7 Mini Health Habits

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 44 – 4/13/15 

Woman lying in bed sleeping

Get a good sleep to enhance your memory banks and other brain functions.

Woman relaxing on a sofa

Want to enhance your sleep? Turn off the television or computer before bedtime and relax with soothing music or meditation CDs. 

Eat a handful of almonds a day to help reduce your cholesterol.  

Senior Woman With Adult Daughter Relaxing On Sofa At Home

A laugh a day keeps the doctor away. Well, maybe not, but laughter is a great prescription for emotional and physical health.  

Wear sunscreen to avoid looking like an alligator purse as you age and to protect yourself from skin cancer.

Senior Woman Power Walking In The Park

Find time to take a daily walk. Too cold or rainy or hot to walk outside? Try a fitness walk in front of your television.  Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day is good for your heart, and can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

Drink green tea for a great anti-oxidant boost. This beverage helps protect our cardiovascular and immune systems. Green tea may even help protect us against several types of cancers. 

How about you, readers?  What actions do you take to enhance your health and wellness? 

7 Mini Heart Healthy Eating Swaps

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 42 – 4/8/15

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  • Enjoying a bowl of tomato soup?  Add black beans for added fiber.
  • For a tasty salad, skip the iceberg lettuce and use a colorful blend of greens – add chickpeas and a variety of veggies.  You can also use the chickpeas to make hummus.  Enjoy it with baby carrots, cucumber slices, celery, zucchini sticks, red or   orange peppers . . . 
  • Love crusty bread? Instead of buttering it, blend olive oil with dried Italian seasoning and minced garlic (or garlic powder) and dip your bread in this mixture. 
  • For a heart-healthy breakfast, try regular or steel-cut oatmeal instead of the instant options.  Add blueberries (or other types of berries), walnuts or almonds, apples with  a tablespoonful of honey. Top with soymilk.  
  • When eating out, choose broiled salmon, lake trout, or whitefish instead of a steak.  The omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish can help us reduce heart attacks and other heart conditions. 
  • For a quick snack, choose a handful of almonds to help lower your cholesterol levels.  
  • To healthify your tacos, skip the ground beef.  Try a soft taco made with whole grain tortillas, ground turkey, brown rice, and seasoned black beans.  Top with avocado slices.

Bea would love to hear about your own heart-healthy food swap ideas.  Drop me a line!

For further reading:

Heart Disease and Young Women

Quick heart-healthy meal recipes

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

3 Health Sites for Women Only

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 41 – 4/6/15

The Center for Young Women’s Health – According to its About page, the Center’s objective is to provide teen girls and young women with well-researched health information relating to both physical/emotional development and diseases/conditions. This site is also a non-commercial site; a partnership among three medical divisions of the Boston Children’s Hospital.  There are resources for both health care professionals and parents.  An example of an article from the site’s emotional health category: Anxiety

Medline Plus – Women’s Health – a website from the National Institutes of Health, produced by the National Library of Medicine.  This site provides trusted information specific to women’s unique health concerns. The site is uncluttered and easy to maneuver; it’s also updated on a regular basis.  You can sign up for women’s health updates.  An example of what you’ll find here: Osteoporosis, the Bone ThiefThe site also provides a variety of videos and fun tools, which can be found here. 

 Society for Women’s Health Research – Founded in 1990, by a group of health professionals, the site is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary of research and advocacy for women’s unique health diseases and concerns.  Resources include women’s health topics from A – Z, clinical trials, public education, and videos. There is a link describing SWHR’s advocacy issues, and how women can take action for themselves. Example of what can be found at the site: (under the Public Education link) Research on breast cancer recurrence. SWHR can be found on Facebook and Twitter.  

Grandmother with adult daughter and grandchild in park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Add Fun to your Walk

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 40– 4/3/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:

  • Walk with a like-minded friend, or better yet, join a walking club (no clubs in your area?  Start one up!)
  • Walk your dog.  Don’t have a dog buddy?  Volunteer to walk a dog at your local animal shelter
  • Find a walking trail at your local park or county park.  
  • Invest in an Ipod and download some fitness music or your favorite rock and roll tunes – you may want to start dancing your way down the sidewalk!
  • Walk at your local mall and do some window shopping at the same time.

Does anyone have any other ideas about adding fun to a walk?  

 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

 

Got 10 Minutes or More? Take a (brisk) Walk for your Good Health

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 38– 3/30/15

 

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Did you know that April , 2015 is the 9th annual National Walking Day? This awareness day is an initiative from the American Heart Association

Walking is a great exercise to start in the springtime. The air is fresh and clean, tulips and daffodils peek out from neighborhood lawns, dog and Canadian geese poop are no longer hidden by the snow. . . (Yikes!  Sorry, that’s one of the not so nice things about walking in the early spring – just watch where yer walkin’) 

According to physician Joan Dorn, who’s the Chief of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) physical activity and health branch, walking is one of the best ways to add physical activity to your life. * And Bea thinks so too!  

