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Healthy Aging & You: Your Life Can Change in an Instant

The most basic question each of us can ask about our future lives is this one: How do I want to be old? Now at 72 I can look back on my behavior, choices and priorities from my past and can see that I DID in fact value my life and the gift that it is to me in the present. My visit the week before my father’s  death in 1983 from cancer had a great impact on my future choices moving forward. I was 37 at the time and looking back on my experience with him in the hospital I now realize that it was indeed a “wake up” call for me.

We all have moments like the one I am describing here in our lives that catch our attention. It is important to know that when we DO experience loss or change on a large scale that we become “active participants” in responding to the circumstances that are presented to us. We need to take action – positive action – in order to alter the course of our lives. It is through adjusting to the changes and challenges of life as we grow into maturity (and hopefully wisdom) that we can appreciate what we have been given.

AN IMPACTFUL LESSON

Recently I read an account of a tragic story involving a Costa Mesa Fire Captain who was preparing for a triathlon he had entered. He was riding his bicycle on the sidewalk near his home training for the cycling phase of the competition when a driver in a van ran up on the sidewalk and struck and critically injured the captain. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for severe head – and brain – trauma but the doctors were unable to save his life and he died on the Monday following the Saturday incident. The driver of the van was found to be on a variety of drugs and had other prescription medicines in his vehicle. He was arrested at the scene and later charged with murder following the death of the fire captain. He left a lovely wife and three beautiful daughters behind.

The point of this tragic event is that it caught my attention when I saw a picture of his lovely wife and the three young daughters he left behind. This example of tragic loss serves as a reminder to me of how our lives can be altered in an INSTANT – permanently. I felt this loss deeply for some reason and even though I did not know the man I am feeling grateful for my OWN life today – and hopefully everyday. (Last night a mass shooting in 1000 Oaks took the lives of 12 students and wounded scores more – and so it goes on!).

I believe we live in the present to the degree that we respond to life’s events consciously – even if they are not specifically for us – and that healthy aging occurs in this moment. I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you on this important subject so that you might also appreciate YOUR life and your OWN journey in greater depth. It is through our own pain – and that of others – that we are allowed the opportunity to face our own mortality – and appreciate in greater measure the gift of our OWN life. The three principles of healthy aging that I will share with you – and practice – are physical, mental and spiritual. Let us NOT let a moment pass where life is rendered insignificant but instead recognized as precious and valuable.

PHYSICAL

CYCLING: I just completed a wonderful bike ride after getting the bike repaired following a silly minor accident yesterday that could have been totally prevented (lesson learned). It represents what I call the “endurance” phase of my training program. It covers both time and distance over a beautiful course and strengthens my heart and cardiovascular system for the years ahead. This part of my training is purely recreational and covers about two and a half hours of my training time per week. I look forward to riding my bike because I am not setting any particular goals other than to enjoy my time riding. I love just being on the trail and feeling the breeze in my face and seeing the beauty of nature as I ride by.

RUNNING: I have been a runner since 1964 and have accumulated over 65,000 miles over that span. It is the foundation from which I “grew older and not old”. It is as close to my heart as breathing itself and I am now focusing on increasing my speed while running between 5 and 7 miles 3 days a week. I am now able to average under 6:00 per mile pace for the distances I use and am doing so on a treadmill to save wear and tear going forward. Cycling has helped my running immensely and my legs are stronger as a result.

RESISTANCE TRAINING: I spend up to two and half hours total each week training on free weights and machines for both power and strength. I do 17 exercises and multiple sets per exercise twice a week. The strength I gain from this activity is priceless and if any of you wish to be able to function well as you are getting older this is the activity I would strongly recommend. The three phases of fitness training I do bring me joy and peace. I am strong, fast, adaptable and flexible and know that what I am doing in my 70’s will prepare me well for my 80’s!

MENTAL

CONSCIOUSNESS: I believe in the value of “being conscious” – that is “being present and aware” in any moment. Receiving input from your daily activities can help you to make conscious – and healthy – choices going forward. If you are constantly staring at your I Phone as I see so many doing these days then you are NOT present – and life is literally “passing you by”! Remember for consciousness to play a part in your life you have to take the time “to listen to your thoughts” and assess “where you are” at any point in time. It is an activity that requires your attention and can be easily accessed simply by “noticing” people and their behavior around you.

