10 Easy Exercises You Can Do if You Are 65 or Older

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Exercise is important at all stages of life, but it is especially important if you are a senior.  Seniors need exercise to maintain muscle mass, strengthen aging bones, increase circulation for blood flow to both the heart and the brain, and to help maintain balance to prevent falls.  You should try to exercise thirty minutes each day.  Here are 10 easy exercises you can do if you are 65 or older:

1.  Push the Wall.

Wall pushes strengthen your arms and chest.  To do a wall push, stand about three feet away from the wall, place your hands flat on the wall, then lean in and push back from the wall.  Complete this movement 10 times.

2.  Stand on One Foot.

This exercise is often called “The stork” and is used to improve balance.  Stand straight, and then lift one foot by bending the knee.  Hold the position for 30 seconds, then switch feet.  If you have trouble maintaining your balance, use a chair or the wall for support.

3.  Do Dumbbell Curls.

Dumbbell curls will strengthen your biceps.  Start with a light weight, such as 2 or 5 lbs., and then lift the weight toward your shoulder by bending your elbow.  Repeat 10 times with each arm.

4.  Lift Your Heels.

Heel lifts will stretch and strengthen your calves.  From a sitting position, keep your toes on the floor and lift your heels.  Repeat 20 times.

5.  Sit…Then Stand.

The sit/stand exercise is great for balance, but it will also strengthen leg muscles and the buttocks.  Start in a sitting position, then without using your hands, rise to a standing position.  Hold for 5 seconds, sit, and repeat 10 times.

6.  Do Toe Laps.

Toe taps will strengthen your lower legs and also increase blood flow.  Sit with your feet on the floor, and then with your heels still on the floor, slowly lift your toes until you can feel a comfortable stretch in your leg muscles.  Repeat 20 times.

7.  Stretch Your Neck.

Stretching your neck will release tension in your neck and shoulder area and increase strength.  Start by tipping your head forward until your chin touches your chest to stretch the back of your neck.  Next, tip your head to each side, leading with the ear to the shoulder.  Hold each stretch for 3 seconds.  Repeat 10 times.

8.  Lift Your Knees.

Knee lifts will strengthen your thighs.  From a sitting position, raise your knee so that the back of your thigh is 2-3 inches off the chair.  Hold it for 3-5 seconds, then place it back down.  Repeat 10 times, then switch to the other leg.

9. Raises Your Arms.

Arm raises will stretch your arms, shoulders, and back.  Place your arms at your sides from a sitting or standing position, then slowly bring them up, pausing for 3 seconds when they are extended out, then continue to lift them straight above your head, pausing for another 3 seconds when they are straight up.  Slowly return them to your sides and repeat 10 times.

10. Squat at Your Chair.

Stand with your feet apart, in front of a chair. Raise your arms, then squat down slowly in front of your chair. As you slowly move down to your chair, slowly return to a standing position. Chair squats help strengthen your hamstring muscles, as well as other key muscle groups.

In addition to these easy exercises, you can take daily walks, swim laps at the pool, or participate in senior group exercise classes like yoga or low impact aerobics at a local gym.  Staying active will lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, dementia, stroke, and other debilitating diseases and improve your overall quality of life.  For more information on other areas of healthcare, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

10 Easy Things You Can Do To Sleep Well Every Night

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Sleeping is one of the most important things we do. Sleepiness decreases work and school productivity and can be dangerous when working with heavy machinery or while driving. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), about 35% of adults in the US average less than 7 hours of sleep per night, and almost 70% of high school students average less than 8 hours of sleep every night. This is concerning since poor sleep raises your chance of alcohol and tobacco usage, obesity, heart problems, respiratory issues such as asthma, depression, arthritis, diabetes, and even cancer. Clearly, sleep is important, but it’s also pretty easy to change your habits to get better sleep–here are 10 easy things you can do to help you sleep well every night.

Tip #1: Set a Strict Schedule.

If you’ve ever slept in all weekend and then struggled to get up on Monday morning, you know just how hard it is to fight your wake/sleep schedule, or circadian rhythm. Your body quickly gets used to a set schedule of waking and sleeping that is tied to your activity patterns and the transitions between day and night. One of the most important tips for helping you sleep well is to set a regular schedule so your body will know when you’ll be sleeping.

Tip #2: Create Your Own Personal Bedtime Routine.

