Tag Archives: exercise

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Yoga and Meditation Can Be a Boon to Seniors and Their Caregivers

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Yoga and Meditation Can Be a Boon to Seniors and Their Caregivers

By Harry Cline :newcaregiver.org

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Yoga and meditation offer a number of important benefits to seniors and those in a caregiving role.  Bending and stretching are good for our minds and bodies at any age.  Our physical and mental wellness can be improved with some basic exercises, helping us to better flex and focus.    



Older, Wiser, And Stronger

Many people apply the phrase “use it or lose it” to aging bodies and minds, but it’s often done so tongue-in-cheek.  However, as Psychology Today points out, physical activity is especially important as we grow older, and it’s not just our bodies that benefit.  In fact, 70-year-olds who exercise an average of 200 minutes per week can maintain or even improve their brain function.  Their brains actually start growing, effectively reversing the aging process, when their sedentary peers are experiencing brain shrinkage.

Yoga and deep breathing exercises offer special benefits, helping to reduce stress hormones.  Participating in any form of yoga program can help improve flexibility, strength and balance, which is important to seniors since falling becomes a higher risk if those aspects wane with age. 

Pretzels, Floors And Handstands

Yoga can be intimidating to many seniors.  Creeping around on the floor, bending into impossible positions and throwing your legs over your head might sound like a great way to end up in the emergency room, or at least laid up in bed for a week.  It’s important to keep in mind you don’t need to participate in an extreme program to reap the benefits of yoga.  You don’t even need to go to a gym, since there are in-home exercises for seniors using technology such as YouTube exercise videos, fitness apps and Wii games. 

There are gentle yoga classes designed for people who are new to yoga and chair yoga is a smart option for those with limited mobility or who just want a set of exercises they can perform anywhere.  In addition to being able to participate in any location, many chair yoga poses are simple.  You just need a sturdy chair and comfortable clothing.  For gentle yoga, Sixty & Me suggests getting started with an instructor or watching some instructional videos.  Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and keep a floor mat handy for a soft exercise surface.

Feeling, Sensing And Thinking

Practicing yoga involves meditation.  Meditation involves mindfulness, which is basically being in the moment and aware of the sensations you are experiences.  You can improve your sleep habits by focusing on what you are feeling and by doing deep breathing exercises.  Being more aware of messages from your body can help you better cope with pain and avoid overeating.  Meditation can improve your patience, focus and self-esteem.  Mayo Clinic explains meditation can help manage symptoms associated with many chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease and asthma. 

For those who are under a great deal of stress such as in the role of caregiver, mindfulness is a particularly useful stress relief tool.  To get started, contrary to what many believe, you don’t have to have silence.  Some people find it helpful to listen to environmental sounds or soft, soothing music.  Soaking in a bath can also be helpful, offering gentle sensation to contemplate.  Avoid being judgmental about what you are feeling and thinking, and allow yourself to sense and focus.  Awareness of your breathing and the associated sensations can help ease you into a mindful state, and it’s a technique you can use in any circumstances. 

Growing older doesn’t have to mean loss of ability.  With some simple techniques, you can enjoy the many perks of participating in yoga and meditation, enhancing your physical and mental wellness.  Improved health of the mind and body can mean better quality of life for seniors and their caregivers. 

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Dieting, Sleep, and Weight Gain

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Dieting, Sleep, and Weight Gain

Source: Tuck – Advancing Better Sleep


Sleep Deprivation And Weight GainGood sleep helps control weight. Poor sleep leads to weight gain and vice versa. These are general statements, of course, and individual experience may vary, but if you are trying to diet and lose weight or you are trying to improve your sleep, it pays to keep these interactions in mind.

Obesity rates have risen in the US and worldwide in recent years as sleep times have (possibly) declined. It is important to not read too much into this. It is interesting, though, and there may be a little bit of cause-and-effect going on.


Sleep Deprivation And Weight Gain

Sleep loss and deprivation causes a host of problems from irritability to impaired cognition, the most notable of which is weight gain.

Sleep deprivation affects four primary hormones related to weight gain.

  • Ghrelin, nicknamed the hunger hormone, tells your brain when it’s hungry and it should eat.
  • Leptin, nicknamed the satiety hormone, tells your brain when it’s full.
  • Cortisol is a stress hormone that activates upon waking and conserves energy as fat reserves to use as fuel during your day.
  • Insulin is a peptide hormone that regulates your body’s ability to process food into energy.


Sleep deprivation increases your ghrelin production and reduces your leptin production, so your brain thinks it’s hungrier more often, and is less able to recognize when it’s full. Sleep deprivation also affects your body’s ability to properly metabolize carbohydrates. As a result, you’ll experience higher blood sugar levels, leading to increased insulin and cortisol production. As your insulin resistance grows, your body doesn’t process fat and sugars as well, instead storing more of it as fat, resulting in weight gain.



Sleep deprivation also reduces your self-control, making it difficult to stick to a diet or making one more prone to indulge in junk food. A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep-deprived individuals were likelier to eat high-carb snacks and engage in more late-night snacking that individuals who received sufficient sleep.

Individuals who slept less than 5 hours per night were likelier to consume more calories, less water, and more carbohydrates overall, according to a 2013 study published in the journal Appetite.

