Information to the Public

Tips for Walking



Below is a list of tips to make your walking experience enjoyable, productive and safe.

1. Have a goal in mind

Whether you are walking for stress relief; weight loss to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer or diabetes; or because of arthritis or osteoporosis, it all adds up to improving the quality of your life.

2. Make a plan

Schedule a time to walk, plan your route; and decide how long you will walk. Stick to your plan.

3. Be safe

Walk with a buddy. Avoid paths with uneven pavements/sidewalks. Observe all traffic laws. If you walk in the dark, wear light-colored or reflective clothing, vests, arm bands and/or hats. Whenever you share the road with traffic, walk facing oncoming traffic. Carry personal identification with you.

4. Wear proper clothing and shoes

Wear proper walking shoes (see Dr. Amol Saxena's shoe list). Keep an extra pair of walking shoes at work, so that lack of appropriate footwear won't be an excuse not to go for a walk! Dress in layers, and don't forget to use sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.

5. Drink water

When you exercise, you need extra water to maintain normal body temperature and cool your muscles. Drink before, during, and after your walk (1-1.5 cups of water for a 20-minute walk).

6. Learn to walk properly

Yes, there is a proper technique!

  • Keep your chin up and your shoulders back.
  • Walk so that the heel of your foot touches the ground first, then roll your weight forward.
  • Swing your arms as you walk; this increases the intensity of your walking.
  • Start and finish with a few minutes of gentle stretching.
  • Think of your walk as having three parts: start with 5 minutes of slow walking, then increase your pace (walking uphill requires more effort), and end with 5 minutes of slower walking. Warming up gradually increases your heart rate and improves blood flow to your muscles. Cooling down allows the heart rate and muscles to return to normal.
  • Do a "Talk Test" you should be able to maintain a conversation with your buddy without getting winded. If you can't, slow down a bit.


7. Motivate yourself

Use a pedometer (measures your walking distance) to track your progress. Plan a healthy reward for yourself when you reach a certain goal: a new pair of walking shoes, a CD of upbeat music for walking, a T-shirt with attitude. Use your imagination.

8. Find a buddy

Walking with a buddy is more fun and a great motivator. Hint: look for the people with a spring in their step, a smile on their face and a positive attitude that will lead to success!
ENJOY YOURSELF!

 



HealthWise:

Fitness
Stretching Exercises

Calories burned on average during 30 minutes of walking:


Weight (kilos)

5 kmph pace

6.5  kmph pace

55

130

144

70

155

174

80

160

183

90

185

210




 



TIPS FOR WALKING FASTER

1. Use good posture. Walk tall, look forward, (not at the ground) gazing about 20 feet ahead. Your chin should be level and your head up.

2. Keep your chest raised, and shoulders relaxed (shoulders down, back and relaxed).

3. Bend your arms in slightly less than a 90 degree angle. Cup your hands gently. Swing arms front to back (not side to side - arms should not cross your body.) Do not swing elbows higher than your sternum (breast bone). Swing your arms faster and your feet will follow.

4. Tighten your abs and buttocks.. Flatten your back and tilt your pelvis slightly forward.

5. Pretend you are walking along a straight line. Resist the urge to elongate your steps. To go faster -- take smaller, faster steps.

6. Push off with your toes. Concentrate on landing on your heel, rolling through the step and pushing off with your toes. Use the natural spring of your calf muscles to propel you forward.

7. Breathe naturally. As you walk, take deep, rhythmic breaths, to get the maximum amount of oxygen through your system. Walk fast enough that your breathing is increased yet you are not out of breath.

WALKING DON'TS
Common mistakes made by walkers...

1. Do not over stride

2. Do not use too vigorous arm movements

3. Do not look at the ground

4. Do not hunch your shoulders

5. Do not carry hand weights or place weights on your ankles


What is the difference in power walking, fitness walking, and racewalking?

Fitness walking is called by many different names - power walking, fitness walking, health walking. Power walking is commonly used to represent an exaggerated walking style. This style of overstriding and exaggerated arm movements is often linked with injuries. Because of this I don't generally use the term power walking. A better term for a healthful energetic walking pace is "fitness walking".
Fitness walking is much more than a stroll or nature walk. When fitness walking you incorporate the muscles of the upper body making it a GREAT aerobic activity. It burns approximately the same calories as running, yet it is much easier on the body. Because more muscles are used it burns calories much quicker than less aggressive walking. It also tones muscles in the buttocks, thighs, hips, shoulders, upper back and abs. Most fitness walkers average about 12 to 15 minutes per mile.

