Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Staying Well In Winter By Getting Enough Vitamin D.

As the winter months set in and daylight hours diminish, getting enough Vitamin D becomes increasingly challenging. Often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," Vitamin D plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, including bone health, immune system support, and mood regulation. Fortunately, despite the lack of abundant sunlight, there are several strategies to ensure you're getting enough Vitamin D during the winter season.

Vitamin D is extremely important to the human body. Vitamin D is primarily synthesized in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, specifically UVB rays. However, in the winter, reduced sunlight and spending more time indoors can lead to lower Vitamin D levels, potentially impacting overall health.

There are several strategies one can follow to keep levels of Vitamin D up during the winter. First one should maximize their exposure to sunlight by going out during the day. It is best to be outside during the midday when the sun's UVB rays are stronger. Even brief periods of sun exposure can help stimulate Vitamin D production.

Review your diet to make sure it has sufficient Vitamin D rich foods included. Incorporate foods naturally high in Vitamin D into your diet. Look at fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, or mushrooms and eggs as well as fortified foods such as milk, orange juice, and cereals, as they are excellent sources of Vitamin D. Read the label of any fortified foods to check for the amount of Vitamin D they contain. Egg yolks contain a decent amount of Vitamin D so consider having eggs for breakfast or a quick lunch.

If you check the internet you'll see there is a trend to recommend using Vitamin D supplements but it is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine if they are necessary. This is especially true if you live where there is limited sun exposure or a diet without enough Vitamin D-rich foods. Supplements can be an effective way to get the amount of recommended Vitamin D.

In addition, there are UVB lamps sold on the market. These lamps mimic sunlight exposure but one needs to be extremely careful not to over due it. It is possible to damage the skin so it is important to follow manufacturers guidelines.

Finally, if you aren't sure you are getting enough Vitamin D, check with your local healthcare professional. I checked with mine and he recommended the supplements since in so many places here in Alaska, one cannot get enough Vitamin D from the sun. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Tips To Staying Well Hydrated Indoors.

As the temperature drops and the air becomes drier, it's easy to overlook the importance of staying hydrated during the winter months. Unlike the scorching heat of summer that triggers obvious thirst, the cooler temperatures of winter can deceive us into thinking that we're not losing fluids. Furthermore, most houses are set up to send dry, hot, air through the house to heat it. Many people think about staying hydrated outdoors but not inside. However, maintaining adequate hydration indoors during winter is just as crucial for overall health and well-being. Here are some essential tips to help you stay well-hydrated inside during the colder months.

  1. Always prioritize your regular water intake. While you might not feel as thirsty in winter, it's vital to maintain a steady intake of water throughout the day. Carry a reusable water bottle and sip on it consistently to ensure you're meeting your hydration needs. The liquid does not need to be cold but can be room temperature. Think about aiming for at least 8 - 10 glasses

    of water each day.

    In the hustle of daily life, it's easy to forget to drink water.  Use your phone to set frequent reminders or download an app specifically designed to keep you hydrated. You want someway to remind yourself to take regular sips of water throughout the day, ensuring consistent hydration.

    If you aren't much of a water drinker, think about including warm herbal teas since they not only provide a cozy respite from the cold but also contribute to your daily fluid intake. Go for caffeine-free herbal teas like chamomile, ginger, or peppermint, which not only hydrate but also offer various health benefits. Speaking of caffeine, limit the intake of beverages like coffee and alcohol as they can contribute to dehydration. If you indulge, be sure to drink additional water or herbal teas to maintain hydration levels.

    Be sure to include hydrating fruits and vegetables into your diet. Use foods like cucumbers, celery, oranges, and watermelon since they have high water content and can contribute to your overall hydration. Additionally, enjoy bowls of soups and broths since both can provide warmth and hydration.

    As mentioned earlier, heated indoor environments can strip moisture from the air, leading to dehydration. Rather than sticking it out, consider using a humidifier, which helps maintain optimal humidity levels and prevents excessive drying of your skin and respiratory passages. Using a humidifier can keep your respiratory passages from drying out.

