woman thinking on park bench

Afraid of Aging? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Be

The idea of aging is something that many do not react well to, but why is this?

Well, it could have something to do with the physical changes that take place, or even the mental ones.

But while this may be the case, aging is really not something that you need to be afraid of. Here are just a few of the reasons why…

Aging Doesn’t Mean You Must Have Poor Health

Many people think that pain, illness and disease are all things that go hand-in-hand with old age.

But this is not true…

Yes, there are certain diseases that become more common as you get older, but, for many of them, there are actually quite a few preventative steps that you can take.

One of these is by paying attention to nutrition

colorful food nutritional benefits infographic

Malnutrition is becoming an increasing problem, especially amongst the elderly, and this can have a number of severe consequences:

  • Weakened muscles and bones
  • Higher susceptibility to diseases and infections
  • Risk of becoming underweight
  • Slower healing time

By ensuring that you are receiving all the nutrition that you need, you will be having a huge impact on your health in the future. A healthy diet now means that, as you age, you will not need to deal with the diseases and health issues that others face. 

Aging Means You’ll Have More Time

Imagine having an extra hour or two in your day…

How would you spend it?

The idea of having this extra time may seem ludicrous to some, but this is exactly what you will have as you get older.

How?

Because older adults need less sleep.

In fact, this is a sign of healthy aging.

So, how much sleep will you need?

Well, up until the age of 30, you need between seven and eight hours. After this, you need between six and seven. 

Of course, a lack of sleep can be damaging too.

How do you know if you are getting enough sleep?

Pay attention to how sleepy you feel during the day. If you are wide awake and alert, then this means that you have likely had enough sleep the night before. However, if you start to feel drowsy at some point during the day, then you may need an hour or two more each night.

Aging Makes You Happier

The concept of happiness has been at the center of so much research in recent years. 

One interesting result is the fact that seniors, out of all of the different age groups out there, are among the happiest of them all. This is especially the case when compared to those who are middle-aged. 

Wondering why this is?

Researchers believe that this could be down to better coping abilities. Since seniors have likely already been through quite a bit of hardship in their lives, they are much better able to deal with negative situations, and are also quite optimistic.

Aging Increases Marital Satisfaction

For those who are married, this may really interest you..

Many parents think that once the last of their children have moved out, a marriage will feel so much emptier.

But this is actually the opposite from the truth.

Research has shown that once all children have left home, there tends to be an increase in marital satisfaction.

senior couple

Why?

Because often, couples find themselves drifting apart, or feeling disconnected, while going through all that it takes to raise children. However, once the children have left, couples are able to get back into touch with each other, rediscovering why they fell in love with each other in the first place.

Aging Allows You to Pursue Your Dreams

When you are in your teenage years, the passion to pursue your dreams is a strong one. However, as you continue on through life, this can often be dulled down. Many find themselves in jobs that they do not enjoy, spending years doing something that does not really satisfy them.

However, once retirement rolls around, this all changes…

How?

Well, retirement gives you so much more time, and this time can be spent pursuing some of those long lost dreams that you may have put on hold years ago.

Whether you wanted to travel to a foreign country to learn a new language, write your very first novel, or grow your own food, you will have so much time once you are retired to try all of these exciting things.

Ever wanted to start your own business?

Retirement is the time to do so. In fact, over the past ten years or so, the average age for an entrepreneur is between 55 and 64.

Aging Gives You More Family Time

grandfather and grandson playing in the grass

In addition to spending your retirement time pursuing your dreams, you will also have so much more time to spend with your family and loved ones.

Being able to see your children and grandchildren grow up is something that so many look forward to, and this time of your life may even be one of the highlights of all of your years.

Aging Teaches You Emotional Management Skills

In your younger years, you may often experience moments where your emotions seem to simply overwhelm you, leaving you feeling confused and unsure of what to do.

Fortunately, these moments decrease as you age…

Managing your emotions is actually considered to be a life skill that takes decades to master. The result of this is emotional stability, as well as the ability pay more attention to the good, and less attention to the bad. This could be another reason as to why seniors have a happier outlook on life than younger generations. 

