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Health

  • Articles, Health, Lifestyle

    The Stay at Home Guide to Becoming Fit During Summer

    stay at home workout

    Summer is a time for people to be outside swimming or playing sports, but not everyone likes these activities. Some people like to stay indoors with the air conditioning. They can’t be bothered to go outside. They like the indoors where they can watch Youtube videos or Netflix. Maybe they read. Either way, working out isn’t a priority. They don’t want to do it. They just want to laze around and relax, or maybe they don’t think they have time. There are easy things to do to stay in shape and continue whatever they want to do instead.

    If working out isn’t your thing then start off small and add the amount you’re comfortable with as you go.

    • The Workout
      • 10 Lunges on each leg
      • 10 Squats
      • 15 Push-ups
      • 15 Crunches
      • 10 Leg Raises
      • 1 minute Plank
      • 15 minutes Jog in place

    Working out can be daunting as a beginner, here are some ways to not get discouraged when starting a new workout

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Health, Mental Health, Tips

    Why is a Positive Attitude so Important?

    positive attitude

    I’m not going to lie; there have been moments in my life where I’ve been a negative person. From being convinced that I could never get my driver’s license because of my terrible parking ability to complaining about my confusing math proof assignments, I have had my fair share of frustrating experiences that I’ve let myself get far too carried away with.

    Through all these experiences, however, I have learned that negativity has never led to positive outcomes.

    Having a negative attitude has prevented me from being able to face my challenges head-on. It’s also caused others around me, like my parents, to not be as supportive because they do not appreciate the way I am choosing to handle my problems. Positivity is key to accomplishing anything good in life. Therefore, it is very important to always try to stay positive- even in times when things aren’t looking so great. Here are eight reasons why a positive attitude is so important:

    1. Energetic, Active Mind: It is a fact that people who maintain a positive attitude are more curious and aware of the world around them. These individuals can see past themselves and gain a better understanding of the way life around them operates. Therefore, they are able to be better thinkers and are more creative.
    2. Ability to Develop Meaningful Relationships: People like being around positive people. Individuals who radiate positivity are able to make themselves and others feel good about them. I always love when my friends are positive about both themselves and about others. It lets me know that they are confident and proud of who they are, and are able to appreciate others. It is a good balance, and I think this type of outlook is important for any good relationship.
    3. Better Mood: When an individual has positive thoughts, Cortisol levels decrease and the brain produces the neurotransmitter Serotonin. This helps boost mood by creating a feeling of well-being and safety. Having a good mood makes everything seems to go well. This motivates people to continue to work toward doing positive things.
    4. Better Health: People who have a positive attitude tend to have lower stress levels and other issues in their lives. They stay healthier and maintain a better sense of well-being because they see taking care of themselves and seeking out a good life that they are satisfied with as important.
    5. Better at Overcoming Obstacles: People with positive attitudes are able to view obstacles as regular parts of life that everyone goes through. A positive attitude allows individuals to overcome these difficulties in life and increases people’s ability to persevere. As the saying goes “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” True to that, having a positive attitude can help an individual face anything that comes their way with good spirit.
    6. Increased Productivity: When individuals have a positive attitude, they are able to set goals for themselves and work towards achieving them. Staying positive allows an individual to believe in themselves and their abilities, and work towards overcoming obstacles as they come. This reduces procrastination and leads to more productivity.
    7. People See You As Valuable: In today’s hyper-competitive, stressful world, nearly everyone appreciates positivity. When someone shows that they are able to stay positive in tough times, they will be considered valuable by potential employers. An employee with a positive attitude is a great asset because they can get along with others and be productive.
    8. Greater Satisfaction With Life: With positivity, people are able to appreciate themselves and the things around them better. Individuals with positive attitudes are able to take a greater amount of self-control over their lives, and they are able to live their lives the way they want. This would allow them to follow their dreams and achieve their definition of success. What is life if it’s not worth living?

