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Garden Your Way to Strong Bones Volunteering at Animal Shelters Smart Diets Lower Stroke Risk

Exercise Your Brain Learn New Skills



contents Issue 11 / Fall 2020

4 GARDENING Garden Your Way to Stronger Bones

18 FINANCE Sudden Retirement: An Action Plan

6 RELATIONSHIPS 8 Ways to Make New Friends

20 GRANDCHILDREN Cooking Up Fun Fort Bend's Daily Newspaper — Since 1892

8 PETS Volunteering at Animal Shelters

22 TRAVEL Mountain Trek Wellness Retreat

Fort Bend's Daily Newspaper — Since 1892

10 EXERCISE Strengthen Your Back, Arms and Core

A publication of the

Fort Bend's Daily Newspaper — Since 1892

12 NUTRITION Smart Diets Lower Stroke Risk 14 WELLNESS Exercise Your Brain: Learn New Skills 17 PERSONAL SAFETY Safety Tips for Driving at Night




Scott Reese Willey MANAGING EDITOR

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Your Way to Stronger Bones


By Caitlin Watzke

ardening is an effective way to fight osteoporosis. The University of Arkansas found that women who garden or do yard work at least once a week have higher bone density than those who do traditional forms of exercise. Having a higher bone density decreases the risk of osteoporosis, which affects about 54 million American men and women. Lead researcher Dr. Lori Turner was quoted as saying, “[Gardening is] taken for such a dainty activity. But there’s a lot of weight-bearing motion going on in the garden — digging holes, pulling weeds, pushing a mower.” The National Osteoporosis Foundation states that weight-bearing exercises are important for building and maintaining bone density. People are likely to garden more often than other forms of exercise because it feels less like a workout and more like a hobby. It also provides exposure to the sun, which helps the body produce vitamin D and absorb more calcium, an important nutrient for bone health.

WORK SMARTER As with any physical activity, it is important to get your doctor’s approval, especially if you don’t exercise often. Make sure to warm up before starting, stay hydrated and use sun protection.

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our spouse is gone. Your kids are grown. How do you remake your life? If you’re on the south side of 60 and wondering what’s next, cheer up! There are lots of people just like you, eager to establish new, pleasant relationships. Make a list of your hobbies and interests. This can reveal opportunities to relate to others

Ways to Make New Friends By Greg Fox

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© 2016 Jumpstart Publishing, LLC, New Orleans, LA All rights reserved Printed in the USA by Fox Print Services,

The information contained in Active Living is intended for educational purposes only. A reader should never substitute information contained in Active Living for the advice of a health care professional. Jumpstart Publishing, LLC and publishers of Inspire Health, do not endorse or promote any of the products or services described in the pages of Active Living and the publishers do not verify the accuracy of any claims made in the editorial or advertisements contained in IActive Living. Readers should not use the information in Active Living for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Readers should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or have or suspect they have a health problem.






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to provide free labor. Visit the local hospital and volunteer your time. On holidays and weekends, your visits will brighten everyone’s day, and you’ll create lasting friendships. Gyms and health clubs offer many options for building new relationships. Join an exercise class, take lessons in yoga or try new dance steps. Most clubs have activities specially designed for seniors. Check out the offerings at your public library.



Follow your heart. If you love golf, photography or cooking, these activities can open new friendships when you join a club, take a class or invite others to share your passion. If you’re good with animals, you are guaranteed to meet people when you call a shelter and offer




Maybe you’re just the person to read to children. Enroll in group classes on subjects like poetry, writing or acting. Go to church. Your church has countless opportunities for your service, and you’ll find lots of likeminded friends. Get a part-time job. Pick employers that could make use of your talents Or try something new, like working in a coffee shop or a clothing store. The Internet is a treasure trove of opportunities to meet others. One of the best sites is Enter your zip code and select a topic that interests you. You’ll be directed to a group in your area that is doing just what you selected. If you don’t find a group, you can start one.

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at Animal Shelters By Caitlin Watzke

Shelters need assistance in many different areas, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find an opportunity that is a good fit.

