A Few Exercises for Beginners to Stay Fit Physically and Mentally

Doing regular exercise and staying healthy is very important to ensure good quality of life. Exercise can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits.

Regular exercise enhances your fitness level while enabling you to stay trim and healthy. If your fitness levels are good, it will boost your immune system and prevent you from falling sick. Exercise is the best way to become resilient to flu, fever, and other illnesses. Physical exercise keeps you energetic and boosts your mood as it releases chemicals called endorphins into your brain which in turn makes you feel positive and peaceful.

Exercises for Beginners to Stay Fit Physically and Mentally

Although exercise has many benefits, many people often skip daily exercise. So if you are one of them, it’s time you started exercising regularly. Here are some simple exercises that you can incorporate into your daily routine to stay fit.

  • Lunges: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and arms down at sides. Take a step forward with your right foot. Bend your knees and stop when your thigh is parallel to the ground. Make sure that your right knee is not kept past your right foot. Push up off your right foot and return to the starting position. Repeat the same step on your left leg. Complete 10 reps for 3 sets.
  • Push up: This is a basic exercise where you start with plank position, keep your body tight, shoulder pulled down and back. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body and when your chest grazes the floor, extend your elbows and return to the start. Keep your elbows close to your body during the movement.
  • Dumbbell rows: This is a compound exercise that strengthens the muscles of your body. Start with a dumbbell in each hand. Bend forward at the waist so your back is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Be certain not to arch your back. Let your arms hang straight down and your neck is in line with your back and your core is engaged. Starting with your right arm, bend your elbow and pull the weight straight up toward your chest, making sure to engage your lat muscles, and stopping just below your chest.Return to the starting position and repeat with the left arm.
  • Standing over dumbbells: This exercise uses multiple joints and muscles, and is the best exercise for the shoulders. Take a light set of dumbbells and start by standing, either with your feet shoulder-width apart or staggered. Move the weights overhead so your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Push up until your arms are fully extended above your head. Keep your head and neck stationary. After a brief pause, bend your elbows and lower the weight back down until your triceps are parallel to the floor again.
  • Squats: Start by standing straight, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and your arms at your side. Keep your chest and chin up, push your hips back and bend your knees as if you’re going to sit on a chair. Make sure that your knees don’t bow inward or outward, drop down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, bringing your arms out in front of you in a comfortable position. Pause for one second, then extend your legs and return to the starting position.
  • Burpees: This is an effective exercise for your whole body. Begin by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms on your side. Put your hands on the front and start to squat down and as soon as your hands reach the ground, pop your legs back to a push-up position. Do a push-up and then get back to the starting push-up position and jump your feet up to your palms by hinging at the waist. Your feet must be as close to your hands as possible, landing them outside your hands if necessary.
  • Single leg deadlifts: This exercise is for improving leg strength. Stand with a dumbbell in your right hand and your knees slightly bent.Hinging at the hips, begin to kick your left leg straight back behind you, lowering the dumbbell down toward the ground.When you reach a comfortable height with your left leg, slowly return to the starting position in a controlled motion, squeezing your right glute. Ensure that your pelvis stays square to the ground during the movement.
  • Sit-ups: This is an effective exercise if you want abdominal muscles. Lie down on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Keep your arms behind you head and slowly begin to roll up from your head, engaging your core throughout. Don’t strain your neck during the upward motion. When your chest comes close to your legs, begin the controlled phase back down to the starting position.
  • Side planks: Lie on your right side with your left leg on top of the right leg. Prop your upper body up by placing your right forearm on the ground, elbow directly under your shoulder. Contract your core to stiffen your spine and lift your hips and knees off the ground, forming a straight line with your body.

Exercising helps to keep your body and mind fresh, and stay mentally, emotionally and physically fit. Begin each exercise with small reps and with time add more reps.