Smiling is a great way to “become present” because when you are smiling at someone – and thanking them – you are practicing “being in the present”. Acknowledging those around you is a good way to begin developing the mental skills and focus that will be required of you as you grow into your “older” self. I know this because it is the path I have chosen in my own life – and it works!

SPIRITUAL

I refer here to the search for purpose and meaning in life and not a particular religious path or faith. My own spiritual training and practice began in 1985 and has continued to this day. It is a principled practice based upon the Science of Mind formulated by Ernest Holmes through his teachings and book (The Science of Mind) and it has guided my choices and development as a human being for the past 33 years. It has been a priceless and integral part of my life and each day I spend time in meditation and (affirmative) prayer work in order to listen for inner guidance and prepare for the times ahead.

This part of my life is the key to being “aware” of the gift of my life and is the reason I was able to be so touched by the captain’s death. I did not have this foundation when my father died in 1983 so now I am always aware everyday that my “life can indeed change in an instant”. I am not saying we have to obsess over the fear of something happening to us but I AM saying lets remember to be grateful in every moment of our day. This aspect of our life’s journey – the search for purpose and meaning (and our place in life) – is essential if we are to live a life of accomplishment and fulfillment. CHOOSE your OWN path wisely and if you choose NOT to, at least you will know that you made that choice and you will have to be accountable – and responsible – for it in the future!

IN CONCLUSION

In reflecting on the meaning of my life as a teacher, author and speaker, I have come to the conclusion that the reason I have arrived at this point in my life is that I made CONSCIOUS choices that supported the actions that led me to be able to share this knowledge with you today. In the words we choose to use, the thoughts we entertain, the beliefs systems that we embody, the choices that we make and finally the actions that we take, we are either preparing for a future of contribution and significant service – or we are not.

I encourage you today to “notice” something that gets you thinking about your own life today – and remember to appreciate all that you have been  given today – and every day. Noticing the story of the firefighter’s death made me realize how blessed I am and with every step I take, every thought I think, every choice I make, and every action that results from this process, I am appreciating all that I have been given so that I might share what I have learned with you! Take the time today to reflect on what might occur in your own life and how you would respond to the events and changes that are occurring today. I know that a loving father’s family is thinking about this very thing in the aftermath of his tragic loss. BE WELL!

Originally posted on healthynewage.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop. 


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

gina-baby-boomer2-300x200

Are you a Baby Boomer with No Time to Exercise?

We have all heard of the benefits of exercise. Exercise increases metabolism and promotes weight loss while it can lower cholesterol and high blood pressure just to name a few. According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Resources 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, it is recommended that adults do at least 150 gina-baby-boomerminutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. They also suggest muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week. As baby boomers, we can have a pretty busy schedule. As a 50 something baby boomer myself, I juggle quite a bit of activities in a day. I’m not complaining though, life at this stage of the game is exciting. It’s refreshing to see older adults doing more than ever before. Ironically, the busier our lifestyles are, the more we need the benefits of exercise but find that time becomes harder to come by.

What if I tell you that in just 15-30 minutes a day you can do both strength and endurance training with a circuit training workout? What exactly is circuit training you ask? After your 5 minute warm up, it is a circuit or group of exercises that can be designed to be a full body workout. Each exercise within the circuit can be timed for 30 – 60 seconds with a brief pause between each exercise. Once you complete all the exercises in the circuit you take a break for up to three minutes and if your fitness level and time permits, you can repeat the circuit 2- 3 times.

So what makes circuit training a great choice for baby boomers?

*It’s for all fitness levels– safe level of exercise for beginners.

*Feel a Sense of Accomplishment – Get a total body workout.

*Lose weight more effectively by continuous movement throughout your workout.

*Burn more calories post workout than a traditional aerobic workout. (August 2005 issue of the “European Journal of Applied Physiology”)

*Versatile – Workout anywhere and the options are endless.

*Most Important – Circuit training saves time!

