Resilient Women – A Tribute

Strong Women I Know

A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law was diagnosed with Myelodysplasia, more commonly known as bone marrow cancer.  Unfortunately for the Big C, he’s messing with the wrong woman. She’s survived many hospitalizations, blood transfusions, infections, chemotherapy treatments and continued to work 40 hours a week! Soon, she will be having a bone marrow transplant, and plans to beat this thing.

I have a friend who has survived homelessness. She also became her husband’s 24/7 caretaker after he suffered from a life-changing work accident, while she continued to raise their two children.

My sister has suffered from painful rheumatoid arthritis since she was a teenager. Her first husband left her for another woman, leaving her with two young kids. She became her second husband’s caretaker when he suffered from a stroke several years ago. At the age of 70, she also has medical problems of her own, yet still manages to live a full life.  

 What do these women have in common? 

 They’re resilient.  They’re survivors. Not reality show survivors, but Real Life Survivors.  I admire these women for their strength, their courage, and their ability to make it through the tough stuff. 

Resilient people bounce back, like tennis balls.  They learn and get strong from struggle, rather than letting struggle drag them down. Their attitude is to work through setbacks, rather than going through the old “life ain’t fair” routine.  They look at life changes as an opportunity to grow.

Want to become more resilient?  Take a look at these articles for some tips:

Who are the strong people in your life?  I’d love to hear about them.

Exercise Your Brain- Fight Memory Loss with Fitness

Everyone knows that aging can be done gracefully. Many people just aren’t sure how to go about it. Exercise is important for your body. It helps stave off things like arthritis, immobility, and other illnesses that you become more susceptible to as you age. Of course, exercise also boosts your mood and helps with your mental health, as well. One of the biggest issues of aging is memory loss and forgetfulness, and there’s more to keeping your brain fit than just reading, doing crosswords, or other mental exercise.

Physical exercise can actually help improve your mental clarity, but you need more than just a basic walking program or fitness class. I’ve been working in the exercise and physical training industry for the better portion of my life, and I’ve found that there are some great fitness programs and types of exercise that can help your brain as much as they can help your body. Yoga is the first, and one of my favorite activities. You have to learn the poses, remember, them, and use yoga to help relax your body and your mind. As such, it can improve your mental abilities and help you decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s and other memory-related issues.

Another great option is aerobics or dance classes. You don’t have to be a prima ballerina, by any means, but if you can get involved in a class where you use your brain as much as you use your body, you’ll reap the rewards. I always recommend exercise during retirement to help maintain physical health, and I’m an advocate for doing anything that you can to stay young and alert. With the right exercise or fitness programs, you can enjoy having the body and the brain that will keep you young for years to come.

Contributed by Mary Albert, a blogger for a senior health web site that provides advice for the 55+ age group as well as medical alert reviews

Taking Charge Of This Aging Thing

Ahh, Youth

When Bea was young, her body was like a raging furnace, burning off calories as fast as she could munch ’em down. She had energy to spare, at one time working two jobs (around 76 hours a week); then going out at night to party with her friends.

Sleep? Ha. She didn’t need it. And she didn’t give any thought, much less a worry, about the future of her muscles, bones, and brain cells. She was young, man, and that was gonna last forever (or, at least until she turned the big 3-0; yea, at one time,  Bea thought 30 was OLD.

Silly girl.

Argghhh. What Happened to Youth?

Suddenly, the “forever young” Bea turned 40.  What the heck happened to thirty, for gosh sakes?  And as her forties raced into her fifties, her body mysteriously began to change. Her once highly energized metabolism started dawdling. Her bone mass started shrinking. Her muscles got, well, a little flabby.  She needed more sleep, yet often woke up, tossing and turning, in the middle of the night.

Okay. We all know it’s inevitable. Our bodies age, and change. Sometimes that change ain’t pretty.

But we can make this aging thing easier to swallow, and empower ourselves at the same time. 

Here are some of Bea’s ideas:

(1) Take charge of your physical health.  

  • For Bea, that means going to the doc for all those annual tests, and being sure to ask questions about any health concerns.  It also means trying to keep those age-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and blood pressure at bay by eating a healthy diet (low fat, high fiber) and making exercise a regular habit.

