• December 27, 2016 /  Miscelleaneous

    Five Wellness Tips for Seniors

    This is our last post in the ongoing series on health topics, and we’re going to go over five basic tips that all seniors can apply in their lives. By taking these general proactive steps you can lessen and even delay the severity of any health issues that arise. As always, run any diet and supplement changes by your doctor first!

    Tip #1: Take a fish oil supplement, which are rich in EFAs. Many seniors have a limited income and having something that gives the best bang for your buck is always a plus. Fish oil is one of them and highly recommended by many health professionals.

    Fish oil helps manage cardiovascular health by making platelets less sticky and therefore reducing your likelihood of clots, which can cause strokes or heart attacks. They also reduce atherosclerosis by lowering two repair proteins that encourage the spread of atherosclerotic tissue in arteries. In effect, they help fully open arteries. Fish oil assists in reducing inflammation for those with osteoarthritis or injuries due to trauma. It’s actually a key factor in decreasing age related memory decline. Those at risk for Alzheimer’s and/or dementia will find this extremely important.

    Tip #2: Eat a wide variety of fresh, organic food. This tip can be applied to anyone since many settle into a regular routine regardless of age. Eating the exact same thing for years increases one’s chance of accumulating food sensitivities. When this happens, digestive issues crop up and effective absorption of nutrients from food is reduced. Disease and other health related issues are guaranteed to become a problem. As we age, stomach acid (which is key in helping one break down food in the digestive system) is produced less. Eating seasonally and/or buying a CSA will help one increase variety in their diet.

    Tip #3: Take a probiotics and eat foods rich in good bacteria. Probiotics help increase your immune system, which can be very helpful for seniors that get ill often. If you’re encountering any food sensitivities (because you didn’t follow tip #2!) then probiotics are definitely your friend. Some foods that are rich in good bacteria are kombucha tea, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and kefir.

    Tip #4: Take a CoEnzymeQ10 supplement. When our body becomes ill or imbalanced, it creates free radicals. One way of addressing this is to increase your antioxidants. CoEnzymeQ10 is an antioxidant nutrient and is a key factor in preventing atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular related problems. Many medications on the market directed at seniors have a side effect that drastically depletes your CoEnzymeQ10 reserves. If you take any heart medication it is imperative that you take this supplement.

    Take #5: Include medicinal mushrooms in your diet. Fungi are more beneficial to humans than you might expect! Traditionally used in ancient cultures for a range of conditions, they are useful for the immune, respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive, and skeletal/muscular systems. They work very similarly to an adaptogen by helping the body return to a balanced state. Numerous studies suggest they contain compounds that support immunity, prevent infection and provide additive or synergistic effects in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Medicinal mushrooms include shitake, maitake, reishi and cordyceps.

    Senior health care is often a cause of concern. You may have spent a large part of your younger life pursuing work, career and family goals. As you retire from your hectic routine, the pace of life begins to slow down. It requires effort to pay attention to what your body demands, and ensure that you continue to live a long and healthy life.

    With age, priorities change. If those were the days when earning money or sustaining the needs of your family was your priority, the senior years can be looked upon as an opportunity to pamper yourself. Take care of yourself. Beyond these tips, look for other ways to improve your overall wellbeing. Go get a massage, join a spa, or sign up for an art class. Think outside the box. By incorporating practical healthcare with inner self-care, you’ll find great advantages to embracing your senior years!

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  • December 12, 2016 /  Miscelleaneous

    How To Exercise When You Have Arthritis
    This is part of a continuing series on how seniors can stay fit long into their older years. Arthritis is extremely common among the elderly, and can affect life negatively in numerous ways. If you’re a sufferer, you might wonder how you could possibly exercise with the pain you experience.

    However, you can take an active role in protecting your joints so that you can enjoy a pain-free life. Many people with arthritis mistakenly believe they should avoid exercise and rest their muscles and joints. Inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle weaken cartilage and bone, and increase the likelihood of damage and deterioration. A person with arthritis (regardless of age or gender) needs to exercise for the same reasons as everyone else: to maintain skeletal muscle, heart health, and bone density. They also need to increase strength, flexibility, and range of motion.

    So what are the best types of exercise for arthritis sufferers?

    Many find that physical therapy and exercise help reduce pain and minimizes stiffness. There are three types of exercise that work well for people with arthritis:

    1. Exercises that improve range of motion. Incorporate these exercises daily in order to help increase your level of flexibility and maintain or regain normal movement of your joints. Include back exercises to help relieve pain and stiffness.
    2. Exercises that improve strength. Strong muscles support and protect your joints. Follow a strength-training program developed by your physical therapist or trainer and learn how to properly (and safely) perform these exercises.
    3. Cardiovascular exercises. Your cardiovascular health is important. While you may not be able to run, you can greatly benefit from walking, a stationary bicycle, swimming, or any activity that safely increases and maintains an elevated heart rate and breathing. Cardio training will also burn calories and help you maintain a healthy weight.

    Try to include exercises from all three of these training types. Regardless of the exercises you choose, focus on ones that do not cause you additional pain.

    As you exercise to increase the strength and flexibility in your joints, you will soon find particular ones that you enjoy. However, avoid doing the same workout over and over, with no variety. Doing this for extended periods will result in overtraining and cause injuries to your joints, especially your knees. Alternate your exercise program and include a wide range of low or no-impact exercises. Alternate training days with strength training exercises.

