I just ran across this newly-published set of guidelines for helping seniors succeed in retaining their mental function and well-being as they age. As a senior myself who has a family with a history of Alzheimer’s and dementia I found it to be on point with my own situation.
The Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) is an independent collaborative of scientists, health professionals, scholars, and policy experts from around the world who are working in areas of brain health related to human cognition. The GCBH focuses on brain health relating to people’s ability to think and reason as they age, including aspects of memory, perception and judgment.
We believe the following suggestions will increase the chances for people to experience or optimize mental well-being. If you are already engaging in these healthy activities, continue to do so, and consider trying something new as well.
1. Take the time to develop and strengthen relationships with family and friends. For more about the brain health benefits of strong social ties, see the GCBH report, The Brain and Social Connectedness: GCBH Recommendations on Social Engagement and Brain Health.
This is one of those one picture is worth a thousand words posts. As a guy turning 79 in January, I feel like living proof of that. Get out and move that body. You don’t have to get hard core, you can walk. Walking is simple weight-bearing exercise that benefits your bones as well as your brains. Check out my Page – Why you should walk more to learn more.
Also, feel free to check out my Page – Important facts about your brain and exercise benefits,
I have said it more than once, I am not a health club kind of guy. Exercise is great, I just don’t like the restricted atmosphere I feel in a health club. So I was thrilled to run across this item from Harvard Medical School on simple items you can use for exercise without going to one.
You needn’t spend a cent on fancy equipment to get a good core workout. Many core exercises rely on your body weight alone. But with the help of some simple equipment, you can diversify and ramp up your workouts.
The following items can help you put a new twist on your core exercises. Most of them can already be found around your house or are available at low cost from a sporting goods store.
- Chair. Choose a sturdy chair that won’t tip over easily. A plain wooden dining chair without arms or heavy padding works well.
- Mat. Use a nonslip, well-padded mat. Yoga mats are readily available. A thick carpet or towels will do in a pinch.
- Yoga strap. This is a non-elastic cotton or nylon strap of six feet or longer that helps you position your body properly during certain stretches, or while doing the easier variation of a stretch. Choose a strap with a D-ring or buckle fastener on one end. This allows you to put a loop around your foot or leg and then grasp the other end of the strap.
- Medicine balls. Similar in size to a soccer ball or basketball, medicine balls come in different weights. Some have a handle on top. A 4-pound to 6-pound medicine ball is a good start for most people.
- Bosu. A Bosu Balance Trainer is essentially half a stability ball mounted on a heavy rubber platform that holds the ball firmly in place.
For more ways to challenge your core muscles, purchase Core Exercises, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
I think it is always a good idea to have a game plan. Hopefully, this will help you to enjoy your holiday eating more.
Eat less; move more; live longer. Those words are the mantra of this blog. I realize that they are also easier said than done especially at this time of year – holiday season.
We seem to be hard-wired to celebrate by eating. Maybe it goes back to the time we had to hunt for our food. When we managed to kill something edible that was reason for celebration and we did. We ate our fill because we didn’t know when our next meal would be. But, times have changed and a trip to a supermarket is enough to feed an entire family for a week. So there is no need to eat till we are bursting at any single meal or event.
The holidays are a particularly trying time. There are various family celebrations along with parties at friends and neighbors. Each is a special form of temptation that we have to deal with. Continue reading
Eat less; move more; live longer. It works every time. Here is more good news. This time from a program specifically for very seniors – over 75s.
A program of personalized physical exercise implemented over a three-year period and involving 370 people over the age of 75 admitted to the Geriatric Service of the Hospital Complex of Navarre (CHN) has turned out to be “safe and effective” in reversing the functional deterioration associated with hospitalization to which patients in this age group are subjected. Other aspects such as cognitive status and life quality also benefited.
This is the conclusion of a research project coordinated by Nicolás Martínez-Velilla and Mikel Izquierdo-Redín, researchers at Navarrabiomed, the biomedical research centre of the Government of Navarre and the Public University of Navarre (NUP/UPNA); its results have just been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA Internal Medicine).
