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Health tips for the always on the go nurse

Nurses are a busy bunch. Not only are they out all day taking care of others, but many come home to take care of their own families as well. It’s a draining day to say the least. It’s no wonder that many nurses find it hard to exercise and eat healthy when they’re always on the go.

In this article, we want to give nurses, home health aides, and other medical professionals some ideas on how to get in a little extra exercise and healthy eating into the day.

Take Care of Your Mind

Your mind is as valuable as your body, yet how many of us exercise our minds as regularly as we exercise our bodies? There’s no “gym” for the brain, but there are activities that can help strengthen your mind and keep it sharp.

The best activity is developing a love of reading. You may have grown to hate reading after being told what to read in school, but there are thousands and thousands of books and there is sure to be one that will grab your attention.

“But I don’t have time to read”. Of course you do! Even just 5 minutes before bed. If you have trouble falling asleep, get rid of the screens at least 30 minutes before bed and get a book in your hand, it will help.

Listen to stimulating audiobooks or podcasts during your commute or chores. This is a great way to pass the time and learn a little in the process. You may actually enjoy your commute once you find a great audiobook you can’t wait to finish.

Prepare Better Food

We all succumb to the fast food drive thru when it’s been a long day at work and we’re starving. Start using your days off to prepare your next week’s worth of meals. Create healthy dishes and put them in tuperware. So now you have no excuse to go to the rive thru when you know you have food ready to eat when you come home.

Carry around healthy snacks at all times. We get cravings, but if you have an apple, nuts, or a Clif bar, you’ll eat that because it’s there. Avoid the vending machines!

Meal Prep Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

10 Minutes of Exercise Before Work

You may feel like you have absolutely no time to work out before work. Get up 10 minutes earlier and do bodyweight exercises. Try push ups, sit ups, pull ups (get a bar that goes in the doorway), and squats. Just 10 minutes, that’s all you need! You can get up 10 minutes earlier, can’t you?

10 minute workout ideas

Resources

How to be a healthier nurse

Keeping nurses healthy, safe, and well

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™


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Water exercises and why they work

Water aerobics are a big thing in Florida. Nearly year-round we can hop in the pool and not be met with freezing water. That invites many homeowners and communities to install pools, which guests and residents enjoy using for parties, swimming, and exercise.

It’s well known that water aerobics is a great way for the elderly to get their exercise in. If you wanted to get into this exercise movement, what exactly should you be doing? And why does it work so well?

Why Water Aerobics?

These exercises are great because not only does the water help hold you up, providing you balance, but the water also provides resistance.

When you do dumbbell curls without anything, you don’t feel much. But when you add a weight in your hand, you are adding resistance that your arm must now deal with.

The resistance from the water is just the right amount for seniors who don’t feel comfortable just yet to go to the gym and use weights or machines.

Types of Water Aerobics Exercises

Water Walking
Just walking in water can be a challenge. Start in water shallow enough that you can comfortably walk and hold your head above water. Keep moving deeper and deeper to add more resistance.

Kick and Punch
As easy as it sounds, just practice kicking and punching through the water. Go as slow or as fast as feels comfortable.

K- Tread
This exercise targets your butt, abs, chest, arms, and back. In the deep end, you’ll want to tread water. Lift one leg straight in front of you and hold for 5 seconds. Then switch legs, and do this for 30 seconds.

Hand Webs
Add even more resistance to your workout by using hand webs, gloves meant for water exercise.

Water Weights
Specialized weights have been developed for water. These are foam barbells that help add extra resistance to your under water workouts.

Kickboard
Practicing your kicks by utilizing a kickboard to go around the pool only powered by your legs.

Resources

Aquatic exercises | Mayo Clinic

Slim Down in a Splash: Pool Workout


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How to keep your brain active

Aging can be a scary thing. Not only are we getting older physically, but also mentally. Age can play a big part in how are brains are functioning, and we are all too aware of the risks of Alzheimer’s and other memory diseases that come with age.

Although we can’t prevent Alzheimer’s or Dementia, there are ways we can continue to “work out” our brains and keep them active. Just because you’re not working or not in school, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to learn and grow yourself mentally.

Here at Just Like Family, we want to help keep you as healthy as possible, whether that’s with our companions coming over to help prepare a meal, or getting you up and out for a walk or stretching.

We’re going to go over a few ways you can keep your brain active, so you stay mentally healthy for as long as possible.

brain changers.jpg

Via Antiaging Nootropics

Lifelong Learning

You may have been out of school for a few decades, but don’t let that stop you from continuing to learn. Although you despised a certain subject at school, now you have the freedom to learn whatever you want!

The access to the library and internet, the possibilities to learn just about anything are endless.

Think up a subject you’re curious about and see what resources you can find from books to online courses to local college classes you can sit in on to lectures.

