4 Things every woman should know about the Zika Virus

A growing health problem around the world is the spreading of the Zika Virus via those pesky mosquitoes we spend most of the summer swatting away from ourselves. While there are no known cases in Alaska so far, the Center for Disease Control predicts that the Zika virus will continue to spread across the world. Every woman should know the following information about the Zika Virus:

  1. The Zika Virus is spread through the bites of an infected mosquito. Symptoms of the Zika Virus are mild in the form of fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. Most people do not relate these symptoms directly to a serious virus so many do not know they have it.
  2. The biggest concern with the Zika virus so far is that pregnant women who are bitten and infected are having babies with severe and sometimes fatal birth defects, the most common being Microcephaly.
  3. Although no cases exist in Alaska yet, traveling to infected areas will put you at risk. Keep track on the CDC Website about the Zika Virus to see if where you are traveling has known cases.
  4. There is no vaccine for the Zika Virus so the best way to avoid it to try and prevent mosquito bites all together. One can attempt to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long pants and sleeves while outdoors, staying in cool, screened in areas, sleeping with a mosquito net and using insect repellent regularly. The CDC has also provided information on a Zika Virus Prevention Kit and How to Control Mosquitos around your home that is worth referencing for additional information.

 

3 Free Activities For the Whole Family this Summer

Keep your summer fun on a budget this year with these free outdoor adventures!

  1. Yoga in the Park: Every summer the Alaska Club offers free yoga in the park once a week throughout the summer, all over the state. This event is open to the public and for all skill levels. Whether you are a beginner or a regular just looking to get some fresh air, Yoga in the Park is a great way to get out, get moving, and be a part of your community. Bring the whole family to help promote wellness in a fun way and get out of the house for a night. Be sure to check out the website: http://www.thealaskaclub.com/yoga-in-the-park for times, dates and locations.
  1. Ultimate Frisbee Pick-Up Games: Is your family ready for a little more action and fun at the Denali Park Strip this summer? Anchorage Ultimate Frisbee offers free weekly pick up games for anyone to join. Open to all skill levels, this game is a fun way to get in some exercise, enjoy the weekend and some time with family and friends. Be sure to check their website http://www.anchorageultimate.org/ for the most up to date information on pick up games, leagues and tournaments being offered all summer long. This summer they are starting up some free Skills and Drills clinics if you want to get some extra practice in between games.
  1. Disc Golf: If you are looking for something a little bit different than your average hike or trip to a park, try out Frisbee Golf. Also known as Disc Golf or most commonly abbreviated to “Frolf.” Aside from purchasing or borrowing a disc from a friend, this activity is free! There are so many courses around the State that you have your choice of difficultly, terrain and length of course. Some courses that are local favorites ranging from easiest to hardest are: Hanshew Middle School, Eagle River High School, Peters Creek and Kinkaid Park. The following website: https://www.discgolfscene.com/courses will give you a list of courses, upcoming events and up to date information on the sport. Always remember basic etiquette when playing, as this is a popular summer sport and the courses often have multiple groups playing at any given time. Wait for the group in front of you to completely finish their hole before advancing to their position, carry out all of your trash used along the way (drinks and snacks) to keep the courses safe and clean and let significantly smaller groups play through to keep the course flowing.

4 Reasons Every Veteran Should Be Seeing a Chiropractor

As many United States Veterans may know, life after the battlefield can be a big challenge both physically and mentally. Make things easier on yourself by seeking out your local Chiropractor for help with any aches and pains that may be lingering after years of hard work.

  1. Small pains can lead to bigger ones– Don’t ignore your aching back and neck; you’ve done a lot of hard work. Take care of any aches and pains that seem be lingering as soon as possible, since muscle atrophy and other more severe back problems do not take long to occur. Plus, it could be a simple one-time fix, and then you’re out of pain and feeling better.
  2. Chronic Pain after an injury could be Nerve Damage– Many Veterans have reported long term, chronic pain where they were once injured during their service. Nerve damage is very common in veterans and there are many treatments available to help get relief. Talk to your chiropractor about the type of pain you’re feeling, where it is, and what you think may have caused it. Redness, burning and sensitivity to touch are very common symptoms of nerve damage and should be treated as soon as possible to avoid worsening the situation or causing bigger, harder to treat issues.
  3. It feels good-If your body hurts and you’ve had a long-term, manual labor related job, the odds are you will benefit from a chiropractic adjustment and a good therapeutic massage. Whether you get a trigger point massage, deep tissue, or a hot stone massage you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated and in less pain. In addition to massage ask your chiropractor about the other services offered that might improve your wellness and overall comfort such as supplements and other therapies.
  4. Prepare Your Body for Long-Term Agility- Your career has required you to push your body to the limits and work hard everyday. Make sure the injuries, aches and pains you’ve gained from years of service don’t stop you from living a healthy, comfortable life in retirement. Talk with your chiropractor about things you can be doing to get your body feeling good now and long term. Regular chiropractic adjustments and physical therapies may be needed to get your body back to normal and functioning like it should. Nobody wants to live their lives in pain or struggling to move around comfortably, so take steps now to assure your body has the long term agility it needs to keep up with the grandkids.

