If You Dont Use it, You Lose it!

If you don't use it, you lose it

As I get older, the phrase “if you don’t use it you lose it” is becoming more obvious. Not just the rusty physical parts of my body, but the mental parts like good habits, routines, and comfort zones too.

Highway Driving

I’ve never been anxious driving on the highways, in fact I much prefer it to city driving where you have pedestrians, bikes, and cars coming at you in all directions. When I moved to Ottawa from the much smaller town of Cornwall, I forced myself to drive up and down the Queensway (the major highway running east to west through the city) getting off each exit, then back on.

It feels like I hardly ever drive on the highways anymore, in fact, I’ve cut down considerably for almost two years now, since the pandemic shut us down in early 2020.

When I do drive on the highway these days, the first few minutes feel strange. And then the comfort and enjoyment return, the feel of the open road beneath me. The winding roads and the relaxing rural scenery are a bonus, although I haven’t seen much of them recently.

Organized Routines

When I worked outside of the home, especially when my kids were young, I was incredibly organized. At least when I look back to those days now, I think I was. Beds were stripped every Friday for a weekly wash. Grocery lists were mandatory, in preparation for weekly shopping every Thursday. Once the boys were out of diapers, bath nights were Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays.

I learned that kids thrive on routine, but so do busy moms.

When I retired, and the kids were much older, routines flew out the window with the alarm clock. That might not be considered a bad thing.

Brain Power

How many of you reach for a calculator or your phone to figure out a mathematical equation, even the simple ones? I admit to forcing myself to use my brain power with a pen and paper to ensure I remember how to. It is so much quicker and more convenient to use the electronics.

One of the reasons I loved helping my granddaughter with her online lessons is that it forced me to think like a seven-year-old again. At that age, kids’ brains are like sponges, absorbing every tidbit of information they encounter. I like that feeling, and I really enjoy finding the right way to answer their never-ending questions. Do you remember how some teachers were so much better than others at explaining things?

Arthritic Joints

When I refer to my rusty body parts, I am talking about my achy, arthritic joints. My ankles, knees, hips and wrists are anxiously awaiting warmer, drier weather.

The problem with arthritic joints is that the less you use them, the harder it is to use them when you want or need to. It is indeed a viscous circle, but the trick (I find) is to make sure you keep using them.

Conclusion

Use it before you lose it!!

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Cold Weather, can one be Allergic to it?

cold weather

This is an old post that I was reminded of this morning with the frigid weather forecast. The walls of our house were actually creaking (more like loud bangs) in protest the night before, warning us that the cold is coming. The post is still relevant, except for the hockey arena part. I miss the hockey games, but not the cold bleachers we had to park our butts on….

Allergy to Cold Weather

I am seriously starting to wonder if I am allergic to the cold weather we (too) often experience here in Ottawa, Canada.  As soon as I go outside my nose starts to drip. Seriously. December, January, and February are the worst, but I don’t mind saying I get tired of it. Fast. Usually, as soon as Christmas is over.

My body is not coping well with the cold, so it makes it difficult to want to go outside for anything that is not absolutely necessary. The cold is wreaking havoc with a perennial New Year’s resolution to get more exercise since walking is usually my main form of exercise between November and March when my gardens are covered in snow. To remedy this, I have taken up doing planks which are great for my muscles, especially the core muscles, but don’t contribute to the cardiovascular exercise I need. 

Conditions Aggravated by Cold Weather

I know cold can aggravate conditions like Raynaud’s Phenomenon where blood flow is restricted to the body’s extremities when they get cold.  Cold can also aggravate arthritis causing joint pain

My problem is neither of these conditions.  My whole body seems to ache when I get cold.  If my feet get cold, the aching pain starts in my feet and ankles, but then moves up my legs to my hips too.  The pain actually feels like my bones are aching.  Sitting in a cold car or cold hockey arena watching my son play can easily set the aching off.  When this happens I find heat and Advil are the only remedies. 

Heating Pads to Treat Symptoms

I purchased a click heat pad recently; it works great…

Click Heat, a cold weather buster
Click Heat

Simply press the small metal disc that is floating inside the heating pad to activate it.  As soon as the disc is pressed, the pad heats up and gets firm.  It stays warm for hours, so you can move it around to heat all of your achy body parts.  When it cools off, all you have to do is place the pad in boiling water to return it to its liquid state. 

 Click Heat comes in many shapes, colors, and sizes. If you think you may be allergic to cold weather too, pick up your heat pad, they do help.

Or head south to enjoy some warmer temperatures. I hear Mexico is nice this time of year!

photo credit: Ruvim Miksanskiy, pexels.com

Natural Alternatives to Supplements and Medications

turmeric

I love reading about the recommended supplements in Dr. Connealy’s newsletters, especially when the suggested supplements are aimed at symptoms I suffer from.  As we age, we cannot help but notice the changes in our bodies.  Our skin loses elasticity, gains wrinkles, and loses that youthful glow.  Our internal organs, our eyes, our joints, and our brains do not work as well as they used to.

My problem is, every supplement I take gives me side effects that are often worse than the original symptoms of aging.  My solution is to research foods that provide or encourage the formation of the beneficial ingredient contained in the supplement. I then incorporate these foods into my daily diet.  I realize that these supplements provide a much more concentrated form of these wonderful ingredients, but I figure every bit helps.

For example, the newsletter referred to above describes the wonders of melatonin, a hormone produced naturally in our bodies. Melatonin is responsible for enhancing our sleep so our bodies can recharge properly.  Without adequate sleep, we can suffer from brain fog, muscles aches, anxiety, weight gain due to increased appetite, and a weakened immune system. Check out a previous post of mine about sleep deprivation.

Unfortunately, as we age the production of melatonin is reduced.  Our options to increase melatonin are to take a supplement or to increase our intake of foods that encourage the formation of melatonin in our bodies.  These foods include pineapple, bananas, oranges, walnuts, almonds, cherry juice, and dairy products.

Another wonderful ingredient recommended by Dr. Connealy is curcumin which is derived from turmeric root.  I have added ground turmeric to my soups, stews, tea, smoothies, and stir-fries for the past few months, ever since I read that it helps relieve joint pain. Another previous post describes the benefits of curcumin or turmeric.   I believe that I have noticed a reduction in joint pain associated with arthritis.  This is even more significant for me this time of year since the cold weather usually brings an increase in arthritis symptoms.

To see if I can increase melatonin production naturally, I plan to experiment for the next while, making myself a smoothie before bedtime using pineapple, banana, orange, almond milk, cherry juice, and yogurt.

I will keep you posted!

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