How to Adopt a Healthy (and Flexible) Lifestyle

In such a busy world of fast food, to-go and TV’s, it’s no wonder people are seeking a balanced lifestyle. Luckily, there are several small changes you can make that will lead to better health, including getting more physical activity, eating more whole foods and taking time for yourself and your relationships.
Sedentary lifestyles can lead to several ailments including high cholesterol, diabetes, and certain cancers. Moving, whether the activity involves planned exercise like aerobics, or just taking a walk, benefits the body by burning calories and building lean muscle mass. Try to engage in physical activity that you genuinely enjoy. And, a workout partner or trainer might help to keep you accountable.
Food is such an important aspect of everything we do that it’s sometimes most difficult to adopt healthy eating habits. We celebrate a new life by eating when a child is born, we break bread with those who are grieving, treat our friends to lunch for their birthdays, and we celebrate weddings, anniversaries and retirements with sumptuous feasts.
Eating more whole foods provides essential nutrients. Fiber, found in many whole foods, can lower cholesterol and contribute to a healthy colon. Many fruits and vegetables contain vitamins A and C. Both vitamins are antioxidants that can protect the cells from damage. Iron, found in vegetables like dark leafy greens, helps build healthy blood. Potassium found in oranges, tomatoes and potatoes can help regulate blood pressure.
It’s okay to indulge sometimes though. On occasion, you need a day to relax and take care of your mind. But, make sure that you are consciously making a choice, rather than letting your emotions takeover. On these days, try to incorporate fun activities, or spend time with friends and family. And, make a meal at home that you love, even if it’s loaded with cheese!
It can be hard to find this life balance. But, it can lead to tremendous amounts of overall health benefits. How do you find balance?


5 Wheelchair Exercises to Help You Stay Fit

Exercise is key to better health, especially when in a wheelchair. It has the ability to strengthen the muscles and burn fat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get moderate physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week. Additionally, the CDC suggests that adults engage in strengthening activities that work the major muscle groups at least two days per week. But, how do you stay active while in a wheelchair? Here are some tips:
Stretch
Stretching can prepare you for the rest of your workout. If you are in a wheelchair you can practice stretching where ever you are. Simply extend the arms and hands above the shoulders and stretch as if you are reaching for the stars. Bring the arms down and repeat 3-5 times.
Weight Train
Weight training can strengthen the arms, upper body, and back. This training involves using free weights. Begin with lighter weights between 2 and 5 lbs. Lift the weights above your head, starting with just a few repetitions. You can also practice curls by holding the weights in your hands facing upwards and bringing the weights back toward your body by bending your elbows. Try 3-5 repetitions, rest, and try 3-5 more.
Resistance
Resistance bands are popular for exercising the arms and shoulders. Resistance bands allow you to work your muscles as you pull and stretch the bands.
Stay Limber
You can keep your hands limber by making a fist, holding for about 30 seconds and then extending the fingers. Repeat 3-5 times.
Move
Move more in your wheelchair. Like walking, your wheelchair is the way you go from place to place; roll your chair as a form of exercise. Find a place where you can roll about 30 feet and roll your chair between other exercises.
Please consult with your health care provider before implementing these tips.


Making Friends as You Age

Making friends gets harder as you get older.  The desire to meet new people, though, never really goes away.  As you move to new places, you’ll doubtlessly be surrounded by others.  Meeting them, especially in this day and age, can be more difficult than you might imagine.  If you follow these tips, getting to know your neighbors might be a bit easier.

You should start to get to know your neighbors in a casual manner.  If you’ve just moved in, go next door and introduce yourself.  You don’t have to give your life story, and you certainly don’t have to invite your neighbors over – but, you should let them know that you are there.  You aren’t looking to engage in a lifelong friendship right away, but rather to open up the lines of communication.
Next, make yourself available.  Say hello when you see them and engage in a bit of small talk.  If you see your neighbors do something that piques your interest, ask them about it.  Don’t be afraid to be the person who makes the first move.
Finally, don’t be discouraged.  Not every neighbor is going to be a life-long friend, but it’s important that know each other.  Even if you never get past introductions, you’ve made a connection that might come in handy in the future.
Getting to know your neighbors is a great way to make friends and a good way to feel like you are part of the community.  Always try to initiate contact and make sure you keep the lines of communication open.  If you can get to know the people around you, you’ll feel more comfortable in your own home.


Tips for Discussing Money with Family

It’s often been said that you should never discuss money, politics, or religion in polite company. As you edge closer to retirement, though, it might be a good time for you to start having monetary conversations with your family members. While such conversations can get a bit heated, there are tips you can follow to help you navigate these dangerous waters.
Create a Plan
You should always go into your conversation with a game plan. While your family can chime in about money tips and their own needs, you should know exactly what you want to say and what your own goals are going to be. This will help you avoid getting off-topic and allow you to focus on the goals that are important to you.
Use Neutral Language
People can get defensive when it comes to money, and family members can easily let old grudges boil to the surface when you begin to discuss dollars and cents. All language you use during a monetary conversation should be neutral, focusing on “I” statements rather than “You” statements. This shouldn’t be a time for discussing problems, but rather a time for discussing plans and solutions.
Only Disclose the Necessities
It’s often a good idea to look at money conversations as a “need to know” type of situation. If you’re planning on doing something with your money that won’t impact the rest of your family directly, don’t bring it up. If you’re planning on doing something that will upset one member of the family, discuss it with him or her privately first. The last thing you want is to cause a scene when you need to work through money problems.
The most important thing you can do, though, is have the discussions themselves. Don’t avoid them because they are hard – it’s that difficulty that makes the discussions necessary. With a bit of forethought and a lot of effort, you can have the conversations your family needs to have before you retire.


Home Safety Tips for You

Home safety is no laughing matter.  While your home should always be a place of safety, it is all too often a place where disaster can strike.  Fortunately, a reasonable amount of prudence can help to keep you safe at home.  Below are just a few tips that can help keep you and your home safe during retirement.
Keep Up With Maintenance
Some of the most common household dangers occur because of lapsed maintenance.  From slip and falls caused by a leaky faucet to deadly carbon monoxide leaks emitted from old furnaces, some dangers can be avoided simply by inspecting your home regularly.  If you can keep up with basic household issues, try to stick to a schedule; if not, make sure you get professional help.
Don’t Isolate Yourself
Safety concerns aren’t always easy to spot. As a retiree, it’s important that you surround yourself with people who can help you see the problems with which you may have become complacent with.  Having someone who can check up on you from time to time will help you to avoid some home safety issues and make your home more secure.
Prioritize Security
Criminals often see seniors as priority targets.  If you keep up with basic home security measures, you may be safer.  Always keep your doors and windows locked, and make sure you have an active gated home security system.  These small measures will make you less attractive to thieves.
Home safety becomes more important after you retire. While the effort involved is often great, so too is the sense of safety you are awarded with. As long as you live on your own, home safety will have to be a necessary part of your daily routine.