Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Senior Health For Those In Their 40's and 50's

Health, nutrition, fitness and exercise are starting to add themselves to your list of concerns now that you're in your 40's and 50's. It may start with a bit of back pain when you get up in the morning or the first time you find yourself running short of breath after climbing stairs. And by now you're probably starting to ponder how you'll feel, how much energy you'll have and what you simply won't be able to do in another 20 or 30 years...
Senior health will become more and more important to you as time goes on, and the best time to start making adjustments to help ensure a fit, healthy and enjoyable retirement is right now. Waiting to address senior health & wellness issues until you're in your 60's and 70's won't be a great idea for you - it would be much like starting your retirement savings plan shortly after retirement. By now you're probably starting to save or invest for that, right? So why do less for your own health & fitness levels when that will play just as big a role in what you can enjoy then?
There is good news and bad news for you now that you're in your 40's or 50's. You're most likely already aware of the bad news - your body's production of important hormones like testosterone and growth hormone are declining, and, left unabated, will keep dropping as you age. If you're like most people you've been sitting for 8 hours a day or more for decades now, your physical activity levels have been eroded by family, work, societal and financial concerns and you've fallen into the habit of collapsing in front of the TV or computer each night where you'll vegetate for a couple of hours before heading to bed. And even then your 8 hours of restful, uninterrupted sleep is but a fond memory...
The good news is that, in most cases, your body is very willing to forgive your transgressions - but it needs your help, and it needs it starting now before more conditions become irreversible. There's no reason to let fitness take over your life; you can start working toward better senior health & fitness by making a few modifications in your daily routine, such as:
Achieving & Maintaining A Healthy Weight: Have a few extra pounds around your middle, men? Ladies - do you find your outfits are a bit tighter across the beam these days, or tighter in the hips & thighs? Crash diets or fad diets aren't the answer, and if you've tried either you already know that. The best weight loss solution is to simply adopt more healthy nutritional habits and get rid of many of the sugary and salty foods currently polluting your kitchen. When you're not in a hurry, a small reduction in your carbohydrate or caloric intake can often make the difference over time, making it much easier to achieve a healthy weight. If you don't think that extra 10 or 15 pounds is hard on your system, try carrying a 10-pin bowling ball around with you all day for just one day - that's about the same weight.
Start A Simple Exercise Program: If you were the type to get involved in extreme fitness you wouldn't be in your current shape - it takes a distinct mindset to get involved with and stay with high-end fitness programs and if you don't have that type of motivated mindset an extreme program is just going to be another disappointment for you. Instead, just set aside some time each day to go for a walk. That's right - just walk. And not powerwalking, either. Just a nice leisurely stroll. Start out going for a walk for fifteen or twenty minutes and increase that over time until you're walking a couple of hours a day. You'll be surprised by what it does for your weight, blood pressure, heart health and endurance. Equally surprising will be how little you miss those TV shows you're currently almost addicted to.
Healthy Nutrition & Anti-Oxidants: For 40 or 50 years now, day-to-day activities have been ravaging your body. Smoking or being exposed to second-hand smoke, breathing polluted air, even being out in the sun - these have all been breaking down parts of your system and creating 'free radicals' - cells that rob energy and life from other cells in your skin and internal body parts. Start learning about the various anti-oxidants that can help stop or destroy these free radicals and start including the foods or supplements that provide Vitamins C & E, the catechins in green tea, etc. Not only are these credited with protecting your body from the ravages of time, but many skin care experts claim they help in the anti-aging aspect of your appearance as well.
There's no getting around the fact that you'll need to take more action now towards your senior health than if you'd stayed in great shape through your 20's and 30's, but by starting in your 40's and 50's you'll not only avoid a lot of the aches and pains normally associated with aging but you may also end up avoiding some of the major health problems your future would otherwise hold, and recover more quickly from ailments that do occur. Your senior health is the most valuable asset you could ever own - start your journey toward healthy nutrition and senior fitness today!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With An Organic Mattress

Did you know that your indoor air quality could be as much as 100 times more polluted than the air outside of your home? That's because we fill our modern homes with products and materials that off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs) sometimes years after they've been purchased. By choosing products that are less toxic than conventional products (like an organic mattress) you can improve your indoor air quality significantly, which has health benefits for you and the environment.
