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   We understand you have concerns regarding the removal of the Silver Sneakers program as a value-added benefit to your AARP branded Medicare plan. We are sorry that this program is no longer going to be offered in your state.   How Changes Are Determined Decisions about the SilverSneakers program markets are made jointly by UnitedHealthcare, SilverSneakers and AARP. The evaluation process must take into account a variety of different factors, such as the availability of locations, number of insured members in a state, marketing factors, regulatory concerns, etc.   What is Happening At this time, SilverSneakers is being replaced with a variety of new services such as a special membership rate at participating YMCAs and fitness centers and a personal wellness coach available over the phone to help you set and meet your fitness and health goals. UnitedHealthcare can also connect you to valuable community resources to help you live as healthy and active a life as possible. You can use a participating YMCA or fitness center and receive a special program offer of 50% off the monthly membership rate. There is also a waived or reduced enrollment fee. This change will allow UnitedHealthcare to offer more options to more insured members.   How to Find More Information You can call 1-888-887-5963 to learn more about these services, or if you would like to join a YMCA or fitness center. By calling this dedicated health and wellness line, you can also inquire if your current fitness center is participating in the network and, if it’s not, to nominate it.   How to Nominate Your Fitness Center for Participation Another way to nominate your local fitness center and help the network grow is to give the referral letter to your fitness center manager. That way your fitness center knows of your interest in having them join the network and they have the information to learn more.   How to Find Other Providers of the Silver Sneakers Program If you would like to see which other healthcare providers participate in the Silver Sneakers program in your state, please visit     We hope that this information is helpful. We do appreciate you taking the time to inform us of your concerns, and thank you for being a member of AARP    
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Question  What are some home made remedies to prevent colds and the flu? Answer  As the weather changes, our bodies become more susceptible to catching colds and the flu. Some potential home made remedies to help prevent sickness include:   Good subject for the season ! My sister makes a solution using horse radish & God-knows-what-else to stay healthier in cold/flu season. Says it does perk you up during the winter as well as being a preventive for those who don't want flu shots. What I'm asking is : how many of you seniors do this also & what do you take ? I'd welcome ideas, what sites to go to for recipes, most anything ! Vitamin C in high doses. The root of all anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-histamine is Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid). It's cheap and extremely effective. Dr. Andrew Saul   has an excellent presentation on this.  Do your research and look for the Chemist, LINUS PAULING (Noble Prize winner) and his discoveries about Vitamin C.   Dr. Robert Cathcart   cured thousands of people with all kinds of maladies, in a small CA town basically only with Vitamin C. I get the simple inexpensive tablets that are 1,000mg each...I take 2-4 tablets per day. I never get colds or flu. Ever.Try it. From Mayo Clinic on taking high dosage vitamin C:  ".......Possible interactions include: Aluminum. Taking vitamin C can increase your absorption of aluminum from medications containing aluminum, such as phosphate binders. This can be harmful for people with kidney problems. Chemotherapy. There is concern that use of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, during chemotherapy might reduce the drug's effect. Estrogen. Taking vitamin C with oral contraceptive or hormone replacement therapy might increase your estrogen levels. Protease inhibitors. Oral use of vitamin C might reduce the effect of these antiviral drugs.  Statins and niacin. Taking vitamin C with niacin, which might benefit people with high cholesterol, could reduce niacin's effect. Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven). High doses of vitamin C might reduce your response to this anticoagulant...".    I'm always against advice for 'taking a pill' for which this society has an obsession. Want to prevent colds? Diet, exercise, proper sleep, proper hand washing (or better, sanitizer). The stuff you should be doing every day. Elderberry in any form—tea, syrup, cough drops, tablets—a proven anti-viral.   Traditional Medicinal "breathe easy" tea. I have no health problems, this tea 3x a day for 3 days works wonder. Keeps the respiratory system clear, which I believe, helps me. This tea includes licorice root, and some people can not take that due, I think, to their blood pressure. Am not a doc, so not sure if that is the reason. Check first, but then if all systems are go, why not try it?  