Some researchers have even equated the cravings associated with sleep deprivation to be similar to those brought on by marijuana use.

Sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to snack later at night, eat bigger portions, and experience higher cravings for high-carbohydrate and fat-rich foods. Making matters worse is that sleep deprivation also reduces your energy and increases fatigue, so you’re less inclined to exercise and work off that extra weight gain.

What does all this mean? When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, you’re likelier to gain weight. It’s important to get enough quality uninterrupted sleep during the night (typically 7 to 7.5 hours for the average adult) to maintain a healthy weight.


Insomnia And Weight

Insomnia can be caused by both physical and emotional factors. Many individuals experience stressful or anxious thoughts as a result of their weight, whether they weigh a “normal” amount or not. These thoughts can lead to depression, which is a co-morbid condition with insomnia. People who are stressed, depressed, or anxious have a tougher time falling asleep at night.

Insomnia is also linked with eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Some individuals rely on diet pills and weight loss products that wreak havoc on the body and typically contain sleep-disrupting stimulants like caffeine or guarana. Furthermore, dieting individuals or those with an eating disorder are prone to ingesting higher amounts of caffeine than normal in an attempt to maintain their energy levels despite reduced caloric intake – this can energize the body and make it tougher to sleep at night.

Behavioral therapy can help individuals with insomnia as much of it is related to managing thought processes and behaviors. Insomnia stemming from a physical condition such as obesity or sleep apnea can be treated by addressing the physical condition first. Insomnia from an emotional condition can be alleviated by avoiding high caloric intake and snacking late at night, sticking to a strict bedtime and wake schedule, and incorporating relaxation techniques before bed. Melatonin has also been shown to be an effective sleep aid for insomnia.

Can insomnia cause you to lose weight? In most cases, insomnia causes sleep deprivation that in turn causes weight gain. In the instances where insomnia causes sleep loss, it is often correlated with increased levels of physical activity during the day that counteract the effects of the sleep deprivation.


Does Sleeping Late Cause Weight Gain?

Despite all this talk about the importance of getting sufficient sleep to prevent weight gain, it’s important not to confuse the relationship between sleep and weight gain. Sleeping too late, or oversleeping, does not result in sleep loss. In fact, it may do the reverse.

Researchers at Northwestern Medicine found that late sleepers consume more calories overall, typically later in the day, and don’t eat as well either – consuming less fruits and vegetables, and twice as much fast food and sodas than early risers. If late sleepers don’t take care to exercise, these additional calories can amount to as many as 2 pounds per month in weight gain for night owls. Plus, overeating at night energizes the body, which can cause these night owls to suffer from insomnia.

The Northwestern study also noted the importance of not only how many calories you consume, but also the timing of your meals in relation to your circadian clock. Your circadian rhythms regulate many of your bodily functions, including your metabolism, core body temperature, hormone production, organ function, and sleep-wake cycle.


Metabolic Syndrome

Lack of sleep increases your risk for metabolic syndrome. Fragmented sleep disrupts glucose levels and can lead to related disorders. Metabolic syndrome is marked by two or more of the following: hypertension, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and obesity, especially with excess weight in the belly. It is very common in middle-aged Americans.

Losing 30 minutes of sleep per day over a sustained period can increase your body’s insulin resistance. Due to hectic work schedules, many people accumulate sleep debt during the workweek and aim to makeup for it on the weekend. However, this pattern can result in long-term metabolic problems that lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity, one 2015 study found.

Here are some scary numbers that should convince you of the value of sleep. A study found individuals who receive 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night are twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome than individuals who receive 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Further long sleepers also have an increased risk of the syndrome.

An article published in the scientific Journal Sleep a few years ago went so far as to claim sleep problems could predict the onset of metabolic syndrome. Both loud snoring and difficulty falling asleep were correlated with later development of the syndrome. Further, for people without other risk factors, loud snoring (but not difficulty falling asleep) increases the risk of metabolic syndrome. The authors suggest that sleep fragmentation caused by snoring may lead to both weight gain and an immune system response with higher levels of stress markers in the body.

In general, sleep disturbances can increase oxidative stress which may contribute to weight gain. And of course, apnea, often precipitated by excessive body weight, causes fragmented sleep and stress on the body.


Improving Sleep Through Diet

Can losing weight help you get better sleep? Yes. One study of obese people found that weight loss surgery significantly reduced their sleep problems, reducing snoring from 82% to 14%, sleep apnea from 33% to 2%, daytime sleepiness from 39% to 4%, and poor sleep quality from 39% to 2%.

Sleeping more than 9 hours or less than 6 hours is linked with increased weight gain. Adjusting your sleep time to somewhere in the 7 to 7.5-hour range may help you shed some extra pounds.


