According to a recent study baby boomers are less likely to see themselves as being in excellent health and exercise regularly than the same age group 20 years earlier.

Scary Health-Care Statistics on the Broken-Down Boomer Generation – Businessweek

At first I was puzzled by this report because I’ve heard for years about how far modern medicine has gone towards increasing our life span. What I hadn’t considered was that longevity and health don’t always equal the same thing.

An organization that represents the insurance industry says that in the last 5 years applications for disability and SSI have increased and while some of this is to be blamed on the rough economy some of it is also real declines in health.

Most striking to me were the jump in high cholesterol levels – more than doubled from 34% to 74%, use of a cane or other walking aid – more than doubled from 3.3 to 6.9%, and obesity up 10% to almost 4 out of every 10 boomers. All this is accompanied by a marked decrease in regular exercise and increase in alcohol consumption.

So while it’s true that modern medicine has gained tremendous ground in the fight against disease it seems that our LIFESTYLES, are robbing us of the ability to truly enjoy those added years.

I  know it may seem like it’s been ages ago since you made that silly promise to yourself to begin the New Year differently and get serious this time about working out and getting fit but the truth of it is that it’s only been 38 days (as of Feb. 7th) But the good news is that according to a study by Gold’s Gym mentioned in an article in Shape magazine today is the day of the biggest drop in gym sign-ins. So if you signed in at your gym or continued whatever fitness routine you’ve set up congratulate yourself!

The article goes on to speculate that in todays modern fast paced lifestyles people are apt to give up too soon because they don’t see enough results within the first month and therefore conclude that it’s not working. Trust me on this, there are NO SHORTCUTS. You only get results when you put in the work and combine it with good nutrition habits. Check out the article which includes a nice link to 22 tips to keep you motivated! (Hint: Find something that’s fun, that you like to do and DO IT!)

Is this the best exercise for over 50?

Water Aerobics for Over 50For a large number of us that are 50 and older time hasn’t been as good to us as we would have liked.  Some of it may be our own fault , overweight, complications from smoking, aches and pains from old sports injuries. A lot of it is just genetics or natural aging processes, diabetes, arthritis , sarcopenia. Whatever the case may be it is harder for some of us to move around and stay active than others.

There is one workout plan that can usually accommodate just about any level of mobility and fitness. Water Workouts a Great Alternative: Study – Health News and Views – Health.com

In this article Dr. Martin Juneau of the Montreal Heart institute stresses that exercising in water will give you the same cardio and aerobic boosts as doing it out of water. The good news is that because of the buoyancy of the water against your body you are putting significantly less stess on the joints and bones as you do on land. This  produces less wear and tear on the body.

Another surprising finding was that the pressure of the water on your lower body actually aids in your blood circulation, it helps the bloods return to the heart meaning you can get the same aerobic benefit from exercise with a slightly lower heart rate!

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) claims the swimmers have almost 1/2 the risk of death as people that don’t exercise.

The gym I frequent offers classes throughout the day in the pool. These range from the comparatively beginner Aqua-fit type classes that are designed for the beginner or those that may have mobility issues to the popular Water Zumba classes that are every bit as challenging as the land based programs.

Two things I’ve noticed about all these water exercises that I think are the big reasons that once you start you’ll want to keep at it (and isn’t that the most important thing about ANY exercise program), the water keeps you cool while you get your workout in and it’s really a lot of FUN!

According to an article at Medical News Today a survey of several different sources in the Western world place the humble apple atop a list of the 10 healthiest foods.

Some of the apples benefits are great source of antioxidants (slows aging and fights free radicals) and one study shows females that regularly ate apples had a decreased risk of developing heart disease by up to 22%.

The article lists nine other foods, almost all of them really tasty and easy to add to your regular diet, that have proven health benefits if eaten regularly.

Proper nutrition for Preventing Osteoporosis

We’ve all heard since we were small children that calcium is the best nutrient for strong healthy bones and if you’re a woman over 50 you probably already know that not enough calcium in your diet can lead to loss of bone mass and brittle bones as you age but did you know that there are more ways of getting calcium than drinking milk? Or that the rate of absorption and the efficiency of the calcium you take in is very dependent on several other factors than just how much you consume?

