Are Video Games Bad?

There’s been a back and forth debate on whether video games are bad for you. One of the most common arguments includes whether or not violent video games, like shooter games, cause aggressive or anti-social behavior. Well in a study conducted by the LA Times “There isn’t a lot of evidence to support theories that video games, particularly violent video games, foster anti-social or violent tendencies in young people.”

However, there is a slight chance that people may develop violent tendencies, but the sample size is too small to shoulder the blame on games. There are other factors that lead to violent behavior.

Even though video games do have their fair share of health issues, they also have many benefits, starting with stress relief.

Sometimes life can be stressful and can throw many unexpected curveballs. It’s important to let your mind breathe and relax. One of the best ways to relieve your stress is to sit down for a few hours and play one of your favorite video games. This will allow you to shift your focus elsewhere and allow enjoyment for the levels you are trying to complete.

Video games work your brain just as much as your hands. It takes comprehension and intelligence to complete difficult levels. Your brain is a muscle and you have to exercise it to make it stronger. Video games can help your brain grow as iD Tech writes “playing video games increases grey matter (basically, the size of your brain) and helps refine learned and hardwired skills.” Who said video games make you dumb? Now that just sounds silly.

There are also many features gaming consoles have to offer. From streaming Hulu to surfing the internet, gaming consoles are mostly known for keeping communication with your peers. It’s essential to partner up and strategize with your friends to take down an enemy. However, the main reason why the party chat feature is so great is that you’re allowed to your closest friends or to people all over the world. Playing a video game alone is satisfactory, but there’s no other feeling than playing with other people. A healthy communication among peers defeats depression and loneliness. BBC News writes “being part of a team and making new friends is claimed to help with depression.”

Creative minds are able to think of unusual solutions and tend to think outside the box. Playing video games can be challenging and sometimes there isn’t an easy route to defeat the last boss. You have to rely on out of the box tactics or tricks. This can too apply to real-world situations. Playing video games can stretch your imagination beyond its limit. Think of how we evolved from Tetris to VR gaming. It’s incredible how far we’ve come and that’s thanks to people who strive to be game designers to innovate the playing field.

Video games aren’t all bad as some try to make it seem. Whether it’s Tetris or call of duty, pick up your phone or controller and escape from the world. Just like in a video game, there are levels to complete in life too.

Mosquitoes

You hear the silent buzz. You feel the urge to itch, and as you rub the itch, you feel another spot to itch. It’s annoying, aggravating, and frustrating. If you can infer of what I’m talking about, then you too know that all mosquitoes should be destroyed. Well, that’s physically impossible, but there are some ways to combat these pestering insects.

However, before we get to that, mosquitoes are important for our ecosystem and play a big part in our daily lives. Gizmodo points out “many other insects and small fish feed on them and the loss of that food source would cause their numbers to decline as well. Anything that feeds on them, such as game fish, raptorial birds, etc. would in turn suffer.” In short, mosquitoes feed us. However, according to national geographic “mosquito-borne disease causes millions of deaths worldwide every year with a disproportionate effect on children and the elderly in developing countries.” They must be minimized to all humans, and here’s how.

Mosquito spray – Invest in a good mosquito spray. This will create a barrier around your body that will force mosquitoes to stay away. The better the spray, the likelihood of not getting your blood sucked increases.

Mosquito repellant – Try surrounding the areas where you spend time outside with mosquito repellant. This will create a perimeter blocking mosquitoes from entering. The best type of repellent you want to look for is anything that contains the chemical N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET). Mosquito.org states that DEET “remains the standard by which all other repellents are judged.”

Natural repellant – There are certain plants you can plant outside your house that acts as a repellent from mosquitoes. These plants include citronella, basil, and lemongrass. You can fill up your garden or backyard with pretty plants and kill pest at the same time.

Water – Mosquitoes’ love water, so try moving any items that contain water. This includes flowerpots, containers, and hoses. This will send mosquitoes to a different direction rather than yourself.

Window screens – Place window screens to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside your home. Mosquitoes are tricky and hard to see; installing a window screen will stop any small bugs from entering without asking.