One of the most crucial parts of your day is the last hour before you sleep. You should try to do the same things every evening, such as taking a warm shower, brushing your teeth, and getting into pajamas, which will cue your body that you’re about to go to sleep.

Tip #3: Turn off the TV, Phone or Computer.

As you get ready for bed, try to avoid spending time looking into lights like your TV, phone, or computer. Though it may be tempting to watch videos as you relax in bed, this kind of light keeps your brain alert, so opt for entertainment like podcasts or audio meditations that don’t require a lit screen.

Tip #4: Go Somewhere Else If You Can’t Sleep.

If you really can’t go to sleep just yet, or if you wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep, go ahead and move to another room for work or entertainment. This will help remind your brain that bedrooms are for sleep, not for alert activities.

Tip #5: Make Your Bedroom as Dark as Possible.

At night in your bedroom, use blackout curtains and cover lights on electronics in the room to keep it as dark as possible for the best sleep. Conversely, during the daytime, stay in brightly lit rooms and get lots of sunlight to help align your circadian rhythm with the passage of time in nature.

Tip #6: Watch What You Eat.

Eating large meals, drinking alcohol or caffeine, and smoking cigarettes hurts your sleep quality. Whether you’re awake with jitters or indigestion, you won’t sleep as well as you would if you just drank water and ate a small snack in the evening.

Tip #7: Exercise Regularly.

By regularly exercising, you burn off excess energy and keep your mind and body active without the use of stimulants. 

Tip #8: Adjust Your Thermostat (Or Set a Thermostat Schedule).

Most people sleep well when the temperature of the room is in the mid 60s. Who hasn’t woken up in the middle of the night too hot or too cold? If you have a thermostat with a scheduling device built in, set the schedule to lower or raise the temperature at different time intervals during the night while you are sleeping.

Tip #9: Block Out All Noise or Use White Noise.

Whether it’s a dog barking or a partner snoring, noises tend to distract from a good night’s sleep. Use white noise from an app or fan to dull exterior noise, and wear earplugs if necessary. Also, if you have your phone at your bedside, make sure to silence it so you aren’t up all night with Twitter notifications.

Tip #10: Make Your Mattress and Pillow Comfortable.

Try to change your mattress out at least once every 10 years, and if you can’t afford a new one, you can make a firm mattress softer with a pillow-top insert or soft mattress firmer with boards under the bed. Find a comfortable pillow that fits your size, and spend a little extra on soft and breathable sheets and blankets. 

To learn more about different healthcare subjects, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog.

To enroll in a healthcare course, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.

10 Easy Exercises That You Can Do At Work

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Working at your desk all day can put extra stress on your body.  Because of this, it’s important to stay fit while you’re working at your desk all day.  There are plenty of easy, beneficial exercises that you can do while you’re sitting at your desk, or working in the office. Here are 10 easy exercises you could do when you are at work.

1.  Do Some Head Lollers 

When you’re working behind a computer all day, your head and neck could become stiff.  Loosen them by letting your head loll over so that the left ear nearly touches your shoulder.  Use your hand to press your head a little lower for 10 seconds.  Repeat the same exercise using your right ear.

2.   Try Some Victory Stretches

This easy exercise is great for relieving stress and keeping your muscles from clenching up.  You could stay seated or stand up for this exercise.  Raise your hands up overhead in a V-shape and stretch high up.  Hold for 10 seconds.

3.   Do Wall Sits

This exercise is great for building strength and endurance while taking a phone call.  It’s also great for your back.  You will stand with your back against the wall, bend your knees and slide your back down the wall until thighs are parallel to the floor.  Sit and hold this position for 15 seconds.

4.   Clench Your Muscles

A muscle strengthening exercise that you can do while sitting or standing.  All you have to do is tighten your buttocks for five seconds, relax and repeat 15 times.  If you do this exercise regularly, it could help tone your muscles.

5.  Squat at Your Printer or Your Fax Machine

Try doing this exercise when you are standing at your printer and waiting for something to print, or standing at your fax machine and sending a fax or receiving a fax.  Squatting is great for strengthening the thighs and buttocks.  Stand with your feet together, bending the knees slightly until your thighs are parallel to the ground.  Hold this position for five seconds and then release it.  Repeat this exercise. Do 4-6 repetitions.

6.  Raise Your Legs While Sitting

This exercise is great for adding strength to your legs and abdomen.  Try doing this while sitting down on a conference call and nobody’s watching.  Straighten your leg while sitting upright in your seat.  Hold it in place for 10 seconds.  Repeat with the other leg and then do this 15 times for each leg.

