Stay Hydrated During Your Winter Workouts

Dehydration is a concern for active people all year ‘round, not just in the hot summer months. Winter activities, however, pose different challenges to stay properly hydrated. Understand that dehydration occurs when fluid loss equals greater than 2% of your total body weight. That can actually be easy to do even in the winter months since while participating in winter sports, you may not get over heated and not think to drink as often as you do in summer months.

Add the contributing factors of household and office heat systems, causing drier air indoors, you stand a chance of already being a bit dehydrated even before you begin your activities.

While participating in winter sports, you are at risk of not “feeling” thirsty because you feel 40 percent less thirsty in the cold than when you’re warm. You also sweat less and that can lead some people to believe they don’t need more fluids.

If you are not careful to re-hydrate as your body loses fluids, your body expends extra energy to send blood to the skin and produce sweat. The effects of this is lower fluids in your bloodstream, making it ineffectual at delivering much needed oxygen-rich blood to your hard working muscles, lungs and vital organs

This is confirmed for you when you experience muscle cramps, but more serious symptoms are fatigue, mental confusion, which are not things you want to risk experiencing out on the trail in the back country or at the top of a mountain skiing.

How much hydration is needed for varying individuals? Check out the ACSM Fluid Replacement Recommendations specific to your needs.

Older athletes do have certain factors to be considered. As we age, we become more vulnerable due to our bodies’ reduced ability to conserve water. Also, our sense of thirst tends to lose its accuracy which in turn makes older individuals less responsive to the bodies’ signs that we need to re-hydrate Individuals with diabetes and kidney disease are at a greater risk for dehydration, as well.

So how do you stay ahead of this game and prevent dehydration during winter sports? Here are some simple tips to incorporate:

  • Be in the habit of carrying a water bottle with you at the start of each day and re-fill often. Especially do this in the mornings that you know you will be working outside later on in the day, that way you start out well hydrated.
  • Keep it easy and incorporate a sports hydration pack whether you are walking locally, hiking the back country, or skiing. Staying hands’ free instead of carrying a bottle makes it easier and quicker to sip continually during your activity.
  • Drink warm beverages: Green teas and other caffeine free options are a great way to get your fluids if you are not that excited about cold water in cold weather.
  • Eat your way to hydration: Veggies and fruits are packed with fluids and also give you that extra energy for your winter workout coming up. Start your day with plenty of these.
  • Just say no to caffeine: It is a diuretic which contributes to dehydration.
  • Plan ahead: Keep extra water bottles in the back of your car and replenish when you use them. Hydrating after your hike or ski day is easier if plenty of extras are on hand.

How do you feel like you do with staying on top of winter hydration? Let us know what works for you!

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Exercises and Tips to Prevent Dementia

As we age, the risk of developing dementia progressively increases. While we won’t all develop Alzheimer’s disease, maintaining good mental health is important for each and every one of us.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia; Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and someone in the U.S. develops the disease every 67 seconds. This is very serious.

We can fight dementia and its symptoms with a healthy lifestyle, and following some key exercises and tips to prevent dementia will help to significantly reduce the risk of developing this debilitating condition.

An organization known as Age UK has done research that found our lifestyle is responsible for 76% of the changes in the brain. Following some key rules for a healthier lifestyle can reduce dementia risks significantly. The most important ‘golden rules’ include: regular exercise, not smoking, drinking alcohol in moderation, consuming a healthy diet. Here are the top five exercises and tips to prevent dementia:

  • Exercise three to five times each week, for 30 minutes to an hour each time. Exercise for balance and coordination are also a good idea, since these help reduce the risk of a fall that could result in a head injury.
  • Eat a healthy diet with fresh vegetables, fruit, and seafood more than starchy, processed foods and red meat – the Mediterranean diet is really beneficial. Drink alcohol in moderation, and do not smoke.
  • Minimize stress with daily relaxation exercises, encourage your playful and fun side, and make sure to get enough sleep on a regular basis.
  • Participate in regular social activities to engage your mind. Play games and converse with others for social as well as mental stimulation and exercise.
  • Practice cognitive training and brain games to stay mentally active. Learn a new skill, enroll in more formal education, or sign up for free classes and activities at your local community center.

For more details and tips to prevent dementia and even Alzheimer’s, click here.

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Simple Tricks for Staying Fit During the Busy Holidays

By Janet Luhrs,

I feel your pain! It’s hard enough to stay motivated to keep exercising during normal times, but during the holiday season? Are you kidding me?


But wait! It doesn’t have to be! Here’s how: simple tricks and planning ahead for staying fit during the busy holidays.

