Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘Aging’

The Spice that Could Help Boost Memory in Just One Hour

The Spice that Could Help Boost Memory in Just One Hour

While conducting the research for my upcoming book 60 Seconds to Boost Your Brain Power (Rodale, 2015), I came across an exciting study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study explored the effects of one of turmeric’s active ingredients known as curcumin on sixty healthy adults aged sixty to eighty-five to determine whether the spice has any short- or long-term memory or cognitive effects.

Conducted at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, researches assessed the mental effects of curcumin supplementation after one hour, three hours, and four weeks. They conducted multiple tests to determine whether the participants had any mood, cognitive, or blood marker effects that might indicate curcumin’s immediate or long-term effects. In just one hour after taking the supplement the participants showed significant performance improvement on memory and attention tasks compared to the placebo group.

The participants had many impressive results after four weeks of treatment with curcumin as well. The scientists indicated that working memory, energy levels, calmness and contentedness (as measures of mood), and even fatigue induced by psychological stress were significantly improved following the long-term treatment with the supplement. Participants also had lower cholesterol levels after taking the curcumin supplement.

Even Alzheimer’s patients with severe symptoms, including dementia, irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy, showed excellent therapeutic results when taking curcumin in a study published in the Japanese medical journal Ayu. When participants took 764 mg of turmeric with a standardized amount of 100 mg/day of curcumin for twelve weeks, they “started recovering from these symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and laboratory data.” After three months of treatment the patients’ symptoms and their reliance on caregivers significantly decreased. After one year of treatment two of the patients recognized their family members when they were unable to do so at the outset of the study. In one of the cases the person had a 17 percent improvement on their Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score.

The study results were achieved using a brand of curcumin called Longvida; however there are many other excellent brands. Ideally choose a standardized extract of curcumin. Follow package directions. Consult your physician prior to taking curcumin. In my upcoming book 60 Seconds to Boost Your Brain Power (Rodale, 2015), I recommend 400 mg of curcumin three times daily for people suffering from brain disorders, working with a physician.

Check out my new books Weekend Wonder Detox, 60 Seconds to Slim, andThe Probiotic Promise.Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow my blog on my sites HealthySurvivalist.com and DrMichelleCook.com, and Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD. Take the FREE WEEKEND WONDER DETOX QUIZ to determine which detox is best for you.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook


Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 17-time book author and board-certified doctor of 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 upcoming book The Probiotic Promise. 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…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 
    Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes! 

Member International 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

chcws ~ 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

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9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

1.  They are high in vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.

2. They are a good source of vitamin C.  While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.

3.  They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.

4.  Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.

5.  Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.

6.  They are a source of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.

7. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.

8. Their rich orange color indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body.  Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.

9.  There are versatile. Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad. I enjoy grilling them with onions and red peppers for amazing sandwich or wrap ingredients.  Puree them and add to smoothies and baked goods.

Leesa recommends choosing only organic sweet potatoes!

Adapted with permission from The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.

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.

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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! 
    Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes! 

Member International 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

chcws ~ 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

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.

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

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

chcws ~ 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
 

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.

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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

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4 Countries With the Right Approach to Dementia Care

4 Countries With the Right Approach to Dementia Care

 

By the year 2050, 277 million aging adults are expected to be dependent on  others for personal care. Of those 277 million, approximately half will be  struggling with symptoms of dementia, according to the newly released World  Alzheimer’s Report 2013. (Discover the common signs  of dementia.)

“All governments should make dementia a priority,” according to the authors  of the report, which calls upon policymakers across the globe to “transform  their system of priorities” and infuse dementia research and support efforts  with a tenfold increase in funding.

These statements echo the pleas made over the years by countless individuals  and advocacy groups; a universal cry to address the threat of the “silver  tsunami” that looms ever larger in the world’s rear view mirror.

The report itself highlights many current caregiving issues that advocates  warn will only become more concerning as time goes on. Why are family  caregivers so undervalued? What factors force people to place their loved  one in a long-term care facility? How can we preserve the quality of life of  individuals with dementia and their caregivers?

Progress is being made to address each of these problems, with different  countries adopting different strategies to find a solution to the dementia  care crisis.

