How To Help Kids Stay Healthy During The Summer

School’s out and it’s time for summertime fun!

What kid (big or little) doesn’t love summertime?  From a child’s perspective, it’s the perfect time of year.  No school.  Relaxed rules.  Relaxed schedules.  What’s not to like?

Unfortunately, it’s easy to take things too far, and that can have detrimental effects on your child’s health.  Here are a few simple tips to keep your kids of all ages healthy during the long, lazy days of summer:

Scheduling Matters

It’s fine to have one (or several) goof off days during the summer.  That is, after all, part of the charm of the season.  You don’t have to be a killjoy to impose a little structure on the long break from school.  We don’t recommend waking your kids up at the crack of dawn like a drill Sargent.  Let them sleep in a little (you could probably use a bit of that too!).

At the same time though, do try and keep your children on a schedule.  It’s fine if there’s a bit more slack in it, but growing bodies need plenty of sleep, and sticking close to regular bedtimes, even if it’s on a “relaxed, summer schedule” will go a long way toward making sure they get the rest they need.

Limit The Junk Food At Home

While it’s true that kids at home all day do a lot more “grazing,” and it’s true that their preferred snacks aren’t at all healthy, you can easily mix in some healthy-ish alternatives with the pure junk food, and every little bit will help.  The less junk they eat during the summer, the fewer health and weight problems they’re likely to have.

Pack Snacks When You Go On The Road

It’s all too easy when you’re traveling for vacation to stop at the local Dairy Queen or burger joint for some food on the go.  That’s fine once in a while as a treat, but the better approach is to plan ahead and pack your own healthier snacks.  It’s an “on the go” version of the idea we mentioned above.

Planned Activities

Too often these days, kids are inclined to stay indoors – don’t let them!  Encourage and plan a variety of activities that see them spending lots of time in the great outdoors, romping and having fun.  That’s good, and healthy for everyone!

Staying healthy during the summer months doesn’t have to be boring.  With a bit of applied creativity, everybody will have a great time, and avoid developing unhealthy habits at the same time.  That’s win-win!

Could Crunches Be The Cause Of Some Back Pain?

Most professionals will tell you that building muscle strength (especially in your core) is one of the keys to minimizing back pain.

After all, a strong, healthy and well-developed core gives you the strength you need to carry your weight.

As long as you’re mindful of how you move your body, it will help minimize your chance of injury.

Most people talk about your “core” as if it were one singular thing but it’s not. In fact, your core actually contains sixteen different groups of muscles, and they’re all important.  Unfortunately, too many people rely on one or two simple exercises designed to target their core and call it done.  Crunches are one of the most common exercises used to tone muscles in that area, and that’s a problem.

There are a couple of different issues with crunches, and an overreliance on them might be doing as much harm as good.

While it’s true that any form of exercise (crunches included) is of at least some benefit, crunches are a bit outdated and they only focus on your abdominals.  While your abdominals are an important part of your core musculature, they’re only one of the aforementioned sixteen muscle groups.

The real issue then, is that if you develop and define one specific muscle group, but don’t pay attention to the others surrounding it, you’re asking for trouble.

Those muscle groups don’t operate independently of each other, but are designed to work as a cohesive whole.  If the other surrounding muscle groups are significantly weaker and less-developed, they’re not going to be up to the same rigors that your abs can handle, and that’s going to cause muscle strain, and sometimes sprains.

In addition to that, it’s going to impact the way you move your body in subtle ways, which can see you twisting or turning incorrectly, which can easily cause or exacerbate back pain.  Not a happy situation.

By all means, exercise!  Just when you do so, be sure you’re paying attention to all your major muscle groups.

Car Accidents Can Easily Lead To Whiplash

“It’s not the fall that kills you, it’s the abrupt stop at the end.”

You’ve probably heard that phrase before, and the same thing basically holds true of whiplash, which is one of the most common injuries people suffer in an automobile accident.

In the case of whiplash, it’s not the collision itself that hurts you, but the abrupt stop and rapid change in motion or direction that happens as a result of the collision.  Often (but not always) it’s the result of a rear end collision that sees you tossed about in the car, with your head being moved rapidly and unexpectedly back and forth.