7.  Do Some Chair Dips

These are easy exercises you can do to strengthen your core and arms.  Be sure you’re using a chair that doesn’t roll away.  Scoot up to the front edge of the chair, extend your legs out in front of you and place your hands on the edges of the chair behind you.  Use your core and arms to raise your body up and down.  Repeat this exercise 15 times.

8.  Raise Your Leg While Hovering

Similar to raising your legs while sitting, raising your legs while hovering helps strengthen your abdomen.  The only difference is that you will be raising both of your legs at the same time, instead of raising each leg one at a time.  Hold this position as long as you can and then release it.

9.  Do the “Leaning Plank Exercise”

This is another one of our favorite easy exercises you could do in the break room.  Just lean against a wall using your forearms for support.  Hold for as long as you can.

10.  Hug Your Knees

Lift your leg up with a bent knee and grab it with your arms.  Hold for 5-10 seconds.  Repeat on the other leg.  This exercise is great for strengthening your knees.

For more easy exercises you could at your desk, be sure to follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog

To take an online healthcare course, visit Avidity Medical Design Academy.    

Six-Part Health Series (Part 6): 10 Things You Can Do To Improve Your *Employment Health* in 2020

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Employment health, also called occupational health, pertains to a person’s well-being and safety in the workforce. This type of health directly impacts personal life because injuries and emotional stress are difficult or impossible to leave at work. That is why it is so important to focus on your employment health this year, and make sure your total health is in check. 

10 Things to Do for Your Employment Health in 2020

1. Take Your Breaks.

You don’t really improve your workplace or your employment health by working through your breaks. Not taking breaks may actually decrease your productivity and possibly lead to burnout. So take your 15 minutes. You’ll finish your work more effectively and efficiently. 

2. Adhere to Safety Standards.

Adhering to safety standards are proven, effective ways to get the job completed in the safest way possible. Don’t become apathetic about OSHA noncompliance, even if you have coworkers that don’t take compliance seriously. Lead by example, and go home unharmed. 

3. Take Advantage of Benefits.

Fringe benefits that are unused can make you feel unequally compensated. Instead of becoming frustrated, find ways to use the benefits. You’ll end up with greater job satisfaction. 

4. Avoid Distractions.

Put your phone away and don’t check Facebook at work. If you need your phone for emergencies, use it only for emergencies. Distractions make the day seem long but also like you don’t have enough time. 

5. Personalize Your Workplace.

Many people call their workplace a home-away-from-home, but it really isn’t unless you make it one. Add some pictures or a plant to personalize your workspace. If you don’t have a dedicated desk or workstation, personalize your locker. 

6. Meditate.

You actually do have time to meditate. A one-minute breathing exercise can center you enough to get through the toughest of days. Repeating this throughout the day can elevate the effect. 

7. Get Involved.

Part of employment health comes from feeling empowered and like you belong to your organization. This cannot happen if you only do the bare minimum. Get involved in your work, and you’ll have pride in it. 

8. Eat Right.

If you want to be energetic throughout the day, you have to put good nutrition into your body. Drink your coffee, but make sure you drink your water, too. Trade in your fast food for some homemade lunches with fresh veggies. You’ll feel better at work and at home. 

9. Communicate.

So much emotional drain at work comes from a lack of communication. A person may dwell on something all day only to find out that it was a misunderstanding. Clear the air, but don’t cause drama. 

10. Don’t Gossip.

Avoid he-said, she-said. If there’s a problem, go directly to the source unless it requires the attention of a supervisor or manager. Likewise, don’t offer opinions about how other people feel or what other people did. Keep it to yourself, and refer people who question you to the true source of the answer. 

It is up to you to take care of yourself in the workplace and enhance your employment health. We all need our jobs in order to keep our livelihood, and employment health is essential in order to make that the best livelihood possible. 

Everything You Need to Know About Prescription Medications in Your Medicine Cabinet (Part 2)

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As you look through the many medications populating your medicine cabinet, you may be surprised to find some ancient relics. The Washington Post reported on how “many people fail to get rid of unneeded and expired drugs“. It explains that one-third of Americans have not cleaned out their medicine cabinet in a year and one-fifth haven’t done so in three years. Even though we like to hold on to things for those “just in case” scenarios, how should we keep track of expiring medications? This article provides the answer to this as well as other questions surrounding the use of your prescription medications. 