Unlike racewalking; there is no official definition. There are no rules. If you walk at a purposeful fitness walking pace using good technique you are a fitness walker. Use tips above to insure good walking form and to increase your pace.





 

Walking Tips for Seniors

 


TIP

WHY

HOW

Warm up and cool down.

Stretching improves circulation and decreases build-up of lactic acid - the chemical by-product that causes muscles to ache. It also helps alleviate any muscle stiffness and prevents future muscle strain. As a result, you can walk further, longer and injury free.

Before and after walking allow ample time to perform a few simple movements, stretching the hamstrings, calves, achilles tendons and shins.


Choose proper footgear.

Buying shoes is the only real expenditure necessary for walking, so don't cut corners on your shoe budget; treat your feet well!

If you experience swelling in your feet, try on athletic shoes in the afternoon - when your feet are most swollen - to ensure an accurate fit. Look for a shoe that is stable from side to side; well-cushioned; enables you to walk smoothly and comfortably; and gives you enough room to wiggle your toes, yet be snug in the heel. Also, look for shoes that carry the American Podiatric Medical Association's Seal of Approval.


Pay attention to your feet.

Changes and/or pain in the feet and ankles are not normal and could indicate a serious foot ailment or circulatory problem. Warning: Self-treatment can turn a minor problem into a major one, making fitness more difficult.

Become familiar with your feet and ankles by examining them - before and after - walking. If you notice red spots, swelling, or other abnormalities, including numbness, tingling or burning, consult a podiatric physician as soon as possible.


Walk on soft ground.

With age, the natural shock absorbers (or "fat padding") in your feet deteriorate, as does bone density, particularly in women. These factors combined make seniors prone to stress fractures. Softer ground is more foot-friendly, producing less shock than harder surfaces.

If possible, walk on grass or dirt paths that are flat, even and well manicured.


Avoid walking in cold weather.

Cold weather causes numbness, limiting your ability to detect trauma or wounds to the feet. It also makes surfaces harder, exerting undue shock on the feet and ankles.

Head to the local mall or walk at an indoor track or exercise facility.


If you have diabetes, use extra precaution.

If you suffer from diabetes, you are prone to infection from even minor injuries. Many people with diabetes experience a loss of sensation in the feet, making it difficult to detect injury. Untreated or improper self-treatment of ailments could lead to serious, permanent damage or possible amputation.

Check your feet daily for redness, blisters or injury. If you experience any numbness, tingling or have wounds or abnormalities of any kind, see a podiatric physician immediately.


Exercise smart.

Establishing an exercise program is a huge undertaking, and even the most minimal injury could "sideline" you for days - even months. Knowing your limit and exercising with caution can ward off injuries and frustration.

Set appropriate and realistic goals. Pace yourself, choose an activity you like, increase your exercise program gradually, and pay attention to what your body, including your feet, tells you. Drink fluids on hot days or during very strenuous activities, to avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

 

Barriers to fitness: Overcoming common problems

Sticking to a regular exercise schedule isn't easy. Consider common barriers to fitness — and practical strategies for keeping your exercise program on track.

Sticking to a regular exercise schedule isn't easy. After all, there are plenty of potential hindrances — time, boredom, injuries, self-confidence. But these issues don't need to stand in your way. Consider practical strategies for overcoming common barriers to fitness.

Barrier: I don't have enough time to exercise

Setting aside time to exercise can be a challenge. Use a little creativity to get the most out of your time.

  • Squeeze in a few 10-minute walks throughout the day. If you don't have time for a full workout, don't sweat it. Shorter spurts of exercise spaced throughout the day offer benefits, too.
  • Get up earlier. If your days are packed and the evening hours are just as hectic, get up 30 minutes earlier twice a week to exercise. Once you've adjusted to early morning workouts, add another day or two to the routine.
  • Claim the back row of the parking lot as your own. Or park a few blocks away and walk quickly to your destination.
  • Rethink your rituals. Your weekly Saturday matinee with the kids or with your best friend could be reborn as your weekly Saturday bike ride, rock-climbing lesson or trip to the pool.