1. Plan around yourself by putting your workout dates on your calendar right now. Don’t wait or you know exactly what will happen – it won’t happen! So do me a favor and stop reading for just a second, and put regular dates on your calendar now. Make sure the times you choose are easy for you to do, and then you’ll be way more likely to keep it up. I’m patient. I’ll wait until you take a few minutes to do this right now.

2.  Remind yourself that if you keep fit during the holidays, you won’t feel like you’re starting behind on January 1st with  – egads – the horrible seasonal weight gain! Who needs that?

3. Learn to do mini-workouts: It is amazing how it’s possible to squeeze in mini workouts throughout the day and really keep your body going. What is a mini workout? Doing anything that causes your heart rate to spike up. The mini workouts I list below will burn a minimum of 100 calories in a relatively short period.

  • Do a 10 minute brisk walk before and after dinner on those nights when you get home too late.
  • Get down and do a series of pushups, crunches, and lunges for just 7 minutes.
  • Choose your favorite 4 yoga poses and do a series of those for 7 minutes.
  • Park at the farthest end of the parking lot and walk as fast as you can to your office or the store.
  • Alternate between the following for a total of 7 to 10 minutes total:
  • One minute of stair stepping up and down your office stairwell
  • One minute of chair dips
  • One minute of arm curls
  • One minute of abs
  • One minute of lunges or squats

Learn to sprinkle these throughout the day and guess what? You’ll be surprised at how much energy you’ll have. Plus, you’ll see how much these mini workouts help to maintain and even increase your fitness over the holidays. Merry fitness to you! 

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Fitness Delays and May Even Prevent Mental Decline in the Elderly

Exercise and healthy eating habits are important no matter what your age, but fitness is particularly important once we reach ‘senior citizen’ status. As our muscles, joints and bones deteriorate with age, it can be more and more difficult to exercise and stay fit, even though it is so necessary. Fit bodies move better, recover faster, and last longer, giving us a better quality of life so that we can enjoy it more with the ones we love.

The physical benefits of fitness extend past just our bones and soft tissue. Reports continue to come out that show exercise and a healthy diet can slow down and even prevent cognitive decline in the elderly. For example, a two-year study of nearly 1,300 60- to 77-year-olds recently reported findings from a study that addressed risk factors such as healthy eating, brain-training exercises and regular tests for blood pressure and other factors. According to Miia Kivipelto, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden who co-led the study, “an intensive program aimed at addressing these risk factors might be able to prevent cognitive decline in elderly people who are at risk of dementia.”

Medical News Today reported a few years ago on a South Korean study from the Seoul National University Hospital Healthcare System Gangnam Center. The study found that overweight elderly people have a greater risk of mental decline. Their visceral fat (or belly fat) is the cause, as it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, and seniors with higher BMI (body mass index) test worst in cognitive ability. “Our findings have important public health implications. The prevention of obesity, particularly central obesity, might be important for the prevention of cognitive decline or dementia,” said Professor Dae Hyun Yoon, who was a researcher on the study.

With a healthier diet and consistent exercise, you can treat high blood pressure, and significantly reduce your risk of mental decline and even dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

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Skip the Sugar! 5 Holiday Treat Recipes That Are Actually Good For You

The holidays are here! And so is the struggle to continue with your healthy nutritional choices. It doesn’t have to be a struggle and it is actually pretty simple to still enjoy some yummy holiday treats with a few changes and considering other alternatives.

For those of you with medical or dietary restrictions from sugar, consider substituting stevia for your sweetener. Stevia is a plant based non-caloric non-caloric sweetener made from an extract of the Stevia rebaudiana plant Make sure to find a stevia product with no additives, just pure stevia such as Reb A which is 200 times sweeter than sugar and does not raise blood sugar. You can learn more about Stevia in the Raw Granulated Sugar here.

  • These Orange-Pumpkin Tarts are so cute and pleasing to the eye as they are to the taste buds. The sugar-free oatmeal cookies used in the crust give it a wonderful texture.
  • Garnish the Red Grape Sorbet with mint sprigs and you have a new holiday tradition to deck your table. No other sweetener is needed and get your antioxidant benefits against cancer, heart –disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Compared to traditional decorated sugar cookie recipes, these Christmas Sugar Wafers are much lower in sugar. Substitute stevia and you really cut back.
  • These peanut Butter Kiss Cookies are a holiday favorite, except these ones are also gluten free! Sure to please everyone on your list.
  • Garnish the Red Grape Sorbet with mint sprigs and you have a new holiday tradition to deck your table. No other sweetener is needed and get your antioxidant benefits against cancer, heart –disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Add some elegance to your holiday table with this Incredible Apple Tart. It is amazingly low in sugar and high in flavor.
  • No holiday table feels complete without Pumpkin Pie. Make sure to use sugar free pumpkin puree and again substitute the sugar for stevia.