Indoor air quality and your purchasing choices
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we humans spend as much as 90% indoor - whether we're in our homes or in indoor offices. And while we work hard to create peaceful, healthy environments at home where we can rest and rejuvenate, we may actually be purchasing polluting products that harm our health.
This can include things like finishes on hardwood flooring, glues used to make cabinetry, paint on walls and furniture, scented cleaning products and candles, electronics, carpeting, and even linens and bedding. VOCs can contribute to a variety of health problems, including headaches, dizziness, fatigue, asthma and respiratory distress.
VOCs also contribute to environmental challenges. When they're released into the atmosphere, VOCs mix with other compounds and can create smog or ground-level ozone. This impacts the air quality in many cities and has the double-impact of trapping heat in these regions, increasing the need for cooling requirements.
Conventional mattresses are just another example of furnishings that poison indoor air. They are commonly treated with chemicals such as formaldehyde and fire retardents both of which can off gas VOCs into your home. Other VOCs found in traditional mattresses include chemical-based foams, adhesives used to hold the mattress together, artificial fibers, and chemically-treated wood used to make the mattress frame. Even conventional mattress covers are treated with chemicals.
How an organic mattress improves your indoor air quality
Thankfully, there are many things within your control that impact your indoor air quality, not least of which are the products you buy. And since you spend so much time in your bedroom sleeping, choosing an organic mattress that's not made with these indoor air polluting chemicals is very important. Here are some of the characteristics you should look for in an organic mattress and organic bedding:
- Choose natural rubber latex to avoid synthetic foams
- Look for products made with organic cotton, bamboo, or organic wool to avoid pesticides and other agricultural chemicals
- Look for the following seals of approval for indoor air quality: GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), GREENGUARD, Cradle 2 Cradle by MBDC, Global Recycle Standard, SMART Sustainable Textile Standard, Oeko Tex
By choosing products that meet these stringent, third-party standards for environmental sustainability and human health, you'll be protecting your indoor air quality and your wellbeing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Personal Trainer Can Provide Motivation, Accountability and Encouragement

Losing weight is something that many people desire to do. They search and search for the right diet plans, diet pills and diet advice books. Every year, millions of people even make the task of dropping pounds their New Year's resolution. Whether someone wants to shed weight to get into a summer bathing suit, fit into their high school uniform or even improve their health, soliciting the help of a personal trainer is a great idea. In fact, these professionals are vital in many cases.
One of the reasons a personal trainer is so invaluable is because they can provide a sense of motivation. Many times people get lazy when it comes to their exercise routine. For example, someone could start off going to the gym five times a week. However, after a couple of weeks, they start slacking off. They only make an effort to go once a week, at most. This isn't because they no longer want to lose weight. However, they have lost their motivation. A professional can help to make sure that this doesn't occur. They would be there to push them to exercise even when they really don't want to.
Another thing that a personal trainer can provide is accountability. Sometimes, people can not only lose motivation. However, they can just plain give up. It may be due to the fact that they have lost interest or they aren't seeing the results that they want. So, they no longer care. Therefore, they may tend to do things such as sneak junk food or purposely skip exercise days. However, if there was someone there to hold them accountable, it wouldn't be so easy for them to do. That's because a person such as a personal trainer actually tracks their clients' progress. So, they would notice if they haven't been eating the right things or sticking to the proper exercise regimen.
Along with providing motivation and accountability, these professionals also provide encouragement. Some may believe that family members and friends can do this job. However, this isn't always the case. Many times, they are already preoccupied with their own lives and the issues that come with it. So, they don't really have the time, patience or wherewithal to focus on the weight loss goals of others. In some cases, they may even be consumed with their own weight loss goals.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Senior Health and Fitness In Your 60's, 70's And Beyond

By now you've come to realize what escapes most younger people - that your physical health and fitness levels are more important than financial security as you approach or enjoy retirement. Senior health wasn't a major concern in your younger days, but it's of ultimate, or at least penultimate importance now. Trouble is, the best of current intentions are up against a lifetime of excesses and abuses your body & mind have endured up to now. Fortunately, while some injuries, handicaps and conditions may now be with you for life, almost everyone can get healthier, get stronger, become more mobile and relieve some of the chronic pain they currently experience. And this is true whether you're in your 60's and 70's, 80's and 90's or even a celebrated centenarian!