Aging Can Boost Cognitive Function

There is no denying that aging commonly brings with it cognitive decline, but researchers are finding that, in some ways, cognitive function may actually improve with age.

There is still plenty more research to be done on the topic, but a study carried out by the University of Illinois examined the way in which older air traffic controllers carried out their job in comparison to younger generations of air traffic controllers.

Wondering what the results were?

Even though the older group was experiencing some short term memory loss, as well as a reduction in visual spatial processing, they still excelled at their jobs. When it came to navigating multiple aircrafts at the same time, and avoiding a collision, the older group was far superior

Aging Teaches You Not to Judge Others

In your younger years, you may have often cast judgement upon others. Whether due to material goods they did or did not have, or something superficial, such as the way in which they looked, judgement is something that just about everybody is guilty of.

Judgement may not be a huge evil in the big scheme of things, but it does often lead to negative emotions within the person doing the judging, which is no good for your mental health.

However, this changes with age…

As you grow older, you will learn not to judge other people, and will instead naturally begin to accept them for who they are.

Aging Doesn’t Mean Isolation

One worry that many have about aging is that they may find themselves isolated from all that is out there.

However, the world is becoming increasingly age-friendly.

happy senior people

In fact, the World Health Organization has started an initiative, in conjunction with a number of cities around the world, to make the world more age-friendly. 

What exactly does this mean?

Here are just a few of the ways in which cities are adapting to their elderly population:

  • Age-friendly transportation
  • New forms of education
  • New care and housing concepts
  • Age-friendly business workplaces and campuses

From Mumbai to New York, cities all over the world are embracing this initiative, determined to make the world a better place for those who are aging.

Aging Reveals Your True Identity

Many people spend their youth trying to discover who they really are, but very few find the answers…

Why is this?

Because discovering who you are is something that takes decades, and cannot be rushed in just a few years.

Each year, you will learn so many new things about yourself, whether this be related to your character, your beliefs or your abilities. You will learn both positive and negative things about yourself, and these discoveries will accumulate over the years, meaning that you will finally understand your inner nature in depth.

Aging Means You Have More Life Experience

The older you get, the more life experiences you accumulate.

Everybody goes through different things in their life, and these experiences make you who you are. 

While you may sometimes face negative experiences, these are just as important as the positive, as you will come out of them having learned something, even if it may not feel like it at the time.

All of these life experiences also means that you become much more interesting to others. You can use your experiences to guide and advise others, changing peoples’ lives for the better.

Aging Doesn’t Mean Giving Up Driving

A few decades ago, growing older meant that you would soon have to stop driving, but this is no longer the case.

Technology has advanced in huge leaps and bounds, and all of these innovations mean that people will be able to continue to drive, in a safe manner, as they grow in age.

senior woman driving

What are some of these innovations?

Everything from adaptive headlights, which pivot the light beam so that drivers can see better on curved roads, to assisted parking systems to rear cameras make driving so much easier.

Aging Doesn’t Mean Losing Your Independence

One of the aspects of aging that many fear is having to become completely dependent on others.

However, the chances of this happening are actually quite slim…

Let’s begin by taking a look at those between the ages of 65 and 74.

When it comes to everyday tasks, this age group barely differs from those who are middle-aged. This is especially true for those living in an age-friendly location, such as within easy walking distance of shops.

But yes, things do change slightly once you pass this age range…

However, unless you are suffering from a physical health problem, or a cognitive issue, you will still not need to be completely dependent on others. You may need some extra help from support services, but you will still be able to live in your own home and continue doing what you love.

Aging Gives You More Confidence

Along with age comes confidence.

Why?

Well, the answer has already been mentioned above, and this is down to all of the life experiences you will have acquired.

Each of these experiences will add to your sense of confidence, meaning that, as you reach the later stages of old age, you will have confidence in buckets! This confidence is something that really only does come with experience, but it can really change the lives of those who have suffered from a lack of confidence in their earlier years. 

