Summer is zooming by, and as usual, school will be starting up again in most places within a few weeks. Most states either recommend or require spinal examinations for all school children, aimed at early detection of scoliosis, abnormal curvature of the spine. Even if your state does not mandate spinal exams, savvy parents arrange to have their children checked to be sure they have no problems brewing.
But in a spine and nerve system check-up, your doctor of chiropractic looks for more than just scoliosis – chiropractors are expert in interpreting your body’s function, and making recommendations on how to reduce your stresses and improve your vitality and energy.
Why are the spine and nerve system important? It’s your body’s control center, and the protective enclosure that both keeps it safe and allows movement, a remarkable engineering feat only Nature could execute.
After an active summer of fun and exercise, many kids have minor injuries to their structure that fly under the radar but have significance if not addressed. Your chiropractor is the neighborhood expert in this type of health care.
Respect and honor your body, not just the kids, but the entire family – schedule a seasonal chiropractic examination for everyone in the family, and you can avoid unnecessary spinal problems, and improve your quality of life by helping your body to work better.
Most of us love the summer, but it’s important to observe some basic safety principles for the warmer months. Here are six tips for summertime safety.
1. Hydrate. It’s always important to get enough water, but in the summer months, the tendency to perspire and lose moisture increases. When you are overheated, you can lose body fluids faster than you may realize.
So, plan to drink water throughout the day, keeping some with you whenever possible. You may think that icy water tastes cold and refreshing, but actually, when you’re hot you’re better off with room temperature beverages – when what you’re drinking is too cold, your body uses up more energy to balance your temperature.
2. Eat healthy. Many families enjoy a summer barbecue, but it’s healthier to avoid heavy, fried, fatty and salty foods when you’re out in the heat. Instead, opt for fruits and vegetables, as they are high water-content foods, loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber.
As a special tip, WebMD recommends giving your diet a “berry boost” – adding a cup of blueberries, blackberries or strawberries supplies you with anti-oxidants which reduce the breakdown of your cells, helping you to handle the stresses of summertime and slow the aging process.
3. Manage your exposure to the sun. Contrary to public opinion, it’s very good for your health to get pure, unrestricted sunshine – just not to excess. Being in direct sunlight as little as fifteen to thirty minutes increases your Vitamin D production, good for bone and organ health as well as immune system function. It also brightens your day, not only with light but with positive energy. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harsh conditions and glare, but spend some time in the sun.
If you’re going to be out in bright sun for any extended period, you must cover your skin, or use a natural or organic sunscreen. Stay away from heavy chemicals -- there are many products that are kind to your skin and the environment and still offer some safeguards against sunburn and sun poisoning.
4. Respect extreme heat. The Department of Health recommends that when it’s very hot out, you should avoid staying out too long in direct sunlight. Whenever possible, schedule outdoor events in the cooler part of the day, early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Wear light-colored, lightweight clothes, and dress in layers so you can negotiate movement between cold, air-conditioned indoor areas and hot outdoor areas. Drink extra fluids.
Watch out for kids, seniors and those with serious illnesses. And of course, anyone who is acting strangely disoriented, who is not sweating appropriately, or who complains of nausea may be experiencing heat stroke, a dangerous condition, and should seek help immediately.
5. Practice safe sports and exercise. Water sports and boating are fun and exhilarating, but can also carry risks that can be easily warded off with a little common-sense decision-making.
Guard against unnecessary hazards by observing a few simple rules – for example, never swim alone, and wear a life jacket when out on the water. Don’t overdo the alcohol, keep a constant eye on children, and replenish your natural sunscreen after you swim.
When playing rigorous sports in the heat, make sure to drink lots of water, avoid excessive exertion, and if you need to cool down, don’t push it, listen to your body.
6. Consider a vacation. Vacations are not only times to take a break from work. They decrease your stress, drop your blood pressure, improve your heart function, and reduce the production of cortisol, the stress hormone that puts weight around your middle and increases the incidence of heart and circulatory diseases.
And, of course, they’re fun! You can visit relatives, head for the beach, or just create a relaxing stay-cation in your own home or neighborhood – but taking a breather from your ordinary routine refreshes your attitude as well as your body.
Eliminate summer head – you’re less likely to suffer any summertime blues if you follow these few simple guidelines, designed to help you get the most out of your summer. Stay cool!