The forklift is the staple of the modern warehouse. A well-functioning forklift makes operations both efficient and profitable. Yet, if a company’s forklifts aren’t up to par the site’s performance will suffer as well. Even worse, the work site can be at risk for serious safety issues. Regular maintenance of forklifts is of the utmost importance. Here, we’ll look at five ways forklift maintenance can impact warehouse safety.
The Dangers of Emissions
Some forklifts, like cars, emit exhaust fumes during use. These fumes contain dangerous air pollutants that can cause cancer and respiratory disease. Diesel forklifts produce dangerous gases such as nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are nausea, vomiting, headaches and vision problems. Carbon monoxide from a forklift can even cause unconsciousness or death.
When it comes to harmful emissions the most effective forklift maintenance is prevention. Warehouse employees should keep accurate records of the truck’s usage and mechanical issues. Exhaust fume measurements will help ensure compliance with forklift emission standards. In some cases, it is better to use a clean fuel or electric vehicle. Exhaust fumes from propane powered forklifts are a lot safer.
Hazardous Tire Conditions
Don’t overlook the condition of a forklift’s tires. Tires play a major role in stabilizing the load and maintaining fuel efficiency. Inspecting tires daily is important. Damaged tires should be removed or replaced as soon as possible. A flat tire can make the forklift tip over and cause an accident. This would likely cause serious injury to the driver and nearby employees.
Unsafe tires can also cause problems for the warehouse facility itself. Bald tires can affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. If a driver spins or skids out of control it can result in property damage to racks, doors, manufacturing machines and walls. It can also destroy nearby inventory or other forklifts.
Another tire hazard to check for is chunking. Unlike car tires, forklift tires tend to lose chunks of rubber due to driving on rough surfaces. Chunking will affect the smooth ride of the vehicle. It also causes the load to bounce around and become unstable. It can also make the driver more fatigued because they will have to take extra care while driving. Chunking on tires can increase the likelihood of accidents.
Hidden Fluid Leaks
Regular fluid checks can help keep your forklift in tip-top condition. Even a new forklift needs top-offs of hydraulic fluid, engine oil and transmission fluids. These substances help the motor and other parts to function efficiently. Drivers should check fluid levels on a consistent basis. Regular checks will ensure that no flammable liquids are leaking onto the work site or floor. By making sure fluid levels are at an optimal level will also help extend the life of the vehicle.
Faulty Gauges and Warning Lights
Newer forklifts are unlikely to have problems with warning lights or gauges. However, drivers should inspect older machines to make sure the devices are functioning properly. Lights and gauges are an employee’s first line of defense against forklift accidents. It is impossible to perform preventative maintenance when these features are not working. Inoperable gauges also give a driver a false sense of security while working. This can cause unsafe situations for everyone in the warehouse.
Battery Charges and Changes
Care must be taken when working with a forklift battery. This is especially true with electric forklifts which use heavy, lead-acid batteries. Warehouse safety rules should designate one part of the facility for battery charging and changing. This will minimize the risk to staff and inventory if something should happen.
Certain employees need to be specially trained to handle battery issues. These employees will need to understand the dangers associated with handling batteries. This includes understanding how to deal with battery acid leaks, hydrogen gas emissions, and battery cell burns. Protective clothing and gloves are also essential to a safe battery changing process.
A Final Word on Forklift Safety
Forklift safety starts with daily inspections. It also requires a thorough scheduled maintenance plan to address potential problems beforehand. Maintaining a forklift should not be taken likely. Industrial trucks are powerful machines that can become dangerous at any time.
If you need assistance with forklift maintenance in Reno contact us for additional information. We can help you find the best solution for your warehouse needs.
Why is July anti-boredom month? It’s a natural time of year for the doldrums. The holidays are far away and there are no urgent rush seasons going on. Summer days drag by, as workers leave for or return from vacation time. For an office job, it’s the worst season, because it is bright and sunny, a perfect day for recreation, and you’re wasting it in an office cubicle. In addition, the kids are out of school, which makes parents feel like they’re missing out on spending time with their kids.
The Benefits Of Fighting Boredom
Companies should care about employee apathy because the quality of work sometimes suffers. More mistakes happen that need to be corrected and more productivity gets lost due to lagging performance. Surprisingly enough, investing in just a little frivolous diversion can help your workers buckle down to work later.
