Wellness for women over 40

A blog about Health and Wellness for over 40's

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Is stress affecting your Health?

There is good stress and bad stress.  Find out what kind of stress is useful, and what may affect your health.

Good Stress

Is a healthy adaptation in which there are biological changes that give extra energy to the body in need.  This kind of stress occurs when an athlete or other performers need to get the competitive advantage to push themselves further to master the task.

Yes, short-term stress may help you obtain that achievement-oriented goal.

The “fight or flight” responseThis is a short-term condition in which the adrenal glands mobilize adrenalin and cortisol to help the stress response or threat.  Normally after the crisis is over the body returns to its original balanced state.

Bad Stress

This kind of stress occurs when the body is exposed to high levels of stress over a long period of time.  Blood pressure can remain elevated making the body vulnerable to a number of stress-related diseases, usually behavioral and physiological problem.   This happens because the brain’s neurons are disrupted.  I’m sure you’ve experienced this.  It’s why you have trouble thinking straight when you are stressed or agitated.

Once a stressful event is over, the body reverts back to homeostasis.  The body activates neurotransmitters to help the body recover.  Stress becomes a problem when the stress response is not turned off.  When stress occurs over a long period of time, the adrenal glands become exhausted and you feel tired all the time, and you make become ill.

Longterm stress can decrease the ability of the body’s systems to work properly… even altogether.  More information can be found at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health.

Common stress related Illnesses

Chronic stress can contribute to peptic ulcers, cardi diseased even cancer. Lately, I have read a lot of health reports about stress as a leading cause of cancer and can make present health problems worse.  To see more go to http://www.apa.org.

Workplace stress

In a world filled with uncertainty, you may be affected by over-work, pay cuts, layoffs, and downsizing.  I have suffered years and years of stress from work, and I know many others have too.  I had to change jobs to protect my health.

Here’s what you can do

  • Make sure you get enough sleep
  • Spend time outside, even if its only 15 mins.
  • Take a physical activity you like and turn it into a regular routine
  • Make a plan to avoid or minimize long-term stress
  • Get support
  • Some people find it helpful to write a journal

Take the time to learn new ways to help you deal with the stress, you’re worth it!






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Are you drinking enough Water?

If you have health problems, please read this post.  There are some myths around water and how much you should drink.  New Science has revealed some truths about water.

Do You know?

New science has discovered that many of the chronic related illnesses may be improved or even eliminated by drinking more water.  Water is now considered a source of energy for the body, but this has been overlooked in the past.

Dehydration shows up long before we are thirsty, especially as we get older.  Dr. Batmanghelidj author of Your bodies many cries for Water, says that your body’s thirst mechanism tends to malfunction after the age of 20.  The result is that you can be chronically dehydrated.  The bottom line is that the body’s system and organs become chronically dehydrated and can’t function properly. Medical research also shows that “dry mouth” is not a reliable indicator of the bodies need for more water. More information is available at www.watercure.com.

Is eight 8 ounces of water enough?

This is a common myth.  Roberta H. Anding of Louisiana State University works with professional athletes.  She explains that for some the commonly recommended myth is too much for some, and not enough for others.  How much water your body requires depends on your body composition, your health, and your activity level.  If the weather is very hot or very cold the body becomes more prone to dehydration.

Scale weight before and after activity in hot weather are the best indicators that you are dehydrated.  If you lose more than two or three pounds on the scale then you are dehydrated.  If you are exercise more than an hour in the heat you should be drinking a sports drink to replace electrolytes and sodium.  Orange and tomato juice are good are good replacements.

Did you know that flying in an airplane depletes the body’s water reserve?  The reason is pressurized cabins. This might be one reason you get so tired after long flights.  If you fly often you need to drink more water.

Why do we need so much water?

  • The human body is 75% water and the brain is 85% water.
  • Water serves as a transport vehicle for cellular functions.
  • Water is a holding media for getting rid of heat.
  • Water lubricates joints and helps reduce pain.
  • If you take pain medication, your thirst mechanism is compromised.
  • Dr. Batamghelidj says that increasing our water intake is one of the best ways to prevent many chronic conditions, especially digestive problems.
  • Chronic dehydration reduces blood volume and can contribute to high blood pressure.


Make sure the quality of the water you drink is Good

Your water should be free of toxic chemicals and bacteria contamination.  The pouring of toxic wastes into rivers and lakes makes it difficult for governments to guarantee water quality.  Aging water pipes should be monitored regularly to ensure that traces of lead are not in the drinking water.