The United States joins eleven other countries (Norway, Australia,  Netherlands, Scotland, Denmark, Finland, England, Wales, France, Republic of  Korea and Northern Ireland) in releasing a formal plan to address Alzheimer’s  and other dementias in their respective domains.

Improving support (both financial and emotional) for those affected by  dementia, enhancing the quality of care provided by long-term care facilities  and reducing the overall costs associated with dementia top the lists of  priorities in these plans.

Similar aims, different approaches

The global community appears to agree on the overall goals of dementia care,  but a surprising number of differences in execution occur, depending on  geography and cultural practices.

“Different places are going to have different variations in care,” says Cathy  Greenblatt, PhD, author of Love, Loss and Laughter: Seeing Alzheimer’s  Differently. “But the same things that are important in Florida are important in  Bangalore.”

After watching her grandparents (both of whom had dementia) receive little  more than maintenance care in a local facility, Greenblatt acquired a dim view  of dementia care. “The people working with my grandparents had bought in to the  idea that they were ‘gone.’ I grew up with no evidence that any kind of care  could make a meaningful difference.”

After retiring from her professorial post at Rutgers University,  Greenblatt—inspired by her childhood experiences with her grandparents and a  budding passion for photography—crisscrossed the globe in search of examples of  high quality dementia care.

Despite the cultural disparities and ideological differences of the regions  Greenblatt visited there was one central theme that united them all. No matter  which country she found herself in—India, Japan, France, or the Dominican  Republic—Greenblatt discovered that the best dementia care practices were the  ones that focused on celebrating the ongoing humanity of the person with the  disease. “The things that make a difference are the things that are  universal—treating people with dignity, being in the moment,” she says.

Here are just a few examples of the ways different countries are infusing  dignity into dementia care:

India: Money is always a significant factor when caring for  someone with dementia, no matter what side of the Equator they live on. Having  fewer finances often amplifies the burden of dementia on a person and their  family. But low-income elders in Cochin, India receive special treatment, thanks  to a group of professional staff and volunteers from the Alzheimer’s and Related  Disorders Society of India (ARDSI). While traveling around India, Greenblatt  visited the home of a woman with advanced dementia whose bed consisted of little  more than a wooden frame with a piece of cardboard over it. Still the woman was  able to receive a treatment plan and regular in-home visits from ARDSI  caregivers and social workers.

France: Greenblatt describes the remarkable transformation  of a dementia-stricken Frenchman named Marcel. In a special Snoezelen room at  the Villa Helios in Nice, France, Marcel, whose condition was causing him to act  angry and violent, was changed into a gentler, more caring soul. Snoezelen rooms  are used to calm those with cognitive disorders, such as autism  and dementia. They contain an array of different sensory stimuli, including  water beds, soothing scents, soft lighting, and even big water tubes with  bubbles piped into them.

The Netherlands: Just beyond the outskirts of Amsterdam lies  Hogewey, a quaint village occupied by just over a hundred people. The town has a  theatre, a grocery store, a beauty salon, restaurants and cafes. What makes  Hogewey different from the traditional European hamlet is the fact that nearly  half of its inhabitants have moderate or severe dementia. The remaining “residents” are in fact specially-trained caregivers who pose as beauticians and  restaurant staff, all the while making sure those with cognitive impairment  remain safe and calm.  The so-called “dementia village” is actually an innovative care facility  designed to make those suffering from memory loss feel as though they are living  regular lives and remain engaged with their environment. Residents’ rooms are  decorated based on their hobbies and interests, food preparation and service are  tailored towards individual preferences and there are always staff members  available to provide hands-on care for those who need it. Other caregivers  surreptitiously keep an eye on the residents as they go out shopping or to the  salon, always ready to step in and make sure no one endangers themselves. The  village’s single exit is manned by a staffer who tells any approaching resident  that the door is either broken or barred and offers an alternative path. This  prevents residents from wandering away and becoming lost—an especially common  concern for those with profound dementia.

The United Kingdom: The Pan-London Dementia Action Alliance  recently announced a formal push to make London the world’s first  dementia-friendly capital city. Unlike Hogewey—a self-contained village created  specifically for those with dementia—London aims to integrate the  cognitively-impaired into its pre-existing metropolis more effectively. This  will involve the coordination of countless smaller initiatives, such as making  landmarks more accessible and instructing fire fighters, policemen and bus  drivers how to identify and communicate with the dementia-stricken.