When this happens, it causes the muscles and ligaments in your neck to stretch and extend, in addition to causing damage to the joints that are located between your vertebrae.  What makes matters worse is the fact that immediately following an accident that tosses you about like this, you may not feel any pain.  Some people do, but often, there will be a delay of 24 to 72 hours before the pain starts setting in.

Common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Stiffness and swelling
  • Headaches and bouts of dizziness
  • In some cases, burning sensations or numbness in the hands and arms

Those symptoms often lead to a raft of others, including an inability to concentrate or sleep, feelings of fatigue and irritability, and in some cases, problems with memory or depression.  Given the delay, many people try to “walk it off,” telling themselves that it can’t be all that serious, because it didn’t hurt immediately after the accident occurred.

That’s a mistake, and if you experience any of the symptoms described above in the days following an accident, you should see your doctor or chiropractor (or both) immediately.  Don’t suffer in pain needlessly, and don’t fail to get those symptoms checked out.  They could be signs pointing to an even more serious problem.




Keep Your Health In Mind At Theme Parks This Summer

Theme and amusement parks are a popular summertime destination, and why not?  The carnival smell, the decadent foods and of course the rides!  What’s not to like?

As fun as those things are though, it pays to be mindful. This is especially true if you already suffer from chronic back or neck pain or if you have arthritis. Many of the rides at amusement parks (looking at you, roller coasters) can cause old injuries to flare up, or even create new ones.

It’s not good and it’s certainly not fun to think about, but there are some simple things you can do to keep your risks at a minimum.  These include:


You don’t have to go crazy here.  We’re not talking about a highly regimented “training program” to get you ready for a day at the amusement park.  What we are talking about is a regular focus on strengthening your core with low-impact exercises. These are not only good for your health in general, but those stronger muscles will make it less likely that being tossed about on a ride for a few minutes will result in injury.


Before you head to the park of your choice, start the day by warming up.  Give your body a good stretch, which will loosen your muscles and make you more relaxed.  This gives you the same benefits that stretching before exercise provides, and is always a good idea, especially if you have a history of back or neck pain.

Keep Ice Handy

If it’s not practical to keep ice physically with you, at least be mindful of where the nearest snack stations are.  That way, if you do suffer an injury while out having fun, you can give it a quick ice treatment to help keep the swelling down.

By all means, go out, have fun and enjoy the park and all your favorite rides.  Just be sure to take a few basic precautions so that an unexpected injury doesn’t put a damper on the day.

These Foods Might Not Be As Healthy As You Think

There’s a lot of misinformation in the health and nutrition industry, and a significant percentage of the products that are marketed as “healthy” are anything but.  Below you’ll find a few examples.  These are foods you may currently think of as being good for you, and if so, prepare to be disappointed.


Ask just about anyone and they’ll tell you that smoothies are really good for you.  After all, they’re made of fruit, and websites all over the internet say that most fruits are superfoods, so how could smoothies be bad for you?

The first thing to do is to check the food label and see how many carbs your favorite smoothie has.  If it’s got more than 15 grams of carbs per serving, consider it to be a non-starter.

Gluten-Free Anything

Grains cause inflammation in a staggering percentage of the population, which is why the phrase “gluten-free” has gotten so popular in recent years.  The problem is that when you remove the gluten from any given product, you take away the thing that provides the food’s delicious, chewy texture.  If manufacturers want their product to sell (and of course they do), they have to replace it with something equally attractive, which usually means sugar.  The result?  Most gluten-free snacks on the market today wind up having more calories than the snacks they’re replacing.  It’s just not a good trade.

Protein Bars

This is a big one because many people who are serious about dieting rely heavily on protein bars.  Unfortunately, if you compare food labels, you’ll quickly discover that most of the ones being sold today have as much sugar in them as most candy bars.  True, you are getting a few healthy ingredients in addition to that, but much of their benefit is blunted by all that sugar.


There are plenty of other “healthy” foods that actually aren’t.  The biggest favor you can do for yourself is to avoid processed foods altogether, be aware of sugar content, and eat mostly fresh fruits and veggies.  If you insist on eating processed foods, become an avid food label reader.