Posts Tagged ‘health’



STDs: What You Need To Know To Stay Safe


Several things are sure to run through your mind when making the decision to have sex. But which ones are the most important? What do you absolutely need to do before you do anything? It is important to pay close attention to one of the biggest factors: keeping yourself safe by avoiding potential risks for a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

STDs, sometimes referred to as STIs, affect more than 12 million Americans each year. STDs can be transmitted through any type of sexual contact and it is important to understand your risks to keep yourself safe from infection. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when choosing to be sexually active:

-Communicate: It is important to be able to openly discuss potential sexual health risks with your partner. Having an open line of communication builds trust and allows you to learn about your partner’s sexual past, addressing anything that may be an issue when becoming sexually active.

-Get Tested: Several STDs have no noticeable symptoms, so it is easy to assume you are STD-free when you aren’t. The only sure way to find out is to get tested. If you or your partner feel uncomfortable getting tested, go together. This ensures that you are both safe and may give each other some comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

-Practice Safe Sex: Not only is it important to use a condom every time you are sexually active, it is also important to make sure it is used correctly. When used incorrectly, a condom can put you at risk for STDs, so make sure you or your partner are aware of its correct use.

-Avoid Being Sexually Active when Drugs/Alcohol are a Factor: When at a party, you’re bound to have a lot of influence around you. It is hard, if not impossible, to make smart decisions when choosing to be sexually active under the influence. Avoid potential risks to your sexual health by making these decisions with a clear head rather than in the moment.

-Always be Prepared: When heading out, it is always important to prepare yourself for potential sexual activity. Although a female may expect a male to worry about the protection, it’s important for both genders to take caution. Being prepared for any possible situation will help you keep the status of your sexual health in your own hands.

The decision to have sex is an important one, but even more important is the decision to stay safe. Keep these tips in mind to ensure you stay in good sexual health when being sexually active.



Keeping Sports Safe & Fun


Participating in sports is a fantastic way to make friends, get in shape and learn important lessons about cooperation, determination and being part of something bigger than you. Whether you specialize in just one sport, or enjoy switching it up every season, the benefits you’ll receive will follow you even after high school and college. But so can painful injuries.

Participating in a sport leaves you open to a multitude of accidents. Your body is moving in complicated ways. Balls, sticks and other gear for the sport are flying everywhere, and bodies a hitting each other, the ground and who knows what else.

If you aren’t careful, you could rupture a tendon, tear a muscle, break a serious bone or damage your joints beyond full repair. Forget about being benched for the next game, you may be benched for the rest of your life. Many young athletes make mistakes that stick them with a life full of knee surgeries, slipped discs, neck injuries, permanent limps, or even brain damage.

It’s time to get protected!

Most people probably don’t think of this as a crucial part to preparing for a sport, but getting a screening physical by a nurse or doctor will evaluate whether it is safe for you to be playing sports in the first place. If you have certain health issues, sports may not be the right activity for you.

Once cleared for participation, you can use these tips to ensure you don’t suffer a painful and potentially life-long injury.

1)     Make sure you have all the necessary protective gear for your sport, that it fits you properly, and is in good condition. Wear it EVERY TIME you practice and have a game or match.

2)     Stretch your body before and after. Go beyond the minimum. Hold each pose for a slow 20 seconds. The more flexible your joints and muscles, the better your body will accept the strain and impact of your sport. Maybe take up yoga in addition to your sport! Fifteen minutes a day will help your body stretch and strengthen, as well as clear your mind.

3)     HYDRATE! Not drinking enough liquids throughout your day can cause exhaustion, headaches, severe cramps and even a trip to the ER. Carry a reusable water bottle around with you where ever you can.

4)     Know your sport. Understand the rules and regulations. They’re there to allow you to play aggressively while keeping yourself and others safe.

5)     Keep your head up! Watch out for rogue players who might not see you standing there. If they aren’t paying attention, make sure you are.

6)     Don’t play if you’re already injured. We know the pressure is on to perform, but you won’t be helping your team or yourself if you’re already hurt. You could risk aggravating your injury. This is an easy way to take a minor injury and turn it into a life-threatening one.

7)     Remember, it’s just a game. It’s not worth pushing yourself too hard, or dieting to the extreme to meet weight or body performance qualifications. Your body can handle a lot of strain and work, but it has a natural limit! Listen to what your body is telling you. Take breaks, and eat a healthy diet rich in the nutrients necessary for you to be a strong athlete and competitor.

As your gearing up for your fall sport to go into full swing, remember how important it is to keep yourself safe. If you’re passionate about being athletic and active, then it’s important to remember that one small accident can jeopardize your mobility for life.

All that being said, have fun this season! Set some new personal goals and team goals, and push to meet them! Just make sure you get to stay in the game to see them through.



How To Avoid A Fast Food Disaster


Out with your friends? Going to a movie or shopping? Getting hungry? Is McDonalds so close you can smell the grease? Do you want it? Of course you do! Eating fast food when you’re out is a big part of American life, especially for a teen. It’s fast, easy, delicious, and everywhere. The temptation to dive into a massive burger dripping with cheese and grease is strong and, let’s face it, unavoidable. It’s important to be conscious of what you eat and to develop healthy eating habits, even if having fast food every once in a while won’t kill you. We don’t recommend you live off it, however.

Here are some easy tips you can use to make your meal healthier for those times you have to grab some fast food on the fly.

-Skip soda! Substitute iced tea, juice, water, or even low fat milk if available! Soda contains an enormous amount of sugar that causes unhealthy weight gain. Cutting soda out of your diet completely will help you drop pounds, and where better to start than when you’re getting fast food!

-Pay attention to how the food is prepared. Chicken is only healthier than beef if it’s broiled or grilled, and French fries are better for you baked, rather than fried.

-Ask for all your toppings on the side. You will be able to control how much or how little mayonnaise, ketchup, cheese, etc. you apply to your food. This is especially important for salads. While salads seem like the obvious choice for a healthy meal, they can often pack more calories than a burger after all the toppings have been added!

-Add on healthy sides. A lot of fast food establishments offer sides that aren’t soaked in grease and covered in salt, so take advantage of them! Maybe apple slices or a yogurt parfait will be just the thing to fill you up.

-Split up your meal. Most of the time, the portions you will be served while eating out are almost double what you should actually be eating. Poor portion control is a major contributor to obesity and bad health due to diet. Eat half and save the other half for later, or share with a buddy! If you split a meal, you’ll be saving money AND your waist line.

-Don’t write off fast food completely! If it’s something you really enjoy, feel free to indulge every once in a while. Cutting it out of your diet entirely could lead you to a fast food bender one day, which is much worse than getting a Big Mac every once in a while.

Not only will these tips help you stay healthier, but healthier diets will give you more long lasting energy! Eating apple slices and grilled chicken instead of fries and a burger will help you feel better and be active longer. That means more shopping, more kickball, more skating and more laughing with your friends!