Staying Safe During Holiday Travel

holiday travel 1If you’re one of the millions of people planning to travel over the holidays, we’d like you to do it safely. Whether your plans involve car, plane or train take a minute or two to study these simple steps to stay healthy while traveling.

One health risk to consider when traveling is simply sitting for too long,” says Clayton Cowl, M.D., an expert in travel medicine at Mayo Clinic. “Concerns like blood clots in the legs from sitting too long, becoming dehydrated from lack of fluid intake or drinking too much alcohol, and not walking much when delayed in an airport or train station can be serious. Driving for hours to reach a destination after a long day at work can be as equally worrisome due to fatigue and eyestrain.”

Blood clots can be a concern when a person sits for too long because leg muscles aren’t contracting and blood can pool and stagnate in the vessels. This can lead to deep vein thrombosis and even pulmonary embolism – a potentially fatal condition, caused by clots becoming lodged in the lungs.  When travelling by car, both driver and passengers should stop every few hours to hydrate and walk. Plan ahead, and pick some good rest stops along your route. How about a park, a mall, or a place of interest?

As an added benefit, allowing children to run or play in a safe environment while traveling will often help curb their excessive energy in a confined space and may help them relax while traveling for longer periods.

full planeWhen traveling by plane, check the in-flight magazine for tips on how to exercise in your seat and on trips longer than three hours, get up at least once to take a walk to the bathroom or other end of the plane.

And regardless of how you travel, try to avoid crossing your legs while sitting for long periods, because this can inhibit adequate blood circulation.

If you’re the one doing the driving, plan to get a good night’s sleep the day before the trip, to avoid drowsiness during the journey. If possible, take turns at the wheel with other passengers. Take breaks at rest stops and chose healthy low carb meal options, to avoid crashing after a sugar high. Combining meals or rest room stops with a short walk to get fresh air and stretch can make a big difference in staying more alert and refreshed.

planesWhile we all want to just get to our destination for the holidays, budgeting a little extra time to account for unexpected weather delays and adequate driving breaks is a really smart plan.

To avoid stiffness from sitting too long, if you’re a passenger try doing some simple stretches, such as extending legs out and back several times and massaging thighs and calves.

To avoid eyestrain and its associated annoying symptoms including sore or irritated eyes, dry or watery eyes, double vision or blurriness, increased sensitivity to light or unremitting shoulder and neck fatigue never drive if you are sleep deprived.

A short nap can significantly relieve these symptoms and non-medicated eye drops can help if eye irritation persists

Whatever your travel method, avoid dehydration. Drink plenty of water and minimize or eliminate alcohol consumption as alcohol dehydrates at a cellular level.

holiday trafficAbove all, plan for the worst, and enjoy the best: When severe winter weather hits, many vehicles may become stranded and help may be hours or sometimes days away. Pack a simple emergency kit, including blankets, snacks, water, charging devices, flashlights and activities to keep kids amused.

Thank You for your attention. Now, please fasten your seat belts, place doors to manual and turn off all cellular devices. You’re ready for the holidays!

Bon Voyage.

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10 Brain Damaging Habits

brain damageAccording to the World Health Organization here’s 10 habits that can severely damage your brain:

No Breakfast1.  No BreakfastSkipping breakfast in order to lose weight or save time is totally wrong and directly affects our brain. Those who don’t take breakfast or take unhealthy breakfast having lower blood sugar level and sometime it may cause overweight.

2. Overreacting – causes hardening of the brain arteries, leading to a decrease in mental power.

3. High Sugar consumption – Too much sugar will interrupt the absorption of proteins and nutrients causing malnutrition and may interfere with brain development by reducing the production of Brain Derived Neutrotrophic Factor, without which the brain cannot learn.

Smoking4. Smokingcauses brain shrinkage, damages memory, judgment, learning and thinking powers and may even lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Air PollutionThe brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain, bringing about a decrease in brain efficiency.

6. Sleep Deprivation Sleep allows our brain to rest. Long term deprivation from sleep will accelerate the death of brain cells.