Across the world, person-centered dementia care is rapidly replacing the  outdated paradigms that relegated the cognitively impaired to wheelchairs in  locked wards.

Greenblatt is cheered by these shifting tides because that means fewer and  fewer people with dementia will be treated like her grandparents were. “It’s a  tragic disease and you have no control over the cards you’re dealt. But you do  have control over how you play the hand. There are ways to make the situation  livable for everyone involved.”

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com  Editor

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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

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

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12 Natural Remedies that Boost Hair Growth

12 Natural Remedies that Boost Hair Growth

 

Hair loss affects both men and women.  While genetics plays a role,  there are other factors, including:  hormonal imbalances, an underactive  thyroid gland, nutrient deficiencies and insufficient scalp circulation.   Here are 12 natural remedies that can help boost hair growth:

Cut back on meat: Hormonal imbalances are a primary culprit  in hair loss.  Japanese researchers also link excessive sebum production in  the scalp to high levels of 5-alpha reductase.  Their research indicated  that animal fat intake may increase sebum production.

Add the herb saw palmetto: A study in the Journal of  Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that saw palmetto (serenoa  repens) may increase hair growth in men.  Hair growth improved in men  taking 400 mg of a standardized extract of saw palmetto and 100 mg of  beta-sitosterol (from saw palmetto) daily.  Historically, saw palmetto has  been used by herbalists for hair loss in both men and women.

Address a possible underactive thyroid gland  (hypothyroidism) which can cause thinning hair:  Add sea vegetables like  kelp, nori, dulse, kombu and wakame, all of which are rich in iodine may be  helpful to balance this condition.  Avoid drinking tap water since it  typically contains fluorine and chlorine, two chemicals that inhibit iodine  absorption.  You may also want to supplement with 100 mg or 1 mL of the  herb bladderwrack (focus vesiculosus) daily.  Work with a qualified  holistic health care professional if you suspect a sluggish thyroid gland.

Get enough essential fatty acids:  Essential fatty  acids from walnuts, flaxseeds, fish and avocado are also important for healthy  hair.

Boost bioton: Biotin encourages hair and scalp health.   Dietary sources of biotin include: nuts, brown rice and oats.

Boost keratin production with MSM: Methylsulfonylmethane  aids in the production of keratin (a protein in the hair) while doing  double-duty to strengthen hair follicles.  In one study 100 percent of  people who supplemented with MSM showed reduced hair loss and increased growth  in only six weeks.

Rejuvenate hair follicles with B-complex vitamins: 100 mg  daily of a B-complex supplement that includes biotin and vitamin B6 can reduce  hair thinning by increasing scalp circulation and rejuvenating hair  follicles.

Rev up collagen production with vitamin C: Collagen  surrounds the hair strands but as we age collagen breaks down, causing hair to  be more vulnerable to breaking.  The best way to boost collagen is not  through some expensive medical procedure, it’s by getting more vitamin C.   Foods high in vitamin C include: citrus fruits, strawberries and red  peppers.  Supplementing with 250 mg daily can help boost collagen  production which has the added bonus of reducing wrinkling.

Prevent breakage with vitamin E: Vitamin E is required to  nourish damaged hair and to prevent breakage.  It aids the body’s ability  to manufacture keratin within hair strands to reduce breakage.   Supplementing with 400 IU of vitamin E can be helpful to restore locks.

Eat foods rich in iron: Iron is also essential for hair  growth and can be found in blackstrap molasses, green leafy vegetables, leeks,  cashews, dried fruits, figs, and berries.  To help your body absorb iron,  you’ll need enough vitamin C.

Give your hair a mineral boost: The minerals silica and zinc  are also critical for hair growth.  Take 500 mg of silica two times daily  and 30 mg of zinc once daily.

Boost scalp circulation with rosemary essential oil:  Rosemary essential oil has been traditionally used to increase circulation to  the scalp.  Add a few drops per dollop of shampoo or, better yet, add a few  drops of rosemary to coconut oil and massage your scalp regularly.

By Micheelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, 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.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more.

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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

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

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15 Tips For Living To 100

15 Tips For Living To 100

Living to 100 is not rare anymore. In fact, a local billboard forecasts, “The  first person to live to 150 has already been born.”