Aging is a Privilege

You may not think it now, but aging is actually quite a privilege.

Wondering how?

Think about everything that people face on a daily basis…

From crime to pollution to politics to stress, there are so many people that do not even get to see the age of 60.

No matter how old you may currently be, think about all that you have seen and experienced in your lifetime. Every day really is a gift, so put your fear of aging behind you and make the most of all that life has to offer.

Habits That Help You Maintain Healthy Vision

Habits That Help You Maintain Healthy Vision

By now most of us know: pretty = healthy. If you want pretty skin, you need to make sure we have a fully stocked beauty arsenal. If you want a rock solid body, you better make sure you’re hitting the gym and not the vending machine. If you want shampoo commercial hair, you need to make sure the hot oil treatment is on hand. The same goes for our eyes. If you want to keep those peepers clear and gorgeous, you need to keep them healthy; the only question is, how do you know whether your giving them the care they need? It might surprise you to know that there may be a few things you’re doing that are actually hurting those pretty eyes, and here are some of them. Read on to learn what not to do if you want to keep your eyes healthy for a good long time.

Sleeping in Contacts

If you heard about the woman whose eye examination revealed 27 contact lenses in her eyes, you probably know that sleeping in contacts is not such a great idea. While there are two types of contacts that the FDA has approved for overnight wear, New York optometrist, Deeba Chaudri warns that even these can be risky.  According to a study by the American Academy of Ophthamology, the risk of developing a corneal ulcer is multiplied by 10 or 15 times in extended wear contact lens users, compared to those who wear contacts only during the day.

Don’t Rub Your Eyes

Your mama always told you not to do it. The professionals concur. Says Chaudri, “Sometimes your eyes itch and you have to rub, but it’s best to keep the lid closed and only touch the outside of the eye.” Rubbing your eyes too hard can lead to inflammation and broken blood vessels, not to mention, eyes are a breeding ground of bacteria, so, “If you shake someone’s hand and then you rub your eyes, you’re transmitting those germs and there’s a good chance you can catch whatever cold he’s got.”

Get Annual Eye Exams

Even if your vision is 20/20, you should still see an eye doctor once a year. Chaudri says, “It’s about getting your overall eye health checked out: There are no pain receptors behind the eye, so if you have a broken blood vessel or a tumor back there, you would otherwise not know it until it starts to interfere with your vision, or worse.”

Staring At Devices

Looking at phones and computers is a tough habit to break, but focusing on anything for too long a time can cause eye strain and headaches. Chaudri advises following the 20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes looking at the screen, take a 20 second break, look into the distance, focus your eyes on something else, and make a conscientious effort to blink, you may have been staring for a long time without realizing it.

Applying Eyeliner to the Waterline

Even though the look may pop up in a few fashion magazines, applying liner to the inside of the lower lashes can come with a risk. According to Chaudri, “When you put liner inside your eye, you’re mixing it with your tears.” If you have contacts in, your lenses can get coated with makeup particles that prevent your eyes from getting ample amounts of oxygen. If you’re not wearing contacts, those makeup particles can bring infection causing germs into your eyes. Liquid liners are the worst offenders because the applicator tube can harbor bacteria. Soft pencils are safer because they are continually being worn down to expose a new tip.

What are you doing to keep your eyes healthy and beautiful? Let us know what healthy eye tips you swear by.

woman refusing cupcakes

Living A Sugar-Free Lifestyle

If you’re planning to give up sugar, the first thing you need to realize is, it’s going to be tough. You may have seen articles about how you can, “Give up Sugar In Ten Easy Steps.” Well, you can omit the easy part. These articles will probably tell you that if you realized how much sugar was in your favorite candy bar, you wouldn’t eat it. The truth is, once you realize what the sugarless version of the candy bar tastes like, you’ll be running back to the original. The second thing you need to realize about giving up sugar is, it may be worth it. Here are some of the facts on living a sugar-free lifestyle.

Why Is Sugar Bad?