Before beginning any exercise program it is recommended that you consult with your doctor.  If you have a green light to exercise then you may want to try circuit training.

gina-baby-boomer2Beginner Total Body Circuit:

Perform a 5 minute warm-up including flexibility exercises. Set a timer for 60 seconds. Perform each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds with a rest of 15 seconds in between each exercise.  After completing the circuit once through, break for 1 to 3 minutes and repeat the circuit if desired.

  1. Dumbbell Squats (option: hold dumbbells to increase intensity)
  2. Incline Chest Press
  3. Plank (Plank can be performed on wall, counter , bench or floor depending on your fitness level)
  4. Military Overhead Presses
  5. Bicep Curls
  6. Medicine Ball Slams
  7. Single-Leg Balance (30 seconds per leg)
  8. Tricep Extensions
  9. Band Pull Aparts with Theraband or exercise tubing

 


Gina Baumgartner is NASM certified personal trainer, Certified Senior Fitness Specialist and Certified Functional Aging Institute Specialist.  She loves helping mature adults meet their fitness potential with small group and one to one personal training.  She specializes is 50+ personal training incorporating flexibility, balance, core stabilization and strength training into each workout.  Visit Gina’s MFN profile: medicalfitnessnetwork.org/members/gina-baumgartner

References:

2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans; health.gov/paguidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf

Ncbi.nlm.gov/pubmed/15942765

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stock Images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

STRESS pencil

11 Tips to Prevent and Relieve Stress

“Just relax.”

“Don’t worry, you deserve the break.”

“It will help you to focus better and tackle the upcoming problems head-on.”

This is all very nice to hear, but to practice it in real life is really tough.

As such, here is a list of tips which can help you to stretch your legs and have a little break.

Be Assertive

Maintaining clear communication is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. In this way, you can ask people what you need from them clearly. You can stand up for yourself and deal with toxic people firmly. This is the only way for you to be proactive in a stressful situation. In many cases, this assertion of your thoughts can effectively reduce your stress.

Reduce the Stimuli

In the modern world, there is no dearth of stimuli, and this stimuli can increase stress levels. To relieve stress, you should make time each day to spend quietly — silence can help you to slow down. Spending some time quietly can help you recharge to take on challenges.

Prioritize

If you want to escape the all-consuming business, you should organize tasks by priority. Organizing tasks can make life less stressful.

Set Boundaries

Start creating a boundaries for yourself. This can help create a peaceful balance between work life and personal life. Be assertive if people try to break these boundaries.

Take a Break

Day to day life can become monotonous, which can become an added stressor. Break the monotony by taking a break. Watch a movie, read a book, or catch up with a friend. In short, do something positive!

Meditate

Just take a few minutes per day to meditate. Many studies have shown that just a few minutes can ease anxiety. In fact, some studies showed that meditating every day can change the neural pathways of the brain.

Breathe

Studies have shown breathing has a positive effect on stress and anxiety. If you feel stressed, take a short break and breathe deeply. Deep breathing slows down your heart rate and lowers blood pressure. You can feel the effect almost immediately.

Live In the Present

Slow down and appreciate the moment. Just feel the light touch of air on your face, or watch the sunlight streaming through the window pane. Studies suggest that taking little breaks to focus on the senses can be a great stress reliever.

Reach Out

Reaching out to your near and dear is one of the most effective ways to handle stress. Talk to your friends and family and share your problems. This routine can give a fresh perspective on situations.

Exercise

If stress is bogging you down, dance it away! Or choose any other type of exercise. You don’t need to be an athlete…. just walk for half an hour and see how the stress melts away. The hormone released during exercise helps you sleep better and increases self-confidence. Take baby steps if you are new to exercise. Just remember that every step you’re taking is reducing your stress level.

Laugh

The moments we spend laughing are getting more rare. Try to see the small bits of humor scattered in everyday life. Grab every opportunity to laugh out loud. Laughing releases a hormone that lifts your mood, and it lowers the stress-inducing hormone. So, why wait? Just tune in to your favorite sitcom or meet with a friend for laughs.

Try different techniques and find the one(s) that work best for you!


