Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘Healthy Aging’

10 Easy Anti-Aging Tips

10 Easy Anti-Aging Tips

 From wrinkle creams to cosmetic surgeries, diet pills to hair dye, Americans’ penchant for products that mask the effects of getting old is downright voracious. The effectiveness of these products varies, but there are some tried and true ways to look and feel younger that don’t involve any scalpels, needles or chemical infusions.
  • Volunteer: Based on an analysis of the results of 73 separate studies, new research published in the journal “Psychological Bulletin” argues that aging adults who volunteer experience enhanced physical and mental wellbeing. Serving others in their community helped seniors stave off symptoms of depression, develop stronger social ties and was associated with increased longevity.
  • Break a sweat: Physical disuse is the number one thing that amps up the aging process, according to Larry Matson, Ed.D., co-author of “Live Young, Think Young, Be Young…At Any Age.” That doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym every day (though that probably won’t hurt). Simple changes, such as paying attention to your posture or picking up your walking speed—Matson suggests striding as though you’re late for a meeting—can make a big difference. Learn How to Stay Motivated At The Gym.
  • Manage your stress: The sky-high cortisol levels that accompany chronic stress can contribute to metabolic dysfunction and increased inflammation. Deep breathing, practicing mindfulness and adopting a daily meditation practice are simple ways to slash your stress levels.
  • Put out that cigarette: Smoking’s link to heart disease and cancer is no secret, but a recent study conducted on twins found that the faces of people who puff are more likely to display the physical signs of aging, including wrinkling (especially around the lips), sagging jowls and upper eyelids, bags under the eyes, and more visible lines around the nose and mouth.
  • Adjust your attitude: “Most people underestimate the effect of the mind, but research in this area is very powerful,” Matson says. For individuals who tend to see the world in a gloomier light, developing a more balanced, optimistic outlook can offer significant health benefits.
  • Minimize chemical exposure: Chemicals, both dangerous and benign, are everywhere in our daily lives. While there’s no getting around the car exhaust and other pollution in the outside world, you can take steps at home to reduce your toxic chemical exposure, such as investing in a water filter, cutting down on your use of aerosol cleaning products and being cognizant of the chemicals in your food and beauty products.
  • Drink responsibly: The research surrounding the potential health benefits of alcohol is conflicting, but moderation appears to be essential when it comes to reaping these potential benefits. Women in particular should aim for imbibing no more than two drinks in a single day.
  • Reconsider certain prescriptions: Many aging adults take a plethora of daily medications. This widespread polypharmacy can have serious health consequences. A new study found that many medications taken by older adults can significantly increase a person’s risk for falling, and the potential for adverse drug interactions increases with every added prescription.
  • Eat healthy: Despite the rise of complex fad diets, the central concepts of healthy eating are relatively simple: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. If portion control is a problem, Matson says to remember the rule of halves; half of the pleasure of eating happens in the first bite and is reduced by half with each subsequent mouthful.
  • Exercise your mind: As with physical exercise, mental exercise is essential to staving off the effects of aging. “As we get older, we just don’t realize how much less we use our mind,” Matson says, “We get zoned into a particular job task and get good at it, but we don’t use other parts of our brain.” Maintaining mental fitness requires more than a daily Sudoku. Check out these 8 Ways To Keep Your Brain Sharp.

By Aging Care

AgingCare.com connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 

Member Inernational Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

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skpe ~ healthyhighway

Boost Metabolism While You Sleep

Boost Metabolism While You Sleep

According to a recent study, the temperature of your bedroom actually has a direct impact on your fat composition, and potentially your metabolism. How so? It turns out that cooler temperatures result in an increase in brown fat, a metabolically active fat that, until recently, was not thought to exist in adults. Brown fat has been shown to burn ordinary white fat and increase insulin sensitivity. Adults contain mere teaspoonfuls within their necks and upper backs, but according to a study published in Diabetes, it can be altered by changing your sleeping habitat.

In the study, five young, healthy men slept in a controlled room with a controlled diet for 4 months — the first and third months spent sleeping at a neutral 75 degrees, the second month a cool 66, and the final month a very warm 81. Their findings were quite astounding. The men, while remaining neutral in the 75 degree bedrooms, actually doubled their levels of brown fat and improved their insulin sensitivity during their month in the 66 degree bedroom. This is because cooler temperatures, while still being above shivering, activate brown fat deposits, which start increasing and fervently burning fuel. Their ignition also improves the body’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is an important finding for diabetes and insulin resistance research.

On the other hand, the volunteers’ time spent sleeping in the 81 degree bedroom actually reduced their initial quantities of metabolically active brown fat, meaning they had less than they started out with. Luckily, this study shows that brown fat levels are not stagnant, and may be adjusted as easily as turning the thermostat down while you sleep. Plus, the lower heating bill can’t hurt in the winter!

Brown fat is mostly found in great quantities in infants and young children, gradually decreasing with age, as the elderly show the least amount. How else can you increase the brown fat you do possess? All-mighty exercise actually has the potential to morph some of your white fat into brown and burn more calories. It also helps to eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and keep a positive outlook on life if you are looking to shed some pounds. If nothing else, that will help with anything.

