Raise your hand if you love berry season!

May is just the start of our glorious berry and fruit-growing season here in the Pacific Northwest. Keep an eye out for local berry stands selling strawberries through June, raspberries through July, and blueberries through August. Not to mention the wild blackberries found growing everywhere from along creeks and trails to running rampant in neighborhood allies.

We’re lucky to have such easy access to berries and fruit. Not only does enjoying berries tickle your taste buds, but it arms and protects your body from poor health! Berries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and more. They can help prevent disease, reduce inflammation, and even ease the aging process just to name a few of the many benefits.

What’s more is the fact that these berries (and some fruits) are local! Traditionally, our ancestors ate fresh produce that was local and in season. Not only did this ensure greater nutritional value (produce slowly loses value after it is harvested!) but it supported the local economy! In today’s world, consuming produce that is out of season and grown out of state or in another country contributes to our growing environmental issues. If these aren’t reasons enough to enjoy a handful of local berries every day this summer, I don’t know what is.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy berries is fresh off the plant, but they’re also wonderful with freshly whipped cream! If you remember from several months ago when we discussed the importance of the macronutrients, fat from the cream will help slow down the digestion of the berries, make you feel fuller, and provide energy for longer! Plus it’s delicious!

If you’d like to learn more about nutrition and how to get yours in order, please visit my website at bit.ly/rebelyum or email me at shelby.ntp@gmail.com.

Active Achievers Camp

It’s not too early to be thinking about fun summer activities for your kids! BAC Active Achievers Summer Camp encourages playful and fun activities, sports-related opportunities, and promotes cooperative socialization that aims to bloom new friendships while creating unforgettable summer memories. Camp will incorporate a variety of games, crafts, team building, trips to Park Bowl and Trampoline Zone, swimming, special guest appearances from local Bellingham Bells Baseball players, decorating provided camp t-shirts and much more!

Sign up at the Cordata Front Desk. Payment is due at time of sign up.

When: July 8-12
TIME: 9:00AM- 4:30PM
COST: $185 BAC Members
$215 Non-Members
$40 discount for siblings
AGES: 7-10

5 Simple Steps to Safety on Your Deck and Porch

May is my favorite month of the year. Besides the excellent celebrations of Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and my birthday, May brings some of the best weather we have in the Pacific Northwest. That means spending time outside on our decks and porches. We want to make sure that both are safe. Here are 5 steps towards your deck safety:

Check the Deck
Winter weather can do damage to decks by snow and rain causing cracks and loosening connections. Look all the way around your deck, including underneath if possible, checking for loose or rotting boards, rusty connections, and screws in the structure. These things need to be fixed right away.

If you don’t have the skill or experience to do this kind of work, find a handyman. The BIAWC website and Angie’s List are great referral sites for qualified contractors.

Test the Railings and Stair Treads
Just like the deck, stairs and handrails can get cracked or loosened over the winter. Make sure that treads are sturdy, with no wiggles. Handrails should be tightly fastened. Harsh weather can make paint blister, causing cracks and splinters on the handrail. Sand these down until they’re smooth and repaint as necessary.

Handrails for Safety
Consider adding handrails to stairs that don’t have any, even short sections of stairs. They’re good for everyone using the stairs and particularly helpful for older people who have less mobility.

Clean the Deck
A winter’s worth of weather will add debris and dirt to the deck. In some cases, mold and mildew can develop, making the deck slippery and dangerous. Sweep the deck first, getting rid leaves and dirt. Some people like to pressure wash at this point. Be sure to read the warning labels about the recommended pressure to use on wood or composite deck before starting. It’s easy to take off paint and even crack the wood if you are too enthusiastic.

Once the surface is clear, it’s time to use a deck cleaner for the wash cycle. Cleaning agents TSP and bleach have been used for years, but they are toxic both to the user and the environment. Consider using a homemade mixture of vinegar and water or baking soda and water, or an environmentally approved cleaner like Simple Green. Look for the Green Seal to know a product has been certified for environmental and health excellence.

Add the Finishing Touch
After cleaning, your deck may need to be repainted, stained or sealed now that it’s been cleaned. Consider using a paint that has non-slip texture in it for added safety. Anti-slip stair tread tape is easy to install. Add lighting to avoid tripping accidents and a nice glow in the evening. Solar powered sensor lights are great for this purpose.

Clear the Clutter
Most decks and porches don’t have built-in storage, but there is lots of stuff that accumulates on them. Chairs, cushions, barbeque tools, planters, and hoses are some of the items that may end up on your deck, causing tripping hazards. Attractive weather resistant storage boxes provide a way to stow the stuff and additional seating.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 33,000 people are injured because of structural failure of a deck, porch, railing or staircase. Now is the time to make sure your deck is a safe place to enjoy the sun. A little maintenance will go a long way towards your summer enjoyment and safety.

Susie Landsem
Aging in Place by Design
Susie is a consultant for Aging in Place. Contact her if you have questions about adding safety and comfort solutions to your home.

Zumba Gold

Zumba Gold takes the popular Latin dance-inspired workout of Zumba and makes it accessible for seniors, beginners or others needing modifications in their exercise routine. Zumba Gold builds cardiovascular health by challenging the heart and working the muscles of the hips, legs, and arms with dance moves. Join us Wednesdays @ 8:30 am in the Cordata Gym.

Risk Factors for Falls

  • Lower body weakness
  • Difficulties with gait and balance
  • Use of psychoactive medications (substances that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behavior) examples: anesthetic, anticonvulsant, antiparkinson, antidepressants, and stimulant medications.
  • Postural dizziness
  • Poor vision
  • Problems with feet and/or shoes
  • Home hazards

Aerobic Activities for Active Aging

Need some ideas to keep aerobically active?

  • Walking or hiking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Water Aerobics
  • Jogging or Running
  • Aerobic Exercise Classes
  • Some forms of Yoga
  • Bicycle riding (stationary or outdoors)
  • Some yard work, such as raking and pushing a lawn mower
  • Sports like tennis or basketball
  • Walking as part of golf

*US Dept. of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition

Retrofit

RetroFit is a moderate-paced, low-impact class designed for people who are comfortable with basic choreography. Focus is on simple movements. This is a great starting class for all ages, beginners, and members coming back from rehab injuries. Joins us on Mondays @ 8:30 in the Cordata Gym.

Cognitive Health

Cognitive Health, the ability to think, learn, and remember, is an important component of brain health:

  • Motor function – how well you make and control movements
  • Emotional function – how well you interpret and respond to emotions
  • Sensory function – how well you feel and respond to sensations of touch, including pressure, pain, and temperature

5 Things to Focus on for Maintaining Cognitive Health:

  • Take Care of Your Health
  • Eat Healthy Foods
  • Be Physically Active
  • Keep Your Mind Active
  • Stay Connected

Physical Activity
Studies link ongoing Physical Activity with benefits to the brain. In one study, exercise stimulated the human brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones that are vital to cognitive health. Other studies have shown that exercise increased the size of the brain structure important to memory and learning.

Keep Your Mind Active
Keeping intellectually engaged has been found to show benefit to the brain. People who engage in meaningful activities, like volunteering or hobbies, say they feel happier and healthier. Learning new skills may improve your thinking ability as well. For example, one study found that older adults who learned quilting or digital photography had more memory improvement than those who only socialized or did less cognitively demanding activities.

Formal cognitive training also seems to have benefits. In the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) trial, healthy adults 65 and older participated in 10 sessions of memory training, reasoning training, or processing-speed training. The sessions improved participants’ mental skills in the area in which they were trained. Most of these improvements persisted 10 years after the training was completed!