Bullet Points For Increased Life Expectancy

The secret to longevity has baffled people for years. There are nonagenarians who swear by their cigars, and centenarians who swear cigars off like the plague. There are octogenarians who ski every day and skiers who fracture their hips on a tough trail. There are healthy eaters who live long, and then there are the French who drink red wine and red meat and remain hale and hearty as horses. If anything is clear about the secret to longevity, its that it is unclear, however, that’s not going to stop anyone from trying to find it. If you’re among those making an effort to do so, scientists may have a few clues to point you in the right direction. Here are a few of the things that research has discovered about longevity.

Your Personality Plays A Role
The Longevity Project is a eight decade spanning study dedicated to the baffling secret of long life. During that time, Stanford researchers Leslie R. Martin and Howard S. Friedman have discovered a few things about personality’s effects on life expectancy. According to them, “The qualities of a prudent, persistent, well organized person, like a scientist professor – somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree” are more likely to be present in a person who reaches old age. “Many of us assume that more relaxed people live longer, but that’s not necessarily the case.” Apparently conscientious people are more likelier to make healthier choices about work, marriage, and daily habits..

Your Diet Comes Into Play
When it comes to diet, it seems that those who reside in the Mediterranean, and follow the diet of the area, are the most likely to make it into their twilight years. The diet, which consists largely of vegetables, nuts, fruits, and olive oil has been linked to lower risk for heart disease and even protection from memory loss.

Genetics
It may come as no surprise that your parents’ life spans may give you an idea about what yours is likely to be. The autopsy of a 115- year- old woman revealed stem cell exhaustion as a reason for death. This means the woman remained healthy until her cells literally gave out. Other research shows that some people are less prone to diseases or have levels of chemicals, like dopamine and seratonin in the brain that may attribute to superior bodily functions.

Education
If you find yourself with an extra four years at the end, those may be the years you spent in college. A 2012 report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics found that those with bachelor’s degrees or higher, can live about nine years longer than those who didn’t finish high school. According to health economist, James Smith, educated people make better plans for their future, get better jobs, and make healthier lifestyle choices.

Work Stress May Not Be A Factor
If you think “your job is killing you,” it may not be. According to the Longevity Study, long lives and hard work are not mutually exclusive. The authors say, “We found that productive, hardworking people are not stressed and miserable, but tend to be happier, healthier, and more socially connected than their less productive peers.”

Do you have any clues for us about the path to longevity? We’re dying to hear them.

Woman using barbells

Use Muscle, Don't Lose It

We’ve all seen it. The celebrity weight transformations. A celebrity gets a role and that calls for an actor with a muscular physique and all of a sudden they’ve transformed into the “Incredible Hulk,” seemingly overnight, adding masses of muscle to their formerly moderate frames, only to slim down just as quickly to normal or even emaciated proportions depending on their next role. Of course they will openly discuss how they “bulked up” or “slimmed down” with tales of excessive carb, consumption and exhausting workouts or stories of food deprivation worthy of a homeless orphan.

However, while we are used to the seemingly impossible becoming commonplace in Hollywood, we hope for a more stable body weight for ourselves. When we build muscle, we generally hope to maintain it, but we need to use it to make sure we don’t lose it.

The Bad News
If you don’t start exercising now, your muscles will shrink by the time your are seventy. Two recent studies found that the atrophy of muscles previously though to be a normal part of aging is not inevitable.

One study used MRI snapshots to compare muscle mass in the mid thighs of athletes aged 40 to 81. Images revealed not much difference between the younger and older athletes and found very little decrease in mid thing muscles with age. In contrast, in healthy but sedentary 70 year old, the results were very different, showing a significant decrease in muscle mass.

Another study looked at the “motor units” of the leg muscles. Motor units are the basic units of the muscles, each of which is connected to a single neuron. It is believed the part of the general weakening that occurs with age is attributed to the atrophy of the motor units. The study revealed a close similarity in the number of motor units of 60 and 20 year old runners. However, this did not apply to the arm muscles, with older runners and non runners alike experiencing similar decline in the motor units of the arms.

Woman with prominent biceps

The Good News
The loss of muscle mass, also known as sarcopenia, can be managed with exercise. Exercise stimulates the release of hormones crucial to healthy muscle mass, such as the growth hormone, crucial to the mechano growth factor. Exercise can also prevent the loss of essential bone and muscle associated with aging.

