The 3 positive effects of the summer sun

It’s that time of year again! Summer is here, and with it, high temperatures. How do you plan on spending your days? Man with his dog at sunset

Summer usually means vacation. Whether you’re planning a staycation or adventuring someplace new, we are sure you will be practicing sun safety. After all, experts have advised us for years to limit our sun exposure and make sure to take measures to protect ourselves from UV rays.

All of which is true, but we want to share the positive effects that time in the sun can actually provide to you.

1. Sun exposure jumpstarts our body into producing vitamin D. Our bodies actually need the sun’s ultraviolet rays to produce vitamin D, as this nutrient does not occur in our body without it. Vitamin D is essential for the growth and strengthening of our bones and muscles, plus plays an important role in developing our immune system.

2. The sun helps us to feel happy. There is a reason that overcast skies and rainy weather is called “gloomy;” because the opposite is true of opposite weather. Sunlight stimulates our brain to produce those “feel good” chemicals.

3. Sun exposure might help in the treatment of some skin conditions. Experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) have recommended UV to treat conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. UV radiation also helps treat babies who are jaundiced.

While these positive effects are wonderful, remember that, in general, it’s recommended that you spend no more than 20 minutes in fully exposed sunlight without sunscreen at a given time. Remember to check the UV index of the day and keep safe.

Are you at risk for cardiovascular disease?

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Understanding your heart health and overall wellness for that matter, is essential to both the quality and longevity of your life. If you have a comprehensive grasp on the mitigating factors and actionable steps outlining a path to a functionable and healthier lifestyle, the chances of you being at risk for cardiovascular disease decrease exponentially.

We believe the first step to facilitating risk management is achieved by utilizing a thorough and educational based foundation. With this, you will be better equipped to set you and your entire cardiovascular system up for healthy success.

What is cardiovascular disease?

Let us begin by first breaking down the disease in to a comprehendible reference, outlining the nuanced regularities and some irregularities involved in cardiovascular issues. Most commonly, and incorrectly, cardiovascular disease is also referred to as heart disease. While this statement can be true, it is not always true on an encompassing scale. Your cardiovascular system is more than just your heart.

Simply put, your heart is a main component, just not the sole factor.

What are some issues warranting cardiovascular disease?

  • Atherosclerosis: plaque buildup on the walls of your arteries.

  • Heart attack / myocardial infarction: substantial blood flow to your heart is held up due to a blood clot located elsewhere.

  • Stroke: blood flow to the brain by way of blood vessel is blocked by a blood clot located elsewhere. There are two primary stroke differentiators. This one is referred to as an ischemic stroke. The other is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. A hemorrhagic stroke is when one of the brains feeding blood vessels bursts.

  • Arrhythmia: abnormal heart rhythms. The issue with arrhythmia’s is that your heart may fail to pump enough blood throughout your body as a direct result of the irregular beats.

  • Complete heart failure: congestive heart failure does NOT mean that the heart stops working completely – instead it refers to the lack of production and necessary blood flow needed to support the rest of the system.

  • Heart valve issues: if the valves stop opening up all the way, flow is restricted. Same goes for when the valves stop closing complete, blood leaks through the “cracks”. Both of which are extremely inefficient and dangerous to the systematic approach to your entire cardiovascular system.

Cardiovascular disease factors

Essentially, there are two varying categories that individual risk factors must be sub-categorized into. Those are modifiable factors and non-modifiable factors. We will break the two lists down below starting first with the factors we have control over (modifiable factors).

Modifiable cardiovascular disease factors:

  • High blood sugar: can be neutralized or minimized with healthy and attentive nutrition.

  • High LDL cholesterol: LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol that you want to keep low. This can also be minimized through a healthy diet and intentional nutrition analysis.

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure): while this can in fact be a genetic predisposition, you can still take action to minimize the severity through diet and exercise.

  • Sedentary lifestyle: leading a sedentary lifestyle can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system.

  • Eating unhealthily most of the time: If the predominance of your diet is made up of processed, high saturated fats, and fast food, then you may want to begin considering a nutritional overhaul for the wellbeing of your future self.

  • Smoking: cigarettes are detrimental to your cardiovascular health.

  • Are you overweight or obese? By implementing a consistent exercise regimen and healthy diet and lifestyle, you essentially set yourself up for long-term success. Being overweight causes your heart to work overtime to pump enough blood throughout your body in comparison to a person at a healthy weight.

Non-modifiable cardiovascular disease factors:

  • Age: Obviously, you cannot slow your age down or reverse it. Your age can increase your chances of cardiovascular disease. The best way to mitigate the risk is to implement a healthy lifestyle sooner than later.

  • Family history: We do not choose our family. Some of us are born into families with an increased risk or history of cardiovascular disease. It is important to be fully aware of your family history of all diseases and issues.

Who is generally the most at-risk for cardiovascular disease?

While cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death for both men and women, there are some relevant factors that can increase the chances of acquiring any of the aforementioned complications.

Races predominantly affected by cardiovascular disease:

  • African-Americans

  • American Indians

  • Caucasians

  • Alaskans


Our team here at Proactive Wellness Centers understands that cardiovascular disease and all of its nuanced complexities can be daunting for an individual to attempt to navigate on their own. We are here to help you through the labyrinth of questions you may have.

We want to equip you to be better prepared and proactive in your quest for health and wellness. Please reach out to us here today with any questions or concerns you may have. We look forward to hearing from you. Be well.