What can walking do for you?  Take a look at these benefits:

  • Brisk walking (3-4 miles per hour) for an hour every day can cut a high-risk adult’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 60%.
  • Brisk walking can improve your heart health.  Walking 30 – 60 minutes a day, for five days a week, can cut your risk of heart disease by 40%.** It can also help protect you from high blood pressure and strokes. 
  • Walking can boost mood, decrease disability rates for seniors, reduce high blood pressure, relieve osteoporosis and arthritis and back pain.
  • Walking regularly can help protect your brain, staving off memory loss.
  • Walking helps you keep fit and burn fat – but remember to challenge yourself; the same routine day in and day out will eventually cause weight loss to plateau. You need to increase intensity and shake up your routine. 

Walking is also one of the easiest exercise programs to start.  Why?  Well, walking is inexpensive; all you need is a good pair of walking shoes.  It doesn’t cause grief to your knees or feet.  In good weather, you can walk outside and get fresh air and sunshine at the same time.  When it’s raining or snowing, try power walking DVDs (Leslie Sansone, a popular fitness expert, has a wide variety of DVDs, check her out on Amazon.)

Move it or lose it, that’s my theory.  We have two legs and one posterior.  If we were meant to sit all the time, we’d have two butts and one leg! Now how weird would that be?

What if you can’t walk? Chair Exercises and Limited Mobility Fitness 

Sources:

*USA Weekend, Sep 21-23, 2012. The Power of Walking (Kelly Bothum)

 **Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Walking is Good for your Heart.

 

 

Brain Awareness Week (March 16 – 22)

 

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 33 – 3/18/15

I recently saw the movie, Still Alice. In the movie, Julianne Moore plays Alice, a woman who struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In her case, it was familial; she carried the gene for AD. This neurological disease has also been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, along with other modifiable risk factors.  In a recent bulletin, the AARP pointed out that the cases and costs of AD continue to rise, with no end in sight.*

Since then, I’ve been thinking about my brain.  Or should I say, I’ve been thinking about my brain’s health. I’ve written posts about the aging brain in years past. In my blog, past articles  have taken a lighthearted approach. But in truth, losing my brain functions is one of those things I do take seriously, and is the thing I fear most about aging

Which brings me to Brain Awareness Week, a worldwide initiative which was started by the Dana Foundation 20 years ago. This foundation provides information about the brain to the public, and also helps advance brain health research in a variety of ways. This provides us with the opportunity to learn about the strides that scientists are making to protect our brain health. Brain Awareness Week is just the start; according to the Scientific American website, the Dana Foundation continues brain awareness activities year-round. 

How to get involved with Brain Awareness Week: Check out the Society for Neuroscience Brain Awareness Campaign.  

I’ve recently joined to become an advocate of Alzheimer’s research – please join me.  We can make a difference! You can become a chamption at ActionAlz

You can follow the Alzheimer’s Association on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/actionalz

I’ve found some interesting reading about the brain: 

  • This article from The Human Memory website, describes the three major parts of the brain. This website has some interesting reading and includes articles about the different types of memory, memory disorders, types of memory, etc. 
  • The Amen Clinic talks about super foods for the brain.
  • Brain Healthy Recipes from BrainHQ at the Posit Science website

Source: 

*Reid, T.R. Where’s the War on Alzheimer’s? AARP Bulletin.  January – February 2015.  

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

May I Have This Dance?

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 28 – 3/6/15

bea

Bea’s Buzz for Friday:  

So I was on my way to work, listening to a new radio station (thank goodness for Sirius XM radio):  Alt Nation, since I’m trying to shake up my music tastes a bit.  And I heard this singer singing about some girl telling him:  “Shut up and dance with me,” and of course, he was talking about the new love of his life. 

But what I heard was life talking to me. Life wants us to dance – to get down, get funky, get your back up off the wall, get your groove on, baby.  (Sorry for the goofy metaphors: I came of age in the disco era).

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I haven’t been doing enough of that.  Have you?

How can we dance with life?    By taking a chance.  By facing our fears.  By trying something new. By doing what we would do if we knew we couldn’t fail. 

By taking part in something bigger than ourselves.

And even when life gives us a tune we don’t want to hear – one we can barely stand to dance to – we remain resilient.  We bounce back. We pull out that strength we know is inside of us.  

Dancin’ with life.  It’s what vital aging is all about. 

 

How to Fight Belly Fat

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 27 – 3/4/15

Want to fight that muffin top?  While some excess weight around the abdoment may not be dangerous, visceral (or deep) fat surrounds our internal organs and causes a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes.  Other dangers of visceral fat include heart disease and stroke.  

