Physical activity provides big boost to seniors with heart disease – AHA

So often the answer to any health question comes back to exercise – physical activity. Eat less; move more; live longer remains the mantra of this blog. From the following, the American Heart Association (AHA) seems to agree.

  • Improving physical function among older adults with heart disease helps heart health and even the oldest have a better quality of life and greater independence.
  • Healthcare providers should emphasize cardiac rehabilitation when appropriate and provide individualized guidance on increasing daily physical activities for older patients with heart disease.

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Improving physical activity among older adults with heart disease benefits their heart health, independence and quality of life, according to a new American Heart Association scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

Physical activity helps reduce heart disease symptoms for patients with heart failure, heart attacks and stroke, and it also helps to improve the age-related erosions of strength, balance, and reduces frailty that particularly affect older heart patients. It is important part of care for the growing population of older adults with heart disease.

“Many healthcare providers are focused only on the medical management of diseases, such as heart failure, heart attacks, valvular heart disease and strokes, without directly focusing on helping patients maximize their physical function,” said Daniel E. Forman, M.D., the geriatric cardiologist who chaired the American Heart Association panel that drafted the new statement. Continue reading

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Filed under American Heart Association, Exercise, exercise benefits, heart, heart disease, heart health brain health

Another Favorite – Visual Mind Games

At the risk or appearing like I am selling out on my idea of protecting my brain by exercising regularly, I would like to suggest this fun pastime as an additional line of defense against cognitive impairment.

I wrote this for another blog I write occasionally and thought it would be of interest to you. I know a lot of folks are doing adult coloring books these days for relaxation. I thought these puzzles would be a nice step up that could be more challenging to the imagination.

Tony

Willing Wheeling

I ran across these at an art fair years ago. They are wonderful brightly colored shapes that you get to remake into various geometric visions. You can see more at the website of Kadon Enterprises, Inc. Kadon says that the creation of tiling patterns is an ancient and still very popular art form and recreation. “In quilting designs, floor tiles and wallpaper patterns, we find geometric shapes that fit together in attractive, usually symmetrical arrangements.”

There is a wonderful brochure that comes with each puzzle that explains some of the relationships between the angles and gets into the math of it.

Although I have only pictured two, I hope you can see how multi-faceted this is. I spend many happy hours exploring this and many of their other puzzles.

I used these two shots so you could see the simplest variation. The tiles are acrylic and fit into place perfectly.

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Filed under aging, aging brain, brain, brain exercise, successful aging

Weight-bearing exercises protect against osteoporosis – Study

Just two days ago I posted on older men being at risk of osteoporosis. “As I reported here, after the age of 50 men are as likely to get osteoporosis as prostate cancer. More to the point, older people of both sexes have great vulnerability to it.”

Now comes a new study that explains how weight-bearing exercises affect our bone structure and fight that disease.

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Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide and is a serious public health concern, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Now, Pamela Hinton, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, has published the first study in men to show that long-term, weight-bearing exercises decrease sclerostin, a protein made in the bone, and increase IGF-1, a hormone associated with bone growth. These changes promote bone formation, increasing bone density. Continue reading

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Facts about seniors drinking

What we put into our system counts a lot toward our daily health and ultimate longevity. So, I  thought this study on increasing seniors drinking was relevant.

Most older Americans drink alcohol. Given that this segment of the population is projected to almost double by 2050, reaching 112 million, in the future, there will likely be many more older drinkers in the United States than currently. Importantly, older individuals are more sensitive to alcohol’s effects than their younger counterparts, and are also more likely to take prescription medications that can interact negatively with alcohol, potentially leading to falls and other injuries. This study examined trends in drinking status among U.S. adults 60 years of age and older.

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Researchers analyzed data from the 1997-2014 National Health Interview Surveys: 65,303 respondents 60 years of age and older (31,803 men, 33,500 women) were current drinkers; 6,570 men and 1,737 women were binge drinkers. Analysis of respondents by sex, age group, and birth cohort showed differing trends over time. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, alcohol, drinking alcohol, seniors, successful aging

How to sneak exercise into your day

Eat less; move more; live longer. Let’s be more specific about that moving part.

According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services:

Adults 18 to 64 should get:
2.5 hours/wk of moderate intensity exercise.
OR 1.25 hours a week of vigorous aerobic physical activity
Or Some combination of the above – equivalent episodes of at least 10 minutes spread throughout the week.

That is really not a lot of exercise to sneak into a seven-day week. But, this is an old guy who has been retired for 17 years talking. What about the guy/gal who is clocking 50 or more hours a week on a demanding job with after work dinners and out of town travel assignments. All of a sudden a total of 2.5 hours a week becomes difficult to downright impossible.

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Consider a desk that allows you to stand to protect yourself from the damage of prolonged sitting.