Barrier: Exercise is boring

It's natural to grow weary of a repetitive workout day after day, especially when you're going it alone. But exercise doesn't have to be boring.

  • Think of it as an activity. If you choose activities you enjoy, you're more likely to stay interested. Remember, anything that gets you moving counts.
  • Vary the routine. Rotate among several activities — such as walking, swimming and cycling — to keep you on your toes while conditioning different muscle groups.
  • Join forces with friends, relatives, neighbors or co-workers. Enjoy the camaraderie, and offer encouragement to one another when the going gets tough.
  • Check out exercise classes or sports leagues at a recreation center or health club. Learn new skills while getting a great workout.

Barrier: I'm self-conscious about how I look when I exercise

Don't get down on yourself! Remind yourself what a great favor you're doing for your cardiovascular health, or focus on how much stronger you feel after a workout. Praise yourself for improving your stamina and making a commitment to lifelong fitness.
If you're still uncomfortable exercising in the presence of others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video, or consider investing in a stationary bicycle, treadmill, stair-climbing machine or other home exercise equipment. As you become healthier and more at ease with exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.

Barrier: I'm too tired to exercise after working all day

No energy to exercise? Without exercise, you'll have no energy. It's a vicious cycle. But breaking the cycle with physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

  • Try a morning dose of exercise. Remember the suggestion to get up 30 minutes earlier to exercise? Hop on the treadmill or stationary bicycle while you listen to the radio or watch the morning news. Or step outside for a brisk walk.
  • Make lunchtime count. Keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk, and take a brisk walk during your lunch break.
  • Be prepared. Put workout clothes on top of your dresser, socks and all. Keep a full water bottle in the fridge. Have an exercise video queued up and ready to go when you get home at night.
  • Hit the hay earlier. Running on empty is no way to face a full day. Go to bed earlier to make sure you're getting enough sleep.

Barrier: I'm too lazy to exercise

If the mere thought of a morning jog makes you tired, try these thoughts on for size:

  • Set realistic expectations. If your mental bar is too high, you might give up without even trying. Start with a walk around the block. Don't give up if you feel worn out. Take another walk around the block tomorrow. Keep it up, and eventually you'll no longer feel worn out. That's progress!
  • Work with your nature, not against it. Plan physical activity for times of the day when you tend to feel more energetic — or at least not quite so lazy.
  • Schedule exercise as you would schedule an important meeting or appointment. Block off times for physical activity, and make sure your friends and family are aware of your commitment. Ask for their encouragement and support.

Barrier: I'm not athletic

Natural athletic ability isn't a prerequisite to physical activity. Try something simple, such as a daily walk. Better yet, team up with friends who are in the same boat. Have fun while helping each other work out. Don't worry about becoming a superstar athlete or joining the hard-bodied athletes at the fitness club. Simply focus on the positive changes you're making to your body and mind.

Barrier: I've tried to exercise in the past and failed

Don't throw in the towel! You can't see it when you lower your cholesterol or reduce your risk of diabetes, but that doesn't mean you aren't doing yourself a great favor. Re-evaluate what went wrong, and learn from your mistakes.

  • Pace yourself. Start small and build up to more intense workouts later, when your body is ready.
  • Set realistic goals. Don't promise yourself you're going to work out for an hour every day, and then get down on yourself when you fall short. Stick with goals you can more easily achieve, such as exercising 20 minutes a day, three days a week for the first month.
  • Remember why you're exercising. Use your personal fitness goals as motivation — and reward yourself as you meet your goals.

Barrier: I can't afford to buy fancy exercise equipment or join a health club

You don't need a membership at an elite gym to get a great workout. Consider common-sense alternatives.

  • Do strengthening exercises at home. Use inexpensive resistance bands — lengths of elastic tubing available in varying strengths — in place of weights. Lift plastic milk jugs partially filled with water or sand. Do push-ups or squats using your body weight.
  • Queue up an exercise video. Try videos on dance aerobics, cardio-kickboxing, yoga or tai chi. For variety, trade exercise videos with a friend or check out the options at your local library or video rental store.
  • Start a walking group. Round up friends, neighbors or co-workers for regular group walks. Plan routes through your neighborhood or near your workplace, along local parks and trails, or in a nearby shopping mall.
  • Take the stairs. Skip the elevator when you can. Better yet, make climbing stairs a workout in itself.
  • Try your community center. Exercise classes offered at your community center or recreation department or through your local community education group might fit your budget better than an annual gym membership.

