Category Archives: Health over 50

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

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 –

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.

Over 50 Nutrition: Super Foods

super foods

What is a Super Food?

“Super Foods” by my definition are foods that can and do provide some of the same health benefits and life enhancing attributes as some of the drugs that are on the market with none of the possible side effects or costs.

I don’t like taking meds. Don’t misunderstand me, I will take drugs if I have to but my feeling is that a lot of the time taking medication is like crisis management. I think that the right nutrition combined with staying active and getting a balance of cardio and resistance exercise can keep this over 50 body of mine in fine form for many years to come.

It seems that famed nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, editor in chief of Nutrition Alert and frequent guest on NBC’s Today show agrees. Ms Somer the author of such books as Age-Proof Your Body: Your Complete Guide to Looking and Feeling Youngerand Eat Your Way to Happiness: 10 Diet Secrets to Improve Your Mood, Curb Your Cravings, Keep the Pounds Off , claims that fifty – seventy percent of our suffering can be eliminated if we become more aware of what we eat and how we move.

In the WebMD article Superfoods Everyone Needs Ms. Somer offers a list of 14 foods that should be on everyone’s shopping list but especially on the list of those of us over 50 because the foods are proven to fight heart disease, cancer, and high cholesterol. These foods are packed with antioxidants, omega 3’s,  phytoflavinoids, potassium, sterols and fiber. All nutrients that ward off the ravages of aging.

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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.

Former Baby Boomer in Chief Changes Diet in Hopes of Reversing Heart Disease

Bill Clinton

Cover of Bill Clinton


Former President Bill Clinton who’s well known and documented love of things fried and fatty (no offense intended Monica) had literally turned over a new “leaf”.

Mr. Clinton in an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta says that he has eliminated eggs, dairy and meat from his diet and now ” I like the vegetables, the fruits, the beans, the stuff I eat”

Since leaving the White house the president has lost more than 20 pounds but unbeknownst to him at first his health issues were more serious than just being over weight. He was genetically predisposed to heart disease and his old ways of eating what ever he wanted was about to kill him.

Less than 4 years after leaving office he complained about tightness in his chest and had to undergo quadruple bypass surgery to restore blood flow to his heart. In 2010 he had another operation to install 2 stents.

Since then the ex-president has been working with Dr. Dean Ornish, who had created a diet and lifestyle that he claims can actually reverse heart disease.

Dr Ornish is well known in the medical community because prior to his findings it was thought impossible to reverse heart disease without doing a medical procedure.

Says Mr. Clinton, “All my blood tests are good, and my vital signs are good, and I feel good, and I also have, believe it or not, more energy,”

From omnivore to vegan: The dietary education of Bill Clinton –

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How little exercise is enough?

A recent article in US Today suggest that as little as 15 minutes a day has significant health benefits. The article reports on an eight year study done on over 114,000 subjects and the results have been repeated by several other smaller studies around the world.
Fifteen minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, like a brisk walk was shown to reduce the  participants risk of death by 14 percent and added three years to their expected life span.

More is better
Of course it’s still recommended that adults do at least 30 minutes of exercise 4 – 6 days a week but this should motivate those who may feel that if they don’t have the time or are otherwise unable to do 30 minutes than there is no need to even start.
Sure more may be better but even half of whats recommended is still beneficial.

How to Raise Your BMR | Fitness Over 50

Burn Calories While You Sleep

In the previous articles about the importance of calculating your Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR) and how it should be the main factor when you’re trying to decide how many calories you need to cut in order to lose weight we went over just what BMR really is. For the benefit of those that haven’t read the previous articles I’ll go over what BMR is real briefly.

Basil Metabolic Rate is simply the amount of energy, measured in calories, that your body needs to maintain your current weight if you were in a state of complete rest. It’s the fuel that you r body needs to perform it’s most basic – hence basil – tasks like breathing, heart beat, digesting food controlling body temperature, regulating hormones and anything else the body simply must do to survive. Depending on your level of activity these calories can make up from half to seventy percent of all your daily caloric expenditures.

As mentioned this is energy or calories burned in a restful or even sedate state just to stay alive so if we can increase this number then we will burn more calories 24 hours a day, even while we’re sleeping!

