Category Archives: aging

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.
Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under aging, arthritis, hand arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis pain, successful aging

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.

Normal_Hearing.jpg

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

2 Comments

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

Yet another reason for seniors to stay active

At the risk of sounding repetitious, eat less; move more; live longer. As a 77-year old who rides his bike daily, this kind of info is music to my ears.

Older adults with higher levels of physical activity have pain modulation patterns that might help lower their risk of developing chronic pain, reports a study in PAIN®, the official publication of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

82f56d64ae0f0ceede3ec8853681bfcb

In tests of pain processing by the central nervous system, physically active older adults have lower pain perception and are better able to block responses to painful stimuli, according to the new research by Kelly M. Naugle, PhD, and colleagues of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. “This study provides the first objective evidence suggesting that physical activity behavior is related to the functioning of the endogenous pain modulatory systems in older adults,” the researchers write.

Being More Active, Less Sedentary, Affects Pain Perceptions in Older Adults

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, pain, Pain relief, successful aging

Can exercise help people at risk for Alzheimer’s – Study

One of the main goals in living longer is having one’s brain fully functional. Since I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family tree, I am totally focused on keeping my brain working. There is no question that exercise can help one defend against dementia, but with Alzheimer’s the jury is still out.

Can exercise slow or prevent cognitive decline in older people who are at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease? A new clinical trial led by National Institute on Aging (NIA) -supported scientists in collaboration with the YMCA aims to find out whether exercise may be an effective nondrug treatment for staying cognitively fit.

brainexercise

The trial, called EXERT, will enroll 300 people, age 65 to 89, with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition of mild memory problems that often leads to Alzheimer’s dementia. Based on the trial’s results, the researchers hope to develop an evidence-based “prescription” that will tell people the type and frequency of exercise needed to support memory and thinking skills.

“We want to design a real-life program that can be implemented in the community and prescribed by healthcare providers,” said Laura D. Baker, Ph.D., of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C., who is leading the study with Carl W. Cotman, Ph.D., of the University of California, Irvine.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, aging brain, Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's disease, Alzheimer's risk, Exercise, exercise benefits

Fitness, health and aging funnies

Found these in my web wandering. Enjoy!

245c21eedec0e6b726dda4628a46d598.jpg

 

ff3fdbed2b28d9dffe3eb381795ea5a0.jpg

 

380cd194e8cde2a06397f136d3c5a075.jpg

 

16473154_1242428012510623_6587625040365359762_n.jpg

6c8115dc2deea311d90eb564b8e12928.jpg

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, fitness funnies

Cold weather tips – NIA

Regular readers know that I just turned 77 last week. While I enjoy robust good health at present that is not true of many of my fellow senior citizens. A lot of them don’t get out a lot and suffer from limited mobility.

snow-new-york.jpg

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) said that older adults can be particularly vulnerable in cold weather. The NIA offered the following ways to stay safe during the winter months. While these are directed at seniors many apply to any individual deciding to go out and brave the winter winds.

Try to stay away from cold places. Changes in the body that come with aging can make it harder for older adults to be aware of getting cold.

Check the weather forecasts for windy and cold weather. Try to stay inside or in a warm place on cold and windy days. If you have to go out, wear warm clothes including a hat and gloves. A waterproof coat can help you stay warm if it’s cold and snowy.

Wear several layers of loose clothing when it’s cold. The layers will trap warm air between them. Don’t wear tight clothing because it can keep your blood from flowing freely. This can lead to loss of body heat.

Ask your doctor how the medicines you are taking affect body heat. Some medicines used by older people can increase the risk of accidental hypothermia. These include drugs used to treat anxiety, depression, or nausea. Some over-the-counter cold remedies can also cause problems.

When the temperature outside has dropped, drink alcohol moderately, if at all. Alcoholic drinks can make you lose body heat.

Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don’t eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.

As a Chicagoan, I have dealt with cold weather before in the blog as well as my daily life:

Don’t hibernate in cold weather – Harvard

Cold weather exercising tips

11 Cold weather exercise tips

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, cold season, cold weather, longevity

Famous people born today – January 26

General Douglas MacArthur, Paul Newman, Angela Davis, Wayne Gretzky, Eddie Van Halen, Jules Feiffer and Ellen DeGeneres were all born on January 26.

Oh, yes, and one not so famous. It’s also my birthday. I am now 77 years old. I am happy to say that I feel great and am healthier than I was 20 years ago when I toiled in the working world.

994966_10151903053694011_1693749578_n.jpg

This is my birthday picture from last year. It’s the only one I have that’s decorated.