Five Quick Tips To Get Fit Before Valentine’s Day

New Year has arrived and Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate your appreciation and affection for the people you love in your life. If you are looking to get in shape and look your best to impress that special person in your life, you would need to lose those pounds accumulated over Christmas. Here are some fitness tips that can get you back in shape before V-Day:

Tips To Get Fit Before Valentine’s Day

  • Losing weight: Just with few weeks to go, it is time for men to hit the gym and try High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) (www.askmen.com). According to a study in the Journal of Applied Nutrition Physiology and Metabolism, HIIT increases your body’s capacity for burning fat by 60%. Work out intensely for 30 seconds, rest for 2 minutes and then repeat. This could involve sprinting on the treadmill, using the rowing machine, or any sort of cardio activity. After a week’s time, try explosive weight training that can give your quick results with more muscle tension. Finally, you can add high intensity exercise which involves multiple muscle groups.
  • Bulking up: If you are skinny and wish to gain some packs by Valentine’s Day, www.askmen.com recommends focusing on training all the major muscle groups in each workout, instead of on different days. The goal should be to use higher weights with few reps. But make sure that you don’t lift more and end up injuring yourself. On day 1, train with a weight with which you can do 8 reps. For day 2, train with a weight you can do 5 reps with;, and on day 3 train with a weight you can just about do 10 reps. Begin each workout with squats , followed by chin-ups and rows and finally, bench presses and overhead presses. Make sure to take two days rest in between the workouts so that your muscles can rebuild.
  • V-Day V cut: if you are in good shape and just want to get ripped abs before Valentine’s Day, make a few changes to your routine to cut body fat. Add HIIT to the end of your workout to get rid of that excess fat. Train your calves, forearms and abs together to get the best results.
  • Healthy diet: Eating healthy is important to be fit. Don’t go on a crash diet; instead, cut your calorie by about a sixth to avoid the metabolic slowdown. Eat fresh fruit, vegetables and lean protein and avoid processed food, fried food, soda, and excess caffeine.
  • Don’t starve yourself: Having healthy meals at the right intervals is important to stay fit. Don’t avoid breakfast. Eat small six meals every three hours. This will help keep your energy levels up, curb appetite, and discourage binge eating. Make sure to eating healthy snacks like sprouts, salads, etc. Taking green tea can help with weight loss.

Getting in shape before Valentine’s Day will boost your confidence and also your well-being. Don’t forget to continue to maintain your results by sticking to healthy habits.

Healthy Resolutions For 2020 That Will Change Your Life

A New Year’s resolution is a promise that an individual makes for self-betterment. Resolutions can take many forms. Common resolutions include quitting smoking or drinking, and losing weight. Good health is crucial to promote well-being at all ages. So let’s start this new decade with some healthy resolutions.

Healthy Resolutions For 2020

  • Drink more water: Drinking more water is first step towards staying healthy. It helps to keep your body hydrated deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout your body, and helps your organs flush out waste materials. While drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily is recommended, the actual quantity would depend on factors like body size, activity levels, and so on.
  • Don’t skip preventive care: Many people tend to skip the primary care wellness visit that helps manage your health. People often consider healthcare system as a sick care system and seek care only when they are not feeling well. But it is important for every person to focus on staying healthy through preventative care.
  • Make time for self care: Make time for yourself and focus on self care. Self-care need not be elaborate or time consuming. It can be doing some simple thing like taking a long bath every week, attending your favourite weekly exercise class, preparing a healthy meal for yourself, going for a nature walk, or getting an extra hour of sleep.
  • Sit less and move more: Most people have sedentary job today and they sit more and become inactive. Sitting for long hours can be harmful for your body. If you have desk job, make a resolution to take small walks or stretch for 5 minutes.
  • Cook more meals at home: Studies have shown that people who cook meals at home have better diet quality and less body fat. So start having more home cooked meals. Begin with making one meal a day, then increase the frequency over time until you’re making the majority of your meals and snacks at home.
  • Exercise more: Exercising regularly helps you to stay fit and healthy.
  • Control alcohol consumption: Cut down on alcohol consumption. In the beginning, it may not be easy but start with having one glass instead of two or more for a few days or few weeks. If you need a non-alcoholic beverage idea to replace your usual cocktail, try fruit-infused sparkling water, kombucha, etc.
  • Minimize screen time: Today, people spend their time on phones and computers for work or entertainment. Make a resolution to cut back screen time. This will improve your productivity and boost your mood also.
  • Eat healthy: Choose a sustainable diet. Sustainable eating is about choosing foods that are healthy for our environment and our bodies. It means consuming more plant-based foods including legumes (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts), whole grains, vegetables, fruits and nuts, and less red-meat and processed meat.