    Always pay attention to the color of your urine as it can indicate your hydration status. Aim for a pale yellow color, since darker urine may signal dehydration, indicating the need to increase your fluid intake. If you wait till you feel thirsty, then you are already on your way to being dehydrated.

  2. Maintaining proper hydration indoors during winter is essential for overall health, despite the cooler temperatures that may not induce strong feelings of thirst. By consciously incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you can ensure adequate hydration and support your body's optimal functioning throughout the winter season. Stay warm, stay hydrated, and stay healthy!

    Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Are Black Friday Deals Arriving Earlier?


I've been receiving lots of e-mails advertising "Black Friday Deals" before Thanksgiving ever arrived.  In fact, I think I got my first ones around Halloween so I wondered if these deals have been showing up earlier and earlier.  Sort of like seeing Christmas stuff at Halloween.  For those of you unfamiliar with the history of Black Friday deals, the event began back in the 1950's in Philadelphia.  Apparently, the police were upset with having to control the masses of shoppers who descended on the town the day after Thanksgiving and they coined the phrase.

Since the advent of the digital age, Black Friday has spread and attracted more people since they can shop online rather than physically going from store to store.  It has been observed that Black Friday is no longer just on Friday but has expanded to include Cyber Monday sales.  

One researcher found that notices of Black Friday deals have been arriving earlier and earlier so notices often begin arriving around Halloween.  This is something that has been happening over the past decade.  One reason for the earlier and earlier notices is due to the rising competition among retailers for limited funds and in the hopes of easing demands on shipping methods.  

Furthermore, when the term "Black Friday" is used before Thanksgiving, it is used as a marketing ploy because people associate the term with huge sales and savings.  In addition, many places have smaller sales leading up to the big event. Furthermore, with the use of Cyber Monday sales, and Small Business Saturday sales, the whole shopping season is being extended to at least a week after.  

In addition, it was found that many of the early Black Friday discounts are higher than they have been in the past.  Retailers are worried that people may not have as much money to spend this year due to inflation, even though things have eased a bit.  Retailers want extend the season to give shoppers a longer period to use the discounts.  

Black Friday is traditionally a time when stores make quite a bit of money and with the economy being the way it is, retailers, want to entice people to spend their money, especially since the economy has began slowing down around the beginning of October. They want to draw people in to spend their money.  Retailers are afraid that if they wait too late to begin their deals, consumers will shop elsewhere.

Furthermore, the discounts offered are on certain items so shoppers can't buy everything they want at once.  They have to wait as discounts are spread out over the season.  This way they get shoppers excited throughout the season and they are more likely to spend money over the whole season.  

I admit, I tend to enjoy deals but I'm not as bad as some of my friends.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Staying Motivated To Workout Through The Holidays

 Last time we looked at ways to keep from overeating during Thanksgiving but what about exercising?  Thanksgiving is just the first event over a four week period leading to New Years.  A season filled with parties, eating, more eating, and lots of socialization.  Unfortunately, this can make it more difficult to think about working out, especially if you are out a lot.  

So today, we'll explore ways to keep you working out through the holidays, even when you'd rather put it off.  One thing that helps is keeping the right mindset.  Promise yourself that you will workout, no excuses and stick to that promise. Don't make excuses why you can't do it.  If you don't feel as if you can workout after you are done working for the day, do it before you go in or head out for a nice long walk during lunch.  Grab a friend or your dog and hit the trails for a nice long walk.  Don't let anything get in your way.

Make sure you have a schedule, one that lists all your parties, work, and include your workout sessions.  If it is on your calendar, you are more likely to actually get it done.  I have a spot in my daily routine for a 30 minute workout and I do it.  If I don't have it written down, I am more likely to skip it because it's not written down.  In addition, if you are traveling, you have a chance to download videos, look to see where the gyms are located where you'll be, or look for walking routes.  I know someone who is a digital nomad and she is always looking for a gym in the new place so she can continue training.