Factors that control Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Among different individuals BMR can vary greatly. We all know someone that seems to be able to eat whatever, whenever they want well into their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and seem to never gain a pound. We should all be so lucky.

The main factors in your own personal BMR are:

  • Body size and composition (lean muscle burns calories at rest – fat doesn’t)
  • Parent’s body size and composition
  • Sex (male or female, not whether you’re having enough)
  • Age (BMR decreases two percent per decade after the age of 20)
  • Body temperature (some people have a normal temp that’s higher or lower than others thus burning more or less calories at rest)
  • Exercise (I know I said BMR is about calories burned at REST but I’ll explain later how certain kinds of exercise will continue to burn calories HOURS after you finish your workout)
  • Diet (not only what you eat but more importantly for BMR WHEN you eat)
  • Stress
  • Sleep

There are many other factors but this list covers the main ones. As you can see some of them like heredity, sex and age are completely out of your control but believe it or not the main deciding factor outside of genetics is very much within your ability to change.

Building Lean Muscle the key to increasing Basil Metabolic Rate

It’s a fact. Muscle burns calories even at rest. The amount has been exaggerated over the years to as much as 30 calories per day for every pound of lean body muscle mass but current research shows that the real number is more like six.  Fat burns almost NO calories at rest maybe one or two at the most so muscle mass burns about 3 times as many calories AT REST than fat. Remember this is per pound! It can add up over time.

Resistance Training Burns Calories for Hours

The body converts food to energy when the body needs it at a cellular level in whats know as the mitochondria. The mitochondria is also responsible for providing the energy for rebuilding and repairing muscle tissue. As we age our bodies number of mitochondria naturally decreases leaving us with fewer of these little calorie burning internal furnaces. Exercising regularly has been shown to slow down the loss of these cells and even increase their number. This happens as the demand for immediate energy is received by the body while we are working out, especially during aerobic exercise  when it needs it although this spike in caloric burn last only for a short time after the aerobic activity is over only burning a lot of calories during and immediately after the exercise .

Resistance training works in another way to stimulate these cells for an even longer period. Resistance or weight bearing exercise actually tears down the muscle tissue, this is why it’s recommended to never work out the same muscle groups two days in a row. The body needs time to repair this cellular muscle damage and this is what the mitochondria does even while you’re at rest or sleeping! those little internal furnaces are still at work hours after you’ve left the gym repairing the damage and burning the calories while it does so.

Those are the two easiest ways to increase your at rest metabolism. Increase lean muscle mass by including some resistance training in your activities.

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Counting Calories

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In our previous article about Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR)  we explained why it’s so important when making a weight loss plan to first know how many calories your own particular body needs each day simply to provide you with the energy it needs to perform all your daily tasks and functions. This as we have shown varies depending on factors such as age, gender, height and current weight.

In order to lose any weight and more importantly SUSTAIN any weight loss we must consume fewer calories daily than we need according to our BMR (use the BMR calculator found on this page if you haven’t calculated your Basil Metabolic Rate yet).

Determining Your Current Caloric Intake

This is extremely important and a step that is often skipped when trying to lose weight. Often one will just try to start cutting back on the calories in an attempt to shed some pounds without first considering exactly how many calories they actually need to eliminate from their daily intake to achieve the results they desire. In my opinion this lacks focus and doesn’t always work.

Consider this, let’s say an inactive person that weighs 180 lbs is determined to lose weight. This person decides he or she will eliminate a few things from their daily eating habits and cut back on about 500 calories a day. Sounds like a good plan right?

Not necessarily!

Unless this person understands that in the BMR for a person of his weight and activity level is about 2150 calories a day and to lose any weight he must drop below that level 500 calories a day may not be enough. What if he’s already unknowingly consuming 3000 calories. Well cutting back just 500 calories would bring him down to 2500 which means in a months time he would have actually GAINED 3 pounds! (BTW there is a way that his plan could have worked and we’ll go over that later).

Keep a Journal

Determining your daily caloric intake isn’t as difficult as most people initially think. No you don’t have to keep a list of every food on the planet and how many calories they all contain. The easiest way is to simply keep a journal or record of everything you eat for just one week!