Sleep Apnea

Affecting an estimated 18 million Americans, sleep apnea describes sleep-disordered breathing that causes the individual to stop breathing during sleep. In its mildest forms, it causes heavy snoring by the individual, and in extreme cases of obstructive sleep apnea, the person can gasp and choke to the point that they are repeatedly roused from sleep during the night. Sleep apnea is heavily associated with obesity, heart attacks, stroke, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Being overweight puts one at higher risk of sleep apnea, because the increased weight can put more pressure on the airways and make it more difficult to breathe during the night. Because many individuals with sleep apnea are also overweight, they may be less prone to exercise or eat well. Further, the daytime sleepiness resulting from their sleep apnea may make them even less inclined to change diet or exercise, since they experience lowered energy levels, poorer mood, and decreased self-control from accumulated sleep loss.

Treating sleep apnea with the use of a CPAP machine can lessen symptoms, leading an affected individual to get more quality, less-disrupted sleep during the night. Plus, better sleep alleviates the symptoms of sleep deprivation, making it easier for individuals to alter their diet and begin an exercise program.

Weight loss is often prescribed as a treatment for sleep apnea, based on studies showing that weight loss can reduce symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.


Paleo And Low-Carb Diets

Individuals who adhere to a paleo or low-carb diet may find themselves suffering from insomnia. Typically, diet-related insomnia subsists after the first few nights, once your body has adjusted to the new regimen and/or reduced caloric intake. However, if it persists after the first few nights, you may need to incorporate more carbohydrate-rich foods into your diet to help your sleep cycle return to normal.

Carbohydrate-rich foods induces sleep onset by assisting tryptophan and serotonin production in your brain, which helps reduce anxiety and kicks off a melatonin release, causing you to fall asleep. Low-carb diets restrict the foods you eat that are tied to bigger releases of insulin. Insulin helps your body turn tryptophan into serotonin, and carbohydrate-rich foods induce insulin production more than those with fewer carbohydrates.

While in the long-term, low-carb diets help you lose weight and improve your blood sugar levels by stabilizing your energy, in the short-term the lack of carbohydrates feels like a shock to your system as your body strains to convert the tryptophan to serotonin, interrupting your sleep in the process. If you’re prone to eating sugary, carbohydrate-rich foods, a better approach is to ease into your low-carb diet rather than going cold turkey. This makes it easier for your body to adjust, which may make it easier for you to stick to your diet as well. Gradually trim the carbohydrates in your diet over a period of several days.

On the other hand, if you’re allowed a certain amount of carbohydrates in your diet plan, shift your carbohydrate-rich meals to later in the day, when they’re likelier to induce sleep.


More Tips For Trouble Sleeping While Dieting

Dieters are prone to drink more, whether they’re on a liquid diet or they’re just drinking more water to feel full. This can increase your nighttime bathroom trips and interfere with sleep, so be careful to watch your liquid intake later in the day to avoid this from happening.

Hunger makes it tougher to fall asleep. A small healthy snack before bedtime can help, especially if composed of one of these foods that help you sleep better.

A final recommendation for ensuring a longer, better night’s sleep includes watching your stimulant intake later in the day (caffeine, alcohol, etc).

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4 Ways Seniors Can Stay Young

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4 Ways Seniors Can Stay Young

Source: eldercareblog.com

Posted by Ron Burg

4 Ways Seniors Can Stay YoungRetaining youthful exuberance can be quite a steep task for many aging adults. Physical and mental exhaustion both contribute to seniors losing the vibrancy and effervescence that they used to put on display during their younger days. Just because the odds are stacked against them does not mean that aging adults have to resort to a sedentary lifestyle where they are confined to their beds, couches, and chairs, with little or no recreational activity and social interaction.

As long as a person has the determination and the enthusiasm to make life enjoyable, he or she can succeed in doing so regardless of the age and the health complications that come along with it. After all, it’s not how old you are, but rather how old you feel. As far as aging adults are concerned, here are 4 simple ways in which they can feel young again:

1) Eating Healthfully

If you are what you eat, then eating healthfully will allow seniors to stay far away from mental and physical disorders. With age, human beings are required to alter their diet in order to eliminate as much unhealthy food from the menu as possible. The ideal diet for an aging adult should consist of cooked fruits, vegetables, yogurt, nuts, and small portions of white meat protein or beans. Regular meals based on these foods will keep their bodies supplied with sufficient energy and allow them to gain the physical strength required to carry out their favorite indoor and outdoor activities. Eating healthfully also reduces the risk of anxiety disorders and untimely mood swings.

2) Socializing

One of the simplest and easiest ways of staying and feeling young is by socializing with people of similar ages and backgrounds. If seniors refrain from socializing and keep themselves bound within the four walls of their house, then they are simply asking for a bunch of mental and physical illnesses to infiltrate their bodies. The more they communicate and converse with people, the easier it will be for them to tackle the hardships of aging.

3) Exercising

The benefits of physical exercise cannot be stressed enough, especially in the case of seniors. Exercising keeps the body rejuvenated and the mind refreshed. It prevents seniors from being inflicted with a number of different diseases. Heavy workout sessions are not recommended for aging adults. Rather, light exercises such as brisk walking, slow dancing, and stretching (in the form of yoga, perhaps) can help them rise above the physical restraints and limitations that accompany old age.

