The Cascade County Homemakers are .... 

 2020-2021 Cascade County Homemaker Clubs

  • Fort Shaw
  • Hen House
  • Pleasant Valley
  • Portage
  • Smith River
  • Sociables
  •  Sunrisers

 

Newsletters

Happy February (and March)!

I hope this newsletter finds you well! The holidays were busy despite the small gatherings in both the office and in the household.

MSU Extension continues to hold classes both virtually and in person. We continue to hold the Sew for a Cause group and small homemaker meetings. I have attended several trainings over the winter months, the one I am most excited about is the Strong People program! This is a 12-week physical activity program that is based on years of research on how strength and proper nutrition improve health of adults at all ages. Strength training not only improves bone density but reduces falls, improves arthritis symptoms, and increases flexibility and strength. The best part about this program is that it is created for all types of activity level! If participating in a program like this sounds like something you are interested in, please reach out to me!

Along with this new offering, I also wanted to share that Marsha Goetting, our Agricultural Economics & Economics Family Economics Specialist has been busy during the last 6-8 months editing and developing new MontGuides for Montanans! This year is the year to renew livestock brands, this MontGuide is a timely and helpful resources for all farm and ranch families of Montana. I have included a small excerpt from the MontGuide in the newsletter. If you would like a full copy please let me know and I will get one mailed off to you.

I wish all the health, safety, and happiness in the coming months and cant wait to get back to our “regularly scheduled programming” in the coming months!

-Katrin Finch MSU Extension Cascade County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

Sew for a cause

9am-12pm
February 18: Personal Care Kits to be donated to Women’s Shelter
March 18: To be determined

Try to be a rainbow to someone’s cloud.
- Maya Angelou

Livestock Brands in Montana: An Important Component of an Estate Planning

History of Brands in Montana

While brands were first recorded in Montana in 1873, laws regulating brands were not passed until 1885. The Montana Department of Livestock is the agency responsible for recording over 53,000 brands in the state. The Brands Enforcement Division was established to assist with the enforcement of laws governing brands.

Recording a Brand in Montana

Under Montana law, a person may NOT brand his/ her livestock unless the brand has been recorded with the Brands Enforcement Division. The recording process begins by obtaining an Application for Brand Recording. A brand is issued if it passes the “conflict checking process.” This process assures the brand is “distinguishable with reasonable certainty from all other marks or brands” and in an acceptable format.

After a brand is recorded, the Department of Livestock issues a Certificate of Brand to the owner(s). If your certificate has been lost, a replacement can be obtained by contacting the Brands Enforcement Division.

The owner(s) of a brand must file an Application for Brand Recording with the Montana Department of Livestock every 10 years to re-record his/her brand and pay the fee ($200 in 2020). The next year for re-recording brands in Montana is 2021. If owners do not re-record a brand, others may apply for it.

Upon an owner’s death, who inherits the brand and who inherits the livestock bearing the brand is determined by:

  • Information provided on the Application for Brand Recording form;
  • Montana brand laws and regulations;
  • Decisions issued by Montana Supreme Court interpreting and applying the brand laws/ regulations, and
  • The Montana Uniform Probate Code.

Montana Uniform Probate Code

The property of a Montana resident who dies without a valid will passes by intestacy statutes within the Montana Uniform Probate Code (Table 1). A deceased person’s assets include a brand titled in sole ownership and all livestock bearing the brand, as well as a deceased’s percentage interest in a brand owned as a tenant in common and in the livestock bearing the brand (See “Tenants in Common Recording of a Brand,” page 4).

Types of ownership of a brand

Upon the death of a brand owner, a key factor in determining who receives the brand and the livestock bearing the brand depends upon how the brand is recorded:

  • sole ownership;
  • joint tenancy;
  • tenants in common;
  • in the name of a business entity; or
  • in the name of an estate or trust.

Sole ownership recording of a brand

When a livestock brand is recorded in the name of one person, he/she is the sole owner. The person who receives a brand because of a provision in a written will also acquires ownership of all livestock bearing the brand, unless there is evidence proving otherwise.

As one example of evidence separating the transfer of the brand from transfer of the livestock bearing the brand, a sole owner of a brand could state in his will:
“I give my Cross Three brand to my daughter, Mary. I give all livestock bearing the Cross Three brand at the time of my death to my son, Jack.”