And here’s a surprising fact from WebMD:  even thin people can have deep fat deposits, particularly if they don’t get enough exercise.*

How to fight back:

  • Eat high fiber foodsNatural sources of fiber include:  apples with the skin, pears with the skin, black beans (and of course, other varieties as well), popcorn, barley, whole wheat bread, etc.  (Just be sure to add fiber to your diet gradually and drink plenty of water to go with it).  
  • Avoid processed and “white foods,” along with bad fats.  
  • Get that cardio exercise – Start a moderate aerobic workout plan, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 or more days each week.  If you’re already active, or want faster results, jog or do other types of vigorous exercises.  
  • Strength train – Experts point out that aerobic exercise is not enough to fight belly fat.   Strength training helps build muscle, and that can boost your metabolism and help you burn off more fat.  
  • Find ways to get a good night’s sleep – Lack of sleep has been linked to abdominal fat gain
  • Finally, learn to manage stress. Studies have shown that uncontrolled stress can also lead to additional belly fat, along with 
  • Studies have shown that high levels of uncontrolled stress can also lead to more belly fat as well as a higher risk of metabolic syndrome.

This slideshow from Everyday Health talks about ways that menopausal women can fight belly fat.

For Further Reading: 

Is there “One Trick” to Losing Belly Fat? (Sorry, but the answer is “No”)

The Truth about Belly Fat

How and Why To Lose Belly Fat

Source:

* Collins, S. The Truth About Belly Fat. WebMD. Reviewed March 20, 2014

A Few of Bea’s Favorite Posts

 

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Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 26 – 3/2/15

Bea’s daughter was in town this week-end, and they needed some “girl time,” shopping and lunching at the mall.  Which meant that writing a post for today’s wellness project fell by the wayside. 

Instead, Bea is sharing a few of her old favorite posts and hopes you enjoy them!

10 Minute Energy Boosts

Can You Hear Me Now?

Ladies, You’ve Got to Have Friends!

 

 

 

 

Sleep Thief Solutions

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 23 – 2/25/15

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What Bea has found on and off the Internet about getting a better sleep:

For those of you who have kids, remember when they were small and you established a bedtime routine for them?  You can do the same for yourself.  Turn of the computer or television for 45 minutes to an hour before bedtime.  Warning: Don’t watch the nightly news!  When Bea does this, all the bad news leaves her tossing and turning. Take a nice warm bath. Sit on a comfortable chair and read a book.   

 Both caffeine and alcohol aren’t good for a sound sleep.  Bea has tried a glass of wine before bedtime; however, experts warn against this.  They point out that you might fall asleep more quickly, but you are more likely to wake up in a few hours, or sleep less soundly. 

Around an hour before bedtime have a snack that contains both protein and carbs.  For example, whole wheat bread with peanut butter or whole wheat pita bread with hummus.  Another suggestion I read about in Good Housekeeping magazine is to have a bowl of cornflakes and milk. The cereal enhances our tryptophan levels  (an amino acid that helps us sleep) and increases serotonin in our brain. The milk contains melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep

No clock-watching, please!  Another thing Bea has been guilty of when she wakes up in the middle of the night; peeking at the clock, which makes her more anxious.  “OMG!  There’s only an hour and a half before the alarm goes off!” 

Try meditation!  As Bea mentioned before in her post about the benefits of meditationresearchers have discovered that mindful meditation leads to better quality sleep for chronic insomnia sufferers.  By meditating, you may be able to turn off that mind chatter that goes on at night when you’re trying to get some shuteye.  

Bea started a new bedtime routine (only in the last few days) after talking to a co-worker who swears by this method; she also let Bea borrow some essential oils and an oil diffuser.   

About 30 minutes before bed, she drags herself away from Facebook and her new favorite game, Word Crack, and turns off her laptop.  She uses an essential oil called Tranquil (containing lavender and other oils) on her temples and the back of her neck.  She lies down on a couch and puts in her Ipod earphones, relaxing and listening to one or two of the guided meditation tracks from an album she downloaded. She just breathes deeply and allows the music into her mind. Before getting into bed, she adds water and a few drops of another essential oil, called Slumber into the diffuser, plugs it in, and lets it do its sleepy time magic.  Sure, it sounds complicated, but if it helps Bea get the slumber she needs, she’s up for it. So far, it seems to be working – which means that her daytime hours are much more pleasant! 

What method(s) or routine do you use to get quality sleep?  Bea would love to get your input.

For additional reading:

You can find some “out of the ordinary” better sleep tips in this article from the Pick the Brain website.

How to Treat Insomnia Naturally

 Foods High in Tryptophan

Melatonin Overview by WebMD