Arrange to have a workout buddy who will hold you accountable to workout with them and vice versa.  It is harder to decide to skip working out when you are doing it with someone. This also makes it easier to stay motivated.  Furthermore, even if you and your workout buddy are separated during the holidays, you can ask each other if you've worked out.  Don't forget, there is Skype if you want to do it at the same time.  

This might be the perfect time to check out the local gym if you haven't been there.  Working out in a group can be motivating because it makes it into a social experience.  You could also check out things like volleyball or basketball games since both require you to move a fair bit.

If you can't workout due to traveling, throw a jumprope or resistance band in your suitcase and when you hit your hotel, look on Youtube for videos that you can workout to.  If nothing else, find videos that have you rely on body weight because you don't need to have any equipment.  As far as exercising while traveling, I have spent many a time walking around airports and exploring them in detail.  I can tell you where just about every pet stop is inside the Sea-Tac Airport and where the closest one is outside the Reno Airport just from walking around.

Finally, think about why you are exercising.  Are you doing it to help reduce your stress, keep your weight off, or stay in shape?  Remember why and encourage yourself to keep at it.  Let me now what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, November 20, 2023

How To Avoid Overeating During The Holidays

 It's that time of the year again.  We have Thanksgiving coming up in a few days, lots of holiday parties, Christmas, and New Years. There are gatherings, parties, giving, and so much more.  There is always someone you know who spends days baking all sorts of goodies to share with everyone and parties with things you can't resist.  Before you know it, you've gained a few pounds.

So how do you navigate this food filled season without gaining weight?  Without stuffing yourself because you just can't resist one more.  That is what we'll look at today.

On Thanksgiving, do not skip meals rather eat your regularly scheduled meals.  Consider having a good breakfast with lots of protein since protein helps curb your appetite all day long. Most people skip meals with the idea that you'll have space for more food but if you skip meals, you'll be really hungry and that is when you overeat. Sometimes you are so hungry, you inhale the food and then feel sick when you are done eating. In addition, work on staying hydrated but don't rely on alcoholic drinks for that. One reason you want to stay hydrated is that you think you are hungry so you eat more.  In reality you are actually dehydrated and just need some water.

When you snack before the meal, look at foods like unsalted nuts, veggies, and fruits before you indulge in deli meats or cheese. The unsalted nuts, veggies, and fruits are a much healthier choice.  The deli meats tend to be over processed, high in sodium, and saturated fats which aren't good for us.  So if you see a charcuterie board, don't just grab things.  Look at it and decide what you should eat.  Place your choices on a plate and walk away so you don't continually graze.

Depending on your family, you'll either sit around the table and pass foods around, or you'll go through a buffet filled with the main dishes for the meal.  Keep in mind the old saying "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach."  Instead of grabbing spoonfuls of each dish, settle on a little of everything including the meats. Spend time chewing your food, enjoying the flavors, and taking your time eating it. If you decide you want seconds immediately after, don't.  Wait at least 10 minutes before returning to get more.  The 10 minutes gives your brain a chance to catch up and decide if you are full or have space for more. 

Enjoy conversations with your family and friends away from the food so you don't fall into the snacking trap.  When you stand next to the food, you tend to grab some to eat without thinking.  If you aren't near the food, you are less likely to snack.  One of the last things recommended is to get out and move.  Grab people to throw a foot ball around, walk through the neighborhood, checking for lights and decorations. 

I am not going to share the number of times I've ignored these and ended up over indulging.  It's hard to say no to your mother.  Have a great day and enjoy your self.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.

Friday, November 17, 2023

How To Determine Your Skin Type.

I remember as a teenager, I tried to figure out what type of skin I had.  It was difficult because I was told if you break out in acne, you have oily skin but what if you break out during that time of the month only? I had acne but not much and I didn't have it all the time. I ended up giving up for the simple reason that it was easier to find information on the shape of ones face and the best hairstyles for those shapes than it was to find skin type.

Now it is so much easier to determine your skin type especially with the internet holding so much information.  It is important to know the type of skin you have so you can treat it properly, purchase the right products for it, and adjust your lifestyle to match it.

