Healthy-Alternatives-for-your-family-BBQ

Wellness |

Healthy Alternatives For Your Family BBQ

< 1 minute read

Summer often feels like one giant vacation. From the pool parties, to the family reunions, to the neighborhood block parties. But all of those summer soirées can become an all-you-can-eat buffet of some not-so-healthy choices. Here are some delicious alternatives for a healthy family BBQ.

Option 1: Lean Protein

Choosing grilled chicken or fish over red meat or sausages is a great way to cut fat and calories at your family BBQ without sacrificing the flavor.

Option 2: Rethink the Bun

When a burger, brat, or hotdog are your only options, opting for no bun is a great way to cut back on refined carbohydrates. Or, try one of these low-carb alternatives to the classic white bun.

Option 3: Veggie Noodle Substitutes

These are another low-carb healthy alternatives to some of your favorite pasta salads at your family BBQ.

Option 4: Fruit for Dessert

Is it even a BBQ without dessert? Grilling fresh fruit caramelizes its natural sugar, making it the perfect sweet treat for your BBQ.

Simple Swaps

No matter your diet or lifestyle, your outdoor parties can be guilt-free when you make these simple substitutions.

Here are a few more honorable mentions:

  • Fresh Veggies > Potato Chips
  • Green Salad > Creamy Coleslaw
  • Baked Beans > Potato Salad
  • Fresh Iced Tea > Soda or other sugary drinks
lung cancer

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Lung Cancer Awareness Month: Tips For Keeping Your Lungs Healthy

2 minute read

In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout®, Aprilaire is proud to support the American Lung Association’s mission to raise awareness about lung health. Below, we’ve highlighted some healthy habits you can adopt to maintain the health of your lungs and reduce your risk for lung disease.

Healthy habits for Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Don’t Smoke

Not only does smoking increase your risk of lung cancer, it is linked to several lung diseases including COPD, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and asthma. If you are a smoker, quitting can help no matter how old you are or how long you’ve been addicted. The American Lung Association has resources to help when you’re ready.

Protect Your Overall Health

Getting vaccinations against influenza and pneumonia if your healthcare provider sees fit can help prevent lung infections and promote overall health. Avoiding crowds and washing hands during cold and flu season are also healthy habits to use to protect yourself from getting a cold or other respiratory infections. Try your best to maintain a healthy immune system, especially in the winter months. That gives your body the best chance at fighting off infections and keeping you and those around you safe.

Exercise Regularly

Physical activity can help your lungs function properly regardless of your age, weight, or overall health. The national recommendation for adults is 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week. This can be as simple as taking a brisk walk after dinner, bicycling, gardening, or any activity that gets your heart and lungs working.
Don’t forget to make sure the air you breathe while you exercise is healthy as well. And if you feel like taking it easy, some simple breathing exercises can help keep you on track.

Reduce Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollutants

Air pollution can harm anyone of any age. How much time you spend outside for work or play, and how well your indoor air is treated will play into the effect of bad outdoor air.
To keep you and your family healthy and avoid prolonged exposure, check out the American Lung Association’s best tips for protection from unhealthy air. This includes an awareness of the Air Quality Index, as well as an effort to reduce the amount of energy you use in your home.

Improve Indoor Air Quality

Secondhand smoke, chemicals, fragrances, or radon in your home and workplace can all cause or worsen lung disease. Testing your home for radon and using high-quality air filters can significantly improve your Indoor Air Quality. Aprilaire air filters are the National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association. These products help improve respiratory health by removing damaging airborne particles, reducing dust around your home, controlling unwanted odors, and providing cleaner, fresher, and healthier air.

Disclaimer: The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device, or service.

mental health

AA Homepage Articles | Wellness |

Mental Health and Poor Indoor Air Quality – Tips For Staying Healthy And Happy

3 minute read

We know that the air we breathe has an impact on the health of our lungs, but what about its effect on other areas of health? A 2017 study from the University of Washington found that living in areas with poor air quality increases your risk for psychological distress impacting your mental health.

Researchers found this to be true across socioeconomic and demographic lines, which can vary greatly in cities where the air is most often polluted. (Here’s a list of the most polluted cities in the U.S.)

