Posted on Leave a comment

Lets Take a Walk

I met a friend in college who was from the west coast. One day we were discussing why we decided to attend West Virginia University (WVU). She explained that she didn’t like how everything was close together on other college campuses. While attending WVU she enjoyed the change of scenery and various experiences she had simply by walking to class. As anyone who has attended courses in Morgantown can tell you, you have to walk quite a distance from one building to another. As I look at my treadmill covered in a layer of dust I can understand exactly what she meant.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the treadmill. I have spent plenty of time walking on it while watching my favorite tv shows. It’s been great when I’m participating in a challenge and need to get my final steps in for the day. I also like that they give us the ability to walk even when the weather outside is not great. And in West Virginia, it rains. It rains a lot. But walking outside is a totally different experience. Just as my college friend stated when we walk outside we feel like we are going somewhere. Even if we aren’t. Even if we’re simply on a trail that circles around back to where we began.

So let’s celebrate walking this spring. We should do it as much as possible. When we head outdoors we get more than just a walk. Walking outside on a nice sunny day means we’re getting some Vitamin D from the sun. We’re breathing in fresh air. One of my favorite things about going for a walk is the scenery. You get to see animals, flowers, trees, and people. Every walk is different. The scenery is never completely the same. Going for a walk invigorates us. It changes our entire attitude. Stumped on a problem? Head out for a walk. You’ll likely see it from a different angle when you return.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, try it for yourself. Put on your walking shoes and head outside. Make it a habit and maybe one day we’ll run into each other out there. Enjoy your walk!

What do you like about walking outside? Comment below and let us know!

Posted on Leave a comment

Mosquitoes!

It’s the first day of summer! Summer in West Virginia is a wonderful season of warm weather, days at the pool, and trips to amusement parks. Unfortunately, due to the many lakes and rivers across the region, it’s also a prime time for mosquitoes. So many times I’ve spent an evening outside enjoying the wilderness and then wake up to a swollen itchy red dot. Those tiny creatures are stealthy. Much of the time I don’t see them and I don’t feel them but I wake up and have proof they were there. The itch of the bite is enough to drive even the calmest person crazy. But the itch isn’t the worst thing that can happen from a mosquito bite. The West Nile and Zika viruses are now in the US and that’s an even better reason to keep those bugs away.

Last year as confirmed cases of the Zika virus grew and travel advisories were issued there was an announcement that Lemon Eucalyptus oil was as effective as DEET. DEET is the most common ingredient in commercially available insect repellents. This announcement turned out to be a bit misleading. While there is a component in Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) oil that does repel mosquitoes, it is only occurs naturally in the oil in a very small amount. The product that was tested and compared to DEET had this component in a much larger amount. So if you are purchasing the essential oil and expect it to work just as well as the insect repellents you’ve used in the past you will be disappointed.

Here are a few tips if you’d like to create your own spray. Keep in mind these sprays will have a short shelf life if you are using water without a preservative. Catnip and Peppermint oil are both effective oils to use in a spray for your skin to keep away the mosquitoes. (Peppermint is fine for adults and older children but shouldn’t be used on children under six.) You could also begin by using a Catnip or Peppermint hydrosol and then adding essential oils to it. Turmeric is a great essential oil to use in a mosquito repellent. And, of course, Citronella essential oil has been found to be effective at keeping these pesky insects away. Just remember that natural insect repellents need to be applied more often than others so reapply often if you don’t want to end up with those itchy bug bites!

If you decide to create your own mosquito repellent, make sure you do a skin patch test first to ensure you do not have a reaction to the oils. Another alternative is to use the spray on your clothing. Safe dilution rates will depend on how often you are using the repellent. If you have any questions, let us know. Wishing you a fun-filled and bug bite free summer!