I don’t know if or when people will live to be 150, but I do know that living  to be 100 is something that we can strive for. In fact, the number of 100 year  olds in the United States has roughly  doubled in the past 20 years to around 72,000 and is projected to at least  double again by 2020, making it the fastest growing demographic in America.  According to the 2010 census data, about 1 in 4,400 Americans lives to age  100.

Since we all get older every year, it raises an important question, “What  should I be doing if I want to continue my annual renewal and stay healthy so I  can continue to enjoy the journey.”

In general, your genes will neither kill you nor save you.  Our genes  dictate only about 10% of how long we live. People with “terrible” genes can  make lifestyle changes and improve their odds significantly, and people with “designer” genes can run them in into the ground. So a lot of it has to do with  what you do with what you have.

So how do we protect the 35 trillion cells that we call our body to make them  last for a century? In his book Blue  Zones, Dan Buettner has explored lifestyle changes that increase longevity.  I’ve incorporated his views and expanded on them to include my own. Here are my  personal thoughts on how to live the longest, healthiest and happiest life.

  • Start planning for longevity today. If you wanted to have  an adequate retirement savings account, you probably would start saving early.  The same is true with your health. Start implementing the things we’re going to  discuss below today.
  • Eat healthy. This is very confusing today because it seems  what is healthy keeps changing. But the basics are pretty consistent: avoid junk  food; limit prepared foods (restaurant and take out), sugary drinks and sodas;  eat lots of fruits and vegetables. If possible, eat organically grown fruits and  vegetables to minimize exposure to pesticide. If you haven’t heart about the  clean 15 and dirty dozen (12 highest pesticide laden fruits and vegetables), click  here.
  • Control your weight. It’s really simple; the fatter your  body, the harder your heart has to work to supply it with blood and the harder  your knees have to work to keep it moving. Some simple tips include don’t go  back for seconds (keep the food off the table and on a serving counter so people  have to physically get up to grab another spoonful), keep only healthy snacks in  the house or with you at work, chew your food at least 30 times per bite and put  your fork or sandwich down between bites so your meal will take longer and your  stomach will have time to tell your brain you are getting full. This will allow  you to stop eating before you overeat.
  • Don’t add salt to your food. Salt  is a growing health problem in the United States and is contributing to high  blood pressure and heart disease. There is so much salt already in the food we  eat that adding extra salt is unhealthy.
  • Take a multivitamin and fish oil daily. (Leesa recommends Chews4Health!
  • Maintain Family Units. In today’s fractured world, many  families live far away from each other. Yet in places such as Sardinia, Italy  where there are ten times the centenarians as in the United States, families  typically live together in units that include the grandparents. They call it the  grandmother affect. Interestingly, in a recent study of killer  whales reported in Science, in which the grandmother whale survived and  continued to live with the pod, the effect on her adult male offspring was a 14  times greater likelihood of his survival one year beyond the loss of his  mother.
  • Eat on A Smaller Plate. People in Okinawa, Japan use plates  about the size of a salad plate.  They live seven good years longer than  the average American and have 1/5 the rate of breast and colon cancer and 1/6  the rate of heart disease. Centenarians stop eating with they are 80% full.
  • Remain Active. It’s not about running in the Boston  Marathon. It’s about staying active and moving. Hardwire some type of physical  activity into every week of your life. Walk in nature, take the stairs, do yoga  or tai chi, garden. Do this at least two to three times per week. I do  resistance training with a personal trainer twice a week and walk almost every  other day.
  • Stay Connected. People live longer who have ongoing social  interactions, who are able to share their happiness and sorrow and who have  companionship. This does not mean chat rooms and Facebook. It means sitting in  the room with real people. Volunteering, participating and sharing are life  extenders.
  • Have a purpose. People who have a reason to wake up in the  morning live longer, healthier, happier lives. What’s yours? If an answer  doesn’t pop into your head, search for one. It could be playing with your  grandchildren, gardening, adult education, volunteering at your favorite charity  or school, or any of a thousand other reasons. Find yours. According to Dan  Buettner it’s worth about 7 years of life expectancy.
  • Have a day of rest. Having one day a week where all you do  is relax, abstain from work and any stress related activity, and/or pray has  been shown to increase longevity. Even God rested on the seventh day. There is a  reason that is part of every major religion. Enjoy this Free  relaxing instrumental music while you rest and relax.
  • Remain Spiritual: People who are part of a faith based  community who pray at least 4 times per month live between 4 and 14 extra  years.
  • Choose friends wisely. People tend to become who they hang  out with. The Framingham  Study showed that if your 3 best friends are obese, you are 50% more likely  to become obese. Friends with healthy habits increase your chance of remaining  healthy.
  • Smile More: People who are happier and have a more positive  attitude live longer. Happiness lowers stress, strengths your immune system and  keep the tips of your chromosomes, called telomeres,  longer, preventing cancer and disease.