Barrier: I'm afraid I'll hurt myself if I exercise

If you're nervous about injuring yourself, start off on the right foot.

  • Take it slow. Start with a simple walking program. As you become more confident in your abilities, add new activities to your routine.
  • Try an exercise class for beginners. You'll learn the basics by starting from scratch.
  • Consider working one-on-one with a personal trainer. Get a customized fitness tutorial from a certified expert, who can monitor your movements and point you in the right direction.

Barrier: My family and friends don't support my efforts to exercise regularly

Remind those close to you of the benefits of regular exercise — and then bring them along for the ride!

  • Get your kicks with your kids. Sign up for a parent-child exercise class. Pack a picnic lunch and take your family to the park for a game of tag or kickball. Or go to the pool and splash with the kids instead of watching from your chair.
  • Propose a new adventure. Instead of suggesting a workout at the gym, invite a friend to go to an indoor climbing wall or rent a tandem bicycle for the weekend.
  • Do double duty. Volunteer to drive your teens to the mall, and then walk laps inside while you wait for the shoppers. Try the same trick at your child's school during lessons, practices or rehearsals.

If necessary, have a heart-to-heart with your loved ones. Tell your loved ones that you want to be there for them for many healthy years to come. If they don't share your fitness ambitions, ask them to at least respect your will to get fit.

Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity

Need motivation to exercise? Here are seven ways exercise can improve your life — starting today!

Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than old-fashioned exercise.
The merits of exercise — from preventing chronic health conditions to boosting confidence and self-esteem — are hard to ignore. And the benefits are yours for the taking, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. Need more convincing? Check out seven specific ways exercise can improve your life.

1. Exercise improves your mood.

Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help you calm down.
Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals, which may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You'll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Exercise even reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.

2. Exercise combats chronic diseases.

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent osteoporosis? Regular exercise might be the ticket.
Regular exercise can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular exercise boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol while decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries.
And there's more. Regular exercise can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.

3. Exercise helps you manage your weight.

Want to drop those excess pounds? Trade some couch time for walking or other physical activities.
This one's a no-brainer. When you exercise, you burn calories. The more intensely you exercise, the more calories you burn — and the easier it is to keep your weight under control. You don't even need to set aside major chunks of time for working out. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk during your lunch break. Do jumping jacks during commercials. Better yet, turn off the TV and take a brisk walk. Dedicated workouts are great, but activity you accumulate throughout the day helps you burn calories, too.

4. Exercise strengthens your heart and lungs.

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Don't throw in the towel. Regular exercise can leave you breathing easier.
Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular exercise helps your entire cardiovascular system — the circulation of blood through your heart and blood vessels — work more efficiently. Big deal? You bet! When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you'll have more energy to do the things you enjoy.

5. Exercise promotes better sleep.

Struggling to fall asleep? Or stay asleep? It might help to boost your physical activity during the day.
A good night's sleep can improve your concentration, productivity and mood. And, you guessed it, exercise is sometimes the key to better sleep. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. The timing is up to you — but if you're having trouble sleeping, you might want to try late afternoon workouts. The natural dip in body temperature five to six hours after you exercise might help you fall asleep.

6. Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life.

Are you too tired to have sex? Or feeling too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Exercise to the rescue.
Regular exercise can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there's more to it than that. Exercise improves your circulation, which can lead to more satisfying sex. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don't exercise, especially as they get older.

7. Exercise can be — gasp — fun!

Wondering what to do on a Saturday afternoon? Looking for an activity that suits the entire family? Get physical!
Exercise doesn't have to be drudgery. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find an activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you're moving, it counts!
Are you convinced? Good. Start reaping the benefits of physical activity today!

Exercise for the Elderly

Is it safe for me to exercise?

It is safe for most adults older than 65 years to exercise. Even patients with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis, can exercise safely. Many of these conditions are improved with exercise. If you are not sure if exercise is safe for you or if you are currently inactive, ask your doctor.

