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?

semi_simple_swimming_sketch

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)

 

5 Great Websites for Women

 

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 21 – 2/20/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:

 Are you looking for healthy recipes and other dietary information? 

Look no further than WebMD’s Food and Recipes center – you’ll find healthy recipes, slideshows, quizzes, articles about all kinds of food topics

Bea recently found a healthy and easy-to-make enchilada recipe in her inbox, after signing up for WebMD’s Daily Bite newsletter.  

Want to help other women/girls live a better life?  Check out the Live Your Dream website.

Looking for a great online blogging community for women?  Bea recently joined the Blogher Community.  At Blogher, you’ll find tons of articles about food, family, health, style, and more, written by women.  Are you a blogger?  Are you looking for fun opportunities to get involved online?  Take a look at the Blogher Publishing Network, Influencer Network, Visionaries Panel, or Blogher.com Syndication.  

Are you 40+?  Check out the 40+ Style Community Blog and discover a great fashion, beauty and style site. 

Aging Abundantly, by Dorothy Sander, is a wonderful website/blog for us over 50 ladies. I particularly enjoyed her Window to Wisdom post for 2015.  Dorothy also has some good articles for those of us who are what she describes as Late Blooming Writers.  

 

Introducing Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project for 2015!

Bea recently read in the newspaper that we’re living longer than ever. Sounds great, right? The problem is, we’re not living better. All the advances by medical science we have these days, and those of us born during the baby boomer years face more disability and chronic illness than ever.

Gen X, it doesn’t have to be that way for you ~ take charge of your aging, throw out those old stereotypes, and get ready for quality longevity! Generation X women, ranging in age from 35 to 50 in 2015, are at a prime time in their lives to take actions that will impact their everyday wellness  in positive ways.  This everyday wellness can lead to a healthier and more enjoyable aging process.

Often, all this involves is making simple choices that can be easily integrated into our lifestyles.  We just need to love and respect ourselves enough to take that first step.

Visit Bea on January 1, 2015, when she embarks on her 2015 wellness project.  Then, beginning on January 5th, come on back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each month for Bea’s health and wellness tips for Generation X women – covering the physical, mental, emotional and social aspects of healthy aging. Why fear aging, when we can change aging?

Silhouette of a girl jumping over sunset

7 Keys to Age Empowerment

So here’s the question of the day:

Are you simply getting older, or are you growing older?

The key is in the word growing.

Think about it this way:  You can be a “Senior Citizen,” or you can be what my 74 year old sister chooses to be: “Age Empowered.”

Baby boomers, we have a choice to make every day.  As of 2014, we range from the age of 50 to 68.  We can’t turn back the clock and return to our twenties or thirties, and do we really want to?  I know I don’t.  I don’t want to be young again.  I DO want to remain healthy and happy as I continue this journey into “old age.”

We can all do that by having an age empowered attitude:

  • Never stop learningFrom continuing your education, no matter what your age, to playing brain games, to fearlessly trying new technologies; we can keep our brain cells active and strong. 
  • Open your mind to other possibilities. Let’s face it, we all tend to get judgmental, and set in our thought patterns, especially as we age.  Seeing things in black and white, however, is limiting; it keeps us from opening our minds to other people’s points of view.  We can learn from each other!
  • Stay physically active. Exercise is such a powerful life enhancer. We don’t have to be marathon runners (though many of us boomers ARE), we don’t have to be body builders or world-class athletes.  But we can, and should, take care of this body and brain we’ve been given – this gift of life – and do our best to ward off those age-related diseases, protect our minds, and keep ourselves from getting frail and weak. 
  • Stay connected to others. Loneliness and depression can come with aging, if we keep ourselves isolated from others.  Stay socially connected through your church community, your local senior center, a volunteer group, a walking or running club, a quilting club . . . .
  • Accept the changes that come with age.  The Help Guide website has a wide variety of articles that talk about the basics of healthy agingHelp Guide is a great resource for people of all ages.
  • Stop and smell the stinking roses, would ya?  This is even more important over the age of 50, because you just don’t know when your time will be up on this earth.  Enjoy those grandkids, learn to forgive, continue to make great memories with family and friends.  Take time to go outside, breathe in that fresh air, and thank God (or whomever your higher power is) for this gift of life you’ve been given. 
  • Find the humor in life. Laughter is an absolute necessity in our lives.  Laugh at yourself, laugh with others – you’ll relieve stress and worries, and you’ll remain healthier.

For further reading:

National Center for Creative Aging

Older People Become What They Think

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Know Much About: Macular Degeneration

My mom suffered from a multitude of health conditions, including one that diminished her vision: macular degeneration.