7. Head covered while sleeping – Sleeping with the head covered decreases available air space and forces you to start breathing carbon dioxide instead of oxygen. This leads to a rise in intracranial pressure and results in brain hypoxia which may lead to brain damaging effects.

8. Working your brain during illness – Working hard or studying with sickness may lead to a decrease in effectiveness of the brain. When we are sick the brain is at its weakest and becomes more easily stressed. This stress can also affect memory.

9. Drinking too little water – Water is the main source of energy and is essential for brain function and activity of neurotransmitters. Dehydration can lead to anger, stress, exhaustion, depression and lack of mental clarity.

Talking Rarely10. Rarely Talking – Intellectual conversations help to train and promote efficiency of the brain. Conversely, lack of stimulating thoughts may cause brain shrinkage. Reading SRxA’s Word on Health and discussing the content with friends is an excellent way to avoid this!  So grab a glass of water and subscribe today. Consider it free brain fuel!

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside

snow_cover_map_NOAA_27Dec12With almost 70% of the US currently covered in snow it’s fair to say that the weather outside is frightful. However, before you start embracing the lyrics of Let it Snow!, consider that sitting by the fire, popping corn may be more frightful than delightful. At least as far as your fitness routine is concerned. Though you may be layered in sweatshirts, stockings and scarves, staying active is important no matter what the temperature. “It’s hard to stay motivated in the winter. When temperatures plummet, the last thing we want to do is leave the comfort and warmth of our homes. But winter is not a good excuse to give up our fitness routines,” says Kara Smith, personal trainer and group fitness coordinator at the Loyola Center for Fitness. Two women run down Mountain Avenue in a snowstorm.Yet, there are a lot of great outdoor fitness activities you can only enjoy during the winter months, such as hockey or ice skating, skiing and snowshoeing.  And you don’t have to abandon your outdoor running and walking routines, just modify them a little. Here’s some tips for exercising outside in the cold.

  1. Wear a hat, scarf and gloves.
  2. Take special care with extremities, especially nose, ears, fingers and toes.  Keep them covered to prevent frostbite.
  3. Moisture is extremely dangerous when exercising in the cold so make sure your shoes are waterproof to keep your feet dry.
  4. Wear layers. Exercise will generate heat, which may make you feel too warm. Layers allow you the option of taking off piece by piece to keep you at a comfortable temperature.
  5. exercise in the snowLayer correctly. The first layer should be a synthetic material such as polypropylene to keep sweat off your skin. Avoid cotton since it stays wet and can cause your skin to get cold. The next layer should be fleece or wool for insulation. The top layer should be a waterproof, breathable material. Avoid heavy jackets that may cause you to overheat if exercising hard.
  6. Stay hydrated. In the summer months we think about hydrating, but it’s important in winter, too. Winter is a very dry time of year so your body needs more water even when not sweating. Dehydration causes muscle fatigue and weakness.
  7. Find an exercise partner and schedule times to workout together.
  8. Beware of  your footing while out on your run. Beneath the snow, there could be a sheet of ice which could cause you to slip. If you want to protect yourself from slipping on unexpected layers of ice, make sure you have suitable footwear with sufficient traction
  9. Plan your route before you set off. There are various things that you need to keep in mind – the level of traffic, the thickness of the snow, the weather forecast for the next few hours, and distance. In snowy weather, it is sometimes better to stick to the busier roads as breaking trail in heavy snow can be very difficult .
  10. stay-active-this-winter-staying-fit-and-healthyConsider your safety. Once you have planned your route, tell friends and family where you will be and how long you could be gone for. Carry your mobile phone and be prepared to walk back should you suffer an injury.
  11. Watch out for traffic. Snow and ice not only affects your movement as a runner, but the movement of vehicles on the road. Because of the treacherous driving conditions, there is an increased rate of road accidents. Always try to position yourself facing the traffic so you can see what’s happening ahead of you.

Remember winter doesn’t last forever so stop hibernating and get out and enjoy what this season has to offer. SRxA-logo for web