4. How to Keep Track of Expiring and Expired Prescription Medications

If you are keeping a current list of all your medications, you could certainly add this column to the list: “expiration date”. Then, periodically review this list to see prescription medications that are nearing expiration.

Another idea is to regularly clean out your medicine cabinet, throwing out any expired medications and then moving those meds nearing expiration to a designated spot in your cabinet so that you will not forget about them.

5. How to Keep Your Pills Separate From Other Family Members

It could be that more than one family member is taking multiple medications and perhaps even the same type of pills. How, then, to stay organized? It is preferable to keep your meds stored in a designated place separated from other family members’. If you accidentally took another person’s pills, although the medicine might be the same, a different dosage could lead to potential complications. 

6. What to Do If You Are Having Trouble Swallowing Your Pills

You may assume that the easy solution is to simply crush hard-to-swallow pills. But not all pills are deemed suitable for crushing. Some prescription medications are time-release and crushing can negate the slow-release quality of this medication. Other meds become even more difficult to swallow when crushed and may cause choking. So, what to do?

Firstly, you may find that just swallowing your pills with water does not do the trick. You could try putting your pill in a spoonful of applesauce or pudding and taking one at a time. Some people find that swallowing pills with milk or another, thicker liquid is more palatable.

Next, you could contact your physician for alternatives to the pills you are taking. There may be a liquid or crushable equivalent for this medication. If there is not, they may be able to change your prescription to another similar medication that is easier to swallow.

With these interventions in place, you can be confident that you are taking your prescription medications exactly as your doctor intended for the best possible outcome. For more informative articles on healthcare, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog

Everything You Need to Know About Prescription Medications in Your Medicine Cabinet (Part 1)

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Americans are no stranger to taking prescription medications. The average medicine cabinet reads like a very intimate biography of the various health conditions that one has dealt with through the years. The Mayo Clinic reports that 70% of Americans take at least one prescription medication and that 50% of people take two drugs daily. And naturally as people age and deal with more complex health conditions, it comes as no surprise that 20% of Americans are managing to take 5 pills daily. And as you look through your own collection of pill bottles, you may even feel overwhelmed with questions such as, “How can I remember to take all of these as the doctor has ordered?”, “What about meds that have expired?” This first part of a two-part series explains the answer to that first question, “How can I remember to take my medications as my doctor has ordered and what tricks can I use to keep my medications organized?”

Staying Organized While Managing Multiple Prescription Medications

If you are one of those Americans taking 5 or more pills a day, you no doubt are very welcome to the idea of getting organized. The following are tips to help you stay organized.

1. Make a List and Keep it Current

Keep a current, up-to-date list of all non-prescription and prescription medications that you are taking. Ideally, you can either keep this log in a computer spreadsheet that allows for easy updating and deletion of medications you are no longer taking. If keeping a computer log is not possible, you should have a dedicated notebook for this purpose. Important columns of information that you should include are:

  • The date your medication was prescribed by your doctor.
  • The name of the doctor who prescribed your medication.
  • The name of your medication.
  • The dose of your medication that you are required to take.
  • How many times a day you are required to take your medication.
  • The time(s) of day you are required to take your medication.
  • The health condition that your medication has been prescribed for.

Having such a concise list will not only help you to stay organized, but will also help your family members or health aides who are assisting with your care. 

2. How to Fill Your Pillbox

A pillbox is an excellent way to stay organized and ensures that you are taking all the pills that are prescribed for a given day. The beauty of the pillbox is that if you have a question of whether or not you took a pill, you can look back at the pillbox and see if there are any pills that were forgotten. 

3. Using a Calendar to Keep Track of Your Medication Schedule

Another way of staying organized is by keeping a small calendar handy, perhaps at your breakfast table. As you take your pills, you can make a note of this on your calendar for the given day and even notate the time it was taken. Even better, you could write the name of each medication in every day’s slot at the beginning of the month. Then, as you take your medications each day, you can jot down a checkmark to signify that you did indeed take your pill. 

Staying organized requires forethought and effort but is worth the peace of mind it brings. Perhaps you still have questions such as, how to keep track of expired prescription medications and what you should do if you have trouble swallowing pills? The next article in this series will address those questions. 

For more informative articles on healthcare, follow the Avidity Medical Design Blog.