Author, James  Evans, demonstrating the use of a "PAR COURSE" station. 

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Stretching to Relieve Lower Back Pain

A Healthy Smile is More than Just Cosmetic


Exercise to Prevent Falling


Overmedication of Older Adults


PAR COURSE EXERCISE...Outdoor Exercise For Everyone

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Click here to see James Evans' article, Resolutions That Work. 

 

 

SENIOR FITNESS

 

Resolve to Follow the Daily W's for the New Year

By

Jim Evans

DEAR JIM: Every year I make the same New Year’s resolution to lose weight and start exercising, but the older I get – I’m 79 now – the less motivated I am. It seems like I’m doomed before I even get started. I know that I should take this more seriously because I already have high blood pressure, and the doctor says I am pre-diabetic. Do you have any tips to help an old gal keep her resolution this year? DISCOURAGED IN DECATUR

 

DEAR DISCOURAGED: I don’t know what could possibly be more motivating than the potential consequences of high blood pressure – namely a stroke – or diabetes, but focusing on a broader resolution of improving your overall quality of life instead of narrowing it down to just losing weight and increasing your level of physical activity might improve your probability of success. Resolve to follow these daily W’s for the New Year:

  • Water, drink more of it. Dehydration is a common problem among older adults, and it can cause muscle fatigue, leg cramps, and light-headedness or fainting in its earliest stages. Many older adults have decreased thirst sensation anyway, so they simply don’t realize when they are becoming dehydrated. Drinking more water can also help you to control your weight, but remember that the “timing” is more important than the quantity. You’ve heard me recommend this before - drink a full 8-oz glass of water when you first get up in the morning, before every meal, before every snack, and before you go to bed at night. Yes, you will run to the bathroom more often, but guess what!?! You will also lose weight.

  • Walk at least 30 minutes a day. No cheating – I mean every day. Wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes, put one foot in front of the other and go for it. Enjoy the fresh air and the scenery. Listen to the birds and enjoy the wonder of life around you. If you get bored, change direction and take a different route. If the weather is inclement, stand in your living room in front of the TV and walk in place for 30 minutes. Speed isn’t as important as movement. Exercise in even its most elemental form of walking will increase your metabolism, enhance your circulation, improve muscle tone, and just plain make you feel better.

  • Wash your hands several times a day. Many common illnesses are transmitted by simply touching your face with your hands during the course of the day, so the more often you wash your hands, the better – not just rinsing them but really WASHING them. Even healthy younger adults suffer from colds or the flu, of course, but older adults are often more susceptible and recover much more slowly, so let’s improve the odds of not catching something in the New Year.

  • Work at something every day. It doesn’t have to be a job, but keep yourself busy. Volunteer in your community, do a crossword puzzle, visit your friends, build a birdhouse, knit a sweater – do some kind of project to keep your mind and body active and alert and give you a daily sense of accomplishment.

  • Write a letter to someone every day – a friend, a relative, or someone you haven’t heard from in a long time. It doesn’t have to be long letter - even a short note will have a positive effect on you and the person to whom you are writing. Is there someone in your life to whom you would like to apologize or thank? Everyone looks forward to receiving a letter in the mail, and you will be pleasantly surprised at how many letters you will receive once you start this daily habit. It will help you stay connected with the people who are important in your life. Somebody has to start the ball rolling - why not you?

  • Weigh yourself every day at the same time. Mornings are best – usually when you first get out of bed - because you will always weigh less than at any other time of the day (before you drink that first glass of water). It will make you more aware of your weight during the course of the day so that you are more likely to make healthier decisions.

  • Wear something comfortable. This might mean forgoing high heels or even a brassiere, but what do you care what anybody else thinks anyway? Forget about dressing to conform to what you think everybody expects of you and wear what feels good to you.

And, finally, start looking for the biggest New Year’s calendar that you can find in your Christmas mail (call your insurance agent if he/she hasn’t already sent you one). Hang the calendar in a prominent place in your home where you will see it several times a day. Pick a date in January to begin your new “quality of life” resolution, and before you go to bed each night, draw a great big X in the box for that day if you have completed every one of the 7 W’s. It’s a simple way of keeping score, and if you can accomplish this for 30 days in a row, you will have succeeded in your resolution. Why? Because by then it will be a habit! Don’t be surprised if you lose some weight too! It might take a little discipline for the first few days, but you’ll quickly begin to like it, and it will greatly enhance your health and your quality of life. Will you do this for me? I’m counting on you.

Jim Evans is a 38-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and a nationally recognized fitness consultant.

 

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