10 Fun Ways to Explore Nature and Get Exercise

10 Fun Ways to Explore Nature and Get Exercise

Two of the best ways to improve your physical and mental health are spending more time in nature and getting physical exercise. So why not do both at the same time?

With the right activities, you can explore nature in some new and exciting ways, getting in touch with your inner explorer and benefitting from your natural immersion. At the same time, you can get your heart rate up, work out your muscles, and improve your overall fitness.

How to Explore Nature and Exercise Simultaneously

These are some of the best nature-dependent activities you can use for exercise:

1. Paddle boarding. Paddle boarding doesn’t require a lot of existing strength, stamina, or skill – but it will require your focus and give you a thorough workout. You’ll be forced to balance your body and engage your arms as you propel yourself through the water, enjoying the scenery along the way. Plus, paddle boards are relatively inexpensive, so there aren’t any major barriers to entry for enjoying this activity.

2. Kayaking. Kayaking is similar to paddle boarding in the sense that you’ll be using your arms to move yourself through the water. The difference is that in a kayak, you’ll be using a double-bladed paddle, sitting in a low seat (rather than standing). Experienced kayakers like to tackle fast-moving rapids and rough waters, but you can start out somewhere calmer.

3. Swimming. Proponents of swimming declare it to be the best cardiovascular exercise because it requires you to use muscles throughout your entire body – and because it’s much easier on the joints than, say, running. You also have the option of practicing several different strokes. Either way, you’ll become intimately familiar with your local body of water.

4. Trail running. If you like the idea of exploring the woods and getting away from the noise of the city or the constraints of your local neighborhood, try trail running. You can have a stimulating adventure in the forest with a group or all by yourself – and get a great cardio workout at the same time.

5. Cycling. If running is hard on your joints, or if you want a smoother, faster experience, you could try cycling. If there’s a cycling trail in the parks near your city, you can take in the sights of all the natural scenery while feeling the cool wind on your face. It’s an exciting experience that’s hard to replicate – just remember to bring a spare tube in case you end up with a flat.

6. Hiking. Sometimes the simpler activities are better. They give you more time to truly enjoy the scenery, and because you don’t have to focus as heavily, you can relax a little more. Hiking can range from very easy to very difficult, depending on the terrain and the type of equipment you’re bringing. But no matter what, you’ll probably enjoy your experience.

7. Rock climbing. Rock climbing has seen a surge in popularity lately, even getting included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games for the first time in Olympic history. It’s a demanding sport, requiring you to muster all your upper body strength and find delicate points of contact to grip. But once you have some more experience and familiarity, you’ll find it to be a much more rewarding activity.

8. Beach volleyball. If you have a competitive streak, you might be more interested in sports and games than isolated exercise activities. That’s where beach volleyball shines. You can play one on one, in pairs, or in groups of people; in any case, you’ll be running, concentrating on the ball, and enjoying the local waters. Plus, the soft sand makes the sport easy on your joints – and if you happen to fall, it won’t be a big deal.

9. Circuit training. Depending on where you live, you may have access to a circuit training path; here, you can walk or run around a dedicated trail loop and take advantage of fixtures like pullup bars and balance beams to exercise your body in novel ways. If you don’t have access to a circuit training loop, you can make one of your own, doing pullups on strong branches, balancing on rocks, and so on.

10. Foraging. Though not as physically demanding as some of the other activities on this list, foraging is both rewarding and stimulating. Go look for edible mushrooms, berries, or leafy plants in your area – but be sure to verify their edibility with an expert before you attempt to eat them.

Exploring New Horizons

These are just some of the activities that can get your body moving while you enjoy everything that your local environment has to offer. Keep pushing the limits of your comfort zone and experimenting with new activities; you’ll experience more novelty in doing so, and you’ll get to work out in new and stimulating ways.

