Category Archives: cold weather

Cold weather tips – NIA

Regular readers know that I just turned 77 last week. While I enjoy robust good health at present that is not true of many of my fellow senior citizens. A lot of them don’t get out a lot and suffer from limited mobility.

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The National Institute on Aging (NIA) said that older adults can be particularly vulnerable in cold weather. The NIA offered the following ways to stay safe during the winter months. While these are directed at seniors many apply to any individual deciding to go out and brave the winter winds.

Try to stay away from cold places. Changes in the body that come with aging can make it harder for older adults to be aware of getting cold.

Check the weather forecasts for windy and cold weather. Try to stay inside or in a warm place on cold and windy days. If you have to go out, wear warm clothes including a hat and gloves. A waterproof coat can help you stay warm if it’s cold and snowy.

Wear several layers of loose clothing when it’s cold. The layers will trap warm air between them. Don’t wear tight clothing because it can keep your blood from flowing freely. This can lead to loss of body heat.

Ask your doctor how the medicines you are taking affect body heat. Some medicines used by older people can increase the risk of accidental hypothermia. These include drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, or nausea. Some over-the-counter cold remedies can also cause problems.

When the temperature outside has dropped, drink alcohol moderately, if at all. Alcoholic drinks can make you lose body heat.

Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don’t eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.

As a Chicagoan, I have dealt with cold weather before in the blog as well as my daily life:

Don’t hibernate in cold weather – Harvard

Cold weather exercising tips

11 Cold weather exercise tips

Tony

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Filed under aging, cold season, cold weather, longevity

Cold Weather Cycling Tips

Regular readers know that I ride year ’round here in Chicago. Through November, we barely cracked 40 degrees F which didn’t call for much extra prep beyond gloves and ear covering. Come December, however, with the advent of the 30s and below a whole new dimension of cycling wear opens up. Whether you ride a bike or not, I think you will find some useful info here.

From the Toronto Star

A recent Wall Street Journal had a cleverly written item on Your Outdoor Sports Survival Guide, by Jason Gay. He aptly describes “the maniacal joy of Survival Season,” and observes “Nobody looks suave playing sports in the freezing cold. If you are doing it correctly, you look a little unhinged and suspicious. Are you going to play golf…or rob the Bank of Alaska?”
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CDC Reports Flu Hit Younger People Particularly Hard This Season

Vaccination lowered risk of having to go to the doctor by about 60 percent for people of all ages

This influenza season was particularly hard on younger- and middle-age adults, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). People age 18-64 represented 61 percent of all hospitalizations from influenza—up from the previous three seasons when this age group represented only about 35 percent of all such hospitalizations. Influenza deaths followed the same pattern; more deaths than usual occurred in this younger age group.

A second report in this week’s MMWR showed that influenza vaccination offered substantial protection against the flu this season, reducing a vaccinated person’s risk of having to go to the doctor for flu illness by about 60 percent across all ages.

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“Flu hospitalizations and deaths in people younger- and middle-aged adults is a sad and difficult reminder that flu can be serious for anyone, not just the very young and old; and that everyone should be vaccinated,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The good news is that this season’s vaccine is doing its job, protecting people across all age groups.”

U.S. flu surveillance data suggests that flu activity is likely to continue for a number of weeks, especially in places where activity started later in the season. Some states that saw earlier increases in flu activity are now seeing decreases. Other states are still seeing high levels of flu activity or continued increases in activity.

While flu is responsible for serious illness and death every season, the people who are most affected can vary by season and by the predominant influenza virus. The currently circulating H1N1 virus emerged in 2009 to trigger a pandemic, which was notable for high rates of hospitalization and death in younger- and middle-aged people. While H1N1 viruses have continued to circulate since the pandemic, this is the first season since the pandemic they have been predominant in the U.S. Once again, the virus is causing severe illness in younger- and middle-aged people. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, Centers for Disease Control, cold symptoms, cold weather, congestion, flu deaths, flu season, flu shot, flu symptoms

A Cold Weather Exercise Tip

Because I ride my bike almost daily here in Chicago, a four season city, I have a lot of experience with exercising out in the cold. Nonetheless, I had an experience today in 35F degree weather that was actually startling. Although I was riding my bike, I think what happened to me could happen to anyone whether running, cross country skiing, or anything else out of doors.

In order to exercise outside in most weather, I keep notes on what I wear in various combinations of temperature, humidity, wind, sunshine, rain.

Is he going to ride outdoors or rob the bank of Alaska?

Is he going to ride outdoors or rob the bank of Alaska?

The temperature reading I got this morning was 25F. This calls for two pair of long johns, wool sox, four layers on top, covered by a vented windbreaker. On my hands I wear thinsulate-lined convertible glove mitts. One of the basic principles is that you expose as little bare flesh as possible.

