Keep Cool With 8 Heat Safety Tips

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your comments below…..

sunWhile summer is a great time for outdoor activities, it can also bring extreme heat and humidity. In fact, nearly a third of weather-related deaths in the U.S. are attributed to excessive natural heat, heat stroke, sun stroke or all three, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s why Amica Insurance is offering tips to help keep everyone safe.

Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, so stay cool and use common sense. Amica is sharing the following tips from the CDC:

* Drink plenty of fluids, regardless of activity level.

* Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and always put on sunscreen.

* Stay indoors if possible, and in an air-conditioned place.

* Monitor infants, young children and the elderly.

* Do not leave children or pets in a parked car.

* Eat lightly, and avoid hot foods and alcohol.

* Provide plenty of fresh water for pets.

* Seek medical attention if anyone exhibits warning signs, like extremely high body temperatures, red, hot or dry skin, nausea or a rapid, strong pulse.

About Amica Insurance

Amica Mutual Insurance Co., the nation’s oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, based in Lincoln, Rhode Island, is a national writer of auto, home, marine and umbrella insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,400 people in 44 offices across the country. For more information, visit

Cold Weather Pet Safety

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your comments below….

boydogWith all the cold weather this time of year, the emergency veterinarians of MedVet Chicago have recommended a few cold weather safety tips for your pets:

Freezing Temperatures:
If it is too cold for you to be outside, it is too cold for you pet. Be mindful of the amount of time your pet spends outside during the cold winter months. Exposure to freezing temperatures can lead to frostbite and hypothermia, even after a short period of time. Provide small dogs or those with thin hair a coat or sweater if going outside.

Walks/Potty Breaks:
If letting your pet out into the yard for a potty break, it is always best to stand by the door and call them back inside immediately after they’ve finished. Standing by the door until your pet is ready to come back inside can limit the risk of be¬coming distracted by something else going on inside the house and accidentally leaving them out in the cold for too long. It is also best to limit the amount of time spent on walks during the cold winter months in order to avoid over-exposure to frigid temperatures. Walks should be just long enough for your pet to use the restroom.

Cold Weather Chemicals:
Common chemicals used during the winter months can be hazardous to pets. This includes many anti-freeze formulas, as well as rock salt that is typically sprinkled onto sidewalks to melt ice and snow. Extreme caution should be used when storing anti-freeze, as many formulas contain ethylene glycol, which can be deadly if consumed by a pet. Although rock salt is not typically deadly, it can cause burning and irritation if in contact with a pet’s paws, in addition to stomach irritation if licked from the paws and swallowed. A simple solution for avoiding contact with rock salt is to purchase pet booties for your pet to wear when outdoors. Wearing the booties will also aid in keeping your pets feet dry and warm.

Coats and Clothes:
If providing your pet with a coat or sweater for the winter weather, waterproof is always best. When outside in the winter months, there is always a chance that your pet may come into contact with ice, snow or slush, which can saturate a non-waterproof clothing item. A cold, wet piece of clothing can end up doing more harm than good.

Warming Devices:
Pets should never be left unattended around warming/heating devices, such as space heaters, electric blankets or open flames. If a pet is cold, they may get too close to the warming device, which can put them at risk for burns or potential further damage if the device is knocked over.

What to do in a Pet Emergency
If a pet is experiencing a medical emergency, pet owners are encouraged to immediately contact their family veterinarian or MedVet Chicago for guidance and help. MedVet Chicago can be reached 24-hours a day, every day of the year, by calling (773) 281-7110 or in-person at 3123 N. Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60618.

About MedVet Chicago
MedVet Chicago (formerly Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center) is a 24-hour emergency, critical care and specialty animal hospital which is part of the MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets patient care family. MedVet is employee owned, veterinary led, and is leading specialty healthcare for pets. MedVet provides specialty referral services for in-depth care and patient management, as well as emergency services, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. More than 100,000 dogs and cats are treated annually at MedVet’s expanding network of medical centers across the country.

Youth Sports Safety Month

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your thoughts below…..

boyssportsIn conjunction with “Youth Sports Safety Month,” the Austin sports medicine team at Medicine in Motion has compiled five recommendations for teenagers who are interested in launching a fitness routine.