Catherine Park is a content writer who help businesses find their audience online. She loves working in the ever-changing world of digital and is fascinated by the role content plays in today’s marketing.

Energy Bars: Which ones are best?

Athletes have many questions about energy bars:

Which ones are best?

That depends on your taste buds. The best energy bars are the ones you enjoy eating, settle well for a pre-exercise energy booster, and fulfill your dietary needs.

Are they better than Fig Newtons or other traditional foods?

Like Fig Newtons, they are a source of carbohydrate to fuel your body and nutrients to invest in your health. They are pre-wrapped and convenient to toss into a gym bag or backpack without crumbling.

Are they just glorified cookies?

For the most part, yes. For athletes, little is wrong with a few (sugar-containing) cookies/energy bars when balanced into an overall healthy eating pattern. Sugar (carbohydrate) in a sports diet fuels muscles. As a fit person, your muscles take up the sugar and use it to power your workouts. Please focus more on what comes with the sugar: whole grains? protein? fiber?


Today’s overwhelming assortment of energy bars offers an option for every dietary niche, be it vegan, kosher, low FODMAP, nut-free, etc.. Below is a list that categorizes the bars and might help you find ones that suit your dietary preferences.  The key is to remember that energy bars are not meal replacements, but rather emergency food that comes pre-wrapped. Be sure there are some banana peels and apple cores in your wastebasket, and not just wrappers.

Additive-free (that is, no added vitamins or minerals): Clif Mojo & Nectar, Epic, Good Greens, Gnu, Honey Stinger Waffle, Kashi, KIND, Larabar, Optimum, Peak Energy, Perfect 10, PowerBar Nut Naturals, ProBar, Pure, Raw Revolution, Red Square Power-flax, RX, thinkThin, Trail Mix Honey-bar, Zing

Budget friendly: Nutri-Grain, Nature Valley Granola, Kashi Chewy, Quaker Chewy

Caffeine-containing: Better than Coffee, Clif CoolMint Chocolate, Clif Peanut Toffee Razz, Honey Stinger Caffeinated, Peak Energy Plus, Picky Bar Game-Set-Matcha, Verb

Dairy-free (see also Vegan): Bonk Breaker, Bumble Bar, Clif Builder’s & Nectar, Enjoy Life, GoMacro, KIND, Larabar, Perfect 10, Picky, RX, thinkThin Crunch, Vega Endurance

Enriched/Fortified with added vitamins: Balance, ZonePerfect

Fiber, high (grams fiber): Fiber One Chewy (5-6g), Gnu Flavor & Fiber (12g), NuGo Fiber d’Lish (12 g), Oat-mega (7g), Quest (13-14g), thinkThin Protein and Fiber Bar (5g)

GUT-Friendly, Low FODMAP: Fody, GoMacro Peanut Butter Protein Replenishment, EnjoyLife Dark Chocolate (and some other flavors), GoodBelly, Happy

energy bar nutritionGluten-free: Bonk Breaker, BumbleBar, Elev8Me, Enjoy Life, Enjoy Life, EnviroKidz Rice Cereal, Fody, Good Belly, GoMacro, Hammer, KIND, Lara, Picky, PowerBar Protein Plus, Pure Protein, ProBar, RX, Quest, Raw Revolution, That’s It Fruit, thinkThin, Truwomen, Zing, 88 Acres Seed and Oat.

Low-carb: OhYeah! One, Pure Protein, Quest, Keto

Kosher:  GoMacro, Extend, Larabar, Pure Fit, ReNew Life Organic Energy, thinkThin, Truwomen

Nut-free: Don’t Go Nuts, Enjoy Life, Freeyumm, Go Raw, Honey Stinger Waffle, Jumpstarter Bodyfuel, Luna Bar Lemon Zest, That’s It, 88 Acres Seed & Oat

Organic: Cascadian Farm, Clif, Pure, GoMacro, Red Square Powerflax

Peanut-free: Clif, Truwomen (some flavors), Enjoy Life

Protein Bar (Your choice of soy, whey, egg, or blended protein source) (grams protein): Clif Builder (20g), Gatorade Whey Protein Bar (20g), GoMacro Protein Replenishment (10-12g) Honey Stinger Protein (10g), Lenny & Larry’s Muscle Brownie (20g), NuGo (10-12g), Oatmega (14g), PowerBar ProteinPlus (30g), PowerCrunch (13g), Pure Protein (20g), Quest (21g), RX (12g), thinkThin Protein (20g)