These findings open up the possibility of medical hospitalization units changing their traditional paradigm to focus on functional status as a clinical sign that may be negatively affected by traditional hospitalization classically based on bed rest. Continue reading
Eat less; move move; live longer remains the manta of this blog. So, when we learned that there were new guidelines for physical activity from the department of Health and Human Services (HHS), we thought you might be interested, too.
This morning at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, ADM Brett P. Giroir, Assistant Secretary for Health launched the second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
The second edition is based on the latest scientific evidence that shows that physical activity conveys even more health benefits than previously known. New aspects include discussions of:
- Additional health benefits related to brain health, additional cancer sites, and fall-related injuries;
- Immediate and longer term benefits for how people feel, function, and sleep;
- Further benefits among older adults and people with additional chronic conditions;
- Risks of sedentary behavior and their relationship with physical activity;
- Guidance for preschool children (ages 3 through 5 years);
- Elimination of the requirement for physical activity of adults to occur in bouts of at least 10 minutes; and
- Tested strategies that can be used to get the population more active.
If you want to know the entire story, you can download the entire set of guidelines in PDF form.
I have a bad case of arthritis in both my hands. I use exercise balls, ice packs and CBD oil for temporary pain relief. That is pretty much the only pain I deal with regularly. So, I guess I have a lot to be thankful for as a guy who turns 79 in January. I do realize, however, that many seniors are not so lucky. For them, I recommend these tips from the National Institute on Aging.
Exercising when you’re in pain can be hard. You might think that you should rest until your pain disappears. But depending on the type of pain you’re experiencing, exercise can help reduce your pain and improve your mood.
Most people living with chronic pain can exercise safely. In fact, research has shown that exercise combined with education can reduce one’s risk of lower back pain.
Follow these tips for exercising with pain:
- Pace yourself. Begin your program slowly with low-intensity exercises and work up from there.
- Talk to your doctor. Pain usually doesn’t go away overnight, so talk with your health care provider about how long it may take before you feel better and about what exercises you can do safely.
- Know which exercises to do. Endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises all have their own benefits, so doing a combination of exercises may be best.
- Don’t overdo it. Listen to your body. Avoid overexerting yourself when you feel good. If you have pain or swelling in a specific area, switch your focus to another area for a couple of days.
Learn more about exercising with pain from Go4Life.
I have written so many times about the benefits of exercise on the body and brain that this almost seems repetitious. On the other hand, it is nice to see the exact hormones at work.
On the off chance that you are not familiar with it, please check out my Page – Important facts about your brain – (and exercise benefits.)
How many times have I written eat less; move more; live longer. Now comes the Cleveland Clinic with a study that virtually says those very words – only better.
Cleveland Clinic researchers have found that better cardiorespiratory fitness leads to longer life, with no limit to the benefit of aerobic fitness.
Researchers retrospectively studied 122,007 patients who underwent exercise treadmill testing at Cleveland Clinic between Jan. 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 2014, to measure all-cause mortality relating to the benefits of exercise and fitness. The paper was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open.
The study found that increased cardiorespiratory fitness was directly associated with reduced long-term mortality, with no limit on the positive effects of aerobic fitness. Extreme aerobic fitness was associated with the greatest benefit, particularly in older patients (70 and older) and in those with hypertension.
“Aerobic fitness is something that most patients can control. And we found in our study there is no limit to how much exercise is too much,” said Wael Jaber, M.D., Cleveland Clinic cardiologist and senior author of the study. “Everyone should be encouraged to achieve and maintain high fitness levels.” Continue reading
Although I personally prefer moderate intensity exercise, maybe it’s my age, I understand that a lot of younger folks are into the high intensity activity. More power to you.
