Category Archives: Aging

Baby Boomers living longer but in worse shape than their parents.

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.

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

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.

Loss of Mental Sharpness Begins Sooner Than We Thought BUT It CAN Be Prevented

According to this NBC news report the loss of mental facilities that we all fear might happen in our 60’s and 70’s may actually start in our 40’s. The good news is that although it’s irreversible it can be prevented with exercise.

It’s believed that the benefits associated with increased oxygen and blood flow to the muscles and heart that we get by exercising may also help the brain stay young.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

 

Women Over 50 Health Prevention Quiz | The Dr. Oz Show

Did you know that you should have sex twice a week to help prevent a cold?

And just how many women  are finding their sex life more enjoyable now that they’re over 50 anyway?

These and over 20 other questions are asked in Dr. Oz’s Women Over 50 Prevention Quiz.

The good doctor’s quizzes his readers on things like the best supplement to boost your energy level, a good natural treatment for hot flashes, and what ingredient you must have in your lotion to keep your skin from drying out as you age.

I’m not giving away any of the answers here (okay twice a week), but for the rest of them you have to click on the link above to visit the Dr. Oz website.

Healthy Aging – I’ts not about where you live but how you live

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Image via Wikipedia

 

A new study (June 2011) done by the University of Washington looked at a U.S. county by county comparison of deaths over a 20 year period between 1987 and 2007. Their findings show that the life expectancy for women has decreased in some parts of the Southern U.S. and the life expectancy overall varies  a lot for both men and women in different parts of the country.

New York Leaps in Life Expectancy

Surprisingly Manhattan saw the largest increase in life expectancy with men gaining almost thirteen years and women more than seven. The biggest losers? Five counties in Mississippi and Alabama. In fact these counties had life expectancy rates comparable to El Salvador and Honduras.

Women catching up with Men

Over the last 50 years women have been increasingly become the target of tobacco manufacturers marketing campaigns and to steal a phrase from one of their most successful ads “you’ve come a long way baby”. Unhealthy lifestyles that include smoking, obesity, inactivity and other things that lead to heart disease and diabetes has a lot to do with the decline over the years of life expectancy among women.

To see where your county stands in this study follow the link to view an inter-active map.

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Health Over 50 – Eating More Fiber Leads to Longevity

Fiber reduces risk of deathHigh Fiber intake reduces death risk by 23 percent.

A scientific analysis of a nine year study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and AARP has found a meaningful link  between high fiber intake and longevity.

The analysis studied the results of over 400,000 people over fifty. The participants between 50 and 71 years old had  fiber intake that ranged from 12.6 to 29.4 grams per day in men and from 10.8 to 25.8 grams per day in women.

The average dietary fiber for most Americans is about 12 grams a day, current US dietary guidelines recommend 28 grams for the average person eating a 2,000 calorie a day diet.  This would suggest that the people in this study of people over 50 with the highest fiber intake are simply in line with the recommendations. The study excluded people with extremely high fiber intake.

Men with the highest fiber intakes had a 23% reduction in the risk of dying while women experienced a 10% reduction when compared to those eating the least amount of fiber.

It’s important to point out that the greatest benefits came from particular sources of fiber, whole grains and beans. While vegetable fiber had a small impact on longevity fruits showed no effect at all.

Fiber is a Natural Anti-Inflammatory

Most researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory effects of eating more fiber is possibly part of the reason for lower numbers  in cardiovascular, respiratory, and infectious disease death.

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Exercises For Over 50 – Work Out Routine For Beginners

This is the introduction to a series of post that we will be doing on exercises for over 50. The first of the series will focus on beginner work out routines and working our way up to a more strenuous work out plan.

These exercises are designed for those who have either never worked out or haven’t in a some time. Therefore the first order of business was to decide what kind of exercises would be best suited to a beginner over 50. We decided they had to meet at least at least 4 requirements.

  1. Ease of Motion – No fancy dance steps or twists and gyrations. I personally have felt my body “pop” just getting out of the car, and I’ve been working out for years! We’ll leave the Tae Bo and Hip-Hop for further down the road (maybe)
  2. Can be done at Home – I think that a lot of people and us over 50 especially are somewhat intimidated by the thought of going to a gym and being around a lot of people who are already toned and trim. A few weeks doing things alone in the privacy and comfort of home can build our level of confidence so that we wont feel like a complete newbie the first time in the gym.
  3. Full Body Work Out – This one is important whether you’re a beginner or have been working out for years. It’s best to engage as many of the “large” muscle groups as possible with each exercise. For those of us over 50 this is especially true as it helps fight sarcopenia and battles the aging process. Doing 100 bicep curls will make you great at doing bicep curls and make your arm muscle bigger but it won’t do much for the rest of your body.
  4. No Equipment Necessary – Okay maybe we fudged a little on this one but any equipment needed will be everday items found around the house. Or maybe even a part of the house (one exercise uses a wall for support). These work outs are designed to use body weight for resistance. The weight of your body along with a chair, the floor or a wall for support will be all you need. Of course as you get stronger you may want to add small hand weights (or milk jugs), resistance bands, or kettle balls for added resistance but they’re not needed to get started.
Although there are many exercises that could fit these basic requirements we decided on three really simple ones. Squats, wall push ups and lunges can all be done at home, are easy to learn and need no equipment other than a chair or wall. We  added resistance bands to the list because their versatility,  ease of use and low cost make them the best add-on to any home fitness routine.