3 Reasons Why you should use Kinesiology Tape

Kinesiology tape is a product manufactured by several companies, each with their own design of the tape. It is being used by some of the most celebrated and top performing athletes in the world, including Usain Bolt and Serena Williams. I’m most familiar with Rocktape brand kinesiology tape, so that’s what I’ll describe.

Kinesiology tape is designed to improve athletic performance. The tape gently pulls on the top layer of skin, allowing for increased blood flow to muscles by “lifting” the skin. This allows for improved muscle performance, delays muscle fatigue, and relieves inflammation. In addition to improving blood flow, kinesiology tape is intended to help you hold proper form. The tape is highly elastic, but returns to its original size readily. The constant, gentle stimulation of the surface of the skin increases the brain’s awareness of that area. This improves athletic form, helping a fatigued athlete to maintain consistency.

Kinesiology tape is non-invasive, simple, and effective. While it was designed for athletic competition, it is equally useful for everybody else suffering from chronic pain, stiffness, or recovering from hard work. To go for a hike, swim, or bike ride, I am always “rocktaped up”. I tape my leg and foot to support my ankle, arch, and calf. The difference is incredible, and the exercise is so much more beneficial because it helps with the pain and helps me maintain a good form. In addition, the constant stimulation of the tape gently tugging on skin is helpful for recovering nerve damage areas. According to the manufacturer, it can improve recovery times for sore or strained muscles.

It’s not a commitment. Interested? Try it out for a bit. Don’t be intimidated by the self-application. It’s easy. Sometimes you might need a hand applying to hard-to-reach places, like your back. Fortunately, the manufacturers offer helpful instructional videos on the proper way to apply the tape, so you don’t need to worry about figuring it out on your own.

3 Ways to Get Prepared for Summer Adventures

Summertime in Alaska is a wonderful time – plenty of fun things to do and more than enough daylight to do them! Here are some important things you should be sure to do to prepare for summer adventures:

Get cheap outdoor gear. Attend local gear swaps, yard sales, and outdoor store discount days. Stock up on any summer gear you might need, and do it for cheap! Bring your own gear (in good shape) that you don’t use anymore and sell it at a gear swap. Check out UAA’s traditional Outdoor Gear Swap – it’s a community-wide event. In addition, if you are a student at UAA you can rent gear for good deals at the Student Union. If you don’t happen to be a student, you can find outdoor gear rentals at Alaska Pacific University, AK Outdoor Gear Rental, and outdoors stores like REI. Yard sales, garage sales, and neighborhood community sales are all great places to get cheap prices on outdoor gear. Some neighborhoods have traditional annual community-wide sales that are locally advertised.

Educate the whole family. Look at the classes offered by REI and other outdoor facilities, such as the Parks and Recreation Department. Sometimes these places will offer free classes motivated by promoting safer outdoor adventures. Read about and prepare for local hazards such as wildlife, difficult landscape, or adverse weather anywhere you decide to go, even if it feels like home. Talk to park rangers for current information about public parks.

Slip into summer. Does the idea of packing everybody and everything for an adventure just seem like… a lot of work? Take it easy, winter bear. Ease into the fun. Get ready for the big trips by taking a small, nearby trip to a lake, park, or campground to make sure you have all of your important gear ready to go. Go for an easy hike with the whole family, or plan a barbeque with some friends. Set up your campsite; test out your stove and your boots and your sleeping bag so that when you do adventure far from home, you’ll know you’ve got what you need.

Four Ways to Prevent Ankle Sprains

We all want to get out and be active this summer now that the weather is warming up and plants are beginning to bloom. While dreaming of your next hike, marathon, or summer sports league remember these four ways to prevent spraining your ankle during your fun summer activities.