Although aerobic exercise is great for the cardiovascular system and effective in keeping down fat levels, it is only mildly helpful in maintaining the lean body mass you already have. When it comes to the preserving and increasing lean mass, resistance training is the way to go. The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises strength training, such as using weights, machines, bands, and other devices to promote mobility, improve fitness, and increase bone density.

The Big Four For Muscle Building
Because your body is made primarily of “push and pull” muscles, it is important to focus on exercises that focus on those movements. The squat is a great whole body “push” exercise and should be coupled with a whole body “push-pull” like the deadlift, which incorporates core and lower body muscles. For the upper body, the bench press and barbell row are the two main lifts to incorporate into your strength training routine. Doing these will let you minimize finishing exercises for the abs and calves.

How are you using your muscles? Let us know! You’re looking great!

Woman eating burger

Taming Your Fast Food Craving

Are you a fast food junkie? Do you religiously monitor news reports and commercial advertisements to hear the latest concoction your favorite fast food restaurant has on offer? Were you the first to try the Taco Bell Naked Fried Chicken Chalupa? Do you regularly challenge your new friends to Doritos Loaded eating contest? Are you willing to travel several miles out of your way to the nearest Weinerschnitzel to eat “Pastrami with your Mommy?” If so, have you read the nutritional information on that stuff?

Fast food can be hard to resist. After all, how can you compete with companies willing to spend millions of dollars on discovering the right level of crunch in a potato chip? But there are ways to fight back. Read on to find out how you can tame your fast food craving.

Why We Crave

Vanishing Food Density
Cheetos are a classic example of a food with vanishing caloric density. It melts in for mouth quickly, before your brain realizes there are calories in it. The result? Your brain thinks you’re not eating as much as you are and you overeat.

Sensory Response
The brain craves variety. The more familiar the brain becomes with a food, the less pleasure it will derive from it. Fast foods are designed to provide enough taste to remain interesting without dulling the sensory response. This is why many fast foods are covered with sauces and glazes.

Memories
When you eat something you like, the pleasurable response is registered in your brain, creating a trigger. Every time you see or even think about that food, memories and responses can cause cravings, and even physical responses, like salivation.

How To Fight Back

Woman with healthy groceries

Rules and Strategies
Research has shown that the less junk food you eat, the less you will crave it. Your first step in fighting your fast food craving is by cutting down on processed and packaged food.

Try using the “outer ring” strategy at the grocery store. If you aim to purchase foods on the outer ring of the store, you will generally be selecting from whole foods like meats, eggs and produce.

Also, try and follow the “five ingredient rule” and avoid buying foods with more than five ingredients, which are more likely to contain empty calories.

Choose From a Wide Variety of Foods
The brain needs novelty to remain stimulated. If your craving the crunch of a Nacho, you may not be able to replicate the taste, but you may be able to get a similar sensation by dipping a celery stick in hummus. Try and get creative with food textures and flavors to keep things interesting.

Learn To Cope with Stress
Stress causes the brain to release chemicals, like opiates and neuropeptide, Y that trigger mechanisms similar to those you get from sugar and fat. Learn to handle stressful situations without reaching for junk food. Try a simple breathing exercise or quick meditation. Exercise and activity are also great stress relievers and can provide distractions from food cravings.

If you have a mild fast food obsession, how do you control your cravings? Let us know how you managed to avoid the lure of the Bacon Cheese.

Woman weighing herself

The Relationship Between Age and Weight

“Boy, he (she) got fat!” Definitely not the nicest thing to think about another person, but most probably a thought that has occurred to us at one time or another. Whether it was the girlfriend you used to sip wine coolers and eat endless amounts of Funyuns with, or the formerly gaunt singer of the eighties heavy metal band that you used to rock out to, age and weight seem to have a funny way of catching up to us at the same time. As if one of the two isn’t bad enough.

However, one just needs to look at aging supermodels, like Heidi Klum and Christie Brinkley to know that age and weight do not have to come as a package deal. Let’s take a closer look at the age/weight relationship and see if the two can be mutually exclusive.

