Tuesday Tip #34: Driving Safely in the Snow

Driving in Snow and Ice

The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.

Don’t go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle road conditions.

Driving safely on icy roads

  1. Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  2. Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
  3. Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  4. Keep your lights and windshield clean.
  5. Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
  6. Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
  7. Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges.
  8. Don’t pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
  9. Don’t assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

If your rear wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the accelerator.
  2. Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they’re sliding right, steer right.
  3. If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, ease the steering wheel toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
  4. If you have standard brakes, pump them gently.
  5. If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), do not pump the brakes. Apply steady pressure to the brakes. You will feel the brakes pulse — this is normal.

If your front wheels skid…

  1. Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don’t try to steer immediately.
  2. As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission in “drive” or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.

If you get stuck…

  1. Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
  2. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.
  3. Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
  4. Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.
  5. Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels, to help get traction.
  6. Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner’s manual first — it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.) Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each time you’re in gear, give a light touch on the gas until the vehicle gets going.

Sources: National Safety Council, New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Washington State Government Information & Services

Tuesday Tip #33: Managing Stress

April is National Stress Awareness Month and most of us are experiencing increasing stress levels. We know we should reduce our level of stress, but it can seem too hard to do when we’re just trying to keep up with everything we have to do. Here are some tips that can help you manage your stress.
  1. Take 5 slow, deep breaths whenever you feel tense.
  2. Get some exercise each day to boost your energy level and improve your mood.
  3. Make time for relaxation. Listen to music, work in the garden, play with a pet, or do something else you enjoy.
  4. Keep things in perspective. Look for the humor in situations.
  5. Stretch and massage tight muscles to work out tension.
  6. Talk with a trusted friend instead of keeping frustrations bottled up.
  7. Plan and prioritize each day’s activities and be realistic about what you can achieve.
  8. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.
  9. Look on mistakes and difficult situations as opportunities for growth.
  10. Learn to accept change and be flexible.

Tuesday Tip #31: What to know about weight management

The key to weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is to properly balance the calories you take in with the calories you use up in physical activity. This does not mean you should exercise more and starve yourself. “Fuel” in the form of food is required to grow and strengthen your muscles. Exercise without enough fuel puts a body in starvation mode, in which your body starts to store fat and you don’t gain muscle. This would halt your progress toward weight loss or muscle gain.

Here are some tips if losing weight is your goal.

  1. Pump up your exercise program by getting more exercise whenever possible.
  2. Keep a journal in which your write down EVERYTHING you eat and drink, along with the calories. Food journals are great tools that allow you to see where small changes within your diet will benefit your overall health.
  3. Maintain an exercise log.
  4. Instead of thinking about dieting, make a lifetime commitment to eat foods that are low in calories, fat, and suger, and high in fiber.
  5. Work on managing stress so you don’t respond to it by overeating.
  6. Set realistic short- and long-term weight-loss goals, and plan nonfood rewards for meeting each of them.
  7. Drink plenty of water daily. Many people feel hungry when they’re actually thirsty.
  8. Try to eat protein with every meal and snack. Proteins help you feel full longer than carbs.

* Remember that weight gain in the beginning of an exercise program is a good sign that you are eating enough calories to support muscle building. Muscle weighs more than fat and muscle burns more calories than fat.

Tuesday Tip #30: Turn Your Office Into a Mini-Gym

Count exercises done at the office in your daily workout calculations. You can add exercise to your workday without losing time on the job. In fact, you’ll gain extra energy and lower your stress.

  • Use your office chairs, walls and floors for quick tummy-toning exercises, wall stretches, Pilates, or yoga exercises.
  • Whenever possible take the stairs, not the elevator.
  • Walk over to co-workers to give messages or plug ideas.
  • Ask a co-worker to walk with you to lunch.
  • Do some funky dance steps while you file.
  • Park your car farther from the office.

Play It Safe

  • Check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program if you have a medical condition or symptoms or a health problem.
  • Always breathe normally during an exercise.
  • If an exercise hurts, stop immediately.

Tuesday Tip #29: Add Movement To Your Day

Keeping exercise fun, exciting, and convenient is the key to committing to extra physical activity daily. Within your busy life, these quick tips can help you achieve your goal of getting the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

 

  • Take a 10-minute walk before or after each meal. Walk with your partner, children, or dog.
  • Commit to another person (or a pet) to walk, run, or work out.
  • Have your workout clothes and equipment in your vehicle so you are always prepared.
  • Park farther from the front door of your daily shops.
  • Sing and dance as you clean.
  • Wash your own car.
  • Do gardening or yard work.
  • Fill TV commercial time with physical movement.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible.
  • Set up an area in your home for working out; include small weights and a mat.
  • Meet your friends at the beach or walking path for a quick stroll before that coffee shop stop.
  • Add a variety of physical activities that you enjoy to your day. These might include walking, playing basketball, dancing, or anything else you enjoy.
  • Revise your commute to incorporate a workout before or after work.
  • Make note of your commitment and reward your progress. This will keep you motivated.
  • Break your exercise time into manageable time slots: three 10-minute workouts, two 15-minute workouts or, on days when you have time to go for the gold, work out for 30 minutes at a time.

 

Find the fun in fitness and move into a lifetime of wellness. Smile! Breathe! Enjoy. Your body, mind, and spirit will all reap the benefits of extra movement every day.

