Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Never Fear Pine Sap Again

Summer means camping trips!  And in New Mexico that means mountains and pine trees.  Kids and pine trees often create a laundry challenge as sap gets on clothing.  Sap can be a challenge to remove, but the American Cleaning Institute has created a video to help us out with an easy way to remove pine sap.  Check it out!

Link to video on Cleaning Pine Sap

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Prevent Falls With Better Balance

Over the past two weeks, I have presented a program on Balance.  As we get older we tend to have more balance issues and we begin to fear falling.  

One reason we have fear is that about 90 percent of osteoporosis-related hip fractures and more wrist and pelvic fractures result from falls.  We tend to lose bone as we get older.  We also lose our ability to stay in balance.  These combined changes dramatically increase the risk of falls and fractures.  Health statistics show a rise in fractures for women starting around age 45.

Losing your balance is a part of life. It happens all the time.  As we get older, however, things such as vision problems, inner ear problems, or weakened hips and ankles can throw off our balance more often. When young people get off balance, they can react quickly. Muscles kick in to stabilize us and we don’t fall down. But as we age, we have to work a little harder to keep those muscles strong.  Each year, more than one-third of people age 65 or older fall. Falls and fall-related injuries, such as hip fracture, can have a serious impact on an older person's life. If you fall, it could limit your activities or make it impossible to live independently.

Balance exercises, along with certain strength exercises, can help prevent falls by improving your ability to control and maintain your body's position, whether you are moving or still. Strengthening and balance exercises work together.  The process of balancing will help strengthen core muscles and stronger muscles will improve balance.  Spending just 5 minutes a day will help you improve your balance and prevent falls.

Balance exercises are easy and can be done at any level.  Balance exercises are done slowly.  Have a chair or counter close by so you can hold on.  As you become stronger, slowly lighten your grip as you do the exercises.  Before you know it you will just be using a couple of fingers and then no hands at all.  As you progress you can do the same moves and increase their complexity by closing your eyes or moving your head or moving your arms.  

Good balance depends on vision, fitness and agility.  During this program we participated in screening tests that ruled out possible causes for poor balance and rated current balance.    Balance exercises work our brain as much as our body.  As we work on balance, we actually strengthen our core muscles. Research shows that balance training can reduce falls in older men and women by about 50 percent.

The good news is that balance improves quickly by practicing daily.  Here are a couple of exercises to get your started.

Flamingo Stand
Stand with feet together and arms relaxed at sides. Hold onto a chair for support if needed.
Bend one knee to lift the foot slightly off the ground and balance with your other leg.
Hold for 10 seconds and repeat with other leg.

Single Limb Stance With Arm
Stand with feet together and arms relaxed at sides. Hold onto a chair for support if needed.
Raise your left arm overhead and raise your left leg forward and off the floor.
Hold for 10 seconds then repeat on other side.

If you live in Quay County and have a group that would benefit from this program, call the Extension Office at 461-0562 to schedule a program.