6 Ways to Prepare for winter in Alaska this Year

We all know that the shorter days and cooler nights means that winter is coming; it is time to prepare yourselves, your family, and your home before the first snowfall surprises us all again.

  1. Make the Most of Daylight Hours: The dark and cold tends to cause Alaskans to withdraw inside for the winter, so be sure to take advantage of the warm days and late sunsets while they’re still here. Hurry up and go on that hike you have been meaning to do all summer, have a couple more family BBQ’s out on the deck, go for sunset walks around your neighborhood while your are still able to make it home before the sun sets.
  2. Winterize the Car: This is a major safety and wellness must for every Alaskan family. Aside from making sure your snow tires are on and good to go before the first snow fall, the family car needs to be checked over for any potential issues that might leave one stranded in the middle of rural Alaska on a cold winter night. A properly prepared car will have items such as heat blankets, flares, flashlights, and food and water rations. September is National Preparedness month; so take this time to make sure a roadside emergency doesn’t turn into a disaster.
  3. Clean up the Garden: If you have an at-home garden, take the next few weeks to prepare your garden for the following spring, as well as bringing in any removable garden items that could potentially be damaged by the snow and cold. The University of Alaska Fairbanks has compiled a checklist specific for Alaska Gardeners to prepare for fall and winter.
  4. Find Indoor Workouts: If you are used to running outdoors and aren’t comfortable doing so in the winter, start looking at how to transition your daily workout from outside to inside. There are plenty of options for quick indoor workouts. Even if your space is small and you don’t want to buy equipment, it is very possible to get a good workout indoors all winter.
  5. Clean out the freezer: Fall in Alaska means the end of fishing season and the start to big game season so it is time to clean out and organize the family’s freezer. Be sure that anything outdated or expired is disposed of. Take this time to do a winter clean out of the whole pantry and refrigerator as well to be sure nobody in the family falls ill from spoiled food.
  6. Plan Winter Activities: Lastly, while making all your home and garden preparations for winter, be sure to take some time to plan activities for the whole family to enjoy. Avoid feeling cooped up; seasonal affective disorder and other winter-related blues can be kept at bay by keeping the family busy. You and your family could plan a mid-winter vacation somewhere warm, or spend a night each month trying out a new healthy restaurant. Get outside; try out skiing or sledding, or see what fall sports your kids or the whole family may get involved in. Staying active throughout the winter is important for physical and mental health.




4 Reasons that Running is Good for Your Health

Running is one of the most readily available options to get in a good workout wherever you are. Whether you prefer going to the gym, an off-road trail, or the treadmill at home; you can run anytime, anywhere. Here are four science-based health benefits from getting in a quick run on a regular basis.

  1. Lose Weight: Running is one of the best and most efficient ways to burn off calories. Skip the gym costs to reach your weight goal by simply enjoying a good trail and some fresh air. If you plan to run outdoors through the fall and winter as daylight hours diminish, be sure to use proper safety precautions to protect yourself and others. Some helpful gear you might want to consider investing in would be a reflector, a small flashlight and a waterproof cellphone case or an arm strap holster.
  2. Increase Bone Strength: Long time runners often suffer from knee, shin or ankle problems, leading many to the conclusion that running is hard on your body. However, more recent studies have shown evidence that running on a regular basis can help improve bone health and build bone mass. Talk to your doctor about the possibility that running can help with your bone strength.
  3. Improve Health: Exercising for at least thirty minutes five times a week will improve anybody’s health. Runners have been shown to have a healthier cholesterol, immune systems and lung function. More recent studies are showing that long time runners can add years to their lives.
  4. Stress Less: Research shows that regular exercise can lift a person’s mood and improve their sleep quality. A good exercise can help a person cope with anxiety and stress as well as aid with depression over time. So if you are feeling down, stressed, or you just can’t sleep, lace up your sneakers, do a few warm-up stretches, and go for a good run around your neighborhood, through your favorite park or around the track at the gym. Just 30 minutes of running at least five times per week can make a big difference.




5 Ways to Improve the Lives of Elders

In addition to simply listening to their stories, needs, and wishes while offering them our endless love and respect, there are some things we can do to make our elders’ lives a little better as the years go on.