As a person who’s suffered from nearsightedness for most of my life, which steadily worsened until just a few years ago,  macular degeneration is something I fear.  Simply because I want to maintain what vision I have left for as long as I can.

Let me put it this way: Without my glasses on or my contacts in my eyes, I can’t read the computer screen unless I put my face about 12 inches from it! That’s bad enough for me!

So what is macular degeneration?

According to the National Eye Institute, (NEI) macular degeneration is an age-related condition, one that progressively destroys a person’s “sharp, central vision.” Central vision is needed for driving, reading, and simply seeing objects clearly.  Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, affects the eye’s macula, which helps the eye see fine detail. For people over 60,  AMD  is one of the leading causes of vision loss.

Diagram of a human eye; note that not all eyes...

Image via Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Two Forms of AMD: Wet and Dry

Here’s how the NEI describes Wet AMD:

“Wet AMD occurs when abnormal blood vessels behind the retina  start to grow under the macula. These new blood vessels tend to be very fragile  and often leak blood and fluid. The blood and fluid raise the macula from its  normal place at the back of the eye. Damage to the macula occurs rapidly.”  It is an advanced form of the disease, one in which a person can quickly lose their vision.

Dry AMD, on the other hand, gradually causes central vision loss.  The NEI describes the dry form this way:

“Dry AMD occurs when the light-sensitive cells in the macula  slowly break down, gradually blurring central vision in the affected eye. As dry
AMD gets worse, you may see a blurred spot in the center of your vision. Over  time, as less of the macula functions, central vision is gradually lost in the  affected eye.”

The Mayo Clinic talks more about Dry Macular Degeneration, the more common form,  at this link.

Whike age is the primary risk factor for developing AMD, there are others.

These include:

  • Smoking (One more reason to quit!)
  • Obesity
  • Race (More common in whites than in African Americans)
  • Family History
  • Gender (Females get AMD more often than males)

How We Can Reduce our Risk of Getting AMD:

  • Eat a healthier diet, one that’s low in bad fats and cholesterol.  Highly processed foods increase our risk of developing AMD.
  • Eat dark green leafy veggies and yellow veggies.  You can find a list of great options at this article from the Third Age website.
  • Eat more fish to get your Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Watch your blood pressure and weight.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses.
  • Get your eyes checked regularly.

 

To learn more about AMD, go to the eMedicine Health website. This site provides a comprehensive discussion of the disease.

 

For Johns Hopkins free Health Alerts Guide to Macular Degeneration, click here.

Sources:
National Institutes of Health, National Eye Institute: Facts About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

ThirdAge.com, Macular Degeneration Prevention

 

 

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Baby Boomers and Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is devastating not only to the person who suffers from it, but also for the family members who have to watch their loved one’s mind deteriorate, day by day. 

 As the first baby boomers turn 65 this year, more and more of them face the likelihood of developing this disease.  Simply take a look at this Alzheimer’s Association Facts and Figures Report for the sad statistics. 

Interested in learning more? The Alzheimer’s Association  has recently released a report, Generation Alzheimer’s: The Defining Disease of the Baby Boomers. You can get that report sent to your email inbox by signing up here.

Please, share the latest news about Alzheimer’s Disease by sharing this link with your friends and family:

http://alz-news.org

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Good Blog Find: Happy Health

Happy Health is a site that defines itself as a “Lifestyle Health Guide for 55+” and that’s a good description. 

 Whether you’re looking for 55+ recreational activities, health articles for an active lifestyle, vacation options, dating and relationship tips – you’ve come to the right place. 

Happy Health has a team of writers, each one concentrating on a different area of the 55+ lifestyle. 

Mary Albert  is the team’s health writer. Mary recently wrote a guest post for Bea Boomer’s Wellness, an article about exercising your brain to fight memory loss.

She’s written some good articles on Happy Health as well, including:

For those of us who are taking care of elderly parents, Mary has also written several articles about medical alert systems. 

Other team members include:

Jack Stewart, recreational writer:

In this article, he describes the social wellness and health benefits of yoga.

Other recreational articles for 55+ folks include:

Alice Mitchell, travel writer, talks about online travel deals in this article:

And provides some tips for newbie RV travelers in this post:

Finally, Dorthy Wilson is the relationship writer. Are you in your fifties and dating? Dorthy gives you some tips in her articles:

Happy Health also includes a link to Product Reviews, where the writers review medical alert systems. You can also sign up and get a free e-book on Natural Anti-Aging Tips.

 

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

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: