WALKING AND BIKING IN AUTUMN AND EARLY WINTER

Seasons are changing, temperatures are dropping, daylight hours are less and our energy level seems to be decreasing as well.  Despite these inevitable changes, this is still a great time to exercise outdoors.  Before the snow comes, walking and biking can be even more pleasurable now than when summer crowds were everywhere and temps were hot, humid and uncomfortable.  You need to be more mindful, however, of a few things.

Visibility – You want to be able to see and be seen.  Go to your local bike store to evaluate your options for reflectors and lighting for you and your bike.  Technology has come a long way and there are options that include Halogen, LED, HID (High Intensity Discharge) and Glow tubes.

Walkers and bikers need to remember that car drivers are not looking out for pedestrians or bikes; wearing dark clothing with no reflectors or lights make you virtually invisible at night.  A car will only see you if you are very, very visible when crossing a street or riding on the side of the road.

Dressing for the Season – Choosing the right clothes can be the difference between an awesome walk or ride and a regrettable one.  The goal is to keep your core warm so dressing in layers is the best idea. Choose a base layer made of a synthetic fabric blend like silk, wool or polyester.  This will wick moisture away from your body and allow air circulation to keep you dry.  Cotton is a no-no for exercising.  It is too absorbent and will dry more slowly and keep moisture on your body, causing chills and even rashes.

Don’t forget to cover your hands, head, neck and feet.  These are the top 4 areas for heat loss. Lastly, pick a top layer that’s waterproof, to keep you dry in the rain; this includes shoes.
BE CAREFUL WITH ANTIBIOTICS

It is important to understand that antibiotics, which have been around for 70 years, have no effect on viruses like those that cause a cold and or the flu — and taking them for viruses may do more harm than good. Doing so can make the bacteria change, which makes antibiotics less likely to work. That’s called resistance.

Certain infections can be caused by viruses OR bacteria.  A lab test is generally required to confirm if it is a bacterial infection and not viral.  Ask your doctor to confirm that your condition is bacterial before considering antibiotics.  Examples are sinus infections, ear infections and certain skin infections.

Strep throat is an example of a condition caused by bacteria.  You can be sure you have it only after a lab test, so antibiotics should not be prescribed without the lab test to confirm the bacterial infection.

Livestock that get antibiotics can develop resistant bacteria in their bodies, which are then in the meat we eat. When meat is not cooked or handled properly, the bacteria can spread to humans. Fertilizer and water used on crops can also spread bacteria. The FDA says it is phasing out the use of antibiotics, except those prescribed by a veterinarian, in animals raised for food.

Antibiotic resistance is taking an economic toll on the entire health care system, the CDC says. Resistant infections make people sicker. They stay in the hospital longer and need more expensive treatment.

Bottom-line:  Always question the use of antibiotics for yourself and your family.  Try to eat meat and eggs that are produced without the use of antibiotics (read labels).

UNDERSTANDING WEIGHT- LOSS AND FITNESS PLATEAUS ( from ACE Fit Tips)

What is a weight-loss plateau? It’s a levelling off.   You have lost some weight and have reached a point where you can’t seem to lose anymore, even though you are using the same methods that worked before to lose the weight.  This is a plateau.

When it comes to health and fitness, plateaus have a universally negative vibe to them. There are, however, good plateaus and not-so-good ones.  Knowing the difference can help you feel better about where you are in your journey. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. With weight loss, eventually a good plateau must happen.
  2. There are good plateaus and bad ones. Knowing the difference can help you make long-term progress and keep your sanity.

When a Plateau is Good – When you’ve made some progress, but it’s taken a lot of effort, it can be helpful to coast for a bit and take a break from the heavy effort. This will help you get ready for the new effort required to make the next round of changes.   This new effort may be adding exercise to your healthy diet, or changing the type of exercise you have been doing.

Second, there comes a time when weight loss must cease to be your goal. It’s a signature feature of all successful weight-loss efforts. It is massively difficult to sustain real and lasting progress and feel the joy of living in a healthy body as long as there is a hyper-focus is on weight. It’s not a standard by which we can find true satisfaction. If you’re obese, then weight loss must be a goal, but it’s not the ultimate goal. At some point in the future, that is impossible to pinpoint, a shift away from weight loss and toward living with joy, purpose and happiness must be the goal. The choices that lead to weight loss will ultimately become ones that allow your spirit to shine—to allow you to physically experience whatever it is you love and enjoy about life more fully.

The take-home here is to start playing with the idea that weight no longer has to serve as your standard of progress, as this is a requirement for long-term sanity.

When a Plateau is Bad – A plateau is not good when you’ve made some progress, but aren’t done with your goals, and the plateau isn’t a rest on the way to the next round of changes; rather, it is characterized by discouragement, frustration and a negative response. This kind of plateau has you feeling like you’re done. You’re exhausted from making changes, but you aren’t where you want to be.

This kind of plateau is often the result of drastic diets, ill-advised cleanses (and they are all ill-advised) or extreme exercise efforts, but it can sometimes be from the mental fatigue of forcing yourself to do things you don’t enjoy. When doing something that is not sustainable and runs counter to optimal physiology, you’re running on willpower, which will run out and your biology will eventually push back and fight any overly drastic, extreme change.

Big changes come from a number of small behaviors multiplied over time.  Make small changes to your exercise routine or eating habits to get out of this mindset and get past the plateau.

Know Thy Plateau – Hopefully, we will all eventually plateau at a good level, and learning to know the difference between good and bad plateaus can help you avoid frustration.  Just remember that a plateau can simply be a little break on the way to more progress and see it as an opportunity to make changes to enhance the effort.