I had to walk the dog and fix breakfast before I got out on the bike. By the time I did, the temperature had risen to 35F on my cycling computer and there was a good sun. I was feeling really good after about 40 minutes and decided that I would prefer to wear my thin gloves with the fingerless cycling gloves on top. They are more comfortable on the bike with their thicker palm padding. So I stopped the bike and put away the glove mitts and switched to the thinner ones.

After about five minutes of riding I detected the cold air the gloves and chilling my fingers. This had not been the case with the glove mitts. I made a mental note that this combination of thin gloves and cycling gloves was not appropriate for 35F degree weather. But, I didn’t stop and switch back. I continued riding.

Here’s where the discovery took place. After about 20 more minutes of riding, my hands had grown chilled – to the point where it felt uncomfortable. In another five to 10 minutes, I could feel that not only my fingers and hands were chilled, but my wrists and forearms had begun to feel cold, too. As I rode now, I was getting the impression that I was too cold to continue even though I had been out close to an hour already in relative comfort.

I stopped the bike and switched back to the warm glove mitts. Here’s the part that amazed me. My fingers and hands responded immediately to the new protection and felt comfortable. In another five minutes my arms had warmed up and I was no longer feeling cold and had no desire to cut the ride any more.

Previously I had known that I needed all my skin areas to be covered up or the air would make me cold, but in this instance, the skin on my hands remained covered, just not as much as previously. Apparently that was enough to signal my body that I needed more protection.

So, my conclusion is that you need to be aware that you are covered and adequately covered. When I changed gloves the first time, my fingers and hands remained covered, but they were not protected fully from the cold. The interesting thing is that I use the cycling glove combo regularly for temps in the 40s F and they work perfectly.

I hope this was of some use to you in getting outside exercise in the winter. Please feel free to share any tips you may have discovered on your outside road to good health. I am convinced that dressing correctly for cold weather outside activities is as much art as science.

If you want to read more on exercising outside in cold weather check out:
Cold weather exercise tips and Cold weather cycling tips.
.
Tony

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What is Nature-Deficit Disorder?

What are we talking about here? Wikipedia says Nature-Deficit Disorder refers to a hypothesis by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. This disorder is not recognized in any of the medical manuals for mental disorders.

I confess that on first blush this term sounded kind of tree-hugging and politically-correct to me. Don’t we have enough important things to concern us without worrying about being out in nature?

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While this being nature deprived is usually applied to children, it doesn’t have to be. I am indebted to Kelly, The Spunky Caregiver, for introducing me to the concept in the first place.

Kelly mentioned it regarding care giving for seniors. She wrote, “Getting outside alleviates our stress and can literally change the mental state we are in. I have personally seen this in caring for seniors with moderate to advanced dementia. Having trees, gardens, horses and walking trails around, is like heaven after being inside. They begin to remember stories, smile more and connect. I have also seen it in rehab patients, how it inspires and elevates their optimism for recovery. For me personally, I need to get outside to feel alive in my body and the thought of being inside for days is painful. I love the sun and the trees and the air. Taking the seniors outside is a serious paid benefit!” Continue reading

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Filed under aging, appreciation, biking, blood pressure, brain, calories, cardio exercise, cold weather, dementia, depression, Exercise, fat kids, healthy living, men's health, walking, Weight

Short Bursts of Exercise are Heart Helpful – Study

Short bursts of exercise like walking up stairs or doing yard work are excellent for warding off health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, according to an article in the Daily Mirror.

This is fascinating news to me as Chicago recently succumbed to winter with snow, ice and vicious cold weather here. Because of the weather conditions, I was unable to ride my bike outside and had to opt for the health club. The good news is that I got some welcome weight work done as opposed to just cardio on the bike. However, there was something about riding the exercise bike and pumping the rowing machine indoors that felt unsatisfying. I missed the fresh air and general sights and smells of the outdoors. So, this news about short bursts of more generalized exercise were heart healthy was music to my ears.

Maybe trips to the health club aren't as necessary as we thought

Maybe trips to the health club aren’t as necessary as we had thought …

NHS Choices said, “The news is based on the results of a cross-sectional study which suggested that even less than 10 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity, such as climbing stairs, ‘count’ and may be as beneficial as longer periods of exercise. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, blood pressure, blood sugar, calories, cardio exercise, cold weather, Exercise, Oleda Baker, senior supermodel, seniors, treadmills, Weight, weight-bearing exercise

Sounds good to me.

Aspirus Healthy Aging Service Line

Getting older can mean changes in nutritional needs.

It can also be a time when it is more difficult to eat the right balance of healthy foods. According to the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) this can be due to your body shape changing, you may be less physically active, or you may have less interest in food than before. These changes can result from illnesses or accidents, genetic patterns, or social, psychological, and economic factors. All this may have happened so gradually, you may not have even noticed over time.

With colder Wisconsin weather upon us, I thought I would share a healthy, comfort food recipe — Spoonable BLT Soup Recipe. This easy, 2-serving soup recipe is from Hungry Girl. To make it work, spinach is used for lettuce.