    Sometimes, you need a little bit of a push to be more positive. That’s where “Perfect to Me” by Anne Marie comes in. Check out the song and instantly feel uplifted about yourself and the journey you’re going through.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Health

    My Experiences With Health Care as an 18-Year-Old

    health care

    When I turned eighteen, many of my friends asked me how it felt to officially be an adult. To be completely honest, it didn’t feel any different from being seventeen. I for sure didn’t look any different and wasn’t necessarily treated any differently by my parents, teachers, or peers. Life seemed to go normally without any major changes until I realized that I was due for a doctor’s visit.

    I was on medication, and my doctor wanted me to come back and see her after my treatment was complete to make sure things were going well. The appointment wasn’t scheduled, so I asked my parents to call the doctor’s office and schedule an appointment for me, as they had done all these years.

    Here came one of the first big changes in my life.

    The receptionist said that since I was eighteen, my parents couldn’t schedule appointments for me; I had to call the office myself. It felt weird to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment on my own. I realize that it was ultimately just a phone call, and I have spoken to people over the phone many times before, but it felt unsettling and nerve-wracking. Did I know the name of my health insurance provider? Did I know important information regarding my family’s medical history? The receptionist was nice, and the phone call went fine, and, yes, I did actually know the answers to the questions I was asked. After the call ended, I felt relieved. It felt good to know that I had a little more responsibility. I learned to successfully schedule my own appointments, and although it doesn’t seem like a really big deal in hindsight, it felt pretty good at the time!

    The second big change came at the actual appointment.

    When the nurse called me to go into the doctor’s office, my mom accompanied me as she usually does. However, unlike all the other times I had visited the doctor, I was asked if I wanted my mom to be in the room with me. I make medical decisions with my parents, so I definitely wanted my mom with me, but it was an interesting feeling to know that it was my choice if I wanted my mom with me or not.

    Finally, during the appointment, almost all the questions were directed at me, rather than at my mom. I was controlling my appointment, which was strange and different. Being a bit of an introvert around people I don’t know well, I was comfortable with my mom asking all the questions and doing most of the talking for me, but now, I am learning how to handle things on my own. I had to make eye contact with the doctor, answer her questions, and ask any follow-up questions I had. It wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be because of the open environment that my doctor created. I could tell that my mom had sensed the change too when she muttered, “You’re going to have to learn to do a lot on your own now…” when we left the office after the appointment that day.

    Sometimes doctor’s visits aren’t as helpful as they could be, especially if you don’t know what questions to ask (or if you even should ask questions), if you need to eat and drink before you go, etc. It’s a lot to remember! So this article should help you get the most out of your doctor’s visit.

    More changes to come

    Although I am still on my parents’ health insurance plan, a lot of responsibility regarding my health care will start falling on me. Already, I have learned to schedule my own appointments, check my health records on the patient portal online, and talk to doctors completely on my own. This isn’t stuff that is taught in school, but it is still important for real life. Many teenagers go off to college unsure of how to manage their own health care and use the resources available to them to take care of themselves. It’s crucial for them to acquire these skills early on so they can develop independence and personal freedom as new adults. I know I will have to get some orthodontic work done when I am in college, so I will have to be seeing an orthodontist every few months. This and a lot of other things are going to be new because I am going to school in a different state.

    I have realized that it is important for me to take control of things from early on. I hope I am able to do that next year and pave a good path for a smooth four years ahead in terms of managing my health care.

    Making your own doctor appointments is just one part of being an adult, here are some other tips that make the transition from young to young adult a little easier.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Health

    Avengers: Endgame and the Gauntlet We Face

    avengers

    It can Happen Anywhere

    Just last week in California, movie-goers may have been exposed to a woman with measles during an Avengers: Endgame showing. This disease has risen at alarming rates recently in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2019, the U.S. had 695 cases of measles in 22 states. These cases are directly linked to lower vaccination rates. People who choose not to vaccinate bring danger to public health and should be educated about the facts of immunization.

    California is trying to fix the vaccination problem in thier own state through legislation. 

    What is a Vaccine?