How do I get started?

It is important to wear loose, comfortable clothing and well-fitting, sturdy shoes. Your shoes should have a good arch support, and an elevated and cushioned heel to absorb shock.

If you are not already active, you should begin slowly. Start with exercises that you are already comfortable doing. Starting slowly makes it less likely that you will injure yourself. Starting slowly also helps prevent soreness from "overdoing" it. The saying "no pain, no gain" is not true for older or elderly adults. You do not have to exercise at a high intensity to get most health benefits.

Walking, for example, is an excellent activity to start with. As you become used to exercising, or if you are already active, you can slowly increase the intensity of your exercise program.

What type of exercise should I do?

There are several types of exercise that you should do. You will want to do some type of aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes on most, and preferably, all days of the week. Examples are walking, swimming, and bicycling. You should also do resistance, or strength training two days per week.

Warm up for five minutes before each exercise session. Walking slowly and stretching are good warm-up activities. You should also cool down with more stretching for five minutes when you finish exercising. Cool down longer in warmer weather.

Exercise is only good for you if you are feeling well. Wait to exercise until you feel better if you have a cold, flu, or other illness. If you miss exercise for more than two weeks, be sure to start slowly again.

When should I call my doctor?

If your muscles or joints are sore the day after exercising, you may have done too much. Next time, exercise at a lower intensity. If the pain or discomfort persists, you should talk to your doctor. You should also talk to your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms while exercising:

  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Trouble breathing or excessive shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Nausea

What are some specific exercises I can do?

The following page shows some simple strength exercises that you can do at home. Each exercise should be done 8 to 10 times for two sets. Remember to:

  • Complete all movements in a slow, controlled fashion.
  • Don't hold your breath.
  • Stop if you feel pain.
  • Stretch each muscle after your workout.

PICTURE 1. Wall push-ups.

Wall Push-ups

  1. Place hands flat against the wall.
  2. Slowly lower body to the wall. Push body away from wall to return to starting position.

PICTURE 2. Chair squats.

Chair squats

Begin by sitting in the chair. Lean slightly forward and stand up from the chair. Try not to favor one side or use your hands to help you.

PICTURE 3. Biceps curl.

Biceps curl

Hold a weight in each hand with your arms at your sides. Bending your arms at the elbows, lift the weights to your shoulders and then lower them to your sides.

PICTURE 4. Shoulder shrugs.

Shoulder shrugs

Hold a weight in each hand with your arms at your side. Shrug your shoulders up toward your ears and then lower them back down.

Good Healthy Habits at 60 and Beyond

Do you feel as good now as you did at 40 years of age? At 50?

If the answer is no, read on. You might be able to feel as good as you used to—or even better—by picking up 1 or 2 new good health habits. It may seem like more trouble than it's worth to start doing something new. However, even small changes can improve your health. One small change you can make is to add some activity to your daily life. Another is to eat more fiber.

What if I've never been very active? Will starting now really make a difference?

Yes! Physical activity is good for people at any age. Among older adults, falls are a common cause of injury and disability. Physical activity makes your bones and muscles stronger. When your muscles are strong, you're less likely to fall. If you do fall, strong bones are less likely to break.

Regular physical activity is good for your brain too. Recent studies have shown that people who do simple exercises (for example, walking briskly) on a regular basis are better able to make decisions than people who aren't physically active.

I haven't been physically active in a long time. I'm afraid I'll get hurt when I start.

From diabetes to heart disease, many chronic (ongoing) health problems are improved by even moderate amounts of physical activity. For people who have these conditions, not exercising is a bigger risk than exercise-related injury.

Talk with your doctor about your plans before you get started. Your muscles will very likely be sore when you first increase your physical activity, but don't consider that a reason to stop. Mild soreness will go away in a few days as you become more used to the physical activity.

What's the best way to get physically active now?

For most people, walking is one of the easiest activities to do. Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week, but you don't have to do all 30 minutes at once. Try walking for 15 minutes twice each day or for 10 minutes 3 times each day.

People who have started being physically active later in life say that exercising with a partner is the best motivation to stick with it. Some suggest starting or joining a walking group with friends or neighbors. Others suggest getting a dog that needs to be walked.