Adopting A Fitness Mindset
Your first step towards true senior health & fitness is an attitude inventory. Think you're too set in your ways to change now, that you 'can't teach an old dog new tricks'? How often were you on the Internet in your twenties? When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand and mailed it to a friend? Did you enjoy your cell phone in your 30's? You've been making changes, some big and some small, all your life. Your path to senior fitness can start with small steps too - unless medical conditions dictate otherwise, you don't need to rush into anything. Start with small changes and let their combined effects grow over time - after all, you're not planning on leaving anytime soon, are you?
Or is that the mindset issue for you? If you're thinking you only have ten or 20 years of life left you may or may not be right, depending on coming advances in medicine, disease control and genetic research. But even if you DO only have ten years left, is that any reason to spend them in declining health and increasing aches and pains if there's a viable option? Decide right now that you want a better, fitter & healthier life no matter how long it proves to be.
Healthy Nutrition For Seniors
Seniors often need fewer daily calories but more nutrients than they did in their younger years. Modern dietary habits may have made your insulin receptors less efficient, your body has probably become less efficient at absorbing Vitamin B-12 and you may need to be taking in more calcium, for example.
Most seniors have become aware of the importance of dietary fibre - but did you know that cinnamon, Omega-3, Vitamin D-3 and red peppers like chili peppers and cayenne pepper can play just as important a role? Senior nutrition is all too often a matter of habit, so take time to learn about modern healthy nutrition practices and adjust your diet and/or supplements to your benefit.
Exercise For Seniors
It might surprise you to learn that pre-existing conditions aside, your body will respond to exercise now, even if you're 90 or 100, in much the same way it did in your twent6ies or thirties. Exercise will break down the muscle cells and your body will repair them and make them stronger - it just takes a bit longer for the recovery period. Obviously you're not about to stroll into a gym and do 300-pound squats or 200-pound deadlifts, but then most people have never been able to do that at any age if they hadn't already been training for some time.
A sudden increase in exercise levels is never recommended - think of the first time you played with your new grand-baby, lifting them up over your head, swinging them around... Remember how sore you were the next day? You need to ease your body into an increased activity level - start by walking every day. Take your dog for a longer walk, explore new neighborhoods or join a mall-walking group at a local mall. When walking at a comfortable pace for an hour or more no longer leaves you sore or 'too pooped to party', start adding in a bit of weightlifting with the eventual goal of being able to do a complete weightlifting workout once or twice a week.
Weightlifting routines for seniors aren't designed to make you competitive bodybuilders with huge muscles, but rather to help you maintain strength and improve your energy and flexibility. This can lead to improved digestion, burning off excess bodyfat, improved blood sugar and blood pressure levels, better balance to help prevent falls and a host of other benefits for seniors. Many seniors report reduced lower back pain, lessened arthritic pain and a general reduction in the daily aches and pains that plague most seniors.
For post-menopausal women reduced bone density can lead to a condition called osteoporosis, but an effective weightlifting routine can help keep your bone density levels out of that danger zone. Symptoms of other conditions that rob the body of muscle may also be mitigated or delayed by seniors exercising with weights regularly.
Starting Your Seniors Health & Fitness Regime
Once you've made up your mind that you want to be healthier, stronger, better balanced and have more energy, your first stop is your doctor. While very few family doctors are top experts in fitness nutrition or up to date on the latest exercise research, no one knows more about your current medical condition and any pre-existing conditions you need to be mindful of before changing your nutrition, increasing your activity level or beginning a weightlifting program.
Assuming you get the all-clear from your doctor, the best solution is to get a meal plan from a certified nutritionist and a custom-designed weightlifting program from a certified personal trainer. If geography or finances prohibit the use of one-on-one sessions with trained nutrition and exercise pros, do your due diligence online. But be sure to follow advice only from trustworthy, credible sources - there's as much misinformation as good info about health and fitness online. At the very least, look for advice from those as qualified as you would in the offline world.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Something You Should Know About Heart Attack And Stroke

Atherosclerosis - Leading Cause Of Heart Disease And Stroke
About 1.2 million Americans are diagnosed with heart disease every year and almost 700,000 Americans will suffer a stroke. Additionally, about 8 million people suffer peripheral arterial disease in the U.S.
