Menopausin’? 7 Ways to Cool Down those Hot Flashes

c165459_sI don’t think I ever heard the word “menopause” cross my mother’s lips.  Nope, for her it was the dreaded change of life or simply the change.  For years I connected these terms with the idea of eventually losing my marbles and sprouting hair on my chin.  Heck, according to my mom and aunts, some women went through the change and never came out of it!  (Now that I think about it, I always wondered where Aunt Betty disappeared to).

Nowadays, we’re much more sophisticated about our terminology, and thanks to Google, better educated about this period (no pun intended) of our lives.

Despite my earlier fears about menopause, for me it didn’t turn out to be that bad in terms of physical discomfort.  My biggest annoyance (and from what I hear from other ladies as well) were those times when I was walking around at work or at the mall, my temperature a comfortable 98.6 – when suddenly my body made a visit to the desert, at high noon on a 102 degree day.  What the . . . ??? 

Yep, hot flashes (and their evil buddy, night sweats) were what drove me crazy throughout menopause.  If you’re suffering from them as well, you may want to take a look at some cooling down options: 

  • Craving Thai or Szechuan food?  STOP!  Do not go there. High-fat and high-sugar diets can make hot flash symptoms worse; ditto caffeine and alcohol.
  • Instead, try the Mediterranean Diet as described in this article from the Eating Well website.   This way of eating can also help fight off that lousy weight gain that leads to meno-pots (don’t you love being a woman?) 
  • Research has also shown that adding soy foods to a diet can help, because they contain isoflavones.  Try soybeans, edamame, tofu, or roasted soy nuts. 
  • Try ground flaxseed (available in grocery stores), which may help fight against hot flashes (they’re also good for our heart health; containing fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, and lignan) You can add the seeds to smoothies, juice, or oatmeal.*
  • Stress has been linked to hot flashes (jeez, what hasn’t stress been linked to?), so take steps to relieve daily stressors before they build up may help.  Meditation, deep breathing techniques, getting regular exercise, and keeping a journal to vent about bad stuff are a few ways to do this. Or invite your hot-flash-suffering friends over for a kick menopause in the butt party 
  • Medical treatment involves low-dose hormone therapy used only for the short-term.  You can read more about medical options in this article from the My Health Alberta website. 
  • Looking for some natural supplement options? Take a look at Dr. Andrew Weil’s suggestion in this article.  (You should talk to your doctor prior to taking supplements) 

Source: 

*Beck, LeslieWhat foods should I eat to help manage my hot flashes? 

Want to have some fun with your fellow menopausers?  Menopause the Musical is a must-see

For Further Reading:

 

 

Fitness Fan Forever

Did my love for physical fitness begin in elementary school, when PE class consisted of doing toe touches and push-ups to the “Chicken Fat” song?  And, of course, climbing up that scratchy rope that was attached to the gym’s ceiling (what the heck was that all about??) 

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Nah.  

How about in middle school, when we were introduced to swim class, rubber swim caps that left dents in our foreheads and stretched out swimsuits that had been worn by God knows how many others?

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Nah. 

Could I have fallen in love with physical fitness in High School, where I was always one of the last ones chosen for floor hockey games, and actually fractured my thumb after hitting a wall during relay races? 

And again, Nah.

No, I became a fitness fanatic at the age of 19, when I decided my knees were too chubby. For some reason, (too many French fries?) my clothing size had increased to double digits. I took drastic action:

  • I would walk for miles or ride my bike for hours. (A bit extreme, right? Hey, I was young).
  • I would attempt a hundred sit-ups a day (not known as crunches back then).
  • I (foolishly) over exercised, believing that if some exercise was good for you, excessive workouts would be even better. 

Then came the eighties, with its high impact aerobics and Richard Simmons dancing and sweating (not attractive, Richard) to the oldies. And of course, Jane Fonda, looking good in her tights and leotards, cheerfully leading us flabby people in those complicated steps and grapevines (bulimic, but who knew?). Unfortunately, my left foot never figured out what my right foot was doing. Bummer.

Somewhere along the way, I learned to love to sweat. I also figured out that I didn’t have to overdo it and exercise every stinkin’ day to get its benefits. 

Exercise is a great way to laugh in the face of aging. I love it because it makes me feel like I can kick ass, even at age 58.  I hope to be able to exercise until just before I kick the bucket. 

Benefits of Exercise:

Studies Show Exercise Can Improve Your Sex Life

The Hidden Benefits of Exercise

Resistance Training Health Benefits

It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor. (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

 

Time Ticking Away?

 

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This morning on the way to work, that depressing song by Pink Floyd was playing on the radio – you know the one:  Time. David Gilmour sings: “Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time; plans that either come to naught, or half a page of scribbled lines. . . .” (http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/pinkfloyd/time.html)

I can relate. Time is slipping by like sand through a sieve. But what the heck can we do about it?  We certainly can’t stop time.  However, we can: manage it, savor it, and make the most of it.  