How to transfer brands and more on the MSU Extension Publications Page. VISIT THE MSUEXTENSION PUBLICATIONS LISTING AND SEARCH FOR “Livestock Brands in Montana: An Important Component of an Estate Planning”

Quick Bruschetta Quick Bruschetta Chicken BakeChicken Bake

A simple yet creative chicken meal mimics the popular Italian appetizer 'bruschetta' for a delicious entree reminiscent of romantic Italian evenings.

Yield: 6-8 Servings
Total Time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ½ lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cubed
  • 1 tsp salt (optional)
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 (6 oz) bo of chicken-flavored dry box bread stuffing mix
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Toss the cubed chicken in with the salt in a large bowl. Place the chicken in a layer into the bottom of the baking dish. Stir together tomatoes, water, garlic, and stuffing mix in a large bowl; set aside to soften. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the chicken, then sprinkle with the Italian seasonings. Spread the softened stuffing mixture on top.
  3. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the chicken cubes reach a minimum internal temperature of 165 F°.

My House of Memories

While we may still be limited to conversation and large group gatherings, My House of Memories App is a great way to share the items you knew from your younger years! The National Museums Liverpool has an app that allows you to explore objects from the past and share great memories together! There are a variety of objects with sound clips and you can even create your own digital memory tree or memory box to share with your family!

This app is free to download on the Google Play store or the Apple App Store.

If you would like to change the method that you receive this newsletter, please contact the Extension office at 406-454-6980.

Alternatively, download a printable October/November 2020 Cascade County Homemaker Newsletter

What is happening!

A Note and Update from Katrin
Hello!
I hope this newsletter finds you well and enjoying the beautiful fall weather we have had the last few weeks!
The new Homemaker year has begun, clubs are meeting in a variety of days, it is so great to see everyone still stay connected! If you are not sure of how to safely hold a meeting during COVID-19, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

As clubs continue to meet, transition, and find their footing in these new times, please let me know if there are any changes. Fall is a time of change, and there is one small but important change that has taken place.

When writing checks to Extension office, checks MUST be made out to “MSU Extension.” This makes the deposit process run smooth and allows them to be processed in a timely manner.

As for happenings in the office, I am holding some classes in person and some virtually. While COVID has posed many challenges, it has challenged me to think outside the box of my typical programming and there are exciting things to come! I will be holding a virtual electric pressure cooker class, family mealtime, cooking for one or two, and strong people class in the coming months!

Stay tuned for updates and class information! Please stay safe, stay warm as the weather changes, and don’t be a
stranger! I enjoy hearing from each of you.

Happiness and Health!
-Katrin Finch, MSU Extension Cascade County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

Sew for a Cause

This month we will be making burp towels for the WIC program. Despite the happenings in the world, children
are still being born and as a recent new momma, you can never have enough burp towels! We will be using up some extra flannel with kiddos in mind – if you have extra flannel please feel free to bring it for our sewing day.
Date: 10/15/20
Project: Baby Burp Towels
Donated to: Women, Infants, and Children Program
See you on Thursday, October 15 at 9am

Share your smile with the world! It is a symbol of  friendship with peace!
-Christine Brinkley

Freezer Meals – Easy Recipes from Your Freezer

Written by: Katrin Finch, 10/2020; Additional Resources from: Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, University of Nebraska—Lincoln Lancaster County Extension Educator

As the seasons change, getting to the store can become challenging and with current shortages of common household items, we find ourselves purchasing more in bulk to ensure we have extra when we need it. Freezer meals is one way to make more than one meal at a time and save more for later. Cook once, eat twice; Freezer Casseroles, and many more meals can come from one batch of ground beef or other protein source.

Tips for Success

Ground beef may be browned ahead of time and frozen for quick and convenient use in spaghetti sauce, chili, sloppy joes, etc. Follow these tips for best flavor and quality.

When making beef crumbles for later use, if possible, avoid using iron or aluminum cooking utensils as these speed flavor changes.

Brown crumbles with onions or unroasted bell peppers which have antioxidant properties and slow flavor changes. OR, brown the meat, seasoned lightly, with one or more of these herbs and spices that have antioxidant properties: rosemary, sage, marjoram, thyme, mace, allspice and cloves.

Use the seasoning and amount that will be most suitable for the recipes you make. Add more seasoning when you prepare the food, if needed, as freezing may affect the intensity of the flavor of spices and herbs.
Do not use salt; add salt later when the meat is used in your recipe. Salt may hasten undesirable flavor changes in beef crumbles.