Sticking to these simple resolutions will help you to stay healthy and fit in 2020 and beyond.

January Observed as National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Also known as “congenital abnormality”, a birth defect can be defined as a health problem or a physical abnormality, which can be mild or severe. While some birth defects are life-threatening, others can be treated with medications. According to the Boston Children’s Hospital, the most common birth defects are heart defects, cleft lip/palate, Down syndrome and spina bifida.

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Women who are pregnant or those planning to become pregnant must have a clear understanding regarding birth defects and take steps to prevent these. Awareness about them will help you give your baby a healthy start in life. CDC reports that birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States each year.

The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) created with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1997 observes January as National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Such a month raises awareness about the importance of preventing birth defects during pregnancy. The theme for 2020 is “Best for You. Best for Baby.” The NBDPN is committed to the primary prevention of birth defects and improvement of outcomes for children and families living with birth defects.

Though all birth defects cannot be prevented, women can increase the chances of having a healthy baby by reducing their risk for getting infections before and during pregnancy.

CDC recommends these tips to prevent birth defects.

Reach a healthy weight before getting pregnant

Being underweight, overweight or obese can increase the risk for serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. Make sure to reach a healthy weight before becoming pregnant by staying physically active and eating a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats and oils. Also, work out to get medical conditions like diabetes and blood pressure under control.

Avoid harmful substances during pregnancy

Avoid consuming alcohol, smoking or taking addictive drugs during pregnancy. You also need to be careful with harmful exposures at work and home. Quitting smoking will provide a healthier environment for your baby. Drug addicts must consider counseling, treatment, and other support services from a healthcare provider before getting pregnant. Opioid use during pregnancy can also affect women and their babies.

Learn about all vaccines including flu-shot

Vaccines are crucial to protect you as well as your developing baby against serious diseases. Your doctor will recommend a flu shot and whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby. While the flu shot can be taken before or during pregnancy, whooping cough vaccine needs to be taken in the last three months of each pregnancy.

Daily intake of folic acid

It is recommended to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. Folic acid is a B vitamin that, if taken before and during early pregnancy, can help prevent neural tube defects (NTDs), which are major defects of the baby’s brain and spine. January 5-11, 2020 is also observed as Folic Acid Awareness Week, to increase awareness about the role folic acid plays in the prevention of congenital disabilities.

Take advice from your healthcare provider to stop or start a new medicine

Schedule a medical checkup and talk to your doctor about any medicine you start or stop. Along with discussing all medications, talk about your family medical history as well. Creating a treatment plan for your health condition even before becoming pregnant can help keep you and your developing baby healthy.

The NBDPN Education and Outreach Committee has developed materials and resources to assist state program staff and others interested in promoting birth defects prevention during this Birth Defects Prevention Month.

Advantages of Medical Weight Loss

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health. It will help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure and various other serious health conditions. Several factors influence body weight. These factors include environment, family history and genetics, metabolism (the way your body changes food and oxygen into energy), and habits or lifestyle. Many people who spend hours in the gym and follow a rigorous diet, including fad diets, find that these strategies don’t provide the desired results. Experts are touting medical weight loss as the quickest way to lose weight, with long-lasting results.

Let’s first see what medical weight loss means. Medical weight loss is a special weight loss strategy designed, presented, and managed by medical professionals. The team generally comprises a licensed physician, nurse, a dietician, a fitness trainer, and other experts. In addition to training people how to eat right and exercise correctly, the program teaches you how to incorporate lifestyle changes into your routine and get rid of habits that have made you gain weight. FDA-approved weight loss medications may be a part of a medical weight loss program.

Medical weight loss is the right way to lose weight in a healthy manner and keep it off for years to come (www.healthyhabitswellness.net). Let’s take a look at the advantages of medical weight loss, which according to recent reports, has provided positive results for many people.