Raw: Good Greens, Pure, Raw Revolution, Vega Whole Food Raw Energy Bar

Recovery bar (3-4 g carb to 1 g protein ratio): Clif, KIND Breakfast Protein, PowerBar Performance, Picky, RX

Soy free: BumbleBar, Clif Nectar, Enjoy Life Chewy, GoRaw, KIND, Larabar, NuGo Fiber d’Lish, Oat-mega, Picky, ProBar, Pure, Quest, Raw Revolution, Vega Endurance, Zing

Vegan: (grams protein): Clif (most flavors; 11g), Clif Builder’s (20g), Go Macro (11g), Good Greens (10g), Hammer Vegan (15g), Larabar (5g)  Picky (7g), Pure Organic (4g), ProBar (8-11g), thinkThin High Protein (some flavors are vegan; 13g), Truwomen (12g), Vega (10g), 88 Acres Seed & Oat (6g)

Women’s bars (fewer calories; added calcium, iron, and folic acid): Healthwarrior Chia, Iron Girl Energy, Larabar, Luna, PowerBar Pria. Truwomen

40-30-30 Bars: Balance, ZonePerfect

My suggestion for the best bars

Google homemade energy bars and you will see many yummy, healthy, cook-free and simple-to-make options. These are likely the best bars, in terms of taste, positive ingredients, and lack of litter. Enjoy!

Recipe for Homemade Energy Bar from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook

Sweet and Crispy Nut Bars

These bars can be made with almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, or other chopped nut or seed of your choice. Whether eating them for breakfast on the run, a preexercise snack, or an afternoon treat, you’ll enjoy these crispy bars.

When measuring the honey, add a little more than the 1/2 cup, so the mixture sticks together better. You’ll need to pack the ingredients firmly into the pan; otherwise the bars will fall apart (but the crumbs are tasty—especially in yogurt or sprinkled on top of your morning bowl of cereal).

  • 2 cups uncooked oats
  • 2 cups Rice Crispies or puffed brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup peanuts ((preferably chopped briefly in a food processor)) or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup (heaping) honey
  • 1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cooking Instructions

  1. Lightly coat a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, Rice Crispies, and peanuts or slivered almonds.
  3. In a medium microwavable bowl, combine the honey and nut butter. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Slowly pour the nut butter mixture over the cereal, stirring until all the ingredients are well coated.
  5. Transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly while still warm. (Butter your fingers so the mixture does not stick to them.) Cool to room temperature.
  6. Cut into 20 bars and store them in an airtight container. (If you keep the bars in the refrigerator, they will be sturdier because the nut butter hardens.)

Yield: 20 servings
Nutrition information: 3,400 total calories; 170 calories per serving; 24 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 6 g fat

Article reprinted with permission from Nancy Clark.


Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes in the Boston area (Newton, 617-795-1875). Her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for marathoners, cyclists and soccer players offer additional information. They are available at www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her popular online workshop: www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

grateful

Trade Your Expectations

Trade Your Expectations — one of Tony Robbins many quotes.

When we look at our lives, there’s often an expectation of how things should go.

We want to be in shape, and we have expectations around that process.

We want financial abundance, and we have expectations around how it should happen and where it should come from.

When our expectations aren’t met, we experience disappointment, doubt, feelings of failure, or perceptions of unfairness.

But what if you trade your expectations for appreciation? Appreciate the fact that you are able to exercise, that you have a wonderful family or great friends, or that you’re resourceful enough to eventually reach your outcome.

When you set expectations about how something should go, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t set goals but rather to be flexible in how you achieve them.

If you can trade your expectations for appreciation, your whole world will change. You’ll see the positive instead of the negative in situations. You’ll experience more love and success. You’ll have more financial abundance.

You can create the life you dream of living, but it starts here.

Originally printed on Move Well Fitness blog. Reprinted with permission.