4) Learning

One of the reasons why seniors feel old is because they lose the excitement and zeal that comes with learning something new and discovering something extraordinary. Since most seniors stay detached from the workplace and academic institutions, it becomes difficult for them to come across new sources of learning. Enrolling in a library or joining a book club can solve this problem. There is no end to learning, and the sooner seniors realize this, the faster they will develop the desire to engage in intriguing learning activities. Besides, joining a book club or a library offers a getaway from the monotony and boredom of retirement

Some say that age is only a number. We like to think of age as a perception of who you are. As long as seniors believe that there is a lot more that they can take from life, and give back to it, they will continue to feel young in their hearts.

Ron Burg is a writer for Alreadyhomecare.com and he primarily writes about senior care and home care.

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The Attitude To Exercise That Benefits Mind And Body To Max

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The Attitude To Exercise That Benefits Mind And Body To Max

Source: Psyblog


Greatest psychological and neurophysiological benefits seen from exercise with this attitude.


The Attitude To Exercise That Benefits Mind And Body To MaxPeople gain the greatest psychological and neurophysiological benefit when they really believe in exercise, new research finds.

A positive attitude towards sport and exercise is a self-fulling prophecy, explained the study’s first author Mr Hendrik Mothes:

“The results demonstrate that our belief in how much we will benefit from physical activity has a considerable effect on our well-being in the manner of a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

For the study 76 people exercised for 30 minutes on a stationary bicycle.

All saw one of two videos beforehand.

The first praised the positive effects of cycling, the second did not.

The results showed that people who already had positive views of exercise enjoyed the exercise more, had lower anxiety afterwards and better mood.

The video that was positive about cycling had the same effect.

The researchers also made recordings of the electrical activity in the brain

These revealed that those with positive expectations about exercise or who had seen the video were more relaxed on a neuronal level.

Mr Mothes said:

“Beliefs and expectations could possibly have long-term consequences, for instance on our motivation to engage in sports.

They can be a determining factor on whether we can rouse ourselves to go jogging again next time or decide instead to stay at home on the couch.”


Appreciate what you already do


Beliefs are a powerful thing: consider a 2007 study on 84 hotel attendants (Crum et al., 2007).

Some were encouraged to appreciate how much exercise they were already doing as part of their job.

The rest were told nothing.

Incredibly, the average weight of those encouraged to appreciate the exercise they already did reduced from 145.5 lbs to 143.72 lbs.

Over the same period the rest showed no significant change.

That’s like dropping a bag of sugar. In four weeks. With no additional exercise.

Now that’s the power of the mind-body link right there, measured in pounds and ounces.

The new study was published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine (Mothes et al., 2016).

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Physical Activity vs. Exercise: What’s the Difference?

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Physical Activity vs. Exercise: What’s the Difference?

Source: Fit Life

Originally posted: June 3, 2015

Group of mature people stretchingHow did you spend your last 24 hours? What do you do during a typical 24-hour weekday? Take a few moments and divide up those 24 hours and reflect on how you typically spend that time. How many hours did you spend sleeping? How many hours did you spend sitting down (don’t forget the times you sit in the car, while you eat, etc.)? How many hours did you spend moving?

Once you have completed your 24-hour self-reflection activity, think more specifically about your movement time. What type of movement did you do? What was the intensity and intentionality of that movement?

Over the past few decades, Americans have heard over and over that a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise is essential to good health. However, the latest research suggests that how much time we spend sitting could be just as important as how much time we spend exercising. In fact, a new term has been coined to describe those who exercise, but spend the majority of their days being sedentary: active couch potatoes.

While the term couch potato usually refers to a lazy person who prefers to just sit around and watch TV, an active couch potato refers to someone who is inactive for the majority of the day, but regularly makes sure to get in 30 minutes of exercise on most days. An active couch potato is not necessarily lazy, but spend most of his or her time sitting during leisure time, work (and commuting to and from work) and while eating meals. In other words, they’re almost completely physically inactive throughout the day, with the exception of that 30 or minutes of daily exercise. Although 30 minutes of exercise is absolutely beneficial and healthful, the rest of the day is causing tremendous health hazards. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified physical inactivity as an independent risk factor for chronic disease development, and it is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.

So, exactly how do we differentiate between exercise and being physically active? And is the distinction important? Here are some definitions that should help clear things up:


Physical activity is movement that is carried out by the skeletal muscles that requires energy. In other words, any movement one does is actually physical activity.

Exercise, however, is planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement intended to improve or maintain physical fitness. Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity.

Research provides significant evidence that ALL physical activity positively contributes to overall health and well-being. Exercise also assists with the improvement of physical fitness, which consists of five specific components:

-Cardiorespiratory fitness

-Muscular strength fitness

-Muscular endurance fitness

-Flexibility fitness

-Body composition

This graphic from the American Institute for Cancer Research visually depicts the importance of both daily physical activity AND structured exercise (in relation to cancer indicators). Here, the green reflects structured exercise, while the yellow reflects daily physical activity.