Studies
As you age, the composition of your body changes. Metabolism and hormonal levels alter, impacting the degree and speed of fat accumulation. Generally, the greatest body weight is found in males and females in the 50-59 age group, and declines gradually after you hit 60. In the mid-seventies weight tends to increase again, followed by a small drop off.

A study of runners, ages 18-50 found that in the below 30 age group, most runners were moderately overweight, nearly 30% of the 45 to 49 age group exceeded their recommended weight.

Men Vs. Women
It seems that in the battle of the sexes, weight gain in regard to age is not exempt. Although the male sex is more likely to be overweight, women are more prone to obesity. Problem spots also differ. Whereas women tend to add on pounds on the hips and thighs before menopause, whereas the midsection is the more commonly problematic for men.

Women exercising

Weight Charts
According to most weight charts, the recommended weight for a woman of 5’6″ is between 117 and 143 pounds. A male of 5’11 has a recommended weight of 155 to 189 pounds. However, weight charts are usually broken down by height and gender without consideration for age, a factor you might want to consider in the evaluation of your weight and your weight loss goals.

Weight Loss Strategies
Although there is a correlation between age and weight gain, the good news is, it is believed that regular workouts can prevent the added pounds that can result from aging. However, it may get a little tougher. As you age, your body loses muscle, which means that you tend to burn fewer calories, which means you may want to increase your activity level. For example, you may want to extend a 30-minute workout to 40 minutes over time. Also, keep in mind that weight training plays a key role in muscle development and is directly related to the number of calories burned, and should be a key consideration in designing your workout routine.

Your diet is another important thing to consider as you age. The junk food and sugar that you metabolized so easily in your younger years will become more problematic as your metabolism slows. Keep your intake of calories at a moderate level and try to include vegetables, fruits, yogurt, and fish in your diet.

How do you keep active as you age? You’re looking especially young!

Your Chicken Should Be Antibiotic Free

The dating world can be scary these days. Everyone is looking to have Fun Ways To Move Morefun, but when it comes to starting long term relationships, you need to know some vital information about your partner’s past. After all, if your going to be putting parts of a person’s body into your body, you need to know where those body parts have been. The same can be said of your chicken. If that chicken is going to be in your mouth and stomach, you should know a little about this chicken, especially whether of not this chicken is antibiotic free. Why? Read on to find out.

Harmful to Human Health
The use of antibiotic on farm animals have been amped up in recent years. Fifteen to seventeen million pounds go the drug are freely administered on a yearly basis. The goal of this is not only to keep animal healthy in general, but also to prevent sickness in animals raised in unsanitary conditions. The results have been anything but healthful. The overuse of antibiotics has resulted in the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria strains, superbugs, if you will, and, since poultry products usually carry more than one bacterial strain, it is becoming more likely the meat you buy is contaminated.

In fact, a recent study from the Environmental working group found that 81% of ground turkey, 69% of pork chops, 55 % of ground beef, and 39% of chicken wings and thighs are tainted with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.

Add to that the fact that the antibiotics used to treat chicken are similar to those that are used on humans and the threat to public health increases. Dr. Glenn Morris says that humans who ingest the resistant bacteria may not respond to antibiotic treatment. The risk for children is higher due to less mature immune systems.

Happy hens

Government Response
It would not be an exaggeration to say our government’s response to this danger was underwhelming. In 2013, the FDA declared a “voluntary strategy” asking that drug companies limit the amount of antibiotics in animal feed. While the association released a statement acknowledging the use of antimicrobial drugs as “an important health concern,” and recommended “judicious use of the drugs, the call carries no penalty for failure to comply and is open to ambiguous interpretation.

Antibiotic Chicken
Despite the weak response from the FDA, consumers can be proactive in avoiding the consumption of contaminated chicken. A 2012 Consumer Reports studies found antibiotic free products at 119 stores, including, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s. The “no antibiotics” chickens were reasonably priced and, in some cases, actually cost less than the average price of chicken breasts nation-wide. Panera Bread is a leading restaurant in the increasing availability of antibiotic-free products, including chicken, pork. and turkeys, a trend that we will hopefully be seeing more of in the near future. Until then, you can keep yourself informed at RealTimeFarms.com.

What are you doing to avoid eating unhealthy foods? Let us know! We want to hear your recommendations and suggestions!

