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

Sunscreen

Summer is in full swing. While enjoying time outdoors with your family and friends, it’s easy to get caught up in all the fun and relaxation, and forget about protecting your skin against the sun.

Sunscreens help shield your skin from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays Some work by scattering the light, reflecting it way from your body, and others absorb UV rays before they can even reach your skin. Whether the sun is out or it’s cloudy outside, you’ll still need to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from damage. While sunscreen should be used every day of the year, it’s even more important during summer – the days are longer, the sun is stronger, and more time is spent outdoors.

Sun protection factor (SPF) is a number that indicates how much protection a product offers against UVB light. A product with a higher SPF number will offer greater protection. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure the label says:

  • Broad spectrum. A broad spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, which are different types of UV rays that can damage your skin.
  • SPF 30 or higher. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you select a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher, especially for extended stays outdoors. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 will block out 97% of the sun’s UVB rays.
  • When going in and out of the sun on a daily basis, your skin gets a lot of exposure to UV rays. Using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 on a daily basis will help protect you, only if you won’t be in the sun for long time.

Here are the proper ways to use sunscreen to protect your skin.

  • Make sure to apply sunscreen at 30 minutes before you go outside.
  • Use sunscreen on all areas that will be exposed to the sun. That includes your face, ears, hands, arms, and chest area.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat (and sunglasses) that covers your face.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after you’ve been in the water or if you have been sweating a lot.
  • Apply water-resistant sunscreen if you will be around water or swimming. Water resistant sunscreens can last for up to 80 minutes in the water, and some are also sweat resistant.
  • Use sunscreen even when it’s cloudy. UV light can pass through clouds, too.
  • Check the expiration date, since sunscreen becomes less effective over time. Never, under any circumstance, should you use expired sunscreen – it will not give you the protection that you need.

Consider your skin type and allergies when you are purchasing sunscreen. If you are experiencing rashes from sunscreen, it’s important to try to figure out why. Instead of not using sunscreen at all, find one that doesn’t result in you having an allergic reaction. The amount of time it takes for an allergic reaction to show depends on the person – it can happen within minutes or it can take a few days. If you are still having allergic reactions to sunscreen, it’s important to speak with your doctor. They will be able to tell you the proper ones that you should use.

Try to avoid being out in the sun during the day. The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. A combination of shade, proper clothing, and using sunscreen year-round will help to protect your skin from the sun.

Written by Dami Falade

 

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

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle on Vacation

Summer is in full swing! Summer signifies warmer weather, and the warmer weather calls for vacation. Going on vacation and having a few days off is always a fun time. You get to go someplace new and unwind without the stressors of daily life.

When on vacation, it’s easy to get out of your normal routine and do things that you normally wouldn’t do. Staying healthy is more difficult when you’re in an unfamiliar environment and under stressful conditions. However, you don’t have to break your habits completely and overindulge. Here are some tips that will help you.

  • Stay hydrated. Bring your own water bottle, if possible. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake so that you can avoid dehydration while traveling. Dehydration leads to headaches and tiredness, so if you start to feel sluggish, drink some water.
  • Sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends at least 8 – 10 hours of sleep each night. Make sure you’re sleeping enough at least three days before you travel so that when you go on vacation, your body has time to get used to the time difference (if any).
  • Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet. Have a side of fruit with your breakfast and a salad filled with greens on the side of your dinner. Avoid eating large meals.
  • Eat smaller portions. Cut your portion size by sharing your meal or dessert, or even take it to-go so you can eat it the next day.
  • Make time for exercise. Rather than driving or taking public transportation, explore the new location by walking around. Be sure to pack comfortable tennis shoes.
  • Pack your own travel snacks. Whether you decide to fly or driver, having non-perishable snacks on hand is a healthy alternative as opposed to processed food on the road. Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits will give you plenty of energy when you don’t have that many food options.
  • Avoid eating large meals before you go to sleep. Not only can this lead to indigestion, eating late at night may result in less hunger the next day.
  • Plan ahead – limit dining out. If you’re driving to your destination and your hotel has a refrigerator, cook some food to take with you before you leave and put it in an insulated cooler.
  • Bring your own gear – proper running shoes, yoga matt, and/or workout clothes.
  • Be prepared for emergencies. Pack sunscreen, antihistamines, bug spray, band-aids/first aid kit, and hand sanitizer. You never know what can happen and it’s better to have these essentials on hand in the case that you need it.