Some studies have also shown that a brief period of mental stimulation helps clear the cobwebs and improve attention and cognitive performance. At the very least, some diversionary tactics help break the stress and routine of the long summer days and weeks.
Creative Ideas to Fight Boredom
Team building exercises are often just manager-speak for “we need to get you out of your cubicle and moving around.” You can justify many fun activities as team building and cajole everyone into participating. But here are a few off-hand ideas to stimulate your employees during the dull summer months:
* Organize a company sports team.
This can be as silly or as serious as you want. An official sports team for your department gives you a great reason to hand out matching T-shirts, rally everybody together, and get them cheering for each other. Simple low-impact sports like volleyball, softball, or bowling are ideal here.
* Have a company contest.
This can be something silly like organizing a scavenger hunt, or a contest tied to work productivity. Here’s the catch: instead of some practical company gift, have the prize be something a little “out there”. Maybe two tickets to a local rock concert or a case of gourmet coffee. Pick something that will get your employees talking. The important thing is that everybody has fun doing this.
* Have an Employee Appreciation Day.
Maybe take one day to have a break from the usual work schedule and organize an event. It doesn’t take much; a pizza and movie party is just right. A company picnic is even better if you have a local park available. Some larger companies go all out and host a carnival, with small party kiosks rented from a local vendor. This can be a big event you can build up to in advance, giving everybody something to look forward to.
* Give Your Employees Random Surprise Perks or Gifts.
What would your employees think if they encountered an ice cream vendor cart in the lobby for one week? Or came in Thursday morning to find a gift card for the local mall on their desks? Or you suddenly announced, “Bring your pet to work day”? Or you just hired a clown to wander through the office handing out balloon animals for one day? Make your office an interesting place to work.
* Sponsor board or table games.
You can stock the company break room with board and card games. Perhaps even one day of the week, give everyone an extra half hour devoted to games. It’s important that they’re playing physical entertainment together rather than just zoning out playing on their phones. Similar to the sports team idea, you can even organize a competitive company team revolving around their favorite game.
A Little Goes A Long Way
You’d be surprised what an impact any of these methods have. By at least encouraging a little fun on the company clock, you’ll not only fight burnout, but boost employee morale by showing them that at least the boss has some heart. By showing you have a human side and a soul, your employees are more likely to put up with the drudgery of the day-to-day job; you’re telling them that you know the work is tiresome and thanking them for doing a good job.
There are many more ideas out there. Just try to avoid being predictable with your measures; nothing says “boring” like handing out pens and paper-clip wells with the company logo. Come up with perks and activities that are imaginative enough, and your employees will be talking about anti-boredom month until the holiday season!
28 Jun 2017
When driving a forklift for the first time, the task may seem a little daunting. You’ll want to make sure you correctly follow all rules to ensure a safe work environment for yourself and those around you. Check out the list below for 7 tips to consider when operating a forklift. While they may come across as basic, they’ll serve as a great starting point for new forklift operators.
Be preparedMove to Trash
It may seem silly, but putting yourself in the right mind set makes all the difference. Make sure you are awake and alert. It is never safe to operate machinery while drowsy. Quickly check yourself over to ensure you’re wearing proper clothing for the job. The operator’s handbook states that operators are to wear the following appropriate safety equipment: hard hat, safety shoes, and a hi-visibility jacket. Clothing should be reasonably fitted to avoid getting caught in the machinery. Long hair should be tied back. Operators should also make sure their hands are clean of grease so their grip is strong and doesn’t slip.
Examine equipment and surrounding area before use
It’s important to check your equipment before use. Forklift safety rules state that you should check the breaks, warning devices, steering, mast, and tires for faults. If problems are detected, immediately notify management. Make sure the forklift control levers are within reach upon sitting. Plan a visual journey before you start to move. Have a clear vision of where you will be moving within the designated roadways, and be aware of signs that dictate load height restrictions.