    Vaccines are a biological technique that prepares your immune system to fight a particular disease by first introducing it to a weakened or similar type of disease. In the past, several false science reports and myths have arisen concocted regarding vaccination. Scientists like Andrew Wakefield have published faulty works about the effects vaccines have, and some public figures have backed up these claims. These false reports mislead people about the truth of vaccines and cause confusion. According to Jane Parry of the World Health Organization, “vaccine anxieties continue to periodically impede this highly effective public health measure. In certain industrialized countries, most notably the USA, public concern has shifted its focus from the diseases vaccination can prevent, to the risks of the vaccines themselves. The Internet has become a significant channel for anti-vaccination views.”

    Many parents have bought into these lies, and have stopped vaccinating themselves and their children. According to The Washington Post, “The percentage of young American children who did not receive vaccinations has nearly quadrupled since 2001” (Sun). These anti-vaxxers believe the faulty reports, which leads to harmful effects. The unvaccinated people pose a great health danger to themselves and their community. The CDC states that 2019 has “the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000”. If you are unvaccinated, you have a double risk of getting the virus or spreading it to others.

    In order to solve this problem, we must first try to analyze the anti-vaxxers’ perspective.

    When we know their perspective, they will be more open to education. They do have some warranted fear against vaccines because immunization is not perfect-but nothing can be. There have been mistakes and problems made before, but the benefits of this medical technique overwhelmingly outweigh the risk. Your likelihood of immunity from the certain disease is remarkably raised, and this is supported by science. According to the World Health Organization, “More than 2.5 million deaths a year are prevented in all age groups owing to vaccination against four diseases– diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTP) and measles” (Parry).

    To stop the anti-vax movement, it is necessary that we teach them about the importance and safety of vaccines, as well as debunk harmful myths. To do this, we can teach courses in health classes, increase awareness, and make sure to check the validity and credibility of scientific claims and reports on vaccines.

    Although we are already receiving quite a bit of awareness at the moment, considering the number of measles cases that the U.S. has had recently. This includes that report last week about the first ever case of measles in Alabama, in an unvaccinated infant. So, everyone that is able to do so must vaccinate to ensure the safety of the general public. Immunization truly is one of science’s greatest advances. Protecting Herd Immunity protects the health of everyone in the “herd”.

    How We Can Protect the Herd

    While some argue that vaccines cause other diseases, like autism, the sources of these “issues” have already been proven wrong. Andrew Wakefield’s work on the supposed effects of vaccines are unreliable, along with other reports of vaccines causing diseases. There may be a few valid reasons why one could not take vaccines. But for those that can, must.

    The main root of the problem of the anti-vax movement comes from miscommunication, false reports, and lack of education. To solve this problem, we must look through their perspective, prove those claims wrong, and educate anti-vaxxers about the facts of vaccines. It’s true that the idea of injecting a dead virus into your blood system may seem daunting. But, you must remember and understand that this medical technique can save your life, along with the lives of those around you. Moral of the story: If you want to stay healthy when watching one of the greatest superhero movies of all time, make sure to educate and vaccinate yourself!

  • Articles, Food, GirlSpring.com, Health, Healthy Eating

    My Experience as a Lifelong Vegetarian

    Whenever people find out that I’m a vegetarian, I usually receive a series of similar questions and comments. These remarks can range from “Isn’t it so hard to survive? By the way, you’re totally missing out on bacon!” to “Wait, so you still eat fish, right? Gotta get that protein somehow!”

    I’ve been vegetarian forever

    I always love talking about my experience as a vegetarian because I have been one my entire life. A vegetarian, by definition, is someone who abstains from the consumption of meat. There are multiple forms of vegetarianism, and I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian (the most common type). This means that while I do not eat any type of meat, I do consume dairy and egg products. I, however, personally try to limit my consumption of eggs just to baked goods/other items that include them as an ingredient. I have found it easy to be vegetarian because I grew up as one, and I plan to practice vegetarianism for the rest of my life.

    My parents are from India, a country where a good portion of the population is vegetarian. My parents and extended family are vegetarian because of ideological reasons. So, it is only natural for me to be a vegetarian, too. Although I was born and brought up in the United States, I have grown up with South-Indian vegetarian delicacies prepared by my mother, such as bisibelebath, a lentil-based rice dish, and masala dosa, a rice pancake filled with a spiced vegetable filling. Being a vegetarian is easy since home-cooked meals are meat-free, and my family and I go out to restaurants with vegetarian options (other than salad). I feel that as a vegetarian, I’ve also been able to make healthy food choices very easily, and that makes me happy.