One of the easiest ways is to do the 30 minute test.  To do it, you must first wash your face to get rid of anything on it such as makeup or sunscreen.  Leave it alone for 30 minutes.  This means do not apply any sort of product to it.  At the end of 30 minutes, look into a mirror and carefully examine your face.  If it looks shiny and even feels slick when you touch it, you have oily skin.  If your skin feels dry and flakey with some tight feeling patches, you have dry skin but if your skin is red and irritated, you have sensitive skin.  Finally, if you have both flakey and shiny places, you have a combination skin.

Another test is to use a clean piece of blotting paper on different parts of your face and then hold the sheet up to the light.  If the paper picks up a lot of oil, you have oily skin.  On the other hand, if there is little to no oil, you have dry skin. If you only find oil in the T-zone, then you have either combination or normal skin.

Now, it is quite possible for your skin to undergo temporary changes but it won't usually change its basic type since that is genetically determined. Your skin can and does change temporarily to enviornmental changes or during certain transitional periods in your life, or age.  For instance, when a woman goes through menopause, your skin may become dryer due to your oil producing glands becoming less active. Your skin may also undergo changes due to medications, levels of stress, or even diet.

If you skin becomes oilier, that is often caused by changes in your hormones. Your hormones can begin to produce more which causes the glands in your skin to produce more oil.  Sometimes, this happens to the whole face while other times it might only be along the nose in the T-area. 

Thus it is important to change your routine to meet the current needs of your skin type.  If you had dry skin most of your life and suddenly it becomes oily, you want to switch to products that are designed for oily skin.  You can damage your skin if you use the wrong product on your skin.  If you have oily skin that suddenly dries out but continue to use products made for oily faces.  You could dry your skin out even more and that isn't good.

So take time to monitor your skin, note any changes, and make adjustments.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Why Ultra Processed Foods Are Not Good For You.

You've seen the headlines and articles.  The ones that tell you not to eat ultra processed foods but these same articles don't always go into why you shouldn't eat them.  Sometimes the information provided is not actually correct.  I had a physician tell me not to eat any white foods.  I basically ignored her because many of the things I eat are white but are considered good for you.  Foods such as tofu.  I didn't stay with her very long.

Although many food items that we eat are processed, what separates processed from ultra processed? Ultra processed is one category of foods in the NOVA scale.  The first category is unprocessed or minimally processed foods such as carrots, avocados, or milk.  They are grown, washed, or pasteurized before being sold. Next is the processed culinary ingredients which are minimally processed through pressing, refining, grinding, or milling such as olive oil or almond flour.  The third category is processed foods which have been changed some by adding oil, sugar, salt, or other substance such as canned tuna or certain cheeses. 

 The last category is the ultra processed which are processed foods that have been processed even more.  These have artificial colors and flavors, preservatives to last longer, or ingredients to preserve the texture and are often packaged foods. The defining definition for ultra processed foods is that they have at least five added ingredients and containing ingredients not normally used in culinary preparations. These often are lacking in nutritional value or have way more salt or sugar than is really needed. Things such as soda, hot dogs, deli meats, fast foods, prepackaged cookies, salty snacks, and jarred sauces are often classified as ultra processed foods. 

Although ultra processed foods don't sound bad on the surface, one is exposing themselves to high energy fats, simple sugars, and limited fibers because the food has already been broken down due to processing and the body reacts by rapidly increasing blood sugar while activating the reward center in the brain.  This keeps us wanting more and more.  Due to the heating that occurs during the preparation of the product, fats often change into trans fatty acids which are extremely bad for you. Trans fatty acids have been linked to higher levels of LDL cholesterol, ending up with heart disease, stroke, or diabetes 2. 

There are studies now coming out that indicate eating ultra processed foods can increase your chance of getting dementia, dying earlier due to cardiovascular disease or increasing the chance of getting cancer, Having said that, not everyone agrees that ultra processed foods are bad for you but the general consensus is that one should try to eat foods that contain less salt, sugar, and oils regardless of the type of food. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, November 13, 2023

How To Relax Without Technology.