This article at Fitnessrepublic.com tells you how you can get your calcium requirements met from other sources than milk such as dark green vegetables like spinach, collards, kale and broccoli or even oranges and almonds.

You also need to know that calcium needs vitamin D in order to be synthesized by the body. This is a must! Vitamin D is made by the body when you are exposed to the sun. You don’t need a lot of sunlight to get this started, the article tells you how little sun you need each week to get enough vitamin D.

The article also goes into detail about some food sources for vitamin D and what other nutrients are needed for optimal absorption of calcium as well as telling you about some foods that may actually inhibit your calcium absorption even if you’re getting enough.

Read more at Fitness Republic

8 Foods for Heart Health

What we put in our bodies is just as important as how much we exercise.
http://www.liveinthenow.com/article/8-surprising-foods-for-heart-health

The Rules of Rice | Men’s Health News

Is brown rice REALLY better for you and if so what’s the beef on white rice.

http://news.menshealth.com/the-rules-of-rice/2012/03/23/?cm_mmc=Twitter-_-MensHealth-_-Content-MHNews-_-BrownRice

This article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal points out that some of the most effective  practices for maintaining or improving your health over 50 can be done in fifteen minutes or less and doesn’t even require you to leave the house.

Dr. Wendy Bazilian, a registered dietitian, public health doctor, and past quest on the Live with Regis and Kelly show says that a few simple things when done consistently can have a big cumulative effect on good health and wellness.

Just four of her suggestions are:

  • Stretch – Stretching 15 minutes a day if you’re over 50 keeps you flexible lessening your risks of falls and helping to maintain mobility
  • Make sure you’re cooking with the right oils. Use olive oil and organic grapeseed oil that may raise the healthy HDL cholesterol and lower the unhealthy LDL thus decreasing risk from heart disease and some cancers.
  • Omega-3 fish oil supplements – the fatty acids found in Omega-3 is thought to improve brain health.
  • Eat more fresh fruit and veggies.

 

Boomers: Big-impact health activities you can do in 15 minutes or less – Sponsored Content – ReviewJournal.com.

Beginner exercises at Fitness Republic

Ran across this excellent website the other day that in my opinion is one of the best out there for finding good exercises for beginners. The site Beginner exercises at Fitness Republic list over 95 beginner exercises that you can pick from and has them arranged in a number of different ways such as by body area, muscle group or equipment needed (although most of the routines require no equipment or maybe some basics like a mat or exercise ball, resistance band or steps.

Looking over some of the exercises the beginners level seems to focus a lot on building a good foundation. There’s a lot of moves for the core and improving flexibility and strength. I also notice quite a few moves that concentrate on that pesky area behind the upper arm, you know where all that loose skin seems to want to hide!

There’s just too much stuff on this site to go over in a short review like this. There are tools to help you build your own personal workout, there are fitness videos, meal and weight trackers, logs for your workouts and much, much more.

Hepatitis C explosion Lurking Among Baby Boomers

Hepatitis C or Hep C as it is commonly called will soon kill more people in the Unitied States than HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control as far back as 2007 Hep C killed over fifteen thousand Americans while the virus that causes AIDS killed almost thirteen thousand.

For people over 50 this should be especially alarming because;

  1. Two thirds of Hep C infections in the U.S. are in people born between 1945 and 1964, the baby boomers
  2. Although over 3 million people may have Hep C about 1/2 of gthem don’t know it
  3. Hep C is a “silent disease” infecting the liver and doing damage for years before it’s discovered

Although the infection is ussually spread through sharing needles, and the preponderance of casual drug use among baby boomers in decades past makes them more likely to have caught it this way before the threat of HIV ended this practice for many, it can also be passed along by simple blood transfusions. Today all blood donations are tested for hepatitis but this wasn’t the practice prior to 1992.

Dr. Harvey Alter with the National Institutes of Health says that “most people with chronic infection are still not  identified,” and recommends that those at higher risk like those that received blood transfusins or organ transplants before 1992 have blood test and be screened for hepatitis C.

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