Tag Archives: aging myths

How to age more slowly

Here is further information on the goal and idea of living a long life with a functioning brain throughout.

Tony

True Strange Library

Centenarians reach age 100 because they age more slowly. Genetics play a part in resisting damage that accumulatesover time, but there are things anyone can do to slow the aging process and improve health.

According to Israeli physician Nir Barzilai of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York:

“There is no pattern. The usual recommendations for a healthy life — not smoking, not drinking, plenty of exercise, a well-balanced diet, keeping your weight down — they apply to us average people. But not to them. Centenarians are in a class of their own.” …

“Today’s changes in lifestyle do in fact contribute to whether someone dies at the age of 85 or before age 75.

But in order to reach the age of 100, you need a special genetic make-up. These people age differently. Slower. They end up dying of the same diseases…

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Age: It’s Just a Number

There are some superb concepts in this post that are in harmony with much of what I have written on living a long, healthy, happy life with your brain still functioning throughout. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Tony

The Other Side of 55

“Age is just a number, and agelessness means not buying into the idea that a number determines everything from your state of health to your attractiveness to your value. You can be younger at 60 than you were at 30 because you’ve changed your attitude and your lifestyle. To be ageless is to defy the rules of what it supposedly means to be this age or that age. It is, quite simply, to never ‘grow old’ – to never feel as if the best days are behind you and it’s all downhill from here.”

Christiane Northrup, M.D. (from ‘Goddesses Never Age’).

There’s a great line in the original Crocodile Dundee movie when Sue asks Mick when he was born and he says, “In the summer”. He has no idea how many years he has lived (i.e., how ‘old’ he is), and so his age doesn’t limit him…

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Do we have to gain weight as we age?

I just took a WebMD quiz on weight and aging and barely passed. I read and write about this stuff every day and wasn’t sure about a number of answers.

You can take the quiz  by clicking the link in the lead.

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Here are a couple of questions that tripped me up:

Thinner is better as you get older. True of False. I thought it was true. But, no. Here is WebMD’s answer, “You want to be healthy, not frail. For older adults, what matters most is how active you are and whether you can do all your everyday activities. While it’s important to stay at a healthy weight, how much of your weight is muscle instead of fat is also key. Your doctor can tell you if your weight is on track.”

Here is one more example, but I suggest you take the quiz as it has lots of good information.

Gaining weight is a fact of aging. True of False. I thought, incorrectly, True. Here is WebMD’s answer, “You can keep your weight steady as you age. It does get harder, but it’s possible. Those corners you cut when you were younger (huge portions, happy hours, little to no exercise)? You can’t get away with them anymore. But age doesn’t have to equal weight gain.”

As an old guy, I should have got this one right. The fact about cutting corners is something I face every day. There are no corners to cut – and get away with. One of the facts of life of aging is that your margin of error shrinks to virtually nothing. Here is an example. Twenty years ago when I caught a cold, I would be over it in a couple of days. Now, if I catch a cold, it is at least a week affair and probably longer. That’s one of the reasons that I am so scrupulous about me health. There is no margin of error.

I hope you will click the link and take the test. I bet you will learn something.

Tony

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Filed under aging, aging myths, Exercise, exercise benefits, longevity, successful aging

Keeping your weight in check as you age

I am aging along with everybody else on this earth. That has important aspects and implications. Me at 30 is not the same as me at 50 nor me at plus 70. It helps to know what to expect.

Most of our lives we hear that thinner is better. That is true, but for older folks activity becomes a more important factor. We have to be able to continue to do all our activities. As WebMD says, “It’s less about what you weigh and more about how much of your weight is muscle instead of fat. Your doctor can tell you if your weight is on track, in light of your age and overall health.”

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Don’t cop out. “My metabolism is slowing” is a fact from our 20’s onward. It’s not a reason to stop working on your weight and health. If you stop being active, your body will shift to more fat and less muscle. Fat doesn’t burn calories, so an inactive person will gain weight. Eat less, move more is the mantra of this blog and should be of every person.

Being active works muscles and allows you to consume more calories. Sedentary oldsters are the ones with weight and health problems. You can have some cake and eat it, too, just choose a reasonable amount.

WebMd makes a good point about aging and eating, “Those corners you cut when you were younger (huge portions, happy hours, little to no exercise) You can’t get away with that any more. But age does not have to equal weight gain.”