I watch my students play games on their phones but I don't see them relax without technology.  If they get free time, they just want to be online to play games or check out YouTube.  I seldom see them actually relax without a device.  For myself, I often use my device to read books since I had to fit all my belongings into one suitcase when I came out here for the job.  Yes, I sometimes play games but mostly I use it for reading. So today, we'll look at ways to relax without using technology.

There are several reasons one should find time to relax without using technology.  The use of digital devices often leads to inattentiveness, poor quality of sleep, and increased anxiety.  So it is important to take time to enjoy yourself without using technology.

For instance, rather than eating dinner while watching Netflix, or checking social media, take time to prepare the meal without any technology in front of you.  Then sit down at the dining room table to eat it slowly, while conversing with other members of the family. When you enjoy a meal with no technology, you slow down and really appreciate the taste of the meal.  This type of eating is often referred to as mindful eating because you are taking time to enjoy the flavor and texture of every bite.

Pull out a good old fashioned book, sit down and read it.  In addition to being relaxing, reading a book can also be mentally stimulating while providing actual benefits for your body and mind.  It has been shown that reading a physical book for just 30 minutes can lower blood pressure, improve your heart rate, and decrease feelings of psychological stress.

Think about going back to that hobby you had years ago or start a new one.  When you engage in a hobby, you'll get into a zone that is like meditating. It doesn't matter if you bike, make jewelry, dance, or gardening, you are focused on one activity which helps reboot and clear your mind so you feel more fulfilled and successful.

If you can, head out to spend time in nature, walking, enjoying the trees, flowers, or even lakes.  Being out in nature can help your mind unwind.  There is evidence that being in nature can impact our brains and behavior by relieving anxiety, increasing our attention span, and helps us connect to other people.

Rather than keeping a digital journal, pull out a composition notebook and start writing in it by hand.  Journal your feelings, your gratitude, your day, or similar topic. Journaling by hand, helps get rid of the noise in our brains we've absorbed from all the screens around us, and declutters the brain.  If you don't know what to write about, check the internet for ideas or journal starters, print them off and keep them with your journal.

Call someone using your phone rather than relying on texting. Stay connected by phone, enjoy the conversation without the distraction of the screen. When you speak on the phone, there is little chance of misinterpreting something that is written or texted.  You don't have to figure out if the period was placed in the wrong spot, or remember what that shortened word means.  When talking you can just enjoy the conversation.

Finally, take up yoga.  Yoga helps ease tension in the body and mind, helps develop flexibility, and is great for relaxing by the end of a session.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have fun relaxing more without your screen.  

Friday, November 10, 2023

7 Exercise Myths

Today, I'm looking at myths about exercising.  I know I've heard some of these repeated again and again.  I also know my mother repeated a couple of these to me.  

One of the myths I've heard from friends is that one can target the fat you want to get rid of.  Although exercising can help reduce fat over all, one cannot determine the part of the body that burns the most fat. It doesn't just burn fat from the targeted area because your body breaks down fat to use it as fuel and it will burn fat from anywhere on your body.  

Next is the one that says that lifting heavy weights will cause women to bulk up.  In fact, lifting weights can help tone the body while helping to shape it. Since women have low levels of testosterone, they are not likely to build muscles and bulk up.  One advantage of lifting weights is that it helps prevent the loss of bone and can help increase bone density. Furthermore, lifting weights helps increase the rate your body burns calories so you burn more fat.

There is the myth that says that crunches are the best way to help your core but in reality, crunches do not get rid of belly fat.  A better way is to increase your cardio while adding resistance training. It is important to reduce belly fat because this decreases the chances of heart disease.

Don't count on exercise to counter a bad diet because diet plays a large part in weight management than exercising. In addition, eating certain foods can help you healthier and so you want to eat well and exercise for the best results.

What about the myth that says when you stop strength training your muscles turn to fat.  Your muscles cannot turn into fat.  What actually happens when you stop strength training, you actually lose muscle mass while your metabolism slows down and you begin to gain weight.