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re you wondering what to do with your free time now that you are retired? Try volunteering at a local animal shelter. People who volunteer may live longer because they make new social connections and find new purpose in their lives, and animal companionship has several health benefits, including lower blood pressure and a lower stress level. Research animal shelters in your area. Shelters need assistance in many different areas, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find an opportunity that is a good fit. ANIMAL CARE If you are able, you can exercise, socialize or feed the animals. Shelter animals desperately need companionship,

and by spending time with them, you’ll help them become happier and more likely to be adopted. FOSTERING You can also foster an animal in your home while they wait to be adopted. Fostering helps shelters get a better sense of an animal’s personality and what their ideal home environment should be. PHOTOGRAPHY Do you own a digital camera? You can help animals get adopted more quickly by taking photos of them for the shelter’s website. A good photo can truly make a difference in the time it takes for an animal to get adopted. Photos that showcase their personality may convince potential adopters to take a second look.

ADMINISTRATION Adoption volunteers can assist visitors while they look for the perfect companion, explaining adoption procedures and helping them complete the necessary paperwork. Administrative volunteers may answer phones, direct questions to the correct department or help the office manage paperwork. MAINTENANCE It can be hard for shelters to keep up with laundry, such as blankets and towels, so volunteers are always needed in this area. DONATIONS Even if you are unable to volunteer your time, you can still make a difference by donating wish list items like food, blankets, towels, toys, treats and cleaning supplies.

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BACK, ARMS AND CORE FACT: Those who exercise daily live longer and have healthier, active lives. Not only do exercise and nutrition help you lose weight and look great, they help reduce stress, promote heart health, lower blood pressure and reduce the chance of stroke. These exercises will burn extra calories, stabilize the core for balance and even help strengthen the back, arms and core.

1. Classic Crunches

• Anchor back onto floor. Bend knees and point toes to activate muscles. • Tuck chin into neck, and slowly lift shoulders off floor. Keeping a 90-degree bend in knees, lift knees over hips, and lift shoulders as far as you can toward knees. If you feel pressure or discomfort in back, release feet back to floor. • Release and repeat 10 to 20 repetitions. As your core strengthens, you will be able to increase repetitions.




2. Non-Impact Back

Extension • Come down to floor onto stomach. Ground hips to floor. • Lengthen arms out away from sides of body with thumbs facing upward. • Squeeze gluteus to protect lower back, and lift ribs off floor. • Hold for 20 seconds, then release. Repeat back extensions for 10 to 20 repetitions.



3. Stability Ball

Extended Pike

• Relax down to floor onto back. Hold a stability ball extended over the head. • Tuck chin in, and lift ball up while lifting extended legs. Bend knees and keep back anchored to floor if you feel pressure. Allow ball and legs to come together, hold at top, and slowly return to start position. *If this move is too difficult, begin with crunches and back extension and build up to this move.






Stroke Risk By Patricia Danflous


he American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA) confirm that diets high in vegetables, whole grains, fruit and nuts are significant factors in lowering the risk of a first-time stroke. Recently updated guidelines published in AHA’s journal, Stroke, indicate that eating Mediterranean or DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)-style diets, regularly engaging in physical activity and managing your blood pressure can lower your risk of a first-time stroke. These diets are similar in their emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, poultry and fish. Both are limited in red meat and foods containing saturated fats, which are mostly found in animal-based products such as meat, butter, cheese and full-fat dairy.


The updated guidelines recommend these tips to lower risk: • Eat a Mediterranean or DASH-style diet supplemented with nuts. • Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet. • Prevent high blood pressure by getting more physical activity, eating a healthy diet and managing your weight. • Visit your healthcare provider annually for a blood pressure evaluation. • Monitor high blood pressure at home with a cuff device. • If your blood pressure medication doesn’t work or has bad side effects, talk to your healthcare provider about finding something that works for you. • Don’t smoke. If you’re a woman who experiences migraines with aura, smoking raises your risk of stroke even more than in the general population.


Time is of the essence when diagnosing a stroke. The faster a patient is treated, the more likely they are to survive and have a better recovery. If you think someone you know may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. to recognize the warning signs. Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of their face droop? Arm: Have them raise both arms. Does one drift downward? Speech: Ask them to repeat a simple sentence. Is their speech slurred, or does it sound strange? Time: If the answers to any of these are “yes,” it’s time to call 911. Note the time when symptoms began.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET RECIPE recommended by the Mayo Clinic Staff


INGREDIENTS  8 ounces farfalle (bowtie) pasta  2 Tbsp. olive oil  4 garlic cloves, crushed  ½ can (19 ounces) garbanzos, rinsed and drained  ½ cup unsalted chicken broth  ½ cup golden raisins  4 cups fresh spinach, chopped  2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese  Cracked black peppercorns, to taste DIRECTIONS 1. Fill a large pot ¾ full with water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook 10 to 12 minutes until al dente (tender) or according to the package directions. Drain the pasta thoroughly. 2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Add the garbanzos and chicken broth. Stir until warmed through. Add the raisins and spinach. Heat just until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Don't overcook. 3. Top each serving with sauce, 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese and peppercorns to taste. Serve immediately.