That’s exactly what I have done for years, and never get a cold, I also eat well, exercise, wash my hands frequently, take vitamin supplements and I am 79 years old.   Vitamin D3. It's not vitamin C that you need. It's vitamin D3 the sunshine pill. Ever since I started taking 2000 IU a day, I don't get colds. I've been doing this for many years. If I start to feel run down or I might be getting sick, I take double the dosage and the next day I'm fine again. Most people are deficit in D3, especially when the days get shorter and less sunlight. I didn't realize until I read this comment that I haven't had a cold/flu for about three years since I started taking 5,000iu's of vitamin D3 daily. My vitamin D blood results came back low and are normal now. Apple Cider Vinegar. I have gargled with Apple Cider Vinegar for years with any sign of sore throat or cold,  I also clean and wipe down surfaces when kids and I come down with anything we think may be contagious. Echinacea. Check w doctor first but whole herb echinacea and Vitamin C twice a day for 7 days immediately when you feel your first symptom. Also get more sleep and drink more fluids. Food supplements. I take daily whole food supplements that are fruit veggie grapes and berries as well as eating lots of fruits and veggies everyday. I rarely get sick and when I do which is maybe once a year it is very short lived. I also make a syrup of cut up lemons, cut up ginger root, and honey. You can take a few times a day and it will boost your immune system and heal you quickly. Chicken Noodle Soup. Homemade chicken noodle soup with onions and garlic , 600mg Motrin, orange juice, tea with honey and lemon Alcohol (For those who are interested in alternative methods).  This may not work for all, but my mother swore by it. Her daddy was a country doctor who carried a bottle of whiskey around in his buggy in East Texas - Hot toddy, lemon juice, honey, water an dark liquor - Brandy, Scotch or Whiskey. Make the first one weak, if you aren't used to the hootch, then make the second one stronger. Sip in bed and by the time you're done you don't care if you're sick or not! My grandmother also believed in a little honey, lemon and brandy for cold or flu.   
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Question What exercises do you do and what advice do you have to counteract the toll aging takes on the body?        Answers I am 61 years old and have been an big fan of the Elliptical for the past 15 years averaging 20+ miles per week. About 3 months ago, I purchased a high-quality rowing machine. I have added 15000 meters of rowing to my weekly elliptical training. The difference in my body is just incredible!       I’m 69 and have been working out since I was 39. My workout is lifting weights 3 days a week also for cardio I walk 7 days and do the elliptical machine. I do not feel my age and hope to continue my work out for many years to come. It is the best way to grow older.       I was a fitness instructor as a second job for many years. I taught "tricks" to keep a person moving even if they "didn't have time". At age 78 I still run, but now I mix walking with the running and it keeps my leg muscles strong. When I'm waiting for my bathtub to fill up, I do wall pushups for both my biceps and triceps. I do squats and toe raises near the stove when I'm waiting for my oatmeal to cook at breakfast. Isometrics for the stomach all the time and I don't even need to get down on the floor. I hold in my "tummy" and make sure I keep breathing.  When I pass a mirror or window where I can see my reflection, I make sure I stand up straight  — "taller" I tell myself — and hold in those abs. I keep a small rubber ball near the phone and when I'm talking I sqeeze the ball, alternating hands, to strengthen my hand and finger muscles. And the best exercise of all — I smile a lot to keep those facial muscles from drooping. It's interesting, but when I do that other people return the smile, so we're exercising together! C'mon — try it with!   Thanks.       Every morning, I do a mix of strength exercises, including "hard" pushups, and some yoga asanas  — cow/cat, bridge, boat, plank, downward dog, warrior. That is followed by fast walking about 2.5 miles outdoors, no matter the weather.   Twice weekly I teach a one-hour Tai Chi for Health class, and once a week take a yoga class. Nightly, before bedtime, I do a 5–6 minute Tai Chi form. Proper breathing, posture, balance and strength are key elements of all. I'm 70, have osteoporosis with high risk of fracture (so they say), and have been exercising daily since my mid-twenties. How do I persevere? It's like brushing your teeth  — you do it regardless. If I have to, I'll modify and do what I can, as long as I can.     I do walking around my pool in the wintertime and in the summer, begin to swim laps, jump, whatever suits your fancy. I do sit-ups, leg stretches, arm wind ups and reverse, hugs galore and the doctors also told me I have osteoporosis, which can result in fractures (so they say, as well).     I have already fallen down, missed my back and head, hit my ribs on a end table, that point and my arm hit the table with a loud thud. I kept telling myself  i t didn't happen  until  the pain subsided. Did I break anything? NOTHING!! So, believe in yourself and keep on exercising, you can do what ever you want. Try 2 days then build it to 3 days, and yes, do breathing exercises  —  it makes your mind at peace.       The best exercises I do on a regular basis are Go4life from the NIH, 4x4 by JJ Virgin and Walk Away the pounds by Leslie Sansone these exercises work every muscle in the body.       Exercise is the best activity to make muscles strong. If you are an initiator start from basic exercise then go for hard. You can try aerobics, jogging, running, yoga etc, it will help you to boost your energy as well as it improves your fitness easily but for this continuation is necessary by the person who wants to stay fit.       I'm 63 and have been weight lifting regularly since I was 43. I was also a personal trainer. I weight lift 3× a week and walk or hike each day that I don't weight train. I don't feel my age and although I was diagnosed with osteopenia recently, I wonder if I hadn't been consistent, possibly I'd have full fledged osteoporosis. Keep working out! Start slow if not used to it, and you will start enjoying the benefits of being active in no time.     * Aerobic exercises like jogging may help reverse some heart damage from normal aging. * Strength-training moves like tai chi are best for preserving muscles from age-related decline. * There may be a powerful link between regular cardio, like swimming and walking, and a lower risk of dementia. * Cardio workouts may also improve the look and feel of your skin. * Activities like cycling may also protect your immune system from some age-related decline. * Other types of strength training can include moves like planks and squats. * Aerobic workouts may guard against age-related decline because of reduced brain connectivity.       The next time you have a medical checkup, don’t be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription to walk. Yes, this simple activity that you’ve been doing since you were about a year old is now being touted (along with other forms of regular physical activity) as “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug,” in the words of Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Judging from the research, it’s a well-earned reputation. Walking can have a bigger impact on disease risk and various health conditions than just about any other remedy that’s readily available to you. What’s more, it’s free and has practically no negative side effects.   Walking for 2.5 hours a week — that’s just 21 minutes a day — can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%. In addition, this do-anywhere, no-equipment-required activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep you mentally sharp. In fact, according to some estimates, walking regularly could save Americans over $100 billion a year in health care costs. Even a quick one-minute jaunt pays off. A University of Utah study in 2014 found that for every minute of brisk walking that women did throughout the day, they lowered their risk of obesity by 5%. No more “I don’t have time” excuses!
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Question There are tons of articles that tell you the reasons that sugar is bad. Obviously they all tell you to cut sugar out of your diet... but how do you do that when you are so used to eating sweets all of the time.    Answers Read nutrition labels on all products. Chose snacks with 4 grams of sugar or less and chose all products with less or no added sugar. Learn to eat cereals and other foods without adding sugar at the table. Eat more vegetables and less carbohydrates to avoid snacks. On Netflix Streaming, watch the program "Sugar Coated" for more information and tips. As often as allowed under your health care program, get lipid panel blood tests to monitor your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.     I don't drink sodas or sugar in coffee or tea, but giving up cookies, ice cream and other desserts has just been plain hard. No easy way to do it as far as I can tell, and fruit just doesn't fill the void. However, I have stuck with it and after a week or so I found I no longer had cravings for sugar. I've also found that eating a square or two of dark chocolate occasionally doesn't bring back the cravings, and it gives me the sense that I'm not being deprived. I'm beginning to feel much better too, which is it's own incentive.     For snacks, keep your kitchen stocked with things like apples and a good quality (not filled with added oils, sweeteners or salt) peanut butter and snack on this for dessert instead of a piece of additive-laden carrot cake from the grocery store (which also has like 800 calories: twice the caloric count of an average 'diet' meal).   Keep carrots, cauliflower, olives, hummus and mustard on hand. Take carrot sticks along with other items to make a meal on the go with (thus avoiding snacking altogether). Or use this as a ready snack.   Mandarins are a good go-with-you snack. As are raisins (though if carbs are an issue, raisins might not make your list). Keep siracha almonds, unsalted dry roasted peanuts, mandarins, apples and pretzels on hand. The key, of course is moderation. So instead of, say, a 3 pound container of pretzels in your desk drawer, take a small serving with you.   String cheese is another good snack. In moderation, of course.  
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Question How do you fit in walks when on travel or in bad weather?  It is always difficult to keep a routine when travelling, how do you keep up? Do you walk in the rain?   Answers I travel for business all the time  so I do have to plan my walks/workouts. So, what I do is try to wake up 30 minutes earlier to squeeze in a quick walk before I jump in the shower and begin my day.   But, when it rains, depending on what I have to do that day and my hair (because I don’t want to wash it and blow dry it again), I do an indoor walk workout with toning and yoga based on my workout videos on the AARP website. They are easy to do, and you can stream them on your tablet, computer, or even your phone.    I personally don’t mind walking in light rain and I love to walk when I travel for fun or business because that’s how I soak in the character of a town..and stay active too.       I've been known to walk in the rain and the snow. I'll do this first thing in the morning, as Denise suggests.   I recently sold my weaving equipment and supplies, so moved all our exercise equipment into that room and created a home gym. We have hand weights (2.5–12 pounds), a resistance band, a magic circle, ab roller, an exercise ball, a thigh master, a hula hoop and a mini trampoline. I bought quite a bit of this stuff through AARP's Rewards for Good program, and spent around $125 total. Both hubby and I used this home gym religiously this winter and spring, and we've both improved our conditioning. It helps to have a designated spot in the house for exercise, we find.   We can do everything from muscle toning floor exercises to a serious sweat fest on the mini-trampoline no matter what Ma Nature is cooking up for us outside. :)            
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Question Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Do you have some practical advice you can share with others?    Answers Move! Physical activity doesn't have to be viewed as punishment. Walk the dog, walk (don't drive) to the corner store, stroll a shopping mall. Find ways you enjoy to get yourself out and about. Its not a myth that movement helps keep blood sugar in control.       I was diagnosed as diabetic on 10/23/18. I was 65. My sugar # was over 300 and my A1C was 12.1. Today my sugar averages under 110 and my A1C is 6.1. They have cut the pills I was taking to 1 instead of 2 a day. I hadn't been to a doctor in 30 years and weighed over 220 lbs. at 5'4". I followed the doctor's advice for what to eat — I hate vegtables and love pizza. I gave up the pizza, bread, etc. (anything that tastes good) and eat string beans, pears, blueberries, unsalted peanuts, and food cooked without salt. I walk 2.3 miles every day with few exceptions. I lost 40 lbs. and went from size 44 pants and XXL shirts to size 36 and size L shirts. I could eat a frozen pizza right now because I still want it, but I don't. I feel 100x better and have 2x the energy. Again, I listened to the doctor and argued with her that I could not live without pasta...but everything she told me worked. Also, I could not have done any of this if my wife was not a saint and cooked all the right things for me and checked contents on everything we buy. I do now and then have pasta and pizza in less amounts than I used to...and they taste great.
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Question What should you look for in a yoga class or teacher?   Answer In my experience, yoga classes vary greatly in terms of physical exertion.  Popularized yoga in the U.S. tends to lean toward the more vigorous end of the spectrum with "power yoga", various types of vinyasa, and the more codified form of ashtanga created by Pattabhi Jois.  Although their ultimate goal may be of a spiritual nature, these styles of yoga tend to appeal to the younger population and those who are interested mainly in a physical workout.   Traditional yoga, on the other hand has always been more about spiritual awareness, controlling the mind to reduce self-imposed suffering, and creating adaptability toward life.  As such, yoga becomes an "inner" practice and asanas (physical poses) are used more as a way to prepare the body for seated meditation. Similarly, pranayama (control of the "life force", often associated with breath) is used to quite the mind in preparation for meditation.  Forms of yoga that incorporate these techniques and promote self awareness tend to be more mindful yoga styles including classical or raja yoga (the original ashtanga) and any form of hatha that encourages one to slow down and pay attention to physical movement, sensations and alignment; the breath; the quality of the mind (calmness, thoughts, emotions, distractions, focus, presence etc.); and the interplay between these elements.   So, finding the right yoga style(s) and instructor(s) is an exploration that requires spending time on the mat, understanding your goals or reasons for wanting to practice yoga in the first place, and recognizing your limitations in terms of time, physical movement, conditioning, and willingness to expend mental energy. I would encourage anyone who wants to try yoga for the first time to start out slowly with a gentle yoga, yoga basics, or restorative yoga class before attempting more vigorous classes.  Take the time to read the descriptions of the yoga classes on the studio websites or hard copy literature and talk to the instructors who teach the classes that you feel drawn to. As you sample different styles of hatha yoga (which emphasizes physical movement) you may find that you are more interested in sweating and physical exertion, developing inner awareness, or just checking out for a much needed mental vacation. I would venture to say that you can find a yoga style that is well suited to any of these goals.  In time, this exploration may lead to developing your own, regular yoga practice at home.   Yoga studios may seem intimidating at first, but yoga teachers are generally open, accommodating and easy to talk to.  They are nice people; they will help you to make informed choices. Experienced yoga instructors who have been teaching for many years and are certified by recognized teacher training organizations should be sought when first starting out - they are best equipped to guide you. Community fitness and recreation centers, local colleges, and universities increasingly offer good yoga instruction and provide effective alternatives to commercial yoga studios.    
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