Operate at a safe speed and avoid hazards
The Logistics & Materials Handling Blog states that you should never drive over the designated speed limit. Always proceed around corners and turns slowly to avoid tipping. If you need to change your direction or path, do so slowly and gradually. It is always best to steer clear of bumps and uneven ground. Avoid slippery areas as well. Keep a safe distance from loose objects on the ground and other trucks or machines. Use the horn when approaching a corner or doorway to signal caution to those around you.
Have clear visibility
If visibility is poor, do not attempt to continue driving. Call for assistance and have a lookout guide you. You may choose to drive in reverse, but remember to never drive in reverse up a ramp. Check that you can see your loading area clearly to ensure proper positioning. Again, if you are unable to see properly, have someone assist you with placing the load.
Make sure all loads are safe and secure
Examine loads carefully before driving for stability and damage. It’s important that loads be stacked and positioned across both forks correctly. Use ropes or binding materials if needed. Know the carrying capacity of your fork before loading, as an overload can cause tipping. Check for overhead obstructions before lifting, and remember to never lift a load that is unsafe or unstable.
Keep clear of the Mast
Under no circumstances should anyone be permitted to stand or walk under the load. If a load falls, it can cause severe injury or death. Make sure to keep all hands and feet clear of the cross members of the mast. If you lower the mast while your hands are on it, this too can lead to serious injury.
Refill and return
Yale’s article on safe handling states that you should only re-fuel at specially designated locations. Make sure the machine is turned completely off before fueling. No open flames or sparks are permitted for IC engines. Fueling should also take place in a well ventilated area. After a shift, be sure to park in an authorized area. Lower the forks completely and apply the parking break. Always remember to never leave machinery running while unattended.
With these tips in mind, new forklift operators can rest assured that they’ll be on their way to safe and easy operation in no time. Remember that machinery may only be operated by those trained properly and licensed. Always refer back to the manual if you have any questions about how to operate a forklift’s controls or feel free to contact us.
22 Jun 2017
June is National Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Month, which means it’s a perfect time to make improvements to your diet.
During this month, you’ll have an easy time finding fresh, delicious produce in supermarkets, farmer’s markets, and maybe even your own backyard garden. And while you probably already know that eating more fruits and veggies will make you healthier, that’s not the only benefit you’ll notice. Eating a healthy diet will also make you more productive and give you more energy to excel at work, play with your kids, and connect with your loved ones. These tips will help you clean up your diet and become more productive along the way.
Swap refined carbs for fresh, whole foods.
Processed carbs, such as white bread, soda, and candy, might give you a quick burst of energy right after you eat them. However, the energy boost soon fades away, leaving you feeling groggy and irritable. Why? Your body processes the simple sugars in these foods quickly, which causes your blood sugar to rise and then drop sharply again.
To avoid this happening to you, cut sugary foods out of your diet wherever you can. Replace them with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These natural foods aren’t just more filling than highly processed foods – they’ll keep your brain going for longer, too. Here are some examples of simple swaps you can make:
- Make your lunchtime sandwich on whole-grain bread or a whole-wheat pita instead of white bread.
- Trade your afternoon candy for a carton of fresh, ripe blueberries.
- Instead of soda, drink filtered water or seltzer infused with strawberries.
- Cook brown rice for dinner instead of white rice.
- Swap your morning glass of orange juice for a more filling piece of fresh fruit.
There’s a reason breakfast is referred to as the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast kick-starts your brain, while an unhealthy one can leave you feeling foggy at ten in the morning. According to the University of Illinois, an ideal breakfast should include carbs, fat, and protein. The carbs give you energy and help you focus, while the fat and protein help you stay satisfied until lunchtime. If you need ideas, give these breakfasts a try:
- Make an omelet with your favorite vegetables, like spinach and mushrooms, and a little cheese. Have a piece of whole-wheat toast on the side.
- In a hurry? Make a quick piece of peanut butter toast. Eat it with a banana or some berries.
- Cook up a bowl of satisfying oatmeal. Top it with honey, sliced almonds, and cut-up fruit.
Don’t wait until you get hungry to decide what to eat. According to the Harvard Business Review, people make better food choices when they’re not ravenous. Spend a couple of minutes every morning thinking about what you’ll have for lunch, dinner, and snacks. A little planning can save you a lot of time, brainpower, and calories in the long run.
Use a smaller plate.
