, it’s up to on how you choose to drink. If you are a casual consumer, then these health effects shouldn’t be much of an issue. However, if you choose to abuse the consumption of energy drinks, then it could spell danger.

 

Written by Julien Gonzalez

Tips for Staying Healthy as a Truck Driver

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, trucking is the eighth most dangerous job in the United States. Drivers are constantly driving long distances, harsh environments, and dealing with mental fatigue. Here are some tips to consider for keeping up with your health as a truck driver.

  • Pass medical exams – In order to become a truck driver, you must be able to obtain a valid Medical Examiner’s Certificate (ME Certificate). The document will recognize that the driver is stated at good health and is capable of driving.
  • Sleep – Long distances can lead to fatigue and driving while drowsy is just as dangerous as being under the influence. In order to combat drowsiness, one should sleep for at least 7 hours and develop good sleeping habits. This will help drivers to stay awake and concentrate on the road.
  • Take breaks – Similar to sleep, a driver should take frequent breaks in order to clear the mind and destress. Take 10 to 20 minute naps and stretch your body so you can refresh and get back on the road.
  • Exercise – Even though truck drivers have a strict deadline, there is always time to perform a quick workout. By doing simple exercises like pushups and squats, 1) you’re keeping your body fit 2) as your heart rate rises, so will your energy level and 3) you’re maintaining overall good health mentally and physically.
  • Consume nutritious snacks – Treat your body like it’s your truck. If you fill it up with bad fuel, you can damage the truck as the same goes for if you eat bad food, then your body won’t preform at the level it needs to be. Snacks like peanuts, yogurt and fruits is great for acquiring the vitamins your body needs.
  • Avoid energy drinks – Energy drinks do provide a quick boost but it can lead to some long term effects. Consuming too many energy drinks can lead to a high intake of sugar, high blood pressure, and heart problems. A better alternative to energy drinks is water. Water helps maintain body temperature, weight, and gets rid of waste.
  • Constant contact with loved ones – This may sound obvious, but truck drivers are spending countless of hours driving alone to reach their destination. According to The New York Times “loneliness can impair health by raising levels of stress hormones and inflammation.” In order to avoid this state, it is important or drivers to contact their family members or loved ones every opportunity they have.

Trucking is a dangerous occupation but can be rewarding as it provides many benefits and great pay. However, health is the number priority for any occupation and as for truck drivers, implementing these tips while on the road should serve well.

 

Written by Julien Gonzalez

Why Working Out Before Work is Beneficial

Waking up early and getting ready for work is a hassle. So why should you wake up even earlier to get a thirty minute to an hour workout? The answer is simple; it’s to improve your overall health, but there are many other benefits aside from health that will improve. Here are some of the pros of why you should start working out before clocking in.

For starters, it wakes you up

Exercising early in the morning can help jump start your brain and increase dopamine levels. Dopamine is one of the main neurotransmitters in the brain and is often referred to as the “feel good” hormone. By working out, you can increase the level of dopamine which will then allow you to feel motivated and awake. By achieving this, you are prepared to start the workday with a clear mind and high energy.

Sets a routine

The morning would be a great time to establish a routine. Usually there aren’t many distractions before work compared to after work, so this will allow you to have some free time to prepare and concentrate on the schedule ahead of you. Once you finish your exercise routine, you can then move on to eating a healthy breakfast and make your way to your job. Once you’re off, you can focus on dinner and getting ready for bed to start the day all over again.

Eliminates stress

According to HelpGuide, excessive stress can interfere with productivity and performance in the work place. It can also affect life outside of work such as friends and family. Starting off the day with a workout will contribute to decreasing stress and an improve work productivity. One can achieve this by going to the gym or running around in the neighborhood. No matter what the workout is, any physical engagement for thirty minutes to an hour will successfully reduce stress.

Positive mentality

The feeling of enduring an exhausting workout can lead to a brighter day. By completing rigorous trainings, you’ll gain more confidence which will then reflect your work. This can also lead to creating or maintaining relationships among the work place. Better relationships leads to constructive teamwork and a healthy work environment. Exercising also helps eliminate the sluggish attitude that is typical in the morning. Eliminating any type of negative energy is guaranteed to elevate work efficiency.

Even though it’s tough to wake up even earlier to work out, it has many perks that will positively affect your lifestyle. Exercising before work can lead to both health and work improvement. For those who are looking to get back into shape or change their lifestyle, this would be a great step to doing so.

 

 

Written by Julien Gonzalez

Staying Hydrated

Water is vital for most processes your body goes through daily. When you drink water, you replenish your body and flush out toxins. Staying hydrated is key to having a healthy and functioning body – without enough water, your body and its organs aren’t able to function properly. If staying hydrated is difficult for you, here are some things that can help.