Managing time:

Focus Better with these Simple Tips

6 Ways to Set Goals You’ll Actually Achieve

The MindTools website provides 60 time management tools readers can use to “conquer time.”  

Savoring time: 

The Simple Thing that Makes the Happiest People in the World So Happy ( a worthwhile read if you can ignore the annoying pop-up ads at the site) 

 

 

Easy Ways to Protect your Bones (No Cow’s Milk Needed)

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 66 – 6/15/15

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1. At breakfast, eat calcium and vitamin D fortified bread and cereals, along with fortified orange juice.  Top your cereal with almond, rice, or soy milk.  Silk almond milk comes in a nice variety of flavors and offers more calcium than cow’s milk. 

2. Don’t forget your greens! Dark greens, such as broccoli, kale, collard greens and bok choy are all good food options to boost your calcium levels.  

3.   Love fish?  Try salmon for a calcium boost.  A mere 3 ounces of salmon provides 181 milligrams of calcium.* (The recommended daily allowance is 1000 milligrams of calcium each day, along with 600 IUs of vitamin D for those of us over 50) 

4.  Nuts, especially almonds, brazil nuts and peanuts.  Nuts rank high in other nutrients as well.  

5. Don’t forget to move that body!  Walk, climb stairs, lift weights – We need 30 minutes of some type of weight-bearing exercise at least five days every week to keep those bones strong.  Regular physical activity helps us in too many ways to count.  

Calcium Thieves to Avoid: 

  • Cola products – The phosphoric acid may prevent proper calcium absorption.* 
  • Processed, canned and fast foods, as well as other salt laden foods.

Source: 

*AARP, the Magazine. March 2015. Boost Your Bone Health in Your 50s

For further reading:

Exercise for your Bone Health 

The Importance of Calcium – How to get Enough without Dairy 

Quote for the Week: June 14, 2015

 

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Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world. (Harriet Tubman)

 

Dreams don’t have to die, just because we age.  We can keep them alive, simply by maintaining our enthusiasm for living, even as we grow older. Why not create a painting, write a book, learn a new language, or take a stand for a cause that’s important to you?

Advice from the Blue Zones: Avoid the Sitting Disease

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Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 65– 6/8/15

Yes, I know I’ve talked about the sitting disease before, but it bears repeating! 

In Sardinia, Italy, walking is a regular part of people’s lives.  In Okinawa, most people are not only avid walkers, but gardeners as well.  In the Nicoya Peninsula, people take pleasure in physical labor throughout their lives.  In the Greek Island of Ikaria, even the elderly walk, bicycle, or work daily in their gardens.  These are some of the “blue zones” of the world, where people regularly live to be 100+, as well as avoiding age-related illnesses and dementia.  These people are natural movers.  Their living environment encourages this regular physical activity.

What a stark contrast to our sedentary lifestyles in most of the United States!  The “sitting disease” is alive and well here; too much sitting causes obesity, along with higher risks for heart attacks, diabetes and other chronic illnesses, (all of which can lead to an earlier death).

Additionally, according to research discussed in this article from Medical News Today, exercise alone may not be able to counteract the effects of the sitting disease.  Along with a regular exercise routine, we also need to get up off our butts, stand up and walk around periodically. All it takes is from one to three minutes of standing up and moving around every 30 minutes.  Check out this Harvard Health article to find out more about the sitting disease, along with related posts about exercise and fitness.  

Take a stand against the sitting disease at the Just Stand website! 

4 Ways to Combat Sitting Disease 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2015

Got the Gratitude Attitude?

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 64 – 6/1/15

The other night I couldn’t get to sleep.  I’d had a difficult day at work and it kept me tossing and turning. Perhaps you’re familiar with that negative tape that continues to wind and rewind through your brain at night? Finally I managed to stop myself and put my mind to thinking about things I’m grateful for.  Not the typical stuff, like having a good marriage, an awesome daughter, and good health (though I am thankful for those things). 

No, this was all about the weird stuff.  Like I’m grateful for the sound of a train at night; for some reason, it makes me feel good.  I love cloud pictures and how they morph from one thing to another.  Frost on the windowpanes in the winter, which always make me pause to check out the intricate designs.  Ditto rivulets of water on a car window when driving on a rainy day. The smell of a freshly cut lawn. Hearing the song Somewhere over the Rainbow sung by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole (who left this earth far too soon, in June of 1997) and of course, rainbows (especially those rare double rainbows).   

Beautiful rainbow over a rain forest mountain

Finally, I’m grateful to have the ability to get up and write down my ideas at 4:30 in the morning! 