Leesa recommends Taking Dr. Oz’s Sleep Quiz ….

By Jordan Corrmier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! 

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination. 

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…

Member International Health Coach Association

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

consult/coach ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chews ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

The Top 5 Fat-Burning Spices

Top 5 Fat-Burning Spices

Losing weight can be a lot easier if you spice up your food.  Add these top five fat-burning spices to your diet to ramp up weight loss:

1. Garlic and 2. Onions;  These yummy foods contain phytochemicals that break down fatty deposits in the body while also breaking down cholesterol; kill viruses, bacteria and fungi; and protect against heart disease.

3. Turmeric:  this popular spice, used primarily in Indian cooking, is the highest known source of beta-carotene, the antioxidant that helps protect your liver from free radical damage.  Turmeric also helps your liver heal while helping your body metabolize fats by decreasing the fat storage rate in liver cells.  Turmeric has the added advantage of being shown in study after study to protect the brain against damage, including diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

4. Cinnamon:  Researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture showed that one-quarter teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with food helps metabolize sugar up to 20 times better than without cinnamon.  Excess sugar in the blood can lead to fat storage.  Because cinnamon balances blood sugar levels it has the added advantage of stabilizing mood and energy levels.

5. ChilesAdd some heat to your food to fire up your metabolism. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chile peppers, significantly improves fat burning.  Additionally, chiles help boost energy levels as well.

It’s easy to benefit from the fat-burning ability of spices.  Simply start adding more fresh garlic and onions to your vegetable dishes, soups, stir-fries, stews, and curries.  Turmeric is excellent in curry dishes.  Cinnamon is not only good with sweet foods, it is also excellent in savory dishes and can be added to Asian-inspired foods like curries, stir-fries, and stews.  Chiles can be added to almost anything for a blast of heat.

Leesa recommends all your spices, onions, and chiles be organic!

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 15-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination. 

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…

Member International Health Coach Association

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

consult/coach ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chews ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

How Does Traffic Affect Our Health?

How Does Traffic Affect Our Health?

Like many of you, I dislike driving in heavy traffic. But unlike many of you, I usually don’t have to. I live and work in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains, and my job is just steps from my home. Driving in the mountains can be challenging, but that’s mostly because of twists and turns in the roads, not traffic.  For occasional business meetings and appointments, I venture down into Silicon Valley and even into San Francisco. As I crawl through town after congested town, or sit bumper-to-bumper on traffic-jammed highways, I’m always struck with how lucky I am that I don’t have to deal with this daily grind. I’m also filled with compassion for all of you who do.

Fortunately, there are tools that can help make your morning and evening commutes considerably easier – on your mental, emotional and physical health.

The Tolls of Traffic

On a recent weekday morning, a list of travel advisories for metropolitan areas around the country popped up on my kitchen television.

  • Washington, D.C.: Expect delays. Allow 3 hours.
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana: Expect delays. Allow 2.5 hours.
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington: Expect delays. Allow 2 hours.

With light traffic, the typical commute in most urban areas would take about a half-hour. But, as you well know, light traffic happens mostly in the dead of night, not during the morning rush hour.

In 2011, we Americans whiled away 5.5 billion hours of our time, burned through 2.9 billion gallons of fuel, and shelled out $121 billion of our hard-earned money driving in stop-and-go traffic on our nation’s highways. These stunning figures appear in the 2012 Urban Mobility Report of the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

Today the high dollar cost of traffic congestion can be quantified, thanks to GPS-enabled vehicles that collect data nationwide. But what about the mental, emotional and physical tolls on all of us who collectively spend those 5.5 billion extra hours a year behind the wheel?  Although quantitative data on the costs to our health and well-being is less plentiful than data on the costs to our pocketbook, what is available shows that we are paying a very high personal price as well.  Traffic dwellers are more prone to stress, distraction, aggressive behavior, elevated blood pressure and larger waistlines, says one study released last year.

Heart-Traffic Connection

Even more alarming news came from the American Heart Association. A study has found a link between traffic and heart attacks. “People who have had a heart attack are likely to report having been in traffic shortly before their symptoms began,” stated a release from the Heart Association’s 49th Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention. The association cited a German study that identified simple exposure to traffic as the key contributing factor in heart attacks. “Driving a car was the most common source of traffic exposure, but taking public transportation or riding a bicycle were other forms of exposure to traffic,” the association reported. “Overall, time spent in any mode of transportation in traffic was associated with a 3.2 times higher risk [of heart attack] than time spent away from this trigger.”

The Texas Transportation Institute found that an automobile commuter in Washington, D.C., spent an average of 67 hours in traffic each year. That’s about one and a half traditional work weeks! Commuters in the San Francisco-Oakland and the Los Angeles areas spent 61 hours each; those in the New York City area, 59 hours.