The average teenager’s schedule is filled by juggling school, work, post-high school plans, family life, dating, friends and studying. It doesn’t leave much time for physical fitness, but since one out of three kids in the United States is considered overweight or obese, health and wellness of teens is a topic that can’t be ignored. Not only will participating in fitness activities help teens maintain a healthy weight, it also combats stress and depression, boosts energy levels and builds confidence.

But getting teens on board the fitness train is only the first step – injury prevention education and preparation are also critical. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, more than 7.3 million high school students annually partake in physical fitness by participating in organized sports. And since, according to the Centers for Disease Control, high school athletics account for more than 2 million injuries annually, preventing traumatic injuries should be top of mind for all parents and active teens.

During April’s “Youth Sports Safety Month,” the Austin sports medicine team at Medicine in Motion has identified five essential habits that should be adopted by teenagers who are beginning to pursue a physically fit lifestyle:

1. Start small. All worthy accomplishments take time to achieve, and so does physical fitness. When teenagers begin, they shouldn’t expect massive results to happen overnight. Steady marked improvements are normal, however, when teens set reasonable goals and stick to their workout schedules. Setting smaller goals will allow participants to regularly meet and celebrate their achievements, reducing the likelihood of discouragement when larger goals aren’t rapidly attained.

2. Eat healthy. A lot of people, young and old, think that exercise is free pass to eat whatever they please. The most physically fit people know, however, that fitness is a whole body experience, including food consumption. People who start healthy eating habits in their teens are more likely to maintain those habits when they’re older, giving them a life-long fitness advantage. A few suggestions include: eat a daily healthy breakfast, cut down on processed foods, enjoy an endless amount of raw vegetables, consume lean proteins, and eat smaller meals five to six times per day.

3. Hydrate properly. The human body is, on average, made up of over 50% water. It’s an essential ingredient under normal circumstances, but when exercise and increased perspiration is involved, hydrating is even more crucial. Not only should a person drink water throughout their regular day, they should also stay reasonably hydrated during their workout. Remember that when thirst occurs, a person is already dehydrated, so keep a glass or bottle of water handy at all times.

4. Don’t skip on sleep. Teen bodies are still in flux, growing and changing – this requires a lot of sleep. When adding exercise into the mix, the body needs even more rest so it can properly repair and rebuild muscles. Teenagers should strive for at least eight hours of quality sleep every night.

5. Partner up. It’s easy to get discouraged and overwhelmed when tackling a new challenge like physical fitness, so find a friend, classmate or family member to join in the activity. Not only does the buddy system make the routines more enjoyable, partners have the advantage of being able to assist one another during difficult exercises and help each other maintain proper form to avoid injury.

Medicine in Motion (MIM) specializes in providing top quality sports medicine in Austin, Texas, for athletic individuals of all ages and levels. The staff at MIM believes active bodies are healthy bodies, therefore it is the office’s goal to keep patients energetic and fit. To that end, MIM provides treatment of injuries and illnesses, including the use of physical rehabilitation; promotes healthy living with personal training and nutrition coaching; and offers comprehensive sports medicine evaluations to optimize health, activity level and sports performance. For more information or for questions regarding sports medicine in Austin, contact Medicine in Motion at 512-257-2500 or visit the website at

Pregnancy Safety While Traveling

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Submitted by the Baylor College of Medicine

pregnantIf a woman is experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy it is safe for her to travel over the holidays, but there are some best practices patients should abide by, said a Baylor College of Medicine obstetrician and gynecologist expert.

“The best time for pregnant patients to travel is between 14 and 30 weeks because that is when complications are less likely to occur. After 30 weeks, comfort and the ability to sit for long periods of time may become difficult,” said Dr. Kelly Hodges, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor,

Bringing snacks and drinks on a trip are always a good idea, but there are more specific traveling guidelines depending on the mode of transportation.


Airplane travel, both domestic and international, is safe during pregnancy. Most domestic airlines restrict travel after 36 weeks and international travel can be even earlier.

Hodges recommended that pregnant women stretch and do the leg and ankle exercises recommended by the airline (instructions are usually found in the seat pocket) while flying because, although rare, pregnancy increases the chance of developing blood clots. Support hose can help minimize the risk as well.

In addition, pregnant women should take more care while moving around the cabin because balance can be off while mid-flight.