Exercises Over 50

Squats for Beginners Over 50

Wall Push Ups for Beginners Over 50

Lunges for Beginners Over 50

Resistance Bands

These are great exercises to get you started and remember CONSISTENCY is the key. Don’t worry about starting out of the gate in a full gallop, in this race the winner is the one who sets his or her goals and keeps at it. The suggested beginner exercises will soon get dull and your workout will become boring. This is one of the biggest reasons that people quit. No fun anymore! Well you might consider adding a home workout DVD to the mix. For beginners over 50 we suggest Moving Free Longevity Solution Easy Strength Level 1 Body Sculpting and Weight Loss Fitness/Exercise DVD For Beginners, Boomers, Women Over 50, and Active Seniors by Mirabai Holland. Ms Holland is a 50+ health activist that is certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE)  and her DVD is designed especially for Boomers, women and seniors.

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Fitness over 50 Beginners – Try Resistance Bands

Fitness Over 50 - Resistance BandsIf you’re over 50 and either new to the idea of working out or haven’t been in a gym in years I have the perfect solution to getting you started on the path to getting in shape and fighting the inevitable muscle and coordination loss of sarcopenia that is just a natural art of aging.

Resistance bands or exercise bands as some people call them are great for resistance training at almost any level but especially for the beginner. Just some of the benefits are:

  • No gym required – You can get a workout just as effective as a gym workout without leaving home. This will certainly save you time and provides you with privacy and the luxury of scheduling your fitness routine around your lifestyle.
  • Low Cost – Many resistance bands can be purchased for less than $20. I recommend buying a few different ones, they come in different thicknesses to give you different levels of resistance. You could even throw in an instructional DVD and still come in under $50 – $60. I know some gyms that charge that or more a month.
  • Portable – Resistance bands  can be folded up and put in a small hand bag, carry all, or even fit in a glove compartment. Just right for maintaining your routine while traveling.
  • Versatility – These simple little things can perform HUNDREDS of different exercises that when done correctly and with proper form provide you with the same resistance as weights. Your muscles don’t know the difference between weights and bands, it’s all in the amount of tension and positioning of the bands. That’s why I suggest getting a pack of varying thicknesses.
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About Anti Aging – 5 Best Tips

  1. Don’t Smoke – Number One for good reason. Causes cancer, hardens arteries, ages skin and leads to cardiovascular disease.
  2. Resistance exercise. Sure aerobics are good for the heart and respiratory systems but resistance or weight training fights Sarcopenia, the sagging skin, stooped posture and loss of coordination that comes with aging.
  3. Eat your veggies (and fruit too). Vegetables and fruits contain antioxidants that aid in preventing heart disease and cancer, lower blood pressure and slow aging. Berries, broccoli and tomatoes are the best sources for antioxidants.
  4. Manage stress and anxiety. Learn to Let Go and Let God. If we’re honest with ourselves and take a look back at our lives we can see that a lot of the things that we worried so much about in the past either didn’t happen or seemed to work themselves out in the end. That’s one advantage of getting older. We have a history to reflect on and learn from.
  5. Maintain and develop solid personal relationships. One of the key indicators of growing old unhappily is withdrawal and isolation. It’s insidious and can feed on itself. Left alone with our own thoughts the world can become a lonely, dark and scary place. Get out, have a few laughs, take a class. Enjoy life! If you’re over 50 like me you’ve earned it!
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Resistance Training – Fighting Muscle Loss With Age

In a previous post I covered the causes of sarcopenia and discussed how the muscle loss associated with age can effect our health and quality of life. In this article I will go over how resistance exercises can help us avoid or reverse this.

The medical community has shown that all healthy adults benefit from some type of exercise which will raise their pulse for at least ten minutes at a time. This should be done for a total of at least 30 minutes a day 3 – 5 days a week.

This is known as endurance exercise and while the benefits are many, improved cardiovascular health, strengthened joints, increased mental sharpness, increased metabolism and more energy come to mind, this kind of exercise really does little to build muscle so is ineffective at fighting the loss of muscle mass.

To prevent or reverse losing muscle mass requires some kind of resistance training, exercises that cause the muscle to work against an opposing force. This causes the muscles to grow or at least not decline. An added benefit is that it also helps the bones retain their strength and density.

In a study of women aged 50 to 70, the women who strength trained gained 1% more bone density in the hip and spine while the group that did not lift weights lost 2.5 % bone density. Those who trained had strength increases from about 35 to 76% above the control group. Balance improved 14% and general physical activity increased by about 27%.  – About.com
Resistance training is optimally done using weights but the typical weights found at the gym can be subsituted at home by using cans from the pantry, milk jugs filled with water or even socks filled with sand. It’s important to note here though that the stronger one gets the more resistance one will need in order for the training to remain effective.

A lot of older people that I know swim on a regular basis. Swimming is an excellent resistance exercise and it combines the benefits of endurance exercise.

Another good choice is resistance bands. They’re cheap, portable and can be stored in a drawer.

Whatever your choice make sure you incorporate some resistance and strength training, 8 to 10 exercises of 8 to 12 repetitions, twice a week into your fitness plan.

Next time I’ll cover some examples of the best exercises for resistance training for those over 50.

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