Freezing the crumbles as part of a sauce, such as spaghetti sauce, also helps preserve flavor. Make sure the sauce covers the entire meat surface.

Cool and refrigerate beef crumbles promptly in shallow containers. Containers may be placed in the refrigerator before beef has cooled entirely. Loosely cover refrigerated container until beef has cooled.

Promptly transfer the cooled beef crumbles to plastic "freezer," NOT "storage" bags. Eliminate air pockets. Freezer bags are thicker than storage bags and will keep the food fresh longer. Label and date packages; include amount of beef or number of servings.

Speed freezing and hasten thawing by freezing crumbles in a thinner, flattened shape in freezer bags. Do not stack packages -- the quality will be better if the beef freezes faster. A rounded shape takes longer to thaw through to the middle. Flattened packages also will stack better in your freezer. Place on a flat surface, such as a metal pan or cookie sheet until frozen. Then, remove and stack.

Use frozen beef crumbles within 2 to 3 months for best flavor and quality. Freeze at 0 degrees F or lower.

Basic Directions

Use 90% lean and higher ground beef for these directions; 16 ounces raw ground beef yields equally to 12 ounces fully cooked ground beef crumbles.

In general, brown no more than 1 pound of ground beef at a time. As ground beef browns, some meat juices are released. If you overload the skillet, moisture is trapped, and meat is steamed rather than browned.

Brown lean ground beef in large nonstick skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is not pink, breaking beef up into 3/4-inch crumbles. Remove beef with slotted spoon.

Add one or more of the antioxidant foods and spices listed on page 2 under "Tips for Success" to the beef as it is browning to aid in flavor retention during freezing. Alice's Note: I find it most versatile and time-saving to add one chopped medium onion to the beef as it is browning. So many recipes call for both beef and onions; I've made my life twice as simple by combining them.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Information on making frozen beef crumbles provided in part by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association on behalf of The Beef Checkoff and by Kaiti Roeder, RD, Nebraska Beef.

Most of these recipes can be prepared either immediately after preparing the ground beef crumbles made with chopped onion and then frozen; OR you can prepare them by using the frozen crumbles directly from the freezer and then eat them. It depends on how much versatility you want:

Would you rather make the recipe you want when you want it with crumbles straight from the freezer?

Or would you like some recipes already prepared and waiting for you in the freezer?

Or you might just decide to make these recipes and eat them right away without freezing! If you're prediabetic — meaning you have high blood sugar but haven't been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes — studies show that regular exercise can actually prevent diabetes from developing.

Ground Beef Recipes

  • Coney Island Taters
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Chili with Beans and Beef
  • Pasta with Meat Sauce

MICROWAVE TIP: Many of these foods can be heated in the microwave. Be careful when removing a lid or plastic wrap from a hot microwaved item. Hot steam escaping from the container as the covering is lifted could cause a burn.

If covering the microwave container with a microwave-safe plastic wrap, follow manufacturers' directions for venting the wrap. Directions usually recommend venting the wrap at a corner or side of the dish and leaving at least an inch of air space between the food and the wrap covering the dish. NOTE: Foods high in fat or sugar should not come into contact with plastic wrap as they may cause the wrap to melt.

Coney Island Taters (Makes 4 servings)

Coney Island Taters Recipe Make quick work of this main dish by using one batch of frozen crumbled meat mixture, made with chopped onion, instead of preparing the ground beef and onion from scratch. You may need to heat frozen crumbles longer than the time cited in the recipe, heat until steamy hot throughout.

IMPORTANT: Unless you plan to use beef crumbles within a day or two, freeze crumbles promptly after cooling for best quality and safety. If stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, transfer to a tightly covered container after they have cooled.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
  • 2 large all-purpose potatoes
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions (optional)

In large skillet, brown ground beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking up into 3/4-inch crumbles. Pour off drippings. Stir barbecue sauce into beef; cover and simmer over medium-low heat 10 minutes.

Meanwhile pierce potatoes in several places with fork. Place on paper towel in microwave oven. Microwave on HIGH 10 to 11 minutes or until tender, rearranging potatoes halfway. TIP: Some potatoes may become tender before this — start checking a few minutes before time is up.

Cut potatoes lengthwise into quarters. Cut each quarter crosswise in half. Arrange 4 pieces potato on each serving plate; top with beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; top with green onions, if desired.

