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.

 

 

Shake it Up for Vital Aging

It’s no longer the wellness project – It’s Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 37 – 3/27/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday

Bea has seen several of those YouTube videos, with a variety of everyday people lip synching to Taylor Swift’s song, Shake it Off.  

While enjoying the version sung by two country boys (one of the best ones, in Bea’s opinion), she had a smashing idea!  Bea decided to rewrite the song’s lyrics to reflect what vital aging is all about.  Bea’s contemplating a YouTube performance – but she may need voice lessons first!

So here it is, Bea Boomer’s song:  Shake it up! 

I got wrinkles on my face – got grayin’ in my hair

That’s what the mirror says, mmm hmm – That’s what the mirror says, mmm hmm

I stay in too much – got cobwebs in my brain

Now that’s no way to age, mmm hmm – no that’s no way to age, mmm hmm

But I had it with this pace – yea, I gotta make a change

And that’s what it’s about, mmm hmm – yea, that’s what its about, mmm hmm

‘Cause the birthdays gonna come, come, come, come, come and birthdays gonna go, go, go, go, go 

Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake – I shake it up, I shake it up

‘Cause the birthdays gonna come, come, come, come, come and birthdays gonna go, go, go, go, go 

Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake – I shake it up, I shake it up

Won’t let agin’ get me down, I’ll just kick it in the butt

And that’s what it’s about, mmm, hmm – yea, that’s what its about, mmm, hmm

I’ll never miss a chance, keep steppin’ up my game

And that’s the way to age, mmm, hmm – yea, that’s the way to age, mmm hmm

I keep on learnin’ – can’t stop, won’t stop growin’ 

It’s like I got this power in my mind, sayin’ it’s gonna be just fine

‘Cause the birthdays gonna come, come, come, come, come and birthdays gonna go, go, go, go, go 

Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake – I shake it up, I shake it up 

‘Cause the birthdays gonna come, come, come, come, come and birthdays gonna go, go, go, go, go 

Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake – I shake it up, I shake it up  

I love my attitude – don’t care what people say

And that’s the way to be, mmm hmm – yea, that’s the way to be, mmm hmm

I’m steppin’ up my game – get more power every day

And that’s what they don’t know, mmm hmm – yea, that’s what they don’t know, mmm hmm 

‘Cause the birthdays gonna come, come, come, come, come and birthdays gonna go, go, go, go, go 

Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake – I shake it up, I shake it up 

‘Cause the birthdays gonna come, come, come, come, come and birthdays gonna go, go, go, go, go 

Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake – I shake it up, I shake it up

Shake it up, shake it up

I, I, I, shake it up – I shake it up

I, I, I shake it up – I shake it up

I, I, I, shake it up – I shake it up

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

Bea’s Aging Philosophy

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 35 – 3/23/15

I have a simple philosophy about aging:  

  • Do the best you can with what you have.
  • Be pro-active to maintain both your emotional, mental, and physical health.
  • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • Oh yea – have fun with it! 

Captureaa(Created at mywebface.com)

For me, the key is “growing old,” not simply “getting old.”  Like my oldest sister, who is 75, I call myself “age empowered.”   I hope to always feel this way. 

Now I know darn well that no matter how proactive I am about my health and wellness, there will be things that come up that will scare the hell out of me.  But I also believe that over the years, I’ve learned to become resilient.  I’ll do my best to bounce back from life’s curve-balls.

What about you?  What’s your attitude toward aging? 

Further reading about Aging and Attitude

Book: “Attitude is Everything. 10 Life-Changing Steps to Turning Attitude into Action.” (Keith Harrell)

This article describes 10 “thought distortions” that lead to negativity and provides some strategies that lead to positive thinking:  Positive Thinking for Healthy Aging

According to the American Psychological Association, people with a healthy attitude toward life just may live longer:  A Healthy Mind, a Longer Life

A person’s beliefs about aging (that is, whether or not they believe in those negative stereotypes) can affect both their physical and mental health: Older People Become What They Think

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. (Betty Friedan)

 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

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

What I’ve Learned from Loneliness

 

Young woman walking in lake

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 32 – 3/16/15

I do believe that friendship and other social relationships lead to vital aging; however, I’m one of those people who also needs some alone time. I learned about what it was like to be lonely as a child. However, in the long run, I also learned about the blessings of alone time. 