People who drive in large urban areas aren’t the only ones with traffic travails.  “Congestion is worse [than the previous year’s findings] in areas of every size,” the institute’s report said. “Big towns and small cities alike cannot implement enough projects, programs and policies to meet the demands of growing population and jobs.”

Angry man stuck in traffic

How Stress Affects Us

Anyone who’s ever been stuck in morning traffic has experienced varying degrees of heightened stress. In the most congested areas, that amounts to an astounding level of communal stress.

The detrimental effects of stress have been well documented by researchers worldwide. They range from irritability, muscle tension and mild fatigue to depression, sleeplessness, palpitations, memory loss and other cognitive malfunctions, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and the ultimate adverse effect, cardiac arrest.

  • Sources estimate 75 percent to 90 percent of visits to primary-care physicians are stress-related.
  • Billions are spent annually on antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs to treat stress symptoms.
  • A Harvard study showed people living in a state of high anxiety, a primary symptom of stress, were four and a half times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death.

You Can De-Stress

You can take some obvious steps to avoid traffic: Move some place where there is less of it, change jobs, live closer to your job. If you’re like most of us who live in congested areas, however, you’re stuck – in traffic.

Before venturing out each day, you may already do some yoga, eat healthfully, relax for a few minutes, or shoot for that perfect window of time when you can merge easily onto the freeway. Good ideas. Now here are two more.

Build Coherence and Add Ease

Every day you can consciously add more coherence. We are coherent when our mental, emotional and physical systems are in balance. We feel better, think more clearly and react more appropriately.  When we are incoherent, challenging situations and activities –  including sitting in traffic – can derail us.  Another important state is what HeartMath calls inner ease.  with inner ease, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to flow through challenges:  big meetings, tough days at work or school, and yes, traffic jams.

Happy Guy Driving

Quick Coherence® Technique

Before leaving in the morning, take a few minutes to get coherent by doing the Quick Coherence® Technique.

Step 1: Heart Focus – Focus your attention on the area around your heart, in the center of your chest. 
Step 2: Heart Breathing – Breathe deeply but normally and feel as if your breath is coming in and going out through your heart area. Breathe with ease until you find a comfortable rhythm. 
Step 3: Heart Feeling – While maintaining heart focus and heart breathing, activate a positive feeling. Recall a time when you felt good inside and try to re-experience that feeling.

The Inner-Ease™ Technique

Sometime after you’ve reached your destination, practice this simple tool.

Step 1. Acknowledge Your Feelings – Are you frustrated, impatient, anxious, overloaded, judgmental, mentally gridlocked? Admit what you are feeling.
Step 2. Heart-Focused Breathing – Breathe deeply through the heart area, with ease and a comfortable rhythm. (See Step 2 of the Quick Coherence® Technique.)
Step 3. Draw in Inner Ease and Balance – Continue Heart-Focused Breathing and imagine with each in-breath that you are drawing in the feeling of inner ease and emotional balance.
Step 4. Anchor and Maintain – When the stressful feelings have calmed, make a heartfelt commitment to anchor and maintain the state of ease as you re-engage in your activities.

Learn more in the free download of The State of Ease booklet.

If you practice these steps faithfully both before and after your commute, I truly believe you’ll find yourself driving – and arriving — with much less stress. You may still be using up your money, time and gas, but you’ll be shoring up your heart, mind and body.

By Sara Childre

Sara Childre is President and CEO of the non-profit Institute of HeartMath. Since 1991, Sara has helped oversee and develop HeartMath trainings, educational products and scientific programs. She was appointed vice president and CFO of the institute in 1992, then president and CEO in 1998.

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination. 

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…

Member International Health Coach Association

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

consult/coach ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chews ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

6 Everyday Habits for Better Brain Health

6 Everyday Habits for Better Brain Health

 

June 2014 is the first-ever Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, an ideal time for all of us to take stock of whether our daily routines are enhancing or degrading the health of the all-important organ sitting between our ears.

While nothing can prevent or cure Alzheimer’s, adhering to these six habits can lead to better overall brain health:

Healthy body, healthy brain: Diabetes, heart disease—even poor gum health– have all been shown to increase a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Conversely, individuals who exercise on a regular basis, consume diets that are rich in fruit, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats, and engage in proper mouth hygiene practices often experience a lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s in their later years.

Good sleep hygiene: A recent study from the University of California, San Francisco found that older men who didn’t get enough high-quality sleep—woke up multiple times during the night, couldn’t fall back asleep, etc.—experienced cognitive issues equivalent to the effect of an additional five years of brain aging. Fitful sleepers had greater trouble planning, making decisions and were more likely to encounter issues with abstract thinking. Check out these 7 Yoga Poses that Can Help You Sleep.

Build a buffer against dementia: Cognitive reserve describes the mechanism by which a person’s mind helps compensate for damage to their brain. The term has recently become a buzzword among health care professionals because research indicates that people who have larger amounts of cognitive reserve are less likely to exhibit the classic signs of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia—short term memory loss, difficulty multitasking, etc.—even if their brain scans show mental damage. This is because cognitive reserve effectively makes the mind stronger and more nimble, enabling it to come up with ways to compensate for disease-related loss of functioning.

