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Medical Leave

Ron and I did not take our trip to Paris and Nice. Instead, Ron had open heart surgery. He is in the process of recovering. So the staff at is on medical leave until September, 2014.

Please take this time to catch up and read entries that you may have missed.




Our Best Tips for Healthfully Using Toilets Abroad

Continued from July 14, 2014, Where is the Bathroom? 

-Travel with small coins in the local currency, in order to enter a facility, to find a hygienic site, or to tip an attendant. 

-Carry your own paper. A packet of tissues is a fine idea. Or collect paper napkins from fast food places. In some parts of the world, toilet paper is either very scarce or too coarse to be comfortable. 

-If you see a waste basket beside the toilet, place your used paper in it, because the plumbing may not be suitable for paper disposal. 

-Bring antiseptic wipes or a small bar of soap. Note: In some parts of the world, you may find a jug of water left beside the toilet. 

-In case of objectionable odor, put a wet wipe over your nose, or smear lip balm under your nostrils to mask the smell. 

-Try not to urinate in public could be breaking a law. 

-Be prepared to lose your modesty. 

-Treat your experience as a cultural lesson and a small adventure. 

One final tip: Dysentery is spread through contact with infected feces. You could be affected by the poor hygiene of food handlers, such as waiters and cooks. So, before you commit to a restaurant, first visit the bathroom and see if there is soap.

If not, then employees may not be washing their hands thoroughly...and you can make your own dining decision accordingly. 

Note: For descriptions and pictures of facilities around the world, AND how to ask “where is the toilet” in a variety of languages, see: 





Where is the Toilet?  

One of the most important questions in traveling is: “Where is the restroom.” Of course, that question is fraught with linguistic problems. 

Eleanor, for example, asked a ticket seller in an English railroad station to point out “the restroom.” He led her to a seat in the waiting area and said: “You can rest here, Ma’am. 

Morris, in a department store in Germany, asked, “Where is the bathroom?” The puzzled clerk directed him to the department selling towels, shower curtains, etc. 

Note: We found that people usually understand the word “toilet.” An excellent source to find out how to ask “Where is the toilet?” in a variety of languages is:

Facility standards and construction are different in many places abroad. Generally, you are safe if you can find a deluxe hotel or restaurant, or an international brand- name fast food eatery. Best advice: Use your hotel bathroom before you leave for a day out!

You will be stunned by the types of toilet facilities around the world...styles that you have never encountered or imagined. And your sense of privacy and modesty might be affronted. Furthermore, toilets with handrails for elderly or handicapped people may not be present.

What to expect:

-The sitting style (as most Americans are used to...although you may encounter toilets without a seat), the squatting style and other variations. People with arthritis and knee problems may find it difficult to use the squatting style.

-Waste may be flushed by water, fall into a hole, roll down a slope, or just stay there.

-You may have to face the entrance, the rear wall, a side wall, or a partition.

-Males may encounter only a wall, a ceramic urinal that may be wall hung or floor mounted, or a trough.

Note: In this entry, we only introduce the types of facilities that you might encounter. In our next entry (July 17, 2014), we provide tips for healthy use of foreign toilets.




Get into the Pool for a Total Workout

Summer is in full swing and nothing tops slipping into the water to cool off. An article in  reminds us that the pool is more than a place to get a refreshing dip. When temperatures rise, you can relocate your entire workout there.

Kathy Fisher, an acquatic expert writes that "Underwater you'll get resistance from every plane of motion, something that's just not possible on land because of gravity, making it the perfect place to build strength," 
The Benefits of Water Exercise

Hydrostatic pressure exerted on your body by the water helps to alleviate inflammation, making pool exercise a smart choice for anyone with joint pain. "Water allows you to do exercises that you may not be able to do anymore on land, maybe because of arthritis, chronic pain or a limited range of motion. The buoyancy supports your body weight so there's virtually no impact."
When you wade waist-deep into a pool, 50 percent of your body weight is supported by water, Fisher explains. Stand chest-deep and that percentage rises to over 70 percent. "So for someone who may have given up an exercise like jumping rope because of sore hips or a shoulder problem," she says, "doing the same motion in water makes it possible again."
What's more, when you move in the pool, your all-important core muscles — abdominals, buttocks, hips and lower back — remain consistently engaged to keep you stable. "You're getting a wonderful core workout that will help your balance and muscle-support system on land, without having to do one crunch," Fisher says. As you constantly push against the water's resistance in all directions during a low-impact routine, you can potentially burn more calories in a pool than in the gym, he adds, "and you don't have to use any equipment to get the resistance required to strengthen and build muscle."

Lower Body Workout
Squats Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the bottom of the poo. Inhale and bend your knees and hips to lower yourself into a squat position. As you bend, raise your arms to just under the surface of the water. Try to get your thighs parallel to the floor and double-check that your knees are not in front of your toes. Push your arms down and exhale as you return to the start position. (Spread your fingers apart to increase the resistance.) Do sets of 10 to 16 repetitions.
Walking Lunges Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg and slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees. Rise up and bring your back foot forward to repeat the motion. Alternate your feet for 10 to 16 steps, then turn and repeat in the other direction.
Calf Raises Stand on the lowest rung of a pool ladder with just the balls of your feet on the step. Slowly rise onto the balls of your feet, hold for two seconds, then slowly return to the start position. Do 10 to 16 repetitions.
Upper Body Workout
Jumping Jacks Crouch down so that your shoulders are under the water (or move to neck-deep water, if you can stand there comfortably). Begin with your feet together and your hands at your sides. At the same time, raise your arms to the surface (but do not bring them out of the water) and jump to spread your feet out wide. Quickly reverse the movement and repeat 10 to 16 times. For a variation, use the same jumping motion, but bring your arms up and down in front of your body. Or begin with your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height and bring your hands together in front of your chest. These variants will engage other chest, shoulder and upper-back muscles.
Biceps Curl Unlike biceps curls on land, these movements require no dumbbells and the second part of the motion engages your triceps as well. Start by crouching down so that your shoulders are under the water (or move to chest-deep water, if it's comfortable). With arms at your sides and elbows tucked tight to your body, slowly bend your elbows and curl your palms toward your shoulders. Spread your fingers apart for maximum resistance. Keeping your palms face up, slowly lower your hands to the starting position. Do sets of 10 to 16 repetitions.
Chest Press Crouch down so that your shoulders are underwater and stabilize yourself by standing in a lunge or squat position. Keeping your arms just under the surface, spread your fingers wide and slowly push the water forward until your arms are fully extended. Without changing your hand position, slowly pull your arms back to the starting position. Do sets of 10 to 16 repetitions. For a tougher challenge, use a hand buoy or pool noodle to increase resistance.

Thank you Debra Witt for adapting this article.



Summer Travel Tips for Seniors

Summer travel requires specific health considerations that seniors need to keep in mind.

- Move around during long trips. Make sure that you are active at least every two hours.

- Hydrate! Carry a water bottle with you, or drink regularly on travel breaks

- Respect the sun and the heat…your body will tell you. Remember to use sunscreen with SPF from 15 to   50. There is no evidence that any products with a higher SPF provide more protection.

- Make sure that you carry extra medication in your carry-on luggage (well, of course, this is our tip for     any trip in any season.)

- Make sure that your lodging accommodations are suitable for you. Falling down stairs, for example, is not fun.

- Always carry identification and medical information as you travel. Should you encounter a sudden medical problem, you can obtain more rapid and appropriate care.

- Get plenty of sleep.

- Keep washing your hands…before meals and after toilet visits.

- Do not exert yourself. Appreciating a few sites is always better than rushing around to briefly seeing lots of sights.