APPLE LETTUCE SALAD Serves 4 Serving size: 2 cups lettuce and ¼ cup apple

INGREDIENTS  ¼ cup unsweetened apple juice  2 Tbsp. lemon juice  1 Tbsp. canola oil  2¼ tsp. brown sugar  ½ tsp. Dijon mustard  ¼ tsp. apple pie spice  1 red apple, chopped  8 cups mixed salad greens DIRECTIONS Mix the apple juice, lemon juice, oil, brown sugar, mustard and apple pie spice in a large salad bowl. Add the apple and toss to coat. Add the salad greens and toss to mix just before serving.




Exercise Your Brain Learn New Skills


t is normal to become forgetful from time to time, especially as you get older. Who hasn’t forgotten where the keys or glasses are? We laugh about these “senior moments,” but the natural mental decline that occurs when you age can be worrisome. One of the best ways to keep your mind young is to learn something new. When you try a new skill, the connections between the parts of your brain are strengthened and re-wired to be more active. The more you use your brain, the better it performs,

By Michelle Fouchi Esneault

and the more difficult the activity, the greater the memory improvement Here are some ways to exercise your brain. Learn a musical instrument. A recent TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) presentation by educator Anita Collins explained that when you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. When you play an instrument, that activity becomes a full-body brain workout. Research shows that playing a musical instrument stimulates your brain, increases your

memory and makes you a happier person. Master new technology. If an activity is out of your comfort zone, it will exercise your brain. Mastering a video game, for example, helps to train critical thinking skills. A Mayo Clinic study found that regular computer use reduced the risk of mild cognitive impairment by 53 percent. Learn a language. Learning a new language enlarges your hippocampus, which can deteriorate as you age. This helps with long-term memory. The Brain and Language Journal pointed out that

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switching between languages may give your brain a workout because it constantly has to choose between words and meanings. Research in The Annals of Neurology shows that learning a second language as an adult can slow brain decline. Try listening to music or reading a book in your new language. Learn to dance. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that 76 percent of senior citizens who learned to dance had a reduced risk of dementia. Dancing can also boost your brainpower and improve your memory skills. Your body gets a great workout, too! Start a hobby or craft. A new skill keeps your brain ac-

tive. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that learning a new creative hobby helped reduce the risk of dementia and preserve memory. Learn to play chess or join a photography club. Become fully immersed in the process to boost your memory and cognitive

function. Read. The mental stimulation strengthens and creates new brain pathways while improving short-term memory recall. For a change of pace, try reading books from a different genre than you usually do.

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DRIVING AT NIGHT By Caitlin Watzke

Avoid being blinded by oncoming vehicles by looking down toward the right of the road, which will serve as a guide. Use your day/night mirror to deflect light from cars behind you. Turn your high beams off when driving behind another car. Don’t use them in high-traffic or well-lit areas. Dim your instrument panel lighting to improve nightvision. Make sure your instrument lights never reflect directly into the driver's vision. Windshield streaks that are invisible during the day can cause glare at night. Clean with a cotton or microfiber cloth. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible. Turn on your hazard and interior lights, and wait for help.

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riving at night can be dangerous for anyone due to decreased visibility. As we age, it can become more difficult to see at night. Follow these tips on how to drive safely after sundown.





Make sure your headlights and brake lights work, are clean and aimed correctly. This will help you see your surroundings more clearly. Increase the space between you and the car in front of you to be able to stop safely. Drive within the reach of your headlights.

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Sudden Retirement An Action Plan


By Patricia Danflous

our company just announced downsizing. Your position is eliminated and you are faced with sudden retirement. Start now to build a new financial plan. According to the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), these guidelines can ensure financial well-being: Make a retirement income plan. This will show how much income you will have, what sources it will come from, and when each source starts. Include Social Security, pensions, annuities, anticipated savings, investment account withdrawals and projected retirement account withdrawals. Once this plan is in place, you can decide to reduce expenses or find work.