Have you ever felt sluggish and slow after eating too much? Everyone overindulges sometimes, but if you do it regularly, you won’t be at your most productive. Instead of putting less food on a large plate, which can make you feel subconsciously deprived, try this simple trick: just put your food on a small plate instead. You’ll still feel satisfied, and you won’t get a case of afternoon brain fog from eating too much. MIT also recommends sticking to light, healthy foods, such as fruits, veggies, and lean protein, instead of heavy fried foods.
Don’t let yourself get too hungry.
In terms of brainpower and productivity, eating too little is just as bad as eating too much. When you under-eat, your brain doesn’t get the glucose it needs, which can make you feel light-headed, anxious, and irritable. Maintain your energy and focus by eating small, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Instead of eating a heavy pasta dish at lunch, go for a salad or a light sandwich with veggies on it. Skip the fries.
- Keep a healthy, nonperishable snack, such as a bag of almonds, in your car. That way, if your stomach starts growling when you’re stuck in traffic, you won’t be tempted to hit the drive-through.
- Bring carrot sticks and hummus to work for when the afternoon munchies hit.
June is the perfect time to clean up your diet by incorporating plenty of fresh, in-season produce. These easy tips will help you make the most of National Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Month!
25 May 2017
Workplace safety is a concern in the modern world because many industries have outgrown their office cubicles. Because of mobile technology, employees may be in a warehouse or out in the field for most of the day. A factor that comes into play right now is weather.
Your workforce must deal with hot weather, especially as the spring and summer months move in. Take a moment to understand the five ways that warm weather affects a safe workplace. The facts might surprise you.
Removing Workplace Safety Clothing
Warm weather affects workplace safety by compromising everyday protocols. Your employees might wear gloves, long sleeves and steel-toed boots on the job. As the temperature rises, employees slowly peel those items off. With no gloves on and shorts worn in lieu of pants, your employees are instantly vulnerable to injury.
Equipment maintenance might be on the to-do list today, which involves crawling across a machine or vehicle. Without the proper clothing, injuries occur that are otherwise avoided. Dropped items on exposed toes and singed fingers could occur.
As one person peels off their protective clothing, the rest of the workforce sees an opportunity for themselves. Workplace psychology dictates that one person will emulate another. Removing any protective clothing on one employee will only encourage others to follow suit.
Lack of Attention
The heat plays with the mind as the temperature and humidity increase. Workplace safety is definitely compromised in the heat because the natural, human tendency is to focus on the physical strain.
You might worry about sweating too much in your work clothes or looking for a sip of water. Concerns over operating a machine or helping a client will take second place to the heat stress. This lack of attention quickly leads to accidents in the workplace.
Forklifts might be in operation where the heat is the worst. The operators aren’t paying attention to the warehouse floor. Consequently, warehouse workers are focusing on the heat instead of their proximity to the machines. Collisions, mishaps and other issues are now at the forefront of concerns for any managers.
When the temperatures rise, a safe warehouse isn’t on workers’ minds. Although they may try to fight the fatigue, heat stress significantly reduces productivity. Workers’ bodies will sweat while slowing the heart rate down. The body is trying to cool off by reducing movements in the heat. Workplace safety continues to suffer as long as the heat remains steady. Slow productivity leads to mistakes that are resolved with even slower movements.
Ideally, workers should take multiple breaks during the hottest part of the day. Drinking plenty of water will help their productivity levels, but they won’t return to normal. Managers might consider an earlier starting time. When the sun rises early in the spring and summer, starting work at 6 a.m. is a clever idea. Workers break for lunch or stop activities altogether as the hottest part of the day settles in.
Workplace safety is also an issue as the heat increases because medical conditions become aggravated. Some of your employees may have heart-related diseases. These hard workers are often under medical care, but they offer some of the best productivity in the industry. When the heat rises, however, these medical conditions show their true colors.
It’s not unheard of for a heart attack or diabetic episode to occur at the workplace when the employees are under medicinal care. Heat stress is incredibly stressful on the body, and it simply triggers ailments to rear their ugly heads. If any employees appear pale or faint, they need water and cooler conditions right away.
Some of your employees may work in the field for most of the day. Workplace safety becomes an issue when their skin isn’t protected with either sunscreen or clothing. Ideally, they should be wearing long sleeves and pants when all-day work is part of the plan.