Fancy training programs not required: Building a cognitive reserve buffer doesn’t require a bunch of fancy mental puzzles and exercises—though such activities can help. Rather, the key to constructing cognitive reserve lies in seeking out novel activities and experiences in your everyday life. For example, Shlomo Breznitz, Ph.D., co-author ofMaximum Brainpower: Challenging the Brain for Health and Wisdom, says even simple tasks—using your non-dominant hand while eating, taking an alternate route to work—can strengthen your cognitive reserve. Discover six additional Ways to Boost Brainpower.

Stress management is essential: Studies have shown that individuals who experience high levels of stress in middle age have a greater risk of developing dementia, even decades later. Cortisol and other hormones released during the stress response can contribute to brain inflammation and can damage the hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for memory formation.

The benefits of social support: Maintaining strong social connections with friends and family throughout life is widely-regarded as an ideal buffer against a host of ailments—both physical and mental. Indeed, new research has even outlined the Deadly Consequences of Loneliness.

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

AgingCare.com connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler
Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author
 

Are You Alkaline or Acidic? Test Your Diet With This Quick Trick!

 

In my video Alkaline Diets, Animal Protein, and Calcium Loss I presented evidence challenging the notion that our body is buffering the acid formed from our diet with calcium from our bones. How then is our body neutralizing the acid? Maybe with our muscles! Our blood gets more acidic as we age and our kidney function declines, and this may be a reason we lose muscle mass as we get older. As a pair of researchers note: “The modern Western diet based on animal products generates an acid load that may cause a lifespan state of unnoticed and growing metabolic acidosis.” This chronic low-level diet-dependent metabolic acidosis might contribute to the progressive shrinking of our muscle mass as we age.

Muscle wasting appears to be an adaptive response to acidosis. When our muscles break down, amino acids are released into the bloodstream. Our liver can then take these amino acids and make something called glutamine, which our kidneys can use to get rid of excess acid. And indeed, in a three year study I profile in the above video, those over age 65 eating alkaline diets were better able to preserve their muscle mass, which the researchers think may be because the alkaline-producing fruits and vegetables helped relieve the mild acidosis that occurs with the ingestion of the standard American diet.

So what should we think about the latest review’s question, “Does an alkaline diet benefit health?” If the question is “Does a diet low in meat, eggs, and dairy—all acid-producing—and high in fruits and vegetables with lots of dark green leafies benefit health?” then of course the answer is yes, an alkaline diet benefits health. But if the question is “Does it matter what our “peeH” is (whether our urine is acid or alkaline) regardless of what actually goes into your mouth?” then the answer is… still yes, but the accepted benefits of having alkaline urine appear limited to two areas: lower risk of kidney stones and better uric acid clearance.

We’ve known about kidney stones and alkalinity for a while, but the uric acid data is new. Researchers havefound that alkalization of the urine is effective for removing uric acid from the body. If you remember from my video Flesh and Fructose, uric acid is bad stuff (potentially increasing one’s risk of fatal stroke, heart disease, and death), so clearing more from your system is a good thing.

Those eating plant-based diets appear then to have an advantage in this regard. The average vegetarian diet is alkaline producing, and the average meat-eating diet is acid producing. Even though there are some acid-forming meat-substitutes, like some of the Quorn products, they’re not as bad as something like tuna (see the chart in the above video), and they’re typically consumed in smaller quantities than meat consumers consume meat. Since the protein in plants is usually accompanied by much more potassium (which is alkalinizing), there is good reason to try to meet protein needs from plant sources. And when researchers actually measure urine pH, those eating strictly plant-based diets have the greatest advantage, with significantly more alkaline urine than omnivores.

How can we tell what our urine pH is? Well we can be all boring and order some pH paper strips to pee on. Or… we can use what everyone should have right now in their crisper, a purple cabbage. Everyone should have a red or purple cabbage in their fridge since it is not only one of the single best nutrition bangs for our buck, but we can also do science with it!

First, either boil some purple cabbage until the water turns deep purple or (a quicker and safer way since there’s no hot liquids) blend some raw with water in a blender and strain out the solids. Then what you can do with that royal purple liquid is pour it in the toilet bowl after you urinate. (You can imagine how much fun kids have with this!)

If it stays purple, your urine is acidic and you should eat more dark green leafy vegetables. If the toilet bowl turns pink, your urine is really acidic, so you should definitely eat more dark green leafy vegetables. We’re looking for blue. If it turns blue that means your urine is neutral or even basic. If it’s sky blue, you should… continue to eat more dark green leafy vegetables. Now I have a low-flow toilet, so there’s very little water in the bowel to start with. The effect might not be as dramatic if diluted in a larger quantity of water.

How else can we protect our muscles? We can eat healthy enough to avoid statin drugs (see Statin Muscle Toxicity) and the neurotoxins that can cause movement disorders (Muscle Tremors & Diet).

Superfood Bargains is the video in which purple cabbage takes the gold, though it was unseated in Biggest Nutrition Bang for Your Buck.