It also is important to stay hydrated, but Hodges said soft drinks can cause problems.

“I recommend my patients avoid carbonated beverages while flying because the carbonation can expand in the intestines and feel uncomfortable,” she said.


Same as with air travel, walking while on a boat can be difficult, and Hodges urges patients to take extra care as to not fall or bump their belly.

If women are worried about experiencing sea sickness they should contact their doctor about acceptable medication.


Traveling by car also is doable while pregnant. It is best to keep a day’s travel between five and six hours, taking bathroom and exercise breaks along the way.

Hodges said all travelers should adhere to industry safety guidelines, including wearing seatbelts and, if applicable, life vests, while traveling.

In addition, it is best to find a reputable hospital at your vacation destination in the event that an emergency were to arise.

While it is safe to travel during an uncomplicated pregnancy, Hodges said she always tells her patients to use their best judgment.

“If you’re not feeling well or having contractions, assess the situation and consider not going because your health is most important,” she explained.

10 Spring Break Safety Tips For College Students

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This article is courtesy of PRWeb and SABRE. Please share your thoughts below…..

teensEach year, upwards of 1.5 million students go on spring break*, a peak travel season that poses many risks for college-aged men and women. The truth is that the spring break environment – however fun – can lead to negative consequences such as sexual assault, alcohol poisoning, serious injuries and more. This frightening reality is why SABRE is distributing its top 10 tips to reduce safety and health risks this vacation season.

While a safety mindset should be applied to every part of your vacation (alcohol-related or not), we know that binge drinking plays a significant role in spring break safety risks. In fact, 91% of parents think spring break marketing and drink promotions should be stopped – but free or cheap alcohol access was an important factor in deciding to go on a spring break trip for two in five women**. Here are 10 tips to help drinkers and non-drinkers alike stay safe on spring break:

1. Arrive safely. Driving through the night to make it down to Florida or other sunny destinations is common for spring breakers. But the National Safety Council says traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day. If you can’t avoid night driving, have at least one person stay awake to talk to driver.

2. Don’t take chances at your hotel. Lock the doors, and secure important belongings like passports and wallets in the safe. SABRE’s door stop alarm is portable and can alert you if someone tries to break-in. Make sure it’s in your suitcase this spring break.

3. Be smart about who you give personal information out to; don’t tell new acquaintances your hotel or room number. You never know who has innocent or dangerous intentions.

4. Make sure you know the name and address of your hotel or take a hotel business card out with you so you can give it to a cab driver. This is especially important if you don’t speak the local language.

5. The buddy system – it works! We do NOT recommend you leave a party with a stranger; it’s always best to take a friend with you. If for whatever reason you do leave without your friends, give them details about where you’re going and when to expect you back.

6. Practice safe drinking – take turns so that one friend in the group per night will plan on minimal drinking to look out for everyone. Other good habits: watching your cup or glass, and only accept drinks that you’ve watched get made or poured in front of you.

7. If you need help, ask for it. If there’s an emergency don’t rely on a bystander to call for help. Call for help yourself to be sure first responders or police gets the message.

8. Hydrate & wear sunscreen. Heat stroke and melanoma aren’t happy spring break thoughts, but too much time in the sun can leave you dehydrated with an increased risk of sunburns. Take your SPF and a bottle of water to the beach.

9. If traveling outside of the country, be sure to look up the address or contact information for the American consulate or U.S. Embassy in the country where you’re headed. Be sure to tell friends and relatives in the U.S. of your travel itinerary and try to check in with them often.

10. Carry a small, practical, and easy to use personal protection tool like pepper spray or a personal alarm. SABRE Red pepper spray and SABRE personal alarms are legal to carry in all 50 states.

For more information about how to adopt a safe and healthy lifestyle, visit the SABRE website

About SABRE:

SABRE Security Equipment Corporation provides best-in-class personal safety, home security and law enforcement products to maximize consumers’ safety. The company strives to educate and empower customers with the knowledge and powerful products needed if and when someone is in danger. SABRE believes that everyone should be protected so that they can live a safe, healthy life with peace of mind.

Organically Grown Foods Health And Safety

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This article was provided by PRWeb and Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. Do you agree or disagree with what the authors view of this article shared? Is organic food actually better? Share your opinions in the comments section.

grapesReview by Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute researcher examines question of health benefits of organic food.