Worsens Cholesterol
Scientists have found a definite link between sugar and high levels of blood fats. Studies show that eating sugar can more than triple the odds of having low HDL cholesterol levels, which are strongly associated with heart disease.

Sugar and Diabetes
Although eating sugar does not cause diabetes, higher sugar intakes have been linked to the disease. According to Rachel K. Johnson, RD, it may be that the sugar contributes to obesity, which, in turn, raises the risk for diabetes. She says, “It may be because the sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher BMIs or associated with overweight and obesity, which we know is a risk factor for diabetes.”

woman eating salad

Living Sugar-Free
It has been said that withdrawing from sugar may cause the same neurological symptoms as quitting morphine, nicotine, cocaine, and alcohol. If you think you’re up to the challenge, here are a few pieces of advice.

Don’t Use Artificial Sugar Substitutes
Most scientists agree that replacing sugar with artificial substitutes is just trading one bad habit for the other. By still fulfilling your craving for sweetness, you are leaving yourself open to sugar temptations. The real trick is to trade the sweet stuff for the savory, or as Kristine Kirkpatrick MD recommends, trading “licorice for salmon.”

Don’t Go Fat-Free
Fat-free doesn’t mean sugar fee. In fact, many fat-free products have higher sugar levels to compensate for the lack of fat. Fat-free angel cake has 20 more grams of sugar per slice than the sugary version. A better solution is to keep monosaturated fat-containing products, like salad dressing and peanut butter to the full-fat variety and avoid saturated fats, found typically in cookies, cakes, and muffins.

woman drinking milk

Exercise and Drink Milk
One thing that makes sugar hard to kick is the feel good factor. Sugar has been shown to stimulate reward mechanisms within the brain. One study shows that consuming whey protein ( a major component of milk) has a similar effect. Milk increases serotonin levels in the brain known to cause mood elevation and therefore may make a good replacement for the “sugar high.” Exercise has been proven to have similar effects.

Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
Keeping healthy, sugar-free food options close by are a good way of avoiding the temptation to grab the occasional ice cream or candy from the vending machine. Nuts, raisins, fruit, and cheese are all options for replacing sugar loaded snacks. Try to keep them within reach, glove compartments, purses, and desk drawers are all handy places for a healthy stash.

If you’re quitting, or have quit sugar, let us know how you’re handling the challenge. Let us know what you’re doing to keep sugar free.

woman drinking OJ

Try Vitamins To Stave Off Surgery

Plastic surgery. It seems more and more as if “Wow, how does she/he do it?” has given way to, “Where do you get your work done? However, even with the most unlikely suspects are taking the,” If you can’t beat ’em join ’em” attitude to going under the knife,” there are still a few downsides to plastic surgery: the expense, the permanent looks of surprise, the difficulty emoting, the batches- it seems safe to say there may still be a few reasons to hesitate. However, fortunately, there are some less drastic alternatives. If you’re one of the few determined to keep it real, here are some vitamins that may help you stave off aging naturally.

Vitamin C
That morning glass of OJ may be doing more than helping your immune system. Vitamin C is also great for collagen production and protection against sun damage. You can find it primarily in bell peppers, strawberries, guava, broccoli and citrus fruits. Try to get 100mgs of vitamin C daily, and if you’re looking for the fastest way to do that, Bell peppers are your best bets. The veggies contain 280 mg of the stuff, while oranges only contain 90.

Vitamin E
Vitamin E is well known for its skin friendliness. A faithful guardian of the skin’s barrier, vitamin E protects the cell membrane, keeping harmful elements out while preventing helpful ones from leaving. It also works well with vitamin C. The two together make an excellent team for preventing UV damage. Vitamin E can be found in oatmeal, wheatgerm, nuts, seeds, and avocado.

woman with healthy food in the kitchen

Omega -3
Omega -3 is the vitamin that redefined the word “fat” This healthy fat keeps the skin hydrated and helps strengthen the cell membrane, keeping toxins out and protecting against sun damage. Omega-3 can be found in ground flax seeds, fatty fish, and walnuts. The best way to get your Omega -3 is by eating 3 to 5 ounces of fish 3 to 5 times weekly, or if fish isn’t your thing, you can get it in a fish oil supplement, but check with your doctor first, as these supplements have been known to cause the blood to thin.