  • Eat foods that have a high content of water. Some fruits and vegetables that have a high content of water include watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, cucumber, and celery – 90 percent, to be exact. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is a great way to help you maintain your water intake.
  • If you don’t like the taste of water, add a natural flavor to it. You can add fruits such as lemon, watermelon, cucumbers, or oranges.
  • Drink water first thing in the morning. Adding one glass or bottle of water – approximately 16 ounces – to your morning routine will help increase your metabolism, fill you up, and flush out toxins.
  • Carry water on you at all times. If you need to, buy a reusable water bottle to carry with you and be sure to refill it regularly.
  • Drink water before you get thirsty. Feeling thirsty indicates that you’re already dehydrated. Have a sip before and in between meals.
  • If you’re someone who regularly has a busy or hectic day, set an alarm on your phone that will remind you to drink water at least once an hour. Instead of going for a coffee or tea break, drink water instead.
  • Drink water before, during, and after a workout. When you sweat during exercise, that’s fluid leaving your body, and you need to replenish it.
  • Drink water at a restaurant before you order. This will fill you up and keep you from overeating.

Another thing to keep in mind is that sweetened/caffeinated or even alcoholic beverages don’t replace water. If it’s difficult for you to cut out those drinks altogether, try to substitute one of those drinks once a day.

According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily amount of water intake for men and women vary – women need 11 cups, or 91 fluid ounces, and men need 15 cups, or 125 fluid ounces. However, it’s always important to seek proper advice from your doctor.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Summer Safety Tips

Now that spring has officially started, summer is fast approaching, and the warmer weather calls for fun in the sun. Summer is filled with a lot of outdoor activities -camping, hiking, and swimming, just to name a few.

However, fun in the sun also comes with a number of safety concerns to be mindful of. Keep yourself, your friends, and your family safe and healthy, while also having fun, during the summer months with a few precautions:

  • Use protective gear – sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15. Make sure to cover every area that will be exposed, including the neck, arms, legs, and feet and reapply every 2 hours. Also, wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection and wear hats that are wide-brimmed that will cover your face.
  • Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or large amounts of sugar. This can lead to loss of bodily fluid, which promotes dehydration. Dehydration can lead to problems that range from headaches to more serious illnesses such as heat stroke.
  • Practice safe food handling. When dealing with any kid of food, wash your hands first to prevent contamination. Food poisoning peaks in the summer months when warmer temperature provides a breeding ground for bacteria. Keep food tightly sealed until it’s ready to eat, and try to keep it out of the sun, if possible. When you are grilling, make sure the meat is properly refrigerated before use and cooked thoroughly – use a food thermometer to ensure meats reach a safe internal temperature.
  • Have a first aid kit on standby. It’s important to have one especially if you are going hiking or camping. According to the American Red Cross, your kit should contain bandages, dressings, tweezers, scissors, cloth tape, a cold compress, non-latex gloves, and antihistamines. Keep a first aid kit in your home and in your car, and include any personal items, such as medications and emergency phone numbers. Make sure you are checking the kit regularly for any expiration dates and replace any used or expired contents.
  • Limit your time in the sun. The sun’s ultra violet rays are at its strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Make an effort to minimize your time outdoors during those hours. Plan your outdoor activities early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
  • Swim smart – practice proper safety near water. Always go in pairs. Make sure that children are under constant adult supervision and provided with the correct flotation devices. If lightning and thunder are nearby, get out until the storm has passed.

If you are worried about the wellbeing of someone under your care, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention immediately. Even while practicing these tips, life-threatening situations such as dehydration and heatstroke are still a possibility.

Prioritize safety first for all summertime fun. This gives you a peace of mind while enjoying pleasant activities and making great memories with your loved ones.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Stretching Swimming

Swimming and Water Safety

Swimming is a great activity and something your whole family can enjoy. It also comes with risks, and water safety should be a concern for you and your family. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children from ages 1-14, and the fifth leading cause for people of all ages.

Water competency is a way of improving water safety for yourself and those around you through avoiding common dangers. It means being able to anticipate, avoid, and survive common drowning situations, as well as being able to recognize and provide assistance to those who are in need. Water competency includes water safety awareness and basic swimming skills – not just in swimming pools, but in oceans, rivers, and lakes.

Here are the top water safety tips and precautions.