Clothing protects the skin and keeps it cool. You might see issues with heat stress when the workers remove part of their clothing in the sun. A sunburn is difficult to see as it develops so the person will work well until the stress suddenly strikes them.
Encourage breaks throughout the day with water available at all times. Provide sunscreen if necessary along with extra clothing so that everyone is protected from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
If you have any concerns about safe warehouse practices, contact us today with your questions. Alleviating difficult conditions is the main goal when it’s hot outside. Workplace safety must change with the times so that your employees are as comfortable as possible.
It’s National Recommitment Month which means it’s time to pull out those New Year’s resolutions and get serious about recommitment. Oh sure, you were full of self discipline for the first few weeks and then life came knocking on your door. Well, the time has come to show the world what you’re made of and we have 9 tips to help you succeed.
There’s a National Recommitment Month For a Reason
If you were the only person who needed a do over would there really be a whole month dedicated to recommitment? Starting over is something we do. It’s how we create a habit. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and hit that restart button!
Be Real About Those New Year’s Resolutions
Every year you start writing your resolutions and you think you can conquer the world. Five months later you realize there’s no way you can do it all. Setting realistic goals is a good place to start on your recommitment journey. Keep your goals within reach, then with each goal you obtain set a new goal. You’ll get farther than you ever thought by taking it one step at a time.
Be Positive in Your Recommitment
A sure fire way to fail at anything you set out to do is to start with an “I can’t” kind of attitude. When you tell yourself “I can”, you’re creating self-confidence. So stop staring at your list of resolutions thinking you’re just going to give up again. Instead, tell yourself that this is the time that you will succeed!
Recommitment is About the End Game
Of course, you should measure your progress but you can’t forget that achieving a goal is about getting to the end. That means accepting the bumps and detours in the road along the way. Stressing out about the challenges you have to face while trying to obtain your goal can be the very thing that knocks you off track again. So get your recommitment game face on and let’s do this!
Nobody’s Perfect, Not Even You
Everyone fails at one time or another. The only thing that makes it worse is if you refuse to get back up and try again. One reason we fail to achieve our goals is because we refuse to ask for help and we berate ourselves when we can’t do it on our own. Some of the most successful people in the world will tell you they did it with help. So pick yourself up by the bootstraps and partner up. You’ll be surprised how many people are on this recommitment journey with you and could really use your help.
Adjust Your Success Ruler
When we measure our success to the people around us we are bound to fail. Everyone starts from a different point in life and we each face different challenges along the way. By measuring your progress from where you started you’ll see how far you’ve come. You’ll also experience a sense of self-confidence that wouldn’t be there otherwise.
Pat Yourself On The Back
Celebrate your wins! Regardless if they are big or small, when we allow ourselves to feel proud we are encouraged to keep going. Sometimes success is just getting started. So while there might not be any measurable progress yet, simply taking action to achieve your goals is a success in and of itself.
Having a recommitment partner will help you in a couple of ways. When you are accountable to someone else you have effectively cut off your escape route. A partner will also motivate you when you are feeling low. So if you are resolved to go for that morning run every day, take someone along. You’ll be less likely to hit the snooze button one too many times and you’ll also have someone to cheer you on as you run up that last hill.
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again
Self discipline is not something we are born with. It is something we must teach ourselves. Success doesn’t always come the first or second, or even the third time we try. Success comes at different times for different people. So if you don’t make it this time, try again. No one ever got to the top by sitting down.
Making resolutions is easy, keeping them is the hard part. Habits are created over time. So go easy on yourself. Keep your goals within reach and enjoy your recommitment journey.
21 Apr 2017
Warehouse managers and business owners are among the professionals most likely to feel overwhelmed when it’s time for warehouse spring cleaning and forklift maintenance. The following 11 tips for warehouse spring cleaning will save you both time and money as well as restore your optimism that this season will bring in more profit.
Spring just makes us feel more positive until we walk into an unorganized place of work then that sense of happiness starts to wane a little. Help keep your warehouse pleasant and safe for all workers while also being ready for any inspections this year.
Safe Warehouse Practices
1. Familiarize yourself with the most current warehouse safety policies and laws, especially those concerning forklift maintenance and operation. Staying up to date will save you time from having to redo something that won’t pass a later inspection in its current state.