Selenium
Selenium is a vitamin that maintains skin’s integrity and elasticity while protecting it from the sun. You can get selenium is seafood, wheat germ, and eggs. While you don’t really need a set amount each day, it’s a good idea to try and get some of this food into your diet.

Polyphenols
Drink a cup of green tea a day to get your polyphenols in. They have anti-aging benefits and have been shown in studies to exhibit properties which reduce the risk of sun-related cancers.

Beta Carotene
You might know beta carotene as that stuff that makes fruit orange. It does, and it’s also found in a lot of dark green produce. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A, which is crucial for cell repair and growth. In case you’re colorblind, or otherwise incapable of recognizing orange and green fruits and veggies, here are a few for you; carrots, cantaloupe, swiss chard, pumpkins, kale, and spinach are all teeming with beta carotene. Try and get two servings a day of one of these.

What vitamins are you taking to keep your skin healthy the natural way? Let us know!

healthy eating

Lifestyle Changes For Digestive Health

Let’s face it. Eating is one of the great pleasures of life. In fact, it may be safe to say that if most of us died in front of the television with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, we’d probably die happy. That’s why digestive problems stink. There are few enough pleasures in life; we need to make sure to completely enjoy each and every one without interference. If you are suffering from digestive problems, that means you’re not getting the full benefits of one of the life’s greatest pleasures, and that needs to be remedied. Here are a few lifestyle changes you can make to bring the fun back to your food.

Beat Stress
Butterflies in your tummy? Stress and anxiety can upset digestion and cause the stomach to become unsettled. While in some people, stress slows digestion, leading to pain, bloating and constipation, in others, stress causes metabolism to speed up, resulting in diarrhea and increased trips to the bathroom. Others completely lose their appetite. In addition, IBS and digestive conditions like stomach ulcers can become exacerbated in stressful situations.

What should you do? Try to avoid eating while you’re stressed and try to avoid getting stressed while you’re eating. Arguing over dinner is never good for digestion.

Stop Smoking
Smoking can weaken the muscles which control the lower part of the esophagus, allowing acid from the stomach to travel in the wrong direction. More commonly known as reflux, this condition can cause heartburn, and bring on or worsen inflammatory conditions and stomach ulcers. Smoking is also a big risk factor for stomach cancer.

healthy family

Eat Properly
High paced lifestyles often cause us to eat on the run, which can wreak havoc on our digestion. To avoid this:

  • Don’t eat too quickly. Concentrate on putting your fork down between bites and chewing each mouthful completely.
  • Don’t eat too much. Adjust your portions at mealtimes, or try to eat small meals frequently, rather than large ones occasionally.
  • Avoid eating a big meal before bedtime. Try to give your body at least two or three hours to digest before hitting the hay.
  • Eat on a regular basis, don’t skip meals, and get plenty to drink.

Lose Weight
Excess stomach weight puts pressure on your middle, which can cause heartburn. Weight loss may help to relieve digestive symptoms like heartburn and other stomach problems.

Binge Drinking
While drinking in moderation should not harm digestion, binge drinking can increase the production of acid in your stomach and cause digestive complaints. Binge drinking means drinking eight to more units of alcohol in a session for men, and six for women.

Are you suffering from digestive issues? Let us know what lifestyle changes you made to help you. We want to know.

Woman with headphones on the bed

Add Pink Noise To Your Bedroom Routine

Let’s face it, everything is better in pink. If there are two cupcakes, one with white icing and one with pink, which one do you pick? Hostess snowballs? Definitely better in pink. If your Mom bought you and your sister notebooks, she had better have made sure both or neither were pink. Party dresses? Don’t even go there.

If you are familiar with white noise, you know it to be that pleasant buzzing that often occurs when the radio loses reception. It is often used in healthcare to block out noise caused by hearing impairments or as a sleep aid, but did you know about pink noise? Although it may sound like the latest psychedelic rock movement, pink noise is more accurately the latest proposed solution to sleep interruption. And, according to a recent study, it may actually help to improve memory as well.

Sound Stimulation and Sleep
According to recent research done at Northwestern University, when gentle sound stimulation is synced up to the rhythm of brain waves, it can not only lead to a better sleep in older adults, but can also improve their ability to remember specific words.

Why Deep Sleep Is important
Memory loss typically occurs throughout the process of aging; so does the gradual decrease in deep sleep. Scientists suspect a connection. Because deep sleep is a critical component in the consolidation of memory, it is believed that a reduction in one may be responsible for a reduction in the other. Therefore, scientists believe that using sound stimulation to induce deep sleep may be the solution to memory loss.

During deep sleep, brainwave production is reduced to a rate of one per second, quite a bit slower than the 10 oscillations that happen during the seconds when one is awake. Giovanni Santstasi, co-author of the study was able to create an algorithm capable of transmitting audio during the rising of slow wave oscillations, to boost the synchronization of neural activity.

Woman sleeping

The Study
The study was comprised of 13 individuals aged 60 and up recruited from Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center. It targeted individuals suffering from low levels of sleep and memory loss.

The aim of the study was to monitor brain waves in individuals using a breakthrough audio system that can lock in audio stimulation at the moment when specific neuron communication occurs during deep sleep.

Participants were exposed to a night of acoustic stimulation followed by a night of false stimulation. The two stimulations were identical, except for the fact that the individuals did not hear noise in the false stimulation. Upon awakening, the subjects were given memory tests, with another set given the following morning.

Results
The study found that while memory recall ability rose by a couple of percentage points following the false stimulation, those who listened to the pink noise showed a vast increase in memory recall. In fact, those who were subjected to the acoustic stimulation showed three times as much improvement as their counterparts. These finding suggest that slow wave sleep can indeed have a significant impact on memory.

What Does This Mean?
For those suffering memory loss, the new is good. It suggests that there might be a way to safely improve memory without the use of expensive, side effect inducing medicine. “Pink noise” may offer a completely safe and simple alternative.

What do you think about the latest findings? Is pink the new white? Let us know!

Your Diet May Help Regulate Your Mood

Normally, eating when stressed is ill advised. The term usually brings to mind the image of someone who has just had some shocking news running frantically to their freezer in search of the curative pint of ice cream. He/she gorges greedily, only to awaken the next day not only to find their troubles still very much present, but an additional five pounds added to their body weight.

However, what if you learned that eating actually can relieve stress? You just need to make sure that when you open that freezer, you reach for the frozen grapes instead of the vanilla swirl.

The Anti-Stress Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
You may know that fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and nutrients, but did you know that they might also help to ease stress, anxiety, and depression. A recent study examined diet of 60,000 Australians aged 45 and up, only to reveal that those who had 3-4 servings of fruits and begins a day had 12% less psychological stress than those who had just one. Those who got five to seven servings had an even bigger reduction in stress, showing a 14% reduction as compared to the single serving percentage.

Ladies Only?
However, the researchers found that in a study based on a 10 question comparative survey focusing on anxiety and depression between the years of 2006 -2008 and 2010, males subjects did not show the same results. Says study co-author and University of Sidney PhD student, Binh Nguyen, “We found the fruit and vegetables were more protective for women than men, suggesting that women may benefit more from fruit and vegetables.” The questionnaire revealed that women who consumed 5 to 7 portions of vegetables and fruits experienced a 23% reaction in stress levels in comparison to ladies who only ate 0-1 portion. Two portions produced a reduction in stress of 16%.

Happy woman

More Work To Be Done
While you may not want to wait to start consuming more fruits and veggies, the authors of the studies do stipulate that there is more work to be done before any definite conclusions can be reached. They state that while the intake of fruits and vegetables may reduce the stress levels in middle-aged and older adults, the link between the diet and psychological distress requires further investigation.

Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables
But while we wait for the final verdict, keep eating those veggies and fruits. The mental health charity “Mind” says, “Vegetables and fruit contain a lot of the minerals, vitamins, and fiber we need to keep us physically and mentally healthy. Eating a variety of different-colored fruits and vegetables every day means you’ll get a good range of nutrients-several portions of the same type of food won’t be so good for you.”

As for choosing the best fruits and veggies: tomatoes, bananas and mushrooms top the list for their high potassium levels which are “essential for your whole nervous system, including your brain. they also advise keeping fruits and veggies raw for the highest number of nutrients.

What do you think? Do fruits and veggies make you feel a little less stressed? Let us know the results of your private research.

Summer walking

Tips For Starting A Summer Walking Routine

To some, high-intensity internal workouts are the most efficient way of exercising; to others, they are a bizarre three-minute self-torture ritual. Although at times it may seem like the world is being overtaken by the overachieving and impossibly healthy, there are some who still prefer to keep their exercise routines a bit more humane.

Most of us learn to walk by the time we’re eighteen months – so let’s talk about an exercise routine so easy that even a baby can do it. Here are some tips for beginning a summer walking routine.

How To Start
The first thing you need for walking is a good pair of shoes and some comfy clothes. Start out slow. Head out the door, walk for ten minutes and walk back. Repeat every day for a week. If you find yourself building stamina, add five minutes to next week’s walk. Keep increasing as is comfortable.

Posture
Keep good posture in mind when you walk. Walk tall. Keep your mind on elongating your body. Your head should be up, your eyes focused forward, Keep your shoulders down, relaxed and back, with your abdominal muscles and buttocks tight.

Preparation
Make sure to have water handy at all times. Be sure to get enough to drink before you walk, and take the water bottle along for mid walk hydration. Try adding stretches to your routine. For example, you might start at a slow pace and stop to do a few warm up drills for flexibility. Slow down your pace at the end of the walk and take some time for a few more stretches. This will help you to feel better while preventing injury.

Sticking with It
The toughest thing for most people starting a fitness routine is making it routine. You should try to walk daily, aiming for a minimum five days of exercise per week. Walk fast enough to increase your heart rate, but not so fast that you find yourself short of breath.

Three friends walking

How Much Should You Do?
Speed and distance should not be a priority in the beginning, but once the habit starts to stick, you may want to start developing goals. Here are some general health guidelines:

People walking for general health benefits should try and get in a half hour minimum each day, most days of the week, keeping to “talking pace,” or a comfortable pace at which you can still hold a conversation.

For improvement of cardiovascular fitness, three to four days a week are recommended, doing 20 to 30 minutes at a very fast pace. You will find your breathing is elevated, but you should not be gasping for air. Warming up and cooling down time should be additional to the time spent walking.

Those walking to lose weight should probably aim to do 45 to 60 minutes five days a week at a moderate to brisk rate. The faster you walk, the more calories you will burn. However, make sure to increase pace and mileage gradually to prevent injury.

Tips For Walking Faster
Once you become comfortable with your routine, you may want to speed it up a little. Here are some guidelines for walking faster:

  • Use good posture. Walk tall, keep your gaze forward, focused about 20 feet ahead of you, chin level and head up.
  • Your chest should be slightly raised with your shoulders down, back and relaxed.
  • Your arms should be bent at an angle slightly less severe than 90 degrees. Gently cup your hands and swing arms front to back. The faster you swing your arms, the faster your feet will go, but do not swing elbows higher than your breastbone.
  • Tighten abs and buttocks; keep back flat and pelvis slightly forward.
  • Visualize yourself walking in a straight line.Take smaller faster steps to go faster, trying not to elongate your stride.
  • Push off with your toes, concentrating on landing on your heel and rolling through the step. Use the spring of your calf to propel you.
  • Take deep rhythmic breaths to get the maximum amount of oxygen. Your breathing should be heightened, but not strained.

Have you started your summer exercise routine? How are you staying hot this summer? Let us know!