If walking isn't your idea of a good time, try gardening or dancing. Go fishing or swimming. The activity can be enjoyable and good for you.

What about strength training?

When your muscles are strong, activities like getting out of a chair or holding a door open are much easier. If you decide to lift weights, start with a 1-pound or 5-pound weight. If you don't have weights, you can use a can of soup, a book or a full water bottle. Keep your weights in the same room as your television and do a few exercises while you watch.

Another way to build muscle is to use a resistance band (also called an exercise band). Resistance bands are flexible and come in different lengths. They are commonly used to strengthen upper arm and leg muscles.

Why should I eat more fiber?

Fiber can improve your health in 3 ways:

  1. It helps your colon work better;
  2. It reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer; and
  3. It is associated with lower cholesterol levels.

Men over 50 years of age should get 30 grams of fiber per day; women over 50 should get 21 grams per day.

I don't want to start eating health food. How can I get more fiber without changing my diet completely?

You don't have to change your diet all at once. Try making 1 small change at a time. For example, if you eat 2 slices of white toast for breakfast, replace 1 of them with a slice of whole grain bread. If you drink orange juice every day, eat an orange instead for 3 days of the week. If you prefer salty snacks, try low-fat popcorn instead of potato chips.

Some people find it helpful to focus on adding a single high-fiber food (see the box below) at each meal or snack time.

 

Foods rich in fiber

  • Unprocessed wheat bran
  • Unrefined breakfast cereals
  • Whole wheat and rye flours
  • Grainy breads, such as whole wheat, rye or pumpernickel
  • Fresh fruits, such as apples and berries
  • Dried fruits, such as prunes, apricots and figs
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots
  • Legumes, such as chickpeas, baked beans and lima beans

 

I often have a hard time sticking with something, even when I know it's a good thing to do.

How active you are and what you eat are habits. Picking up healthy habits can be tough. But by starting small and rewarding yourself for each step you take, you can make a difference in how good you feel. You may find it easier to be more physically active and eat more fiber if you think of every day and every meal as a chance to do something good for yourself.

Nutrition for Weight Loss: What it takes to Lose Weight

What does it take to lose weight?

To lose weight, you have to cut down on the number of calories you consume and start burning more calories each day. Calories are the amount of energy in the food you eat. Some foods have more calories than others. For example, foods high in fat and sugar are also typically high in calories. If you eat more calories than your body uses, the extra calories will be stored as body excess fat.

A pound of fat is about 3,500 calories. To lose 1 pound of fat in a week, you have to eat 3,500 fewer calories (that is 500 fewer calories a day), or you have to "burn off" an extra 3,500 calories. You can burn off calories by exercising or just by being more active. (Talk to your family doctor before you begin any type of exercise program. Your doctor can help you determine what kind of exercise program is right for you.)

The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat fewer calories and burn off calories. If you cut 250 calories from your diet each day and exercise enough to burn off 250 calories, that adds up to 500 fewer calories in one day. If you do this for 7 days, you can lose 1 pound of fat in a week.

Many experts believe you should not try to lose more than 2 pounds per week. Losing more than 2 pounds in a week usually means that you are losing water weight and lean muscle mass instead of losing excess fat. If you do this, you will have less energy, and you will most likely gain the weight back.

How often should I eat?

Most people can eat 3 regular meals and 1 snack every day. The 3 meals should be about the same size and should be low in fat. Try to eat 1 to 2 cups of fruits and vegetables, 2 to 3 ounces of whole grains and 1 to 2 ounces of meat (or a meat alternative) at most meals.

Some people benefit more if they eat 5 to 6 smaller meals throughout the day, about 2 to 3 hours apart. For example, their first meal of the day might be a cup of low-fat or nonfat yogurt and a banana. Three hours later they might eat a simple deli sandwich with whole-grain bread and fat-free mayonnaise.

Do not skip meals. While this may help you lose weight in the beginning, it fails in the long run. Skipping meals may make you feel too hungry later in the day, causing you to overeat at your next meal.

After about a month of eating a normal breakfast, lunch and a light dinner, your body will adjust.

What is so bad about high-fat foods?

