High 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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
If 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.
For most of us over 50 but not yet over 65 the answer is no. But if you are one of the 9,000 people over fifty that will turn 65 every day for the next 20 years then the answer could be yes!
Medicare Advantage Silver Sneakers Plan
SilverSneakers is a program for seniors provided as a free benefit by many Medicare Advantage programs in the country. It’s federally funded and offered to Medicare Advantage programs. To find out if there is a participating gym in your area click on Silver Sneakers Locator.
Does my plan offer Silver Sneakers?
More than forty major plans across the country offer the SilverSneakers Fitness Program as a part of their Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement and group retiree plans. The programs are serviced by a network of participating fitness locations such as YMCAs, Curves®,gyms, wellness centers and other facilities.
Sometimes it’s difficult to notice the changes that are happening to our bodies and spirits when we begin a fitness routine. Being over 50 has taught me patience and I know that there is no overnight miracle success to getting and staying in shape but still I’d like to have some way of reassuring myself that the time and effort, (not to mention the sweat and tears) is paying off and that I am step by step “getting there.”
When we first embark on a fitness journey it isn’t long before our friends and family can see the changes in us, often times even before we can see it ourselves. This can keep us motivated to continue on. I mean who doesn’t like a little praise every now and then? But after a while the pats on the back stop coming and that’s when we have to find other ways to stay motivated.
I’ve found that keeping a fitness journal helps me to stay on point. When I’m wondering if I’m really making any progress I can always look back a month or so and see that I’ve increased the time that I can stay on the bike or elliptical machine without tiring or that I have added a few more pounds or reps to the weight that I can lift. True these gains may not be as easy to see to others but I know just how much effort I’ve put into being fit and that is always enough to lift my spirits and make me look forward to the next workout.
It’s well known that too much salt isn’t good for you but how much salt is too much? The Government guidelines are about 2300 mg for younger adults and 1500 mg for those of us over 50. That’s only about 2/3 of a teaspoon. Removing the salt shaker is a good start to reducing your salt intake but did you know that up to 80% of your salt intake may come from processed foods?
How does salt affect aging?
High sodium consumption affects all age groups but due to other health risk that accompany the aging process the dangers of salt are more pronounced in people over fifty and others with salt sensitivities. Sodium can elevate the blood pressure, contribute to bone brittleness and raises the risk of stroke, kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease and cataracts.
How to Cut back on Salt
As I mentioned up to 80% of your salt intake is from processed foods. Most Americans eat 3,500mg to 4,500mg a day, thats 2 to 3 times the recommended consumption for people over 50.
Start your reduction at the super market. Read the labels, the sodium content is required by law to be posted on the packaging. Compare brands. I know this can be somewhat time consuming at first but after a while you’ll know what brands contain the lowest sodium level. Canned veggies and tuna are packed in a sodium rich solution as a preservative, rinse the veggies or tuna before heating or eating to remove some of the salt.
Eliminate or reduce eating processed foods like cold cuts, hot dogs, and processed cheese. These are VERY high in sodium content.
Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in sodium.
Drink plenty of water. Water helps flush excess salt out of the body.
One study found that lowering the amount of salt 5 grams a day (about one teaspoon) was associated with a 23% lower stroke rate and up to 17% less total cardiovascular disease. They went on to say that cutting normal salt intake in half “could avert some 1.25 million deaths from stroke and almost three million deaths from cardiovascular disease worldwide.”
Don’t Smoke – Number One for good reason. Causes cancer, hardens arteries, ages skin and leads to cardiovascular disease.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Best Exercise For Over 50 – Aerobics or Resistance?
Often the question comes up about what type of exercises are best over 50 years old. For decades the belief was that aerobics that worked the cardiovascular and respiratory systems were the best. While there is no disputing the benefits of aerobics new studies show that resistance or weight training is more important in fighting sarcopenia, the ravages of aging that decrease our coordination, creates wrinkles and sagging skin and causes stooped posture.
