Outdoors | Health vox

Urban living: Add trees for health, happiness

Trees play a role in bolstering mental and physical health for city dwellers. (For Spectrum Health Beat) City dwellers who live on tree-lined streets might be happier and healthier for it, a large new study suggests.The study, of nearly 47,000 urban residents, found that those who lived in areas shaded by tree canopy reported less...

From tent to table

Think fun and healthy for your next outdoor adventure. (For Spectrum Health Beat) Camping trips brim with healthy fun.We hike, swim and paddle. We run until we’re breathless. We get close to nature, inhale fresh air and gaze at the stars. All those outdoor activities require fuel. And with a little planning, the camping menu can be...

En garde! The mosquitoes have arrived

Zika and West Nile, two of the more dangerous mosquito-borne viruses, cause distinct symptoms. You should know what to look for and when to seek medical care. (For Spectrum Health Beat) Summer is synonymous with mosquitoes—and that means possible exposure to the West Nile and Zika viruses.Both are spread mainly through mosquito bites. Most people won’t...

Fundamentals to sure footing: Strength, flexibility

Resistance bands are a simple, at-home method of building leg and ankle strength. (For Spectrum Health Beat) Guarding against falls isn’t just for the elderly. The inner ear’s ability to maintain balance can begin to decline as early as age 40, according to a study in Frontiers of Neurology.So the time to improve your balance is...

A growing group: Able-bodied Americans

If you’re struggling for a bit of elbow room at the gym these days, chalk it up to the growing interest in fitness. (For Spectrum Health Beat) The trend towards Americans getting off their couches and into gyms is hitting city and country folk alike, according to a new report.Overall, the percentage of all adults...

The best medicine? Fresh air

Public parks shouldn’t be seen as a frill—they are an inherent component of a community that values health and wellness. (For Spectrum Health Beat) Spending just a couple of hours a week enjoying nature may do your body and mind some good, a new study suggests.The study, of nearly 20,000 adults in England, found that...

A battle plan for the information age

It would be foolhardy to pursue a full-scale elimination of technology in modern society. More realistic: a written plan detailing the parameters that suit your entire family. (For Spectrum Health Beat) While kids get some benefit from using digital and social media, such as early learning and exposure to new ideas, too much of it...

Rise of the urban tick

Biologists have seen a jump in the number of ticks in city parks. (For Spectrum Health Beat) As deer populations have exploded across America, moving from forests to suburbs to urban parks, they have brought the threat of Lyme disease to millions of city dwellers, a new study finds.In fact, the deer tick that spreads...

The prudent pyre

A bonfire adds a warm, welcoming glow to any graduation party. Just make sure the atmosphere is calm, not raucous and reckless. (For Spectrum Health Beat) Bonfires are a popular way to celebrate big events among teens, but they’re at risk for serious burn injuries, an expert warns.“The only guaranteed way to prevent bonfire burn...

The kissing bug—cause for concern?

If you come across a suspected triatomine, the CDC recommends placing it in a container with alcohol and taking it to your local health department. It can be tested for Chagas disease. (For Spectrum Health Beat) It sounds like something out of a horror film: A blood-hungry insect feeds on its prey’s faces while they...

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