H2O is the Way to Go

Author – GaeLynn Peterson

Lady Exercising 2 Blog

What do people, sheep and pine trees have in common? They all need WATER! In the hot days of summer, we’re more apt to get the water we need. Perhaps it just tastes better in the summer, but we need hydration just as much in the winter!

According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, the main chemical component that makes up 60 percent of our body weight is water and it only takes a 1 to 2 percent loss of fluid to cause dehydration. Every system in the body depends on water. The functions of this bodily fluid include digestion, absorption, circulation, lubrication and maintenance of body temperature.

It is estimated that we lose 8 cups (64 ounces) of water a day depending on age, activity level, the weather, and general health. We can replace lost liquid with some of the foods we eat in addition to the liquids we drink. Experts suggest several reasons for drinking plenty of water:

  1. It can control calories – water is not a magic bullet for weight loss, but choosing water over a high caloric beverage and eating water-rich foods that are healthy and more filling can help you trim your caloric intake. (Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., author of The Volumetrics Weight Control Plan.)
  2. It builds muscle tone – water prevents cramping and lubricates the joints.
  3. It lowers stress – 70 to 80 percent of the brain tissue is water. If you are dehydrated, your body and your mind are stressed.
  4. It boosts energy – water helps transport oxygen and other nutrients to the heart and other cells and amps up metabolism. If the water is cold, your body burns more calories to warm the water.
  5. It reduces kidney stones – water dilutes salts and minerals in your urine that can cause kidney stones.
  6. It nourishes your skin – water helps remove impurities and plumps up the skin cells, giving you a younger look. It also improves blood flow, which gives a healthy glow.
  7. It aids in digestion – water helps you stay regular by dissolving waste products and moving them smoothly through your digestive track.

                   The following tips from The U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health can help you get the water you need:

  1. Carry a water bottle with you when you are at work or running errands.
  2. Freeze water in freezer-safe water bottles to take with you all day.
  3. Choose water instead of other beverages when eating out.
  4. Give your water a little pizzazz by adding a wedge of lemon or lime.

If you are tired, stressed, have joint or headache pain or feel wrinkly and heavy — grab a glass of water. It may be just what the doctor ordered!

A Mouse Does Not Belong In Your House

Author – Julene Reese

Warm Weather Sparks Increased Reports of Mice Invading Homes

Have you had the unfortunate experience of finding a mouse, or mice (or signs of them) in your home? If so, you are not alone! These furry intruders are making their way inside through open doors and windows left open in the unseasonably warm weather. Click here to read what the USU Extension wildlife specialist has to say about making your home mouse free.


5 Traits that Make a Family Strong

Author – Kathleen Riggs

Have you ever looked at another family and wondered why they seem to have it all together? Have you wondered what their family has that yours doesn’t? Every family has its issues, but all families can be strong. Let’s take a look at five tips to help create and maintain strong families.

* Caring and Appreciation. A strong, healthy relationship is a worthwhile goal for everyone. Showing care and appreciation for another family member helps adults develop their potential and it provides a model for children.

* Time Together. In some ways, time is like money—it seems like we never have enough of either one. However, the truth is, we tend to find the time or money for those things that are most important. How important is time with your family?

* Encouragement. All families face tough times occasionally. Healthy families have confidence that they will survive any crisis and come back even stronger.

* Coping with Change. All families develop habits, routines and a set of rules. These patterns help deal with day-to-day life and provide continuity and stability. In strong families, patterns remain flexible or adaptable enough to cope with crises or other changes. These may require changes in habits, rules, power structure, roles and division of labor or ways of performing family tasks and functions.

* Clear Roles. Members of strong families have a clear idea about their day-to-day roles and obligations to the family. Roles must be flexible and can be shared. For instance, it’s okay for someone who usually cooks to take over fixing the car because of a need, or even boredom!

According to the experts, if you work on one trait, it will benefit another area (the spill-over effect).

Looking for more? I’ve included four more traits  in an easy and downloadable PDF. Click over to read, save and also PIN this post to reference later! These traits were identified by researchers from the University of Missouri Extension Service. Details are in their training for families titled: Building Strong Families: Challenges and Choices. 

kathy riggs Kathleen Riggs is the Utah State University Extension Family and Consumer Sciences professor for Iron County. She loves yard/garden work, where  her favorite tasks are weeding and mowing the lawn. Her favorite appliance is the microwave oven, and her specialty is microwave caramels. She  loves family time and occasions that bring everyone together from near or far.

Spread the Love by Volunteering

Volunteer Blog
Author – Zuri Garcia, Extension Assistant Professor
            Whether it’s a soup kitchen, a classroom, a youth camp, or the street, people can be found volunteering.  Just in Utah, millions of volunteers are found spreading the love.  Utah is ranked number one for adult volunteering in the United States with $3 billion in services contributed in 2012.  Volunteering benefits both the community being served and the individual volunteer.
            Many people are motivated to volunteer because of the benefit to the community.  When money is put aside and free time is donated, more work can get done.  Organizations that are created to improve community and family life have a larger reach when volunteers are involved.  Community needs addressed through volunteering include: disaster services, economic opportunities, education, the environment, health and families.
            Volunteers benefit from the work they do in their communities.  There are social benefits to getting out and building relationships with fellow volunteers and individuals being served.  Volunteers become less isolated and feel a sense of purpose.  Physical and mental-health benefits also exist for volunteers.  Volunteering at an earlier stage in life may decrease the likeliness of suffering ill health later in life.  The more committed volunteers are, the more significant the benefits are that they receive from volunteering.  An average of one to two hours a week has been found to be significantly beneficial.
            Volunteering is a way to spread love throughout the community.  So how can you get started?  There are countless opportunities to volunteer. Your local Utah State University Extension office is a great place to start.  By looking at your personal interests and hobbies, you can decide what area of Extension would be the best fit.  If you like gardening, you might consider becoming a Master Gardener.  Are you an experienced food preserver?  Would starting a youth 4-H club be for you?  Do you have ranching experience?  Family finance is an important area of Extension, do you have a financial background?  The best part of volunteering is that it can be a lot of fun.  Go to http://extension.usu.edu/ to learn about USU Extension and start volunteering today.
Charts and Utah ranking stats retrieved from:  www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/UT
Farris, E., McKinley, S., Ayres, J., Peters, J., & Brady, C. (2009). County-level Extension Leadership:  Understanding volunteer board member motivation. Journal of Extension, 47, 5.
Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy
Development. The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, Washington, DC 2007.