3 Reasons Supplements Aren’t The Answer To Good Health – And 3 Alternatives

3 Reasons Supplements Aren’t The Answer To Good Health – And 3 Alternatives

While this might come as a surprise given the size of the American supplement marketplace, dietary supplements are rarely necessary. In fact, in many cases they can be more dangerous than beneficial because supplements are subject to minimal oversight.

How can you tell if you need a particular supplement or not? Barring a doctor’s recommendation, the simplest thing to do is skip the supplements, but these other guidelines can help you untangle the options you’re faced with.

Basic Biology

One of the most important tools at your disposal, when trying to make sense of the supplement market, is a little basic science. For example, one of the most popular supplements on the market today are powdered collagen products – but what do these actually do?

The packages often say they’ll make your skin and hair look younger or healthier, but what they don’t mention is that collagen isn’t exactly in scarce supply. Found in almost every part of your body, you naturally produce collagen from amino acids in your diet. As long as you’re consuming a balanced diet, your body will make all the collagen it needs.

Benefits Versus Hazards

Another factor to consider when deciding whether you should be taking a supplement is by weighing the risks versus the benefits. In most cases, unless a doctor has explicitly recommended a supplement because of a nutritional deficiency – many people have a mild vitamin D deficiency, for example, and a significant percentage of young women are anemic due to iron deficiency – the risks are likely greater than the benefits. Such supplements are usually fine, and may even be available in prescription versions, meaning better oversight, but other supplements are another story.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from something like vitamin D, calcium, or iron supplements are things like pre-workout supplements, which are popular in the fitness community. These products are little more than expensive caffeine bombs, often packed with undisclosed and possibly dangerous fillers. When you know why you’re taking a supplement, you can evaluate whether there’s a better option – say, a cup of coffee – that can replace your supplement. You may even realize you don’t need another dietary add-on at all.

Deficiency Versus Desire

As noted above, there are certainly some common dietary deficiencies, like vitamin D or iron, and it certainly makes sense to take doctor-recommended supplements as needed. But, there are other popular single-vitamin supplements that are far less likely to be necessary to your overall health, like vitamin C.

We don’t naturally produce vitamin C, and it’s necessary for a variety of bodily functions, but it’s also very easy to get enough of it from natural sources. Additionally, when we get vitamins from whole foods instead of supplements, they tend to come with other nutrients that aid in their function and absorption. Since you’re unlikely to be deficient in vitamin C given dietary consumption, there’s no good reason to take it as a supplement, since you’re likely just paying for an excess of water soluble vitamins that your body will immediately excrete.

There are few hard and fast rules about supplement use, but in most cases, your best bet is to leave them on the shelves unless your doctor tells you otherwise. This is contrary to so much else we’ve internalized about better health through modern technology, and yet, in this case it’s the right way to go on your journey to better health.

All Grown Up: 4 Items Every Young Woman Should Own

All Grown Up: 4 Items Every Young Woman Should Own

We all come into our personal style at different ages, but whether you’re trying to hone your look in preparation for an internship or you’ve started moving up the ranks in your career, it’s always a good time to invest in fashionable but timeless pieces that will elevate your wardrobe.

Still, it’s easy to be intimidated by the options when picking out more “grown up” clothes, so it can help to know where to start.

These four pieces are particularly valuable and can help you build a strong foundation and express yourself through your clothing choices.

The Perfect Denim

Denim itself is timeless, but how we wear it is constantly changing. That’s why you want to be strategic when purchasing jeans or other denim pieces. For example, overalls are back in fashion right now, but they’ll likely land in the back of your closet again in a few months or a year.

Instead, opt for jeans in a moderate or dark shade and basic cut that you feel confident in. That way, you’ll get the most continuous wear out of them. Given how hard it is to find a great pair of jeans that fit correctly, you’ll be glad you weren’t too swayed by trends.

A Woman’s Wallet

How many cutesy wallets have you owned during your teen and young adult years? It’s perfectly normal to work your way through a number of these, purchased inexpensively at places like Claire’s, Hot Topic, or even TJMaxx.