Most tap water is safe. If you are like me, and you don’t’ like the taste… or you worry about the effects of chlorine and fluoride you can let the water stand for a few hours.  If you can afford filtered water there are advanced water systems on the market.  I like Nikken’s Pi Mag water system.  It has balanced nutrients and is PH balanced.  Check out www.nikken.com/johnschlapbach for more information.

Many factors affect fluid balance in the body, but we can prevent dehydration by the intake of additional water, and foods high in water.

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Yoga can transform your Life

This is a must read if you are new to exercise.  What exactly is yoga and what are the benefits?

I’m sure you’ve heard how popular yoga is.  The good news is that you don’t even have to go to a class to get benefits from practicing yoga.  If you’re like me, you have to consider the cost of all your activities, you can consider a home practice.  I guess some people need a group to motivate them, but all you really need is a mat and a little space.  Of course, you can have some stretch bands and a block if you want. After years of practice, I have created my own home practice.  There are some great videos and music out there.  You can even do online classes now.

You don’t need a hot room to practice yoga, but the room should be comfortably warm.

What is the point of yoga?

Yoga means ‘union’ or joining, mainly referring to the body and the mind…and or spirit.  Some people have termed yoga as moving meditation because it’s slow and controlled stretching that focuses on specific muscle groups and helps the mind relax.  The most common type of yoga is Hatha Yoga. It’s based on traditional yoga.  Beware that many yoga classes now include fusion moves and they may be unsafe if you have specific problems with knees or back.  Always check out the credentials of the instructors before you plan on taking their classes.  The best Yoga book out there is called Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit by Donna Farhi.  I believe they use this book for their instructor programs.

The Awesome benefits of yoga

Yoga is a science that incorporates a broad range of moves called Asanas.

Yoga practice improves balance, flexibility, strength, and spine alignment.  Yes, it’s great for the core. It’s meant to engage the whole body.  Even those confined to a chair can do yoga and prevent that stiff achy feeling we all get sometimes.  If you sit all day, yoga is a natural and safe way to limber up the spine and hip area.  Hey, it works for me!  When I don’t practice yoga for a while I start to stiffen up again, and that lower back pain comes right back. There must be a reason for it being practiced for thousands of years.

If you play sports like tennis, or you run, yoga is a wonderful companion activity to give your muscle groups a break from overuse. Many professional athletes have added yoga to their routines to help reduce their chance of injury.  It’s even being used to heal some types of injuries. Most chiropractors feel that yoga is safe but check with yours to make sure.

If you are brand new to yoga practice check out https://www.doyouyoga.com.  This is a free site and it explains the best 10 yoga postures for beginning practitioners. Another useful site is Healthway. The site explains the different types of yoga and their purposes.

Practice safe and take it slow and you will reap the benefits.



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Cross fit or cross Train?

This post describes the difference between these two commonly used training methods.

Cross Training

Has been around for many years.  Triathalon training is a great example of cross training, but cross training can involve many activities.  Endurance training using different sports is still a popular choice because it is safer than doing just one activity all the time.  You aren’t using the same muscle groups every day.  Endurance fit is the healthiest.  Yes, you should add weight training because it prevents age-related muscle loss.  You need to protect your bones too!

What is cross fit?

This is a sport too, only its a group training effort. It’s not sports- specific.  Father of cross fit Greg Glassman says, cross fit prepares people for the “unknown.”  He devised a system of functional movements that utilize all the components of fitness: endurance, strength, flexibility etc.  Usually, you are guided through a program by a trained coach… so you don’t push yourself too far at first.

The types of exercises range from bench press, squats, lunges, pushing and pulling movements plus cardio.  Participants compete for time and repetitions.  Each day is a different workout–that permits muscles to rest.  Gregglassman.com 

Cross fit is mostly a mindset discipline and is suppose to make you fit for all activities.  It’s kinda like bodybuilding taken to an extreme.  Its popular for all shapes, sizes, and ages.  Of course, you have to build slowly…soon your body knows the workload it can handle without injury.  That being said…some people do get injured with cross fit.

I don’t believe that you can take somebody from the couch to a cross fit program that quickly– It has its risks.  Critics say that it mostly makes you good at exercise because it is not sport-specific.  The work out is still controversial in the world of fitness.  Not a lot of studies have been done yet. If you choose cross fit start by incorporating a few cross fit exercises into your present workout.  If you think this is for you, see a cross-fit trainer.





How you can keep weight off during the winter

We all gain some weight over the winter. Some important things to remember– Goal setting is the answer, and habit changing is the answer.