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research

How Can You Become More Physically Active?

blog-fitlife-060315-1An easy way to start transforming a sedentary lifestyle into a more active one is to begin standing more and sitting less. If you work at a desk all day, create a workstation that requires you to stand (and therefore move more). Think about creating opportunities to walk at lunchtime and before or after work. Consider adding leisure time activities to your weekly routines, especially those that involve the whole family, such as bike rides, hikes and walks around the neighborhood. What about your home? Do you enjoy gardening? Make time for it throughout the week instead of leaving it all to the weekend. And instead of dedicating just one day every other week to clean, try to include daily active chores that take 10 minutes or less. When you engage with technology, creatively think about how you can move. Try placing some simple equipment like a yoga mat or resistance ball or resistance bands in your living room so they are easily accessible while watching TV. There are countless opportunities to increase daily physical activity, but you do have to look for them.

As you evaluate your 24-hour activity reflection, consider making a detailed plan that includes both elements:

1. Daily increased physical activity

2. Structured, planned, intentional exercise to improve physical fitness

Omitting one or the other can have serious and detrimental consequences for your health, fitness and overall well-being. Don’t be a couch potato or an active couch potato—make the change today and add BOTH elements to your life to reap the life-changing benefits of physical activity and exercise.


About the author: Dominique Wakefield

N326971Dominique Wakefield is a passionate, energetic and innovative health and fitness expert, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NWI Certified Wellness Practitioner, ACSM credentialed EIM-1, presenter and writer. Currently, she is Director for University Health and Wellness and Faculty for Public Health, Nutrition & Wellness at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI.

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Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide

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Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging

Source: National Institute on Aging

This was such a great post I had to repost it here on HealthBleep.




Welcome to Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging! The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is part of the National Institutes of Health, and the goal of our research is to improve the health and well-being of older adults.

Like most people, you’ve probably heard that physical activity, including exercise, is good for you. If you’re already active, keep it up. It may even be time to push yourself a little harder, try a new activity, or find new ways to add exercise to your daily life.

Don’t worry if you’ve never exercised, or if you stopped exercising for some reason. Let us help you get moving. By picking up this book and looking through it, you’ve taken an important first step toward good health.


Why Is Physical Activity Such a Big Deal?


Prevent Injuries while AgingRegular exercise and physical activity are important to the physical and mental health of almost everyone, including older adults. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. Regular physical activity over long periods of time can produce long-term health benefits. That’s why health experts say that older adults should be active every day to maintain their health.

In addition, regular exercise and physical activity can reduce the risk of developing some diseases and disabilities that develop as people grow older. In some cases, exercise is an effective treatment for many chronic conditions. For example, studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular exercise. Exercise also helps people with high blood pressure, balance problems, or difficulty walking.

One of the great things about physical activity is that there are so many ways to be active. For example, you can be active in short spurts throughout the day, or you can set aside specific times of the day on specific days of the week to exercise. Many physical activities—such as brisk walking, raking leaves, or taking the stairs whenever you can—are free or low cost and do not require special equipment. You could also check out an exercise video from the library or use the fitness center at a local senior center.

This guide shows you many types of exercise and physical activity. It also has lots of tips to help you be active in ways that suit your lifestyle, interests, health, and budget, whether you’re just starting out, getting back to exercising after a break, or fit enough to run a 3-mile race. It’s for everyone—people who are healthy and those who live with an ongoing health problem or disability.


What’s the Difference Between Physical Activity and Exercise?


Both terms refer to the voluntary movements you do that burn calories. Physical activities are activities that get your body moving such as gardening, walking the dog, raking leaves, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Exercise is a form of physical activity that is specifically planned, structured, and repetitive such as weight training, tai chi, or an aerobics class.

Physical activity and exercise are both important and can help improve your ability to do the everyday activities you enjoy.(See Exercise and Everyday Activities Go Together on page 15.)

The bottom line? There are many ways to be active every day. Find something you enjoy doing, include it in your regular routine, and try to increase your level of activity over time.


Make It A Priority


Being active and exercising regularly can change your life. See how Greta has benefited from regular exercise:


“At age 67, I’m in the best physical condition of my life. Two years ago, I joined a low-impact aerobics class at a nearby senior center. The entire routine is done to music, planned and led by an instructor. My balance has improved greatly, and my osteoporosis has remained stable.”


Elderly man travels in wildlife. Portrait of the gray-haired traveler in background of the landscape. Old photographer enjoys traveling and photographyThis guide can help you take charge of an important part of your health. You may want to read through the entire book first to learn about the benefits of exercise and physical activity, and to find out how to get started, reduce your risks, and reward your progress. Then, keep it handy so you can refer to the sample exercises and use some of the charts at the back of the book to record your activities. From time to time, you may need to check the tips for getting back on track if there’s a break in your routine or the tips for healthy eating. Throughout the guide, you’ll find personal stories that we hope will inspire you to be more active every day.




Chapter 1: Get Ready talks about the “why” of exercise and physical activity. It tells you the benefits of being active and describes the different types of exercise.

Chapter 2: Get Set guides you on getting organized and reviewing your current activity levels, setting short- and long-term goals, and creating a realistic plan for becoming active over time.

Chapter 3: Go! is all about the “how.” The guide offers tips to help you get started. It also has ideas to help you stick with your decision to be active every day and to get you back on track if you have to stop exercising for some reason.

Chapter 4: Sample Exercises gives you some specific activities and exercises, including exercises to increase your strength, improve balance, become more flexible, and increase endurance. All of the exercises have easy directions to help you do them safely.