Give yourself a break when you get home. When a great vacation is over, there is usually tiredness from the travel and excitement. Take a day, if possible, to get back to your normal routine and run errands, whether that is doing laundry, grocery shopping/cooking, or even taking the whole day to sleep.

Eating healthy and having a healthy attitude while on vacation is challenging, but it’s also not impossible. By having these tips in mind, you will feel more satisfied, both physically and mentally while you are enjoying your time away from home.

Written by Dami Falade

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

Team Building at Work

Although team building is one area of development that can be easily overlooked, team building activities are worth the time and effort. Team building activities are essential to establishing a culture where people enjoy coming to work, and are able to collaborate easily and trust each other.

The purpose of any team building exercise is to build a stronger group of employees. It’s a great opportunity to give people a chance to interact with one another in a non-work related way. You can have activities at work, such as a potluck, or even take your employees out to do something fun, such as bowling. Whether they are quick, 5 minute exercises or a weekend retreat, employees are taught essential collaborate skills while developing trust in each other’s abilities. Here are more benefits and importance of team building at work!

    • Increased collaboration and building team bonds. By creating activities that people can enjoy and can experience as a group, employees can build relationships and network outside of their day-to-day responsibilities, which will in turn help them in the future. Successful team building events not only bring colleagues closer together, but they also lead to more successful and creative workplace ideas.
    • Builds trust. When colleagues are forced to work on a project that is outside of their normal job responsibilities, they relax and let their guard down.
    • Motivates employees. The more comfortable employees are to express their ideas and opinions, the more confident they become. This will motivate them to take on new challenges.
    • Improves productivity. By encouraging employees to learn to work together more effectively, employees can work more efficiently.
    • Increases motivation. Employees are more motivated when they gain trust in their fellow employees, and feel confident that their work as a team is recognized and appreciated.
    • Positive energy – having fun and celebrating. Without an element of fun, there won’t be as much engagement in activities and without engagement, communication and relationships won’t improve. Team building events will reiterate the value of having fun in the workplace.
    • Communication. Everyone wants a friendly work environment, where people are comfortable and happy to talk to and work with one another. Team building exercises are created to force people to open up. Not only do colleagues learn more about each other’s skills and talents, they may learn more about each other.

 

Working well together is necessary for maintaining a successful and efficient company. Team building brings people together by encouraging teamwork. Fun activities allow employees to connect in a different setting. By focusing on building employee relationships, communication, and trust, companies will find more engaged and productive employees.

 

Written by Dami Falade

Pollution and its Long-Term Effect on the Body

Pollution from the environment may be making you sick! Air pollution is difficult to escape. Most air pollution is caused by people – in the form of cars, planes, wildfires, cigarette smoke, or even using a wood stove to cook.

Air pollution is a mixture of natural and artificial sources in the air we breathe. Outdoor air pollution includes tobacco smoke and gases such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Indoor air pollution can include tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide as well, but also include chemicals from household cleaning products and asbestos.

High levels of air pollution can cause added stress to the heart and lungs and can damage cells in the respiratory system. The impact of how bad you can be affected by air pollution depends heavily on your current health status, the pollutant type, and how long you are exposed to air pollution.

Those who are more vulnerable to severe health problems as a result of air pollution are individuals who have heart disease, individuals who work outside, athletes who exercise outside, and pregnant women. Short-term effects of air pollution include temporary illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis.  People who develop these illnesses often have headaches, illnesses, and irritation to the nose, eyes, skin, or throat.

Long-term effects of air pollution can last for years or even for an entire lifetime. Long term effects of air pollution can cause heart disease, lung cancer, and diseases that directly affect the respiratory system, such as emphysema.

Indoor air pollution can be lessened by making sure that a building is cleaned on a regular basis and well ventilated, in order to prevent harmful agents such as dust and mold from spreading. Try to reduce outdoor air pollution by taking public transportation or riding a bike instead of driving a car, avoiding heavy traffic if possible, avoiding secondhand smoke from cigarettes, or even cutting down if you are someone who does smoke cigarettes. If you feel that you are experiencing serious symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pains, you need to seek medical attention immediately.

 

Written by Dami Falade