  1. Exercise: We all know that exercise can improve the health and wellness of any individual, but it becomes even more vital as life goes on and our bodies aren’t as strong or resilient as they used to be. Even if they are bound to a wheelchair, keeping elders active as much as possible could really improve their physical and mental health. There are many routines for wheelchair and chair based exercises and stretches that can be utilized to help keep the aches and pains away and improve one’s mood.
  2. Music and Art: Individually or combined these two things are not only great hobbies for people to have, but they are extremely therapeutic. Music is a medicine all on its own; it helps improve memory and keeps spirits up. Art can take many shapes, allowing our elders to express themselves in ways they cannot on their own. Providing these things is very easy as there are plenty of programs in communities for the elderly, as well as in the senior care and skilled nursing facilities. If the elder in your life lives in a form of assisted living, speak with their activities director to see what forms of music and art they could potentially benefit from.
  3. Healthy Diet: Maintaining a healthy, well-rounded diet is a hard enough thing to do as a young person in good shape. As the body ages, keeping up with a healthy diet becomes more important than ever. Eating only pop tarts for breakfast each day is not a good idea, as healthy diet has been linked to long-term memory, preventing dementia, and many other health benefits. With strong bones and immune system, an elder is fit to recover from a fall or broken limb.
  4. Senior Socials: Keeping busy is very important post-retirement and throughout the rest of ones life. When someone is bored, they aren’t very happy. Keeping the mind active and stress-free as it ages is a good way to stay sharp and healthy for as long as possible. Good options include senior centers, local senior meet-ups, joining them at bingo night or simply taking them out to dinner to their favorite place. As one ages and things happen to the body and mind, one loses their independence; giving them any resemblance of that self-dependence can be very helpful for their mood and overall mental health.
  5. Keep them Current: Teaching Grandma to use an iPad so she can play her favorite games like solitaire, Sudoku and Crossword puzzles is a great way to keep her busy, entertained and using her brain. Showing an elder how to maneuver Netflix, Email or even texting is beneficial for all involved. Being able to hand my wheelchair bound Grandma and iPad with the Netflix application open and trust that she can find her way to her favorite show is a great way to give her some independence and self made happiness. She gets to browse some of her old favorites or take suggestions from me as to what she might enjoy. Maybe the elder in your life has no interest in those silly gadgets and toys, in which case sitting down with them and reading them the daily paper is something that can be of great value. Explaining current events to them, hearing their opinions on politics and life is not only going to make them feel better and involved, you might learn a thing or two as well.

4 Ways to Combat Snoring

Snoring can make you tired and groggy, even if you think you slept all night. Snoring causes health problems and can be a problem for the rest of the household. Aside from maintaining a healthy weight and having a healthier diet, there are a few things you can do to combat snoring that you may not have known about.

  1. Essential Oils: One option to potentially help your snoring problem is to clear your nasal passageways each night before bed. Try using any of the following essential oils: eucalyptus, mint, marjoram or lavender. There are various ways to use the oils, all of which involve diluting the oils with water or a plain body oil of your choice. Try dabbing the oils with a Q-tip near your nostrils, or rub a diluted mixture onto your chest, shoulders and neck. A diffuser machine might be helpful as well, or a steam sink treatment with your essential oil of choice. There are many options for types of oils and ways to use the oils to benefit your snoring. Ask your local chiropractor if they can recommend essential oils that might benefit you.
  2. New Pillow: Sleeping with a new pillow that supports your neck and shoulders, allowing you to breathe easier, could make all the difference in your snoring problem. Try switching to sleeping on your back or side and ask your chiropractor for pillow recommendations. Supportive Tempur-Pedic or Oxygen pillow options could be the answer to your snoring issues.
  3. Allergies: When is the last time you dusted your shelves and the fan above your bed? How often do you clean or change your bedding and shampoo your carpets? Do your pets sleep in your bed with you or when you’re not home? Does your snoring act up when the seasons change? Your snoring could be purely allergen related so take steps to reduce the allergens in your home, bedroom and life over all to help combat your snoring problem.
  4. Sleep Doctor: If the at-home do-it-yourself remedies don’t help your snoring, it is probably best to visit a sleep therapy doctor to talk about what else could be causing your snoring. You could have sleep apnea or other health issues that need to be addressed sooner rather than later.