Friday, March 31, 2017

If You Can’t Find the Motivation to Workout, Maybe You’re Just Not a Gym Person

A woman at the gym struggles to finish her workout. She is exhausted and unmotivated.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
I have a confession to make: for all the time I spend touting about fitness, I hardly ever go to the gym. And for the longest time I felt guilty about that. But what I’ve come to discover is that there is more than one way to get fit.

If you’re anything like me, you can’t stand the mundane feel of a gym. There’s nothing exciting about elliptical machines, treadmills, and weight lifting equipment. On top of that, the lighting is unflattering and the whole place smells kind of funky. I’d much rather be outdoors, surrounded by nature’s beauty.

It took me the longest time to come to terms with the fact that I’m more of a hiking, biking, kayaking, rock climbing kind of girl. As a society, we are so inundated with images of gym-fit bodies that we tend to exclusively associate the two. Athletes use them. Doctors are always advocating for them. Don’t all healthy people go the gym?

Not necessarily. Being healthy is more than just physical wellbeing; it’s about spiritual, mental, and emotional wellbeing, too. That’s why you have to discover what makes YOU feel inspired and fulfilled.  

As I said before, for me it’s about being in nature. There’s nothing I love more than a scenic walk. But for others, it might be about joining a sports team. It might be about taking a yoga class. It might be that you love animals and want to volunteer at the local animal shelter and take the dogs for a walk. Different strokes for different folks.

If you feel like you literally have to drag yourself to the gym every day, there’s a pretty good chance it’s because that type of an environment doesn’t align with your personality. Do yourself a favor and find an exercise routine that leaves you feeling motivated, energetic, and refreshed.

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Brief Introduction to Sleepwalking

A young boy sleepwalking on a roof.
Image credit: Shutterstock
Following along last week’s theme of sleep disorders, this week I want to talk about sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism. Even though somnambulism is mostly associated with children, readers should know that adults sleepwalk, too.

While researchers still aren’t sure exactly what causes somnambulism, a recent study points towards genetics as a possible culprit. The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that children who had one parent with a history of sleepwalking were three times more likely to have the disorder. Even more revealing is that children whose parents both had a history of sleepwalking were seven times more likely to have the disorder.

But whatever the cause, there are things you should know about the disorder that can make living with it that much easier. Namely, you should know that it can be incredibly dangerous and/or embarrassing, depending on the situation.

For example, young children often wander outside during this state. Older children and adults may attempt to cook in their sleep. In rare cases, some adults even get into their cars and drive.

On the more embarrassing side of things, some sleepwalkers may expose themselves or act out sexual activities. It’s also quite common for those afflicted with the disorder to mistakenly use the bathroom in the wrong place (ex: urinating into a trashcan).

But readers should also know that despite urban legend, waking up a sleepwalker will not kill them. However, those who do attempt to wake a sleepwalker should exercise caution. Upon waking, many sleepwalkers are highly confused and may become violent.

That’s why those who have the condition should take proper precautions to protect themselves. For example, setting an alarm or bell on the door can help wake the sleepwalker should he/she wander outside. Additionally, keeping locks on all windows and doors is an absolute must. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to store any and all sharp/dangerous objects in a safe place.

As always, I’m no expert in this field and I encourage you to visit the National Sleep Foundation's website for more information. I personally find the disorder quite fascinating and I’d love to hear about your experiences with it!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

A man sleeping with a breathing apparatus on.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Happy Friday, everyone! Today’s topic is sleep apnea.

The first thing I need you to know is that sleep apnea is a life-threatening medical condition. Yep, you heard me right. You can actually die from it.

I’m not telling you that to scare you; I’m telling you that so that you’ll take the condition seriously and seek medical help. If you think you might have sleep apnea, check to see if you have any of the following signs and symptoms:

·      Snoring
·      Choking or gasping for air
·      Daytime drowsiness
·      Waking up with a headache
·      Trouble concentrating
·      Mood swings
·      Frequently waking up at night
·      Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking

Please note that just because you may have one or two of the above symptoms doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. For example, you may snore and you may also experience drowsiness during the day, but that can be related to a completely different condition. With that being said, these signs and symptoms should be treated as a general guideline and not a medical diagnosis. Please consult with a doctor if you suspect that you have this condition.

Now, should you choose to book an appointment with a doctor, you should know that he or she may recommend that you undergo a sleep study (also known as a polysomnogram). During this procedure, you will be hooked up to censors that monitor your heart rate, breathing, muscle movements, and brain waves. And don’t worry; you’re put into your private room with a bed. It’s a relaxing atmosphere that should curb any anxiety that you may have.

As far as treatments go, there are several different options available. The most common is called a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). A CPAP is a mask that helps the body regulate breathing. Other options include dental devices that open the airways. There’s also a hypoglossal nerve stimulator that can help reposition the tongue and adjust breathing patterns.

If you want to learn more about this topic, I encourage you to visit the Sleep Foundation’s website at Remember, your health comes first and foremost, so please make it a priority to get this taken care of.