Source: Recipe courtesy of National Cattlemen's Beef Association at beefitswhatfordinner.com

Sloppy Joes (Makes 4 to 6 servings)

Sloppy Joes Prepare this recipe for eating right away, using one batch of frozen crumbled meat mixture, made with chopped onion. OR make it right after preparing a fresh batch of the crumbled meat mixture and then freeze it. See tips following recipe for freezing prepared Sloppy Joes.

  • 1 batch make-ahead crumbled beef made from 1-pound lean ground beef and 1 medium chopped onion (need not be thawed)
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic or 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • Salt (optional, according to taste)
  • 1 cup of no-salt added ketchup (SUBSTITUTE: 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce plus 1 tablespoon vinegar, such as cider vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon brown or white sugar can be substituted for the ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 to 6 hamburger buns

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer, covered, until meat is thawed and heated throughout, about 20 minutes; simmering also allows flavors to develop. Stir occasionally. Stir occasionally and add more water if the mixture becomes too thick.

Spoon into buns and serve.

Freezing Prepared Sloppy Joe Mixture

(suggested freezer storage time: 1 to 2 months for best quality) freezing in muffin cups

Refrigerate Sloppy Joe mixture in a shallow pan in the refrigerator until cool. Then, freeze the Sloppy Joes according to one of these methods:

To make individual servings: Use one of these methods and freeze portions until firm enough to retain their shape — about 1 to 2 hours. Then transfer to a re-sealable freezer bag and press out air. (1) Freeze in a muffin tin. You may find it easiest to "pop" the frozen meat mixture from a silicone muffin tin. (2) OR Freeze in stand-alone silicone baking cups.

To freeze a larger amount of meat mixture: Freeze in a freezer bag in the amount you wish to serve. Flatten the freezer bag and press out air. Spread out in your freezer in single layers on a flat surface until frozen. Then, stack together.

To thaw: Thaw mixture for about 24 hours in the refrigerator. Thaw individual servings in some type of covered container in refrigerator. OR, defrost mixture in your microwave, following manufacturer's directions. If the freezer bag manufacturer doesn't provide specific instructions for defrosting food in their bags in the microwave, transfer the food to a microwave-safe container to thaw. Cook food immediately after microwave-defrosting.

To reheat: Reheat in a covered saucepan until meat is heated throughout (165 degrees F); stir occasionally. Or reheat, covered, in your microwave in a microwave safe container; stir occasionally. (See microwave Tip at beginning of recipe section.)

Chili with Beans and Beef (Makes 4 servings)

Chili with Beans and Beef Recipe Prepare this recipe for eating right away, using 1/2 batch of frozen crumbled meat made with chopped onion (need not be thawed). OR make chili right after preparing a fresh batch of the crumbled meat; then freeze the chili. See freezer tips following the recipe.

  • 1/2 batch make-ahead crumbled beef made with onion (equals 1/2 pound lean ground beef (need not be thawed — if the beef crumbles package is flattened when frozen, it's easy to break off about half the meat in the package for this recipe).
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) regular or no-salt-added kidney beans, drained OR 1-1/2 cups cooked dry kidney beans, red beans or other bean of your choice (cook beans as instructed on package)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) regular or no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder or to taste

Mix together all ingredients in a large pot. TIP: If your chili powder is a hotter variety, you may want to add less chili powder; you can always add more at the end of cooking.

Cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, until heated throughout. Stir occasionally. Add a little water, if needed, to thin the broth.

Serve. May top with shredded cheese if desired.

Freezing Chili with Beans and Beef

(suggested freezer storage time: 1 to 2 months for best quality)

To freeze chili: Freeze in a freezer bag in the amount you wish to serve. Flatten the freezer bag and press out the air. Spread out in your freezer in single layers on a flat surface, until frozen. Then, stack together.

To thaw: Thaw mixture for about 24 hours in the refrigerator — place freezer bag on a plate. OR, defrost mixture in your microwave, following manufacturer's directions. If the freezer bag manufacturer doesn't provide specific instructions for defrosting food in their bags in the microwave, transfer the food to a microwave-safe container to thaw. Cook food immediately after microwave-defrosting.

To reheat: Reheat in a covered saucepan over low to medium heat until chili is heated throughout (165 degrees F); stir occasionally. OR reheat, covered, in your microwave in a microwave safe container; stir occasionally. (See microwave tip at beginning of recipe section.)