Chapter 5: How Am I Doing? offers you some ways to test your progress and reward your success.

Chapter 6: Healthy Eating briefly discusses another key to good health—nutritious eating habits.

Chapter 7: Keep Going includes worksheets to keep track of your progress and answers to frequently asked questions about exercise and physical activity for older adults. You’ll also find a list of resources for more information. Some of the resources are especially for people with specific health problems or disabilities who want to be active. In addition, there’s a form you can fill out and send us after you’ve been active for at least a month. We’ll send you a certificate from the National Institute on Aging to recognize your commitment to improve your health.


Get More Info Here

Visit Go4Life, our online exercise and physical activity campaign, for a sample workout, exercise videos, motivational e-cards, printable tip sheets, success stories, tracking tools, virtual coaches, and more.

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Better Sleep Habits Connected To These Everyday Kinds of Exercise

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Better Sleep Habits Connected To These Everyday Kinds of Exercise

Source: PsyBlog

429,110 adults were asked about 10 types of activities and how much sleep they typically got each night.


Better Sleep Habits Connected To These Everyday Kinds of ExerciseActivities like aerobics, biking, gardening, golfing, running, weight-lifting, and yoga or Pilates are associated with better sleep habits, research finds. Even people who just walked had healthier sleep habits had healthier sleep habits than those that did not.

It was better for sleep habits, though, to add a slightly more vigorous activity than just walking. Household activities and childcare, though, are linked to worse sleep habits.

The conclusions come from surveys of 429,110 adults.
They were asked about 10 types of activities and how much sleep they typically got each night.


Dr Michael Grandner, who led the study, said:


“Although previous research has shown that lack of exercise is associated with poor sleep, the results of this study were surprising.

Not only does this study show that those who get exercise simply by walking are more likely to have better sleep habits, but these effects are even stronger for more purposeful activities, such as running and yoga, and even gardening and golf.

It was also interesting that people who receive most of their activity from housework and childcare were more likely to experience insufficient sleep — we know that home and work demands are some of the main reasons people lose sleep.”


Dr Grandner continued:


“These results are consistent with the growing scientific literature on the role of sleep in human performance.

Lab studies show that lack of sleep is associated with poor physical and mental performance, and this study shows us that this is consistent with real-world data as well.

Since these results are correlational, more studies are needed to help us understand whether certain kinds of physical activity can actually improve or worsen sleep, and how sleep habits help or hurt a person’s ability to engage in specific types of activity.”

The study was presented at SLEEP 2015, the 29th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.


About the author:

Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog and HealthiestBlog.com. His latest book is “Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick“. You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

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Looking for the Fountain of Youth? Here It Is!

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Looking for the Fountain of Youth? Here It Is!

Source: about health

Original post: November 06, 2015

Looking for the Fountain of Youth? Here It Is!Science tells us that what we call “aging” occurs with age, but not simply because of age. 

The stiffening of the blood vessels and the decline of brain function associated with getting older are affected by what we eat and how much we exercise. If we follow the lifestyle habits associated with slower cardiovascular and brain aging, can we extend lifespan and healthspan? Advances in nutritional science have taught us that eating the right foods enables weight loss and helps to prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes.


Consider  what happened to a patient of mine named Paul when he made radical changes to the way he eats.

When he was 60 years old, he could not walk a city block without feeling pressure in his chest. Yet, as a gift to himself for his 68th birthday, he celebrated with a brisk run up and down the rolling hills of Central Park in New York City.

What enabled him to achieve such a feat?  As I like to say, the road to good health is as close as the end of your fork.


Paul decided to change his eating habits. 

He began eating primarily nutrient-rich, whole foods:  greens and other colorful vegetables, beans, fresh fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains. He minimized meat, eggs and dairy and eliminated added sugars, oils, white flour, white rice and processed foods.  In doing so, he reduced the number of calories he consumed while simultaneously increasing the amount of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals) and fiber he ingests. I coined the word Nutritarian to describe this longevity-promoting style of eating, that is nutrient-dense and plant rich..

Paul usually ate a huge salad with raw onions and shredded cruciferous vegetables for lunch with a great tasting  nut-based dressing. He also ate beans or lentils in a vegetable-based soup or stew each day. He included three fruits each day, making especially sure to eat berries, pomegranate, cherries, plums and oranges.

He ate raw nuts and seeds to a meal, with a special emphasis on walnuts, hemp, flax and chia seeds, all of which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. And he also made sure to eat a double-size serving of steamed greens at dinner, often adding  mushrooms and onions.


In other words, Paul did what I recommend all my patients do: He  designed his diet to provide  superior nutrient density. 

Though eating  nutrient-rich food is critically important, it is not the only factor that determines good health. For example, Vitamin D , vitamin B12, and proper omega-3 intake are important for optimal health, as well as  limiting sodium and high glycemic carbohydrates.


You may be surprised by how your body can heal itself by simply eating right and getting exercise. 