This is from my birthday blog post last year:

One of the main reasons I feel like I have things so together is this blog. I started writing it in March of 2010 with a partner who has since left for other pursuits. From the beginning, I discovered a focus. At first it was simply trying to keep my weight down. I learned portion control and serving size. This Italian guy was surprised to learn that a “serving” of pasta was not a 10 inch plate heaped with spaghetti noodles smothered in tomato sauce. No, a serving of pasta is about the size of a baseball. Incredibly, that was a revelation to me. But I put the information to use. I began to reduce my portions accordingly. I am not going to recount all the lessons I learned in the past nearly six years, but if you want to get control of your weight, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under 77th birthday, aging, biking, Exercise, successful aging

Delirium could accelerate dementia-related mental decline

It ain’t easy being green, according to Kermit. Turns out it ain’t so easy being old either.

New research by UCL and University of Cambridge shows delirium may have long-lasting consequences, including accelerating the dementia process

brain-sleep-wake-neurosciencenews-public

When hospitalized, people can become acutely confused and disorientated. This condition, known as delirium, affects a quarter of older patients and new research by UCL and University of Cambridge shows it may have long-lasting consequences, including accelerating the dementia process.

The study, published today in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, is the first to show the multiplying effects of delirium and dementia in these patients.

Episodes of delirium in people who are not known to have dementia, might also reveal dementia at its earliest stages, the research found.

While both delirium and dementia are important factors in cognitive decline among the elderly, delirium is preventable and treatable through dedicated geriatric care.

Further research is needed to understand exactly how delirium interacts with dementia, and how this could be blocked.

“If delirium is causing brain injury in the short and long-term, then we must increase our efforts to diagnose, prevent and treat delirium. Ultimately, targeting delirium could be a chance to delay or reduce dementia” said Dr. Daniel Davis (MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL), who led the research while at the University of Cambridge.

Scientists looked at three European populations – in Finland, Cambridge and UK-wide – and examined brain specimens in 987 people aged 65 and older. Each person’s memory, thinking and experience of delirium had been recorded over 10 years towards the end of their life.

When these were linked with pathology abnormalities due to Alzheimer’s and other dementias, those with both delirium and dementia-changes had the most severe change in memory.

Dr Davis added: “Unfortunately, most delirium goes unrecognized. In busy hospitals, a sudden change in confusion not be noticed by hospital staff. Patients can be transferred several times and staff often switch over – it requires everyone to ‘think delirium’ and identify that a patient’s brain function has changed.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, aging brain, delirium, dementia, successful aging

2016 Survey on Healthy Behaviors and Well-Being

The aim of this blog is to eat right, exercise regularly and live past 100 with a fully functioning brain. I just ran across a fascinating survey done last year  by AARP. I thought it had some very useful information that coincides with things I have written for this blog.

AARP conducted a survey among adults age 18 and over to understand the link between healthy behaviors and mental well-being. This study also sought to determine what motivates engagement in brain-healthy behaviors and which behaviors they are likely to adopt.

78484731_t670x470

Key findings include:
•    Mental well-being scores increase with age.  Those age 54 and older have higher than average mental well-being scores (assessed on the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale). Mental well-being is low during middle age but, after midlife, it markedly improves. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise benefits, general well-being

Seniors need to get out of that comfort zone – NYT

I have written several posts on why people are discounting in the mainstream media regarding their second rate and slanted coverage of Donald Trump and the recent election. However, I want to point out that this piece from the New York Times is superb reporting. So, the grey lady lives on.

The article was How to become a Superager by Lisa Feldman Barrett. She is the author of the forthcoming “How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain.”

82f56d64ae0f0ceede3ec8853681bfcb

She asks, “Why do some older people remain mentally nimble while others decline? “Superagers” (a term coined by the neurologist Marsel Mesulam) are those whose memory and attention isn’t merely above average for their age, but is actually on par with healthy, active 25-year-olds. ”

In providing the answer, she gets into some labyrinthine details on how the brain functions. If you want to go there just click on the link to the article and enjoy. Continue reading

9 Comments

Filed under aging, aging brain, brain exercise, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, New York Times

Get the jump on Alzheimer’s and dementia – Rush

Regular readers know that because I have lost three family members to Alzheimer’s and dementia I have a serious interest in keeping myself safe. And, by extension, you. This isn’t just for seniors.

Rush Medical Center has some very  useful suggestions on the subject.

Do you have the power to prevent Alzheimer’s disease? Although some risk factors — age and family history — are beyond your control, increasing evidence from research indicates that you aren’t helpless.

brain

Researchers from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center and around the world have found that certain lifestyle choices can protect your brain against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Incorporate the following activities into your life, and your brain could reap the benefits Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, aging brain, brain, brain function, brain health, exercise and brain health, Healthy brain

Seniors’ brains benefit from distraction – Study

While I want to live past 100, I also want to have my brain fully functional. So, any piece of information that satisfies that criterion, is music to my ears.

As you age, you may find it more difficult to focus on certain tasks. But while distractions can be frustrating, they may not be as bad as we think. In a review published November 15 in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, researchers at the University of Toronto and Harvard University suggest that there may be some benefits to reduced focus, especially in people over 50. Using behavioral studies and neuroimaging evidence, the researchers discuss how being easily distracted can help adults with, for example, problem solving and learning new information.

brain-sleep-wake-neurosciencenews-public

“Different types of tasks benefit from a more broad focus of attention, and this is usually seen in tasks that involve thinking creatively or using information that was previously irrelevant,” says first author Tarek Amer, a psychology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Toronto and a graduate student at the Rotman Research Institute. “The literature gives us the impression that older adults are essentially doomed as their cognitive abilities decrease, when, in reality, many older adults get along just fine in their day-to-day lives, and we think that shows that aging adults don’t always need to have high cognitive control.”

When people have high cognitive control, they are able to maintain their focused attention and ignore distractions to get things done. But Amer and his colleagues found that people with reduced cognitive control had an easier time thinking of creative solutions to problems, and they were better at noticing patterns in the world around them. These findings also indicated that older adults could outperform their younger counterparts on certain problem-solving tasks, as they were able to broaden their attention more easily. Additionally, people didn’t require high levels of cognitive control for inherent, day-to-day tasks, like walking down the street or learning new information.

In order to explore the benefits of cognitive control, many lab-based behavioral experiments require participants to complete a specific set of tasks, limiting the role of distraction. But the researchers say these experiments have shortcomings, as they don’t explore situations when distractions and reduced cognitive control could be helpful, making the conclusions fairly one sided.

“Many of the tasks that we study in classic cognitive psychology are tasks that require high cognitive control, but these assigned tasks might not accurately mirror what people do in the real world because they limit distractions,” says co-author Lynn Hasher, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and the Rotman Research Institute. “But a distraction in one setting can actually be useful information in another setting, and the more information you have, the better able you’re going to be to address a current problem.”

Amer and his colleagues hope to use this information to determine exactly what tasks can benefit from reduced control in order to better simulate these experiences in a lab. Although they also hope to expand the research beyond the aging population to examine how distractions can be beneficial for people with a range of cognitive impairments, for now they recognize that this understanding of cognitive control is a step closer to understanding the aging brain.

“There is a question about what really sustains performance in old age, and it’s clear that working memory alone cannot provide us with the answer to that question,” says Hasher. “But we think it’s possible that studying reduced cognitive control can help us understand how older adults can still perform independently and successfully in their lives.”

While it is gratifying to learn that some slippage in our mental acuity is not necessarily harmful, it is also crucial that we keep are mental ‘hardware’ in toptop shape. Please check out my Page -While it is gratifying to learn that some slippage in our mental acuity is not necessarily harmful, it is also crucial that we keep are mental ‘hardware’ in toptop shape. Please check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) for more.

Tony

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, aging brain, brain, brain health, Healthy brain, successful aging

What is My Ideal Weight?

As we are in the throes of the holiday season, you may have been asking yourself that question lately. If so, you have come to the right place.

When starting writing this blog nearly seven years ago, I weighed 165 pounds. At 5’9″ tall, I was happy at that weight. It was the lowest I had been in the previous 20 years. At my worst, I weighed around 225 lbs. You can read about that in – How I Lost 50 Pounds in 52 Weeks.

Since starting the blog, I have become very aware of my consumption of food each day as well as my actions to burn off excess calories and to provide necessary exercise for my body. It is a fact that I have focused on my own health more since starting the blog than at any time in my life. As a soon to be 77-year old who has buried both parents as well as several other aged loved ones, I am very much aware of my own mortality and would like to forestall it as long as possible. I also have a 22-year old daughter whom I would like to see grow up.

Getting back to my ideal weight, because of my focus on good health, I have adopted healthy habits on the positive side and avoid negative ones. So, today, nearly seven years after starting this blog, I find myself weighing 150 pounds. Because I weigh myself every day, I am not surprised at that, but, considering that I thought I was at my ideal weight at 165 , I am a bit surprised. So, what should I weigh? One of the factors contributing to the complexity of this question is the testimony of the senses. What we see looking out at our fellow humans is a skewed population which has 60 percent overweight and 30 percent obese. You need to keep that in mind when thinking about your own weight.

Although I stand 5’9″ tall, I have a small frame. My wrist measures less than 7 inches around.