Well, WebMD has some really good ideas on how to squeeze some exercise into each day – even with a demanding job. You can check them all out at the link, but here are some that particularly impressed me. Continue reading

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Filed under cardio exercise, Exercise, exercise benefits

Health and Fitness fun

Here are some more items I picked up in my web wandering. Have fun!

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Here is Pam Ayres reciting a delightful exercise poem from the ’70s. I thank Esme and her charming blog for this.

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Have a great Sunday!

Tony

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Filed under fitness funnies, fitness humor, lighter side of weight loss, Weight

Older men at risk of osteoporosis – Harvard

Because three out of four cases of osteoporosis are women, most people consider it a women’s disease,  especially men. However, as I reported here, after the age of 50 men are as likely to get osteoporosis as prostate cancer. More to the point, older people of both sexes have great vulnerability to it.

Here’s what Harvard Health Publications has to say:

Don’t think men need to worry about osteoporosis? Think again. In fact, about one in four men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis during their lifetime, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.

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How can men protect themselves and lower their risk of osteoporosis? Here are some strategies: Continue reading

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Sore back? Try yoga

I have written about yoga a number of times here. About a month ago I posted on a yoga study – yoga and back pain.

For the record, I dated a yoga teacher some years ago and practiced it religiously for the two years we were together and for several years afterward. So I am very familiar with its practice and results. I have certainly used the relaxation techniques available from yoga breathing virtually every day of my life.

I recently had some problems with my lower back. It was stiff and painful. It also felt like I was aggravating it riding the bike. So I went to the doctor. Upon examination, she told me that at my age, 77, I may have lost some of my flexibility, particularly in my spine. She recommended doing some yoga to see if it gave me relief.

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First, some back pain facts.

WebMD says, “Back pain includes lower back pain, middle back pain, upper back pain or low back pain with sciatica. Nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis can result in back pain.”

More than three million cases per  year are reported in the U.S. alone. Continue reading

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My Guilty Pleasure – Updated

I wrote about this guilty pleasure over a  year ago and have since tweaked it and, in fact, don’t indulge in it anymore in its original form. Why repeat it? Because it is still delicious and I recommend trying it for yourself.  Also, I have included the tweak for you to try.

I haven’t written a Mr. Lazy Cook post in a long time, so I thought I might get around to one. For the most part Lazy Cook posts have been simple, delicious and highly nutritious meals. This one not so much.

I happened upon this sandwich one day almost by accident. You know how creative people always say that they saw the idea elsewhere and simply improvised on it? Well, that’s what I did.

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A little history here. A hundred years ago, it seems, I was working at Reuters in the Chicago Board of Trade building. It was high pressure on the news desk and we welcomed our breaks which were often too few and too short. One of our favorite mid-morning things was to send someone across the street to a little diner and order a couple of their wonderful fried egg sandwiches. What made them so wonderful? Well, some culinary genius in the diner decided that instead of a mundane bread or toast on the egg sandwich he would substitute cinnamon raisin bread. In addition, he topped off the sandwich with melted cheese and bacon. So, it was ended up being a grilled cheese, bacon and egg sandwich on cinnamon raisin toast. My mouth is watering just remembering it. By the way, I make no claim as to the nutritional value of this creation, only its flavor. In fact, I was bumping up against the 175 pound level in those days. Continue reading

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Tanning dependence linked to other addictive behaviors – Study

Around 20 years ago a friend of mine was getting married and, as I was standing up, I thought it would be cool to have a tan. At the time, I was heavily into Abba music so I had no problem lying in the tanning bed listening to Abba while I tanned. Long story short, I sport a tan for the wedding and 15 years later had an operation ( my first of three) for skin cancer. I wasn’t addicted. Actually, this was my only ‘booth’ experience. Apparently, other folks aren’t so cool about tanning booths.

Despite the known dangers of exposure to ultraviolet light, many people continue to sunbathe and use indoor tanning beds with some users exhibiting a dependence to tanning. A new study from the Yale School of Public Health finds that such dependence is also associated with other addictive behaviors.

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The study, recently published in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, surveyed 499 people who had previously sunbathed or used a tanning bed, and revealed that those who exhibited tanning dependence, also referred to as tanning addiction, were six times as likely to also be dependent on alcohol and three times as likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). (my emphasis)
Continue reading

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Is it Okay to Exercise if you Suffer from Arthritis?

Because arthritis sufferers experience pain when they move, many conclude that not moving is healthier because it doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, that is one instance where listening to your body is not the best course of action. I hope the following information will alter that conclusion.

First, some startling statistics on arthritis from Ashley Boynes.

Some 50 million Americans have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That’s 22 per cent of the population, more than 1-in-5 adults!

Arthritis costs the US economy $128 BILLION per year.

Sad statistic – 31 per cent of US 18-64 year olds with arthritis either can’t work, or report work limitations.

Arthritis is the number one MOST COMMON disability.