Well, now it’s time to upgrade things a bit. Those old wallets were precious and stylized, sure, but they fell apart quickly – you got what you paid for. Now that you’re more mature, you’ll want a simple leather wallet you’ll be able to carry for years to come. It will show age, softening and creasing over time, but in terms of quality, you’ll feel the difference in your hands.

The Day-To-Night Dress

It can be hard to find a dress that’s appropriate for the office yet still elegant enough for a night on the town, but just because they can be difficult to find doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Keep it simple, in a solid color, and consider how the right accessories can shape the look.

Often, pairing a dress with the right blazer, sweater, or shoe is all that it takes to transition a piece between day and night.

Daily Wear Jewelry

Finally, the older you get, the fewer pieces of jewelry you’re likely to need. Instead, what you’ll want are a few simple, elegant pieces of jewelry you can pair with anything. It may be a few pairs of understated earrings – studs and small hoops, a nice watch, a ring or two, or a plain necklace. Statement pieces are all well and good, but for most women, they quickly start to feel more like clutter than necessary parts of your wardrobe.

When you look at the last few decades of fashion, one notable thing is that, while young people’s styles come and go quickly, adult looks tend to be much more stable. Though they may carry the mark of their times, in the cut of the blazer or jeans or other details of tailoring, the gold chain, the leather wallet, even the basic blazer itself, will never really go out of style.

8 Important Steps to Take If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

8 Important Steps to Take If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

The very idea of nursing home abuse is both scary and concerning. All over the country, there are nursing homes neglecting the elders they pledged to care for. Physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse, financial abuse, and even sexual abuse can put elders in a vulnerable and painful situation – and you may feel helpless to do anything about it.

If you suspect nursing home abuse in any form, there are some important steps you’ll need to take.

Types of Nursing Home Abuse

First, you should understand that there are many types of nursing home abuse, each with different effects:

  • Physical abuse. Physical abuse is the most commonly understood and most noticeable form of abuse. If you notice bruises, bleeding, or other unexplained signs of injury on your loved one, they may be suffering from direct physical abuse.
  • Emotional and psychological abuse. As many as 60 percent of all self-reported nursing home abuse cases included some form of verbal abuse or emotional harm. Abusive caretakers may insult, belittle, or manipulate their patients with words.
  • Sexual abuse. Nobody likes to think about sexual abuse, but it’s a frighteningly common plight in nursing homes. STDs, inappropriate contact with staff, and bruising or bleeding around genitals may be signs of this kind of abuse.
  • Financial abuse. Elders may also be abused financially, being the victims of theft or manipulation.
  • Neglect and abandonment. Even if no one is directly harming your loved one, they may be inflicting damage through neglect. If an elder isn’t getting the care they need, they may suffer from bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, and worsening medical symptoms.

What to Do If You Suspect Nursing Home Abuse

If you suspect nursing home abuse in any form, for any reason, there are several important steps you’ll need to take, including:

  1. Get your loved one to safety immediately. First, if you have reason to believe that your loved one is in imminent danger, or if they’re suffering from an advanced medical issue like malnutrition or dehydration, you need to get them to safety immediately. That might mean calling 911 for assistance or relocating them to a different nursing home. In any case, your loved one’s health and wellbeing should be your top priority.
  2. Start taking notes. If the signs of abuse are ambiguous or you’re not sure if you want to take further action, simply start taking notes. Write down what you see and what you hear, and describe your suspicions. Write down dates and times when relevant. The more information you have to work with, the easier it will be to build a case.
  3. Keep quiet (for now). After witnessing abuse or suspecting employees of wrongdoing, you may be tempted to talk directly to management or file a formal complaint. However, it may be better to remain quiet for now; if you alert staff members to your suspicions, they may be motivated to destroy evidence that could be used against them.
  4. Document any evidence you can. If your suspicions grow, or if you’re pursuing legal action, it’s important to start documenting any evidence you can. Take photos and videos of any signs of abuse you witness firsthand – and collect copies of relevant documentation.
  5. Talk to a lawyer. Next, talk to a lawyer who has experience with nursing home abuse. A lawyer will be able to help you understand your case, the context for what you’re experiencing, and the most important next steps to take. They’ll also be able to help you gather evidence, prepare a case against the nursing home responsible for the abuse, and help you through the trial (if it comes to that).
  6. Talk to administrators and care providers. If you’re not pursuing legal action, or if you want to take action as early as possible, talk to administrators and/or care providers about the abuse you suspect. Go straight to the top if you can; good administrators want to eradicate problems like these as a top priority. Sometimes, a simple policy change or a fired employee is all it takes for the abuse to end.
  7. File a formal complaint. If your complaint isn’t being heard or acted on, consider filing a formal complaint with an official Adult Protective Services agency in your state (or a similar authoritative body).
  8. Consider filing a lawsuit. In many cases, the best course of action is to file a lawsuit. You’ll not only recover damages, but also force the organization named in the lawsuit to either change or close forever.

Unfortunately, we can’t prevent all instances of nursing home abuse from unfolding. But if we notice any signs of potential abuse, we can take action to get our loved ones to safety and ensure no one else has to go through the same experience at that facility.

5 Jobs You Might Consider When Looking to Change Your Career

5 Jobs You Might Consider When Looking to Change Your Career

We’ve all been there before. We’re sitting at our job staring off into space, wondering what it would be like if we chose another career path. It’s not uncommon to consider switching it up.

Someone might consider changing their career if they’ve reached a stagnant point in their job, are not feeling fulfilled in their day-to-day work life, or want to work in a field that makes more money.

If you’re contemplating a career change, here are five high-paying jobs you could consider based upon your skills, qualifications, and experience.

Real Estate Agent

One of the easiest jobs to get into when making a career shift is within the real estate business. No degree is required to become a real estate agent, and you can make a lot of money if you enjoy and are good at sales.

Start by searching your state’s requirements. You’ll take a prelicensing course and then take the licensing exam. Just like that, you’ll be on your way to starting a new career.

Many times, agencies will pay for your licensing and provide training for you as well. No matter the state of the housing market, agencies are always looking to add on new employees because it’s primarily a commission-based salary. The best part is that your schedule is flexible. You decide how often and for how long you want to work. In 2020, the median income for a real estate agent who worked about 40 hours per week was around $68.000 per year.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

If you’re good with numbers, becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) may just be the job for you. Making a career shift to becoming a CPA is an incredibly lucrative job that could pay anywhere from $70,000 to $150,000 per year. There are online CPA courses available that work with your schedule and your budget.

Software Developer

For those with a background in math, design, or engineering who are changing careers, becoming a software developer is an option you’ll want to look at. More people are finding that to make the switch, all they need to do is take a refresher course on coding, as some things have changed since they last took a class.

Becoming a software developer, especially if you have some previous experience or knowledge, can start off paying anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 per year.

Anesthesiologist

One of the highest paying jobs in the country is the work of anesthesiologists. There are several different types and it could be an incredible opportunity for someone who has experience in the medical field.

While this would require you to go back to school to meet certain requirements, it would be significantly less difficult for someone who currently works at a hospital or doctor’s office.

As the highest paying job in the United States, anesthesiologists make around $262,000 per year, even higher than the average surgeon.

Marketing Manager or Consultant

Marketing is just as much a creative job as it is analytical. Most people don’t know that no matter what industry you’ve been in, there is some level that can be applied to the marketing field.

Marketing managers can make around $81,000 per year when starting out with a new company. This is a great move for someone who may have worked in fundraising, nonprofit work, design, or advertising.

Before deciding to make a career shift, contemplate the reasons why you’d want to make the change in the first place. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone. There are career counseling services that are available in most cities with professionals that can help guide you on the right path.