You also don't need to spend hours in the gym working out.  You can get the same benefits working out at home instead of the gym as long as you do strength training before doing aerobic exercises. The first thing your body burns is carbohydrates which is great for intense exercises over the short term.  Then your body burns fat after it has used the carbohydrates. 

Finally, don't stretch before you exercise because your muscles are cold.  It is best to stretch once you've given your muscles and joints a chance to warm up. When you stretch once your warmed up, it can improve your performance and flexibility.  Stretching can also reduce stress, improve circulation and posture.

So have fun breaking these myths for better health and a better life.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Lifting Weights For A Cardio Workout.


I was trying to remember where I came across something about using weights to get a cardio workout.  It might have been one of my DVD's or it might have been an article but I know it impressed me.  I suspect everyone of us wants a workout where we can get the most value out of each and every workout. 

 You could also combine resistance band training, HITT, circuit training, and plyometrics  with compound moves from kettle balls, dumbbells, or even the weight of your own body to work your heart, increase your strength, build lean muscle all in one workout.There is research to indicate that when both cardio and weights are combined, people are less likely to die.

For many folks, they do cardio to exercise the heart and weights to build muscles but it is possible to get a cardio workout while doing weights. One way to do this is to cut down on the length of time between repetitions.  

For instance, if you wait three minutes between each set of bicep curl, wait only one minute or even just a few breaths.  Keep pushing so you don't have time to rest.  It helps you burn more fat and you feel as if you are on a cardio machine at the same time you are lifting.

Another thing to do is throw in a cardio element between sets of weights to really get the heart pumping.  You could do several jumping jacks, jump rope, or other exercise that has you moving.  So do your bicep curls, 20 jumping jacks, do upright rows, 20 running in place, etc.  

Think about doing circuit training to work your whole body.  Circuit training is defined as combining resistance or endurance training with high intensity so that you build muscle at the same time you do cardio.  All the exercises in circuit training use multiple groups of muscles while getting the heart pumping.  Examples of exercises for circuit training include push-ups, squats, step-ups, stomach crunches, or kettle ball lifts.  

This type of exercise is known to help people break through plateaus that seem to plague us on our journey through life.  For best results, combine resistance training with continuous movement, remember to include rest so your body is able to rebuild muscles, choose exercises you enjoy, eat properly, and lift heavier weights.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Monday, November 6, 2023

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?


Everywhere you look, there are all sorts of recommendations for a proper diet if you exercise regularly, or if you want to lose weight, or in general. If you go shopping, you see all sorts of protein bars, protein shakes, and foods with protein added. Over the years, I've seen different suggestions, so today, we'll look at the answer to this question. I have also seen it said that many people eat more protein than they really need.

Depending on the person, they should consume 10 to 30 percent of their calories as protein.  So if you need 2000 calories a day, you should eat between 200 and 700 grams of calories from protein.  In other terms, you should be eating between 50 to 175 grams of protein if you are under the age of 40.  This recommendation is based on eating meat, cheese, or other source.

Once you reach the age of 40 to 50, it is important to increase the amount of protein you consume because the body begins to lose muscle mass so you want to make sure to counter that by eating between 75 to 90 grams of protein.  In addition, if you exercise regularly, you also need to eat a bit more protein each day.

Now where do you get protein from in your diet.  Some of the healthiest sources are plant based from soy, nuts, seeds, beans, or lentils.  If you prefer you meat, look at lean meats such as skinless white chicken or turkey, fish or seafood, or low-fat dairy.  It is best to eat these rather than relying on supplements or protein bars, or drinks.

As far as eating protein, it is best to spread it out throughout the day so you are less likely to be hungry  or suffer from cravings.  Unfortunately, most people tend to eat the most protein at dinner and the least amount at breakfast.  It has been suggested that people eat between 15 and 30 grams of protein at each meal. 