Check out my previous post on strength training. Even if your muscles have slacked off with you, you can revive them and revitalize yourself. Muscle loss isn’t permanent. Health clubs have free weights, weight machines and there are numerous exercises you can do just using your own body weight including yoga that will build muscle.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle due to aging. This results from lack of activity, hormonal changes and poor nutrition. Eat less and move more. Sarcopenia does not have to be a permanent condition.

The bottom line is that your health doesn’t have to shrink and your waistline doesn’t have to bulge as you age. But, you do have to take an active part in the process. As you age, your margin of error does shrink. So, pay close attention to what and how much you eat. Get out there and get some exercise. Walking is a very good way to start. It works your muscles and clears your mind as well as burning the odd calorie.

Check out my Page – How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off for more guidelines.

No one likes folks who don’t practice what they preach. About 10 years ago my weight got out of control and I ballooned over 220 pounds. I took off 50 pounds in a year, but that only got me down to the mid-170’s. You can read How I lost 50 pounds in 52 weeks.

I am now 77 years old and wear the same size pants I wore in high school. I ride my bike around 6000 miles a year here in Chicago. My resting heart rate is below 50 beats per minute. I have weighed in the low 150s for six years. If I can reach this level of health, there is no reason you can’t, too. Just decide to do it.

Tony

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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.”

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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

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

80-year old reshaping views of aging in China

In this blog devoted to living a long healthy life with a fully functional brain at the end, I just had to share this news item on “China’s hottest grandpa.”

Here is a link to the article in today’s New York Times.

I never thought I would be offering you a video with Chinese as the spoken language, but there is a sub-titled translation below it and you will have a chance to meet the sparkling Mr. Deshun for yourself.

“Determined to avoid mental and physical stagnation, Mr. Wang has explored new skills and ideas while devoting ample time to daily exercise. Last year, he walked the runway for the first time, his physique causing a national sensation. He takes obvious joy in subverting China’s image of what it means to be old,” Didi Kirsten Tatlow wrote in the Times.

I was not aware that old age in China begins relatively early. “The legal retirement age for women is 50 for workers and 55 for civil servants, and 60 for most men.”

Besides his healthy mental outlook, he carries on his avid interest in swimming managing a half mile a day. (my emphasis)

He says that he is not picky about food. He eats whatever he wants. Clearly, he is making good choices to be in such wonderful condition.

Tony

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“Super-aging” seniors retain healthy memory abilities – Study

Because I have both Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family, I am extremely sensitive to this kind of news about the aging brain and memory. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits) to read further.

Some loss of memory is often considered an inevitable part of aging, but new research reveals how some people appear to escape that fate. A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators examines a remarkable group of older adults whose memory performance is equivalent to that of younger individuals and finds that certain key areas of their brains resemble those of young people.

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The study published in The Journal of Neuroscience is the first step in a research program aimed at understanding how some older adults retain youthful thinking abilities and the brain circuits that support those abilities. The program is led by Bradford Dickerson, MD, director of the Frontotemporal Disorders Unit in the MGH Department of Neurology and Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, MGH Department of Psychiatry, who are co-senior authors of the new study.

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You may not be as young as you feel, but almost … Harvard

I post on a lot of subjects having to do with living longer. Most of them are indirect, like eat less; move more; live longer. But, an issue of the Harvard Health Letter focuses on something directly related to living longer. Namely, how you feel about yourself at your age.

Heidi Goldman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter writes, “I just celebrated a birthday, and not the kind women like to crow about. Let’s just say I’m mid-century modern. But I feel as young and as vibrant as ever. I have energy, a zest for life, and a real sense of purpose. And it turns out that this youthful feeling may pay off big-time. A research letter in JAMA Internal Medicine found that older people who felt three or more years younger than their actual (chronological) age had a lower death rate compared with those who felt their age or those who felt more than one year older than their actual age.

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You’re as young as you feel
“Two researchers at University College London looked at the responses of about 6,500 men and women who answered the question, “How old do you feel you are?” The respondents were age 52 and older, with an average age of 65. Their answers:
•    about 70% felt three or more years younger than their actual age
•    25% felt close to their actual age
•    5% felt more than one year older than their actual age
What came next was the really interesting part: Eight years after study participants answered the age question, researchers determined which ones were still alive:
•    75% of those who felt older than their age
•    82% of those who felt their actual age
•    86% of those who felt younger than their actual age.