Pasta with Meat Sauce (Makes 4 servings)

Pasta with Meat Sauce Recipe Prepare this recipe for eating right away, using one batch of frozen crumbled meat made with chopped onion (need not be thawed). OR make the sauce right after preparing a fresh batch of the crumbled meat; then freeze the pasta meat sauce mixture. See freezer tips following the recipe for freezing prepared meat sauce for pasta.

  • 1 batch make-ahead crumbled beef made from 1-pound lean ground beef and 1 medium chopped onion (need not be thawed)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) regular or no-salt added diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 ounces) regular or no-salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered garlic or 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Salt (optional, according to taste)
  • 8 ounces of pasta (macaroni, spaghetti, etc.)

Place all ingredients, EXCEPT pasta, in a saucepan and simmer, covered, over low heat until meat is thawed and heated throughout, about 20 to 30 minutes; simmering also allows flavors to develop. Stir occasionally. Add more water if the mixture becomes too thick.

While meat sauce is simmering, prepare 8 ounces of pasta (macaroni, spaghetti, noodles, etc.) according to package directions.

Drain pasta; serve topped with meat sauce or mix pasta together with meat sauce before serving.

Freezing Prepared Pasta Meat Sauce

(suggested freezer storage time: 1 to 2 months for best quality)

To freeze pasta meat sauce: Freeze in a freezer bag in the amount you wish to serve. Flatten the freezer bag and press out the air. Spread out in your freezer in single layers on a flat surface until frozen. Then, stack together
To thaw: Thaw mixture for about 24 hours in the refrigerator — place freezer bag on a plate. I OR, defrost mixture in your microwave, following manufacturer's directions. If the freezer bag manufacturer doesn't provide specific instructions for defrosting food in their bags in the microwave, transfer the food to a microwave-safe container to thaw. Cook food immediately after microwave-defrosting.

To reheat: Reheat in a covered saucepan until sauce is heated throughout (165 degrees F); stir occasionally. OR reheat, covered, in your microwave in a microwave safe container; stir occasionally. (See microwave tip at beginning of recipe section.)

NOTE: As you're reheating rather than cooking the pasta sauce in this case, you might start the process of cooking the spaghetti, macaroni, etc. before you begin heating the sauce.

August/September 2020 Homemakers Newsletter

PDF/Downloadable Version of the August/September 2020 Homemaker Newsletter

Glass jar with overnight oatsWhat is happening?!

A Note and Update from Katrin

Hello!

It has been some time and a crazy time for many of us! I hope this note and newsletter finds you healthy, well and enjoying the sunshine.

Our office is open from 8am-5pm (as it always has been) and we are doing our best to social distance. Please wear a mask when entering the building. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need anything!

I know this summer has been more disappointing than most, as the most exciting event of the year, the 2020 Montana State Fair has been canceled. I hope that you have been able to find various activities to keep you busy and engaged with those in your community from a distance. There is a yummy cake recipe to use the fresh zucchini from your garden! I have also included great article from AARP on how to start to be more physically active. I hope you find the article useful and the treat delicious!

It is the beginning of the 2020-2021 Homemaker Year! Can you believe it? We have packets in the office for pick up beginning August 17th with the yearly information that is frequently shared.

As MSU Extension continues to follow local and state directives, we are working on ways to still hold educational opportunities in an engaging way. I hope to offer some cooking class, cooking for one or two, and food preservation. If you are interested in an electric pressure cooking or air fryer class, please let me know– those are in the planning process as we speak!

Again, I hope you are doing well! Please, know that I am here and would like to help in any way that I possibly can! Please do not hesitate to reach out to me!

Happiness and Health!

-Katrin Finch, MSU Extension Cascade County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent

Smile on sticky note
Share your smile with the world! It is a symbol of friendship with peace!
- Christine Brinkley

Homemaker 2020-2021 Yearly Packets

Packets will be ready to pick up Monday, August 17th. Please have someone from your club stop by the office and pick up the 2020-2021 packet. Download and print additional copies of the meeting minutes form or contact the Extension office. I look forward to an exciting year ahead with continued friendship and new learning opportunities!

7 Ways to Overcome Your Fitness Fears

by Michelle Crouch, AARP, July 28, 2020; Adapted from:
https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2020/overcoming-fitness-fears.html

Man stretching

You know exercise is vital for your health, but taking that first step can be overwhelming — especially if it's been a while since you've been physically active.

You may be concerned about a chronic health condition, hurting your joints or losing your balance. Or maybe you just don't know where to begin.

