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Tips for Traveling and Fitting Exercise in this Holiday Season

The holidays are right around the corner, which is exciting, can be stressful, very busy, and can throw us off of our routine. I know for me, it is harder to make time to exercise. It is even harder to keep up with an exercise routine if you are traveling. Here are some tips to keep exercising during this busy and fun holiday season.

If you are traveling by car, take breaks every 2 hours to to walk/stretch. This will help decrease aches and pains and keep your body happy. If in a car or a plane, pump your ankles (point your toes up and then down) to get blood flowing. Even if you are on a plane, try to move around/walk a little bit, at least every 2 hours.

Drink water! – I know I say this a lot, but while traveling it is easy to get dehydrated, especially if you are traveling by plane. Staying hydrated keeps your joints lubricated, gives your more energy and the list goes on with all of its benefits.

Keep your medications organized and stick to your routine. Being out of your normal routine can also cause a change in when you take your medications but it is best to take the same dose at same time to avoid any negative effects.

If you are staying overnight somewhere, make sure there is a night light or light switches that are very easy to access and that you have a clear path from your bed to the bathroom. This will help prevent tripping or falling in a dark and unfamiliar area.

Try to fit in exercises in short bouts if you don’t have enough time to do your regular routine. “Exercise Snacking” is great during the holidays. If you are in the kitchen cooking, do some marching in place or side stepping. Practice standing on one leg while you brush your teeth. Each time you stand up from a chair try to avoid using your arms so that your leg muscles do the work. If there are stairs where you are, try going up and down them 2, 3 or more times in a row or doing step-ups on the bottom step. Another option when driving places is to park farther away to get more steps in.

Examples of some exercises that you can do in a hotel, while staying at a friend or relative’s, or at your own home are:

Wall push ups

Squats

Heel raises

Toe Raises

Marches

Standing on one leg for balance

These can be done anytime throughout the day and they don’t have to be done all at once.

If you want to keep resistance exercises in your routine, resistance bands are easy to travel with because they don’t take up much space, they are light and you can use them for core upper and lower body exercises.

You know the saying, “use it or lose it.” Don’t lose it this holiday season!

For an individualized exercise program or more exercise snacks that you can do anytime and anywhere during the holiday season contact A to Z Personal Wellness.

Home Safety Tips to Prevent a Fall

Did you know that most falls happen in the home? There are ways to make your home more safe to decrease your risk of falling. 

Here are some tips to prevent falls in your home. 

1) Avoid having cords or wires on the ground or in an area where you have to walk around or over them

2) De-clutter! Avoid having clutter around, the less tripping hazards the better off you will be

3) Have proper lighting- keep spare light bulbs at your house and in an easily accessible place. Is there a light close to your bed? It is best to have a light that is within reach of your bed. Use nights lights! You can get motion sensor lights which can be helpful especially at night.

4) Try to keep objects off of the floor

5) Have a clear path from your bed to the bathroom

6) Avoid and/or be cautious with area rugs – if you have them, use double sided tape or non-slip backing so they don’t move around

7) Have non-slip mats in the shower/tub and always watch out for wet spots on the floor. Grab bars are also great to have.

8) In the kitchen, try to keep things you use often on the lower shelves of cabinets, or around or at counter/waist height.

9) Outdoors or indoors, make sure to have sturdy handrails ( 2 rails are better than 1!). Keep steps cleared, well lit, and if they are uneven, loose, or in rough shape, fix them; it will be worth it!

10) Exercise or get some form of physical activity daily! 🙂

If you would like more ways to make your home safer, would like a consultation/walk through of your home with safety recommendations or have questions please contact A to Z Personal Wellness.

Fall Prevention Awareness Week

It is Fall Prevention Awareness Week! Fall prevention is so important, so let’s talk about it.

Did you know that if you have fallen in the past year you are at risk for falling again? Did you know that even if you haven’t fallen but have a fear of falling that also increases your risk of falling?

The good news is that falling is not a normal part of aging and there are ways to prevent and modify risk factors for falling.

Here are some things to think about during fall prevention week:

  • Have you had your eyes checked recently (within the past year)? If not, make an appointment to have them checked. While you’re at it, clean your glasses and keep them clean to help prevent a fall!
  • Have you had your hearing checked recently(within the past year)? If not, make sure to also make an appointment to check your ears. Even if you don’t like wearing hearing aides it is important to wear them as often as you can because when your hearing is affected, so is your balance which could lead to a fall.
  • Next on the check list, have you had a conversation with your doctor about medications, both prescription and over the counter, that you are currently taking? Talking to your doctor about medications- dosage, interactions with other medications, and knowing side effects is extremely helpful for fall prevention. If your doctor is unaware that you started a new prescription with a different doctor or you started taking over the counter medications with your current prescriptions, it is important to talk about it, especially if you are feeling more fatigued, dizzy, weak, etc which can increase your risk of falling.
  • Are you getting enough vitamin D and calcium for your bone health? The stronger your bones are the less likely you are to have a fracture if you were to have a fall.
  • Check your feet! Any changes in your feet like numbness, tingling, etc can affect your balance which can lead to a fall. There are exercises to help with foot and ankle strength, mobility and balance. Wearing supportive footwear with non slip grip and a back to it also helps to prevent a fall.