    Thinking about becoming vegetarian? Here is where to start!

    What comes with being vegetarian

    Being a vegetarian my whole life, I cannot imagine NOT being one. I didn’t really have much of a say in the decision to be one but I am glad that my parents brought me up this way. Over the years, I have learned about the several benefits of vegetarianism, ranging from health benefits to animal rights and protection. As a vegetarian, I always think about an animal’s feelings and the pain that was potentially imposed on it when I see meat. It’s my automatic mindset. It has to do with how I was raised and videos I’ve watched about animal cruelty in the meat industry. I don’t want to hurt animals, and I will have this in the back of my mind. If I am ever encouraged to try meat in the future, I will remain a vegetarian.

    Although vegetarianism can come with health benefits, vegetarians must always be particularly aware of their nutrient intake. I’ve always made sure to get an adequate amount of certain nutrients—especially vitamin B12, calcium, iron, zinc, and protein— which are often more easily found in animal meat/products. I take vitamins each day to ensure that I am getting sufficient vitamin intake, and my parents have always made sure to prepare meals that have a good amount of protein and are healthy.

    Being vegetarian on my own

    Going from my senior year of high school to my freshman year of college will be a huge transition because I will be on my own and will have to take greater responsibility for my health and well-being. I know I will have to be more watchful of what I eat and always make sure I am eating balanced meals that have enough of all the necessary nutrients. Additionally, I won’t be able to regularly eat my mom’s home-cooked vegetarian meals, so I will have to try new vegetarian foods and/or learn how to do some basic cooking on my own in the years to come.

    I have friends who have become vegan in college (although this probably is not going to be me — I love dairy products too much!) and others who have massively expanded on their cooking skills, making all sorts of vegetarian recipes. I am excited to see where my vegetarianism takes me in the next few years!

    Thinking about becoming vegetarian or even vegan? Look at our interview with two vegan athletes and get some more perspective!

  • Articles, Body Image, GirlSpring.com, Health

    Love the Skin You’re in

    Is there really such a thing as the “perfect body?” Even models and actresses who are deemed to be the pinnacle of beauty are judged and insulted on the covers of magazines, the Internet, and entertainment TV shows. Most of the pictures we see are airbrushed or photoshopped, anyways.

    We See the Infatuation with Our Bodies Everywhere… Since Before We Can Remember

    If even our idols are body-shamed, is there any hope for us “normal” people? If stars have to alter their bodies to feel comfortable in their own skin, how are we expected to?

    Allow me to let you in on a little secret: the perfect body doesn’t exist. It’s a myth. It’s a fabrication.

    Nowadays, Instagram models, fitness gurus and everyone in between strives to achieve body perfection with a small waist and big butt. But guess what? The nineties were all about big boobs, long legs, and thigh gaps. Before then, especially during the fifties, the “hourglass figure” was all the rage. Dating all the way back to the Renaissance, you exhibited your status and wealth through your weight; being well-fed was the ultimate test of beauty.

    Marilyn Monroe, one of the most well-known sex symbols, would be considered “fat” by today’s model standards. Let that sink in.

    Marilyn Monroe

    Need help keeping up a positive body image? Look at some ideas here!

    Just because We See what’s ‘Ideal’ doesn’t mean We Have to Be That

    Although society always seems to have its own opinion on beauty, none of it really matters. Loving yourself and embracing the body you’re in is the highest form of perfection.

    Some girls are always going to carry a little extra weight on their stomach, regardless of how much cardio or toning they do. Some girls will have cellulite and stretch marks their whole life, but others might devote their energy towards gaining weight, forever unable to do so. Girls with naturally bigger boobs might save all their money to receive a breast reduction, while others dream of buying implants their whole life.

    No matter the body type, every girl spends years and years trying to come to terms with how they look; some never reach clarity and acceptance. In this era of social media, body-shaming and comparison worsen the issue.