Hello readers

I just thought that this was a good time to share some important tips…now that winter is here early this year. Now, is the time to plan. Keep moving, even if you don’t feel like it.  If you don’t like being outside in the cold, you can try some indoor activities…or tackle those house chores that you put off in the summer.  Try doing some yoga to maintain your strength. Increasing muscle mass will help fend off extra pounds.  It’s the habit that counts, and planning ahead helps.

Bye the way, I found a great podcast for you ladies(and gents).  It’s called the 40 plus Fitness podcast.  The site is http://older.fitness/.  The host interviews some great guest speakers, and they are all experts. It’s a radio station on Tune In.

As we age there is a decline in something called Human Growth Hormone.  This causes symptoms of aging.  Guess what?  Exercise helps increase this hormone.  New science claims that instead of long slow runs on the treadmill, it might be better to increase your intensity then rest, then increase the intensity again.  It’s called interval training.  It has a longer lasting calorie burn then a longer, slower workout.  Doing this on the treadmill is easy…or the stair climber.

Prevention magazine recommends increasing your daylight exposure so that you feel less tired.  See prevention.com.  for more articles.  It’s one reason we feel sluggish and tend to sit around more.  Get out of your comfort zone a little. It helps if you take up a winter sport.  The old saying goes; “If you can’t beat it, join it.”

More recent information says that your habits determine your success.  You may have heard this before.  Set goals around a special spring or summer event that you want to take part in.  This will add inspiration to your everyday activities and boost your motivation. Steven Covey has a great book about habits and success.

Another great site is called Health Habits for Holidays.  The author of this site is a lifestyle coach at info@healthymeliving.com.  I believe they have a facebook group as well.

So, set those goals for the spring now!  Let me know if you have any thoughts on this in the comments section.

“Changing Habits is the key to success.” Stephen Covey

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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Healthy food for winter

This post describes what immune system foods you should try, especially if you get a lot of colds.

Yuck, it’s that time of the year again.  Last year I had three colds and this year I am going to make sure I don’t get too many.  There is something called echinacea and goldenseal tincture.  It’s a liquid that you can put into your OJ once a day.  Warning…it tastes awful at first but helps ward off colds before you get them. Goldenseal is a natural antibiotic, just as garlic is.  You can find this stuff in any health store, don’t take it for more than 4 weeks at a time or it will lose its effectiveness.

I have just discovered something called lemon and ginger shots.  Take fresh lemon and ginger and mix half and half.  You only need about four ounces per day.  I was shopping at the mall the other day and Booster Juice was selling these shots for 5 dollars a pop.  It’s so easy to make your own.  Both ginger and lemon are superfoods and help boost your immune system.

Another good mix of healthy enzymes is fresh tomatoes and onion and add a little bit of water–I make a juice.  Two more superfoods!

Last but not least, is mushrooms.  If you don’t like them (I don’t), you can take a supplement.  Red mushrooms are of the highest quality.

Tea is great at this time of the year.  Try chamomile and mint.  I grow echinacea, so I add the leaves, flowers, and roots to the tea.

All of these mentioned are cancer beaters too.

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What you can do about your bones after Menopause

This post describes a few tips for maintaining bone health after 50

Yes, take calcium but not more than the recommended amount.  It’s the most important nutrient to increase because calcium intake was the lowest nutrient found in one study of elderly women and men in the Boston nutritional status survey.  This study was published by Evans and Cyra-Campbell in the Journal of Nutrition And Health For Older Americans.

Medical professionals recommend 1,500 mg/day for postmenopausal women, and 1000 for women taking Estrogen. This is important because hormones disrupt the bone-building process.  After the end of the last period and three years after is when the most bone loss occurs.  A great link is betterbones.com

Bones are living tissue and proper nutrition is important.  New research has suggested that nutrition can reverse osteoporosis.  Experts think that excess dieting plays a major role. A diet in low fat is not healthy and leads to bone loss so don’t try and skip the calories that are healthy.

It also has to be the right fats, no hydrogenated fats or refined oils.  Some good fats are olive oil, butter, avocado, cream cheese, coconut oil.  Vitamin K and kale and spinach is good. You need about 6 to 7 tablespoons per day to meet the standard recommendations.

Let’s not forget exercise.  In the above study, they found that strength training can reduce stress fractures in post-menopause women.  weight-bearing exercise may help prevent bone density loss. Of course, there are additional health benefits from a regular exercise program.

You can have healthier bones after 50 with careful diet and exercise– add supplements like Vitamin K and vitamin D.  You can get Vitamin K from fermented foods and dark green leafy vegetables.