Ways to Stay Fit and Still Have Fun

Middle age (and beyond) is more of a mind concept than anything else. Still, you can’t deny that physical activity gets harder to keep up with as you age. Women start to lose about five percent of their muscle mass in their 30s, and this percentage rises again in their 60s, according to Prevention. This makes exercise and physical activity even more important. Read on for ways to keep fit and have fun at the same time.

Swimming

Swimming is perfect for over-50 bodies because it is low-impact, which limits the stress put on joints and bones, and it’s aerobic, which works out the heart muscle. If you find you get bored with swimming laps, do some of the same exercises you would do on land. Try knee-high jogging in place, squat jumps, jumping jacks and flutter kicks. Water exercise burns as many calories as land-based exercise, claims Fitness. For example, treading water for one minute burns 11 calories, which is more than running 6 mph for a minute. If you’re still getting bored, join a water exercise class for some fun and socialization.

Another benefit of swimming is that it requires pretty minimal gear. All you need is a pool large enough to swim around in and a swimsuit. A good pair of goggles, nose clips, ear plugs and flippers also can help you get back into your groove. The best thing about exercising in water, though, is that you won’t sweat.

Strength Training on Dry Land

If you prefer dry land, look for targeted strength exercises to increase or preserve your muscle mass. Some good exercises include:

  • Chair squats: These work the major lower body muscles, including the glutes. The lower you squat, the more resistance your body provides.
  • Lateral/Front raises: Use weights or small dumbbells to build up your shoulders and major deltoid muscles.
  • Push-ups: These tone the chest and the back of the arms. Use dumbbells if pushing up from the floor strains your wrists.
  • Rowing: This can correct or prevent a hunched-over posture by strengthening your back. Rowing can be done from a seated position on the floor or standing.

Round Out Exercises with Yoga

Finally, there’s yoga. Since you have an AARP card, check out the website (www.aarp.org) to find yoga classes in your area for people over 50. You may already be doing yoga and not even know it. Whether it’s stretches or balancing exercises, it’s all yoga and it’s helping you stretch your muscles and improve your balance.

AARP gives three reasons for practicing yoga in your 50s: lessening hypertension, strengthening bones and focusing on wellness. The article cites a study from the Journal of Clinical Hypertension that states that yoga reduces systolic blood pressure by 33 points for participants that did yoga for six hours a week. It also explains that because yoga is a weight-bearing activity, it slows bone thinning, which helps prevent osteoporosis.

Best of all, yoga helps your muscles be prepared for your other workouts.

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Qualities That Really ‘Make the Man’

What makes the man? Is it a nice suit? How about a high-priced car? A high-paying job? There’s more to men than these superficial qualities. These are the accomplishments real men should strive for.

Health: See the World

Happiness and travel seem to be correlated. In fact, a recent study from Cornell University reports that travel just might be the secret to happiness. The study found that spending money on experiences, like going on a trip, are much more likely to bring a person happiness than spending money on material things. So if you’re thinking that a pricey sportscar or new designer watch will solve all your problems, you’re wrong. Instead of splurging on luxury items, book a vacation. Whether you travel abroad or just over to the next town, your experience is likely to bring happiness into your life.

Hobbies: Try Something New

It takes courage to try something new. So often we find ourselves stuck in our same routines, doing the same things, over and over. We do this because it’s comfortable, it doesn’t require us to step out of our comfort zone. However, being stagnate in a regular routine could potentially be holding you back. Trying something new opens up the possibility of trying something you might actually like. It also keeps you from growing bored, and it even forces you to grow. So, if you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone, consider trying something new like skeet shooting or hot yoga to challenge yourself. Learning how to use a firearm or mastering a handstand on the mat are both challenging, new ways to open up your life to new experiences and possible new hobbies you just might really enjoy. Before you head to that class or the shooting range, be sure you’re equipped with the proper shooting supplies or yoga essentials to make the experience a successful one.

Relationships: Always Be Loving and Kind

We live in a world where men are highly encouraged to be aggressive and masculine. From a young age, boys are taught how to act by the media — but the message isn’t always the right one. The way that men are portrayed in the media make young boys think that it is normal to mistreat and disrespect women. Break the mold, teach your sons — and yourself — to always be loving and kind toward women. This means listening, spending quality time and sharing your life together. If you need it, consider counseling as extra support. It’s often hard to admit that you may need help in your relationships, or even in other areas of your life, but by seeking out therapy or relationship-building classes, you can grow as a man and better your relationship at the same time.