Scientists have long recognized the dangers of cadmium (Cd) exposure to the human body. This heavy metal is emerging as a major cause of vascular disorders, common cancers, osteoporosis, and kidney disease, and can also cause damage to the body’s reproductive and neurological systems. While tobacco smoke can be a significant source of exposure for smokers, the primary source of cadmium exposure for nonsmokers is through consumption of contaminated plant-based foods.

A survey of all previous pertinent research (meta-analysis), appearing recently in the British Journal of Nutrition, concluded that organically grown foods are on average 48 percent lower in Cd than conventionally grown foods. Now, in an invited commentary appearing in the same journal, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute cardiovascular research scientist James J. DiNicolantonio, Pharm.D., and Mark F. McCarty, B.A., place this finding in the context of the growing epidemiology linking Cd exposure to adverse health outcomes, and conclude that consistent consumption of organic foods over a lifetime could be expected to favorably influence health and mortality risk.

“For years, nutritionists and consumers have struggled with the question, ‘is organic really better?’” said Dr. DiNicolantonio. “What analysis of this research reveals is that, due to the serious health impacts of cadmium exposure and the markedly lower levels of Cd in organically grown foods, the long-term consumption of such foods is likely to be notably protective with respect to a wide range of common pathologies.”

Citing previous studies, DiNicolantonio and McCarty suggest that Cd contamination of chemical fertilizers may be primarily responsible for the higher Cd content of conventionally grown foods.

Dietary Cd is found primarily in grains, green vegetables, root vegetables, tubers, organ meat, and shellfish; hence, in nonsmokers, most Cd exposure derives from plant foods usually thought to be healthful. Although tiny amounts of Cd are excreted in the urine, the human body has no physiological mechanism for regulating its Cd levels, so levels tend to accumulate over time, with a half-life of 10-30 years. Clinically available chelation therapies are not helpful for coping with chronic Cd exposure, as most Cd accumulates in the interior of cells where chelating drugs cannot reach. Fortunately, research has shown that dietary zinc functions to counteract Cd toxicity. Cd is an important inducer of oxidative stress, and rodent studies suggest that the antioxidant activity of spirulina may also lessen the adverse health impact of Cd already in the body.

Nonsmokers who consistently choose organic foods throughout life, as compared to nonsmokers who rely on conventional agriculture, could be expected to experience about half the Cd exposure. By surveying recent epidemiological findings correlating body Cd levels with mortality risk, DiNicolantonio and McCarty estimate that consistent use of organic foods could result in a 20 percent reduction in total mortality.

“Choosing organic foods, avoiding tobacco smoke, and preventing or correcting iron deficiency, are three smart strategies for keeping your body burden of Cd relatively low,” DiNicolantonio notes. “Iron deficiency increases the intestines’ absorption of dietary Cd, and this probably explains why women tend to have higher body levels of Cd than men.”

The recent meta-analysis of organic foods also found that such foods tend to be about 30 percent higher in antioxidant phytochemicals, likely because many of these phytochemicals function to protect plants from pests; crops treated with pesticides may have less need for this protection. DiNicolantonio and McCarty point to research suggesting that higher dietary intake of polyphenolic antioxidants such as flavonoids may provide some protection to the vascular system.

The original paper and corresponding commentary may be found at : and

About Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, a member of Saint Luke’s Health System and a teaching affiliate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is one of the preeminent cardiovascular programs in the country. Its legacy of innovation began more than 25 years ago when it opened as the nation’s first heart hospital. Since then, the Heart Institute has earned a world-wide reputation for excellence in the treatment of heart disease, including interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, imaging, heart failure, transplant, heart disease prevention, women’s heart disease, electrophysiology, outcomes research, and health economics. With more than 50 full-time board-certified cardiovascular specialists on staff, the Heart Institute offers one of the largest heart failure/heart transplant programs in the country, has the largest experience with transcatheter aortic valve replacement in the Midwest, and is a global teaching site for the newest approaches to opening challenging blocked arteries using minimally invasive techniques.