Tuesday Tip #28: 10 Ways to Reduce Risk Factors & Maintain Heart Health

Ways to Protect Your Heart.

  1. Partner with your doctor. Discuss your risks for heart disease and heart attack and what you can do to reduce them.
  2. Aim for a healthy weight. Excess weight increases  your chance of developing heart disease.
  3. Don’t smoke of use other tobacco products. Avoid secondhand smoke as well.
  4. Have fatty fish, such as salmon or macherel, at least twice a week for its heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
  5. Get active. Strengthen and condition your heart by exercising at least 30 minutes a day. Aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, bicycling, and swimming, are best for heart health.
  6. Control your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Have recommended screenings on time.
  7. Handle stress in healthy ways. To calm yourself quickly, take several deep breaths.
  8. Choose a heart-smart diet that’s high in fiber and low in saturated fat, trans fats, cholesterol, and salt.
  9. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
  10. Learn the warning signs of a heart attack and heart disease, and don’t ignore them.

Tuesday Tip #27: Top 5 Funny Ways to Save Money

Saving money is tough; it’s like a diet. You had your fun and now you have to tighten your belt to spend less. But being disciplined with your money does not have to be boring or a drag.

Here are my ten entertaining ways to save money:

1. Put your credit cards into tubs filled with water. Freeze. For some individuals, putting their chocolate into the freezer has helped them with impulse chocolate binges. Instead of popping the mouth watering chocolate into their mouths for that moment where it melts on their tongue, a disciplined chocoholic would have to wait for the chocolate to thaw before indulging. Likewise, you can put your credit card into a storage tub and freeze it. Depending on your self control, you may have to increase the storage tub to give you ample time to get a hold of your senses.

2. Go snacking at gourmet grocery stores with food samples. You might be able to lunch your way through the shopping aisles as long as you are not too fussy about sharing your digs with other “shoppers.”

3. Check all vending machines for change that was not retrieved or loose food items. Do not get on any security guard’s ire by shaking the vending machine. However, if you keep a sharp eye out, you can sometimes find packages hanging, ready to fall out in such a way that if you buy the next one, you get the first bonus one free. After you do that, check under the machines for any more loose coins. People often don’t realize that they dropped more change than they picked up when they drop them.

4. Take extra packets of whatever the restaurant is passing out. Ketchup, salt, sugar, sugar substitute are just for starters. Non-dairy creamers, crackers, plastic utensils, napkins, nothing is too small.

5. Unplug everything in your house except when you use it. Phantom energy uses add up. Really.

 

Tuesday Tip #26: Tips to Smart Holiday Shopping

Black Friday and Cyber Monday has come and gone, but nearly a month remains of the Christmas shopping season. The early birds may have bought, wrapped and mailed all of their gifts by now, but many of us still haven’t set foot in a store. So I offer these consumer tips — courtesy of consumerreports.org and the National Retail Federation — in the spirit of the holiday shopping season:

 

  • Make a list and check it twice. Write down the names of everyone on your gift list, the naughty and the nice, and how much you plan to spend on their gifts.
    Creating a list helps you budget your holiday expenses, reduces the chance you’ll forget someone, and makes it easier to find ways to save money by making the best use of stores’ buy-one-get-one-free offers.
  • Surf the Net before you visit the store. Go online and check out the websites and Facebook pages of your favorite retailers to see what specials they offer.
  • Sign up to receive e-mails from retailers. They often contain special offers and coupons.
  • If you know exactly what you are buying someone, price the item at two or more online sites before heading to the store. It can save you time and gas money.
  • Shop the night before a sale begins. Many stores program their registers each evening for the next day, so a sale price might come up if you shop after 6 p.m. even if the sale price isn’t posted yet.
  • Ask a sales associate about any upcoming sales, especially on big-ticket items
  • Don’t get distracted. Stores entice you with “doorbuster” specials, especially on TVs and other electronic items. If that’s what you want, don’t let the salesperson steer you toward a more expensive item. If you are looking for a better quality TV or computer, however, know that the higher-priced ones might have more wiggle room for negotiation.
  • Check the store’s return policy. Not only do return policies differ from store to store, they also might also be different this time of year. Some items purchased during Black Friday weekend might not be returnable, or have a shortened return period. Also, ask whether a store has a restocking fee.
  • Don’t park in the dark. If shopping after 5 p.m., make sure you park in a well-lighted area of the parking lot. Keep the items you bought in the trunk of the car and out of sight. If you drive a hatchback, cover your purchases with a blanket.

Tuesday Tip #25 – Thanksgiving Safety Tips

  • To avoid a fire, stay in the kitchen while cooking. Check on the food throughout the day. If deep-frying a turkey, keep the fryer outside and away from walls, fences and other structures.
  • If you thaw your turkey at 40° F or higher, salmonella and other bacteria could grow. Thaw your turkey in the fridge. The general rule is one day for every 5 pounds. Or, thaw your turkey underwater – 30 minutes for every pound. Change the water every 30 minutes.
  • Give the juices time to set after it’s done cooking by letting it rest for a bit.
  • Cook the turkey right after thawing. Check the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest breast area to see if it’s finished. The temperature needs to be least 165° F.
  • Put your leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours of serving the food. If you are not going to eat them within 36 hours, put them in the freezer.
  • Keep turkey bones, fatty holiday foods (turkey skin and gravy), chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, alcohol, and anything with caffeine away from your pets.