You have lots of options and can still have your cake and eat it too, so happy holidays! Please share with us your favorite low sugar holiday treat recipes and tips that work for you during this season of treats.

Featured photo source:, credit Lee Harrelson; styling: Mindi Shapiro

Happy Thanksgiving from Fit After Fifty!

We want to wish you joy and plenty of warm, happy feelings as you prepare to celebrate the good things in your life with the ones you love.

The Fit After Fifty community is all about promoting a better life through fitness, and we hope that health and wellness are two of the things you can be thankful for this Thanksgiving. If not, make the choice to focus on your health and fitness, so that you can be thankful for the benefits of a better, healthier life in the coming year!

An average American consumes 4,500 calories during Thanksgiving dinner, according to the Calorie Control Council! That is more than twice the healthy average daily intake, and more than 3.5 times the normal calories from fat. Make the choice not to consume so much this year.

Curious about what’s happening to your body during Thanksgiving dinner? It’s not just your stomach that’s affected by all of the food and the stress. Below is a useful graphic that explains the effects of this holiday on your body.


As you enjoy the spread of tasty holiday fare this Thanksgiving, take care to avoid some of the most unhealthy dishes. Fried appetizers are not your friend; they encourage the growth of plaque in your arteries – go for raw veggies to curb your hunger, instead. During the big meal, try to stay away from candied yams (pure sugar), turkey gravy (high fat), and even green bean casserole, if a lot of butter is used. You might want to avoid those classic mashed potatoes, too, since they will intensify your food coma.

We hope you have a wonderful, healthy Thanksgiving this year!

Featured photo source: Flickr user inafrenzy

Top Tips to Prevent Cold and Flu this Season

You know you are going to be out in the elements this winter, taking your workout to the trails, slopes and road. You are also coming up on cold and flu season and lots of those nasty bugs are starting to circulate. Make sure you don’t get sidelined from your outdoor workouts with a bite of a bug…you beat it first!

We have come up with some of the top supplements and tips that you can take to beat the bugs this season and stay in top form…but first let’s focus on the most important and effective way to beat colds and flu. Build up and protect your immune system. It is already working hard for you fighting off viruses even as you are reading this. The state of your immune system is the biggest indicator of whether or not you will get sick this season, NOT a flu vaccine. Your most important immune system strengtheners before any supplements:

  • Healthy eating
  • Be well rested
  • Get plenty of exercise

Consider the following supplements icing on the cake:

  • Vitamin D: If you have to pick just one, this powerhouse makes the biggest difference in your immune system. It promotes the all-important CD8 T cells that protect you from the flu viruses. Vitamin D also produces 200 to 300 different antimicrobial peptides in your body that kill bacteria, viruses and fungi.
  • Vitamin B12: Whether you take it by injection or orally, higher levels of B12 in the body has shown to increase antibody production in the immune system.

V B12 has also been credited with assisting the body’s reaction to stress and is used by every cell in the body for healthy functioning. Don’t skip on your B12’s!

  • Natural Immune Boosters such as oil of oregano and garlic, provide valuable protection against a long list of bacteria and viruses which are constantly invading your body. These natural antibiotics do not lead to antibiotic resistance and the likelihood of developing super germs.

So start now with your plan to beat the bugs this season and stay out there playing and working out strong.

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Hosting Grandma This Thanksgiving? Senior-Friendly Tips for the Holidays

This is the time of year when families and friends gather around a table to enjoy each other and celebrate the things they are thankful for! Many families will be hosting grandparents and other elderly relatives and friends. It’s important to keep in mind that your aging loved ones have some special needs and things you should consider when planning your holiday meal and activities. Here are some senior-friendly tips for the holidays:

Holiday Meal Pointers

Two major things to keep in mind when planning your Thanksgiving dinner with Nana in mind is that she won’t be able to metabolize food the same way, and that her taste buds may be very different. Make plenty of side dishes that are easy to chew and swallow, since tough and dry foods are difficult with reduced saliva production and dentures that older people often have to deal with. Cut back on the salt to reduce risk of high blood pressure, and compensate with savory (not spicy!) seasonings. Keep nutrition at the forefront of your meal planning, since elderly people often have reduced appetites and need as much nutrition and good calories as they can get. If you can, prepare a special dish or two that your aging loved one loves!

Planning the Setting

Elderly people can have a lot of unique needs, particularly if their reduced mobility or condition keeps them mostly wheelchair-bound. Make sure there is plenty of space for them to maneuver at the holiday table. That could mean leaving space for their wheelchair or giving their chair (make sure it’s a comfortable one with plenty of support!) extra space for them to get their from their walker. You may also need to have the temperature set a little higher, or have a space heater to place near them, so that they are comfortable and warm. Clear the path to the downstairs bathroom so that they can easily get there, and if they have bladder control problems, you may want to have spare towels and cleaner at-the-ready in case of an accident.