Ingredients:
2 slices center-cut bacon or turkey bacon
1 slice light bread
1 clove garlic, halved widthwise
1 cup…

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Vitamin D and Your Body – Harvard

Earlier this week I wrote about Vitamin D affecting waist reduction in a study. It is complicated to work out all the factors that affect our Vitamin D level yet this is a very valuable vitamin in our arsenal of good health.

The greatest natural source of Vitamin D

The greatest natural source of Vitamin D


Harvard Healthbeat
says, “The process by which the body makes vitamin D is complex. It starts when the skin absorbs rays in the invisible ultraviolet B (UVB) part of the light spectrum. The liver and the kidneys also participate to make a form of the vitamin that the body can use.
“A number of factors influence a person’s vitamin D levels.

Here are six important ones.
1.
Where you live. The farther away from the Equator you live, the less vitamin D–producing UVB light reaches the earth’s surface during the winter. Residents of Boston, for example, make little if any of the vitamin from November through February. Short days and clothing that covers legs and arms also limit UVB exposure.

2.
Air quality. Carbon particles in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other materials scatter and absorb UVB rays, diminishing vitamin D production. In contrast, ozone absorbs UVB radiation, so pollution-caused holes in the ozone layer could end up enhancing vitamin D levels. For those of us who life In the U.S. just being out in the sun is not sufficient to get adequate Vitamin D during the winter because of the sun’s acute angle to the earth.

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Filed under aging, biking, cancer, cold weather, Exercise, men's health, sunburn, Vitamin D, vitamins, Weight

New Year’s Resolutions, er, Revolutions

Getting through December in a four season climate like Chicago is a dicey experience for a guy who wants to ride his bike every day. You just don’t know what the weatherman will be serving up on any given day.

December usually has some of the most bizarre offerings, unfortunately. However, this year was one for the record books. No snowfall of an inch or more since March. This was the third most snow free season on record with 0.9 inch the lowest since 1939. The year 2012 was the warmest in Chicago’s 142 year observational record dating back to 1871.

Easily mistaken for Tony, this is an ad from J2 Studios. That' one hot set of wheels.

Easily mistaken for Tony, this hot-looking guy is from Shawn Jantzen’s J2 Studios. One hot set of wheels.

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I just finished adding up my bike riding for the year and it comes to, wait for it … 8,433 miles. I don’t know if you are impressed, but I am. This mellow December has been most helpful in my biking. Normally, we have snow and really difficult weather for riding at all, let alone virtually every day. This year, as you can see from the first paragraph – warmer and less snow. I bought a new car on February 25. I have driven it 4200 miles.

This cycling total is most gratifying to me because last year I rode 6,300 and thought I had begun to slow down due to my age. In 2010, the prior year, my total was 7,111 which was the most I had ever ridden. I was not surprised when I slid back the following year.

The 8,433 miles comes to a daily average – 366 days in 2012 – of 23.04 miles. A 23 mile ride lasts around two hours and burns about 1000 calories, thus expanding my gustatory horizons for the remainder of the day. It also works my heart and lungs and pumps up fresh oxygen to my brain creating new neurotransmitters.
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Filed under 2012 in review, aging, biking, calories, cardio exercise, cold weather, Exercise, happiness, heart, heart rate, men's health, seniors, Weight, winter

11 Cold Weather Exercise Tips

In these waning days of November with the advent of cold weather, it is a good idea to remind ourselves that inclement weather conditions are not an excuse to blow off exercise. Last week I wrote Cold Weather Cycling for bike riders like me who go year ’round.

The National Institute on Aging has a number of very useful suggestions for continuing to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

Outside exercise is really good for you

Outside exercise is really good for you

If you want to walk, run, ski, ice skate, or any other outdoor activities when it’s cold outside, (Please read Shoveling Snow is Dangerous.):

Check the weather forecast.
If it’s very windy or cold, exercise inside with a Go4Life DVD and go out another time.

Watch out for snow and icy sidewalks.

Warm up your muscles first. Try walking or light arm pumping before you go out.

Wear several layers of loose clothing. The layers will trap warm air between them.

Avoid tight clothing, which can keep your blood from flowing freely and lead to loss of body heat.

Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it’s snowy or rainy.

Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.

Know the signs of hypothermia:

Watch for signs of hypothermia: cold feet and hands, swollen face, pale skin, shivering, slurring words, acting sleepy, and being confused or angry.

Be on the lookout for later signs of hypothermia: moving slowly, trouble walking, slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, and blacking out.

Call 911 right away if you think someone might have hypothermia! Get the person inside and wrap him or her in a warm blanket.

Eat less; move more; live longer. We still need to do it regardless of the conditions outside.
Tony

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Filed under cold weather, Exercise, health, Uncategorized, Weight, winter