Fortunately, research proves that the benefits of exercise far outweigh any risks. Regular physical activity lowers your risk of falling and having a heart attack, and it also boosts your memory, lifts your mood and helps you live longer. Studies show you reap the health benefits even if you start late in life.

Here, experts offer their best advice on the concerns that may be holding you back — from worry about already achy knees to fear of taxing your heart. From there, you may have to dig deep to find the motivation to get started, but you'll feel so much better once you do.

Fear #1: It's been years since you exercised, and you don't know how to start.

One of the hardest things about starting to exercise is figuring out where to begin. Experts recommend choosing something you think you'll enjoy — whether it's doing yoga, ballroom dancing or walking with a friend — because you're more likely to stick with it.

If you are new to exercise, one of the safest activities to start with is walking, says Wendy Kohrt, an exercise physiologist and aging expert at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Center for Women's Health Research.

"Just about everybody can walk, and walking is great exercise,” she says.

While any movement is better than none, you will reap more benefits if you do it at a pace that gets your heart rate up, so you start to sweat a little and your breathing quickens. Kohrt recommends aiming for at least a moderate intensity of about 65 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. (To calculate your maximum, subtract your age from 220.)

You can find a moderate intensity without a monitor simply by paying attention to how it makes you feel.

"Judge for yourself whether it feels easy, somewhat hard or very hard,” Kohrt says. “You want to be in the more-moderate-to-somewhat-hard category, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. You're not breathing so hard that you can't answer in a complete sentence.”

Gradually add more time until you can go for 30 minutes at that intensity, Kohrt says, and then ramp up by quickening your pace.

Fear #2: You have no idea how to lift weights (and you're not sure you want to!).

Adding resistance training to your routine helps keep your muscles and bones strong, experts say, and it doesn't have to mean lifting heavy weights and barbells.

Researchers have found that lifting light weights many times is just as effective as lifting heavy weights for fewer reps. You can also avoid weights altogether and use a resistance band or your own body weight, says Tracy Bonoffski, an exercise physiologist and registered dietitian at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Simply getting up and down from a chair is a great strength move, Bonoffski says. So are standing toe raises, pushups against the kitchen counter and planks.

If you've never strength-trained before, you might feel better getting help from an expert who can teach you the proper technique. Kohrt and Bonoffski typically recommend an introductory session with a certified personal trainer, a beginner class at a YMCA or senior center, or a session with a physical therapist. If one of those is not possible during the current epidemic, try a beginner-friendly fitness video from a certified fitness trainer.

Fear #3: You might fall.

It's true that your risk of falling increases as you get older, so a dose of caution is appropriate. But surveys show that many older adults are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid activities they are capable of, which ends up putting them at greater risk of a tumble.

In fact, research shows that simply staying active can reduce your risk of a fall by 10 to 20 percent, and exercising more than three hours a week is linked to a 39 percent reduction in falls.

If you feel unsteady walking outside, walk inside the house or on a smooth track to build up your strength and confidence, says physical therapist Greg Hartley, president of the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy and assistant professor at the University of Miami.

Use a cane or walker if it makes you more comfortable, or have a strong relative accompany you.

If walking makes you nervous, you can get your heart rate up with activities that require less balance, such as riding a stationary or recumbent bike or rowing, says Hartley, who also recommends walking against the resistance of water in a swimming pool.

Make sure you also incorporate strength training and some simple balance exercises, like standing on one foot while holding on to the kitchen counter (and eventually letting go).

Hartley notes that a big part of overcoming a fear of falling is psychological. “You have to go slow and keep telling yourself you can do this without falling,” he says.

If you need help, consider a visit to a physical therapist. The therapist can work with you on specific strengthening, balance and coordination activities in a safe environment to help you regain strength and confidence.

Fear #4: You might trigger a heart attack.

If you have a heart condition or coronary artery disease, the idea of pushing your heart to beat faster through cardiovascular exercise may seem scary. But the research is indisputable: Engaging in regular physical activity actually lowers your risk of having a cardiac event over the long term.

In fact, a 2018 Swedish study found heart attack survivors who identified as being the most active had a 71 percent lower risk of death than those who defined themselves as inactive.

"Over the long term, exercise helps your heart work much more efficiently: Each heartbeat will pump more blood, and you will also extract more oxygen from the blood as it's pumping through,” says James Blankenship, an interventional cardiologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Blankenship acknowledges exercise can be a confusing issue for heart patients because abrupt, extreme exertion (like wind sprints at full speed after months of inactivity) can increase your immediate risk of sudden cardiac arrest. That said, he stresses that “the kind of exercise that most people do is not — I repeat, is not — going to cause a heart problem.”