You can also seek advice from a close friend or family member who knows you best. They may have insight that can help.

Mesothelioma Lawyers Are there to Protect the Rights of Victims Exposed to Asbestos

Mesothelioma Lawyers Are there to Protect the Rights of Victims Exposed to Asbestos

Millions of people in the United States go to work or move about every day without realizing the danger that they put their lives in. Despite the fact that asbestos is the number one cause of people developing mesothelioma, the United States has failed to pass legislation that would ban the use of the mineral in products. Mesothelioma is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer on the planet. 

Greater than 3,000 people in the United States are stricken with Mesothelioma each year. Due to the nature of the disease, and how quickly it can metastasize, it is very important that people start treatment for their cancer as soon as possible. Anyone who believes that they were exposed to asbestos on their job, or through the use of products containing the substance, should seek the advice of an mesothelioma lawyer as soon as possible.

A lack of awareness

Most people in America know how dangerous asbestos is, however many are surprised to learn that asbestos is contained in many of the products they use. Scientists have conducted countless studies that revealed exposure to asbestos, even in very small amounts could cause a person to develop mesothelioma. People who work in industries like construction, roofing, shipyards, and automobile repair have a greater risk of being exposed to asbestos than people who work in other industries. Firefighters are also at high risk for exposure to asbestos,

In the Oddest Places

It is important to note that asbestos is still very much a part of American everyday life. Asbestos is still being used in insulation for example. At least 1% of the materials used to help regulate the temperature in buildings and homes is made of asbestos. Because asbestos can withstand an incredible amount of heat, car parts like clutches, pipes, gaskets, and brake pads are often made with the mineral. 

When people think about fire safety products, they make the assumption that the products are safe to use. Many fireproof products are made with asbestos fibers, because they repel fire. When choosing fire safety products for their homes, people should research and do their due diligence before selecting items like fireproof coating, fire curtains and fire blankets. 

If there is an emergency at home or in the workplace, and fire safety items need to be used, it is important for people to remember that heat could disperse particles of asbestos into the air. Users of these types of products should be mindful of this fact, and protect their noses and mouths when these products are in use. Asbestos is also found in potting soil, fertilizer, laboratory equipment, talcum powder and in some construction materials like floor tiles and plaster.

Get Help Right Away

Anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, and believes they were exposed to products containing asbestos at work, home or in their community need to secure the services of a mesothelioma lawyer as soon as they can. An attorney can help make sure that people who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma through asbestos exposures get the protection and help they need. Businesses and involved in these types of lawsuits have lawyers on retainer to ensure they have the best legal representation possible. A mesotheiloma lawyer is there to even the playing field.

How to Find the Right Auto Insurance Policy for Your Needs

How to Find the Right Auto Insurance Policy for Your Needs

When it comes to finding auto insurance policies for your family, it’s imperative to understand what you’re doing. As an informed buyer, you’re far more likely to get the right policy at the right rate.

5 Things You Need to Know

Car insurance doesn’t have to be a confounding topic. With some willingness to learn the ropes and understand what’s really going on behind the scenes, you can find the perfect auto insurance policy for your needs. Here are a few recommendations:

1. Know What Your State Requires

Every state has its own laws regarding how much insurance drivers are legally required to carry with their vehicle.

In total, there are five types of coverage that a state can mandate: bodily injury (BI), property damage (PD), uninsured/underinsured bodily injury (UIM BI), uninsured/underinsured property damage (UIM PD), and personal injury protection (PIP). Some states only require BI and PD, while others require all five. Likewise, every state has its own minimum coverage.

There are only a few states that don’t require insurance. In New Hampshire, drivers only have to prove their ability to pay for damage in a car accident. (However, the state can require drivers to get minimum coverage after a major violation, like a DUI.) In Virginia, residents can pay an uninsured motorist fee of $500 per year instead of getting insurance. And in states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Alaska, drivers can post a cash deposit or bond equal to the minimum car insurance amount if they don’t want to purchase car insurance.