Maurice D. Williams is a personal trainer and owner of Move Well Fitness in Bethesda, MD. With almost two decades in the industry, he’s worked with a wide range of clients, including those with health challenges like diabetes, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, coronary artery disease, lower back pain, pulmonary issues, and pregnancy. Maurice is also a fitness educator with Move Well Fit Academy and NASM.  

Senior Couple Cooking In The Kitchen

A Mature View on Sugar

Sure, there’s nothing new about saying added sugar is bad for you (regardless of your age). Your mom told you, and your doctor says so, too, but you can’t sugar-coat the truth — you love the sweet stuff. So what else is new? Well, it turns out that there is something that is both new and troubling about sugar.

A new study reported that added sugars have been found to have a profound effect in causing frailty in adults over 60. Frailty is defined by meeting three out of five of these criteria: unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, low physical activity, slow walking, and weak grip strength. The frightening consequences of frailty are an elevated vulnerability to falls, disability, and earlier death. (1)

In the study, participants were divided into three groups based on their intake of added sugars. Three years later, those participants who consumed at least 36 g sugar per day (about the amount in one 12-ounce can of soda) had more than double the risk of becoming frail over the follow-up period compared to those who consumed less than 15 g per day. Even after adjusting the group’s results for physical activity, the risk was still elevated more than two-fold in the high-sugar group. (2)

The reason? It could be sugar’s impact on muscle mass. Other research has found that high sugar intake may diminish the body’s ability to maintain muscle mass with age. (3)

And if that wasn’t enough to sour your taste for sweet, the study also found that sugars in processed foods were the most strongly associated with frailty. Given the fact that added sugar is often hidden in processed food — think tomato sauces, yogurt, ketchup and granola bars — this is concerning news for all.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Fortunately, you can still enjoy the deliciousness of naturally occurring sugars. They were not associated with an increase in frailty risk (naturally occurring sugars in this study included those in fruits and vegetables, but not fruit juices).

Instead of seeking out added sugars, try adding naturally sweet fruits and vegetables (such as carrots and sweet potatoes) to your diet. They provide valuable phytochemicals, such as flavonoids and carotenoids, and – importantly – fiber, which slows the absorption of their sugars, minimizing their glycemic effect.

The Standard American Diet: lots of sugar, very little fruit: (4)

But don’t go overboard with dates and dried fruit. Avoid all sweetening agents including maple syrup and honey.  Excessively sweet foods keep your taste buds accustomed to that excessive sweetness, perpetuating the desire for more sweet foods, which also promotes weight gain. When you consume overly sweetened foods regularly it makes real food such as fresh fruits not taste as spectacular. A piece of fruit for dessert or a small amount of dried fruit to sweeten a sauce or salad dressing is all you need.

Don’t Let Sugar Sour a Good Diet

A healthy diet excludes processed foods and includes a wide assortment of fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts—with their vast array of phytonutrients.

In a systematic review of many studies, researchers found a low intake of several micronutrients — including vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, folate, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and cryptoxanthin — also had links to frailty. Similarly, biomarkers of nutrient inadequacy were also linked to frailty, such as MMA (a marker of B12 deficiency), and low levels of serum carotenoids, alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), vitamin D, and vitamin B6. (5) So you see, it is important to not only be aware of the harm caused by add sugar, but also to keep eating healthfully.

The Bottom Line

The good news? A diet with higher antioxidant capacity (like a Nutritarian diet) was associated with a lower risk of frailty.(4)

One of the most important benefit of a Nutritarian diet is that, coupled with exercise, it allows you to enjoy life in your 80s and 90s while gobbling up delicious dishes that even your sweet tooth will appreciate. This eating style not only promotes weight loss in the short term, it is designed to slow aging and maximize longevity. Here’s why:

  • It provides a excellent exposure to micronutrients and antioxidants,
  • It  prevents age-related chronic diseases
  • It helps avoid muscle loss and bone fractures,
  • It optimizes immune function and brain function with aging.