That’s right one week. You see for most people 80 – 90 percent of what we eat is the same from week to week. As adults we already know what we like and we tend to stick with it. So for one week don’t even bother trying to keep up with how many calories are in every thing you put in your mouth, just make sure to make of list of what food it was, make sure to keep the days separate so as to be able to determine daily calories later.

At the end of the day or if you choose you  can wait until the end of the week you can use this USDA Nutritional Database to see how many calories each of the foods you consumed contained. I like to print the chart out for quick reference when I do occasionally eat something out of the norm for me.

Using this chart and your journal you can easily determine how many calories you are consuming a day. Are they more than your BMR? If so then you are slowly adding on more weight. Reduce the number below that of your BMR and the pounds WILL drop off. Reduce it to 100 calories below your BMR and you will lose 10 pounds over the next year, 200 below would add up to 20 pounds and so on and so on.

Okay now that we’ve covered the calorie side, remember in our earlier example I showed that our 180 lb inactive person that reduced calories by 500 would still gain weight if he was consuming 3000 calories before cutting back. I said that there IS a way to still make his 500 calorie reduction work towards a weight loss right? The answer is:

Part 4 – Raising Your Basil Metabolic Rate

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Your work-out routine may be making you unfit – Dangers of Over Training

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Is there such a thing as too much exercise?

We all know that if you’re over 50 it’s important to avoid a lifestyle that consist of just watching TV and lying around the house. It’s really necessary to maintain a fitness routine that includes cardio and weight or resistance training, but can too much exercise be as dangerous as none at all?

As with most things in life we have to strike a balance between the two. While lack of  exercise can lead to heart disease, weight gain and loss of muscle mass or sarcopenia as we get older the risk involved with over training can be almost as debilitating.

The web site Simplicity Training list some of the risks of over training as

• Chronic muscle pain
• Fatigue
• Increased substantial heart rate
• Depressed immune system
• Insomnia
• Decrease of muscular strength
• Depression

Over training leaves us more susceptible to injuries (that could set us back in reaching our fitness goals), viruses, illness and can actually decrease our energy levels and make us weaker.

As we age we need to give ourselves a little more recovery time between work-outs if we are doing any type of strenuous training. This past year I have changed my weight lifting schedule from 4 – 6 days a week to 3 – 4 days with a day of cardio in between days as long as I’m not feeling too fatigued. My body has responded well and I am happy with the results. Not only have I maintained my desired weight but I’ve managed to actually increase my muscle mass, which at the age of 52 is one of my primary goals.

I also suggest following good form when performing an exercise or lifting weights. Perfect form makes it hard to lift more than your body can handle. If you find that you have to “cheat” to lift what you usually do then you’re probably lifting  too much or your muscles need a little more time to recover

I also suggest limiting your work out to 45 minutes to an hour. Believe it or not the greatest benefits are achieved in the first 40 minutes. I like to go all out for about 45 minutes or so and then taper of for the last 15.


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Exercise for Over 50 – Make it Personal

An elderly improves his torso performance at w...

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Defining Fitness Over Fifty

The over 50 workout routine that will serve you best depends a lot on your own definition of just what is fitness over 50.

For some it may be simply being able to ensure the ability to remain independent and mobile well into our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. That’s a REAL goal for many and the 50’s are a great place to start.

Others may even go as far as to become competitive athletes in their fifties, competing in basketball leagues, marathons, iron man competitions and all kinds of other activities.

Whatever your desires are keep in mind that there is no “One size fits all” plan and way to achieve your personal fitness over fifty goals.

Sure there are somethings that are to be used as guidelines in any fitness program. Proper diet, enough sleep, aerobic and resistance training, but the way that you mix and match these components should be based on what you want to achieve.

You also want to include some variety and change in any fitness routine. I never go through a 3 month span with out changing my work-out routines almost entirely. A little here, a little there, and by the end of three months my routine looks nothing like it did when I started it. This keeps it fresh and it keeps my body and muscles from anticipating the next move that I’m going to make. The body has a way of making short cuts when it gets into a routine of knowing what’s next.

So my advice is to first sit down and put on paper what YOUR goals are. Keep it real but make it a challenge. Then determine how you’re going to get there. make it fit for YOU!

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