A short disclaimer…..The Your Health Journal web site is for advice and information purposes only. It is meant to be an educational site. Opinions expressed by other individuals on this web site through guest posts or comments does not mean the creators of this website support their opinions or products. In fact, anything written on this site does not mean it is endorsed by anyone affiliated with this web site! Although we try to do checks of anyone who contributes to our site, we can also not be responsible for any false information they give, whether in their title, or facts they send. If you see an error, please send an email, and we will fix it immediately or remove an the article.

Ensuring Work Health And Safety In The Office

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By Sarah Smith

workdeskWhen overseeing a business, it is unfortunately very common for employees to get injured. Whether that is a repetitive strain or a posture problem, there are steps that can be taken to avoid these kinds of situations altogether. With the proper healthy alternatives to the norm in place, the workplace can battle these kinds of issues.

The best way to avoid incorrect posture from occurring is by understanding how to achieve neutral posture in the office as this will ultimately prevent injuries from occurring. Neutral posture is when an individual sits in a comfortable way so that their joints are aligned natural. This will help lower the chances of the employee developing some sort of musculoskeletal disorder. Besides this, the employee should change their posture often. It does not matter how good the individual’s posture may be, sitting in any position for too long of a time is unhealthy. Ideally, the employee should switch up their posture roughly every 15 minutes. This can be done by simply changing the height of the chair being used or moving back a little bit more into the chair. Of course, getting up and moving around for a minute or two every hour will make a big difference too.

One item in particular that business owners should invest in is adjustable task chairs. These items are ideal for employees who do not get much movement throughout the day at work. Adjustable task chairs work by providing direct support to the workers, even throwing in the option of changing up their posture during their work shift. Additionally, adjustable task chairs are great for people who are working with an injury. That is because a lot of times injured employees may have difficulty fitting into a standard chair. These types of chairs, though, won’t have that kind of issue.

Similar to this, the way an office is designed can play a huge part in ensuring work health and safety. In fact, the equipment and furniture that makes up the office itself should be fully analyzed to figure out whether or not it creates risk factors. For instance, when arranging the shelves, the items that are constantly being used should be as close to the work area. This will prevent the likelihood of overhead reaching to occur. Then, if there are any office tasks that are repetitive like stamping dates onto envelopes or folding letters, invest in automated equipment. While some business owners may look at these types of machinery as another expense, it is definitely worth it to avoid the costs of workplace injuries.

Obviously injuries in the workplace is a serious matter that happens way too often. Thankfully, though, there are preventive measures that business owners can take to avoid posture problems and repetitive strain injuries from developing. Employees, and the workplace alike, do not have to be left feeling and looking vulnerable. Instead, be ready to expect the unexpected. There are plenty of ways to ensure both work health and safety in the office. One really good way to learn more about Workplace health and Safety is by taking a course through a provider like Rose Training. You can check out their website to learn more about the courses on offer.

Halloween Safety Tips For Your Pet

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By Dr. Jeff Werber

Dr. Jeff explains how to keep your pets safe, calm and free from danger this Halloween.

boydog· Candy is meant to attract, and it does. Candy isn’t good for dogs, and can actually be deadly. Still, dogs will happily eat whatever candy they can get their paws on. And because they can’t unwrap it, they’ll gobble up the wrapper too.

· Sugar isn’t good for a dog, but dark chocolate can result in serious illness or death. Fatty chocolate and candies can also predispose dogs to pancreatitis. Raisins can cause death, and many nuts are also dangerous if ingested.

· If your dog snatches a candy or two, it’s probably not cause for alarm, but if she gets into a big bag, she may end up in the hospital.

· And the wrappers, string, sticks that accompanied the candy may cause a blockage that requires medical attention.

· Stream of visitors and continuous ringing of the doorbell can be stressful and confusing to a dog; protective instinct is over-triggered; costumes and masks may freak out a dog. Reactive behaviors could range from fear, anxiety, aggression, escape attempts, which are likely to be successful due to the frequently opening door.

catstretching· If you know your dog is nervous, keep him or her contained in a part of the house that’s as far as possible from the action. Even a normally calm dog may be overwhelmed by the activity and prefer to be contained in a secure environment. This also prevents your dog from getting out.

· There are calming formulas, which are herbal, natural formulas and which can help to keep your dog relaxed in this type of stressful situation.

· And if you are tempted to take your dog along with your family as you “trick or treat,” please be aware that these same considerations apply (noise, crowds, costumed kids).