    It may take some time, but we all need to make more of an effort to embrace not only our bodies but everyone else’s as well, supporting other girls whenever we get the chance. There will be some difficult days, but we all need to accept the same mantra: every body is the perfect body.

    body positive

    Everyone’s journey to being healthy is different, check out one girl’s story here.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Health, Puberty, Sexual Health

    Periods Made a Little Easier with Clue

    clue app

    Being on your period is always an unpleasant experience with the physical and emotional pains that come with it. However, it becomes an even worse situation when you’re out somewhere and you start, but you didn’t plan ahead because you weren’t supposed to start at that time or you don’t have a set schedule for your cycle. I know that when I started it could be as short as 28 days to 40 days in-between cycles. Even if there are symptoms that signal your period is about to start, not everyone is the same, and they won’t experience them right when they begin having frequent cycles. That’s why to make things easier girls can get the app, Clue.  

    What is Clue?

    Clue is an app that helps women keep track of their monthly cycles. It collects data based on how often you start to how low you are on your period. There are even different tracking methods that help you not only understand what is happening with your body but to also get an idea of what is normal for your body. You could be someone who is very emotional during this time, or you could need extra sleep. Because periods usually only last 4-7 days, it can be hard to pay attention to how you’re feeling and live your life. This app helps you catalogue the information in just a few seconds, so when you have some downtime you can always go back and see what happened during that time.

    Give me the Data

    The Clue app has an easy set up. You download it, create an account, and put in your birthday, height, and weigh. These details can help Clue give you better research based on who you are. After that on the home page, you’ll see a circular arrow with a red circle in the middle. This is the page that helps keep track of everything. It shows how many days it has been since the last cycle started. This is the most beneficial part. I know that there have been days for me where I think I’m supposed to start at the beginning of the month, but I have no idea when. The day represented on the arrow just lets me know whether I’m close or not.

    Moving on to entering the data. The green circle with a white plus in the middle or the red circle with “Enter today’s data” are not hard to see because they are about the only pop of color. This part is what I really enjoy while using this app. There are so many little things to add:

    • Pain (cramps, headache, ovulation, or tender breasts)
    • How much you’re bleeding (light, medium, heavy or spotting)
    • Emotions (happy, sensitive, sad, or PMS)
    • How many hours you slept
    • How energized are you
    • Mentality (focused, distracted, calm, or stressed)
    • How motivated you are
    • Hair
    • Skin
    • Cravings (sweet, salty, carbs, or chocolate)

    Each of these can be added to your personal tracking options or taken away. It is all up to what you want to know. The section about the actually happenings of your period is gross to think about, but it helps to know how much bleeding you have to see when your period will be over. It also provides information that a doctor may need to know.

    Other really cool functions of the app

    Another function of Clue that I enjoy is the notifications. Every app has these, but Clue has set reminders to let you know when your cycle will begin, if you’re late, or if PMS is about to hit. This saves so much time. If I get notified that I’m late or about to start then I can make sure I have a pad or tampon with me. Most girls probably already have these any way, but sometimes after using one from the last cycle you forget about restocking because you’re just glad it’s over. That has been a problem for me in the past. Once that last day is over, being on my period is the last thing I want to think about.

    The final part of Clue that really makes it a good app is the Cycle Science section. When first starting your period, you may not know the ins and outs of it. You probably just think, “Hey, I’m bleeding. This is a thing now.” This section explains why all of the functions in Clue are important.  There are little articles with medical terminology, too. Some of this stuff you might not be taught, so having this here will help later when you’re older and go to the doctor. You’ll have the information you need to tell your doctor exactly what’s wrong if your period has something to do with it.

    If there is something to dislike about this app, it would be the “Plus” section. I have never found the need to pay for anything more because it is all provided right there in plain sight. There could be some extra analysis data I could be missing, but with everything that is already there, I don’t think you actually need anything more. This app is pretty straightforward so using it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Wanna download Clue and make period tracking a breeze? Get it on the App Store or Google Play. Or do you have more questions about periods and birth control and everything else that comes to sexual health? Check out our Need to Know page.