You can lay out various combinations of things and see which plan gives you the best long-term outcome. Re-evaluate needs versus wants. When your income is suddenly lower than expected, the first thing to do is cut back on the wants. Go through your bank and credit card statements, and find ways to eliminate the extras. Explore alternative moneymaking options. Reach out to former professional contacts to discover what projects might be available. Look into starting a consulting business,

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or see if your hobbies might be put to good use. Avoid knee jerk decisions. Do not instantly file for Social Security, apply for your pension or take out retirement money — unless that is the optimal choice for you. Many people start Social Security early only to find work a year later. Distinguish between temporary and permanent choices. Making a temporary decision to alter something may be exactly what is needed to buy enough time to get your permanent retirement plan in place. One of the best things you can do when facing sudden retirement is to seek the assistance of a qualified financial planner. Visit napfa. org for additional information and suggestions for selecting a financial advisor.


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Cooking Up Fun


By Caitlin Watzke

pring may seem like a distant dream, but in reality, it’s right around the corner! Now is the perfect time to start planning an activity you can enjoy with your grandchildren while they are on spring break. The arrival of spring means local farmers markets are abundant with fresh produce. Kids love to help in the kitchen, so bring your grandchildren to the market and let them pick out fruits and vegetables for a meal


you can prepare together. Ask vendors if you can try samples. This is a great opportunity to get your grandchildren to taste food they have never tried before. Even if you have picky eaters, they may try new food if they play a part in the preparation. You can also go to a pick-your-own farm, where they can harvest fruits and vegetables themselves. When you get home, search for recipes you can make using your purchases. Gather the ingredients and

tools you’ll need. Your little chefs will get even more excited if you provide them with their very own aprons and kid-friendly kitchen tools. Assign younger children simple tasks, like measuring or mixing. Older children can help with tasks like cutting or grating. Once the meal is done, it’s time to enjoy your creation. Your grandchildren will be excited to try the dishes they helped prepare, and you’ll have a new activity you can enjoy together!



INGREDIENTS: Crust  2 tsp. dry yeast  1 tsp. honey or sugar  1 cup very warm water  3½ to 5 cups flour  ½ tsp. salt  ¼ cup oil Sauce  1 (8-ounce) can tomato paste  1 (8-ounce) can water  1 tsp. basil  1 tsp. oregano Toppings  1 large onion, finely chopped  1 green pepper, finely chopped  ½ pound mushrooms, sliced  Black or stuffed olives, sliced  8 ounces mozzarella cheese or soy mozzarella

DIRECTIONS: 1. Combine yeast, honey or sugar and water in a large bowl until the yeast has dissolved. Stir in flour, salt and oil. 2. Knead the dough in the bowl a few times, then cover it, and let rise for an hour. 3. Punch the dough down, and divide into four equal-sized balls. Cover them with a towel. 4. On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball out into a 10-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. 5. Lightly oil two cookie sheets, and put two circles on each. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. 6. To make the sauce, mix tomato paste, water, basil and oregano in a small bowl. Spread the sauce evenly on the circles. 7. Sprinkle on the toppings of your choice. 8. Grate cheese and sprinkle on top. 9. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the crust is cooked. Recipe courtesy of Kids Can Cook, written by Dorothy Bates (Book Publishing Company)

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Mountain Trek Wellness Retreat



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everse the effects of aging and experience vitality at Mountain Trek. At this allinclusive, luxurious wellness retreat, you will: • Relax fully, reduce stress and reset your metabolism. • Reclaim your health with a body full of energy, vitality and spirit. • Energize your day with yoga, hiking and educational classes. • Achieve natural hormonal balance through education and action. • Improve your eating with a natural-focused meal program. • Enjoy seasonal, local, wild and organic foods.


• Retreat and reconnect with yourself and nature. The Summer Fitness Hiking Program in Nelson, Canada, is $4,500 USD weekly per person. It’s as if you’re standing in a postcard with scenery of mountaintops, mirror-calm lakes, forests as far as the eye can see and hiking trails with some of the most beautiful views in the world. Fall and winter programs at the Rancho La Puerta Health Spa and Resort in Baja, Mexico, are $4,650 weekly. The resort features world-class amenities with private adobe casitas, organic gardens, health spas, swimming pools and tennis courts.

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Travel is linked to health benefits such as decreased risk of heart attack, promotion of brain health and reduced stress levels. Travel promotes physical activity and may lower the risk of dementia because new experiences, cultures and environments stimulate the brain. Travel also helps people forget the stressors of work and relax.

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Hospital based General Practice Residency Program for UTDS Houston. Their goal is to work with each patient to produce the best possible outcome based on that patient’s individual needs and desires. From Check-ups and Cleanings to Implant

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