Woman doing bridge

Add These Bodyweight Exercises To Your Routine

If you are a stunt enthusiast, you may have seen 25- year- old Scott Walker execute a handstand complete with leg extension on the edge of a 40 -foot high -rise in Shanghai without the use of a harness of safety gear. Likewise for the unnamed, but in no way less impressive YouTube star who demonstrated his skills by supporting his body weight with one hand on the edge of a Hong Kong skyscraper or perhaps you viewed the daring young man who showed off his penchant for body curls from a pole located 65 stories above the ground.

Body weight exercises are often celebrated for their ability to be done almost anywhere without the use of equipment. However, some take the interpretation of anywhere more literally than others. If you are one of the many who prefer your workout a little more down to earth, here are some exercises you can add to your routine without the risk of vertigo.

Bridge
Start in a sit -up position with hands behind the ears. Place palms downward with fingers pointed toward the legs. Push with the back and arm muscles until the body forms a lowercase ‘n’ shape with the spine convex and the limbs straight. You can increase the difficulty by entering the exercise from a standing position and gradually bending backward into the bridge.

4-Count Bodybuilder
Count 1: Drop to a squat from a standing position. Place hands on the floor. Count 2: Thrust legs back into push up position. Count 3: Return legs to squat position. Count 4: Return to standing position.

Woman doing seated dip

Seated Dip
Begin with feet on the floor, legs outstretched and hands placed on a level surface between waist and knee height. Straighten arms with shoulders above the hands and then lower the body until the arms are bent at a 90 -degree angle. Raise body into starting position.

L-sit
Sit in L- position, with the upper body perpendicular to the ground and the legs out straight and parallel to the ground. Place the hands beside the gluteus. Then use the arms and hands to push the entire body, legs included, upwards off the ground with the legs remaining parallel, creating isometric tension.

Lunge
Stand on a flat surface. Step forward with one leg and bend down until the knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Bend the back knee so that it almost touches the ground. Return to the starting position by pushing back with front leg and stepping back to bring both feet together.

Rocking Chair
Begin in fully extended plank or push up position. Push body forward six to ten inches, keeping arms straight and then returning to the starting position.

Woman doing lunges outdoors

Shove Offs
Stand in front of an elevated surface with a ledge sturdy enough to bear your weight. Tilt your body forward with your hands and arms extended, holding your back and legs straight. Allow your body to continue to fall forward until you catch your weight on the elevated surface with your palms down and arms bent. Extend arms to push body into upright position.

Dive bomber
Place feet on ground a few inches apart, holding legs straight. Bend over at the waist, placing hands on the ground a few feet in front of the toes so that body forms an inverted ‘v.’ Swing chest and shoulders down in an arc so the chest almost touches the ground. The shoulders and head should be curved in as high an arc as possible, fully arching back, keeping head face forward with pelvis a few inches off the ground. Reverse the motion with shoulders and chest moving through the hands until the body is back at its starting point with arms in line with the back.

What body weight exercises do you do in unusual, or not so unusual places? Let us know how you stay in such great shape. We want to know!

Woman enjoying meal

Stress Free Ways To Cut Calories

You know something is big when it gets its own nickname. When Jennifer Lopez became JLo, it was Illuminati confirmed. When Ben and Jennifer united to form Bennifer, the star power was undeniable, and when hunger joined anger to make hanger, you know it wasn’t just a figment of the imagination. Hanger is real. It even has its own meme.

Why do we get hangry? As time passes after you eat, your blood glucose level starts to drop and, if it falls fast enough, your brain perceives it as a life-threatening emergency. Hence the reason you flipped over your desk at work after you were told your lunch hour would be a bit late. So what do you do when you’re trying to cut calories, but want to maintain your cool while doing it? Relax, there are some stress-free ways to diet.

Guilt
If you find yourself going on a major guilt trip every time you sneak that extra cookie, you may have unrealistic goals. If your diet involves cutting your favorite food completely out of your menu or losing 5 pounds a month, you’ve set the bar too high and are giving yourself a greater chance of failure. Clinical psychologist Marlene Schwartz, PhD advises dieters to go easy on themselves. Focus on small goals that will increase your chance of success, like taking a walk during lunch time. According to Schwartz, “Research shows that the more you believe you can lose weight the more likely you are to actually do it.”