You may also be amazed that your taste improves as you start to eat healthier, that you actually get more pleasure from eating and you can eat generous portions of great tasting healthy dishes.  Some people would say that they could never give up the processed food they crave. But you need to know that rejecting these foods is a mere temporary loss. What you gain is what Paul found: his highest level of energy and good health he ever had. If he was searching for the Fountain of Youth, he certainly found it. As he told people who asked him how he felt on his 68th birthday, “I honestly feel – no joking, no exaggeration – that I am only at the halfway point of my life.”  The facts are the same dietary portfolio that protects your heart also protects your brain from aging and prevents cancer.


We now know a lot about the factors associated with longevity. 

We know about the diets of societies with a documented long lifespan, such as the Okinawans of Japan and the Seventh-Day Adventists of California. We have evidence that accumulated oxidative stress drives aging, and we know which dietary factors help the body to mitigate oxidative stress. We can now measure the telomere length of circulating white blood cells – telomere shortening is an indicator of aging – and we are learning which dietary factors and behaviors influence telomere length. Studies of calorie restriction in animals have given us information about the cellular signaling pathways associated with longevity, and we can turn on those same genes and signaling pathways with our dietary and lifestyle habits.


This wealth of scientific information has allowed us to design dietary patterns for longevity. 

Go for it!


1. Weiss EP, Fontana L. Caloric restriction: powerful protection for the aging heart and vasculature. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2011, 301:H1205-1219.

2.  Joseph J, Cole G, Head E, Ingram D. Nutrition, brain aging, and neurodegeneration. J Neurosci 2009, 29:12795-12801.

3.  Joseph JA, Shukitt-Hale B, Willis LM. Grape juice, berries, and walnuts affect brain aging and behavior. J Nutr 2009, 139:1813S-1817S.

4.  Santos-Parker JR, LaRocca TJ, Seals DR. Aerobic exercise and other healthy lifestyle factors that influence vascular aging. Adv Physiol Educ 2014, 38:296-307.

5.  Fraser GE, Shavlik DJ. Ten years of life: Is it a matter of choice? Arch Intern Med 2001, 161:1645-1652.

6.  Willcox DC, Willcox BJ, Todoriki H, Suzuki M. The Okinawan diet: health implications of a low-calorie, nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich dietary pattern low in glycemic load. J Am Coll Nutr 2009, 28 Suppl:500S-516S.

7. Beckman KB, Ames BN. The free radical theory of aging matures. Physiol Rev 1998, 78:547-581.

8.  Shammas MA. Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2011, 14:28-34.

9.  Fontana L. The scientific basis of caloric restriction leading to longer life. Curr Opin Gastroenterol 2009, 25:144-150.

10. Hu F, Liu F. Targeting tissue-specific metabolic signaling pathways in aging: the promise and limitations. Protein Cell 2014, 5:21-35.

11. Verburgh K. Nutrigerontology: why we need a new scientific discipline to develop diets and guidelines to reduce the risk of aging-related diseases. Aging Cell 2015, 14:17-24.

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Ways to Exercise When You Don’t Have Time

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Ways to Exercise When You Don’t Have Time

Source: United Healthcare

Ways to Exercise When You Don't Have TimeYou know exercise can help improve your health and lose weight. Yet, 1 in 4 adults doesn’t exercise, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Hectic schedules may be to blame. It can be tough to exercise when juggling work, school, family, and more. It’s worth squeezing it in, though, because regular exercise can relieve daily stress and lift your mood. At the same time, you can reduce your risks of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes most days or a total of two and a half hours per week, but it’s OK to start slowly. Find activities that you enjoy. Check with your doctor before increasing your activity level, then get started.


Tips For Fitting In Fitness

  • Wake up a little earlier. Start by setting your alarm clock just 5 minutes earlier. Do stretches and jumping jacks before getting in the shower, or follow a short exercise DVD.
  • Find a workout buddy. Exercising with a friend is more fun and a good motivator. Ask a coworker to go for a walk during lunch or see if a neighbor wants to shoot hoops. It will be harder to skip a workout if you know someone is counting on you.
  • Change into exercise clothes before leaving work. You’ll be ready for a brisk walk as soon as you get home or more motivated to stop at the gym if you are already dressed for it.
  • Schedule your fitness activities. If you put exercise on your calendar like other appointments, you’re more likely to do it.
  • Acknowledge your successes. Keep a log of all the times you make a healthy choice to move more, such as by taking the stairs instead of an elevator. After the first week, reward yourself with a new pair of sneakers or a cool new water bottle.
  • Create a home (or desk) gym. If you have equipment always at the ready, it will be easy to steal 10 minutes to use it. A jump rope, a stability ball, exercise bands, and dumbbells don’t cost much or take up much room.
  • Move while you watch TV. Don’t sit idly – or worse, eat mindlessly – during commercials. Do sit-ups or jog in place instead.
  • Play games with your kids. Don’t just watch while your kids play outside – join in their fun. Play tag or just toss a ball back and forth. If your kids love video games, think about swapping their favorite game for an active one in which the user must move his or her body to play. The whole family will break a sweat by dancing or using special controllers to compete at boxing, tennis, golf, and bowling. Learn more ways to increase your family’s physical fitness
  • Exercise while you work. Raise your activity level and productivity with neck rolls or arm raises. Push hands out to the side and then up toward the ceiling. Take a brisk walk during your break. Use the stairs instead of the elevator.