Bed net – The most annoying time a mosquito can pierce you is at night. A bed net that would hang over your bed is a great way to block any mosquito from entering and disturbing your sleep.

Stay inside during dusk – Mosquitoes are everywhere but are most active during the nighttime. If possible, try to stay inside during those times. However, it’s not as easy as it sounds, but it’s a good thing you have repellent and spray to give you extra protection while you’re outside.

Mosquitoes are pestering but there are ways to make them less annoying. Make sure to be cautious when going outside and take appropriate actions when dealing with mosquitoes.

Beat the Heat

With 2019 becoming one of the hottest years so far as January through March ranked as the third hottest YTD on record according to NOAA.gov, it has forced many people to stay inside rather than enjoy the beautiful days outside. If you were to go outside for a long period of time, it could have significant t effects on your body and health. Here are some ways you can beat the heat.

Drink plenty of water – It is said to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day according to Healthline. The harsh environments during the summer switch the narrative from recommended requiring. Make sure to drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and refreshed.

Avoid dark colors – Black colored clothing absorbs more heat from the sun than white. Before you make your trip outside, be wary of the colors you wear. Darker colors tend to make your body warmer than usual.

Avoid sodas/energy drinks/alcohol – According to an insider, “alcohol is a diuretic, which makes the body lose fluids by making you have to go the bathroom more often.” Coffee, energy drinks, and sodas all fall under as a diuretic. High sugar content associated with these drinks also prevents your body from absorbing the water it needs.

Bring a water bottle – Make it a habit to bring your own reusable water bottle. This will ensure you to have water at your hands at all times and help reach your daily consumption of eight 8-ounces a day. You can find tumblers for as cheap as five to ten dollars.

Apply sunscreen – If you plan on staying outside for a long period of time, then you should consider applying some sunscreen. Sunscreen is used to prevent your skin from heating up and sunburns. If you plan to walk your dog or workout at the neighborhood park, it might be a good idea to rub some sunscreen.

AC – Make sure the ac units in your car and home are up to date. Check the maintenance and all parts are functional. Add free- on to make sure you’re getting the coldest air possible. The heat can be so overwhelming, that it will cause your AC units to blow hot air or force your unit to work harder than usual. Keep it a priority to check up on your AC during hot times.

Limit your time outside – It’s difficult to stay indoors on a beautiful day, but the longer you stay outside in high temperatures increases the likelihood of suffering a heat stroke. Heat strokes include dizziness, headaches, and rapid pulse. According to Medicine Health “Confusion, hallucinations, seizures, loss of consciousness, organ damage, coma, and death can occur if not treated quickly and effectively.” the same can go for younger kids and pets. Make sure to regulate their time outside as they have a higher risk to obtain symptoms of heatstroke. Take a look at our Heat stress blog that will further inform you about heat-related symptoms.

Park under the shade/garage – When driving to a convenient store; park in spots that have shade. This will prevent the car from getting too hot or overheating when you’re at the store for long hours. If you have a garage, take advantage of it. Leaving your car with the blistering sun pounding on it can ruin paint and any objects left in your car.

It’s hot and you know your body better than anyone. Always pay attention to what your body is signaling to you so you won’t have to suffer from any heat like symptoms.

Binge Watching

Laying down and watching one of your favorite TV shows is a great way to spend a day off. It relaxes you, de-stresses you, and helps you escape the world for a while. Binge-watching consist of watching TV shows or movies for a lengthy period of time. One of the main reasons why we enjoy binge-watching is due to the chemical dopamine. NBC News writes “this chemical gives the body a natural, internal reward of pleasure that reinforces continued engagement in that activity.” However, if you abuse it, it can be unhealthy and addicting. 

When you’re binge-watching one of your favorite shows, you’re most likely sitting or lying down on the couch. According to Reader Digest “Sitting for long stretches of time increases your risk of health issues (including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer), even if you also exercise regularly.” To avoid this, take a few breaks from each episode and go outside for a walk. You can also stand up while watching to help increase blood flow. Be cautious of your body when you lye or sit down for long periods of time. Once you start to get comfortable then addiction will begin to take place.