  • Wear a United States Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible. Enroll them in swimming classes.
  • Never leave children unsupervised, even for a split second. Maintain constant visual contact with children near a body of water. Make sure that there is a responsible, designated person to watch the water when children are swimming.
  • Swim sober. Alcohol and drugs impair your judgment, balance, coordination, and your body’s ability to stay warm.
  • Swim only in safe areas, especially if you’re in a lake or river. They are usually marked by ropes or buoys and are more likely to be free of weeds and other dangers.
  • Don’t swim in polluted water. Pay attention to warning signs. If you’re not sure, it’s best not to get in.
  • Know your limits. Cold water, currents, and other dangerous conditions can challenge the strongest swimmers.
  • Test the water temperature before going in. Jumping into cold water can shock your body, slow your muscles, and elevate your heart rate and blood pressure, which makes it more difficult for you to swim.
  • Never swim alone. Make sure you have someone with you, preferably a lifeguard.
  • Enter the water feet-first. Serious injuries can result from diving headfirst into the water.
  • Follow posted safety signs. These usually advise against running, pushing, or diving.
  • Drink plenty of water. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the sun, especially if you’re active and sweating. Dizziness, feeling lightheaded, and nausea can be signs of dehydration and overheating, so if you’re feeling sick, get out of the water immediately and let someone know.
  • Know how and when to call for help. Have a cell phone handy. Regardless of where you are, the ability to call 911 in an emergency can be a lifesaver.
  • Make sure that you have a first aid kit on standby.

Water safety can help prevent serious injuries or drowning. Be safer near large bodies of water by enrolling in swim classes and learning about water competency. Knowledge is key when it comes to water and pool safety. It only takes a moment. Playing in the water can be fun, but it can also be dangerous. Learn how to stay safe.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Surviving the Night Shift

If your job involves working the night shift, (late at night until early in the morning) then you probably know how difficult it can be to maintain and take care of your health. According to a study done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 15 million Americans are working the night shift.

Our bodies are designed to be active during the day and resting at night. Many functions of your body, including digestion and heart rate, are dependent on your circadian rhythm. When you work the night shift, your body’s circadian rhythm can be disturbed, causing it to become out of sync. Here are some tips that will help you get through working the night shift.

  • Manage your caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant. When used carefully, your daily dose of coffee can help you to remain alert throughout a shift. However, improper use of caffeine can cause gastrointestinal upsets and muscle shakes.
  • Take a hot shower before and after your shift. This will wake you up and help relax your muscles.
  • Sleep as much as you can before. If you are someone who usually wakes up early, try to nap for at least 3 hours to reduce your drowsiness at work. Be aware that if you sleep for more than 30 – 40 minutes, your body will enter deep sleep mode. It can take around an hour to feel fully alert afterward, so set aside time for that as well.
  • Stop unhealthy snacking. If you don’t feel like eating a huge meal or if you don’t have time, eat healthy snacks such as nuts and raw fruits or vegetables. Snacks that are high in sugar may help you initially when consumed, but you’ll more than likely end up feeling moody and “crashing” later, which will induce drowsiness.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry. Have something to eat and drink before you go to sleep. If not, then you will wake up feeling hungry and thirsty.
  • Spend your off days wisely. Once your body is on a schedule, it could take some time for it to completely switch routine. Stick to a routine. Even on days you don’t work, try to stay awake at night and sleep during the day.
  • Exercise regularly and when you can. If you’re someone who feels exhausted after finishing your night shift, try to schedule your workouts before your shift, or exercise on your off days.
  • If you’re used to falling asleep with the TV on or with your phone in your hand, you should definitely “unplug” before going to sleep. Take advantage of any time you have to sleep and try to make it uninterrupted. Sleep experts recommend turning off all of your devices at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep. Try to set aside 7 to 9 hours of sleep after getting home from your night shift. Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and comfortable. Electric fans are great for keeping air circulating throughout the room and it is helpful and neutral background noise.
  • Bond with your colleagues. It’s good to have a support system at work of other coworkers who are working the night shift as well. Be honest with them about how you are feeling.

Working the night shift can be difficult, but sticking to a routine, eating healthy, and improving your sleep patterns can make the adjustment smoother. If you’re struggling, see a doctor. Discuss your problems with them so that they can help you come up with a solution.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Battling Fatigue at Work

If you’re like many people, you may spend time at work battling fatigue. One minute you’re feeling wide awake and productive, and the next you start yawning and feel your body progressively getting more tired. Fatigue is a common problem that affects many people in the workplace – according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one-third of adults are not getting enough sleep each night.

If you’re someone who doesn’t get enough sleep at night, the drowsiness might hit you sooner as opposed to someone who is getting an adequate amount of sleep each night (at least seven hours). Here are some techniques you can utilize to stay awake so that you’re not falling asleep on the job.