Atherosclerosis is the leading cause for heart attack and stroke, which results in more than 40% of all deaths in the United States, more than all kinds of cancer combined. For many, atherosclerosis is a silent disease, with no visible signs or symptoms until it suddenly leads to a heart attack or stroke.
Atherosclerosis or arteriosclerosis is a disease where there is a slow increase of fatty plaques in the arteries, causing the arteries to harden. The arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the cells. The buildup of plaque in these arteries narrows the arteries and reduces the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart and other parts of the body.
The process of atherosclerosis can begin at early childhood or adulthood and eventually block the arteries, which arrests the flow of blood to the heart and brain, leading to heart attack, stroke or even death. Any artery in the body can be altered by atherosclerosis and, depending on which artery is affected, a variety of diseases can develop.
-- Coronary artery disease or heart disease: A buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries can reduce or block blood flow to the heart, leading to chest pain and heart attack.
-- Carotid artery disease: A buildup of plaque in the carotid arteries can lower or diminish blood flow to the brain leading to stroke.
-- Peripheral arterial disease: A buildup of plaque in the major arteries supplying oxygen-rich blood to the legs, arms and pelvis, can lead to numbness, pain and dangerous infections.
Low-grade Inflammation Plays A Crucial Role At Every Stage Of Atherosclerosis
During the initial stage of atherosclerosis, plaques build up quickly in the inflamed arteries. When inflammation persists, the plaques narrow the blood vessels quickly. As atherosclerosis progresses, inflammation leads to the formation of soft or vulnerable plaque filled with inflammatory cells and their metabolites and debris.
The inflamed plaques develop weak areas that can rupture without warning. The ruptured plaque brings the blood in contact with the plaque contents, results in the formation of clots and artery occlusion, leads to major problems like heart attack and stroke.
What Causes Low-grade Inflammation
Cigarette smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes are well established risk factors that promote atherosclerosis. These risk factors give rise to a range of toxic stimuli that cause the release of chemicals and the activation of inflammatory cells.
In addition, chronic infection, probably caused by bacteria or virus, might contribute to or even cause atherosclerosis. The infectious bacteria such as Chlamydia pneumoniae has been shown to have an important association with atherosclerotic plaque. The herpes simplex virus may also be an original inflammatory infectious agent in atherosclerosis.
Lifestyle factors such as stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, and genetic predisposition can also stimulate inflammation.
Inflammatory Marker CRP Predicts Cardiovascular Events And Stroke
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a protein marker that rises during systemic inflammation. High levels of CRP reliably predict recurrent coronary events (angina) and heart attack. Elevated CRP levels are also associated with lower survival rates in these patients.
Studies also indicate that the higher the CRP level, the greater the risk of having a heart attack. Studies also found association between sudden cardiac death, peripheral arterial disease, and CRP.
Control Inflammation Can Prevent Heart Attack And Stroke
Inflammation should be controlled by lifestyle changes, including losing weight, exercising, controlling diabetes, stopping smoking, controlling high blood pressure, and reducing alcohol intake. Anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin may offer some protection. Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may also reduce low-grade inflammation.
A recent clinical trial that studied 17,802 apparently healthy men and women discovered that lowering inflammation can prevent cardiovascular disease. Another trial that examined 250,000 patients who suffered a heart attack showed that nearly 50% of the attacks occurred in people with normal cholesterol levels, which indicates that inflammation is involved. The study findings also implied that about 20% of the total heart attacks in the US can be prevented simply by controlling inflammation.
Natural Remedies For Inflammation Relief
There are many medicinal herbs with anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce chronic inflammation safely. Some of them have been extensively analyzed and studied. To name just a few: Turmeric, Scute, Coptis, Lovage, and Gingo biloba.
By keeping inflammation under control, natural anti-inflammatory remedies may:
-- Boost the vascular healing and repair;
-- Improve vascular function and integrity;
-- Maintain normal coagulation of blood and protect blood vessels from breakdown;
-- Restore the body's antioxidant defense and help to ease stress.