Medical Weight Loss

  • Minimizes the chances of heart disease: The main advantage of losing weight is that there is a higher success rate of getting rid of heart diseases or other related health issues like diabetes, cholesterol and life threatening conditions. It helps you enjoy a better life with decreased health risks.
  • Restores energy: Being overweight can quickly reduce your energy and make even the simplest tasks difficult to carry out. As you start losing weight, the energy levels in your body will increase and you will feel more energetic and youthful.
  • Reduces weight without having to starve: A medical weight loss program begins with a short-term restrictive diet plan. Safe and effective appetite suppressant will also be prescribed after some time. Taking an appetite suppressant will make you feel full and reduce cravings. This will bring about a significant change in your weight.
  • Complete medical plan: Medical weight loss is termed as the quickest way to lose weight because it comes with a complete medical plan. The professionals will chart out a plan as per your requirements. Before the program begins, you will be examined for medical conditions that need to be taken into consideration. They will suggest a diet and routine tailored to your current level of fitness and medical needs. As you start losing weight and your health improves, your doctor will make the required changes to your program. Constant supervision and monitoring by professionals make medical weight loss one of the quickest ways to lose weight. The team will help you make the right choices to ensure best results.
  • Improves sleep: Sleeping too much or not sleeping enough can lead to obesity. Reducing weight improves quality of sleep. Research shows that losing at least 5 percent of your body weight will help you get better sleep. Medical weight management can address sleep apnea and snoring, two conditions often caused by excess weight around the neck.
  • Achieve good hormonal balance: Hormonal balance is essential for health and fitness. Your thyroid gland creates and secretes two very essential hormones, which are important for regulating metabolism and building muscle strength. Reducing weight improves hormone balance, and this in turn, helps maintain weight loss.
  • Improves mood: Reducing weight improves mental fitness. When you get rid of excess fat, a chemical called endorphin is released in your body. This chemical plays a crucial role in balancing mood and promotes positive feelings.
  • Maintain a healthier lifestyle: Making a permanent change is difficult to implement on your own, but a medical weight loss program makes it easier for you. With constant support and instruction, you can develop healthy habits.
  • Reduces joint pains: Having strong and flexible joints is important to perform your daily activities. But with weight gain, there are high chances of developing joint pains that can restrict simple activities such as walking, jogging etc. When you lose weight your skeletal frame and joints will have to support a lesser amount of mass of your body and joint aches will considerably decrease.
  • Better skin: Your medical weight loss plan will include a nutrient-rich diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. This will improve skin health and also detoxify the body.
  • Reduces stress: Losing weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise can reduce stress.
  • Improved memory: Losing weight and staying healthy increases brain power. Studies have shown that your memory gets sharper when you lose weight. Gaining weight makes it more difficult for you to remember things as the brain is unable to work efficiently. Losing weight will increase your memory retention abilities.
  • Both aesthetic and health benefits: In addition to improving your health, a well-managed weight loss program will improve body contour and overall physical appearance. You will look attractive in all the clothes you wear, which will enhance your confidence and self-esteem.

Enrolling in a medical weight loss solution will keep you motivated throughout your weight loss journey. With a weight loss program managed by medical professionals, you will receive the personalized support and proper guidance you need to achieve your weight loss goals.

AMA’s 10 New Year Resolutions for a Healthier 2020

Each year, as the calendar turns to January, millions of people make New Year resolutions mostly centered on popular genres such as health and fitness. However, research shows that while about 60% of us make New Year’s resolutions, only about 8% of us are successful in achieving them (www.inc.com). Regardless of whether they succeeded with their previous resolutions, most people go ahead and make a new set of resolutions-hoping for the best. This year, doctors at the American Medical Association (AMA) have released a list of 10 wellness-focused resolutions for 2020 to “help Americans make the most impactful, long-lasting improvements to their health in 2020 and beyond”. The 10 recommendations are as follows:

AMA’s 10 New Year Resolutions

  1. Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes: One of the most common chronic health conditions in the U.S., diabetes affect an estimated 30 million Americans and almost a quarter of Americans who have type-2 diabetes are undiagnosed, and even more people may have prediabetes without knowing it, says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). So take a self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org to find out if you’re at risk.
  2. Be more physically active: Adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity.
  3. Know your blood pressure numbers: Hypertension can lead to heart attack or stroke. So resolve to check your blood pressure and control it if needed.
  4. Eat healthy: Reduce intake of processed foods, especially those with added sodium and sugar, red meat and sugar-sweetened beverages for a better health. Instead, include more plant-based foods such as olive oil, nuts and seeds in your diet, and drink more water instead of sugary beverages and even 100% fruit juices.
  5. Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed: If you have been prescribed antibiotics, take them exactly as prescribed. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem and antibiotics will not make you feel better if you have a virus, such as a cold or flu.
  6. Restrict alcohol consumption: The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans makes the following recommendations for adults of legal drinking age: one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
  7. Quit tobacco and e-cigarette: Quitting smoking or tobacco and e-cigarette use (or vaping) is the best resolution anyone could male. Smoking puts you at risk of lung cancer as well as other types of cancer and is also associated with heart disease and other serious medical conditions. The AMA recommends talking to your doctor about how to quit vaping, and committing to keeping cars and homes smoke – and aerosol-free.
  8. Follow instructions on pain medication: If you’re prescribed painkillers, take them exactly as instructed by your doctor. Get rid of extras by taking them to a drug take-back site to prevent misuse. Sharing prescription drugs or improperly disposing of them may put them in the hands of people at risk for opioid dependence.
  9. Get your vaccines on time: This will help you and your family lower risk of getting sick and transmitting disease to others. The AMA recommends that everyone age six months or older get the annual influenza vaccine. Pregnant women can receive the flu vaccine during any trimester, but should get the Tdap vaccine early in the third trimester to protect against flu and whooping cough.
  10. Manage stress: Chronic stress can threaten your physical, mental and cognitive health. Find stress-reduction techniques that work for you. A good diet, sufficient sleep, daily exercise and wellness activities are key ingredients to managing stress.

In addition to following AMA’s recommendations, other New Year resolution suggestions include spending more time with your loved ones, avoiding unnecessary spending and saving more money for financial stability, having a plan to deal with obstacles, establishing a healthy sleep routine. Identify the right resolution that will make a difference in your life and create a plan on how to achieve it. Setting realistic goals will make them more attainable. You can’t improve your health in a single leap, but taking small steps can take you closer to your goal of a healthier, happier future.

Strategies to Cope with and Manage Anxiety

Strategies to Cope with and Manage Anxiety Feeling threatened or under pressure while facing a challenging situation like a job interview, exam, or moving to a new place, is quite normal. Feeling anxious is often considered healthy as it motivates you to work harder and to do a better job.  But when anxiety persists or becomes overwhelming, and when worries and fears interfere with your relationships and daily routine, you may have an anxiety disorder which needs medical treatment.

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” The duration or the severity of an anxious feeling can sometimes be out of proportion to the original trigger, or stressor. This leads to physical symptoms like increased blood pressure, nausea, and so on. These responses move beyond anxiety, leading to an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of emotional disorder and can affect anyone at any age.  There are many types of anxiety disorders:

  • Panic disorder: feeling recurring panic attacks at unexpected times. People who suffer from this condition may live in fear of a panic attack.
  • Phobia: excessive fear of a specific situation, object or activity.
  • Social anxiety disorder: extreme fear of  being judged  by other in social situations
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder: recurring irrational thoughts that lead to specific, repeated behaviours.
  • Post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This anxiety disorder follows a traumatic event.
  • Separation-compulsive disorder: fear of being away from home
  • Illness anxiety disorder: anxiety about your health

Anxiety causes different reactions in different people, ranging from stomach pain to racing heart rate. Anxiety can also generate symptoms such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, trouble concentrating, difficulty falling asleep, and restlessness.

An anxiety attack is a feeling of overwhelming apprehension, worry, distress, or fear. For many people, an anxiety attack builds slowly and it may worsen as a stressful event approaches. Symptoms include feeling faint or dizzy, shortness of breath, dry mouth, sweating, chills or hot flashes, apprehension and worry, restlessness, distress, fear, numbness or tingling, etc.

Here are some quick methods and long-term measures to deal with anxiety:

Quick Methods to Deal with Anxiety

Question your thought pattern: Negative thoughts can grow in your mind that may distort   the severity of the situation. One way to challenge your fears is to see whether you can take control of the situation.

  • Deep breathing helps: Breathing for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for five minutes is useful to slow down your heart rate and calm the nerves.
  • Consider aromatherapy: Using oils, incense stick, candles with good fragrance like lavender, sandalwood, etc., can be soothing. They work by activating certain receptors in the brain to ease anxiety.
  • Take a walk or do yoga: One of the best ways to stop anxiety is to walk away from the situation. Doing yoga shifts the focus to the body and may help relieve anxiety.   
  • Put down your thoughts: Writing down the thoughts that make you anxious is one way to getting them out of your head. This is very useful for people who experience anxiety sporadically. It may also work well for someone who has generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). However, if you think you have GAD, you should consider long term measures to treat the condition.

