healthy-home-gym-exercising-in-healthy-indoor-air

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Healthy Home Gym: Healthy Air Exercise Tips

3 minute read

We all know the importance of exercise when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Our bodies need physical activity. Not just in the summer when the sun is shining, but all year round, even in the cold of winter. You’ll need to have the right workout, but also the right at-home gym equipment.

When the temperatures drop to freezing, it’s time to bring your workout indoors.

But before you go and sign up for a membership to the nearest gym, keep this in mind: a study published in the journal Building and Environment reported that excessive levels of pollutants (carbon dioxide, particulate matter, and gases like formaldehyde), airborne chemicals, and harmful surface bacteria can be found at many fitness centers.

This study isn’t implying that you should skip your workout, just that you should take some precautions to ensure the best air quality possible to get the most out of your physical activity. Here are some things you can try:

● Ask your gym about their ventilation and how much of their air is recycled
● Avoid cardio at the gym because heavy breathing will result in inhaling other people’s exhaled air
● Talk to your gym about using natural cleaning products to avoid the endocrine disruptors found in toxic cleaners
● Hold your gym to high standards and come to terms with the fact that fitness centers aren’t always the best option when it comes to getting in your workout

 At Home Gym Equipment for Healthy Air

But you don’t have to let the cold or air quality at the local gym keep you from getting in your daily exercise. A home gym is a great option, not only for the comfort and convenience factor, but also because you can control the Indoor Air Quality yourself.

A dehumidifier is a must for any room designated for working out. With the humidity added from your breathing and sweating, the risk for mold growth increases and the room can get hotter and hotter. A single room or whole-home dehumidifier can relieve some of the workload from your air conditioner.

An air purifier is also necessary because during a workout, you’ll breathe in more of whatever contaminants or impurities are in the air around you. Not only can it clean the air in your home gym but it can tackle odors, too.

Home Workout Ideas for the Whole Family

Being active indoors can sometimes feel like a chore, especially for kids. (The same kids who could run around for hours outside without getting tired.) The key to making sure they burn off that same amount of energy when they’re stuck inside is finding fun indoor exercises.

Here are some lists of exercise games and indoor activities to keep your family active and off the couch. Plus, some indoor exercises with little to no at home gym equipment:

Jumping Rope: Jumping rope for ten minutes straight is equivalent to thirty minutes of running.
Planking: Start off by holding a plank for as long as you can, and try to add a few more seconds each day until you reach your goal.
Cleaning: Two birds, one stone. Make “power cleaning” a family activity and you’ll end up with some calories burned and a cleaner house.
● Lunges: Lunge from one room to the next or up and down a hallway in your house for a great lower body burn. Adding weights or water bottles can add some difficulty once you’ve become a seasoned lunger.
Check YouTube: You can find a workout for any ability level, any duration, any target area you can dream of online. Once you find one you like, add it to a playlist so you can revisit it the next time you’re stuck inside.

At-home gym equipment to start with:

● Adjustable dumbbells
● Yoga mat
● Resistance bands
● Weighted jump rope
● Soft medicine ball
● Adjustable kettlebell
● Foam roller

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
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holiday-gift-ideas-for-health-air

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Holiday Gift Ideas: Healthy Air Gift Guide

3 minute read

Health-conscious gifts have become increasingly popular for the holiday season, from gym memberships to juicers. But if you want something that can really change someone’s home and life for the better, start with the gift of Healthy Air.

The air you breathe inside your home could be the most polluted air you breathe all day. In fact, the EPA has named indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. Air that is excessively polluted, stagnant, humid, dry, too hot or too cold, can cause problems including:
Discomfort
High Energy Bills
Damage to your home and belongings
Health Problems

With the amount of time spent indoors, it’s no wonder so many people suffer from allergies, asthma, and other illnesses. So whether you’re gifting to someone with a health problem or just a self-proclaimed health junkie, they’ll see the benefits from improved indoor air.

Here is your Healthy Air gift guide, with gifts that keep on giving:

Air Purifiers

Air purifiers reduce airborne pollutants, allergens, microbes, odors, and more. Installed as part of your home’s heating and cooling system, they put you in complete control of indoor air pollution.