Why do I always go on and on about dark green leafy vegetables? Check out my 58 videos on greens and find out! : )

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death and More Than an Apple a Day.

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available atNutritionFacts.org.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

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8 Foods That Surprisingly Impact Sleep

8 Foods That Surprisingly Impact Sleep

 

 We all know that drinking coffee before bed will make it hard to fall asleep, and that drinking warm milk will help us fall asleep faster —  at least according to our mothers. But did you know that there are plenty of other foods that can impact our slumber? By making a few small changes in your diet, you may not be cured of your insomnia, sure, but you’ll be much better off for it. Check out some of the best — and worst — foods for a good night’s rest.

 

1. Good: Walnuts & Almonds

Almonds contain hefty doses of magnesium, tryptophan and melatonin, a trifecta of ideal sleep-promoting aids. Try eating a handful an hour or so before bed.

 

2. Bad: Grapefruit.

There’s nothing like heartburn for keeping you up all night, and grapefruit increases your stomach’s acidity. If you’d like to avoid heartburn, stay away from grapefruit and other citrus fruits and juices before hitting the sack.

 

3. Good: Oatmeal.

Most of us only eat the stuff in the morning, but the benefits of eating oatmeal before bed might change your habits. Oatmeal is full of plenty of sleep-promoting nutrients, like magnesium, potassium calcium and phosphorous.

 

4. Bad: Celery.

No, really! Celery is certainly a healthy veggie, but it’s not best to eat it before bed. Why? Well, celery is a natural diuretic, and, unless you want to disrupt your slumber with a middle of the night bathroom run, it’s best to avoid it.

Other Natural Diuretics to Avoid Before Bed: Ginger, Parsley.

 

5. Good: Raspberries & Tart Cherries.

Melatonin is a popular supplement for sleep aid, and there are a few, though not many, natural sources of the stuff. Your best bets are raspberries and tart cherries.

 

6. Bad: Greasy & Fried Foods.

People who eat fatty, greasy and fried foods in the evening tend to get less productive sleep than those who don’t. Your stomach is working extra hard to digest the stuff, and can lead to indigestion and heart burn. It’s fine to indulge in calorie-rich foods every once in a while, but try to do so at least 3 hours before you go to sleep.

 

7. Good: Bananas.

With plenty of potassium and magnesium, bananas are an excellent late night snack and natural muscle relaxer. It also contains tryptophan, the same amino acid that gives turkey its famous sleep-inducing reputation.

 

8. Bad: Spicy Foods.

Spicy foods will certainly take a toll on your gut, but they also may impact your sleep. It’s best to avoid spicy meals right before hitting the sack.

by Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

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6 Mood-Boosting Foods

6 Mood-Boosting Foods

 

Can you eat your way to a better mood? More and more scientific research is saying so. Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is important for your general health, so why should it be any different for your mental health? From depression-fighting seeds to anxiety-zapping greens, read about the best nutrients for your mood.

 

1. Sesame Seeds.

Good things come in small packages. The unassuming sesame seed is loaded with mood-boosting nutrients. Sesame seeds are on of the best vegetarian sources of zinc, a mineral that has been linked to depression and anxiety. One study found that zinc treatment lowered the depression and anger levels of young women. Other studies have suggested using the mineral as a treatment for depression.

 

2. Chocolate.

A few bites of real, dark chocolate each day will help your mood and your tastebuds! Studies have suggested that dark chocolate reduces the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in your body; it may also relieve anxiety. Leesa recommends 85% organic dark chocolate from Vivani!

 

3. Spinach.

As if you needed another reason to love spinach! This leafy green is loaded with all sorts of mood-boosting nutrients, from depression-fighting folates (more on that later) to anxiety-easing magnesium. Spinach also contains plenty of zinc — studies have shown that, the less zinc you have in your body, the more likely you are to be depressed.

 

4. Yogurt.

Yogurt is an excellent vegetarian source of vitamin B12, a vital nutrient for the formation of red blood cells. For reasons scientists aren’t exactly clear on yet, B vitamins seem to play a vital role in our mental health. Vitamin B12 deficiencies in particular have been linked to high rates of depression, and studies have suggested that strong intake of the vitamin may improve depression treatment outcomes. If your body doesn’t get enough of the stuff, it can actually lead to serious mental health issues. Because plants cannot make Vitamin B12, your best sources for the stuff are dairy products, eggs, seafood, and meat. Vegans and older adults are especially at risk of a Vitamin B12 deficiency, and may want to talk with their doctors about supplements or fortified foods.

5. Lentils.

Lentils, along with other foods rich in folic acid, are a key nutrient for treating depression. Like it’s B vitamin cousin, vitamin B12, plenty of research has linked low levels of folic acid to depression. It’s also thought that high levels of the vitamin will actually help anti-depressants work more effectively.  Healthy carbs help boost serotonin levels.

Other Foods Rich in Folates: Pinto, black, navy, kidney & garbanzo beans; spinach, asparagus, turnip greens and broccoli.