I found what I consider to be a really helpful web page on the subject and will share it with you here. It was created by Dr. Steven B. Halls in 2008.

According to this page, the average weight that other people of my age, height, weight and gender would describe as their ideal weight is 152 pounds.

The medical recommendation is a range of 129 to 169 pounds. This recommendation is based on a Body Mass Index (BMI) range of 19-25. My current BMI is 21.9. Just for the record, I don’t like BMI as a weight metric. You can check out my post Don’t Get Hung up on Your BMI if you want more info on it.

Other results, based on possibly out of date criteria, the weight look up tables of the Metropolitan Life Insurance company in 1979, offer 144 to 154 pounds. The Met Life tables show values that are too large for short people and wrong for tall folks and have no age modifiers.

So, even though I find myself nearly 20 pounds below what I thought was my idea weight back when we started writing the blog, I am actually right in the correct range.

If you are looking at this because it is near year end and you are thinking about ‘getting healthy’ in the coming year, this is a good starting point. Best of luck.

You can read some very useful guidelines on my Page How to Lose Weight (and Keep it Off) Page.

Tony

4 Comments

Filed under aging, Exercise, exercise and brain health, exercise benefits, ideal weight, Weight

Some diet, fitness and aging funnies

Just some healthy and/or fun ideas to start your weekend.

Workout-Quotes-14.jpg

82f56d64ae0f0ceede3ec8853681bfcb.jpg

 

tumblr_n7g3gyHenz1t33ceao1_500.jpg

Wondy is always welcome here …

Funny-Animals-20-1.jpg

growing-bolder

29af8407f00d8c26fa21e7c9eac42d0d

all-food-must-go-to-the-lab-for-testing-dog-with-a-burger.jpg

Tony

8 Comments

Filed under aging, Exercise, fitness, fitness funnies, fitness humor

Crawling has excellent physical benefits

I am now in my seventh year of writing this blog and I pretty much learn something new every day about living a healthy life because I read about the subject constantly. Nonetheless, I was amazed to learn that crawling is a serious form of exercise with excellent benefits to both the body and brain.

I have written repeatedly that walking is the Cinderella of the exercise world in that its physical benefits are almost totally unappreciated. I’m not sure what to call crawling, that’s right, the same thing that babies do before they are able to walk. I was not even aware that crawling was in the exercise world. I was ignorant.

 

mom-encourages-baby-to-crawl-612x300.jpg

The Health Science Journal says, “Crawling is an important functional milestone as it strengthens the muscles and connective tissues in and around the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, spine and hips. Furthermore, this weight-bearing quadruped motion also helps to stretch the hand ligaments, facilitating the development of the arches. Crawling also opens up the saddle joint at the base of the thumb – essential for being able to perform fine motor skills like holding cutlery, pens and pencils.

“In adulthood, the increasing prevalence of sedentary lifestyles results in many of the deep stabilizing muscles becoming weak and ineffective at performing their functional role. Muscles and connective tissues weaken, posture changes and instability, dysfunction, tightness and pain usually follow, particularly during physical exertion.

“This is why crawling exercises are as effective in adults as they are in infants and can help restore the optimal musculoskeletal health that has occurred as a result of a sustained period of inactivity.”(my emphasis)

This is from The Breaking Muscle website, “Yes, crawling, a seemingly childish and foolish “exercise,” could be the one thing that improves your health, your strength, your mobility, and your performance in any athletic area. It could even improve your ability to think, focus, and reason.

“Crawling is a developmental movement pattern that ties everything about you together. In developing children, crawling activates and integrates the different parts of the brain. Through crawling, neural connections and pathways are established in the brain that allow the brain to become more efficient at communication between the left and right hemispheres. The better the brain can communicate and process information, the better the body moves.1 Crawling also unites your sensory systems. It integrates your vestibular system (your balance system), your proprioceptive system (your sense of self in space, or your self awareness system), and your visual system (your visual system). It can even improve your hand eye coordination.”

Here is a You Tube video on it:

I don’t know about you, but I am going to start crawling today.

Tony

4 Comments

Filed under aging, aging brain, balance training, core exercises, crawling, Exercise, exercise benefits, muscle building, muscles

Optimism may reduce risk of dying prematurely – Harvard

Having an optimistic outlook on life—a general expectation that good things will happen—may help people live longer, according to a new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Based on prospective health data from the Nurses Study in 2004, it found that women who were optimistic had a significantly reduced risk of dying from several major causes of death—including cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection—over an eight-year period, compared with women who were less optimistic.

happiness-04

The study appeared online December 7, 2016 in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under aging, happiness, Positive Psychology