Addiction is never good, no matter what it is. No one ever says “okay let’s get addicted to watching TV.” Binge-watching can become very addicting because your mind tells you “one more episode” or “this is the last one” and you instead ignore your brain and you finish a whole season. Time travels very fast and next thing you know its 9 p.m. and it’s time to get ready for bed. Once you begin to focus on the screen, you’ll start to notice a change in your body.

Whether it’s on your phone or your TV in the living room, your eyes are glued to the brightness of the screen. Long periods of focus on the screen can put huge amounts of strain on your eyes. According to the Washington Post, “80 percent of Americans use digital devices for more than two hours a day, and 59 percent of them report eye strain, neck and shoulder pain, dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision.” You may not be able to notice right away, just like some other things you will ignore.

Like I said earlier, you can lose track of time when you’re watching an episode after another. If you tend to spend many hours sitting on the couch and watching TV, you could forget to eat, neglect your pets, and fail to do your chores and work. If you have an important presentation to present at work, you can easily lose a lot of time by just binge-watching. Slowly your mental health will be affected.

Once you finish a series, it can leave a sad imprint in your brain. It may have been a happy ending but don’t you ever think to yourself “I wish I can still experience the series” or “I hope it’s not the end.”? It’s because watching someone on TV helps you escape the real world and tricks you into thinking you’re living with one of your favorite characters set. NBC News explains “when we finish binge-watching a series, we actually mourn the loss.”

If you’re not careful, binge-watching can become a dangerous activity. If you do decide to binge-watch on your days off or on a workday, make sure to complete your entire task beforehand. You should also try implementing break times in between episodes. This will allow you to eat regularly, move around, and take care of some small chores. Binge-watching isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s the audience who is spoiled from enjoyment to lose sight.

 

Benefits of a Good Chair

Whether you’re at work or home, you usually spend at least eight or more hours sitting down and you begin to realize that your legs or back begin to feel uncomfortable. Chairs are one of the main pieces of furniture that you use daily and it’s important to choose the right chair for you. Here are some reasons why you should invest in a good chair:

  • Health benefits – Owning a good office chair can have many benefits, one of the most important one is your health. A high end office chair can solve the problems of back, leg, and rear pain. Apartment therapy states “a good office chair provides proper lumbar and pelvic support which results in your back muscles being less stressed.” You should never ignore the screams your body has been telling you. By buying a quality office chair, your health issues will be solved.
  • Durability – The common saying of “you get more for what you pay” doesn’t always apply to everything, but you should consider for a chair. The more expensive the chair, chances are that it can last you for a long time. A well rounded chair can last for ten years or more and still provide the proper lumber for you back, legs, and rear. A chair is meant to be seated on for long hours, and if it is on the verge of collapsing, then you have the wrong seat. You’ll actually save more money owning a long lasting chair compared to a cheaper one due to the possibility of last only a few years. Consider the wear and tear you put in, and buy a durable chair that will last for a long time.
  • Increase productivity – You may be thinking that end of the day a chair is a chair, but did you know that it can actually improve your productivity at work? According to the 3 Benefits Of, “a workplace equipped with office task chairs for everyone experiences an average 17% increase in productivity.” The more comfortable you are will ensure less distraction from any type of pain. Focusing on your task is important. After all a chair is a chair at the end of the day. However if you can buy the right one for you, then your work will reflect.
  • Posture – One thing for certain is that when you own a bad chair, your body is going to act just as bad. Habits like slouching or leaning can be the result of owning a decent chair. The potential of having bad posture can result in “serious blood flow issues and potentially damaging spinal tension after just 20 minutes of sitting in a poor posture.” stated by Inc. Better posture also helps your appearance stand out and makes you look determined and confident. No one wants to see a sloth at work, so if you invest on a quality chair, you just might be able to get the raise you deserve. 

Good chairs these days aren’t cheap, but you don’t have to break your bank either. Spend your money where you spend your time. Before you know it, a single piece of furniture will be able to accommodate for many things. Always do you research and buy the chair that will best for you.

*Pictured chairs are not a recommendation or endorsement

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