I was a solitary kid. It’s not that I didn’t have any friends – I was simply shy and introverted. I kept to myself more often than not.  I don’t remember having friends at my house when I was in elementary school.  My family situation was often stressful. My dad was an alcoholic, and that, along with other dynamics, didn’t make my house a welcoming place.    

I walked or rode my bike to our local library by myself – the library was my haven.  Losing myself in books was a relief and a pleasure. I also wrote a lot of stories and plays; I had quite an imagination in those days. 

As I got older, I broke out of my shell and developed typical teenaged friendships, and also met my two forever friends. Yet there were still times I felt achingly alone – never feeling like I quite “fit in.”   

I’m not looking for sympathy.  It’s what my life was.  While at the time, I didn’t find anything redeeming about loneliness, I realize now that it certainly didn’t scar me for life. Instead, it taught me some things: 

  • I don’t mind being silent at times.  I don’t always need to fill up space with words.  Sometimes it’s better just to listen. 
  • I learned how to be self-reliant.
  • I learned that there’s nothing wrong with eating alone at a restaurant.  
  • I’ve sometimes been lonelier in a group of people than I was being by myself.
  • I hate talking on the phone.  Get to the point and hang up, that’s my motto.  (Really?  That’s a lesson from loneliness?  Maybe not.  Could just be my old introverted self raising her head).  

Way back in 2011, I  wrote a post listing the five benefits I got out of solitude. This hasn’t changed over the years.   Because I’m  more at peace with myself than I’ve ever been, alone time has become more important than ever.  

What about you?  Do you enjoy solitude?  What benefits do you get from that time alone? 

 For additional reading: 

Bella DePaulo (Social Scientist, Blogger, Author and more) provides many links that lead to articles describing what experts have to say about solitude in her article titled. What’s Great about Solitude: Here’s What we Know 

I also enjoyed this article from the Greatist website, which talks about the Joy of Missing Out. 

Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone. (Paul Tillich)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Wellness for Vital Aging

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 31 – 3/13/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday: 

I believe that dancing with life includes social wellness.  We sure don’t need any scientific evidence (though there is an abundance of it out there) to prove that friendship, family and community connections are important for vital aging.  

If you’re looking for some social wellness opportunities, keep reading.  

Do you love to read, and want to meet other like-minded people? Join an online book club I recently found a Facebook group page, What R U Reading?  After joining this group, I met some fellow readers and I’m now getting some great reading suggestions.  Some of these ladies are local to my area, and we started going to our local movie theatre, then go to a local coffee shop to discuss the movie.  It’s been fun to meet new friends who have helped me get into the reading groove again.  

Are you looking for other people who share your specific interests?  You may want to check out the Meetup website.  You sign up for free, create a profile indicating your interests, and the site provides you with meetup groups in your local area.  

Looking for a way to help your local community?  Take a look at your city’s website to see if your community has a community foundation or other boards/commissions that provide volunteering opportunities.

A few other volunteering websites:

To help other women and girls in a variety of ways:  LiveYourDream 

From AARP, CreatetheGood  You can subscribe and get volunteering opportunities in your area sent directly to your inbox. 

Are you homebound or simply want the flexibility of helping from home? You can try online volunteering:

CareerVillage – Volunteers give career advice to low-income high school students.  

Idealist – Provides a wide variety of online volunteering opportunities:  mentoring, staffing crisis hotlines, assisting with research/writing/editing, helping fundraising for nonprofits, and much more.

For further reading: 

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Women + Friends = Wellness

Making Friends Late in Life 

UCLA Study on Friendship among Women