Stayed tuned for more fall prevention tips coming soon.

As always, contact A to Z Personal Wellness if you have questions or would like more fall prevention info.

Is it Pain or Muscle Soreness?

I’m sure you have heard the phrase “no pain no gain” but is that always the case?

There is a difference between muscle soreness and pain, they are not the same thing. Muscle soreness can be expected with exercise but it should only last a day or two. It is common to be sore after an intense workout or when doing new exercises.

Soreness is typically generalized, can be widely distributed, can also feel like stiffness or fatigue, and may cause you to move slower but usually feels better with movement. Soreness will go away on its own after a few days.

Pain on the other hand is more localized, persistent, inhibits movement and is recurring and in the same place/area of the body. 

Now, you may have also heard if it hurts don’t do it. So which one is true? Well, that depends.

As long as pain goes away after 10-15 minutes then it is ok and you are not hurting yourself. If it lasts longer then that you may have over done it. If it is sharp pain that you are experiencing while exercising then you should stop right away. You don’t want to push through the pain because that could cause injury or worsen an existing injury.

Our bodies were built to move so sometimes our sedentary lifestyle or not moving enough can actually cause us pain, and therefore, moving/physical activity or exercising through it can help decrease the pain. For arthritis, keep in mind that motion is lotion, and one of the best things you can do for it is keep moving. But like medication, you have to find the right dosage of movement and what movements will help the most.

Start slowly and gently and if pain decreases continue with your exercises, but if it gets worse the more or longer you exercise, listen to your body, and stop so that you are not doing more harm then good.

As we age it takes longer for our muscles to recover so it is normal to feel more fatigue or soreness whether you have been exercising your whole life or are new to it. Making sure you are eating enough protein and drinking water throughout the day can help with muscle recovery. Stretching after exercise and using heat or ice can also assist with muscle recovery. It is best to stay active and continue to move through the soreness but vary the activities and/or the muscles you are using.

Remember, if you want to get stronger and improve your balance and mobility, it is important to challenge yourself. Finding the right amount of challenge is crucial for progress so that you don’t over do it, but you also don’t want to to go too easy on yourself!

If you have questions or want guidance with safe, effective and pain free personalized exercise programs contact A to Z Personal Wellness. 

Don’t forget to Hydrate!

It is officially Summer and the hot weather is here! With the warmer weather it is important to increase your water intake. 

Staying hydrated is important for everyone but as we age it becomes more important and some times more of a challenge.

As we age we start to lose our sense of appetite and thirst so we may not be aware we are thirsty/needing water.

Medications can also increase risk of dehydration so ask your doctor or a pharmacist if you are unsure.

Your body composition also changes as you age which causes less water to be in our bodies.

Being hydrated helps your joints stay lubricated to move smoothly and with more ease which can decrease stiffness, aches and pains.

Other benefits of drinking more water include improved cognition, increased energy, improved digestion and better body temperature regulation.

How to tell if you are dehydrated: if you are not going to the bathroom much and if urine is dark colored and more concentrated

Symptoms of dehydration include: fatigue, feeling weak, dizziness, headaches, muscle cramps, confusion, dry mouth

These symptoms of dehydration call also increase your risk of falling and or injuring yourself.

If it is a challenge for you to drink water throughout the day or you just don’t like water you can of course try flavored water but you could also try smoothies or eat foods that have high water content such as watermelon, grapes, apples, strawberries, cantelope, tomatoes and cucumbers. 

If you aren’t sure how much water you are drinking, it may be beneficial to choose a water bottle that measures how many ounces you should be drinking and fill it up each morning to be sure you drink throughout the day or catch up if you are behind. This can also be helpful if you have a hard time remembering to drink water, this water bottle can be with you all day so you see it and it reminds you to drink. 

Get into a routine of always drinking water at the same time each day, one glass as soon as you wake up or one glass of water with every meal, one glass of water after exercise etc. 

There are also free apps for your phone you can use to track how much you are drinking and can remind you when you need to drink water.

Also try to ease into exercising or being active out in the heat to give your body time to adjust to the warmer temperatures. 

