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How to increase your appetite

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Have you noticed that your appetite isn’t what it used to be? A slower metabolism and decreased activity levels may mean you need fewer calories than you once did. Alternatively, certain medical issues and medications may cause your appetite to shrink. Plus, your taste buds can change as you get older, making meals you once enjoyed seem bland and unappealing.

However, though there may be perfectly legitimate reasons for the reduction in your appetite, not eating enough can lead to significant weight loss and malnutrition. Here are a few ways to make meals more appealing and to get the calories and nutrients you need.

• Use spices and herbs. Try to avoid using excessive salt and sugar to improve taste, as these can be unhealthy.

• Eat with others. Some seniors find cooking for one difficult or lose their appetite due to depression or loneliness. If you’re faced with this issue, invite friends and family members to join you for meals. Alternatively, consider planning weekly meals with a church or community group in your area.

• Pack your meals with calories. A large plate of food may seem daunting when you’re used to eating small meals. Therefore, instead of upping your portion sizes, add nutrient- and calorie-dense foods to your meals and snacks like avocado, nuts, whole milk products and olive oil.

• Embrace finger foods. Do arthritis or shaky hands make using utensils difficult? If so, choose meals that can be eaten with your hands like sandwiches, fruit and pizza.

If none of these practices help, meal replacement drinks can provide you with the calories you need to flourish. It may also be a good idea to ask your doctor about appetite-enhancing medications.

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The pleasures of riding

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Have you always loved animals and the great outdoors? Why not finally unite these two passions by signing up for riding lessons? Not only will you be able to stay in shape, but you’ll also be able to relax and enjoy the outdoors all year round.

Riding is much more than just sitting on a horse. Although it is an individual sport, teamwork is required between the rider and his or her mount—in a way, it is really all about developing a relationship with the horse. Consequently, it is essential to get to know your horse and the way it behaves so as to make the most of the experience. In addition to practical experience, riding lessons also include a bit of horse care theory.

Can horseback riding really be considered as a sport? Isn’t it the horse that does all the work? Actually, no. Riding develops balance, lung capacity, and muscle tone, which is essential for both good posture and guiding the horse. The muscles of the shoulders, back, and thighs, as well as the abdominal and gluteal muscles, all have their role to play. Different skills and levels of physical effort are required by the rider for walking, trotting, cantering, galloping, and jumping. Riding is also a great activity for improving self-confidence, as a great deal of mastery is required to guide a horse and to be ready to deal with the unexpected.

You might prefer to have quality time alone with horse and trainer by treating yourself to private lessons. Group classes are generally more affordable and are fun if you’d like to enjoy some time with friends.

Riding is all about collaboration between rider and horse.

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Health

Dry January: the benefits of abstaining from booze

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After imbibing liberally over the holiday season, many people decide to give up drinking in January. Whatever your reasons for taking on this challenge, here are some benefits that are likely to come from abstaining from alcohol.

1. General health
Excessive drinking can have a devastating impact on your health. High blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, liver disease and certain cancers are all potential consequences of long-term alcohol abuse. If you’ve been drinking more than you should, quitting for a month won’t turn back the clock, but it’s unlikely to do you any harm.

The biggest health benefit of abstaining from alcohol, however, is that it allows you to assess how you feel without it and reflect on your normal consumption habits. A month without booze may be the ticket you need to help you reset.

2. Sleep
Cutting out alcohol is likely to help you maintain a healthy sleep schedule. This, in turn, could allow you to feel more energized, which will help keep you motivated to go to the gym and eat well.

3. Immune system
There’s no evidence to suggest that abstaining from alcohol for a month will boost your immune system. However, being intoxicated temporarily suppresses it and leaves you vulnerable. In addition, long-term alcohol abuse causes inflammation throughout the body.

Drinking less is likely to trigger a domino effect leading to better sleep, more exercise and an overall healthier lifestyle, which together will have a positive influence on immunity.

4. Your relationship with alcohol
Once Dry January is over, you’ll be able to take stock of how you felt, both physically and psychologically, without alcohol. You might notice that you’re more energetic and motivated without the hangovers. Or, you may notice you don’t feel any different.

Remember that a month of abstinence won’t be much help if afterward you return to excessive consumption. Overall, it’s far better for your health to be a moderate drinker than one who fluctuates from one extreme to the other.

If you feel like you rely on alcohol to function, talk to a healthcare professional. Abruptly quitting on your own could cause potentially serious withdrawal symptoms.

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The different types of muscle injuries

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Muscles are susceptible to many different types of injuries. A cramp is a sudden and involuntary tightening of a muscle. It tends to be painful and can occur either at rest or during exercise. If it persists for more than several days, it’s considered a contraction.

A muscle contusion occurs when there’s a direct blow to a contracted muscle. It’s accompanied by pain and swelling that will vary according to the force of the blow. Bruising might occur as the force of the impact can sometimes rupture small blood vessels.