It isn't hard to get that amount in a meal.  For instance, if you eat a banana, a serving of Greek yoghurt, and a hard boiled egg, you've consumed 19 grams of protein.  Try a 3 ounce chicken breast combined with 1/2 cup cooked rice and half a cup of vegetables, that is 25 grams.  You should always each protein with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

So it isn't hard to have a balanced diet while eating enough protein each day.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Friday, November 3, 2023

How To Take Up Running Or Jogging.

Do you want to take your exercise level up a bit and begin either jogging or running? If you do, it is important to take up this form of exercise, it is important to do correctly so you don't hurt yourself. Furthermore, one needs to do it step by step for the best results.

One of the first, most important things to do is to check with the doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to take up jogging or running.  This gives the doctor a chance to find medical problems that make it hard to run.  

Begin by walking briskly for 30 minutes every time for 8 to 12 weeks. As you get better at walking, begin with a gentle jog for say 5 minutes, then walk for a while before jogging for another 5 minutes.  As time progresses, jog for longer periods of time, alternating jogging with walking.  Eventually, you'll be jogging for the full 30 minutes.  Once you are used to jogging for 30 minutes, you can extend the time to 35 or 40 minutes.

If you want to move faster, begin by running for a couple minutes, and jogging for say 10 minutes, and run again.  As you get used to this, alternate longer periods of running with shorter periods of jogging until you are running for the 30 minutes.

Before you begin walking or jogging, it is important to both warm up and stretch fully so your body is less likely to be hurt.  At the end of the session, cool off with light stretching.  Always take a bottle of water with you so that you stay hydrated throughout the session.  

In addition, always include at two days of rest per week so you don't overdo things.  You want to make sure you don't hurt yourself.  If you want to do something on those two days, think of swimming or yoga.

Take time to plan your route so that you are traveling over grassy areas if possible since these do not hurt your joints as running on a hard surface.  Try to avoid running near or on roads because exhaust fumes can cause health problems.  If you do run near roadways, try to avoid running at peak periods so there is less air pollution. 

Always dress appropriately in clothing that causes moisture to go away from your skin.  Wear layers so you can take off something if you get to hot, or add it back on if you need to. Make sure you wear a good pair of shoes and cover any exposed areas with SPF.

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Easy Ways To Improve Balance.


Sorry about this past Monday.  I didn't get a blog entry done because I was off traveling and my computer totally died.  So I am sorry about that. Today, we are looking at some easy ways to improve balance. The systems responsible for helping us maintain balance can be affected by aging or by certain medicines.  In addition, there are some health problems such as a stroke, arthritis, etc that can cause us to be unsteady.

There are things you can do to improve balance as you age.  If you walk, run, or climb stairs you are already strengthening your lower body but if you do have issues, look at getting a stair stepper to work on balance. 

Consider stretching your muscles which helps with posture and balance or look at including yoga in your regular workout so you can challenge both static and dynamic balance skills.  Throw in some tai chi because the shifting weight from one foot to another, twisting the trunk, and extending your limbs provides the body with certain challenges that help increase balance.

In addition, there are some simple exercises one can incorporate into your daily workout to help improve balance. They are recommended by the NHS.  One is to step sideways. To do this, have both feet next to each other with your weight equally balanced.  Move one foot out to the side and balance again, then move the other foot to join the one you just moved.  Repeat this 10 times in each direction or do it across the room and back. 

Try a simple grapevine. You remember that move from dancing?  You start by balancing equally on both feet.  Take you left foot out to the side and then place weight on it.  Take the right foot and move it to the front of the left foot, balance before moving the left foot out again and take the right foot and move it behind the left. Repeat across the room and back.

Practice heel to toe walking which is exactly what it sounds like.  You step forward by placing the left heel in front of the right toe.  Then take the right heel and place it in front of the left toe.  Repeat across the room.  This one requires your body use a lot of muscles to maintain your balance.

There is a one leg stand.  In this one you face the wall about an arms length away so your finger tips can touch if needed. Lift your right leg, and balance for 5 to 10 seconds before placing the right foot down and lifting the left leg up. Repeat and do 3 on each side.

These simple exercises can help you stop any deterioration in balance and get it back.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.