Thank you to all of you who took the time to complete the survey I sent out last week.

I am incredibly impressed at how many of you are out walking almost everyday!! With everything we are being told we should not be doing during this pandemic, walking is the one thing we all seem to be out doing, maybe because there is nothing else to do?

I personally love walking, especially with my 2 dogs, Aya and Harry. They make sure I never forget to get my daily walk.

Here are some great tips from McMaster Optimal Aging on How to Make Walking More Fun.

Try Nordic walking

Nordic walking is a type of walking using poles that look like those used in cross country skiing. This form of walking exercise originated in Finland where it was developed as a summer conditioning program for cross-country skiers. It is beneficial in that it involves not only the muscles from your lower body, but also those from your arms and upper back to move the poles. Research has shown that Nordic walking (when compared to regular walking) burns more calories and is perceived as less strenuous.

Listen to music while you walk

When you’re walking and you hear a catchy song, does the music encourage you to step up the pace so that you’re moving in time to the beat? Listening to music while walking has been shown to help improve walking speed and “gait” (pattern and manner of walking) which are important for optimal aging. Choose music you like with a distinct and steady rhythm, making sure the volume still allows you to hear traffic and other noise around you.

Walk with someone else in your household

Walking with others can be effective at improving blood pressure, heart rate, body fat, fitness, and walking speed, among other benefits. During the pandemic, it is not recommended to gather with others outside of your household, but if you live with others, walking with those in your household can help motivate you. While on your walk, remember to maintain a safe distance of 2 meters from people outside of your household.

Use wearable technology to record performance

Wearable technologies, including simple pedometers to multi-function devices, are popular among people trying to lose weight, become fit, and improve their overall health. They can track your distance and heart rate and encourage you to be more active. If you’re an avid walker or are looking for something to keep you accountable, a wearable device could help.

Walking is a relatively easy way to stay active – it doesn’t require any fancy equipment or a gym membership to do. If you are looking for ways to make it more interesting, try Nordic walking for a full body workout, or walking to music to increase your pace. If you are looking to track your performance over time, a wearable device can help.  

For the original article click here

Here is a great video describing the Gift of Walking from everybodywalk.org

Very worth the watch!

Trouble Sleeping? Exercise Could Be the Solution

Exercise will help you get more and better sleep. Whether it’s walking, running, weightlifting, yoga … it doesn’t really matter. Studies are clear that regular, moderately intense exercise improves sleep length and quality.
After 65, sleep issues can increase accidents, falls, cognitive decline, depression and more. 

Here are a few tips for restful nights.

  • Don’t exercise too close to bedtime, since it can stimulate your brain and raise your body temperature, changes that can keep you up.
  • Maintain bedtime routines and schedules.
  • Get some sunlight every day.
  • Keep your bedroom cool, dark and free of electronics.
  • Avoid caffeine after noon and too much alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Don’t drink much of anything as bedtime approaches; it could make you need to get out of bed.
  • Talk to your doctor about chronic issues. You could have sleep apnea or another serious but treatable disorder.

Our whole family (even my teenage sons) now wear a sleep mask when we go to bed to ensure that extra dark sleeping environment – I must confess it is a game changer!! I am an early riser (with the sun) and it allows me to sleep a little longer or at least until my alarm goes off.

Best sleep mask ever – according to my shift working husband:

Manta Sleep Mask – Click here

February Is Heart Month

Fours Ways to reduce your risk of Heart Disease:

Modify your diet to reduce cholesterol
Consider a more plant based diet that include nuts, plant-based proteins, soluble fibre, and plant sterols.

Make exercise part of your daily routine
Include some form of fitness into your everyday routine (walking, yoga, strength training etc.)

Be aware of hidden heart risks in your medicine cabinet
NSAIDs can increase the risk of heart attack, with the level of risk tied to the type of NSAID, how much is taken, and for how long. This doesn’t mean you should stop taking them altogether, but understanding their risk is important when assessing whether they are needed.

Lower your salt intake
Salt is a major source of dietary sodium and consuming too much sodium increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and in particular, high blood pressure. 

For more details check out the following link from the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal

7 Reasons to Lift Weights Later in Life

Here are seven more countless reasons why “older” people should be lifting weights.

  1. It is good for cardiovascular health. Resistance training lowers blood pressure, bad cholesterol and inflammation.
  2. Resistance training relives anxiety and tension.
  3. It helps improve our self-esteem and keeps us from thinking we are weak.
  4. It can improve memory and mild cognitive impairment.
  5. Strength training is effective at treating the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. It reduces fasting glucose and improves overall glycemic control.
  6. Weightlifting helps us recover from hip fractures.
  7. It boosts our metabolism, in addition to burning fat and building muscle. So we are also using more calories when we are resting and sleeping.

All older adults should participate in weight training a minimum of 2-3 days a week.