A last note about protein: The loss of muscle mass associated with frailty can be due in part to undernutrition, inadequate protein in particular. The elderly may have less efficient absorption and utilization of protein, which could lead to excessively low IGF-1 levels. Older folks may require a higher and evenly distributed protein intake compared to younger and middle-aged adults to maintain muscle mass. (Read more about this topic.)

Originally printed on DrFuhrman.com. Reprinted with permission.


Joel Fuhrman, M.D. is a board-certified family physician, six-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally recognized expert on nutrition and natural healing, who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional methods. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term “Nutritarian” to describe his longevity-promoting, nutrient dense, plant-rich eating style.
 
For over 25 years, Dr. Fuhrman has shown that it is possible to achieve sustainable weight loss and reverse heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses using smart nutrition. In his medical practice, and through his books and PBS television specials, he continues to bring this life-saving message to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

References

  1. Xue QL. The frailty syndrome: definition and natural history. Clin Geriatr Med 2011, 27:1-15.
  2. Barzilay JI, Blaum C, Moore T, et al. Insulin resistance and inflammation as precursors of frailty: the Cardiovascular Health Study. Arch Intern Med 2007, 167:635-641.
  3. Cleasby ME, Jamieson PM, Atherton PJ. Insulin resistance and sarcopenia: mechanistic links between common co-morbidities. J Endocrinol 2016, 229:R67-81.
  4. Lorenzo-Lopez L, Maseda A, de Labra C, et al. Nutritional determinants of frailty in older adults: A systematic review. BMC Geriatr 2017, 17:108.
quitting as self care

Quitting as Self-Care

A few years ago the term self-care appeared as a means of describing anything that a person does to take care of themselves, like getting a massage, meditating, going for a walk in nature, or taking a relaxing bath in essential oils. All of the above are great ways to improve your physical and emotional health; however, they are often used not as a way to improve health, but to undo the damage caused by underlying stresses and simply restore one’s previous level of health.

Take meditation. It’s a practice that has been used for millennia as a means of trying to reach an enlightened state. But what do we often use it for now? As a means to calm ourselves down after an argument with a significant other or a way to gain a glimpse of equanimity before what we know will be a tough day at work.

In the above instances, meditation isn’t being used to take us to a higher place, it’s being used to get us back to baseline. And then the next day, when our job or our toxic relationships drag us back into sadness or anxiety, we use it again to bring us back up.

This is akin to using Tylenol to treat cancer. Cancer causes pain, so we take Tylenol to relieve the pain. This treats only the symptoms and ensures that we’re going to have to take Tylenol again and again each time the pain arises.

How would we stop that cycle? By curing the cancer.

Similarly, you can’t massage away a bad job and you can’t journal away a toxic relationship. In both instances, you’re merely treating the symptoms.

What’s the cure? Quitting.

Quit the job that’s taken your sanity day after day. Quit the relationships that have led you to the negative self-talk that requires hours of journaling and meditation to sort out.

Because all of the above self-care tools are amazing in their own rights, but are so much more helpful in improving your physical and mental health if you’re starting from a more stable baseline — which requires taking a good look (often through journaling!) at what is disturbing your peace.

So next time something has you anxious or depressed, grab that journal and write down what led to that feeling. Then start analyzing whether the cause can be quit. You may need a job-ectomy, or to have some toxic friends surgically removed from your friend circle.

And after you do, be sure to light some candles, throw some essential oils in a bathtub, and meditate your way to enlightenment — free of whatever was holding you back!

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Morski.


Dr. Lynn Marie Morski is a Quitting Evangelist. She helps people to and through their quits through her book “Quitting by Design” and her podcast Quit Happens, along with speaking and coaching. She is also a board-certified physician in family medicine and sports medicine, currently working at the Veterans Administration. In addition, she is an attorney and former adjunct law professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Visit her website, quittingbydesign.com

Woman Doing Stretching Exercises In Gym With Trainer

Physical Activity and Menopause

Menopause is bad.

Exercise is good. 

More exercise is the solution!

Is that it?

It’s not quite that simple, although most things you will read will tell you that any form of physical activity is helpful. There is a lot of truth to it. Physical activity at any age is beneficial and for women during mid-life exercising carries additional substantial health benefits. The menopausal transition is associated with many health risk factors such as increased risk for cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, decreased bone mineral density, metabolic syndrome, and musculoskeletal symptoms. Exercise prescriptions for those health risks are the same as for non-menopausal women.