Foods high in fat are usually high in calories, which could lead to unwanted weight gain. Consuming too much saturated and trans fats may increase LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) level, and increase your risk of heart disease. The USDA suggests that you eat no more than 20 grams of saturated fat, and that you limit the amount of trans fat to as close to 0 grams as possible.
It is important to remember that some fats can be beneficial to your overall health. "Good" fat, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are found in fish, nuts, and low- or nonfat dairy products.

Can I trust nutrition information I get from newspapers and magazines?

Nutrition tips and diet information from different sources often conflict with each other. You should always check with your doctor first. Also, keep in mind the following advice:

  • There is no "magic bullet" when it comes to nutrition. There isn't one single diet that works for every person. You need to find an eating plan that works for you.
  • Good nutrition doesn't come in a vitamin supplement. Only take a vitamin with your doctor's recommendation, as your body benefits the most when you eat healthy foods.
  • Eating all different kinds of foods is best for your body, so learn to try new foods.
  • Fad diets offer short-term changes, but good health comes from long-term effort and commitment.
  • Stories from people who have used a diet program or product, especially in commercials and infomercials, are advertisements. These people are usually paid to endorse what the ad is selling. Remember, regained weight or other problems that develop after someone has completed the diet program are never talked about in those ads.

Will diet drugs help?

Although diet drugs may help you lose weight at first, they usually don't help you keep the weight off and may have damaging side effects. Most diet pills have not been tested by the Food and Drug Administration, which means you can't be sure if the drugs are safe. Taking drugs also does not help you learn how to change your eating and exercise habits. Making lasting changes in these habits is the way to lose weight and keep it off.

Safe Driving for Seniors
Steps you can take to make your driving safer
Staying mobile is important to the lifestyle of today’s seniors. Growing older doesn’t mean you have to give up driving. No one loses his or her driver’s license solely because of age.
As we get older, we change. And while the years following the age of 50 can be wonderful, some of us become hard of hearing, others need corrective lenses, and our reflexes may slow down.Photo of car keys and driver's licence
Drivers should learn to recognize individual changes and adjust their driving habits accordingly. This brochure outlines some warning signs that could lead to unsafe driving and suggests steps you can take to keep you and other road users safe while you’re behind the wheel.
Ontario has one of the safest road systems in North America and it’s important that every road user makes road safety a personal responsibility. If you’re a senior driver, you’ll benefit by taking advantage of a driving course to help you stay on the road as long as you can drive safely.

Healthy Living — Longer Living

What You Can Do to Make Your Driving Safer

Your health is a key factor in your ability to drive. To help you handle the demands of safe driving:

  • Check with your doctor  to make sure current and new medications will not negatively affect your ability to drive. Over-the-counter drugs and combinations of drugs can also impair your driving.
  • Report to your doctor:
    • vision changes, unexplained dizziness or fainting spells;
    • frequent, chronic or severe pain.
  • Avoid driving if you’re experiencing pain, because it can decrease your ability to concentrate and limit your movement behind the wheel.
  • Have your hearing and eyes checked regularly. Peripheral vision and depth perception tend to decline over the years.
  • Your doctor can recommend an exercise program to improve flexibility and maintain strength, which can help your ability to drive safely.

Warning Signs

Ask yourself …
   How’s my driving?photo of hand with pencil

Take this test and ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I experiencing an increasing number of near collisions?
  • Have I been directly involved in minor collisions?
  • Do I have difficulty driving through intersections, judging distance or seeing pedestrians, road signs or other vehicles?
  • Do I have difficulty concentrating while driving?
  • Do I get lost or disoriented on familiar roads?
  • Do I have difficulty in coordinating hand and foot movements?
  • Am I experiencing vision problems, especially at night?
  • Do I get nervous behind the wheel?
  • Do other motorists frequently honk at me?
  • Do family members express concern about my driving ability?
  • How important is driving to me?

Your answers to these questions can help you decide whether to continue to drive, cut back to certain times such as daylight hours, or stop driving altogether. If you have checked one or more of the warning signs and are concerned about your driving ability, talk to your doctor or family and get their opinions.
Consider taking a driver’s course to refresh your knowledge of the rules of the road and safe driving practices.