When your HVAC system fan is on, it delivers cleaner, healthier air not just in one room, but throughout your entire home. An air purifier can give the gift of clean air every single day.

Houseplants

Plants can act as natural air purifiers by balancing out the chemicals, humidity, and even mold spores in your air. Known for their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen, indoor plants are an excellent and beautiful way to remove harmful chemicals from your loved one’s home.

Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

Humidity plays a major role in the health, comfort, protection, and energy efficiency of your home. Depending on the region, time of year, and activities of the family, most homes need control over both dry air and excess humidity. Aprilaire puts indoor humidity control in your hands with whole-home humidification and dehumidification solutions.

Beeswax Candles

Candles tend to be an easy go-to when it comes to holiday gift giving, but beware of the fact that scented candles are extremely hazardous to Indoor Air Quality and release all kinds of dangerous chemicals, like benzene, when burned.

Alternatively, beeswax candles, are chemical-free and burn with almost no smoke or scent, actually helping clean the air by releasing negative ions that can bind with and remove toxins from the air.

HVAC Filters

Proper air filters help reduce: dust and dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, gases, chemicals, smoke, and miscellaneous air particles. They are fairly inexpensive and can help prevent the spread of airborne pollutants when changed regularly.

Air Quality Tests

Pinpointing sources of pollution in the home is the first step in improving indoor air quality. Check out these at-home tests that can give homeowners peace of mind in their environment.

Posture Help

You can’t get all the benefits of Healthy Air if you’re not breathing properly. Poor posture is a major source of tight chest muscles, which can lead to more rapid, shallow breaths. This can be found in people who sit for long stretches of the day.

So for the office workers in your life, lend them a hand with tools like the “Upright GO”, which vibrates to gently remind the user to sit up straight. This position is more conducive to deep belly breathing and higher efficiency.

Improved Kitchen Ventilation

Cooking at home is a great way to eat healthier and save money. It’s becoming easier than ever with the availability of endless recipe ideas and fresh ingredients year-round.

If you have a friend who loves to fire up the kitchen every night, they may not consider the impact it’s having on their indoor air environment. Indoor cooking (especially heating oil, fat and other food ingredients at high temperatures), can release harmful VOCs into the air that aren’t always easy to quickly clear out.

Old exhaust hoods are often to blame, as they become less efficient when their filters get clogged and their fans wear out. Check out some of the best kitchen exhaust hoods, and help your favorite home chef breathe easy.

Sources:
https://www.aprilaire.com/benefits/health/what-is-indoor-air-quality

https://www.hgtv.com/remodel/interior-remodel/10-best-plants-for-cleaning-indoor-air-pictures

https://wellnessmama.com/4629/clean-indoor-air/

https://www.healthline.com/health/breathe-deeper-improve-health-and-posture#breathingrate

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
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Things-to-know-about-fall-allergies

Healthy Clean Air |

4 Things You Might Not Know About Fall Allergies

2 minute read

Fall allergies don’t get the same headlines as those in spring and summer, but this time of year can be especially bad for those who are allergic to mold and ragweed pollen.

Mild temperatures mixed with rain mean plant and pollen growth. And then when trees lose their leaves, all of that stagnant organic matter can easily produce mold.

Symptoms can include any or all of the following:

● Itchy, puffy, and red eyes
● Runny nose
● Sneezing
● Itchy skin
● Hives
● Trouble breathing
● Asthma attacks
● Fatigue

Triggers

The seasonal elements of fall aren’t the only triggers that can make these allergy symptoms worse. Here are a few lesser known triggers to be aware of this time of year according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology:

Hay Fever: Having nothing to do with hay, hay fever (or allergic rhinitis), is actually a general term for late summer allergies. Ragweed is the most common cause and will start to pollinate mid-August, peaking around Labor Day. During this time, the plant will send billions of pollen grains into the air that will travel up to hundreds of miles thanks to the wind. Ragweed often stays around until the first hard freeze of winter, but you can minimize your exposure by doing your exercising and yard work in the morning hours when fall rolls around.

Indian Summer: While unseasonably warm temperatures are usually celebrated, allergy sufferers are not members of the welcome committee. That’s because lingering warm weather can actually prolong allergic rhinitis symptoms due to the extra pollen in the air. Allergy sufferers should check the five day allergy forecast for their area, available at pollen.com.