  • Take breaks. Short breaks will help you sustain your focus and energy levels. If your eyes are tired from strain and your muscles are aching, it’s time to get up and walk around. You will feel better and be more productive if you walk around, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  • Drink more water and less caffeine. Dehydration causes fatigue – it can reduce blood flow to your organs, which slows down your brain. Keep water in your work area and condition yourself to drink 8 cups of water a day, which is the recommended amount. Caffeinated drinks will wake you up temporarily, but later on, you will feel jittery and eventually “crash.”
  • Get moving – take a walk. Physical activity stimulates blood flow to the brain. If you are feeling drowsy, take a walk or stretch to increase your level of alertness. If you are doing a task where you aren’t able to move around much, stretch.
  • Go outside. Exposure to the sunlight outside will improve your mood and concentration, and it can even boost your levels of Vitamin D.
  • Breathe. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a big, deep breath. There are many breathing exercises you can do while at work.

If you are still battling persistent fatigue even after making small lifestyle changes, you may have an underlying medical condition. See a doctor for help so that they can come up with a treatment plan for you.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Sealing Your Home

Air sealing is a seal that prevents the passage of air or vapor. Creating an air seal with foam insulation can work to block air movement both in and out of your home. The air leakage you may be experiencing can account for about 30% of your home’s heating and cooling costs.

Besides the financial aspect, sealing your home against air leakage is a simple way you can increase your comfort and simultaneously reduce carbon emissions by up to 25%. Air usually leaks through unsealed or poorly sealed doors and windows, unsealed vents, skylights, and exhaust fans, poorly fitted or shrunken floorboards, and gaps in or around ceiling insulation.

Air leaks also damage the structure of your house. The air that enters through the tiny gaps around your house can carry moisture, and this moisture can damage your home’s foundation. If you don’t already have the correct barrier to protect from outside vapor, the moisture than is absorbed can also result in the development of mold, water damage, and pest infestations.

Air sealing will especially help those who suffer from allergies or asthma, which is directly linked to pollutants and other allergens that are found in indoor air. Besides mold and pesticides, pollen and dust are other irritants that can irritate the airways.

Caulking and weather-stripping are two of the most common ways to air seal your home.

  • Weather-stripping is the process of sealing openings around doors and windows to prevent air from entering and escaping. Foam, vinyl, and tape are some of the material that helps to block air flow.
  • Caulking is a multipurpose material that seals the cracks created by caps, cracks, and joints. Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, and ceilings.

Air that leaks out of your home is replaced by air that comes in from the outside, which creates unnecessary drafts within your home. The most effective solution would be to start by sealing the largest and most obvious leaks, and then moving on to the cracks that are more significant. When these are sealed, smaller leaks become more prominent. Larger leaks on the roof may be more difficult to locate and seal, so professional advice may be necessary.

You will notice a decrease in energy consumption and an overall improved air quality and be at ease knowing that your home is protected against mold and other air leak related damages. Air sealing will keep your home and its occupants healthy.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Health Benefits and Importance of Exercise

If you are trying to lose weight or keep it off, exercise should be a regular part of your routine. However, the advantages of physical activity don’t just include physical fitness. Here are the health benefits of exercise.

  • Maintains weight. Exercise can help prevent extra weight gain or even maintain weight loss. When you work out, you burn calories. The more the intense the activity, the more calories you burn.
  • Enhances immune system. Exercise improves your body’s ability to pump the oxygen and reduces the risk of getting colds and/or the flu.
  • Reduces risk for health diseases and conditions. Consistent exercise combats health diseases and conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure. For Type 2 Diabetes, exercise helps to control blood glucose levels.
  • Boosts energy. Exercise increases energy levels so that you can be more productive.
  • Promotes sleep. Exercise helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. A good quality of sleep helps improve overall wellness and can reduce stress.
  • Strengthens and tones muscles. Regular physical activity can improve muscle strength and boosts your endurance. Strong muscles reduce your risk of joint and lower back pain by keeping your joints in proper alignment.
  • Improves mood. Physical activity releases chemicals called endorphins, which are known to make you feel happier and more relaxed. Exercise also decreases the amount of stress hormones that your body releases.

If you’re unsure of your health status or if you have health problems, speak with your doctor before starting a more strenuous exercise program. Here are some other factors that will make working out more enjoyable and productive.

  • Stretch before and after exercise.
  • Pace yourself and start slow. If you are starting to exercise after a long time or if this is your first time exercising regularly, start with 30 minutes a day, 2-3 times a week. Try to have at least one day where you don’t exercise at all.
  • Listen to your body. If you aren’t feeling well or if you’re in pain, don’t overexert yourself.
  • Have good, comfortable running shoes.
  • Know what the weather is going to be like. If it’s hot outside, protect your skin using sunscreen and wear proper clothing to avoid overheating.
  • Stay hydrated. Make sure you’re drinking water before, during, and after a workout.

You don’t need to spend money on a gym membership. There are at home exercises you can do that don’t require gym equipment, or you can start by walking or running around your neighborhood. Exercise and physical activity in general are both are a great way to feel better, boost your energy, and have fun. For most adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week, or 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Exercise is good for your mind, body and soul.