Emotional/Mental Considerations

This time of year can be very difficult both emotionally and mentally for seniors. Depression and loneliness are serious concerns; even if your aging loved one is joining in your holiday festivities. Keep this in mind, and try to plan ways to help them engage and join in with everyone else’s celebrations and activities. Simple games that they can play with the kids, old/classic music, and simply spending some time talking with them are good ways to do this. Sadly, this season is also likely one of the few times that you have the opportunity to notice symptoms of other illnesses, such as dementia.

In what ways do you prepare to host elderly loved ones over the holidays? Please feel free to share them!

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How to Engage and Reduce the Feeling of Isolation this Holiday Season

While many families are anticipating weeks of madness in preparation for and celebration of the holidays, the season can be a different kind of dreadful for others. It can be the most isolating time of year for seniors and the elderly people who do not have family or community nearby.

Loneliness and isolation can lead to serious depression in elderly people – a potentially deadly condition. If you do not have a community that you can enjoy during the holidays, and your family is inaccessible this year, make an effort to engage and reduce the feeling of isolation this holiday season. Here are some ideas:

  • Join in local events. Plenty of neighborhoods and communities have celebratory events and activities for the holiday season. You may need to have some mobility for this idea, but you should find out what’s happening near you, and attend anything that sounds fun and is open to the public.
  • Give back. You’ve heard the adage, “It’s better to give than receive”, and nothing is truer this time of year. Trump any isolation by finding ways you can engage with the less privileged, either through a local church or community center.
  • Reach out to your neighbors. Sometimes we just need to ask for the help that we need. If you have neighbors with a family, consider asking them if they would consider coming by for some hot chocolate and cookies on Christmas Day.
  • Adopt an underprivileged family. Local food banks and homeless shelters will have information about underprivileged families who are struggling this time of year. Why not see if you can find a family that will share the day with you? If you’re unable to cook, you could bring the ingredients and keep the kids occupied while the parents cook Christmas dinner.

If you live in the U.K., you might not have to take initiative on this yourself. A Huffington Post reporter recently brought attention to Friends of the Elderly and Community Christmas, two non-profits in the U.K. who are mobilizing volunteers around the world to gift the gift of time to seniors in their community this year. Other local organizations may also be doing similar events – check with your local community center and nearby churches.

“We know that loneliness can have a devastating impact on older people’s lives, and those we work with tell us that becoming isolated from a community they were once part of can be especially difficult. That’s why we’re calling on individuals, organizations and businesses to put on Christmas Day activities to bring together older people in their community who don’t want to be alone,” said Steve Allen, Friends of the Elderly Chief Executive.

Efforts like these will help to reduce the feeling of isolation that many elderly people experience during this season. Last year, the Royal Voluntary Service estimated that 490,000 elderly people would spend Christmas 2014 alone – a number that is certain to increase year over year. Let’s work to reduce the number of people who are spending the holiday season in isolation.

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Helping Seniors Stay Fit to Stay At Home

If you were to take a poll among the elderly people you know, I would bet that very few of them would choose to live in a nursing home for their later years. Some may want to live with their children, but not if they feel they would be a burden. Most would prefer to live at home, on their own or with a little bit of assistance. But as much as they would like their independence through their elderly years, many do not plan for it with a fitness program that will help them stay fit and stay at home.

There are several ways you can inspire and educate your aging parents and grandparents so that they can avoid the nursing home and stay at home.

Mobility: Practice moving as much as you can. Take daily walks, move around the house and yard throughout the day. The phrase, ‘Move it, or lose it’ really applies here. If you can get out of bed and get out of chairs with minimal help, you’ll be able to retain a lot of independence.

Injury Recovery: Some elderly people enter a nursing home initially because of an injury, such as a broken hip from a fall, and in the recovery process their health declines in other areas and they can contract pneumonia, become depressed, etc. Take an active approach to injury recovery, doing as much as you can every day to get better and regain your mobility and health.

Hydration: This is one of the easiest ways to stay fit, but it’s also one of the most commonly overlooked. Dehydration is just something that happens as we age, but when it is not addressed or unchecked, can result in reduced kidney function. This results in inefficient concentration of urine in water, so toxins remain in your blood. Continued dehydration is very serious, and can result in loss of consciousness and even death.

Of course, there are a lot of complicated factors that may require an aging person to move to a nursing home for care in their later years, but there are things you can do to prevent this and retain your independence at home.

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