Raking Leaves: It was long believed that raking was a necessity in the fall because all those leaves on the ground would kill the grass. But raking can agitate pollen and mold into the air, making allergy and asthma symptoms worse. Thankfully for allergy sufferers and all homeowners, the new recommendation is to STOP RAKING and start mulching. Fallen leaves provide good, organic matter to the soil.

Back to School Allergens: The start of a new school year can be filled with a lot of anxiety for kids who suffer from allergies and asthma. Dust mites, mold, pet dander, and even chalk dust (if anyone still uses a chalkboard these days), can all be triggers for kids. Even gym class and recess can be huge triggers for kids with exercise induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) allergy symptoms. It’s important to communicate with your child’s teacher and other school staff about your child’s condition and treatment plan so everyone can do their best to keep your their symptoms at bay. Parents can also sign up for regular pollen count emails through the National Allergy Bureau so they can keep on top of their child’s allergy medication.

If you think you or your child are suffering from allergies or asthma, it is important to see a board-certified allergist to be properly diagnosed. An allergist will be able to help treat or even prevent your allergy problems.

Sources:
https://acaai.org/news/four-things-you-might-not-know-about-fall-allergies

https://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/skip-rake-and-leave-leaves-healthier-greener-yard.html

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/how-weather-affects-allergies#1

https://www.mercy.net/newsroom/2018-08-16/fall-allergy-season-starts-now/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/10/07/stop-raking-your-leaves/

https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/asthma-library/back-to-school-with-allergies-and-asthma

https://acaai.org/allergies/allergy-treatment/when-see-allergist

Let’s Clear the Air
Clean air is Healthy Air, pure and simple.

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how-to-make-a-gratitude-jar-to-help-develop-gratitude-in-children

Archive |

How To Make A Gratitude Jar – Valuable Lessons For Kids

2 minute read

Crafts for Kids on Thanksgiving: Gratitude Jar

Gratitude

As a parent, you make it a priority to teach your children so many important things. Sometimes it’s hard to teach something like gratitude. Use this craft for kids on Thanksgiving to help kids understand the importance of demonstrating gratitude throughout the year.

Learning the ABCs, tying their own shoes, taking those training wheels off their bike–these are skills almost all of us learned growing up and they quickly became second nature.

Those life lessons take lots of consistent practice, and the same is true for other crucial skills like gratitude.

Because an attitude of gratitude doesn’t come naturally, it needs to be actively demonstrated in the home. Research shows a strong association between practicing gratitude and overall wellness for both physical and mental health.

Here are some ways you can model gratitude for your children:

Use manners – Create a habit of saying “please” and “thank you”
Be helpful – Get an elderly neighbor’s mail, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or donate to someone less fortunate
Recognize remarkable moments – Don’t let the beauty and joys of life go unnoticed. Take time to appreciate and make mention of things like a beautiful day or a delicious meal
Share positive affirmations – Tell others what you appreciate about them and encourage your children to give compliments as well
Model optimism – Always look for something positive in every situation
Give – Giving gifts to others allows children to witness gratitude in someone else and develops empathy
Write thank yous/letters – Writing a note to thank someone is a powerful tool to help children express what/who they’re thankful for

To kickstart a spirit of thankfulness in your home make a gratitude jar.

This is a great craft for kids on Thanksgiving.

Crafts for Kids on Thanksgiving: How To Make A Gratitude Jar

1. Find a large jar or container
2. Let your kids decorate it for fall with painted leaves or pumpkin stickers (helping them change the decorations for each new month can be a great way to keep them excited about the jar)
3. Place the jar in a prominent spot in your home as a constant reminder to be thankful
4. Take a moment during dinner or before bed for the whole family to share something they are thankful for. Write it on a slip of paper and add it to the jar (a consistent time everyday helps establish a routine)
5. Encourage your kids to add to it whenever they are feeling grateful, there’s no need to limit gratitude to one thing per day
6. At the end of the month, read through all the gratitudes as a family to reflect on the incredible things you have to be thankful for

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Building-Your-Own-Little-Free-Library

Family |

Family Activities: Building Your Own Little Free Library

2 minute read

Award-winning children’s author, Emilie Buchwald once said “children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” This is demonstrated in the story of Todd Bol from Hudson, Wisconsin. He started a ‘take-a-book, leave-a-book’ system in his front yard as a tribute to his late mother, a teacher with a passion for books. Since it got its start in 2009, the Little Free Library has become the world’s largest book sharing movement.