(2) Hang onto those brain cells!

  • Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist and co-founder of the FitBrains website talks about 10 tips for a healthy brain in this article from Reader’s Digest.

(3) Boost muscle mass with strength training.

  • Strength training also helps build up our bone density and revs up our metabolism. According to this Forbe’s article, we should strength train at least twice a week.  Bea loves exercise DVDs that combine cardio and strength training, such as Chris Freytag’s Walk and Sculpt, and her Walking Cardio Shape-Up

(4) Eat your greens!  And your purples and reds, too. 

(5) Take care of your emotional health. 

  •  We all get the blues occasionally, but if you’re down in the dumps for more than a couple of weeks, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.  If you’re worried and anxious all the time, find an empathetic listener! Always stressed?  Check out these stress management tips. Nurture yourself; you deserve it!

These are just a few ideas – I’m sure you have more!  What kind of things are you doing for your health, and your sanity, as you age?  I’d love to hear from you.

Bea Boomer is Moving

Ahhh, spring is about to make its appearance in Michigan.  Yep, spring will make its official debut next Sunday, March 20th!  I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for it! 

Spring – a time of renewal.  And for Bea Boomer, a time to move.  Nope, Bea’s not moving out of the state  though it’s a tempting thought, given Michigan’s gloomy economic outlook!  She’s simply moving her blog , in favor of a self-hosting option, with her own domain name. 

And, in fact, she hopes to accomplish this by the time the first official day of spring rolls around, so she’d better get moving! 

Bea is looking forward writing a “new and improved” version of Bea Boomer’s Wellness. She hopes you’ll join her as she continues this blogging journey.

Please stop back by for further details next Sunday!

Write on, Bea!

Health News From U.S. News & World Report

I recently started reading the Health section of the U.S. News and World Report website.  It’s good reading if you’re looking for:

  • Current health information and research
  • The best hospitals, nursing homes, and health plans in the United States
  • Information on health conditions
  • Health related videos and slideshows
  • Fitness articles (You can even ask fitness questions by connecting to: Ask Fitness Coach)

Interesting reading from U.S. News & World Report: Health:

Chew Gum – It’s Good For You (Maybe)

Bazooka gumImage via WikipediaFrom: Parka Lewis at en.wikipedia

As a kid, I chewed a lot of gum. Bazooka bubble gum was my first choice. Remember it? I’m sure you do, if you’re a boomer. It cost a penny, yep, just one cent. Can you think of anything that costs a single penny these days? I can’t. It was a hard pink square of gum, and inside its wrapper was a comic. What a deal! Pink sugary bubble gum and reading material, to boot!

I not only chewed the stuff, I swallowed it. Yep, that’s my dirty little secret. My mom would warn me not to swallow my gum because it wouldn’t digest, it would just grow into a blob of gum in my stomach and eventually it would kill me! Or I’d have to have surgery to get it out of there. Whatever. I didn’t care. I swallowed gum and I’m still alive to tell the tale today.

Believe it or not, I was actually reaping health benefits! Well, except for the swallowing part. Oh yeah, and the fact that the bubble gum’s main ingredient was sugar. Maybe sugarless would have been a better choice. (Did we even have sugarless back then?)

Anyway, I have read about the health benefits of chewing gum (And it isn’t only Wrigley that touts these benefits).

According to an article from the WorldWide Health website, benefits include:

  • Weight management (by helping control your appetite, and using as a substitute for other higher calorie snacks)
  • Helping improve focus, concentration, and alertness
  • Relieving minor daily stress

And, the International Chewing Gum Association (bet you didn’t know that existed!) says that it can help people who suffer from a dry mouth and those who are trying to quit smoking. 

On the other side of the coin, Health Guidance points our a few of the not so good aspects of gum chewing: Yep, it’s not so good for your stomach and your digestion. (Why, or why, did I swallow all that gum??)

Well, good for me or not, I’m still chewin’, (usually sugarless) though I haven’t had a lovely piece of Bazooka bubble gum in a long time.  And if I’m sure if I ever find it, it’ll cost me more than a penny! 

How about you?  Do you chew? 

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