By Mache Seibel

Dr. Mache Seibel

Health expert and guest speaker Dr. Mache Seibel addresses consumers’  critical needs from weight  control to HRT, menopause  and beyond. He served on the Harvard Medical School faculty for 19 years and is  a pioneer in many areas of women’s health. He works with companies and  organizations to bring exciting educational content to consumers. Visit his  award-winning website DoctorSeibel.com  to sign up for his  free monthly newsletter.

Are You Healthier Than a 100-Year-Old?

Are You Healthier Than a 100-Year-Old?

There used to be this great game show on TV: “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth  Grader?”

The premise of the show was to determine whether or not the average adult  could answer questions based on a typical elementary school learning curriculum.  Contestants would attempt to correctly respond to ten questions.

Along the way, the presumably well-educated adult could solicit the help of  one of several pint-sized counterparts, dubbed, “classmates.”

As a television program, it provided viewers with a slew of hilarious  situations, and forced dozens of adults to admit that they were, “not smarter  than a fifth grader.”

In the two- and-a-half years that the show was on, only two people won the  top prize of $1,000,000—one of them being a former Nobel Prize winning  physicist.

What does all of this have to do with you?

Well, given the results of a recent, nationwide survey, quite a lot,  actually.

The survey took an in-depth look at the habits, preferences, and lifestyles  of 100 centenarians (people age 100 and older) and measured them against 300  baby boomers (aged 50-55) to pinpoint the differences and similarities between  each group.

Looking at the outcome of the seventh-annual “United HealthCare 100@100  Survey” report, may cause baby boomers to ask themselves a rather curious  question: “Am I healthier than a centenarian?”

To help you answer this question for yourself, try (honestly)  answering the following queries:

Do I consistently eat a balanced diet complete with plenty of fruits,  vegetables, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates?

The connection between sound nutritional choices and good health has been  scientifically proven countless times, but this message appears to have had more  of an impact on the most long-lived members of our society than on those we  consider to be ‘middle-aged.’ 80 percent of centenarians reported that they  maintain a healthy  diet almost daily, while only 68 percent of boomers were able to agree with  that same statement.

Do I get eight hours of sleep every night?

Catching  Zs for the recommended seven or eight hours each night has been linked to many  positive health outcomes such as: reduced levels of stress, better  cardiovascular health, and a decreased risk for depression. Yet only 38 percent  of boomers say they get the suggested  amount of sleep, compared to 70 percent of centenarians.

How often do you laugh?

If your answer is daily, then keep up the good work. The survey indicated  that, while boomers do laugh more, most of the members of the 100-year-old club  also reported appreciating  the lighter side of life. 87 percent of boomers said they chuckled at least  once a day versus 80 percent of centenarians.

Do you exercise regularly?

Though the majority of centenarians say that they exercise almost daily,  boomers do have them beat—but only by a slim margin (59 percent of boomers  versus 51 percent of centenarians). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)  recommends that adults try to get a minimum of about 150 minutes of  moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. This amount is thought to be  sufficient to reap the numerous benefits attributed to regular physical  activity, including: reduced cancer and type 2 diabetes risk, better  cardiovascular health, stronger muscles and bones, and a longer lifespan.

What do you do for exercise?

Both age groups reported that physical health was the most important, yet  most difficult, aspect of health to maintain as a person gets older. How do the  oldest elders work out? Many cited walking (44 percent) and engaging in muscle  strengthening exercises (41 percent) as their go-to methods of staying in shape.  One curious finding in the realm of physical fitness was that more centenarians  than boomers said that they supplemented their work-out regimes with  mind/body/spirit activities such as Yoga, or Tai chi.