2. Keeping the current warehouse safety policies visible, schedule regular mandatory checks for overall warehouse cleanliness, organization, and equipment maintenance. This will help to ensure a safe warehouse all year around.
Communicate with Employees for Best Solutions
3. Have an ‘open door’ policy where any employee can come in and speak with you. Employees can let you know about things that need to be fixed or taken care of in some way in the warehouse. If having an ‘open door’ policy isn’t a viable solution, ask employees to send you an email or fill out a quick comment form.
4. Talk to your employees. Your employees who work in a certain environment every day will have great ideas and input about how to better organize the space to increase their work productivity.
Have a Plan
5. Make sure to choose a time for cleaning your warehouse when the facility will be less crowded. Warehouse spring cleaning should be a way to help your company make more money, not something that interrupts regular productivity.
6. Before starting the maintenance and cleaning routine, have a checklist prepared for all the small tasks you need to complete by a certain deadline. Part of this routine should include scheduling equipment checkups with professionals. These regular, professional checkups are an investment and will save you a great deal of stress, money, and time in the future.
7. Give some thought to industrial psychology. Industrial psychology is a discipline that considers the human condition to increase work productivity. Schedule cleaning sessions when your crew is the most productive and give reasonable, lucrative incentives.
Warehouse Spring Cleaning Tips to Use Throughout the Year
8. Keep items from piling up by scheduling a day once a month to throw out any items you don’t need. Stock frequently used items that are out in plain view instead of hiding them in a pile.
9. Machine repair and cleaning supplies should be kept in a single, known area of the warehouse. Ideally, these items are placed in a hidden and accessible place near a wide-open area where an employee, preferably a professional, can work on repairs when needed.
More Hacks for Warehouse Spring Cleaning
10. Try to avoid giving any one employee a cleaning job that takes more than a couple of hours to complete. The most efficient way your warehouse will be in top shape during inspections is to ensure that your employees are in top shape. Make sure employees are not burned out and distracted while cleaning and organizing. Instead of giving one job to a single person, divide a bigger job among three or four people if possible.
11. Recognize when a cleaning or maintenance job is better handled by cleaning and maintenance professionals. Working daily in a cluttered or neglected environment will cause morale to plummet, which hinders productivity. Avoid this unnecessary frustration by taking appropriate action, either by assigning a couple of employees to the task or calling a professional to fix the problem.
All warehouses that are used to store items or manufacture materials need regular equipment maintenance, general facility cleaning, and organizing. The people who work in the facility daily are the best ones to communicate warehouse cleaning priorities because they see the place from a different perspective than the manager or owner.
It doesn’t take years to learn how to keep warehouses clean and organized or how to safely use heavy equipment like forklifts. Warehouses that use forklifts daily need to ensure that their equipment is always kept in safe and optimal working conditions. You can contact us with any questions about safe cleaning materials and procedures or safe warehouse practices.
If you feel like stress is constantly overwhelming your life, you are not alone. Tension is a way of life for most people in the 21st century. Human beings simply were not designed for the level of stimulation that we are routinely exposed to in the modern world. We are all constantly on the go, and this leads to people not taking care of themselves the way they should. It is critical that you learn how to manage stress. Stress has been linked to many serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and depression. If you want to be happier and healthier, use the following seven tips to relax and reduce the tension.
One of the best ways to be healthier and reduce the tension of modern life is to meditate. Meditation has been around for thousands of years for a very simple reason, it works. Whenever the pressure of modern life seems overwhelming, a quick meditation can make everything right again. If you are new to meditation, you should begin with five minutes a day. Slowly increase the time you meditate until you are meditating for at least 10 minutes a day. When you add meditation to your life, you will find you are much calmer, healthier and able to handle the over-stimulation of the modern world much better.
Getting a massage is one of the most pleasurable ways to de-stress. If you have never enjoyed a massage before, you don’t know what you are missing. The blissful feeling you have after a massage is proof that getting a massage is one of the best stress-relieving activities imaginable. To help keep yourself feeling relaxed, consider the benefits of adding a weekly massage to your routine.