Have varicose veins? Try sleeping more

Varicose veins on the womans legs close upIt’s a bit alarming the first time you discover varicose veins on your body. You might be drying off from a dip in the pool or just putting on shorts for the first time of the summer. In both cases, what you can be frightening at first. While most cases of varicose veins are simple cosmetic issues, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about anything you’re concerned about.

One way to reduce the risk of developing varicose veins is actually a simple one, and it’s probably something you’re already doing, but just not enough. Sleep deprivation has been linked to a wide variety of medical issues, including vascular-related health concerns. You can change your sleeping habits and lower your risk for early onset of varicose veins. Take a look at these tips for ensuring a good night’s sleep.

  1. Stick to a regular schedule. Routine is so important, and you can use those routines to reset your biorhythms. Instead of thinking in terms of a workweek/weekend schedule, envision your sleep time as a consistent routine. Schedule your bedtime around the same time every day. Changing your sleep schedule confuses your body clock, which may result in sleepless nights.
  2. Cool your bedroom. You sleep best when the room temperature is on the low side, and an ideal range is around 68°F. If you’re prone to overheating while in bed, or suffer from hormone-induced hot flashes, opt for lighter bedding.
  3. Electronic devices can disrupt sleep. Your body’s internal clock is very sensitive to lighting levels, and these can affect your circadian rhythms. That’s why it’s important to turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed, as gazing at those brightly lit screens throws your biorhythms off kilter.
  4. Exercise several hours before bedtime: While regular exercise helps reduce episodes of insomnia, too much too close to bedtime may keep you awake. A general rule of thumb: Finish your workout at least four hours before bedtime.
  5. Seek therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy is one way to combat negative sleep-related thoughts. Other alternative therapies include acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing.

How do you choose to live?

82729346 - group of seniors running outside on green hills.If someone were to ask you today whether you would classify your lifestyle as healthy or unhealthy, what would you say? For many of us, our immediate thought is probably ‘healthy.’

But what does a healthy lifestyle look like compared to an unhealthy one? One very big factor many people dismiss is stress. Stress itself can cause mental and physical imbalance, but it can also induce other negative behaviors.

An unhealthy lifestyle can typically be linked to habits and behaviors that are cyclical. A life stressor triggers a bad habit — poor nutrition, lack of sleep, overindulgence of food or alcohol — and then it’s hard to break. Sometimes the mere thought of breaking a habit or stopping a behavior that brings comfort, even if it is short-lived, can seem daunting.

There are ways to make a shift to a healthier lifestyle. Yes, it will take commitment to follow through, but it is worth it in the end. Let’s look at how to make that happen.

Common comparative factors between a healthy and unhealthy lifestyle

Here is a glimpse into some of the more common behaviors and habits that appear in a healthy lifestyle versus an unhealthy lifestyle.

Healthy Lifestyle:

  • Punctual: A healthy person is allways on time and has a set schedule they follow on a daily basis.
  • Regularly exercises: This habit not only increases energy output in a physical manner, but through increased cognitive efficiency and overall mood, as well.
  • Reads: A healthy person understands the importance of not only training their body, but their mind too. Reading every day allows you to expand in exponential terms over the course of a year. Give this a try – you will be blown away by how much you are capable of learning and retaining in a few short weeks.
  • Mindful of their diet: Diet in this sense is referring to what an individual consumes for fuel, nutrients and energy on a daily basis. Healthy people understand the difference between fuel as it relates to the functionality of their body and fuel for mental pleasures. As cliché as it is, we must learn to eat to live, not live to eat.
  • Treats others with kindness: Our interactions with others is an indicator of our well-being and our mood. It also relates to our own self-worth. Never underestimate the power of being positive, especially when your positive mood is shared with others.

Unhealthy Lifestyle:

  • Shows up late: An unhealthy individual has challenges with structure or plans. This allows for sporadic behaviors and outside elements to have a direct impact on their actions.
  • Hates to exercise: An unhealthy person refuses to see the benefits directly associated with training their body, or can’t find sufficient motivation to break a habit that either interferes with exercise or is at odds with it. They typically associate exercise with pain and negativity.
  • Watches copious amounts of television: An unhealthy person finds themselves in the same spot on their couch every evening, mindlessly staring at their TV. There is a saying, ‘successful people have tiny TVs and huge libraries; unsuccessful people have huge TVs and no books.’ Success and health absolutely play off of each other.
  • Mindlessly eats anything: Completely disregarding proper nutrition can adversely affect your overall appearance and health in general. Unhealthy people have a tendency not only to over eat, but they over eat calorically dense and processed foods.

How can we combat unhealthy behaviors?

Changing unhealthy behaviors begins internally in the mind. Visualize your end goal. How will you get there? Those are your action steps. Creating a positive mental shift can be a challenge, but it will get easier with time. One positive thought breeds another and another and so on.

Once you begin to shape your thoughts differently you will inevitably begin to see things differently. Once you see things differently you will begin to ACT differently. Once the actions change, life changes.

We completely understand that making big changes in your life is easier said (or read) than done. That’s why our team at Proactive Wellness Centers takes pride in helping patients achieve optimal health one at a time.

Wellness cannot be an overnight accomplishment. Consistency over time is key. If you have any questions at all, or would like to discuss any health issues you may be experiencing, please reach out to us HERE today.