Long Term Measures to Deal with Anxiety

  • Identify and learn to manage your triggers: Identify your triggers with your therapist. Some can be obvious whereas others would be less obvious. Some common triggers are a stressful job or work environment, driving or travelling, genetics, withdrawal from drugs or certain, medications, side effects of certain medications, trauma, phobias, such as agoraphobia (fear of crowded or open spaces) and claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), some chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma, chronic pain, and having another mental illness such as depression.
  • Meditation: Mindful meditation, if done regularly, can help to train the brain to dismiss anxious thoughts.
  • Take supplements or change your diet: Taking supplements and changing your diet can help ease anxiety. Research shows that things like lemon balm, green tea, dark chocolate, and omega 3 fatty acids can help anxiety.
  • Medication: Talk to your doctor about taking medications to ease anxiety.
  • Keep your body and mind healthy: Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to stave off anxiety symptoms.
  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: CBT helps people learn various ways of thinking about and reacting to anxiety-causing situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviours before they spiral out of control.

Anxiety may always be a part of your life, but it shouldn’t overtake your day-to-day activities. Even the most extreme anxiety disorders can be treated so that the symptoms aren’t overwhelming.

Exercising in Winter – What Older Adults need to Know

Older adults should remain stay as active as possible, and exercise in a safe and healthy way. Physical activity can strengthen the body, ward off disease, boost mood, improve sleep, and much more. Outdoor activities are a great way for seniors to get some physical exercise. However, the cold and snowy weather can put a damper on outdoor fitness activities. Though winter is a beautiful time of year, snow, ice and cold temperatures can create challenging situations for anyone, especially seniors. Major two issues are:

Exercising in Winter

  • Cold weather can make older adults more susceptible to getting sick, and more vulnerable to infections.
  • For those with medical conditions, long periods of cold weather poses several health risks such as heart strain, muscle injury, hypothermia, frostbite, and falls.

But that doesn’t mean seniors should not exercise. According to Harvard Health, “Despite the risks, exercising in cold temperatures does offer benefits that you don’t get in warmer weather. For example, exercising in the sunlight can help people who have seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression triggered by decreased exposure to daylight. And some evidence suggests that exposure to cold weather may help activate brown fat cells, which are known to burn calories.”

With proper planning and preparation, older adults can maintain their exercise routine even in cooler temperatures.

  • Consult your doctor: If you have any kind of cardiovascular, lung, or balance issues, check with your doctor before exercising outdoors in the cold; know how you can exercise safely.
  • Check the temperature and weather forecast: Before heading outside, check the temperature and forecast. If it’s extremely cold, rainy, snowy, or icy, skip your outdoor workout and exercise indoors.
  • Choose the right time of day: In winter, stick to exercising during the warmest part of the day, such as around lunchtime, when the sun is at its peak.
  • Don’t forget safety gear and sunscreen: Though it’s freezing outside, the sun’s UV rays can be just as harmful as in summer. So don’t forget to protect your skin, eyes and lips. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30 for skin and use lip balm with sunscreen to protect your lips.
  • Cover up: Dress in layers and make sure you’re warm if you’re going outside. Bundling up in layers helps to be comfortable without getting overheated. If your body gets warmer with exercise, you can easily take off a layer and wrap it around your waist or put it in a small backpack. Wear athletic clothing, a hat, gloves, and heavy socks.
  • Don’t overdo the exercise: Whether you are doing your usual exercises or starting a new regimen, don’t overdo it. Build the amount of exercise you do slowly. If you can’t manage 30 minutes in one go, break it up into 10-minute chunks.
  • Warm Up: Whether it’s winter or summer, warm-up for up to 10 minutes before you start. This will help your body adjust to increased demands on the heart and to get blood and oxygen to the muscles. Walk at a brisk pace or jog to warm your muscles.
  • Stay hydrated: Even when it’s cold outside, you’ll sweat and lose fluid when you exercise. So stay hydrated. Drink water before, during, and after your workout.

