52 CAN DO’S: Healthy Lifestyle Solutions for Each Week of the Year

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By Monifa Maat “The Healthy Motivator” (www.TheHealthyMotivator.com) & www.southbridgefitnesscenter.com

CAN DO TIP Week #31 don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink

Are you thirsty? If you answered “YES” to this question –chances are, you’re already dehydrated! 

Last week I talked about salt. This week we talk about water…August, arguably the hottest month of the year brings with it dangerous heat conditions –especially for older adults, people with chronic medical or mental health conditions, and the socially isolated. In fact according to the New York City Department of Health more Americans die from heat waves than all other natural disasters. 

This year as we celebrate victory of the US women’s soccer team, we must also take note that heat related illness and death are also on the rise among athletes and according to StopSportsInjuries.org is “one of the three leading causes of death in athletes and likely the leading cause among athletes in July and August.” Staying hydrated, drinking more water and consuming foods with high water content such as fruits and vegetables can help prevent dehydration.

How much water do I need?

It really does depend on a number of factors such as the temperature, your sodium and perspiration levels, or in the case of older adults, some medications affect fluid balance. A general guide is to drink ½ your body weight in fluid ounces per day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, 75 fluid ounces per day or 2 liters of water.

Hot weather exercise routine for better circulation and balance

Yes, it’s August and it’s hot, but we still have to exercise. If you’re feeling hot, lethargic — you know that circulation is extremely important particularly in your legs and feet which may suffer if you do a great deal of sitting to stay cool during the day. Here are a few moves that will help increase circulation to your extremities while strengthening your foot, ankle, legs and knees so critical to mobility:

Foot and Ankle: Ankle Rotations

Grab a chair and sit. Place your feet in front of you and raise your right foot. Imagine you are drawing a circle with your big toe, rotating clockwise 15 times and then counter clockwise 15 times.  Repeat on the left.

Foot, ankle, calf: Heel Raises

Using your chair for support only (do not lean on it), slowly raise up to balance on the balls of your feet, heels up. Hold position for 4 seconds then slowly lower them for count of 4 seconds.  Do this for 10 – 12 reps. Next, raise and lower your heels in a moderate-fast paced pumping fashion, bouncing up and down for 15 reps. Rest for 5 seconds then repeat. In doing this you are pumping fresh blood and oxygen to the synovial fluid in your knees for increased flexibility and strength. For more intensity, raise and lower only 1 foot at a time alternately for 10 reps per foot. 

Thigh, hip and knees: Knee Raises

One of the most important ways to increase circulation in the knees is by strengthening the muscles your leg surrounding it. One low intense, yet high result way to do this is simply to raise one knee at a time and hold for 15-30 seconds or until you feel burn in your upper thigh and hip muscles. Lower foot to the ground and repeat on the opposite side alternating 8 – 10 reps.

Monifa Maat “The Healthy Motivator” is a Certified Fitness Expert, Community Health Advocate, Author of “Bed Aerobics Fitness Flow: Easy Bed Exercises for the Body, Mind & Spirit. Monifa@TheHealthyMotivator.com