There is no one right answer for how much water to drink because there are so many individual factors to consider but if you feel energized and your urine is light colored or clear that is a good sign!

Happy Summer!

Contact A to Z Personal Wellness for a summer time exercise program that can be done indoors or outdoors.

Ways to Make Exercise a Daily Habit

Have you tried to get into a routine of exercising and it only lasts a few days? Here are some ideas to make exercise a daily habit. 

One way to make exercise a habit is to do it right after a habit that you already have established. An example would be, after I wake up and brush my teeth I will exercise. Another example would be after I take off my work clothes I will put on my exercise clothes. Stacking your habits can make them stick better. You can think or write out all of your current daily habits and see where exercise could best fit in and then do that daily. This will also help create consistency and can make it become automatic. 

If you are exercising at home, create a space for it and have that be where you exercise every time. If you are going to the gym, set out a gym bag and outfit before bed or if you are going after work, have it in your car ready to go.

It is also important to make adding a habit appealing, so you could tell yourself after I exercise for 10 minutes I will read a book or check the news/social media or watch a TV show. Try to add your habit that you need to do (exercise) with a habit you want to do ( read, watch TV, etc). 

You could also make it more appealing by listening to music that you love while you exercise, or watching a TV show while you exercise. Challenge yourself by saying you will only watch a certain show while you are exercising to make it something you look forward to.

View exercise, in a positive way, instead of thinking of it as something hard, tiring or dreadful. Think positively by saying, this will make me stronger so I have more strength to play with my grandkids. This will increase my endurance so I will have more endurance to go shopping. This will increase my confidence so I will feel more comfortable and confident when traveling or hiking.

Habits form based on repetition. If you exercise everyday for 30 days, it is more likely to become a habit compared to if you only exercised twice over those 30 days. Repetition is key, it doesn’t matter how long you exercise for, it is just about making sure you do it.

It is also important to start small. So starting with 2-5 minutes of exercise may sound strange but once you have created the habit of doing 2-5 minutes then you can improve it/ increase the time. 

If you are someone that likes to make lists and cross things out, put exercise on your to do list and cross it off once you complete it. Or you could put an x or check mark on a calendar or piece of paper to track your progress and have the satisfying feeling of checking it off and also of seeing how far you have come. Try not to miss more than 1 day in a row. Even if you don’t feel like it or you don’t have much time, go back to at least doing 2-5 minutes so you can keep maintaining progress and stay on track.

Make sure the exercise fits you, if you have never liked running don’t try it now, if you have always enjoyed walking focus on that. You could try something new like a dance class or pickleball. Find something that works for you, your body, and your personality. 

If you need help getting started or finding an exercise routine that works for you contact A to Z Personal Wellness.

Benefits of Small Group Training

Meeting with a personal trainer one-on-one may be intimidating to some people. It can also be intimidating to start a group fitness class that has a lot of participants. If either of these sound like you, you might benefit from small group training. 

There are many benefits to small group training, such as:

  • Exercise programs are designed by a personal trainer to meet your individual needs and goals
  • The small group allows for camaraderie which can also increase motivation, accountability and make it more fun 
  • The personal trainer is able to build a connection with each individual and give proper attention to each participant’s form and other needs which prevents injury, increases safety and effectiveness of exercises
  • Trainer can offer more personalized attention for modifications or progressions of exercises
  • You can meet new people or sign up with a small group of friends 
  • Some group fitness classes may be too easy or too hard but a small group training class will be just the right challenge for you
  • It can be more financially friendly which is always a welcome perk

If you have any questions or would like to know more about small group training offerings contact A to Z Personal Wellness.

Why Posture Matters

Did your mother ever tell you to stand up tall or sit up straight? Well, she was right if she did nag you about your posture. Posture matters!

Poor posture can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain. Exercising with poor posture can increase risk of injury and cause more harm than good. Poor posture can also decrease your balance and increase risk of falling.

Good posture allows you to stay active longer, have a more youthful appearance, increases your energy level and improves balance. It also decreases risk of falling, strengthens core muscles, improves blood flow, increases confidence and improves your ability to breathe deeply.

If you are unsure of your posture, I would recommend looking in a mirror, both front and sideways, or taking a picture of yourself.

When you are sitting, you want your head, and specifically your ears, over your shoulders and your shoulders stacked over your pelvis. It is also best to sit with feet flat on the floor and hips above your knees.

Our bodies were designed to move, so even if you are sitting, it is important to change positions frequently. Set a timer or reminder on your phone or computer to take movement breaks throughout the day to avoid staying in one position for too long.

