Traveling Light

Summer vacation is a time to take a break from the daily grind. But that doesn’t mean abandoning good nutrition and exercise. You can still get away without getting away from healthy habits. So try these ideas for staying trim on your trip.

  • Pack snacks, especially for your flight. Airports’ and airlines’ limited food options usually are a high cost and have low value. Instead, travel with your own stash. Take trail mix, fruit, carrot sticks, or high–fiber granola bars — anything healthy you can stow in your carry–on and eat on the go.
  • Ration portions. Chances are you’ll be cooking less and eating out more. Enjoy guilt–free splurges by splitting meals, ordering off the child’s menu, having an appetizer plus a salad or vegetable side, or wrapping up half your dish for later.
  • Have fun in the sun. While rest and relaxation should be part of the schedule, don’t forget active recreation. Instead of floating on a raft, rent a kayak. Hike or bike the local trails. Visit the sites on foot rather than bus or cab — most popular destinations offer walking tours through scenic and historic landmarks.

Do Not Sweat It

Do long stretches of summer weather make you a little hot under the collar? Sitting in front of a fan or cranking up the air conditioning aren’t your only options for getting comfortable when it’s hot, dry, or humid. Beat the heat and keep your cool with these fun and frosty ideas:

  • Frozen berries are a refreshing snack that won’t hit you in the waistline — and frozen grapes are a fun alternative to ice cubes.
  • Make a smoothie with 1 cup of low-fat vanilla soy milk and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of frozen fruit or berries — no sweetener necessary, and it’s packed with fiber and nutrients. Freeze your glass ahead of time for a glacial accent.
  • Enjoy a cold summer soup like gazpacho, tomato, or zucchini.

When it’s beastly hot, you may not feel like moving. But getting up and about can help you cool off — and gain a fresh perspective:

  • Head to the public library for some air–conditioned bliss and reading fun
  • Burn off some energy at an indoor ice rink or swimming pool
  • Run through your sprinkler for as long as it takes to feel better
  • Go to a movie or visit an art gallery.

Take to the Water

For a no–sweat power workout, it’s hard to beat water exercise — a terrific activity for all ages, fitness levels, and even those with joint problems.

Swimming challenges both upper– and lower–body muscles at the same time. It boosts muscle strength and endurance — as well as cardiovascular fitness — due to water’s resistance.

If you’d like to get in the swim of things, try these water workout ideas:

  • Can’t swim? No problem. Most public pools offer lessons for adult beginners. Don’t be bashful about learning a lifelong sport — at any age.
  • Water fitness classes are fun and good for all levels. Kick, jump, push, and splash your way to better health — in shallow or deep water.
  • Water walking or jogging is a popular way to exercise — and recover from injuries. Walk forward, backward, and sideways — pushing and pulling with cupped palms or water gloves.
  • Lap swimming is a favorite for many. Do the crawl, breast stroke, butterfly, or back stroke — or a combination.
  • Use kickboards, fins, pull buoys, hand paddles, and other training tools to increase resistance, flotation, and propulsion.
  • Join a local US Masters swimming club for expert instruction and healthy competition.

Aerobic Exercise and your heart function

Just as for younger people, regular exercise provides numerous physiological benefits for individuals over 50 that cannot be gained in any other way. Only a regular program of exercise allows older people to maintain, or increase, their stamina, strength, and flexibility.

Aerobic Exercise

Virtually everyone knows that regular aerobic exercise (activities that prompt the heart to pump at an elevated rate for an extended period) is one of the best prescriptions for a long and healthy life. The cardiovascular benefits of walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming are well-established, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the benefits of these aerobic activities extend far beyond the heart.

Yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fewer than one quarter of American adults exercise enough to achieve these benefits. The problem is that many people – especially older adults, whose ability to exercise is frequently impaired by chronic health problems – remain sedentary because they mistakenly believe that aerobic exercise requires vigorous activity.

In reality, nearly everyone can benefit from a modest amount of aerobic activity. Furthermore, even ordinary daily activities – vacuuming, mowing the lawn, or taking the stairs instead of an escalator – can help preserve the function of the heart and lungs, keep bones strong, enhance psychological well-being, and possibly even help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.

The Eyes Have It

Workplace eye injuries are on the decline due to good worker safety practices. But accidents involving common household products cause 125,000 eye injuries every year — and 90% of them are preventable, according to Prevent Blindness America.

Follow these tips to protect your peepers:

  • Use sunglasses to prevent cataracts and macular degeneration caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays (select glasses that block 99%–100% of UV rays)
  • Wear safety goggles when handling hazardous solvents and cleaning agents, mowing the lawn, or using power tools
  • Cushion sharp edges around the house — such as the stove exhaust fan and cabinets
  • Keep walkways well lit and clear of obstructions to prevent falls
  • Poor diabetes control can lead to blindness, cataracts, and glaucoma — if you have diabetes, follow your healthcare provider’s instructions; if you don’t, stay physically active, make smart nutrition choices, and maintain a healthy weight.

Review the handy eye safety checklists for adults and children at Prevent Blindness America.

Sangria Ice Pops

These bold and fruity wine-based ice pops are fun summer treat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle(s) (about 1 1/2 pints) fruity red wine
  • 2  plums, pitted and chopped
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1 large ripe pear, chopped
  • 1/3 cup(s) water
  • 1/3 bag(s) sugar
  • 1  orange, chopped (do not peel)
  • 1 cup(s) unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup(s) fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup(s) red grape juice
  • 2 tablespoon(s) light corn syrup

Directions

  1. In 4-quart saucepan, boil wine, plums, apples, and pear on high 12 to 15 minutes or until reduced by half.
  2. In 1-quart pan, boil water and sugar on high 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cool.
  3. Transfer wine mixture to large bowl; stir in orange, juices, sugar syrup, and corn syrup. Cover; refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.
  4. Place ice-pop molds in freezer 1 hour before filling.
  5. Pour fruit mixture through strainer set over pitcher; discard solids. Pour liquid into molds, leaving 1/4 inch at the top of each; freeze 4 hours or until solid.
  6. Dip molds in lukewarm water to loosen ice pops before pulling them out.

Tips & Techniques

Tip:Nonalcoholic Version: In pitcher, combine 1 1/4 cups grape juice; 1 cup pomegranate juice; 3/4 cup orange juice; 2 plums, pitted and chopped; 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped; 1 pear, cored and chopped; 1 orange, chopped (do not peel); and 2 tablespoons corn syrup. Cover and chill for 4 hours or up to 2 days. Continue with steps 4 through 6.