6. Flaxseeds.

The countries with the lowest rates of depression tend to have one thing in common: they also eat the most fish. Scientists think this is because fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that these polysaturated fats can improve your mood, and help treat depression and postpartum depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Though fish is probably your best source of omega-3 fatty acids, most healthy people can get all of it they need from flaxseeds and flaxseed oil. You can also check out supplements or sea vegetables if you are a vegan or a vegetarian.

Leesa recommends choosing organic when available.

By Katie Waldeck 

Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

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7 Winter Vegetables that Boost Your Health

7 Winter Vegetables that Boost Your Health
We rarely think of vegetables in the winter but it is important to eat your veggies this time of year to keep your immune system strong.
Beets - Beets are one of the most overlooked superfoods.  They lower blood pressure, increase exercise endurance, and reduce inflammation.  They contain potent phytonutrients called proanthocyanidins which give beets their brilliant purple color.  Proanthocyanidins are proven anti-cancer compounds.  They are packed in nutrients like folate which is important to prevent birth defects, potassium which is critical for healthy muscles and nerves, manganese which helps build strong bones, and vitamin C for a strong immune system.  
Carrots – Just one carrot contains 13,500 IU of beta carotene which translates into a tremendous amount of nutritional power against free radicals.  Beta carotene is anti-cancerous, prevents cellular damage and premature aging, and is important to prevent cataracts.

Ginger—Ginger is one of the best natural anti-pain remedies.  Technically it is a spice but it is ideal for winter since it reduces joint pain that plagues so many people with arthritis this time of year.  It also adds warmth to foods and beverages making freshly minced garlic a welcome addition to most soups, stews, and curries.

Rutabaga—Contrary to popular belief, rutabagas are not turnips.  The most common rutabagas are larger than turnips, have purple and cream-colored skins, and tend to have a cream to yellow-colored flesh.  It is high in anti-cancer compounds, immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy nervous system. They are great in soups, stews, curries, and other places you’d use hardy winter veggies.  I love them cut into small cubes, tossed with a bit of olive oil and sea salt and roasted in the oven on 350 for about an hour.

Squash—Squash is rich in beta-carotene, the nutrient that gives squash its brilliant orange-colored flesh.  Enjoy it cut in half, seeded, and roasted.  Add roasted squash to soups, salads, stews, or in wraps and on sandwiches.  Use grated, raw squash in muffin recipes, in place of zucchini in zucchini bread recipes, or in other baked goods to increase their nutritional value.

Sweet Potatoes—Like squash, sweet potatoes are also high in beta carotene.   They also contain vitamins C, B6, and minerals like blood-building iron, energy-boosting potassium, and Nature’s relaxant, magnesium.  Enjoy them chopped into French fry-shapes, tossed in a little olive oil and sea salt and baked in the oven for about 45 minutes on 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turnips—Turnips are a good source of fiber which helps to keep blood sugar levels steady and stabilize energy and moods.  They are also a rich source of glucosinolates—the precursors of isothiocyanates that are proven anti-cancer powerhouses.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 15-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to SlimWeekend Wonder DetoxHealing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body DetoxThe Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

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5 Ways to Get Healthier & Happier

5 Ways to Get Healthier & Happier With Age

 
In our culture, everything happens at the speed of youth. Whether it’s cell phones, computers, songs, movies, books or opinions, it seems that only the newest models and latest releases matter. Whatever it is, if it’s been around for a while, it’s probably lost some value along with its straight-out-of-the-package luster.

And that might be inevitable when it comes to the latest iPad. But it makes no sense when it comes to people. Because while our culture is inclined to associate aging with a downgrade in beauty, vitality and appeal, aging done well has the potential to be something else entirely: an enjoyable and inspiring upgrade of self.

Unlike the boundless energy of youth, the treasures of aging don’t just arrive at our doorsteps, though. While it is entirely possible to become more interesting, attractive and dynamic as you age, it rarely happens without some conscious striving.

That said, it’s well worth the effort. Done right, living brings wisdom, emotional maturity and insight. With age comes experience, skill, discernment and perspective. We become more empathetic. We develop the compassion to fully know and love others, and the confidence to relax into our best attributes. We gain the ability to know — and even strut — our own stuff.

Seen in this light, getting older can be downright sexy. But how does one go about engaging in artful aging? One of the best ways is to start early.

Knowing at 20, 30 or 40 that you can, and fully intend to, become cooler, smarter and potentially hotter as you age gives you an important advantage, because it can help you keep your goals and priorities in line over the long haul. It also helps you focus on the end game, so you don’t get stuck thinking that midlife achievements are the highest markers of a life well lived.

But at whatever age you suddenly realize that you are, in fact, getting older, it is still possible to age gracefully from there on out. All it takes is smart choices, well-directed energy and a desire for self-renewal. As best-selling author and journalist Gail Sheehy puts it, we need to “remain open to new vistas of learning and imagination and anticipate experiences yet to be conquered and savored.”

 

1. Connect With Others

One of the most important things you can do to enrich your life at any age is to connect with other people. Meeting, talking, collaborating, sharing — none of these personal-growth essentials happens when an individual is isolated. The people around us (friends, lovers, family, mentors and even enemies) can all provide important insights and become catalysts that aid us in our quest to evolve.