2. Understand How Rates Work

Car insurance rates are determined by two major factors: underwriting and rating.

Every insurance company assigns a risk value to each applicant. Based on the results, a rating is assigned and a price is given that reflects the cost the insurer believes it’s taking on for a potential claim. Each carrier’s rates are impacted by a proprietary blend of factors, which may include any or all of the following:

  • Driving record
  • Location
  • Age and gender
  • Marital status
  • Vehicle (make and model)
  • Vehicle use (higher mileage means more risk)
  • Prior insurance coverage (missed payments, canceled policies, etc.)

Because each insurance company’s underwriting process and risk models are unique, you’ll find that rates vary from one carrier and policy to the next.

3. Know Which Discounts You Qualify For

Insurance companies offer discounts to customers as incentives for good behavior and loyalty. Being aware of these discounts and which ones you could potentially qualify for will make you a more informed driver.

Examples of discounts include multiple vehicle, home and auto bundles, driver education courses, anti-theft devices, safety devices, anti-lock brakes, and low mileage. The more of these you layer together, the better your rates will be.

4. Shop Around for Rates

Car insurance rates can vary significantly from one company to the next. If you put your focus on one insurance company and never consider the alternatives, you could end up paying more than you should for basic coverage.

As a recommendation, consider doing an annual rate check where you get at least three quotes from different companies to see if there’s a way to save money. You’ll have to be the judge of when it makes sense to change policies, but knowing the rates keeps you informed as to what the market is like at any given point in time.

5. Figure Out Your Own Risk Tolerance

You can significantly increase or reduce the cost of your auto insurance policy by playing around with different deductibles. One recommendation is to figure out how much you’re comfortable spending out of pocket in an accident. Based on this number, you can figure out your own personal risk tolerance.

If you have adequate financial resources and are able to pay a larger deductible without compromising your financial situation, you might be willing to raise the deductible and “self-insure” part of the risk. But if a large deductible would sink your finances, it’s better to pay a few bucks more every month for lower risk. Massage the numbers to see what works!

Don’t Rush the Process

When shopping for auto insurance, it’s important that you take your time and do the proper due diligence. Rushing through the process could lead you to make a premature decision that leaves you paying more and/or getting less coverage than you need. Be disciplined and intentional!

How Much Money Can You Get in a Trucking Accident Settlement?

How Much Money Can You Get in a Trucking Accident Settlement?

Truck crashes happen every day. When a tractor-trailer hits your vehicle, you usually face severe injuries that could change your life forever. But most people aren’t equipped financially to handle the burden, so they rely on a truck accident settlement to take care of their health and financial needs.

Anyone suffering severe tractor-trailer crash injuries wants to know what they can expect in a settlement. There’s no average settlement for such severe accidents, but there are a few things that affect how much you get in the bank for your injuries.

Here’s more information to help you understand what your accident case could be worth. Remember to run your case by a truck crash attorney to get more information. They usually don’t charge for the consultation, so you don’t have anything to lose.

Truck Crash Settlement Factors

A truck accident case involves personal injury. Your attorney must demonstrate the driver’s or company’s negligence to receive money for your injuries and damages. Negligence happens when a person or entity acts in an unreasonable way that causes someone else losses. The losses could involve money, health, or both. But if you don’t prove negligence, your case vanishes.

Getting a rough number for your possible settlement involves a solid understanding of the following aspects:

Injury Severity

Severe truck accident injuries that involve high medical bills and surgery always get more settlement dollars. Bad injuries, such as broken bones, internal injuries, and head trauma, will get more sympathy from a potential jury.

The insurance company knows juries award more money to seriously injured people. They’re also more sympathetic to those who are hurt by corporate negligence. The insurance adjuster is more likely to offer a higher settlement because they know that they could pay much more if it goes to court.