    But don’t skip the weight or resistance training as it strengthens those muscles and the supporting ligaments surrounding your joints and protects them from damage or injury and may delay additional deterioration. Strength training also increases bone density (thickness) and bone strength, and stronger bones and muscles support your joints and take pressure off of them.

    Your goal should be three or four session of twenty to thirty minutes each week. When your arthritis flares up you will be tempted to skip your workout, but keep in mind that arthritis sufferers who continually skip exercise are more likely to experience loss of muscle tone and flexibility, decreased joint motion and a progressive thinning and softening of bone and cartilage.

    While you can’t stop the aging process, there are simple steps to prevent unnecessary damage or wear to your joints and to reduce joint pain or swelling beyond increasing activity and exercise.

    Start by eating more joint friendly, anti-inflammatory foods. These include fruits like apricots, cantaloupe, kiwi and blueberries, and vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, celery, and cauliflower. These foods have been shown to reduce inflammation and help remove the toxins that cause inflammation in your body and worsen your arthritis. Add omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flax seeds, walnuts and avocados, these foods and foods high in antioxidants like berries also have been found to decrease the inflammation and joint swelling associated with your arthritis.

    A healthy lifestyle that includes following an anti-inflammatory diet and participating in a regular exercise program are important parts of your arthritis treatment program. When combined, they reduce the effects of the arthritis by:

    1. Encouraging the flow of blood and synovial fluid to your joints.
    2. Strengthening the supporting structures including muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
    3. Increasing the range of motion and flexibility of the affected joints.
    4. Increasing antioxidants that reduce swelling.
    5. Reducing the processed sugars, starches and toxins that promote inflammation.

    Don’t let your pain keep you from living a healthy, happy life. Take control of your arthritis today!

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  • December 6, 2016 /  Miscelleaneous

    I asked Jennifer Scott to be my guest this month. She has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager and has made it her mission to advocate for mental health.

    4 Stress-Free Holiday Entertaining Tips


    This year, make it a point to put the “happy” back in Happy Holidays by doing all that you can to make your entertaining stress-free. It is especially important to have a stress-free holiday season if you have anxiety or seasonal affective disorder or are a recovering addict looking to maintain your sobriety. No matter your reason for trying to have a more enjoyable holiday, our four tips will help you achieve your goal.

    1. Make your plan

    The best move you can make to ensure you make it through holiday entertaining with the least stress possible is to be proactive and make a plan. One way to be as prepared as possible is to work with an organizer or blank calendar and plan what you need to do each day before the party. Don’t overlook any task, even if it’s something simple like cleaning off the counter and table, because you don’t want to forget something in the chaos of preparing. Making a plan will also help you remember items such as napkins and ice that often get overlooked.

    2. Know your limits

    While you may be envisioning a perfect holiday table and meal, crisply wrapped gifts, and lush centerpieces, you need to know your limits and be realistic about your expectations and abilities. If you don’t have time to do it all, don’t attempt to. Use some of these quick tips to help you prepare for your holiday gathering:

    • Ask your guests to bring the side dishes, order dessert, and spend your time focusing on appetizers and the main entrée.
    • Get a pre-lit artificial Christmas tree to save time stringing lights and cleaning up the mess from the needles and branches.
    • Prep food in advance by cooking or baking food that can be frozen. The more food you prepare ahead of time, the more you will be able to spend time with friends and family instead of in the kitchen.
    • Make quick and easy centerpieces with boughs and pinecones from outside. Decorate with Christmas ornaments or bells placed inside glass hurricanes or underneath wine glasses that you flip upside down.
    • Use gift bags instead of taking the time to wrap presents.

    Knowing that nobody expects everything to be perfect can take a huge weight off your shoulders and help you enjoy your time with friends and family.

    3. Stock up on appetizers and drinks

    You never know if people who did not RSVP will show up anyway, or if your guests will bring along additional people without telling you first. It’s a good idea to stock up on appetizers that have a longer shelf life, such as crackers and cheese, cookies, mixed nuts, salsa, and chips so that you can feed extra guests without feeling stressed.

    Having additional drinks on hand also is a smart entertaining trick. If you don’t have enough free refrigerator space and you live in a cooler climate, put drinks outside on a porch or in a garage to cool down naturally. Soda, cider, coffee, cocoa, and tea are beverages you should have an abundance of during the holiday season.

    4. Make having fun a priority

    When making your lists for food, gifts, and entertaining necessities, don’t forget to include a list for fun. If you plan activities for your holiday gatherings that you are excited about participating in, you’ll be more likely to put down the hostess hat and pick up the party hat. Holiday crafts for the whole family will keep everyone entertained if you are hosting out-of-town family members for a few days. Put the kids in charge of decorating the tree with the homemade ornaments you make to save you some decorating time, too.

    If your party is for friends and adults, plan to play some Christmas party games that are sure to get everyone laughing and get you out of the kitchen. You can play some old-fashioned games such as charades or Pin the Red Nose on Rudolph, or you can play some trendy adult games such as Cards Against Humanity and 5 Second Rule.

    Reducing your stress during the holidays is important to helping you have a happy, healthy season. Following our four tips will help you not just get through holiday entertaining but truly enjoy it.

    Image via Pixabay by StartupStockPhotos

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