Education: Be Well-Versed and Well-Read

The more you read, the more successful you are. It is as simple as that. Many of the ultra-successful people today cite reading as they key to success. Observer reports that Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year. Mark Cuban reads more than three hours each day. And when asked how he learned to build rockets, Elon Musk said, “I read books.” If you’re searching for something new to read, check out Amazon’s top seller list and browse your interests to find something new to sit down with.

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Free Health Screenings at Sam’s Club on October 8

sams-club

There are so much going on this weekend in Maryland but don’t ignore your health.  Sam’s Club offers free health screenings all year long and if you have not checked out your body yet, this is a good day to go since its cloudy and there is rain in the forecast.

While men are well known for avoiding the doctor, a recent survey found that 82% of women say they would rather do all of their family’s grocery shopping than go to the doctor.* To help encourage women to prioritize their health and to offer them a convenient way to do so, Sam’s Club is hosting free health screenings on Saturday, October 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., while supplies last. These “Support Her Health” screenings are available to both members and the public, valued at $150, and include the following tests:

 

  • Total cholesterol
  • HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Blood pressure
  • Body fat percentage
  • Glucose
  • Vision (not available at all locations)
  • Hearing (not available at all locations)
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Getting Fit With Your Furry Pal

 

Young attractive sport girl running with dog in park

Young attractive sport girl running with dog in park

In order to find and keep the motivation to exercise more, eat better and lose weight, some people turn to a workout partner for help. Knowing that another person will keep them company during workouts and hold them accountable can be really useful. On the flip side, in order to exercise with another person usually involves a number of texts and emails to set up your workout schedule. Not only is this time consuming, but if your schedules don’t match up, it can be more frustrating than successful.

If you are fortunate enough to share your life and home with a dog, you have a built-in workout partner just waiting to get out and exercise with you. Check out the following tips on how you and your dog can lose weight and get healthy together.

Think beyond the walk around the block

While most dogs adore going for walks with you — and walking is a terrific way to get out and get active — you can also try other workouts with your pooch. If you enjoy running and your dog is young and fit enough for a good cardio workout, alter your walks with jogs. If you’re both new to running, make sure you build up to it so you don’t over do it or overexercise your pup. It’s also important to maintain safety, so make sure you keep your dog on a leash. If your pup is prone to pulling, consider a comfortable harness that will prevent him from getting too far ahead of you. You can also try cycling with him by your side; this is especially great for extremely active dogs who need a lot of exercise to stay calm. To keep both hands on the handlebars and not the leash, you can buy the Walky Dog Exerciser; it attaches to your bike easily and keeps your dog running safely next to you. As Barkpost notes, since most dogs love swimming, you can also exercise in the backyard pool together — swim laps or work with a paddle board while your pooch dog paddles around or fetches floating balls. Just make sure yours knows how to swim and is able to get out of the pool on his own.

Keep tabs on your workouts

To keep track of your combined exercises, you can treat yourself and your furry friend to a fitness wearable. Monitor your pup’s level of exercise with the FitBark, and arm yourself with the Apple Watch Sport. With the smartwatch, you can run an app called Workout, which lets you choose your favorite workouts, get reminders about your milestones as you exercise and see a detailed summary of what you did.

Be inspired to eat better

Your four-legged friend can also help inspire you to eat more healthily. For example, most dogs love veggies like green beans, carrots and pumpkin puree. As you shop for these healthy treats, throw some extra carrots and beans in the cart for you and stock up on other fruits and veggies that you like. Also, instead of buying your pup store-bought treats that often contain artificial colors and unhealthy oils, consider making him a batch of homemade treats. There are plenty of dog treat recipes available online, so find one that sounds good to you. While you are at it, search for healthy forms of your favorite treats, too.

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See Summer Better

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Raglan

Summer is the time to have fun, be active and be outside.  As a health professional, I encourage everyone to wear sunglasses year round but especially in the summertime.  The sun is not only damaging to your skin but your eyes as well.  The sun is strong and harsh especially to your retina.  I have a personal story to share.  My brother spent years outside in the sun not protecting his eyes and two years ago his ophthalmologist told him he had retinal damage due to not protecting his eyes.  In the past two years, he bought sunglasses and have been wearing them religiously.