Dr. Jeff Werber has dedicated his life to the care and protection of animals. A renowned veterinarian and pet parenting specialist, Dr. Jeff maintains that pets are more than just companions; they are part of the family and deserve to be treated that way. A top graduate of the University of California Davis Veterinary School, Dr. Jeff established his Los Angeles-based private clinic, Century Veterinary Group, in 1988. Dr. Jeff cares for the pets of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Britney Spears, Julia Roberts, Ben Affleck, Eddie Murphy, Paula Abdul, Rod Stewart, Mark Wahlberg, Patrick Dempsey, Mandy Moore, Jennifer Love Hewittand many more – along with those of everyday pet owners. He is a highly sought after and frequent guest speaker on a number of national news programs and has lent his expertise on Dr. Oz, CBS’ The Early Show and Sunday Morning, CNN Sunday Morning, Fox News Channel and Rachael Ray. As an Emmy Award winning veterinarian, he has hosted the wildly popular Petcetera on Animal Planet Network, sharing his compassion and knowledge with millions of viewers around the country, encouraging responsible pet ownership and care.

Fitness For The Frequent Traveler

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By Warwick Ford

malepushupWhile a motivated person may easily keep fit and keep weight under control when at home, the situation is different for those regularly on the road.

The Fitness Hazard for Travelers

Frequent business travelers face considerable challenges in keeping fit:

• They spend larger than average amounts of time in sedentary situations such as sitting in aircraft, vehicles, restaurants, and bars;

• They are likely to suffer from more stress and poorer sleep owing to time zone changes and extended work hours;

• Their diets may suffer owing to the temptation to increase intake of comfort foods;

• They are deprived of many of their regular fitness generating activities, including their sports partners, sporting and social clubs, family members, and local team activities.

One of the few fitness fallbacks that travelers have is the hotel gym. However, the average hotel gym is not a particularly attractive place – often hot and stuffy, with less equipment than one would like, and not quite the right companions. Such factors typically cause hotel guests to spend less time in the gym than they really should to maintain fitness.

Some travel advisers advocate exercising in the hotel room but that idea is of little help. Any trainer will confirm that a good exercise session demands breaking a sweat, which is simply not practical in the hotel room. Any hotel room activity that approaches an adequate workout will unquestionably cause more of an annoyance to neighboring room guests than it provides benefit to the person exercising.

Why Not Just Run?

girljogThere is one activity that can keep a traveler fit, while increasing wellness generally – running (or jogging or athletic walking) outdoors. This activity is very efficient, requires carrying only a pair of running shoes, shirt, and shorts, is invigorating in fresh air and a new environment, can be done alone or with company, and is very inexpensive. In fact, there are so many good qualities one might wonder why more travelers do not systematically run outdoors in places they visit.

The resistance to running outdoors stems mainly from concerns about possible security risks, possible road traffic incursions, and other unknowns that might lead to some form of unpleasantness.

But all cities have some places where one can run with other runners around and without substantial concerns of the above type.

Plan Your Routes Wisely

A traveler needs solid, reliable information to help make an on-foot outing a truly enjoyable experience. This will motivate the traveler to actually venture out. Here are some general factors that combine to make an on-foot route irresistible:

• Good underfoot conditions;

• A “good” neighborhood; nasty surprises are unlikely;

• Not too many other people and not too few;

• Minimal disruptions from intersecting auto roads;

• Pretty scenery; interesting sites to pass along the way;

• Public transit to the start and finish points;

• A loop route is more enjoyable than an out-and-back route;

• A suitable place to wind down for a refreshing beverage or snack at the end.

joggersTaking into account all the above requirements, plan your routes wisely. Ask your local hotel staff for route recommendations but treat their recommendations cautiously since many staff members have limited first-hand knowledge of running or walking conditions. More importantly, buy and consult a good local runners’ guidebook or map.

When in an unfamiliar city, get outdoors and run or walk as much as you can. Plan your routes well. You can find this activity enormously enjoyable, educational, and great for your fitness.

– Warwick Ford, a marathon runner, was a frequent business traveler before retiring as a corporate executive. He and his wife Nola have personally researched the top running and walking routes in many major US cities. Their book Fun on Foot in America’s Cities describes the running conditions and most visitor-friendly routes in 14 major US cities. They also have detailed running/walking guide books on the Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia regions. Their books and much other relevant information are available from their website

Alcohol And Teens: Parents Have The Opportunity To Influence

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By Eugene Shatz, MD

youngdrinkWhen it comes to teens, one thing is true: social pressure is powerful. We see how peers, the entertainment culture, and strategic marketing influence teens’ decisions on a myriad of subjects, including their decision to drink.

Studies have shown that teens are more likely to drink the more they are exposed to alcohol use in movies and advertisements.

The good news is that parents also have influence on their teens. By example and through discussion, parents can establish a foundation of healthy attitudes and behavior related to alcohol. Below are real-life strategies for parents to use when modeling positive alcohol consumption and discussing alcohol with their teens.

Alcohol & Teens – What parents can do

• Set a good example: Do not drink to cope with problems. Do not invite your teen to drink with you or joke about drunkenness. Be the first to demonstrate to your teens that you don’t need alcohol to have fun.

• Talk about “cause and effect”: There are serious dangers and repercussions associated with drinking. Take a firm stand with your teen about alcohol. “Until you are of legal drinking age, our stance on alcohol is simple – do not drink.” Help them understand the risks to their health, safety and dreams for the future if they drink. A single episode of irresponsible drinking can change the trajectory of their life forever, or worse, it could take their life.

youngdrink• Discuss marketing efforts: With alcohol companies spending millions of dollars in promotions, it is hard to escape the messages encouraging teens to drink. Teens should be familiar with the methods companies use to try and influence consumer behavior. Discuss with your teen the marketing strategies alcohol companies employ to sell their product.

• Monitor your teen’s screen time: Aggressive campaigns marketing alcohol are on television, the internet, movies – you name it. Sports-related television programming and websites are particularly saturated with alcohol marketing. Be mindful of how much time your teen is spending in front of a screen and what they are viewing. Avoid programming that glamorizes alcohol and other drugs. Keep overall screen time to one to two hours per day.

• Consider cancelling magazine subscriptions: There are more beer and hard liquor ads in teen magazines than adults’ magazines. Consider cancelling subscriptions to magazines that run alcohol ads.

• Advocate: Write letters to advertisers who run inappropriate ads. Write to Congress asking for greater restrictions on alcohol advertising, such as restricting the use of cartoons or attractive women in alcohol promotions.

• Prepare your teen by role-playing: Give your teen the tools they need to get out of sticky situations where alcohol is a factor. Practice how they would avoid the temptation to drink, what they would say and how they could leave the situation.

Set clear “safe party” rules: It isn’t practical to think that your teen won’t ever encounter alcohol.

• Set clear “safe party” rules: It isn’t practical to think that your teen won’t ever encounter alcohol. Even if your teen chooses to abstain from alcohol, they still need to be smart about their surroundings and follow “safe party” rules to make sure their beverage isn’t tampered with or spiked.

– – Never leave your beverage cup unattended.

– – Don’t accept an open container drink from anyone who is not a close friend.

– – Be aware of the taste, texture and appearance of your drink.

– – Use the buddy system. If you suspect your friend has ingested alcohol or another controlled substance, get them out of the situation and ask that they do the same for you.

– – Call anytime. You are loved and cherished. You are wanted home safe, regardless of what you have consumed. Call your parents or the parents of a friend to pick you up and remove you from a dangerous situation.

With solid information and the love and guidance of parents, teens can be well-equipped to handle the pressures that come with adolescence and young adulthood. But, in order for a teen to be prepared, parents first need to be prepared with information to assist in the navigation.

– Eugene Shatz is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at Spectrum Health’s Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Dr. Shatz and his staff provide comprehensive health services for adolescents. Adolescents – children over 12 years of age – are seen for routine medical problems, annual check-ups, sports physicals and/or counseling for such conditions as late-onset puberty, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and psychological issues.

Dr. Shatz is board certified in pediatrics and adolescent medicine. He is a fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Society of Adolescent Medicine.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system in West Michigan offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of nine hospitals including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, a state of the art children’s hospital that opened in January 2011, and 140 service sites; the Spectrum Health Medical Group and West Michigan Heart, physician groups totaling more than 700 providers; and Priority Health, a health plan with 600,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer with 19,000 employees. The organization provided $204 million in community benefit during its 2012 fiscal year.