For these reasons I like to suggest that a combination of the two is the best exercise plan for those over 50. This is not as difficult or time consuming as it may seem to be and the rewards are terrific. I had been trying several different routines for a couple of years before I stumbled across this and although by then I was in moderately good condition my workouts had become boring and I dreaded going to the gym.
After combining aerobics with resistance my time in the gym became fun again and I was finally able to lose those last 5 or 7 pounds that I wanted to and that had been so elusive up till then. As I said I “stumbled” on this accidentally because I just wanted to change things up a bit but after I saw the results I did some research and found that what I was doing is actually recommended by many experts in the medical and fitness fields as the best way to combat aging.
I use a variation of interval training. Interval training involves short burst of moderately intense exertion like jogging, enough to get the heart rate up, followed by active “rest periods” like walking. You don’t actually rest but you lower your rate of exertion to a comfortable level. This is followed by another short burst of intense exertion. These are typically done in cycles of 1 minute exertion followed by 2 minute rest until you can work up to 1 minute cycles of each then 2 minutes exertion and 1 minute rest and so on. It’s been shown that 15 minutes of this type of exercise gives you the same workout as a 30 minute routine using the regular method of 30 minutes of constant motion. This cuts your time in the gym in half!
My variation on this adds resistance or weight training to the “rest” cycle. Instead of walking I jump on an exercise machine or grab a barbell and do a little resistance training while my heart rate slows down. Now I’m able to jog at a nice pace for about 5 minutes before my heart rate gets to aerobic level (about 123 bpm for me) and then I do 5 minutes of resistance with moderately heavy weights. Nothing heavy, don’t need to because my muscles are already somewhat stressed from the jogging.
This has kept my workouts fun and eliminated the monotony. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!
Baby Boomers are the fastest-growing age group in the countries fitness centers and health clubs. Two hot new high paced classes now popular with the over 50 crowd are Zumba which melds Latin dance moves with exercise , and Nia a low impact aerobics exercise program that combines Latin dance with Tai Chi and yoga.
Polls show that baby boomers are as a group experimental, individualistic and free spirited. These traits mark them as very different from the generations before them and should mean that the trend towards staying engaged in physical activity will continue all of their lives.
Women over 50 in particular are more better educated, more independent, working and handling family responsibilities more than any generation in history.
Most “boomers” believe that “old” is 78 and they are the first generation to really feel that living to 100 is a achievable goal.
Men and women 50 and older like and will spend on luxury items such as cars, houses and travel and in many cases have paid off their homes so have the money to spend. They believe they’ve worked hard all their lives so now they deserve what comforts and pampering they can afford. Health club membership for the over 50 and fit (or wanna be fit) is the perfect gift.
Dr Oz identified the 5 health concerns that are of most concern to women over 50. Their responses were;
The doctor then went on to recommend a nutritional supplement to help alleviate each of these.
For optimal bone health Dr Oz recommends Calcium, Magnesium and Vitamin D.
Chronic Disease can be prevented with simple Multi Vitamins. Of course there are many reasons for chronic disease but these vitamins may help with many heart, bone and cancer problems. One multi vitamin a day with less than 2500 units of iron and Vitamin A is all you need.
For loss of energy in women over 50 he suggested 200 mg a day of Co Enzyme Q10. Co Enzyme Q10 aids the mitochondria which is the power house of the body that provides the fuel we use all day.
For weight loss he says take about 15 grams of chia seeds daily. An excellent source of fiber that you can sprinkle on almost anything that’ll help give you that “full” feeling thus fending off over eating.
Turmeric is his recommendation to ward off Alzheimer’s Disease. The science is still not clear on why Turmeric is so effective in fighting Alzheimer’s but it is. It has something to do with preventing the build up on the neurons of the brain that is associated with the disease. Turmeric is widely used in India and it is believe to be the reason that they have such a low instance of Alzheimer’s. He suggests a half teaspoon a day.