When you add in the stress of staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, (in which the common advice is to spend more time outdoors), it can be tough to feel at ease anywhere. And in areas with increasingly extreme wildfire seasons, the problem is compounded even more.

We know that poor air quality can lead to mental health issues, so what are some solutions that work towards better air quality and less stress?

How To Improve Air Quality Where You Live

Many cities in the western part of the United States are experiencing one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, with weeks of smoke-filled skies that can feel inescapable. And some factors indicate that the problem will only get worse in the years to come.

Poor air quality is also a common problem in places that experience smog, traffic fumes, and dust storms.

Whether you live in a house or apartment, here are some ways to improve the quality of the air inside despite what’s going on outside.

Keep The Windows Closed
This can be difficult to do as the temperatures go up, but keeping the windows closed is one of the best ones to avoid exposure to outdoor air. Most modern constructions are sealed well enough to let very little outdoor air inside, and even older builds will offer good protection.

Avoid Cooking And Cleaning
Try not to add more heat and particulates to the air in your space. Cooking and cleaning introduce humidity and VOCs, and when you can’t open the windows it can be difficult to ventilate properly during these activities. Go with takeout or delivery meals if those are options in your area, or try a recipe that doesn’t require an oven.

Use An Air Purifier
If you live in an area with recurring poor air quality, consider an Aprilaire whole-home purifier that actively filters the air in your home throughout the year. For occasional poor air quality, you can try out an Aprilaire portable air purifier that you can move to whatever area of your home you’re spending time in.

Reducing Stress When Stuck Inside

Poor air quality often makes it unsafe to leave your home. Add to that the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and staying inside day after day can be a stressful experience.

Here are some tips for relieving stress and anxiety and improving your mental health at home:

Accept that your environment is more stressful than usual and that it’s alright to not feel at your best or most productive.

Set boundaries between your work, play, and home activities. When all the areas are mixed into one, it can be difficult to ever truly “turn off” or concentrate on what’s in front of you.

If you’re in a stretch of poor air quality, take it easy until it’s safe to resume exercise and other outdoor activities. Here’s a chart showing the impact of exercising in wildfire smoke. Have a list of things you can do to pass the time safely indoors like reading, playing a game, or listening to music.

Create a routine that you can comfortably accomplish each day. This can involve wakeup time, meals, exercise (if it can be safely done), and reading or watching a favorite show.

Reach out to others for mutual support. It’s likely that your friends and family are feeling some of the same anxieties, and knowing that you’re not alone can help center your mindset.

experiments

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

Family Learning: Child Friendly Experiments For Staying Healthy

2 minute read

There has never been a more critical time to teach children the importance of keeping their germs to themselves. But more than simply telling children they need to wash their hands and wear a mask, you can have a real impact by showing them in enjoyable experiments what germs are and how they spread.

Staying Healthy Experiments For Kids

Glitter, Glitter, Everywhere

In this experiment, glitter is used to represent our germs and how they spread from one thing to another throughout our day if we don’t wash our hands.

Most parents already know that glitter is difficult to get off, which reinforces the importance of washing hands for at least 20 seconds to thoroughly remove harmful germs.

Make A Wish

Typically you want to blow out all the candles on your birthday cake or it means your wish won’t come true. But with this experiment, the more candles left burning, the better!

Everyone’s favorite science guy, Bill Nye, showed how this experiment works in a short video. By trying to blow out the candles through various types of materials, kids can see how some are more effective than others. And it serves as a reminder that masks are an important part of reducing the spread of germs when we cough, sneeze, spit or breathe too close to someone else.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

It can be a hard concept for young children to understand: There are things in the air that we can’t see that can make us sneeze, cause food to go bad, or make us very sick.

With a few simple household items in this experiment, you can help shed some light on the mystery and reinforce the lessons you’re trying to teach kids about staying healthy. This particular experiment focuses on air quality, which is important to keep in mind at home, in school, and wherever kids venture off to.

Goals For Kids

All these experiments share common learning objectives.