Research has shown that people who exercise regularly are less stressed. This is because exercise floods your system with endorphins. The endorphins are the body’s pleasure chemicals, and they wash away the tension when they flood your body after a workout. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do. Just get up and be active. Start walking every day. Train for a marathon. Join a swim team. Learn to rock climb. Just get up off the couch and exercise any way that seems fun to you.
One of the saddest things about the 21st century is that even though people are more connected to each other than ever before through the Internet, people feel lonelier now than ever. Technological interaction through social networks is not a replacement for human interaction. You need to get out there and interact with people in the physical world. Social interaction is one of the best treatments when you are feeling stressed out. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed, plan a party or night out on the town to lift your spirits.
Tickle Your Funny Bone
Laughter really is the best medicine when you are feeling tense. When you laugh, it releases the same endorphins that exercise does, eliminating tension and leaving you feeling wonderful. Next time you are feeling stressed, watch your favorite comedy to unwind.
Take a Nap
Another sad fact about modern existence is that naps are not something that most people get to enjoy beyond childhood. That is a real shame as the body benefits greatly from napping. When you nap, your body has lower levels of cortisol, the stress-causing hormone. Next time life seems overwhelming, try a 20-minute power nap to instantly feel better about things.
Adopt a Pet
Research shows that pet owners are less stressed than others. Whether you are petting your kitty, playing catch with your dog or watching your fish swim, interacting with pets has been shown to make people happier and less stressed out. There are plenty of pets out there at shelters that could use a good home, and you could use the pick-me-up.
Stress Awareness Month
April is Stress Awareness Month. That makes this the perfect time for you to look for stress-reducing tips. With the seven tips above, you will be able to chill out. Using these tips will make you happier and healthier, improving the quality of your life.
You owe it to yourself to find ways to chill out. Exercise, meditate or do whatever it takes to start relaxing. When you take the time to take care of yourself by engaging in stress-relieving activities, it is not only good for you. You will be happier and make those around you happier as well. For the benefit of all, always be on the lookout for ways to reduce your stress levels.
If you feel like you’ve fallen off the healthy habit bandwagon, you’re in luck. March is National Nutrition Month, so it is the perfect time to tackle that health commitment you made at the beginning of the year with renewed energy.
You may be wondering why we celebrate nutrition month and how it can help you get back on track. It’s simple really. Nutrition Month is a time set aside to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and exercise habits.
This year the National Nutrition Month theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” So instead of feeling like you have to change everything at once, you can start small, with just one fork at a time. Whether your eating habits involve preparing meals at home or making choices while eating out, it’s important to develop a way of eating that is sustainable.
Are you ready to join the movement? Then here are a few effective ways you can start putting your best fork forward.
Eat a balanced, varied diet.
Eating a variety of nutrient dense foods across all of the food groups reduces your risk of many preventable and primarily lifestyle-based chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Work to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your daily diet.
Choose lighter options while dining out.
Finding healthy options at restaurants is now easier than it ever has been. Most restaurant chains offer lighter, healthier choices. As you peruse the menu, look for options that are steamed or roasted. Likewise, ask for sauces, dressing, and cheese on the side, and control your own portions by asking for a to-go box and putting half of your meal in the box.
Set a good example for children.
If you have children, you know how quickly they pick up on things. That is why it is especially important to model good eating habits for children. This modeling begins in the kitchen. Inviting your child into the kitchen to participate in age-appropriate cooking tasks is a fun way to get young ones involved. Serving balanced meals and making the time to enjoy dinner together is also important to help your family build healthy, mindful eating habits.
Eat breakfast every day.
Breakfast is one of the most frequently skipped meals by everyone, but it’s also one of the most important. Breakfast helps get your metabolism going and sets the tone for your eating all day long. If you really don’t have time for breakfast, then at least grab a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts to give you a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
Drink more water.
Water is another essential to a healthy lifestyle. Your body uses water for nearly ever metabolic process it completes. If you have a hard time drinking enough water, try keeping a water bottle with you all day, using a simple tracking system, or flavoring your water with a few pieces of fresh fruit. Try to drink at least half your weight in ounces of water each day.
Adopt the “one more” mentality.