Medical Costs

The more severe your injuries, the more medical care you need. Most insurance companies focus on your medical care costs to arrive at a possible settlement figure.

For example, if you shatter your hip in the accident, you’ll probably need surgery and a hospital stay. Plus, you’ll have physical therapy for weeks or months after surgery. This type of care usually involves tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. This will be a significant driver of a truck accident settlement.

But there are a few exceptions. Insurance companies value medical care from a doctor or surgeon much more than chiropractors or acupuncturists. If you claim $10,000 in chiropractor bills, the insurance company may view that skeptically. But $10,000 in hospital costs will be valued higher.

Lost Earnings

Another massive factor in a truck accident settlement is how much work time you lose. If you’re out of work for three months because of a herniated disc, you’re probably going to get a more significant settlement than if you lose a week of work for a strained wrist.

An attorney will also receive more lost earnings than a marketing specialist because they earn more per pay period.

If you’re unemployed, you’re mostly out of luck; the insurance company won’t pay you for lost work time.

Pain and Suffering

Truck crash victims with a lot of pain and suffering get more compensation. For instance, you’ll have more pain and suffering with a broken kneecap than a sprained wrist.

But how do you prove pain and suffering? Documentation is critical. Your doctor needs to confirm that your injuries cause so much pain and suffering. It also helps if you keep a ‘pain journal’ that describes how much your injuries hurt and affect your life.

Also, insurance companies have a good idea of how much various injuries hurt. They see these cases every day.

Of course, pain and suffering are still somewhat subjective. This area is open to negotiation, and it’s up to your attorney to make a convincing argument for more money.

These factors will influence your potential truck accident settlement. Keep in mind that all cases are different, and your lawyer is the best one to give you a possible settlement range for your specific injuries and circumstances.

The Top Methods for Hair Loss Prevention

The Top Methods for Hair Loss Prevention

Nothing makes you look older than your age quite like premature hair loss. But just because your hair is thinning right now doesn’t mean you have to live with balding. You have more options than you realize.

Top Causes of Hair Loss

We’re all experiencing hair loss on a daily basis. In fact, the average person loses somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 to 100 hairs per day. But – and this is the key – the average person is also re-growing the same (or more) number of hairs per day. For individuals who are balding, this isn’t the case.

Hair loss is essentially the process of losing more hairs than you grow. This leads to bald spots and thinning over time. And while it’s typically a combination of factors, some of the top causes include:

  • Androgenetic alopecia. This is basically another term for male (or female) pattern baldness. This tends to be genetic and is defined by thinning/balding on the crown of the head and temple areas.
  • Telogen effluvium. This (usually) temporary condition can be brought on by factors like extreme stress, childbirth, surgery, or certain medications. It causes hair to fall out in handfuls and leads to extreme patchiness.
  • Pregnancy. The decrease in estrogen levels immediately after birth can lead to short-term hair loss in women. This usually resolves itself within a few months.
  • Nutritional deficiencies. If you have a diet that’s low in certain vitamins, nutrients, and proteins, it can cause excessive hair shedding. (Blood tests can reveal if you have any deficiencies.)

Top Methods for Preventing Hair Loss

Once hair loss begins, it’s important to address it. The longer you wait, the more likely that the effects will become permanent and/or require extensive treatment to correct. Here are a few methods that are known to prevent further hair loss by restoring your scalp’s health and vitality.

1. Proper Diet and Nutrition

Proper hair growth depends on proper nutrition. The scalp is essentially the foundation of healthy hair. In order to encourage healthy growth, you must consume a well-balanced diet that’s full of essential vitamins and nutrients.

A diet that’s high in vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin B is a good start. You also need to consume plenty of biotin and protein. Lean meats, fish, and soy are great for the latter.

2. Oral Supplements

The right blend of oral supplements can help, too. If you find that your diet isn’t providing sufficient amounts, try ginseng, saw palmetto, biotin, and a multivitamin. A good DHT blocker can help as well.

