Health & Wellness for over 40's

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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.

 

 

 


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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.

 


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How diet helps protect your skin from the sun

Damage from the sun can be lessened if you eat a diet high in antioxidants, here’s what you should know.

Ever wonder about all the years of sun tanning and how it ages your skin? Clinical studies reveal that sunscreen isn’t enough.  The foods you eat can help protect your skin.  Here are some of the ingredients that can help fight off damage from UV rays:

Carotenoids

These are pigments found in vegetables and fruit that gives them their color.  Clinical trials have shown that both topical and oral intake of carotenoids reduces damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Beta carotenoids

It is necessary to have a regular intake (about 10 weeks), to obtain benefits from sunburn.  They can be applied topically, but it’s better to obtain them from your diet.  The carotenoids and beta carotenoids are antioxidants, and most antioxidants work better when ingested in combinations, so variety is the key.

Other nutrients

Vitamins E and C, and omega- 3 fatty acids help decrease photo-aging, as well as providing many other health benefits according to Alive magazine.  See Alive.com. This magazine is in print and you can get it at various health stores.  It provides great information about research and nutrition.

The following foods are high in antioxidants and help provide protection for your skin:

  1. Tomatoes (even tomato paste)
  2. peppers
  3. carrots
  4. greens
  5. most fruit and berries
  6. fish
  7. nuts and seeds

Remember ACE in the summer time.  Vitamins A, C, and E may help reduce damage from the sun, but your intake has to be consistent.  Fish oils are suggested and are a healthy choice any time of year. If you don’t eat or like fish you can always take capsules as a supplement.

 

 


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Top reasons why you should Run

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Is Running bad for you?

It is not, according to health and fitness experts.  It might be if you have certain health problems and have been told not to run. It’s always important to balance an activity with another so you don’t create muscle imbalances which cause injury.

However, for the rest of us as long as we start slow, and start with walking first to get your joints ready for the coming workload.  The body adjusts unless we over-do it.  It’s fun and it can be done at your own pace.  Jeff Galloway, a famous runner, and coach who started the walk/run method.   The best source of information about running is runnersworld.com.

A great way to start is to get yourself a good running book.  John Stanton has a good overall book for runners of all types.  Please don’t let anyone tell you, you are too big to run…it’s not true!  If you are healthy and have no cardiac issues you could benefit from the walk/jog programs out there.  It’s a great idea to start with an HR monitor.  I have one.  It’s a bit tricky to use at first.

Exercise specialists have found that those people with the classic overweight symptoms can benefit, and even reach a point where the medication can be stopped altogether.  Blood pressure and blood sugar can be stabilized through regular endurance exercise.

The great thing about running is that you can eat more, and not worry about watching the scale so much. Also, it promotes a sense of accomplishment, and it’s measurable. You can keep a log of your progress on most mobile devices.  I prefer a written log myself.

You can stay younger and keep your legs stronger, and of course, you’ll have more energy for day to day activities. It keeps your bones stronger just like any other weight-bearing exercise.

Running has been known to elevate moods and lessen stress.  Some studies even suggest that running can decrease menopausal symptoms, like hot flashes and disturbed moods. It increases the production of serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemicals.  Reports by Melpomene Institute claim that 74% of runners felt that running improved overall menopause experiences.

The most important thing is to have fun. Remember always check with your doctor first before starting a running program.