Three years ago, I bought my eyeglasses and sunglasses through my hospital because they provided a discount.  After paying $800 for eyeglasses and sunglasses (after my insurance and discount was added on), I decided I did not want to pay that much for eyeglasses that I will use for only two years.  I also wear contacts and usually only wear my eyeglasses twice a year.  Lately, I have been wearing my eyeglasses more since I invested so much money on them.

I had brunch with my brother last week and he mentioned he wanted to purchase eyeglasses at Warby Parker.  I was intrigued because my brother mentioned the price of one pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses. I could purchase eight different pairs of eyeglasses or sunglasses with the amount of money of two pairs I purchased with my hospital discount!

I have heard of this company before through social media but never took the time to look into the website until last week.  I wondered how people could choose their eyeglasses online without even trying them on.  I usually rely on the optometrist or salespeople in the store to help me find glasses that look good on me. Coincidentally,  after my conversation with my brother about Warby Parker, I received an email from the brand team at Warby Parker to check out the #SeeSummerBetter campaign.  My first thoughts? The eyeglasses and sunglasses styles from Warby Parker are trendier than the styles in the optometrist office.  And the price was unreal! The prices are $95 for single lenses and $295 for progressive lenses.

I started browsing the eyeglasses page and found a few that I really liked.  I like that the colors are not the traditional black, brown or blue.  The colors at Warby Parker are vibrant and colorful and reflects a person’s personality or even mood for the day.  The eyeglasses that I liked are the Welty, Leighty, Dahly, Wilky, Keen, and Upton.  Yes, that is too many for me to choose from.

Since I wear prescription sunglasses, I started perusing the sunglasses section.  I tend to go bolder for my sunglasses color. These are the sunglasses that I liked at first glance:  Tilley, Raglan (apparently pink is not my color and is in the picture above), Downing, Banks,Roland, Eastman, Hattie, Madison, Beckett 16, Ellison.  Oh my goodness, I can keep on going. I seem to like a lot of sunglasses from Warby Parker!

After perusing the Warby Parker website for the eyeglasses and sunglasses that I like, I started reading the other hyperlinks in the website like the retail locations and Our Story.  Little did I realize there is a brick and mortar store less than a mile away from me.  I usually jog in the area but never paid any attention to the stores.  I always like to hear the story behind a company and the Warby Parker story hit home for me.  I always wondered why eyeglasses were so expensive and it is something that people need to see.  I personally do not want to spend a lot of money on something I need medically. I usually buy a new pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses every two years or so.  I skipped buying a new pair last year because of the ridiculous amount of money that I spent for one pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses in 2013.

Warby Parker also has a home try-on if there are no retail locations near you.  The company will send you five frames of your choice to try on for five days and the shipping is free! I love free shipping.  You can buy anytime and if you need help with choosing a frame, they will help you with the help of social media and hashtags.

The concept of buying eyeglasses and sunglasses online is not new but the fact that it is easy to do, makes it worthwhile for me to try.  Thank you Warby Parker!

 

 

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3 Affordable and Eco-Friendly Home Repairs

Home repairs are a fact of life when you’re a homeowner. Depending on the damages, these repairs can take a good chunk out of your funds, particularly if you want quality materials. Eco-friendly options tend to be somewhat more expensive but, in the long run, will often save you money. Here are a few environmentally friendly options for when your home needs repairing.

 

  1. A Color Change for Your Roof

 

The standard dark, asphalt shingles you find on most houses are not only unrecyclable but also draw in heat, increasing your energy costs and negatively impacting the surrounding climate. With steadily rising popularity, white roofs are making an appearance in the eco-friendly market. These white roofs are comparable in price to their dark counterparts depending on the materials used. The asphalt option is the least expensive, but remains unrecyclable.

A more expensive alternative – but better in the long run – is a composite white roofing material. They are entirely sustainable and retain their light color for many years as opposed to the more rapidly fading asphalt shingles. Also unlike asphalt shingles, these unique tiles come with a 50-year warranty, making them much cheaper than the standard 20-year lifespan of asphalt shingles.

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Furthermore, this change can make your home more unique and more attractive for the time you decide to sell your home. Not only will it visually stand out but you can also draw potential buyers in with the reduced energy costs, increased lifespan, and sustainability of this unique roof. Image via Pixabay by midascode

 

  1. Replace Old Appliances with More Efficient Options

 

If one of your appliances has bitten the dust, consider replacing it with an Energy Star alternative. Energy Star items can cost more upfront but the amount of energy saved will make it worth the extra cost. Furthermore, you can even get a tax break for simply owning an Energy Star appliance. On top of the personal gain, Energy Star appliances positively impact the planet by reducing emissions. Beyond the initial cost, there is no con to counteract the numerous pros behind an Energy Star appliance.