3. Low Level Laser Therapy

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is an FDA approved technique that uses medical-grade laser diodes to emit low level light and increase circulation and blood flow in the scalp. Laser caps are the most common option, as they allow you to get treatment from the comfort of your own home. But do laser caps work?

While results certainly vary, science has shown that laser caps do work for most people. They’re most effective in helping people with mild to moderate hair loss re-grow thicker hair. (Though the results often take as long as 60 to 180 days to take full effect.) If you’re looking for an overnight method, this isn’t it. But if you’re willing to do consistent half-hour treatments over a period of months, you’ll almost certainly see results.

4. Proper Hair Care

Smart hair care can significantly reduce your chances of experiencing excessive hair loss. Avoid overwashing and be smart about how you dry and style your hair after getting out of the shower.

“When hair is wet, it is in its weakest state. So avoid brushing wet hair because the chances of hair loss increases,” health blogger Sobiya Moghul writes. “But if you must comb wet hair, use a very wide-toothed comb. Also avoid brushing hair too frequently as doing so can injure hair and increase loss.”

If you have tangles in your hair, try using your fingers to gently untangle. This is a much safer option when compared to combs and brushes that have a tendency to pull hairs out of the scalp.

Live Healthy, Be Happy

Some hair loss is to be expected. It’s a natural part of the aging process and can’t always be prevented. However, it is usually possible to delay or minimize hair loss. And in some cases, a targeted strategy can prevent it altogether. Hopefully this article has given you some ideas to work with. When in doubt, consult with your doctor for guidance on how to proceed.

Making Sense Of Mortgages: How To Evaluate Your Loan Offer

Making Sense Of Mortgages: How To Evaluate Your Loan Offer

Buying a home is an exciting undertaking, but it can also be immensely overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time going through the process. In particular, applying for – and interpreting – a mortgage can be intimidating, not least of all because it can feel like a referendum on your financial success. You hand over information on your savings, investments, earnings and assets, and then the banks offer up a decision. But how do you know if it’s a good offer?

If you’re trying to make sense of the home loan you’ve been offered, there are a number of factors you’ll want to look at. By honing in on these 3 elements, you can get a sense of whether this offer will put you on the path to successful home ownership, or drive you into debt.

Loan Total

When you receive your mortgage offer, two numbers carry the most importance – the loan total and the interest rate, the first of which is fairly easy to make sense of. You’ll need a loan that covers at least the cost of the property less your down payment. If you’re purchasing a home in a competitive area, this may be a substantial loan all on its own. On the other hand, if you’re purchasing a fixer upper in a less expensive part of town, you might not need as large of a base loan, but you might want to tack on some extra funds for repairs.

Reading The Rate

After the total loan, the other important number on your mortgage is the interest rate. Recently, the market has been flooded with ultra-low interest rate loans in response to the global financial crisis. This is, at least in theory, good news for borrowers since it could minimize how much they pay in interest over the long-term. The only applies if that low-rate is attached to a fixed-rate loan, though. Otherwise, you could end up with a different loan rate down the line.

Comparison Strategies

The mortgage total and interest rate are both critical to deciding whether a particular mortgage offer is right for you, but they aren’t the only factors. To get a better sense of your loan options, you may want to apply for a mortgage online where you can more easily compare different loans side-by-side. This kind of comparison is critical because, though you can easily compare the total loan amount and interest rate without any special tools, it can be harder to capture details like monthly or annual fees across multiple documents. Online comparison sites distill this information, which can help you make sense of all the details.

When considering a mortgage, the initial numbers are critical. You want a loan with favorable terms so that, for example, if interest rates hit an upward trend for a few years, you aren’t stuck with a terrible loan that you wish you could refinance. Though refinancing your mortgage may be an option down the line, you don’t want to put yourself in a position where refinancing feels like your only option. Refinancing should be an upgrade, not a financial survival tactic – and when you know how to evaluate your mortgage from the start, it will be.