Safe Driving Tips

Tips to make your driving safer

  • Plan your route.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Drive during daylight hours if possible, especially if your vision at night is limited.
  • Postpone driving or use alternative transportation in bad weather such as fog or heavy rain..
  • Use familiar roads. Avoid heavily travelled roads and peak traffic periods if these conditions make you nervous.
  • Stay alert. Be aware of pedestrians, bicycles and other vehicles that share the road and be ready for unexpected actions.
  • Watch the traffic signals, pedestrians and other vehicles when approaching intersections.
  • Leave enough distance between you and the vehicle ahead that will allow you to stop suddenly.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Avoid medications that make you drowsy, and don’t drive when you’re tired, ill or under stress.
  • Consider taking a driver refresher course offered by safety organizations and driving schools.

 

Transportation Alternatives

Illustration of a bus

Illustration of a taxi

Illustration of a train

Consider other forms of transportation available in your community such as:

  • Public transportation – bus, subway, train;
  • Community access bus (scheduled or call-ahead service) or a car/van pool;
  • Volunteer driver programs;
  • Friends and family members who drive; or
  • Taxi.

Road Safety. It starts with you.

Motorists and cellular phones

Smart Drivers Just Drive!

When driving a vehicle, road safety is your first responsibility! It is important to focus on driving and to reduce driver distractions.

Driver distraction is a major cause of collisions

Using either a hand-held or hands-free cell phone while driving makes it four times more likely that you will be involved in a collision. In fact, using a cell phone affects what a driver sees, reduces reaction time and changes the way drivers react – especially in heavy traffic. Driving for work and using a phone? Motor vehicle collisions are the greatest single cause of traumatic workplace deaths in Ontario.
Photo of driver using cellphone in an emergencyDrivers should avoid using their cell phone while driving except in an emergency. Police can charge drivers with careless driving if they do not pay full attention to the driving task. In some cases, the driver's license may be suspended .
Remember, smart drivers just drive! In three seconds driving sixty kilometres per hour you travel fifty metres – that’s the distance across half a football field. A momentary distraction can result in death or serious injury.

The following are some tips to help reduce driver distraction:

* Plan for safe locations to stops  to make and receive calls
* Before you start driving turn off your cellular phone.
* Allow calls to go to voice mail or allow a passenger to make and receive calls.
* Consider recording an outgoing voice message that lets callers know you are on the road.

In Emergencies:

Having a cellular phone in your vehicle can be an important safety aid for drivers and passengers – whether for personal safety or for reporting a crime or a collision. If you must use your cell phone in an emergency – a situation that could result in a danger to your safety or the safety of others if it is not corrected without delay – consider the following tips:
* Pull over safely if conditions allow.
* Keep emergency calls as brief as possible.
* Alert the caller that you are on the road.
* End conversations immediately if driving conditions or situations become hazardous (for example, inclement weather, roadway construction, high-speed or high-volume traffic).

Other considerations:

* Be alert to situations on the road where a cell phone's radio frequency and electronics may be potentially harmful such as: construction zones where blasting is occurring, or at gas stations/fuelling areas.
Photo of cellphoneRemember, focus on the task of driving, with your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Reduce the distractions that may cause you to overreact or respond too slowly to a situation.



 

Drivers, your attention please!

Driving is a task that requires your full attention every time you get behind the wheel. As a driver, you must always remember to reduce driver distractions and focus on the driving task. Your first responsibility is road safety!

 
There are a number of potential driver distractions and these may include:
 

 

      

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technology devices such as cell phones, laptops and hand-held organizers;

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reading maps or other materials;

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grooming activities;

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eating or drinking;

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note taking;

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conversing with passengers;

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tending to children or pets; and

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adjusting in-vehicle controls (radio, climate control and CD player)

 

        

 
Police can charge drivers with careless driving if they do not pay full attention to the driving task.

The following are some tips to help reduce driver distraction:
 

      

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Put reading material in trunk if tempted to read.

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Attend to personal grooming and plan route before leaving.

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Identify and preset your vehicle's , radio and CD player etc.

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Make it a habit to use your cell phone only when parked, have a passenger take the call or let the caller go to voice mail.

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Do not engage in emotional or complex conversation.

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When hungry or thirsty, take a break.

 
If for some reason you must use a cell phone, use it in a safe place safely.
Reduce driver distractions. Focus on driving.