The goals are for kids to:

  • Understand what germs are
  • Know that germs are everywhere (the air, our hands, surfaces we touch), but are too small to see with our eyes
  • Understand that everyone has germs and some germs make people sick
  • Understand that washing hands, wearing masks, and keeping our hands out of our mouths, eyes, and noses will help reduce the spread of germs

 

 

AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experiencing the Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

Before the Fight For Air Climb

Entering the US Bank Center for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb was a rush of energy.

This seemed less like an arduous trek up 1,000 stairs and more of an indoor festival. There were volunteers ready to greet you and pump you up for the ensuing climb and people from different companies sitting at tables ready to hand out souvenirs.

They were probably also there to distract you after you just got done instinctively looking up toward the top of the 47-story US Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee becoming a little uneasy at the prospect of your journey upward.

Before you made your climb, you gathered as a team and took several escalators down to the basement level before getting warmed up with a quick aerobic routine. Then you took a long and winding tunnel where you greeted by more volunteers who were cheering you on. It was hard not to feel inspired and excited.

During the Fight For Air Climb

One-by-one people took off up toward the top of the US Bank Center to begin their Fight For Air Climb. I, like most, started off confidently and quickly. I took the first six flights easily, but then by flight eight, I began to fight for air. I now understand why they title this climb just that. My mind and my body were at odds. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to continue at the same pace to get it over with as quickly as possible or to slow down and feel better. I went with the former.

Everyone in the stairwell was trudging onward with the same dilemma. We all were gasping for air as we kept pushing up each step and each flight toward the top of the Fight For Air Climb. At several points, I wondered if I was actually making any progress.

Every 10 flights there was a group of volunteers handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. Both were sorely needed to help push me along.

With each passing flight, I kept a tally of how many flights I had left. Twenty flights down, 27 more flights to go; 30 flights down, 17 flights to go; Ok, 40 flights down, 7 to go. By the time I got to the 40th floor, I knew I could make the last push to make it to the top of my Fight For Air Climb journey.

After the Fight For Air Climb

Eventually, I reached the top after 9 minutes and 31 seconds. At the top of the stairwell, I was met by volunteers who were cheering me on and by other climbers who were also catching their breath and taking in the picturesque views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan afforded to us by the tallest building in Wisconsin.

As I grabbed a water and walked around soaking in both the views of the city and my accomplishment, it was really cool to watch teams taking pictures together or greeting other climbers with high-fives and smiles. There was a certain camaraderie found in a common struggle.

Despite the lingering soreness, I cannot wait for next year’s climb. No matter if I beat my time from this year or not, it’s about fighting for air together and helping those impacted with lung disease.

To join an upcoming climb in a city near you, visit www.lung.org/aprilaire.

Healthy Air | News |

Aprilaire Partner Contractor Joins Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

“What can you do or say when your family is suffering such losses? It’s devastating,” said Christopher Ciongoli, HVAC salesman/estimator with Aprilaire partner Whalen & Ives.

Chris is participating in the NYC American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb on April 4, 2020. When he heard that Aprilaire was the national Healthy Air sponsor of the event he signed on to the Aprilaire team.

“An opportunity to make difference just appeared to me on Jan 10th in an email from Aprilaire informing me about the Fight for Air Climb. This was it. This is how I would help make a difference and support my wife as well as so many others that are impacted by lung disease”.

Lung disease became an all too familiar fixture in Chris’s life last year when his brother-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in-law all died from lung disease.

As of February 7, he’s raised 90 percent of his fundraising goal. Not only is Chris excited to help raise funds and awareness, he told us he’s already reaping the benefits of training for the 849-step climb.

“My blood pressure has dropped, my pants are getting loose, and my dog Crosby is getting back in shape too!”

Every morning he goes out with dog Crosby and strengthens his legs and increases his stamina to make sure he can make it to the 44th floor of the 1290 Avenue of Americas building in New York City.

Read more of Chris’s incredible journey by going to his page. Thank you for your efforts, Chris and we cannot wait to hear more.

For more information about the Fight For Air Climb and to find an event in your area, go to https://www.lung.org/aprilaire. To learn how to train for your own climb, head to our page where we share training tips to help you prepare for your own Fight For Air Climb.

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
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