Stepping It Up

After you’ve built short periods of activity into your day, think about times when you could lengthen each burst by a few minutes. The key is to start small and ramp up gradually.
Even if you’re worn out from a busy day, try to make time for fitness. Regular exercise actually boosts your energy level. Exercise, along with sensible nutrition, is also important for losing and maintaining weight.
Next time you look for an excuse to skip exercise, remind yourself of the benefits. You’re helping yourself feel good, look better, and live longer. Who wouldn’t want that?



  • By Amanda Genge, Contributing Writer, myOptumHealth
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much physical activity do adults need? Accessed: 04/25/2011
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General. Overweight and obesity: what you can do. Being physically active can help you attain or maintain a healthy weight. Accessed: 04/25/2011
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The benefits of physical activity. Accessed: 04/25/2011

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The Many Benefits of Physical Therapy

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The Many Benefits of Physical Therapy

Source: Healthresource4u

Here’s a GREAT post by HealthResource4u about physical therapy and the amazing effect it can have when recovering from injury.

The Many Benefits of Physical TherapyThe practice of physical therapy has been widely used to treat pain and injury since its origin in ancient Greece where it was believed that Hippocrates, the father of medicine, incorporated it into his medical treatments. Today, physical therapy is one of the most promising careers in terms of job growth as more people turn to the holistic form of medicine, and for good reason: With proper application, physical therapy can naturally treat, heal, and prevent a vast array of injuries and disabilities without the need for invasive surgery or reliance on pain medication.

Physical therapy is used to bring relief from many conditions, including back pain, muscle stiffness, arthritis, sports injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and even stroke. By working directly with the body to help it heal itself, physical therapists not only relieve pain and treat injury, but also restore a patient’s body function and movement which improves overall health and well-being. In fact, when the body is functioning at its most optimal level, it can even prevent further injuries from arising in the future. But physical therapy is so much more than treating and preventing pain. Through its natural approach to medicine, personalized treatment plans, and focus on education, physical therapy provides countless benefits for those who utilize it.

A Natural Approach to Healing and Pain Relief

A key benefit that differentiates physical therapy from traditional medical treatment is the focus on working with the body to naturally heal itself. Studies show that physical therapy can be just as effective at treating injuries that were once believed could only be healed through surgery. Rather than cover up the symptoms with pain medication or endure invasive surgery, physical therapy treats the causes of the pain at the source. This not only helps the body heal itself naturally on its own, but also helps the body grow stronger as a whole. Physical therapists understand the body’s amazing ability to heal itself, and with the right guidance and treatment, it can relieve pain and improve function without the need for traditional medical treatment.

A large number of injuries are caused by misalignment of the body and improper body function, including poor posture, irregular muscle development, and improper body mechanics. The physical therapy approach will make sure the body itself is functioning as it should.  In the end, a healthy body is a body that will be less inclined to become injured and more able to heal itself.


Individualized Treatment

In addition to working with the body to naturally heal itself, another significant benefit of physical therapy is individualized treatment. Each patient has certain needs that need to be taken into account when being treated for an injury, and each person may respond differently to physical therapy. Depending upon the patient’s body type, habits, range of motion, and injury, a physical therapist will develop a personalized treatment plan and will closely monitor each patient to ensure they form the correct habits, alignments, and movement patterns. This personalized approach helps patients heal properly the first time without the need for surgery or further medical attention at a later time.

There are two forms of therapy physical therapists will employ during the treatment process: active and passive therapy. Depending upon the patient’s injury and medical history, either one or a combination of both methods are used to treat a patient’s pain or injury.

Passive therapy: includes treatments that do not require patient participation, such as spinal manipulation, heat/ice therapy, myofascial release, or ultrasound therapy.  These treatments are usually used to relieve pain by reducing inflammation and improving blood flow and typically require direct assistance from the physical therapist.

Active therapy: on the other hand, involves treatments that require active participation from the patient, such as therapeutic exercise, stretching techniques, and aquatic therapy. These treatments help rebuild muscles that support vital areas of the body, in turn improving range of motion and decreasing pain. Furthermore, active therapy can typically be done by the patient on their own without the aid of a physical therapist.

Incorporating both passive and active therapy into a patient’s treatment process is a critical part of a person’s recovery from their unique injury or ailment. This allows physical therapists to treat patients naturally, efficiently, and without further harm being done to the body. This also helps the body grow stronger as a whole, which can prevent re-injury to the affected area while reducing the probability of other injuries in the future.



Although the treatment of an injury or ailment is what brings a person to seek help from a physical therapist, one of the primary goals is to educate the patient to help them take care of themselves. In fact, a physical therapist’s greatest hope is to never need to see you again once treatment is complete.

Now don’t take that the wrong way, it is meant in the most positive and endearing way possible. You see, physical therapists want to give patients the power and the tools they need to be as functionally independent as possible. This means that although they treat pain and symptoms through hands-on therapy, they want to make sure the patient has the education and means to care for themselves once they go back to their normal life.

So although they love working with you, their greatest achievement is to have you never need to see them again for your ailment or injury. This will be achieved by educating patients in developing a healthy lifestyle, understanding what caused their injury, and incorporating exercise methods that can help prevent their injury from occurring again in the future.