It can be tough to completely overhaul the way you eat all at once. Instead of trying to do it that way, focus on getting in just “one more” healthy food choice each day. If you struggle with veggies the most, work on fitting in one more serving each day. Then once you have that mastered, move on to another healthy habit. Doing a little at a time will make the process much easier and help you stick with it.
If you really want to make your celebration of this month fun, then consider getting involved or organizing some nutrition month activities, such as
- A cooking demonstration or nutrition event
- A presentation at your local park or senior center
- A food donation campaign for your local food pantry or shelter
- A commitment to try one new healthy recipe as a family each week
- A visit to a local farmers market or farm
- A “lunch and learn” on healthy eating
- A scavenger hunt for healthy foods or recipe ingredients
National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to refocus on the healthy habits you started in January or to invite others to join you in your efforts. Use these tips and remember that it’s about starting small and making simple changes every day that you can stick to long term.
Your kidneys are very important organs in your body. Taking proper care of them will help you live better and longer. Many people don’t understand kidney disease or how to prevent it. For National Kidney Disease Month, you can learn how to better care for your kidneys and prevent disease.
Kidney failure is a slow and progressive disease that usually has no noticeable symptoms. Kidney disease awareness is important. Unless your kidneys have been injured in an accident, you may not know you have kidney disease without medical testing. Your doctor can perform a few types of tests to determine kidney function. These are usually blood tests or urine tests.
The blood test for kidney function is called glomular filtration rate or GFR. This measures the amount of creatine in your blood. Creatine is a waste product produced by working muscles. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering this waste from the blood. If the kidneys are not working properly, this acid will build up to unsafe levels in the blood stream.
The urine test for kidney function is called albumin-to-creatine ratio or ACR. The urine is tested for the protein albumin. This protein that should not be found in urine. If the test is positive, it indicates your kidneys are not functioning as well as they should.
There are five stages of disease that lead to kidney failure. There is no way to correct full kidney failure, so it is a life-threatening disease. The best option for a person in the advanced stages is a kidney transplant. Health can be maintained with dialysis, but this does not heal the kidneys.
Diabetes and Sugar
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. When you have diabetes, your body has trouble maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering your blood, so when you have high blood sugar your kidneys are under a lot of pressure to balance your system. They eventually become overloaded and begin to fail.
There are many things that may contribute to developing diabetes. Sometimes the disease is genetic, and there isn’t much you can do about that. Most diabetes, however, is brought on by a poor diet. Excess sugar in the diet is one of the leading causes of diabetes. It is important to avoid excess sugar. The American Heart Association recommends that children consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day. This is also a good rule for adults to follow. Diabetes can affect a person of any age. The sooner you take steps to avoid it, the healthier your kidneys will be.
Salt and Blood Pressure
Blood pressure also has a major impact on kidney function. When blood pressure is high, more blood is forced through the sensitive tissues of the kidney faster. Over time, this may damage the kidney tissue that filters the blood. This tissue is very difficult to heal once damaged.
Too much sodium in the diet contributes to high blood pressure. Salt may also pose a danger to the kidneys directly. Sometimes minerals like sodium will harden in the kidneys. The result is a kidney stone. The kidney eventually forces the stone through the kidney tissue. The process is very painful. It may also damage the kidney tissue, which reduces function. The damage caused by passing a kidney stone often does not heal. A scar will form that is never able to filter any blood.
You do not have to eliminate all salt from your diet, but you should keep it to a healthy level. This means not adding salt to most foods and avoiding processed foods already high in salt. You can help balance sodium levels by also getting plenty of potassium from food and drinking plenty of water each day.
Drinking Too Much
Your kidneys are responsible for getting toxic substances out of your blood stream. Alcohol is highly toxic to the body, so your kidneys work extra hard to get rid of it. When you drink too much, you put strain on your kidneys and may damage them.
Alcohol also dehydrates you. Your kidneys’ other job is to maintain the right balance of water in your body. Consuming alcohol can make this job much more difficult. Over time, this may result in lost kidney function.
It is important to know how much is too much. Three drinks or less per day is considered safe for your body and is unlikely to cause serious problems.
Your diet has a lot to do with your kidney health. By maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and smoking and choosing healthy foods most of the time, you can keep both your kidneys functioning for your entire life. Many of the conditions that lead to kidney disease are preventable.