Health & Wellness for over 40's

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Why Swimming Is A Good Option For Winter Fitness

I know it’s the wrong time of year for this post, but winter swim training can boost your fitness.  See why you should get back in the pool. 

Why It Works?

Propelling your body through a body of water is hard, especially if you aren’t doing it regularly.  The swimming process uses all muscle groups in both the upper and lower body.  It’s especially good for older people who have challenges with weight-bearing exercises, like running.  You can shed the same amount of calories.

Twenty to thirty minutes about 3 times a week provides good benefits.  Your local YMCA is a good place to start. Alternatively, you may be able to find a hotel pool to rent quite cheap. If you can swim the basics, check out www.swimmingmagazine.com.

Starting Out

I was fortunate enough to have parents who introduced me to swimming at an early age.  This doesn’t mean that you are too old to learn though.  I personally know of some runners who decided to do triathlons and couldn’t swim at all.  They learned with proper instruction and perseverance.  There are many good websites that teach swimming basics to help you get the most out of the activity.

Check Out The Research

Time magazine says that swimming is a good workout for people with osteoarthritis.  The activity helps lubricate the joints if done in warm water.  They also suggest that research shows that those who swim for fitness have lower blood pressures.  There is less injury potential because the resistance on muscles and joints is more uniformly distributed and reduces injury potential.

Swimming uses anaerobic (without oxygen) systems.  This allows the body to sustain short-term energy bursts, as opposed to long distance aerobic exercises (with oxygen). Of course, you can do long distance swimming to bring about a high level of endurance training.  Most research shows that aerobic exercise increases the size of the heart muscle tissue.

Morgan Mabe, swim coach at Asphalt Green in New York City explains: “There are no other sports equally tough on your upper & lower body while being gentle on the joints.”  See article: Why swimming is one of the best and hardest exercises you can do mensjournal.com.

I know it’s harder in the winter months to get to a swimming pool.  You think brrr… I have found if you just do it, you will find that you feel warm for hours later.

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How to deal with Autumn’s Changes?

Some people love fall, and some people hate it.  Your body goes through changes during this time of year.  Find out how you can cope better.

Yes, it’s that time of the year again.  For some parts of the country, fall has come early this year.  Our energy levels deteriorate and we want to sleep more or curl up with that good book you just bought.  It’s not all in your head.  There are changes in the body’s natural rhythm.  How can you deal with it?

Sunlight

As summer fades away sunlight becomes less available.  That means that vitamin D is less available.  You could take a vitamin D supplement.  Experts suggest we find an hour a day for sunlight, preferably in the morning.  The other option is to buy a Sunlight.  They can be found in medical supply stores and drug stores.  They are a great option for shift workers or those who can’t go outside.

Exercise

Even if you don’t feel like it, your energy will increase… eventually.  I say that because at first, those who haven’t exercised in a while will feel tired for the first while, it’s normal. Exercise outside if you can.  It makes a difference.

Sleep

There are differing opinions on this one. Personally, I need more sleep in the fall.  One reason is that often I am starting something new, and I feel more tired than usual. Sometime in November, I get used to the changes.  Sleep specialists from the University of Minnesota have found that people sleep more in the month of October than any other month.

Others think that sticking to your normal routine is best.

Diet

Eating fruits and vegetables more and lean protein.  Avoid too many carbohydrates, they add to the sleepiness you may be feeling.  Drinking lots of water is important to keep from being dehydrated.  This is a good time of year to eat lots of fruit and veggies that contain water, such as grapes.

* Supplements of vitamins D and zinc may help keep you from getting colds and flu.

These tips may help you get through that awful time of the year.

 

 

 


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Why team sports can be bad for your Health

Do you prefer solo sports? Here are some reasons why solo sports can be healthier. I speak from experience. Warning, this post may offend some people. Please don’t take it personally.

First, please know that I have nothing against competition. I played competitive sports most of my life, I have nothing to prove anymore.  The only thing that matters is my health.

I recently started playing Pickleball, and boy am I disappointed…not in the game, but the people that run some of these clubs.  I bring a tennis background to the sport, and other racquet sports too.  All was grand until I started to improve and then found that I had nowhere to go next.  When I wanted to play with more advanced players, they made remarks and some gave me dirty looks. When asked if I could play once, the Club President said, “if you can find somebody to play with you.”  I didn’t think I was that bad.