Developing relationships with older folks whom you admire and perceive as good role models, whether for their enduring physical fitness, their perspective and experience, or simply their joie de vivre, can be especially inspiring. So can connecting with younger people. Older men and women gain a deeper appreciation of their accumulated knowledge by sharing it. And feeling gratitude for one’s wisdom and previous life experiences is itself a powerful factor in remaining happy and inspired as we age.

Linking with others has huge health benefits as well. Edward M. Hallowell, MD, an adult and child psychiatrist based in Boston, cites landmark research from Harvard University School of Public Health, that showed people with no close ties to friends, relations or other community were three times more likely to die over a nine-year period than those with at least one source of social support. “Social isolation is as much a risk factor [for early death] as smoking,” he says.

The value of connection increases with years and experience. As lives and relationships deepen, there’s more to share.

A Minneapolis resident, Scotty Gillette was in her early 40s when she and a group of four other childhood friends decided to meet for dinner once a month. Nearly 40 years later, they’re still doing it. “We’ve supported each other through divorces, widowhood, and issues with our children and grandchildren,” she says. “We’ve nursed each other through operations, helped out when husbands have gotten sick, and celebrated at the weddings of our children and the births of our grandchildren.” Each woman is a crucial beam in her friends’ emotional architecture.

Community can be as simple as three or four people getting together for focused conversation once a week, says Parker Palmer, an educator, community activist and author of Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (Jossey-Bass, 1999). “It requires, more than anything else, intentionality.” The form matters less than the function; joining a bowling league, volunteering to tutor at the local high school, starting a band, taking an acting class — all will connect you with something you love, as well as a vital group of friends.

 

2. Look and Learn

To recognize life’s continuing possibilities, you must constantly survey the world with an open, inquisitive mind. “Lifelong learning expands our horizons and helps us see a life beyond our current roles,” says Pamela McLean, PhD, a clinical psychologist and coauthor of Life Launch: A Passionate Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Hudson Press, 2000).

The Harvard Study of Adult Development found that pursuing education throughout your adult years is a key factor to a rich life and healthy aging. Research has also found that learning can make your brain function better.

For many years, neuroscientists thought that the body stopped building new neural connections after childhood. But landmark studies in the early 21st century showed that the adult brain continues to grow new cells and create new neural connections. And learning helps trigger the growth of those new cells.

“Long-held assumptions that our brains are in a state of gradual decline from a youthful peak have been proven untrue,” notes Barbara Strauch in The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain: The Surprising Talents of the Middle-Aged Mind (Penguin, 2011).

If you maintain only one interest in your life — whether it’s work, children, athletics or a hobby — you risk losing your source of identity and satisfaction when change comes. Conversely, if you polish many facets of yourself, you will shine no matter what.

“The demands of the 30s and 40s are so pressing that it’s almost impossible to imagine how you can diversify your interests,” says McLean. “But it’s important not to become a one-string guitar. Don’t give all your life to work. Allow yourself to try adventures you normally wouldn’t.”

The opportunities to learn are endless. You can choose a structured activity, like taking a class or starting a book club. Or you can take a more free-form approach: Learn about local history or sports teams; listen to public radio while going to work and books on tape during the commute home; commit to visiting a new place every year, even if it’s on the way to your annual vacation spot.

As your life path proceeds, keep an eye out for life’s teachers. McLean suggests seeking out role models who are living in a way that inspires you. Then learn about their lives by asking questions about how they got there.

One person who has made a career out of interviewing his mentors is Bill Moyers, the host of the public-television news program Moyers & Company. “All the septuagenarians I’ve interviewed through the years have taught me something,” he says. “They lived long enough to turn their experience into wisdom, and to share it.”

 

3. Explore Within

Perhaps the best way to integrate valuable life experiences into your aging process is to regularly evaluate where you are and what’s calling next. “It’s a challenge for anyone, regardless of their age, to know where they want to go,” says McLean. “It’s easy to wander or, in our media-oriented society, to be led. But satisfaction only comes with a direction that is truly your own.”

Palmer agrees, and points out that instead of becoming more set in their ways, aging adults need to remain nimble. “One of the keys to aging gracefully is to acknowledge that you have as much need for discernment now about the best next steps in life as you did at 32 or 45 or 56. There’s a mythology that by 72 you’re pretty well settled, but we have wiggle room as long as we’re drawing breath.”

Developing and following your own evolving sense of purpose takes mindfulness, says McLean, which requires regular doses of reflective thinking. “Look for opportunities to think outside the moment and ask what you want to be,” she advises.

There are opportunities everywhere. Take a vacation, journal, meditate, try yoga, get a coach. Resist the invented busyness that keeps most of us distracted from our feelings: Stop compulsively checking your email or your phone; go on a weeklong media fast; sit still on your couch for five full minutes and don’t write a “to-do” list or schedule a dentist’s appointment or rearrange your sock drawer. If you feel uncomfortable, that’s the point. You’re starting to listen to your inner self.