In her book, The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky wrote that expressing gratitude is the #1 “happiness activity.”  Ms. Lyubomirsky had the research to back up her assertions; but to be honest, I don’t need an expert to know that being grateful is good for me and makes me happier (along with helping me fall asleep).  I mean, it simply makes sense, doesn’t it?  

I can only speak for myself – but I know that when I’m taking my life for granted and get cranky or ticked off because things simply aren’t going my way, God has a way of showing me something that stops me in my tracks.  I’ll be watching the news, and see someone who has really big problems.  I’ll click on one of those FB posts about a child who’s suffering from a rare cancer. I’ll think about my oldest sister, who’s had her independence greatly hindered because of deteriorating eyesight; or my sister-in-law, who survived cancer and other health issues, with the help of PMA (positive mental attitude).  

Along with helping me sleep, gratitude for my life helps me focus on the positive, enhances my self-confidence, decreases my stress, and simply helps me appreciate the good stuff about growing older. And it sure beats the heck out of walking around with a dark cloud above my head.  

How about you?  What does gratitude do for you? 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bea’s New Pages!

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 63 – 5/29/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday

Bea’s recent efforts to get out of a blue mood led her to thinking of ways to perk up Bea Boomer’s Wellness.  

As a result, Bea is buzzing about two new pages she’s adding, which will be available on Tuesday, June 2nd.

  • Vital Aging Tips  will provide you with quick tips for health and wellness as you grow older (we’re not just “getting old,” you know – we are growing, even as we age.)  For Bea, that’s the key to vital aging.  This page will be updated with a new tip every Tuesday.  
  • Vital Aging Links will provide you with healthy living resources for your quick reference, separated by categories such as healthy eating, exercise, brain fitness, and the like.  Bea is still figuring out the best way to develop this page (maybe you have some ideas – please email beaboomer@gmail.com or comment if you do, or if you’ve found great links that Bea can add to this page) 

 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009 – 2015

 

How to Boost your Memory

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 62– 5/27/15 

As a person from the middle years of the baby boomer generation (born in the fifties), I’m at an age where my memory is a concern.  I don’t want to lose it, and I want to keep my brain functioning well for as long as I can. At work or in social situations, I regularly hear people of my age, and even younger, complaining of memory problems. It doesn’t have to be that way – we have some power over it. We just need to take some simple steps, not only to improve our memory, but also to enhance our overall brain function.  

I know that at age 58, my memory is simply not trustworthy. Brain farts are a common occurrence. Too often, I resort to making lists and notes to remember things. Recent notes have included gentle reminders such as: take shower, go to work and make dinner.  Ok, I’m just kidding, my memory isn’t that bad.

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I’ve also gotten to the point of speaking to inanimate objects, such as the stove; as in, “I’ve shut off the stove.” This is so I won’t go crazy on my drive back to work, wondering if I turned the darn thing off.  I guess I won’t worry too much about this until I start having long conversations with my appliances.

My husband points out that since I’m always in a hurry, my memory is not the problem; it’s simply lack of concentration.  Memory experts would agree with that assertion. One way to combat that age-related forgetfulness is to take the time to focus on what it is you want to remember.  Distracted thinking leads to memory ‘burps.’

People who research this kind of stuff also point out that there are ways we can proactively address age-related memory issues. The actions I’ve taken, though they may sound silly, are actually good for my memory. 

Experts point out that making lists of important tasks helps keep them in your memory banks. Nowadays, you don’t need an old fashioned pen and paper list – cell phones provide reminder and note making applications.

Also, saying things out loud, such as repeating the name of a person after you’re introduced, helps store that information for later retrieval. 

A common sense way of keeping track of your reading glasses, keys or other commonly lost item is by simply putting them in the same spot every day. My husband is always preaching about this to me, and I have to admit that he seldom loses things.  

Another way to remember something like a person’s name is to create a picture in your mind based on the name. Which isn’t so tough if a person’s name is Harry Snow! Other names might be more difficult to create a mind visualization.

We can also make some lifestyle modifications to enhance our memory and other cognitive functions.  This includes regular exercise to increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain. Healthier eating and including antioxidant-rich foods to our diets is also important.  Playing strategic games, learning a new language, journaling, and taking an online college course can also help our brain functions.  Taking charge of our brain health is an important step for vital aging. 

When I did some research on the subject of memory, I found out what we all know to be true:  some memory loss is simply normal as we age.  It’s common for a person to occasionally lose their keys – what’s scary is forgetting what keys are used for, which can be a sign of dementia. People who have concerns about memory issues may want to address it with their doctors, to see if an underlying condition is causing it. If so, dealing with that condition will improve the memory concerns. 

For Further Reading:

Simple Techniques for Improving Memory 

Memory Boosters for Seniors: Vitamin b12 & Folic Acid

Improve your Memory with a Good Night’s Sleep

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009 – 2015