I am only allowed to play once or twice a week, the rest is for the higher levels. There is nothing worse than being excluded from a new sport before you have a chance to improve.

I joined a club and thought I would get to know people and have a little fun and lose weight.  The problem is that some people are so narcissistic that they take the sport way too seriously. Fact is… most people are new to Pickleball. We all bring different assets to the game.

I see people in their 50’s and 60’s who think they are going to be professional athletes… just because it’s a new sport.  Three years is not long to play a sport. I think some people just want to relive their college days, but leave the ego outside the courts, please! Help others, and don’t be a jerk.

Tennis, on the other hand, takes a lifetime to learn. You have to earn your respect in that sport, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Tennis gives you better overall fitness.

The truth is that Pickleball is popular because it’s so easy to learn…so why the attitude?  Many of the players I have met are overweight and lazy, and they act superior. I am not being rude, this is how it is with these people.  It doesn’t take a lot of athletic ability to play the sport, so people shouldn’t be turning their noses up at novices.

Wellness buffs remember your priorities.

Many of the people that started with me in the spring have quit, and now I know why. They weren’t given a chance. Some of the members won’t even play with newbies. I haven’t determined if this is just the “culture” of Pickleball or the club I joined.  Either way, I am disappointed I wasted my time. I did some PR work for them, and this is my reward. Not good.

If you have had this experience you are not alone.  The solution is to go back to single sports like running, cycling, and weight training.  You don’t have to make your partner unhappy when you miss shots, and you certainly don’t have to have a number.  Face it, most of us aren’t going to be pros, so spend your time with sports that reward your health. Team sports like the situation I described above can only be unhealthy for you. Team sports can complicate your life because you have to deal with a lot of toxic personalities. Most of us have enough stress in our lives right?

The real rewards of fitness are a happy lifestyle, a healthy heart, and mind. Forget about these people who are just out there to showboat.  I guarantee they aren’t going to be much help to you in the long run. In general, I have found team sports less rewarding, and I have played many over the years. No matter how much you educate people, it will never change.

If you want to play Pickleball please make sure that you are in a supportive learning environment. Always check out the reviews first. Good luck, and don’t let anybody take the fun out of it.

 

 

 

 

 


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Skin and nail conditions you shouldn’t Ignore

The body gives outward signals that may indicate a health problem.  Your skin and nails may be warning signs of health issues.

Skin

The skin is the largest organ so pay close attention to changes.  Cancer shows itself by lesions.  Remember the ABCDE skin test:

A is for asymmetrical, B is for an irregular border, C is for changing color, D is for diameter greater than a pencil eraser, and E is for elevated. If you have any of these signs you should get it checked out by a doctor.

Sometimes thick dark patches can signal diabetes or other endocrine problems. Red areas and flushing is a condition called Rocacaccea. This mainly occurs in people over 60. Having dark spots may run in families, or may be due to sun damage.

Other skin conditions may include eczema, red itchy dry patches.  Some new research suggests that this condition may be related to anxiety and depression, or ADD/HD in both adults and children. See healthline.com/health/skin-disorders.

Here’s one I have struggled with, lips with cracks in the corners.  I have been seeking treatment for this for many years. Recently I read that this is caused by a vitamin B or zinc deficiency.

Another problem for many women is skin tags.  These are raised bits of skin that hang on the surface.  They generally are harmless, but too many might be a sign of uncontrolled diabetes.  Remember that your skin is a mirror of your general health.

Fingernails

Don’t underestimate nail health, as this can provide clues to health changes.  White spots on nail beds can indicate a zinc deficiency.  You can supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals.  Silica is a great supplement.

Brittle nails and hair may be a sign of thyroid disorder.  Very soft nails can signal iron deficiency or a liver condition.

You may notice that you have ridges on your nails.  These are called Beau’s lines.  They may indicate high levels of stress or uncontrolled diabetes, according to The Good Life Magazine. This magazine is found in health stores.

Elderly people often have nails that have brown tips, but they also may be a sign of serious diseases, such as kidney or cardiovascular problems.  They occur in both men and women. Heavy smokers may also have discoloration in nails.

Clubbed nails occur in the sick and the very elderly.  The tips of the nails become thick and large and the nails curve around the tips.  They may indicate lung and cardiovascular diseases.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind that may lead to the early detection of health problems.

 

 

 


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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 about water and how much you should drink.  New Science has revealed some truths about water.

Did 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 exercicing for 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.