Todd learned a love of reading from his mother and with nearly 80,000 libraries in over 80 countries, Little Free Library is “inspiring a love of reading, building community, and sparking creativity” around the world.

You can join the mission of Little Free Library (LFL) by building one of your own. It’s a great family activity for fall, and gives you a chance to accomplish a fun task with your kids while reinforcing the importance of reading and literacy. Follow these easy steps recommended by the group’s organizers:

Choose a Location and Name a Steward

Your first step will be to decide where to place it. Choose a safe and legal location with a lot of foot traffic. LFL shares some great advice in this video on how to site and install your Little Free Library. Choosing your steward or caretaker is also important to make sure your library stays clean and running smoothly for years to come.

Build or Buy Your Library

There aren’t any rules when it comes to the design of your Little Free Library other than that it needs to hold books. You can get as creative as you want when you build your own. Handmade ready-to-assemble kits or pre-built libraries are also available from the Little Free Library shop.

Register Your Library

To become an official Little Free Library, you need to register your site. Registering gets you an official charter sign engraved with a unique charter number. You also gain access to a network of support and benefits.
Libraries purchased through the LFL shop are automatically registered and include a charter sign.

Share your Library

To get the word out about your library and gain the support of your neighbors, LFL suggests sending out a press release and utilizing social media. You can also host a grand opening ceremony with a ribbon cutting to introduce your library to its new community. They even offer some promotional materials for stewards to help with marketing.

Add your Library to the World Map

The Library Search Tool quite literally puts your Little Free Library on the map so it can be enjoyed by all.

 

Sources:
https://littlefreelibrary.org/build/

https://livability.com/topics/community/6-tips-to-start-a-little-free-library-in-your-neighborhood

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-set-up-a-little-free-library-in-your-neighborhoo-1822462183

https://ptaourchildren.org/the-importance-of-family-reading/#targetText=Creating%20a%20daily%20family%20reading,a%20boost%20over%20their%20peers.&targetText=Time%20spent%20reading%20together%20as,leads%20to%20more%20effective%20reading.

Humidity-versus-Essential-Oil-Diffusers

Healthy Air | Wellness |

Ask Nurse Kate: Fact or Fiction: Essential Oil Diffusers

2 minute read

Essential oil diffusers have become synonymous with wellness as a trendy new way to improve air quality. From our perspective, while it’s great that there’s an emphasis is being placed on Healthy Air, essential oil diffusers could be doing more harm than good.

In fact, there may be a safer and more efficient way to fight back against dry air in favor of Healthy Air instead: the humble humidifier.

We asked our resident health expert, Nurse Kate, to answer your questions on essential oil diffusers and their effects on our bodies.

Question #1: Do essential oil diffusers actually improve air quality?

There is no proven evidence that essential oil diffusers improve Indoor Air Quality. Try dusting and vacuuming on a regular basis. Consider adding an Indoor Air Quality system that is proven to work, such as an air filtration system, a humidifier, or a dehumidifier. That way you can rest easy knowing you and your family are breathing the healthiest air possible.

Question #2: Are there any risks or side effects when using an essential oil diffuser? If so, what?

Essential oils have some proven benefits such as relief from pain, nausea, and stress. However, with those benefits come the potential for certain side effects such as chemical burns, allergic reactions, and respiratory issues, particularly when essential oils are used incorrectly.

Question #3: What about kids? Could essential oil diffusers be beneficial to children?

Most pediatric healthcare providers do not recommend using essential oil diffusers around children due to the potential for side effects, particularly in young babies. If you’re considering using essential oils to address a health or behavioral issue, be sure discuss your concerns with your child’s healthcare provider first. That way you can be sure you’re caring for your child’s needs in the safest way possible.

Question #4: Are essential oils monitored or regulated? Why do so many people believe in them if they’re not proven?

