Tag Archives: aging

7 Sleep mistakes you don’t know you’re making – Infographic

Sleep is one of the truly under-appreciated aspects of living a long and healthy life. I know for sure that when I was in the working world, I pretty much considered sleep to be an imposition on my life.

Times, and my mind, have changed. Please check out my Page – How important is a good night’s sleep for more on this crucial aspect of our daily lives.

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Tony

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Filed under brain, brain function, brain health, good night's sleep, sleep, sleep deprivation, Uncategorized

Good health in simple steps – NIA

Living a healthy life is simple but not easy. This infographic from the National Institute on Aging makes it very clear.

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, sugar, sugary soft drinks, Weight, weight control, whole grains

Fitness, health and aging funnies

Found these in my web wandering. Enjoy!

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Tony

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Filed under aging, fitness funnies

The excellence of Tom Brady

I wrote this two years ago just ahead of the Super Bowl. Thought it was worth revisiting ahead of this year’s big game.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

I write about diet, exercise and living longer. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is playing in the Super Bowl tomorrow. What’s the connection?

While I am big fan of the NFL and can’t wait for tomorrow’s game, I am writing about Tom Brady for totally other reasons. On January 16, I ran across the article Tom Brady Cannot Stop by Mark Leibovich in the New York Times Magazine. The piece offers some worthwhile insights into the charismatic character that is Tom Brady so often written about in broad strokes resulting in sketchy two dimensional pictures. Leibovitch accomplished much more than that.

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While I admired Brady’s excellence on the field and his wonderful apparently totally successful life, Super Bowl winner, multimillionaire, happily married to a supermodel, etc., I had no clear idea about him as a human being.

Mark Leibovich fixed that. The entire idea about this blog is…

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.”

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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.

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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

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Musicians have faster reflexes – Study

I always loved that famous William Congreve quote – ” Music has charms that soothe the savage breast.” It’s often misquoted as the savage breast. I confess, I am a music lover. Sadly, the only instrument I play is my stereo. I never got around to actually learning how to play an actual instrument. More’s the pity.

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Researchers at University of Montreal’s audiology school find that musicians have faster reaction times than non-musicians – and that could have implications for the elderly.

Could learning to play a musical instrument help the elderly react faster and stay alert?

Quite likely, according to a new study by Université de Montréal’s School of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, part of UdeM’s medical faculty.

Published in the U.S. journal Brain and Cognition, the study shows that musicians have faster reaction times to sensory stimuli than non-musicians have.

And that has implications for preventing some effects of aging, said lead researcher Simon Landry, whose study is part of his doctoral thesis in biomedical science.

“The more we know about the impact of music on really basic sensory processes, the more we can apply musical training to individuals who might have slower reaction times,” Landry said.

“As people get older, for example, we know their reaction times get slower. So if we know that playing a musical instrument increases reaction times, then maybe playing an instrument will be helpful for them.”

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The weather’s not to blame for your aches and pains – Study

Do you remember the old ads for Chiffon Margarine a while back that showed Mother Nature trying some and thinking it was real butter. When told it wasn’t she uttered the famous line, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” You can see it on You Tube below

Turns out it’s not nice to blame Mother Nature either.

New research from The George Institute for Global Health has revealed the weather plays no part in the symptoms associated with either back pain or osteoarthritis.

It’s long been thought episodes of both back pain and arthritis can be triggered by changes in the weather, including temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind direction and precipitation.

Professor Chris Maher, of The George Institute for Global Health, said: “The belief that pain and inclement weather are linked dates back to Roman times. But our research suggests this belief may be based on the fact that people recall events that confirm their preexisting views.

“Human beings are very susceptible so it’s easy to see why we might only take note of pain on the days when it’s cold and rainy outside, but discount the days when they have symptoms but the weather is mild and sunny.” Continue reading

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Filed under osteoarthritis pain, pain, Pain relief, weather

Walking program linked to reduced disability

Falls are a top cause of disability for older adults. But a study published Sept. 26, 2016, in Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that adopting a regular routine of moderate physical activity, such as walking, helps older adults remain mobile longer and may also help them to recover faster from physical disabilities, according to Harvard Health Publications.

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Researchers analyzed information from a previous randomized controlled trial that divided 1,600 sedentary adults ages 70 to 89 into two groups. One group received ongoing health education classes that included upper-body stretching exercises. The other group took part in a structured exercise program several days a week that included walking and some strength, flexibility, and balance training.

Researchers assessed both groups over a period of three-and-a-half years. The new study concludes that people in the exercise group reduced the amount of time spent suffering from major disability by 25%, compared with people in the health education group. People in the exercise group also appeared less likely to experience disability in the first place, and more likely to recover if they did.

While falls cause serious injuries to older adults, the exercise walking benefits all ages, please check out my Page – Why you should walk more to see how good it is for you.

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

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.

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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

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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.

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“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

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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

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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.

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Wondy is always welcome here …

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Tony

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