With so much time spent sitting at a computer, watching TV or using tablets and phones it is easy to get into a habit of slouching or rounding your shoulders and looking down. Holding your phone at eye level can help improve posture, and making sure to adjust your computer monitor so that you can look at the screen at eye level can also help.

It takes 3 weeks (but usually longer) to change a behavior, so be mindful of your posture and practice the exercises below frequently to make a positive change.

Standing Posture Exercise to try:

  • Stand with your heels approximately 12 inches from the wall and lean back so that your buttock and shoulders touch the wall. 
  • Try to get your head to touch the wall too, but if it doesn’t, make sure to look straight ahead and keep your ears over shoulders. If you are able to do this, try to move your heels closer to the wall.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds and repeat 10 times

Seated Posture Exercise to try:

  • Sit at the edge of a chair and lift your chest up and shoulders back, with your ears being aligned over your shoulders. 
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds and then relax back down to your resting posture. – – Repeat this 10 times and try to hold this position for longer if you can.

If you have questions about your posture or would like more guidance on postural exercises contact A to Z Personal Wellness.

Scenic Walking Paths Around Rochester

It is a great time to get outside and go for a walk. I thought I would share some of our favorite walking paths around the Rochester area. I have put together a list of paths that are mostly flat, paved and have benches to rest and enjoy the scenery.  These paths also happen to be very toddler and stroller friendly, if you are looking for a nice place to walk and explore with grandkids! 

There are so many benefits to walking, even if it is only 10 minutes a day. Let’s start with the fact that it is free and you can do it anywhere! Walking helps strengthen muscles, reduces joint pain, improves quality of sleep, improves cognition, reduces anxiety and depression, reduces blood pressure and risk of heart disease, diabetes and more! If those weren’t enough reasons to take a walk, take advantage of the weather, make it fun and call a friend to join you! 

Also make sure to start small if you have been hibernating all winter. Slowly increase your walking time/distance. 

Here are 7 places to try:

  1. Cobbs Hill Reservoir – a .7 mile paved loop with places to stop and rest https://www.cityofrochester.gov/cobbshill/
  1. North Ponds Park – 1 mile loop around both ponds, paved path with benches to rest, does have a few inclines http://www.ci.webster.ny.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/26
  1. Penfield Veterans Memorial Park – paved paths but also has a nature trail, fairy houses, a playground and a a few other things for grandkids to enjoy https://www.penfield.org/detail_T12_R60.php
  1. Butterfly Nature Trail – .25 mile, can be down and back or you can also do a loop, flat trail https://www.waynecountytourism.com/directory-wc/listing/butterfly-nature-trail/
  1. Fellows Rd park – 1 mile paved path loop that has benches to rest https://perinton.org/departments/randp/parks-department/parks/fellows-road-park/
  1. The canal path in the Village of Fairport and Thomas Creek Wetlands Walk – wetland walk is on a boardwalk off of the canal path
  1. Brickyard Trail at Sandra L. Frankel Nature park – .8 miles, flat trail with sitting area https://www.townofbrighton.org/827/Sandra-L-Frankel-Nature-Park

If you have concerns about going for a walk outside or would like to improve your walking, contact A to Z Personal Wellness.

Gardening Tips

The change in season brings a change of activities. Gardening and yard work are a great way to be physically active and enjoy the Spring weather. I do not have a green thumb and the deer are a major issue but the change in weather really helps get me motivated to attempt to make my yard look nice and it is a great reason to get outside! 

Here are some helpful tips to make sure you are staying safe, pain free and enjoying gardening and working in your yard this Spring:

  • Before starting out, make sure to check your yard for uneven ground, roots sticking out, loose rocks, branches/sticks that may be in your way, to avoid tripping or falling. 
  • Gardening can be a strenuous activity, so it is a good idea to take a few minutes to stretch/warm up before starting.
  • Take frequent breaks and remember to hydrate.
  • If you can, I would recommend raised plant beds and potted plants so that you do not have to be on the ground or bending over as much.
  • If you are working from the ground, I recommend using a pad to kneel on and using a half kneel position to keep your back in a more upright position and changing legs frequently.
  • Work in small areas so that you are not over reaching which could cause discomfort in your back, neck or shoulders or cause you to lose your balance. 
  • While you are gardening or doing yard work try to engage your core to help support your low back. Engage your core by pulling your belly button in towards your spine and tightening.
  • If you are raking be sure to switch arms to avoid overworking one side of your body. Rake when it is dry, wet leaves are heavier and also more slippery.
  • Remember to bend at your knees and hips, and lift with your legs, not your back.
  • If you need to use a ladder, make sure someone is near by and aware.

Contact A to Z Personal Wellness if you are feeling unsteady or want to improve your strength to make your yard work easier and more enjoyable!