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that essential oils are effective. However, there is very little research to back the efficacy of essential oils at this time. The quality of essential oils is not regulated or monitored by any governing agencies, so there is no way to tell if the contents of the oil match what the label says.

* * *

Given the possible side effects, lack of regulation, and adverse effects on kids that essential oil diffusers present, simply adding humidity is the safer and more effective alternative to beating dry air. Take the first step toward breathing Healthy Air in your home by installing an Aprilaire whole-home humidifier.

Disclaimer
The information contained on the Aprilaire website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. All information is for informational and educational purposes only and any use thereof is solely at your own risk.

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Fireplace safety tips

Healthy Air |

8 Fireplace Safety Tips

3 minute read

The allure of cozying up by a crackling fireplace on a cold winter’s day is hard to resist. Unfortunately, along with that toasty warmth and relaxing glow, fireplaces—as well as wood and gas stoves—release dangerous pollutants into the air that can greatly affect the Indoor Air Quality in your home. Read our fireplace safety tips so you can cozy up by a fire on a cold’s winter day without any worries and be sure you’re taking the necessary precautions to protect your Indoor Air Quality.

Fireplace Safety Tips

Choose the Proper Fuel

Use smaller, dry pieces of wood to ensure a hotter and cleaner burning fire with less smoke. NEVER burn wet, treated, or painted wood.

Before Making a Fire

Open the glass doors, pull aside the screen curtains and place the kindling and wood inside. Then open the damper and a window to prevent a smoky room. (This may vary based on the construction of your fireplace.)

While Fire is Burning

Cool the chimney by keeping the glass doors open, but keep the screen closed to prevent sparks from jumping out. But make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything flammable.

Child Safety

Never leave a fire unattended when children are in the house. Install a safety screen to minimize any chances of burns if you have small children. Communicate the dangers of fires and heat as early as possible to your children.

Important Precautions

Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, testing them monthly and changing the batteries at least once a year. Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand and be sure it is easily accessible.

Cleaning

The firebox should be cleaned out at least once per week. During the cleaning, close the damper to prevent cold air in the flue from stirring up dust. Wear a dust mask and open a window to prevent negative air pressure. The firebox should be kept completely clean when the fireplace is not in use.

Burning

Coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so wait at least that long before removing any ashes. Levels of ash should be kept to one inch to act as insulation and allow the coals to heat faster and retain heat easier.

Routine Maintenance

Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney at least once a year. Checking your chimney for animal nests or blockages is important, even if it isn’t due for a cleaning, to ensure the smoke can escape properly. It’s essential to clean and inspect your fireplace and venting system to protect your air quality.

Use an Air Purifier

Even properly-kept fireplaces can release harmful emissions into your home. Aprilaire air purifiers can filter and remove damaging particles released from fireplaces to help your family breathe easy all winter long.

Indoor pollutants:

● Carbon Monoxide (CO): A colorless and odorless gas, CO interferes with the bodies ability to utilize oxygen. Minor exposure can lead to fatigue, dizziness, weakness, headaches, confusion, and nausea which can progress to loss of consciousness and death if CO levels rise. To ensure the safety of you and your family, installing and maintaining carbon monoxide detectors and oxygen-depletion sensors is necessary.

● Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2): NO2 is one of the leading outdoor air pollutants, but can also form indoors when wood or natural gas are burned. It can cause a number of harmful effects on the lungs, including reduced lung function, worsened coughing and wheezing, increased inflammation of the airways, and increased asthma attacks.

Particles: Particulates released during the burning of wood or gas can cause significant damage to the lungs. Difficulty breathing and/or aggravated existing conditions can result as well as particularly asthma, bronchitis, and wood smoke allergies. A number of fireplace pollutants have been linked to cancer.

Sources:

https://www.aireserv.com/about/blog/2017/january/how-does-your-fireplace-affect-indoor-air-qualit/

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/wood-smoke

https://www.beyerboys.com/wood-burning-affect-indoor-air-quality/

How to Clean a Fireplace: 5 Hacks for a Safe and Warm Winter by the Fire

7 Safety Tips When Using Your Fireplace in the Winter

https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/how-to-get-your-fireplace-ready-for-winter-48090#chimney-inspections

It’s Time to Care About Healthy Air
Breathe a sigh of relief.

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