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? 

Long Term Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 14 – 2/4/15

In Bea’s previous post, she talked about the short term benefits of aerobic exercise.

The long term benefits of this form of exercise are just as important, and affect our longevity in several ways.

  • Aerobic exercise, along with other fitness options, are a boon for our brain health.  Who in the heck wants their brain cells to rust as they age?  Bea sure doesn’t.  A recent study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience documented the effects of exercise on memory and other cognitive functions.  This is only one study, of course; but there are plenty more out there in Googleland that provide additional evidence of the power of aerobic activity on our brains.  
  • Aerobic exercise helps us fight off age-related disease and conditions that make aging not-so-fun! There’s a great deal of scientific evidence linking aerobic exericise to the prevention of heart diseases, certain cancers, Type II diabetes, and stroke. 
  • Aerobic exercise can helps us increase our endurance, flexibility and balance, all of which help fight off frailty as we age.  

Wonderful winter aerobic exercise option:

 

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For further reading:

Here’s what the CDC has to say about physical activity:  Physical Activity and Health 

Short Term Aerobic Exercise Helps you Stay Mentally Sharp 

Bea’s Wellness Beat: Running 

80 Percent of American Adults don’t get Recommended Exercise 

 

10 Key Strategies for Weight Management

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 4 – 1/12/2015

The reality of losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term (okay, a lifetime) commitment.

Bea’s motivation for making this commitment came from watching her mom suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes; then watching her sisters develop these conditions as they aged. These age-related diseases develop from unhealthy eating as well as carrying around too much extra weight.

What’s your motivation?  Do you want to lower your blood pressure or your cholesterol levels? Do you simply want to boost your energy levels or enhance your self-confidence? Are you looking to get a killer body to show your ex- just what he’s missing?

Whatever your motivation, reaching a healthy weight simply makes life more enjoyable, and adds to quality longevity. And once you make that commitment, there are common sense strategies that can help you reach your weight loss goal.

  • The first step is to set your weight loss goal.  A realistic goal is the key.  I’m sure you’ve seen all those pictures in the gossip magazines of celebrities whose bones stick out and whose faces look drawn because they’re simply too skinny.  They’re not doing their overall health any favors, either.  According to the experts, it’s a good idea to base your weight goal based on your body mass index. Bea’s done a Google search: The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has a BMI calculator you can use.  This site also provides some great healthy weight tools.
  • Pick a date to get started and annotate that date on your calendar.  Not picking a date may cause you to continue to put off your weight management plan.  Then do some advance planning: fill your fridge and cupboards with healthy food options, buy some exercise DVDs, sign up for an exercise class, go online to find a support system.
  • Don’t starve yourself: Eating too few calories is counterproductive, because it causes our metabolism to slow down. There are other health risks of eating too few calories, as described here.  The best way to decide how many calories to eat during the day is to consider how active you are in your daily life. The Free Dieting website offers a Calorie Calculator – Daily Calorie Needs.
  • Keep a food journal. We often eat mindlessly, causing us to underestimate what we eat on a daily basis. For at least a week, write down not only what you eat, but also portion sizes. This will help you track the times when you overeat. Being aware of this can help you plan to substitute healthier options at these times. (Don’t forget to count beverages)
  • Eating breakfast is crucial. But not just any breakfast. An all carbohydrate morning meal will cause your energy to lag early in the day, and won’t keep you filled up for long. Instead, include a protein, whole grains, and fruit. For example, try an egg scrambled in canola oil or a whole-wheat bread thin with berries on the side.
  • Fill your lunch and dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. They add anti-oxidants, nutrients and fiber to your meals. You can eat bigger portions of them, since they have fewer calories and fat than meats and processed foods.
  • Speaking of fiber, boost your intake in order to lose weight. Fiber helps block the absorption of calories. Try oatmeal or other high fiber cereal with breakfast, beans for lunch, and whole grains throughout your day. Skip the “white” foods such as white flour, white bread, white rice (all the high glycemic stuff that causes spikes in our blood sugar).
  • Avoid processed foods and cut back on fat intake. Processed foods have too much salt, too much sugar and too many trans-fats. To cut back on fat, choose leaner cuts of meat, low-fat cheese and yogurt, and bake food instead of frying it.
  • Drink up. Cold water, that is. Believe it or not, researchers have found that simply drinking two 8 ounce glasses of cold water can enhance your metabolism by 30%.
  • Don’t forget to sweat. Some health experts argue that cutting calories is more important for weight loss than exercising. Bea would argue that even if it’s easier to eat 100 less calories a day than to burn off those 100 calories, exercise definitely has its place in the weight management game. Exercise helps you burn fat, strengthens those muscles and bones, reduces stress, lower cholesterol, and builds self-confidence.

For additional reading:

Psychology Today talks about Cognitive Therapy for weight loss, and Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Therapy in this article

Different strategies are necessary for losing weight and maintaining weight loss

Don’t go it alone: WebMD talks about the Secret Formula of Weight Loss

Combine diet and exercise for the best weight loss

Behavior Modification Ideas for Weight Management

Visit Bea on Wednesday, January 14th, to find out how often you should weigh yourself and the best day of the week to do so. 

 

 

 

 

Weight Loss: Don’t Fall for the Hype

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 3 – 1/9/15

c409652_s According to what Bea heard on the local news station recently, losing weight is one of our top resolutions  for a new year.  If this in one of your resolutions for 2015, do yourself a favor:  don’t fall for the hype of fad diets or diet products!  They just don’t work. Whenever you see a hyped-up advertisement for the latest craze (Raspberry ketones, coffee bean extract, cut out all carbs, cut out all fats, and on and on and on . . . ) go to an neutral, non-commercial site and get the facts.   Bea has three rules for losing weight:

  1. Strike the word DIET from your vocabulary, ladies. Ever wonder why the word “die” is included in “diet?” It’s because your body would be happy just to kick the bucket after you starve it by eating too little or worse, attempting a “cleanse” or liquid diet.  Seriously, cleanses can be dangerous.
  2. You have the right (and more importantly, you owe it to yourself and your health) to question celebrity doctors (and other celebrity endorsers) who hype diet products that will absolutely make you lose tons of weight, overnight, no less! One certain doc shall remain nameless (hint: he’s one of Oprah’s good buddies) but he’s been in the news lately for touting misleading and false diet information.
  3. Finally, if  all those diet supplements on store shelves promising weight loss heaven worked, and we spend billions of dollars on them and other diet products annually, why are close to 35 percent of Americans still obese?

But don’t take Bea’s word for it, just ask the experts:

Why do we keep Falling for Fad Diets?

6 Potential Dangers of Juice Cleanses and Liquid Diets

Staying Away From Fad Diets – Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 

Watch for Bea’s January 12th post for common sense weight management ideas.  No hype allowed.