Some 32 percent of veterans surveyed in 36 States had been diagnosed with arthritis, compared with 22 percent of non-veterans, representing a 50 per cent increased risk for arthritis for veterans.

More than 1,000,000 joints will be replaced this year alone.

To answer the question about suitability of exercising with arthritis, I recently attended a Northwestern Memorial Hospital Healthy Transitions presentation on Arthritis and Exercise.
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Home cooking a main ingredient in healthier diet, study shows

This should come as no surprise to anyone who ventures in to fast food eateries or even regular restaurants.

People who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research.

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“When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all — even if they are not trying to lose weight,” says Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, a CLF-Lerner Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and lead author of the study.

The findings also suggest that those who frequently cooked at home — six-to-seven nights a week — also consumed fewer calories on the occasions when they ate out.

Wolfson presented the research at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La., on November 17. The study was published online in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

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Seniors, It’s not your ears, it’s your brain … Study

I turned 77 in January and while I generally enjoy what I consider to be robust good health, I nonetheless occupy an old and aging body. Sometimes I miss stuff people say, particularly when there is background noise.

“Could you repeat that?” The reason you may have to say something twice when talking to older family members may not be because of their hearing. Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have determined that something is going on in the brains of typical older adults that causes them to struggle to follow speech amidst background noise, even when their hearing would be considered normal on a clinical assessment.

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In an interdisciplinary study published by the Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers Samira Anderson, Jonathan Z. Simon, and Alessandro Presacco found that adults aged 61–73 with normal hearing scored significantly worse on speech understanding in noisy environments than adults aged 18–30 with normal hearing. The researchers are all associated with the UMD’s Brain and Behavior Initiative. Continue reading

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Filed under aging, aging brain, brain, brain function, hearing

Fitness fun

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Tony

 

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Green Tea for St. Patrick’s Day… and Every Day

If this looks familiar it’s because I ran it last year on St. Patty’s Day.

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“BETTER to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.”
Ancient Chinese proverb.


If that really is an ancient Chinese proverb it must be referring to green tea. Don’t know about green tea? You are in for a treat.

About.com reports that in 1994 the Journal of the National Cancer Institute had a study showing that green tea drinking cut the risk of esophageal cancer in Chinese men and women by nearly 60%.

Nadine Taylor wrote an entire book on it – Green Tea: The natural secret to a healthy life.gif-st-patrick-192.gif

Green tea, beautiful benefits

HealthMad lists 10- benefits of green tea.

1 Used to treat Multiple sclerosis
2 Cancer treat/prevent
3 Stop Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s
4 Raises metabolism and increases fat oxidation
5 Reduces risk of heart diseases and attacks by cutting risk of thrombosis
6 Reduces risk of esophageal cancer
7 Inhibits growth of certain cancer cells, reduces level of cholesterol in blood, improves ratio of good over bad.
8 Used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular diseases
9 Used to treat impaired immune function
10 May help prevent tooth decay by killing bacteria that causes dental plaque

What makes green tea so special? About.com said it is the high quantity of catechin polyphenols. These are powerful antioxidants that not only inhibit cancer cells, but kill them outright without harming healthy tissue. It also lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels and inhibits the abnormal formation of blood clots which can cause heart attacks and stroke.

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Lastly, you might be asking why green tea and not black, or Earl Grey? About.com reported that while the teas all come from the leaves of the same plant, the green tea leaves are steamed which prevents a very valuable chemical compound (EGCG) from being oxidized. Other teas are made from fermented leaves which results in the EGCG being converted into other compounds that are not nearly as effective in fighting disease.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published the results of a study at the University of Geneva in Switzerland that showed men who were given a combination of caffeine and green tea extract burned more calories than those given only caffeine or a placebo.

Speaking of caffeine, green tea contains only 30 to 60 mg of caffeine in 6-8 ounces vs 100 mg or more in coffee.gif-st-patrick-181

Slainte!

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Tony

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Study links intelligence and chess skill

For the record I got very involved in playing chess in my younger years. I loved the game’s many facets and spent hours poring over the board. Ultimately, I gave it up to play backgammon. I found the element of chance in backgammon to be more appealing. That random aspect coupled with the fact that a lot of people played backgammon for money won me over. That was never the case in chess.

Intelligence – and not just relentless practice – plays a significant role in determining chess skill, indicates a comprehensive new study led by Michigan State University researchers.

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The research provides some of the most conclusive evidence to date that cognitive ability is linked to skilled performance – a hotly debated issue in psychology for decades – and refutes theories that expertise is based solely on intensive training.

“Chess is probably the single most studied domain in research on expertise, yet the evidence for the relationship between chess skill and cognitive ability is mixed,” said MSU’s Alexander Burgoyne, lead author on the study. “We analyzed a half-century worth of research on intelligence and chess skill and found that cognitive ability contributes meaningfully to individual differences in chess skill.” Continue reading

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