Do you regularly communicate with friends and family?

The same number (89 percent) of boomers and centenarians claimed that they  engage in regular communication and with their family and friends, lending  further credence to the connection between a strong social support group and  good health.

So, are you really healthier than a 100-year-old?

Handling healthy habit blockers

Time, energy, illness  and money are often the most commonly cited barriers to leading a healthy  lifestyle.

Interestingly, even though the elderly are sometimes viewed as being sicker,  more tired, and more financially strained than their younger counterparts, the  survey found that fewer centenarians than boomers said that their ailments or  purse strings got in the way of them leading a healthy lifestyle. Additionally,  only 15 percent of centenarians claimed that they were too tired to make good  choices on how to be healthier; a figure not too much larger than the 10 percent  of boomers who said the same thing.

Baby boomers are likely to face some significant obstacles when it comes to  maintaining their physical, mental and spiritual well-being as they get older,  particularly if they are members of the stressed-out Sandwich Generation. The  key is to look for ways to take advantage of the opportunities you do have.

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.

The Unexpected Secret to Successful Aging

The Unexpected Secret to Successful Aging

 

How do you define success?

Here are a few famous responses to this question:

  • “Success is going from  failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”—Winston Churchill
  • “Success is doing ordinary  things extraordinarily well.”—Jim Rohn

No matter the arena (personal, professional, financial), success is often  equated with achievement. A successful lawyer wins the majority of the cases she  takes on; a successful investment banker makes a lot of money for his firm.

Redefining the idea of effective aging

What happens when you apply the concept of success to something as complex  and individualized as  the aging process?

“There are several different definitions of successful aging,” says Dilip  Jeste, M.D., Director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging  and President of the American Psychiatric Association. “Traditional ‘objective’ definitions [of aging] have emphasized absence of physical and cognitive  disabilities.”

Jeste and his colleagues recently conducted a study that turns these “traditional” definitions upside down.

After surveying more than 1,000 older adults, researchers discovered that,  when it comes to aging, it’s not how fast you can run, or whether you can  complete the New York Times crossword puzzle that makes you a success—it’s your  attitude that really counts.

“The most surprising result we found was the paradox of aging—i.e., as  physical health declined with aging, self-rated successful aging scores seemed  to increase,” Jeste says. “Our findings showed that physical health was neither  necessary nor sufficient for feeling good about one’s own aging.”

In fact, many seniors who were grappling with physical or mental decline said  they felt that their overall wellbeing was increasing with each passing  year.

How to gracefully get older

Once you’ve discovered what it means to age “successfully,” the question  becomes: How do you do it?

Jeste’s recipe for effective aging includes three ingredients: resilience  (the ability to adapt and persevere in the face of hardship), optimism (being  able to recognize both the good and the bad in a given situation) and the  absence of depression.

He provides a few strategies for approaching the aging process in a  productive way:

Be logical: It’s important to strike a balance between  pessimism and unrealistic optimism,  says Jeste. For instance, if you have cancer, you won’t be able to cure yourself  simply by thinking happy thoughts. Instead, seek out the treatment options that  are right for you and remain confident that they will help you.

Seek support: A support network of friends and family is  essential for maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing, especially as you age.  Social support provides a stalwart shield against disease-causing stress of all  kinds.

Tame tension: Whether it’s taking a walk, practicing  yoga or reading a book, make sure to regularly engage in activities that you  find enjoyable. Taking a break from the pressure and strain of everyday life is  essential for building your resilience reserves.

Manage depression: About one in ten American adults suffer  from depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Women age 45-64  have a higher risk of developing the symptoms of depression, including:  excessive fatigue, irritability, feeling hopeless, loss of interest in hobbies  and suicidal tendencies. According to Jeste, recognizing and managing depression  in adults is vitally important to maintaining good mental and physical health as  you age. Consult with a doctor if you feel you or your loved one may be  depressed.

The idea that some elements of aging are controllable is a positive one for  Jeste, who is optimistic about the future of growing old in America.

“Over the next three decades, we will witness the largest increase in the  number of people over age 65 in the history of mankind,” he says. “Our study  suggests that an increasing number of these older adults can be productive and  contribute to our society in many ways.”

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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