More than just a state of mind?
“Did a youthful feeling keep people alive? There was no association between self-perceived age and cancer death. But researchers did find that the relationship between self-perceived age and cardiovascular death was strong. They speculate that feeling younger may lead to better health habits. “Feeling younger or older itself seems to have an effect on our health,” says Dr. Ronald D. Siegel, assistant professor of psychology, part time, at Harvard Medical School. (my emphasis)

“He says there are several ways that feeling younger psychologically might lead to better health. One is exercise. Good health is associated with 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. “When people see themselves as old, they’re more likely to abandon physical challenges which feel difficult, such as, ‘I don’t think I should ski any more, I’m an old man.’ When people feel younger psychologically, even if physical exercise is challenging, they’re more likely to pursue it, believing no pain no gain,” Dr. Siegel explains.

“Another way that feeling younger leads to better health may be attitude about diet. “If we feel old, we’re likely to treat food with an ‘I won’t live much longer, I might as well enjoy this’ attitude which could lead us to eat unhealthfully. If we feel young, we may have more of a future-orientation that will lead us to eat with future health in mind.” Avoiding added sugars, trans fats and saturated fats, and increasing dietary fiber, good fats, whole grains, and omega 3 fatty acids is important for good health. Continue reading

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Myth: Older adults have a higher risk of injury when starting to exercise

This study indicates that older adults taking up exercise are not at increased risk of injury versus younger age groups.

Aspirus Healthy Aging Service Line

Sometimes the fear of getting hurt prevents older adults from starting an exercise program. However, new research shows this is not the case.

The research findings were published last week by the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, conducted by the University of Western Ontario London.

The study looked at 12 months of data for exercise-related injuries in previously sedentary community-dwelling older adults following an exercise intervention. Here’s a summary of the study’s methods, results and conclusions with 167 older adults participating.

A questionnaire developed for use in older adults was administered to document self-reported injuries. Linear regression analysis was conducted to identify covariates related to injury outcomes.

Results summary: 23 people (14%) reported injuries. 41% of injuries were to the lower extremities, where the most common type was overuse muscle strains (32%, n=7). Overexertion was the most common cause of injury (n=9) and walking accounted for half of the…

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Debunking Myths about Aging

Major life changes are coin of the realm for senior citizens whose experience includes retirement from a lifelong career, loss of loved ones and the physical changes of aging. The last thing seniors need is bad information on the changes they are living through.

Help.org dispels several of the most widespread and damaging myths.

Don’t let an insensitive traffic sign get you down (Sarasota FL)

MYTH: Old age means poor health and disability.
Fact: There are some diseases that are more common in older adults. However, getting old does not automatically mean poor health or that you will be confined to a walker or wheelchair. Plenty of older adults enjoy vigorous health. Preventative measures like healthy eating, exercising and managing stress can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and fall risk later in life. We have covered each of these subjects in the blog. Here are several: Exercise, Aging and the Brain. Some Super Tools for Handling Stress, Mediterranean Diet Linked to Slower Mental Decline – Tufts.

MYTH: Memory loss is an inevitable part of aging.
Fact: You may eventually notice you don’t remember experiences as easily as in the past, and memories may take longer to retrieve. However, significant memory loss is not an inevitable result of aging. Brain training and new learning can occur at any age. And there are many things you can do to keep your memory sharp. We posted Memory Loss is Not Inevitable for Seniors.

MYTH: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Fact: One of the more damaging myths of aging is that after a certain age, you just won’t be able to try anything new or contribute things anymore. Quite the contrary. Older adults are just as capable of learning new things, thriving in new environments, and sharing their wisdom and experience with many generations.  If you believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself, you are setting up a positive environment for change no matter what your age. We posted Optimizing Brain Fitness.

You can find other relevant blog items by clicking on the tags at the right such as aging, brain, stress, exercise and relaxation.

I am a senior citizen and I practice everything listed on this page. I am going kicking and screaming into old age. The biggest mistake you can make is to quit on yourself. Check out my post from my recent birthday I am 75 and Happy to be Alive.

Tony

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