  1. Get Shoes That Fit: Although our feet stop growing at a certain age, our shoes do wear out, stretch out and change over time. Having good hiking and athletic shoes that fit correctly is a vital component to keeping your feet and ankles happy and injury free. If you haven’t worn your hiking boots or athletic shoes in a while, try them on for a short walk to see how they are fitting. If they are loose and uncomfortable it is time for a new pair. Hiking or running with shoes that are too small or too big can be really hard on feet and ankles, and could cause you to roll and sprain your ankle very easily. Talk with a local shoe salesman at a sporting goods store, your chiropractor or your physical therapist about what type of shoes will fit you and your needs best before getting back into heavy activity this summer.
  2. Brace Yourself: If you know your ankle is weak, or that your body is a bit out of shape consider an ankle brace, kinesiology tape, or walking sticks to help balance and brace yourself while hiking or exercising. Ask your chiropractor or physical therapist what they might recommend for you and how to properly use it.
  3. Ankle Exercises: Preventing an ankle sprain is all about keeping your ankle strong and steady, so doing plenty of regular ankle exercises is good for everyone to do. Ask your chiropractor what exercises you can do to strengthen your ankles before hitting the trails this summer.  From ankle pumps to calf raises there are many ways to strengthen your ankles to help avoid injury.
  4. Know Your Limits: Ease back into your desired amount of activity; it has been a long chilly winter and your body may not be in the same shape it was last September at your end of summer soccer league championships. Take it slow by trying your easier activities first. Take a walk to Thunderbird falls, a short bike ride, or a run. Know your limits to avoid hurting yourself. If you are recovering from an injury, talk to your chiropractor before jumping back into your normal summer fun to see what they might recommend to keep your body healthy and happy.

7 Essentials Items That Should Be in Your Pack Before Going on a Day Hike in Alaska

Exploring new trails in Alaska can be a lot of fun yet very unpredictable. In addition to having proper footwear and notifying someone where you are going and when you plan to be back there are a few key items that every safe and prepared hiker should have in their pack for a day hike in Alaska.

  1. First Aid / Emergency Kit: While you may not always need it, you’ll be glad you have it when you do. In addition to a basic first aid kit, it is important to add these items to your first aid/ emergency supply kit: iodine pills for purifying water, a flashlight, waterproof matches, multi purpose tool, parachute cord, insect repellant and sunscreen.  It may also be wise to include a small compactable heat blanket, extra prescription medications, canine first aid manual, and an epinephrine auto injector (Epipen).  If you are traveling with another person or canine companion, be sure to include enough supplies for everyone going on the hike.
  2. Plenty of Water: Water is key to any hike; many people underestimate the human body’s constant need for hydration, especially when exercising. The constant question is how much water to pack for the particular hike you are going on. A general rule of thumb is to bring about three quarts of water per person, per day hike. But that amount can vary depending on the hikers physical fitness/health, the type of hike and the weather. So basically, bring as much water as you can comfortably carry because you can never really have too much while exercising in the wilderness. Additionally, it is wise to have 1-2 gallons of water in your car so that you can top off your water bottles before setting out on the hike, and have plenty to drink when you return.
  3. Snacks: Bring the food you plan to eat throughout the day on your hike, then bring a bit extra in the form of a couple of protein bars and some powdered drinks you can add to your water. Be sure to pack a trash bag so that you can clean up after yourself. In case of an emergency and you end up spending the night on trail, use your parachute cord to tie your food and trash up in a tree far away from where you plan to sleep to help deter predators such as bears and coyotes.
  4. Compass: While you may not think you need it because you know the trail well, or someone you are with knows where to go, it is wise to include a compass in your pack just in case you get lost during your hike. Be sure you know how to read a compass and have spent time studying a map of the area you are hiking to prepare yourself as much as possible.
  5. Map: It never hurts to have a detailed map tucked in your pack, it weighs basically nothing and takes up very little room. Again this is an item you may never use, but one day when you are lost you’ll be more than grateful you have it tucked away in your pack. Used with your compass and knowledge of the area, it should help you find your way.
  6. Bear Spray/ Bear Bells: This item is a must for Alaska hikers. Bear Spray needs to be on your belt loop, attached to your pack strap or in your back pocket ready to use at a moment’s notice. Having this item at the bottom of your pack won’t help you at all when you need it. Additionally, bear bells are a good safety item to have for yourself and your dog to help alert natures forest dwellers of your presence.
  7. Extra Layers of clothing: Layers are very important for any day in Alaska because the weather changes constantly. Wear a long-sleeved shirt over your regular one, then add a rain coat on top of that. Once you get too warm, you can take them off and tie them around your waist or to your pack. Packing extra layers on your hike is something you will never regret, and will almost always use.