Allowing our internal compass to guide us toward meaningful pursuits brings its own set of benefits. The Longevity Project, a long-term study launched by a Stanford psychologist at the turn of the last century, followed 1,500 people born around 1910 and found that passionate people who believed they were living up to their potential and engaged in meaningful work lived longer, healthier lives than their less reflective and less engaged peers.

The inner journey itself can be a wellspring of energy and inspiration for daily life. “I’ve found that if a person has a way of being introspective while aging, it creates an acceptance of life,” says Stephan Rechtschaffen, MD, a cofounder of the Omega Institute, a holistic learning center based in Rhinebeck, N.Y. “Maintaining vitality can be aided by spiritual processes. They allow us to access our inner landscapes and to see life with wonder.”

 

4. Play Creatively

Embracing the pleasures of uninhibited expression — whether we find that in art, music, dance, woodworking, Scrabble or poker — enriches and regenerates our souls no matter how old we are. “Any healthy activity where your brain lights up helps plant the seeds of happiness,” says Hallowell.

Those bits of happiness enrich our brains now and can continue to pay off in the decades to come, bringing satisfaction and continual self-renewal. In fact, time often enhances the end results of creative endeavors. In her book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (Simon & Schuster, 2005), choreographer Twyla Tharp explains that she didn’t feel like a “master” of her craft until she had completed 128 works and was 58 years old.

“Why did it take 128 pieces until I felt this way?” Tharp asks rhetorically. “A better question would be, why not? What’s wrong with getting better as you get more work under your belt?” She cites Verdi, Beethoven, Dostoyevsky, Kurosawa and Balanchine as a few of her personal role models. All had stunning early triumphs, to be sure. Yet what interests Tharp is that all of these artists kept raising the bar for their achievements throughout their middle and later years.

How, in the face of deteriorating memories and aching backs, did they do it? In Tharp’s view, they were able to integrate what they had learned and put it into perspective.

“As we age, it’s hard to recapture the recklessness of youth, when new ideas sparked off us like light from a pinwheel sparkler,” she writes. “But we more than compensate for this with the ideas we do generate, and with our hard-earned wisdom about how to capture, and, more importantly, connect those ideas.” The results of this mature brand of ideation and creative expression, Tharp asserts, can be richer, deeper and just as satisfying as the spontaneity of youth.

 

5. Mind Your Body

Whether you’re 18 or 88, you feel better when you maintain a healthy weight, a high level of physical vitality, and a commitment to daily movement. As the years pass, though, it becomes increasingly important to examine specific aspects of your daily routine and environment.

For instance, according to Mark Hyman, MD, recent research shows that balancing blood sugar is one of the best ways to inoculate against certain age-related diseases, such as dementia, cancer and adult-onset diabetes.

Besides reducing our sugar intake, Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution (Little, Brown and Company, 2012), advises people to take a few key steps: (1) Avoid flours and starches (“They act just like sugar in the bloodstream,” he explains); (2) include healthy proteins (such as fish, beans, nuts, lean animal protein) with every meal to fuel metabolism and maintain muscle; (3) liberally consume high-fiber foods (nuts, berries, beans, non-starchy vegetables and seeds); (4) enjoy healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to activate a critical cell-signaling system related to blood-sugar control.

Hyman also wants us to mind our mitochondria, which are the microscopic components of each of our cells that turn food and 90 percent of the oxygen we breathe into energy. We have more than 100,000 trillion of these little energy factories in our bodies, and according to recent lab tests, rats with the healthiest and most plentiful mitochondria had greater endurance and aerobic capacity, experienced increased fat burning, didn’t develop prediabetes, and lived to be the equivalent of 120 human years old.

The trouble is that, over time, mitochondria are sensitive to poor diet, sedentary habits, toxins, allergens, and high levels of stress. This is why Hyman urges us to emphasize whole foods, limit our overall exposure to pollutants, find time to relax and rejuvenate, and enjoy plenty of physical activity. Interval training is especially helpful, he notes, since high-intensity activity interspersed with periods of rest increases the efficiency and function of mitochondria. Strength training also increases the amount of mitochondria in muscle cells.

Beyond all these practical recommendations for healthy, graceful aging, though, success is ultimately rooted in self-honesty — the ability to see yourself clearly and then take action on the parts of your life that are asking for investment and attention.

For example, the Harvard Study on Aging tells us that having a healthy marriage before age 50 is an indicator of successful aging. Do you have a strong partnership? If you do, what sorts of steps can you take to fortify that bond? If not, what can you do to change your situation?

If you are severely overweight, chain smoking, or abusing alcohol or drugs, what resources are available to help you face down the demons? What role do you play in the dysfunction?

Ignoring problems not only leads to physical and mental deterioration, but also leads to avoiding solutions that have the potential to connect you to the larger community and your better self.

In other words, you’re never too old to leave behind old habits, to embrace new rituals, or to discover new vistas in the search of happier, healthier and higher terrain.

By Elizabeth Foy Larsen, Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

 Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

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