He tells his patients who have a heart condition to ramp up slowly, choose light rather than heavy weights and stick to moderate-intensity workouts. That generally means keeping your heart rate below 120 beats per minute.

"If you can't keep up what you're doing for 20 minutes, you are probably going too hard and too fast,” he says.

Heart patient or not, you should get checked out by a medical provider if you develop shortness of breath, dizziness or heart palpitations while exercising, Blankenship says — especially if your discomfort is getting worse each time you exercise, or if it's accompanied by another symptom such as tightness or discomfort in your chest, jaw or arm.

Fear #5: Your aching knees will just get achier.

If you have arthritis, just getting around the house can be painful, so going out for a brisk walk may seem out of the question. What you may not realize is that exercise is a powerful pain reliever.

In one study of nearly 10,000 people with knee and hip osteoarthritis, people who exercised twice a week for six weeks experienced a 25 percent drop in pain on average.

In fact, the Arthritis Foundation says exercise is considered “the most effective non-drug treatment for reducing pain and improving movement in patients with osteoarthritis.”

If walking hurts too much, start with getting up and down from a dining room chair. Do a set of 10 three times a day, Hartley advises: “It sounds simple, but over time, that will build strength around your knees and hips, and help you to get strong enough for a walking program.”

Your joints may hurt at first, so start slow and don't add too much too quickly, Bonoffski says.

Low-impact cardio exercises like walking and stationary biking put less stress on your joints. Water exercises are especially good, Bonoffski says, because the water's buoyancy “helps take the pressure of your body's weight off your joint, but you're still moving.”

Resistance training will strengthen the muscles around your joints so they can better support and protect your joints.

Fear #6: Working out will interfere with managing your blood sugar.

If you have diabetes, you've probably heard that physical activity is an important way to help keep your blood sugar under control.

But you may have also heard that you need to carefully monitor your blood sugar before, during and after exercise to prevent dangerous fluctuations — and that may make you nervous.

It's important to talk to your doctor about your specific situation, but for most diabetics, exercising safely is easily manageable, says geriatrician and endocrinologist Medha Munshi, director of the Joslin Geriatric Diabetes Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.

"If you aren't used to exercise, your doctor may tell you to check your blood sugar before and after to understand how your body is reacting,” she says. “The prudent thing is to have a little snack half an hour before and to make sure you have your glucose tablets and some snacks with you.”

If you're prediabetic — meaning you have high blood sugar but haven't been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes — studies show that regular exercise can actually prevent diabetes from developing.

Fear #7: You think you're too weak, old or disabled.

If you think you are too weak, old or disabled to exercise, the experts have one word for you: Nonsense!

Several studies have found that nursing home residents (including some in their 90s) who follow a training program for eight to 12 weeks see significant improvements in strength, balance, muscle power and the ability to walk without assistance.

Munshi, who writes exercise programs for stroke survivors, says the key is finding the right exercises.

If she's working with someone who's very frail, for example, she may start by challenging them to walk in the house for five minutes before each meal, using a cane or walker if necessary. After a week, she might increase the duration to seven minutes. For resistance, they can make circles with their arms out to their sides or lift their thighs up and down while sitting.

"It doesn't matter if you are weak, frail or in a wheelchair, it's never too late to start exercising,” Hartley says.

 

Sew for a Cause

Sewing Thread, Thimble, and Measuring Tape

Calling all mask makers! No need to have sewing skills!

United Way has reached out to MSU Cascade County Extension looking for mask makers – join us for our monthly meeting with social distancing precautions. In an effort to make as many masks as we can, we will meet every Thursday from 9am-noon the month of August (Aug. 6, 13, 20, 27). Come one come all, I will have all supplies and materials necessary. Call for additional details!

Tasks and Stations will include:

  • Nose piece cutters
  • Sewers
  • Fabric cutters
  • Earpiece threaders
  • Fabric folder/pinners

See you on
Thursday, August 6 at 9am

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Coconut Frosting

Ingredients

CAKE:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1-3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground coves
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Photo

FROSTING:

  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ¼ cup whole milk

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves; gradually add to batter alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Fold in zucchini.
  2. Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake at 325° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the frosting ingredients. Spread over warm cake. Broil 4-6 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.