Pulls (stretching or tearing of a few muscle fibers) and strains (a lot of overextended or torn fibers and some bleeding) occur when the muscles are overstretched. These injuries are characterized by intense pain that can affect mobility. The affected muscles become stiff, painful to the touch and difficult to stretch and contract.

If stretched or pulled too far, muscles can eventually tear. In this case, the muscle fibers are completely ruptured and might require surgery to be repaired. Consult a physical therapist to learn more about muscle injuries and how to treat them.

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Study finds hot flashes could herald heart problems

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Hot flashes are a well-known symptom of menopause. While they’re not dangerous in themselves, they may be more than an annoyance. Indeed, a recent study found that they may indicate a higher risk than average of cardiovascular issues.

What the study found
The 20-year study followed over 3,000 women. It found that those who experienced hot flashes earlier in menopause were twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease, and those that experienced persistent hot flashes throughout menopause had an even higher risk.

What this means
Cardiovascular issues are a serious concern in women’s health, especially considering the lack of research on the way they may manifest early on. The discovery of a link between hot flashes and an increased risk could be the first step in developing new preventive strategies.

What you can do
If you remember experiencing early and intense hot flashes or are currently dealing with them, don’t be alarmed. While they could signal a significant increase in susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, the author of the study suggests interpreting the correlation between hot flashes and heart issues as a call to action for women to take steps to reduce their risk level.

If you’re worried, speak with your doctor. They’ll be able to make recommendations to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle and thus lower your chances of developing heart issues as you age.

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Physical therapy and arthritis pain

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Physical therapists play a crucial role in the treatment of arthritis and can help you re­duce the pain that comes with this ailment. Physical therapy strengthens the muscles around the affected joints, which helps preserve their shape and flexibility. There­fore, physical therapists can help you maintain and even improve joint mo­bi­lity, as well as reduce inflammation caused by arthritis. They’re also able to recommend various physical activities — which are critical in managing arthritis — that best suit your current condition.

Physical therapists can provide you with a wealth of useful ad­vice and recommendations to im­prove your quality of life. They can recommend less strenuous physical ac­tivities and instruct you on how to protect your joints while you move about. They can also teach you how proper posture and body me­chanics can prevent deformities. Consult a physical therapist to find out more about what physical therapy can do for you and your arthritis.

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Use high-quality equipment to get in shape!

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Do you want to get toned? Be more flexible? Enhance your endurance? For quick fitness results that you can see, the right performance equipment is key.

At home
If you’re planning to work out at home, you’ll need the right equipment. What you require, however, will depend on the type of training you do and the space you have available. Your local sporting goods store or exercise equipment retailer is sure to have everything you need.

At the gym
Alternatively, if you’re motivated by working out with other people or simply want more space, consider joining a gym. Whether you prefer a no-frills experience or want access to a full range of classes and facilities, there’s a gym that will suit your needs.

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Upcoming Events

Jan
22
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 22 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
23
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 23 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
24
Fri
9:00 am Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Veterans Services Meeting at Abl... @ Able Forces
Jan 24 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Veterans Services Meeting at Able Forces @ Able Forces
Able Forces Foundation will once again be hosting a visit by Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Department of Veteran Services, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Danielle Cullers, Homeless Veteran Advocate-Volunteers of America[...]
Jan
25
Sat
11:00 am Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 25 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Goldilocks and the Three Bears @ Samuels Public Library
A Story Ballet. Join us in a celebration of classic literature through dance! The whole family will enjoy this ballet performance, presented by the Northern Virginia Academy of Ballet.
1:00 pm Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Moving Mindfully: Finding and ke... @ Ruby Yoga
Jan 25 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Moving Mindfully: Finding and keeping your footing @ Ruby Yoga
Join Ruby Yoga and Deborah Romero of Optimal Posture LLC for a series of workshops on moving more mindfully through life using the principles of yoga and the Alexander Technique. Slated for Saturday, Jan. 25,[...]
2:00 pm Aspiring Artists @ Samuels Public Library
Aspiring Artists @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 25 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Aspiring Artists @ Samuels Public Library
Are you aged 7 or older? Do you enjoy art? If so, please join us for our children’s art class. Using the classic scissor cutting art of Scherenschnitte, we will make silhouettes in a nature[...]
Jan
28
Tue
4:30 pm Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 28 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
Children will explore popular books and book series through S.T.E.M. activities, games, food, and more! Tuesday, January 7 – Based on books about Balto, we will learn more about service dogs this week. For ages[...]
Jan
29
Wed
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 29 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]
Jan
30
Thu
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Jan 30 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, December 18 and Thursday, December 19: Something we all enjoy this time of year is giving and receiving gifts. Our stories, songs, and craft will[...]