 

For things like toilets and sinks, a slightly different array of options is available. Low flush toilets reduce the amount of water used per flush. This can save hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water per year. Aerated sinks push out both water and air, reducing the water flow while maintaining water pressure. Tankless water heaters simply force water through a heating system instead of filling a tank with a limited supply of hot water. All of these options will save you money in the long run and don’t cost much more upfront.

 

  1. For Floor Repairs, Think Recycled or Alternative

 

Rather than using new wood and contributing to forest destruction, consider using reclaimed wood or even bamboo to make any repairs to a wood floor. Bamboo is rising in popularity as both a flooring and a building material. It grows very quickly – up to 3ft per day – and is a very sustainable alternative to more common choices like maple, oak, and pine. Some hardwoods can cost up to $10 per foot while bamboo is most often found between $2 and $5 per foot.

 

Reclaimed wood, while sustainable, is the more costly option. It runs at about $8 per square foot and may be best for repairs rather than entire floor replacements. Of course, wood floors are not a necessity. Tile flooring is also very sustainable and extremely flexible in regards to color and design. Tile is more durable but also more expensive to install.

 

Regardless of your home repair, there is always a sustainable or eco-friendly option whether it be bamboo floors, an Energy Star refrigerator, or a brand new white roof. With a little research, you can easily be on your way to saving money and doing your part to improve the environment.

 

 

 

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Just Keep Swimming: Wearable Water Gear That Gets Everybody in the Pool

Swimming pool - young happy couple relax on poolside

Swimming pool – young happy couple relax on poolside

 

The snow may be falling and the winds may be howling, but it’s never too soon to start dreaming of warm temperatures and the return of swim season. In fact, if you and your family have access to an indoor pool or heated garage or large, tiled area, your blissful afternoons spent by the refreshing water never have to end — even when it’s 20 degrees outside. Check your local community center for indoor pools or get a small above-ground pool for your little ones to practice in before summer hits.

To encourage your kids to enjoy spending time in the pool and inspire yourself to get some much-needed exercise, there are a variety of innovative types of technology and other equipment. Check out the following ideas to get everyone in the family in the pool:

Aqua Jogger Fitness Belts

In this season of New Year’s Resolutions, purchasing some equipment that makes it fun and easy to get a good workout in the pool makes a lot of sense. For example, the Aqua Jogger Fitness Belt is perfect for swimmers of all ages and fitness levels. These clever and supportive belts turn any pool into a great place for a workout, and they will allow you and your kids to do just about any type of land activity you can think of, from running and aerobic dancing to cross-country skiing. The comfy belt will suspend you in the water at shoulder level, which lets you rest easily in the water and use the majority of your body to exercise.

TomTom Spark Cardio Fitness Tracker

A great tech item that will encourage you to swim laps is the TomTom Spark Cardio fitness tracker. This resilient and waterproof device can handle time in the pool with ease. As a bonus, you can play music while swimming laps, and also get accurate heart rate, time, distance, speed and pace info. A word of advice — you might want to pick up a couple waterproof fitness trackers if you can. Kids love wearing these devices and will enjoy timing themselves as they crawl, butterfly and dog paddle their way across the pool.

Waterproof Smartphone Case

While it’s important to keep a smartphone near the pool in case of emergency, we all know that phones do not mix well with water. To keep your phones safe and maybe even take a few selfies under water, consider purchasing a couple Griffin Survivor Waterproof phone cases. This rugged, affordable and waterproof case is designed to handle accidental and intentional drops in up to nine feet of water. Your kids are sure to love using their phones by or even in the pool; for instance, as you paddle back and forth they can stay busy taking some silly selfies under water, or you can ask them to take video of your swimming stroke from below the surface to check that your form is spot on.

Mini Bluetooth Speakers

If you love working out to good music but are unsure how to combine your favorite tunes with 20 minutes of aqua aerobics, check out the SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II from Bose. This innovative little speaker can be set up on a nearby table or chair and will deliver amazingly powerful and natural sound. You can connect it wirelessly to your waterproof smartphone, which will allow you to enjoy your music while working out in the water. The battery lasts a full 10 hours, which means you won’t have to recharge it after every workout.

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