Top activities for older adults in winter include walking, yoga, and martial arts-inspired systems such as tai-chi and qi-gong. Walking requires no special equipment, aside from a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and can be done anywhere. If you cannot walk outdoors, you can do it indoors. Combining a series of poses with breathing, yoga improves strength, flexibility and balance, and can be adapted to any level. Tai chi and qi gong can increase balance and strength.

There are many senior-friendly exercises that can be performed indoors on days when snow and ice make exercising outdoors difficult. However, don’t ignore your body’s warning signs. If you’re shivering, have chest pain, are out of breath, or feel extremely fatigued, call for help immediately.

12 Tips for Healthy Hair in Winter

Winter has arrived, ushering in the holiday season but also bringing along a whole new set of problems to deal with. A major setback in winter is that cold weather can damage your hair as badly as it affects your skin. The falling temperature can wreak havoc on your hair and lead to split ends and breakage.

The scalp is prone to dehydration in winter and makes hair brittle, dull, rough and unmanageable. Following a proper winter hair care routine can help prevent problems. Here are 12 winter hair care tips that can protect your tresses and also keep them healthy all year long.

Healthy Hair in Winter

  1. Moisturize: The cold weather can strip your hair of all the moisture, making it dry and dull, and as a result, hard to style. The solution is to moisturize your scalp with a nourishing oil. Massage your scalp with olive oil and leave it in for 20-30 minutes. Rinse it out with shampoo and conditioner. Slow massaging helps the oil to penetrate deep into the hair roots. This will help to keep your scalp moisturized and improve blood circulation, ensure that your follicles get enough nourishment, and also prevent hair fall. Use a hair and scalp moisturizer once or twice a week with a thick, rich and moisturizing conditioner.
  2. Control frizz: Hoodies and caps can lead to frizzy, static hair. To deal with this, experts recommend combing hair with a vented hair brush that has a combination of plastic and boar bristles. To keep your hair smooth, apply a leave-in conditioner.
  3. Use natural restorative masks: Homemade hair masks can be made from nutritious products such as banana, avocado and yogurt can keep your hair smooth and shiny.
  4. Deep conditioning: Conditioning, especially deep conditioning, is a vital part of the winter hair care routine. To keep your tresses healthy, use hair oils and deep conditioning packs at least once a week.
  5. Prevent hair fall: You might suffer from hair fall in winter because of dryness, which can be avoided if you follow a proper diet, take vitamins and stay hydrated.
  6. Cover up: Don’t let the winter wind ruin your hair. Cover up with a beanie, cap, hat or head wrap. Using a woolen or silk wrap will help avoid hair breakage. Make sure that it’s not so tight that it will restrict the circulation in your scalp.
  7. Use dry shampoo: You hair might feel dry and lifeless in winter. Add volume and bounce to your tresses with dry shampoo.
  8. Avoid over-styling: Try and steer away from over styling your hair in winter as the heat generated from electronic tools could cause more dryness and frizz.
  9. Be attentive to indoor temperature: The combination of winter’s chill and dry central heating can be extremely dehydrating. Keep indoor temperature moderate, as high temperatures can cause dry, dull or brittle hair. As a HuffPost article points out, extreme temperatures, both cold and hot, can rob your strands of moisture, causing hair to become dehydrated and leading to frizz, dullness and ultimately, breakage.
  10. Avoid hot showers: Hot showers can dry out hair and make it porous, and also damage the scalp. Wash your hair only with lukewarm water and only occasion all to prevent it from becoming too dry.
  11. Don’t go outdoors with damp hair: Avoid going outdoors with damp, wet hair. Anything that’s cold expands and the same happens with your wet hair in cold weather, increasing risk of breakage and making your color fade faster. The best solution is to wash your hair at night before going bed so that it’s dry by morning. If you use a blow dryer, dry the under most layers first.
  12. Pay attention to your diet: To keep your hair and scalp looking and feeling healthy, eat healthy. Eat natural foods rich in oils, minerals and vitamins. Maintaining a healthy diet will help your hair healthier and also improve your general well-being in winter. Make sure your diet includes plenty of Vitamin C, A, E, as well as iron and selenium, which can be found in a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish, nuts and cereals. This will boost your immune system and help fix winter hair damage that may occur.