However, according to my research, not all forms of physical activity are of equal benefit in helping with menopause symptoms. In fact, some forms of exercise can exacerbate certain types of symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia.

I believe that it is important to pick the type of exercise depending on your symptoms rather than just exercise to exercise.

So how do you know which exercise is best for you? You start by reading this article! 🙂 To help you find your way through the labyrinth of research that is out there, I’ve consolidated the findings of the last 20 years of research on this topic so you don’t have to.

First I want to highlight the overall benefits of exercising regardless of symptoms…

Exercise Increases:

  • Benefits brain function and functional capacity
  • Increases beta endorphins
  • Quality of Life
  • Strength and balance
  • Increased Bone Mineral Density
  • Increase in quality and length of sleep
  • Maintenance of healthy BMI
  • Self-perceived physical condition
  • Sport competence
  • Body image & physical self-worth

Exercise Decreases:

  • Vasomotor Symptoms
  • Somatic & psychological symptoms
  • Depression (1 exercise session/week = 22% reduction)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Body Mass Index
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms
  • Cardiovascular Disease (50% reduction)
  • Overall mortality (20% reduction)

Exercise has many benefits but can also be stressful on the body.

Too much exercise and/or intensity can:

  • Decrease sleep quality and length, which in turn is correlated with adverse physiological and psychological outcomes
  • Increase circulating cortisol levels, which can lead to increased abdominal fat (read last week’s post for more info on this)
  • Have negative effects on thermoregulation as it causes substantial increases in metabolic heat production and core temperature (during exercise, metabolic heat production can increase by ten to twenty-fold and recent studies suggest that hot flashes are triggered by small elevations in core body temperature)

Moderate intensity appears to have the most benefits…

  • Highest menopause-specific quality of life
  • Lowest number of symptoms
  • Increased sleep, energy, confidence, mood

The following exercise guidelines are specific to helping you with menopause symptoms as well as increased quality of life throughout the menopausal transition. These recommendations do not apply to overall physical health.

Type of Exercise 

  • Endurance/aerobic training best for increased sleep
  • Strength training for body image, strength, body aches
  • Yoga for vasomotor (VMS) symptoms and overall menopause-specific quality of life (Hatha yoga for cognitive function (memory, concentration)
  • Walking at ~3-3.5 mph for anxiety and depression

Duration & Intensity

  • Moderate Intensity (60-70% Target HR)
  • Min. 3 x week (more days = decreased severity of symptoms)
  • Programs lasting at least 12 weeks

Special Considerations

  • Keep body core temperature at comfort level to avoid increases in VMS
  • Focus on activities that are enjoyable to you. Forcing yourself through workout regimens that you dislike can have negative effects on quality of life. I hear too many people say: “I think I should run more” and my question to them is “Why? Do you like running?”. “No, but it’s good for you”. Really? Is it? I don’t believe in doing things just because someone said they’re good, especially in regards to exercise. If you don’t like it, you won’t stick to it. It’s as simple as that. And when it comes to working out, consistency is the key. So find activities that you truly enjoy. Not only will you continue doing them and reap the physical and mental benefits but doing things you love will help you reduce stress and keep off that unwanted meno-pod (if you don’t know what a meno-pod is, you have to read last week’s post).

All information is based on peer-reviewed research. I usually add a reference list of all the articles I read to put together an article but this one would be way too long. If you’re interested in finding out more about specific research articles used for this blog, contact me.

Article reprinted with permission from Dr. Maria Luque.

 


Dr. Maria Luque is a health educator and fitness expert that specializes in helping women take charge of their own wellness. A native of Germany, she pursued a career driven by a passion for health and fitness. Dr. Luque currently teaches at the College of Health Sciences at Trident University International, in addition to conducting workshops, group/personal training, and writing. She’s an IDEA Fitness Expert and has been published in the IDEA Fitness Journal as well as appeared as a guest at local news channel to talk about quality of life and menopause. Visit her website, doctorluque.com