A few minutes of high-intensity interval or sprinting exercise may be as effective as much longer exercise sessions in spurring beneficial improvements in mitochondrial function, according to new research. The small study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
Mitochondria, the energy centers of the cells, are essential for good health. Previous research has found that exercise creates new mitochondria and improves the function of existing mitochondria. Altered mitochondrial function in response to a single session of exercise generates signals that may lead to beneficial changes in the cells, lowering the risk for chronic disease. High-intensity interval exercise consists of short bursts of high-intensity aerobic exercise—physical activity that raises the heart rate—alternating with brief recovery periods. Whether the intensity of a workout affects mitochondrial response is unclear. Continue reading
I just ran across this infographic and was touched by its simplicity. Basic as it is, I hope you have these going for you on a daily basis. I think they are the keys to a long and healthy life.
As a senior, I consider this to be very good news.
People who include a little yoga or tai chi in their day may be more likely to remember where they put their keys. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Japan’s University of Tsukuba found that even very light workouts can increase the connectivity between parts of the brain responsible for memory formation and storage.
In a study of 36 healthy young adults, the researchers discovered that a single 10-minute period of mild exertion can yield considerable cognitive benefits. Using high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging, the team examined subjects’ brains shortly after exercise sessions and saw better connectivity between the hippocampal dentate gyrus and cortical areas linked to detailed memory processing.
Their results were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading
I stumbled across this and thought it might interest you. As regular readers know I am a 78-year-old guy who lives in Chicago and rides his bike daily. I am most grateful for the ability to do just that. There are many seniors, perhaps someone in your family, who have lost some mobility. In the course of writing this blog I have become aware of just how damaging a sedentary lifestyle can be. I thought there were some interesting ideas expressed in the video (less than 3 minutes) which was produced by the BBC in Britain.
To read further on the effects of a sedentary lifestyle check out the following posts:
Combat that sedentary lifestyle with more movement – Harvard
Fitness over 50 – Overcoming a sedentary lifestyle – Harvard
A physiologic link between heart disease and a sedentary lifestyle
Exercise may help counter health risks of a sedentary lifestyle
Physical activity cuts heart disease risks for seniors – AHA
With age, expression of a small molecule that can silence others goes way up while a key signaling molecule that helps stem cells make healthy bone goes down, scientists report.
They have the first evidence in both mouse and human mesenchymal stem cells that this unhealthy shift happens, and that correcting it can result in healthier bone formation.
The small molecule is microRNA-141-3p and the signaling molecule is stromal-cell derived factor, or SDF-1, they report in the Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences.
“If you are 20 years old and making great bone, you would still have microRNA-141-3p in your mesenchymal stem cells. But when you are 81 and making weaker bone, you have a lot more of it,” says Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, bone biologist in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.
Restoring a more youthful balance could be a novel strategy for reducing age-associated problems likes osteoporosis and the impaired ability to heal bone breaks, says Fulzele, a corresponding author on the study. Continue reading
The living longer phrase in my Diet, Exercise and Living Longer title assumes that one has his mental faculties intact. Having seen first hand the scourge of dementia, I don’t want any part of that if I can help it. Exercise is super for combating cognitive problems. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain – (and exercise benefits) to learn more.
The blueberry, already labeled a ‘super fruit’ for its power to potentially lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, also could be another weapon in the war against Alzheimer’s disease. New research being presented today further bolsters this idea, which is being tested by many teams. The fruit is loaded with healthful antioxidants, and these substances could help prevent the devastating effects of this increasingly common form of dementia, scientists report.
The researchers presented their work at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS). ACS. It featured more than 12,500 presentations on a wide range of science topics. Continue reading
More exercise was not always better, and the study found that exercising for 45 minutes three to five times a week was associated with the biggest benefits.
Riding a bike scored really high in the study
The study included all types of physical activity, ranging from childcare, housework, lawn-mowing and fishing to cycling, going to the gym, running and skiing.
Exercise reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and mortality from all causes, but its association with mental health remains unclear.
Previous research into the effect of exercise on mental health has conflicting results. While some evidence suggests that exercise may improve mental health, the relationship could go both ways – for example inactivity could be a symptom of and contributor to poor mental health, and being active could be a sign of or contribute to resilience. The authors note that their study cannot confirm cause and effect.