The American Senior Fitness Association presents Experience!

December 14, 2007              

Table of Contents

  • Healthy Hints for the Holidays (During tree-trimming season, stay trim yourself!)
  • Considering Your New Year's Resolutions? (Good news for nicotine quitters)
  • Walk the Walk (A new exercise resource)
  • Salty Language (Quick tip for reducing dietary sodium)
  • Keep Stress at Bay During the Holidays (Easy relaxation techniques)
  • Quotation Corner (Some positive messages at year's end)
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Healthy Hints for the Holidays

Jim EvansSFA author Jim Evans
is a 40-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized senior fitness consultant. Today Jim provides practical solutions for mature adults who have concerns regarding holiday weight gain.

DEAR JIM: It seems the older I get, the more weight I gain -- especially during the holidays. I seem to be able to hold my own during the rest of the year, but I probably gain at least five pounds every year between Thanksgiving and New Year's. At this rate I'll be a blimp by 2010, and I'll only be 69. What can I do to control my weight this holiday season? HEFTY IN HELENA

DEAR HEFTY: The holidays are here again, and the average American can expect to gain from one to 12 pounds during the holiday season depending on what statistics you want to believe. It's the same old story every year. Most Americans will make the same New Year's resolution every year too: to lose weight! How to break the cycle of failure? Try these healthy hints to help you control your weight while still enjoying the holidays:
  • WALK AFTER EVERY MEAL. Instead of sitting around feeling stuffed and uncomfortable after every big meal, get up and walk. You don't have to be a party pooper and leave your company behind to talk to themselves -- invite them to walk with you. A brisk walk around the block will be invigorating for everyone, and you can continue your conversation along the way.
  • DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Drink a full 8-ounce glass of water when you first get up in the morning and right before you sit down to eat that big meal. Another helpful trick is to take a drink of water between every bite of food. All of this will help you to eat less and improve your digestion too.
  • EAT SMALLER PORTIONS. Serve yourself smaller portions -- you can always go back for another serving if you are really that hungry -- and cut the servings into several small pieces. Of course, this is a psychological ploy to fool your brain into thinking you are eating more than you really are, but it does work because generally you will eat less if you take smaller portions. Eat more slowly, too, instead of trying to wolf your food down as if there were no tomorrow. What's the hurry, anyway? Enjoy!
  • EAT BREAKFAST. Be sure to eat breakfast on the day of any big holiday meal, even if you sleep in late and the meal is only a few hours away. It will keep you from eating too much at one time and help you digest your food more efficiently.
  • WALK IN PLACE. Most people will be watching lots of television during the holidays and, between all of the football games and Christmas specials, we are creating a nation of couch potatoes in just a few short months every year. Well, fight back without sacrificing your favorite television programs. How? Just stand up during every commercial and walk in place in the middle of the room. It might sound stupid, but just think about how many commercials appear on each program. You can log a lot of miles and burn a lot of calories without even leaving the house. Think you might be embarrassed in front of family and friends? That's their problem, not yours, and you might be pleasantly surprised when they join you (it might be fun for grandchildren too!).
  • STAND UP AND SUCK IT IN. It sounds simple because it is simple. Many people walk around slouched over, shuffling along dragging their feet with absolutely no sense of energy. They are sleepwalking through life. Make a concentrated effort to stand up straight, throw your shoulders back, hold your chest high, suck in your tummy and walk with purpose. Try it while you are holiday shopping. Walk like you mean it. It takes a little more effort in the beginning, but after a while it will become a habit.
These simple suggestions can help you to have a healthier holiday season this year and every year hereafter. And, maybe you can convince Santa to join you.

Considering Your New Year's Resolutions?

No Smoking ImageIf you're thinking of kicking off the new year
by kicking the habit, be sure to pause over every magazine advertisement you see for smoking cessation products. Merely looking at such ads seems to make cigarette smokers more likely to try quitting and to succeed at it, according to a Pulse wire report. This is true even when persons seeing the ads don't actually go out and purchase the anti-smoking gum, pill, or patch being advertised.

How and why does this work? Interviewed by the wire service, policy analysis professor Alan Mathios of Cornell University said that the marketing of smoking cessation products appears to have significant spill-over effects. It is believed to reinforce the anti-smoking message coming from public health officials and to strengthen the determination of quitters who keep seeing the magazine ads after they've stopped smoking.

Walk the Walk

Maybe the perfect New Year's Resolution
would be launching that fitness walking program you've been meaning to start. If so, can help! It ranks neighborhoods according to how many parks, restaurants, businesses, schools, theaters, and other popular destinations are within convenient walking distance.

The website's creators told the Washington Post that walking can be more than a healthful physical activity: It can also provide mental and social exercise that promotes interactions within the community.

If you visit the website and enter your address, you'll see all your nearby destinations and be given their distances from your starting point. Neighborhood "walk scores" range from zero to 100 depending on how many destinations are located within one mile. Come to think of it, this information might prompt you to walk instead of driving to a local shop or cafe. Still, the system is slated to receive future upgrades. "There are a lot of things that make a neighborhood walkable that we're not measuring right now," a Walkscore spokesman told the Post.

Salty Language

The holiday season
may not be the most accommodating time to get nutritional advice across, but dietary sodium doesn't take a vacation from contributing to high blood pressure. So here's a short-and-sweet, easy habit to start now and carry through into the new calendar year: To remove some of the excess salt, always drain and rinse your canned vegetables before preparing them.

Keep Stress at Bay During the Holidays

Although this time of year
should mean relaxing with friends and family, sometimes the season has a way of turning hectic -- and nerves can get frazzled. In fact, all year through nearly four out of ten Americans report feeling stressed out frequently, according to a recent Gallup poll. Another 39 percent say they are sometimes stressed.

To find ways to relieve all this stress, the Pulse wire service consulted stress expert Dr. Erin Olivo, who provided these helpful relaxation ideas:
  • Choosing the right lighting and music can help to create a soothing atmosphere that eases tension. But don't forget another essential ingredient for encouraging a peaceful environment: pleasing aromas!
  • Try a little hand reflexology: Gently massage the inside of your right palm, using your left thumb in a circular motion. Then massage the other palm.
  • Laugh, laugh, laugh! Dr. Olivo says it releases endorphins and other healthful hormones, lowers blood pressure, and increases the blood's oxygen levels.

Quotation Corner

As this year draws to a close,
we'd like to leave you with a warm thought, a happy thought, and an uplifting thought with which to ring in the new year!  
Emily Dickinson Image
"Old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read."
                                                  -- Quoted by Francis Bacon in Apothegm
"We turn not older with years, but newer every day."
                                                   -- Emily Dickinson
"When it comes to staying young, a mind-lift beats a face-lift any day."
                                                  -- Marty Bucella

Year End Savings on all SFA Educational Programs

Until December 21, 2007
, SFA is offering special year end savings on all of our internationally respected educational programs. Start now to make 2008 the year that you gain the senior fitness knowledge and professional credentials you need to serve the 50,000,000 Americans aged 60 or more.
Please click here for ordering information.

Experience! readers: Thank you for your interest and questions. Due to the high volume of contacts SFA receives, we cannot respond to individual queries or comments. However, the newsletter does address frequently asked questions and topics of vital interest to our members.

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