Stressed businesswoman

Stress
If your stress levels are through the roof, you might seek some support. A recent study conducted by Ashton University in England showed that dieters who did not have the social support of an organized group showed higher stress-hormone levels than those who belonged to an assigned weight-loss program.

While commercial programs, such as Weight Watchers can help lend a communal feeling to the dieting process. a John Hopkins University study showed that participation in church-based exercise and nutrition programs are just as likely to succeed. The friends you already have can be your biggest cheerleaders. According to Beth Casey Gold, RD, when recruiting your buddies, “emphasize how important it is to you to make these lifestyle changes, then offer specific examples of what kind of encouragement will help and what won’t.” Stress positive reinforcement over negative remarks for best results.

Anger
If you find yourself lashing out at the family, it may be due to a significant cut in carbs, a side effect known by experts as the “Atkin’s Attitude.” “Your body need carbs to produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter in your brain that regulates mood, emotion, sleep, and appetite.” informs Judith Wurtman, PhD and director of Women’s Health at MIT. The quick anger fix? Grab a healthy high carb snack like popcorn or whole grain toast. Try to get at least 130 grams of carbs per day to maintain optimal brain function, according to the National Academy of Sciences’ Food and Nutrition Board.

 Temptation
In constructing your diet, focus on long-term changes, rather than short-term deprivation. If you commit to eating nothing but celery and carrots each day, you are probably dieting with an end in sight. Schwartz suggests that you, “gradually incorporate small changes that you’ll stick with for life. Try swapping one unhealthy food out for a healthier one rather than completely depriving yourself. You’ll be less likely to succumb to temptation.

How do you handle hanger? Let us know what works for you. We love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Couple running

Exercise Keeps Couples Together

When you think of things you want to do with your new partner, sweating like a pig in the gym is probably not on the top of your list. In fact, you probably would prefer to have your partner believe that you don’t work out at all, and that you’re just genetically flawless. After all, most of us would prefer to spare our potential love interests the less than attractive image of an ungraceful attempt to straighten our legs over our heads.

However, if the two of you are thinking of taking things to the next level with, eventually, you will have to reveal the fact that you do not possess a metabolism that allows you to eat like a horse while looking like a supermodel, and neither does your partner. In fact, you might even find yourselves adding exercise to your list of bonding activities. Here are some reasons you might want to include your significant other in your workout routine.

You’ll increase Your Happiness As A Couple
Studies show that couple who join in participation of physical activity, report greater satisfaction in their relationship. (Aron, Norman, Aron, and Heyman, 2000.) After all, exercise has positive effects, why not share them? According to a 2004 study, the physiological arousal of the activity, rather than the challenge, is conducive to attraction. Date night at the gym, anyone?

Improve Your Workouts
It is a long-held psychological belief that the mere presence of another person can affect your ability to accomplish an activity. A 1983 Bond and Titus study, shows that another person’s company can improve speed and energy output. However, if you are grappling with a new activity, you may want to leave your partner home, as they may hinder your ability to deal with more challenging tasks.

Couple running outdoors

Make Your Partner Fall For You
Exercise brings on the same symptoms as physiological arousal- accelerated pulse, shortness of breath, sweaty hands. It’s little wonder people tend to mistake physical arousal for romantic attraction. (Duton and Aron, 1974) Let’s call this a happy mistake, shall we?

Make It Easier To Achieve Fitness Goals
When your partner cares about your fitness, it makes it easier for you to care about yours. A 2013 study of couples showed that husbands who care about staying in shape are more likely to engage in physical activity when their wives offer supportive comments. (Skoyen, Blank, Corkery, and Butler.) Although joint participation in physical activity offers perfect context for such support, studies caution against heavy reliance on a partner when it comes to achieving personal fitness goals. According to Fitzsimons and Finkel, “outsourcing” mental effort needed to maintain fitness goal can decrease your own.

Strengthen Your Emotional Bond
Working out together can help you to coordinate with one another. You may notice you’re matching running paces or lifting weights in rhythm. This leads to “nonverbal mimicry.” (Stel and Vonk, 2010) Nonverbal mimicry helps partners become more attuned emotionally with one another and report feelings of ‘”bonding” with each other. Good for both of you individually and communally!

Tell us how you and your partner bond over workouts! We love to be inspired!