Here are some topics you can dive into:

  • American history
  • World Wars
  • Basic Computers
  • Space
  • Languages
  • Gardening

Read More

If you’re retired, there’s no excuse not to be reading more. With access to the library, you can get pretty much any book you could ever want.

Or pick up a Kindle. Many libraries offer free digital rentals of books that you can do right from your home.

Read a mix of fiction and non-fiction. If a book doesn’t grab you and you feel that you are dreading finishing it, then stop! Just because you pick up a book doesn’t mean you necessarily need to finish it. Reading should be fun, find books that engage you.

Do Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to keep your mind active. These include crosswords, Sudoku, Ken Ken, and even plain old jigsaw puzzles. You can pick up many of these at the dollar store, even a 500 piece puzzle is just $1!

Play Games

Games make you think. Find some games you can play either on your own or get a group together to play. Get board games or apps.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Settlers of Catan (board game)
  • 2048 (app)
  • Dots (app)
  • Cut the Rope (app)
  • Chess

Memory Exercises

Truly exercise your brain with some memory challenges. From Everyday Health, these can include:

  • Drawing a map from memory
  • Creating word pictures
  • Learning a new language
  • Refining your hand-eye ability (Painting, drawing, knitting)
  • Doing math in your head
  • Testing your recall

More Resources

Learn more about keeping your mind active with these resources.

6 simple steps to keep your mind sharp at any age | Harvard Medical School

Stay Mentally Active | ALZ.org

The Changing Brain in Healthy Aging | National Institute on Aging

 


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How to be a healthier nurse

how-to-be-a-healthier-nurse-just-like-family-homecare

Nurses! It’s time you take care of yourselves! Here at Just Like Family Homecare we know how hard our caregivers work to provide for their patients. But it’s equally important that you, as a caregiver, find time to take care of yourself both in mind and body.

Yeah, it’s easy to say and tough to do. But we will give you some easy routines you can implement into your day to start getting on track to living a healthy life so you can continue to do what you do best: care for others.

Body

Snack right
Snacking is often where our diet can go wrong. We get a little hungry during the workday and want something quick to munch on. So we reach for the Sour Patch Kids or the Twix. Instead, carry around healthy snacks in your lunch like trail mix, nuts, fruit, vegetables with hummus, plain Greek yogurt.

Less sugar
This one is difficult for many of us because sugar is such a big part of our diets. Try going for one week without any sugar (that doesn’t include natural sugars like in fruits). See how you feel. There are often stories from those that cut out sugar that they feel happier and more energized. Here’s a story from a family that cut out sugar for a whole year.

An easy way to cut out unnecessary sugar is to stop drinking soda. Not sure what to eat? Here’s The No-Sugar Diet Plan from Livestrong.com.

Drink more water
This one is easy! Start carrying a water bottle everywhere. Get a nice stainless steel one that you can continue to refill. You want to always have it with you so you’re not tempted to purchase a drink out somewhere. If you’re thirsty, water is the best thing for you. Avoid buying other types of drinks like bottled tea or coffee, soda, fruit drinks.

Do a 15 minute morning workout
This doesn’t need to be a sweat-filled workout. But you should do it before your day begins to ensure you get it done. You can do bodyweight exercises like situps, pushups, pull ups (get a pull up bar for your door frame), squats.

Mind

A healthy mind is a huge part of being in overall great shape that many of us tend to neglect.

Meditate
If find that your mind is running and running with thoughts all the time, try learning to meditate. Now, it can turn some people off to hear the word meditation, but there are tons of very successful people that constantly recommend it to others. That’s not saying it works for everyone, but it’s worth trying out for a few weeks. If you’re not sure how to start, use apps like Calm or Headspace to guide you.

Read more
When was the last time you read a full book? If you can’t remember then it’s been too long. Carry a book or Kindle with you in the car, to appointments, to work. Instead of grabbing your phone to check Facebook or play a game, pick up your book. The key is kinding a great book that keeps you entertained.

Sleep better
You can improve your sleep by doing a few things. One includes an hour of screen-free time before you plan to go to sleep. This means turning off the phone, TV, and computer. During this time, wind down by reading (which often puts many people into a sleepy mood). Don’t drink caffeine anytime before bed either, this means 4 hours or less before bed. Here are some other helpful tips from the National Sleep Foundation.


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How to Be Heart Healthy

February is American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day, get the association?

Heart health is an important issue that many of us aren’t exactly sure how to deal with. How exactly do we become heart healthy? That’s a question we’re going to dive into today.

What does “heart healthy” mean?

Heart healthy refers to living a lifestyle where your heart is being taken care of. When it comes to cardiovascular disease, a poor diet and lack of exercise are big factors in developing a heart-harming condition.

It’s best to start on your healthy lifestyle as soon as possible. This means monitoring your cholesterol and blood pressure levels and correcting course in your diet and exercise to combat high numbers.

What can affect heart health?

A poor heart is usually one that is plagued by atherosclerosis. This is when cholesterol rich pockets develop inside the arteries restricting blood flow. This is how heart attacks and strokes occur.

Cardiovascular disease is anything that affects the heart and blood vessels. This includes atherosclerosis and also heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems.

The American Heart Association breaks the risk factors into three categories:

Major risk factors
Research has shown that these unchangeable factors significantly increase the risk of heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease.

Modifiable risk factors
Some major risk factors can be modified, treated or controlled through medications or lifestyle change.

Contributing risk factors
These factors are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but their significance and prevalence haven’t yet been determined.

How do we become heart healthy?

The best way to prevent cardiovascular disease is to learn more about the risk factors and how you can slow down your risk.

8-ways-to-love-your-heart

Source: Health Grades

The American Heart Association has a special section just about managing cholesterol.

They also have a section on how to get your high blood pressure under control, with types like taking a brisk walk each day to lower your levels.

Some of the most important things you need to do involve changing your lifestyle:

  • Quit smoking: This can affect your cholesterol level and tobacco is not good for your heart.
  • Become more active: 40 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-4 times a week is enough to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Heart healthy diet: Eat more vegetables, fruits, nuts, poultry, whole grains, fish, and low-fat dairy. Avoid sugary food and drinks, and red meat.
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Take medications: If your doctor sees you at risk for high blood pressure, they’ll likely prescribe you medication.

Resources

The American Heart Association

Heart Health | Harvard Medical School

 


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How to prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is on the rise, especially here in the United States. In 2014, the CDC released a report that 29.1 million Americans (9.3% of the population at the time) had diabetes. And about 8.1 million of them were undiagnosed. Now that’s an alarming number!

infographic-diabetes

Source: CDC.gov

In this article, we want to take you through the two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Then we’ll let you know the factors that can lead to getting diabetes and finally talk about prediabetes and how to know if you’re at risk.

The Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive. (NIDDK.NIH.Gov)

Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. (NIDDK.NIH.Gov)

Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes. (NIDDK.NIH.Gov)

Risk Factors of Diabetes

For Type 1 Diabetes, the common risk factors are:

  • Family history
  • Infection or illness
  • Disease of the pancreas

This is the type of diabetes that is not generally something you can control, as opposed to the risk factors of Type 2 Diabetes.

To put it simply, there are 4 major risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Unhealthy eating
  • Overweight
  • Family History

Other major factors include:

  • Ethnic background
  • Age
  • Insulin resistance
  • Impaired glucose tolerance

    inforgraphics-prediabetes

    Source: CDC.gov

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition when someone has a higher blood sugar level than normal, but
not high enough to diagnose them with diabetes. This person is considered prediabetic because of this high level.

If this person also has several other risk factors like they’re over the age of 45, are overweight, have a family history of the disease, etc. they really need to consult with a doctor about what they can do to prevent diabetes.

According to the CDC, if you have prediabetes, doing two things can help prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes. These include:

  • Lose 5-7% of your body weight
  • Get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week

 


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How to manage your arthritis

Arthritis is something we all want to avoid, but it’s increasingly common as we age. It’s a painful inflammation and stiffness in the joints, and, according to the Arthritis Foundation, it’s not very well understood. They mention that there are over 100 different types of arthritis!

Who can be affected by arthritis?

Well, just about anybody. Over 50 million US adults and 300,000 children have some form of arthritis. It’s more common among women and the elderly.

arthritis infographic.png

Source Penn Medicine

What causes arthritis?

Arthritis is caused by the reduction in the amount of cartilage tissue. This can be due to normal wear and tear due to daily activities, but also by infection or injury. It has been found that you are more at risk for Osteoarthritis if you have a family history of the disease.

For an autoimmune disorder like Rheumatoid Arthritis, the cause is unknown.

What are the first symptoms of arthritis?

The most common symptoms of arthritis include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Decreased range of motion

If you have continued pain like this, it could be due to arthritis and it’s best to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

There are different ways to pinpoint whether or not you have arthritis, and, if you do, which kind it is.

Doctors will use:

  • Lab tests (blood, joint fluid, urine)
  • X-Rays
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound

How is arthritis treated?

Although there is no cure, many medications have been developed to help reduce the severity and the pain.

These medications include:

  • Analgesics- Reduce pain, but no inflammation
  • NASIDs- Reduce pain and inflammation
  • DMARDs – Use to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • Biologic response modifiers – Target protein molecules
  • Counterirritants – Creams and ointments to reduce pain in aching joints
  • Corticosteroids – Reduce inflammation, suppresses the immune system

Surgery is another option that a doctor may suggest.

Types of surgeries include:

  • Joint fusion- Used on smaller joints. Remove the end of two bones and then lock the ends together
  • Joint repair- Smooth or realign joint surfaces to reduce pain
  • Joint replacement – Removes a damaged joint and replaces it with an artificial one. Common for knees and hips

Additional Arthritis Resources

The Arthritis Foundation

MedlinePlus.gov | Arthritis