Woman with lower back pain

Embrace Massage For Lower Back Aches and Pain

According to the principles of yoga, the inner spirit, or kundalini, is symbolized as a coiled snake at the back of the spine. When it is awakened, the snake moves upward and a burning flame shoots through your chakra. Thus, if you practice holistic healing, lower back pain may be an indication that your root chakra is ungrounded. If you don’t subscribe to this philosophy, however, you may just think that your lower back really hurts.

Either way you look at it, a lot of people suffer from lower back pain and most can agree that massage is a good way to relieve it. But, how does the medical world weigh in on the possibility of massage as a real world treatment for chronic back pain? Read on to find out.

Benefits of Massage for Chronic Lower Back Pain
William Elder is the principle investigator of a recent study on the benefits of massage therapy for lower back pain. He says, ” Current medical guidelines actually recommend massage therapy prior to the use of opioid medications for lower back pain.Yet, even with those guidelines, physicians and nurse practitioners are not recommending massage therapy.”

Lower back pain is a common problem, but it usually goes away relatively quickly, However, for about 15 percent of sufferers, it can be a more long term problem. For long term sufferers, treatments generally include prescription opioid painkillers, exercise, behavioral changes, steroid injections, acupuncture, and surgery. Recently researchers have begun to explore massage as another possibility.

Woman having a massage

The study included over 100 volunteers paired with approved massage therapist who expertly assessed the patient’s problem and created a suitable treatment plan. The participants received ten treatments and were reevaluated after 12 weeks. Findings showed more than half of the volunteers had less pain after 12 weeks and continued to report a reduction in pain over the following three months. Said Elder, “The results are exciting because it shows that most doctors can refer their patients for massage as a treatment. It’s applicable in the real world.”

The Medical World
Dr Anders Cohen also believes in the possibility of massage as a solution for lower back pain. The neurosurgery chief at the Brooklyn Hospital recommends massage therapy to his patients as a part of his comprehensive treatment plan. “Massage is a great way to break up adhesions and is great for soft tissue, If the back pain is a soft tissue issue, such as muscles and ligaments, it works great. Plus there is the bonus of a therapeutic touch,” he says.

Tips for Effective Treatment
Study co-author Niki Munk give some advice for those seeking massage treatment for lower back pain. She advises that massage needs to occur regularly until a level of general comfort is achieved, and then patients can manage their back pain on a schedule that suits their needs. Munk recommends finding a therapist that you can develop a good relationship with. ” Chronic low back pain is a complex issue that can’t be cured from just a one-hour massage. Find a therapeutic massage clinic and asks questions about the therapist, such as their initial training and continuing education. Also, make sure the therapist sets up a treatment plan that works for you.”

What do you think of massage as a way of treating lower back pain? Let us know how powerful you think the power of massage can be.

Happy mother and daughter

Help The Girls In Your Life Glow With Confidence

You’ve had your highs and lows. Your walks of fame and your walks of shame. And if there’s one thing you’ve learned from your experiences, its that confidence is the key. There is no situation that cannot be handled by holding your head high and shaking what your mama gave you. And now, its time for you to pass the torch. You’ve got a niece or a daughter and, if you teach her anything in this life, you’re determined that it will be the power of confidence. But, how can you do it? How can you show this shy acne plagued girl that she has so much untapped power at her command? Here are a few ideas.

Manage Your Inner Critic
Your girl is probably pretty hard on herself. Teach her to take notice of her inner voice. Would her best friend talk to her like that? Teach her to work on changing negative thoughts into helpful feedback.

Focus On the Good Things
A lot of teens focus so much on their problems, that its hard for them to see all the things that are going well for them. Suggest that she write down three good things about herself everyday or three ways she’s able to bring about a positive change in her life daily.

Mother and daughter

Don’t Aim For Perfection
Teach her that any achievements are valid. Even if she doesn’t get a perfect mark on a test, it doesn’t mean that she didn’t do well. Encourage her to always put in her best effort.

Mistakes Are Learning Opportunities
Remind your teenager that if she can fix her mistakes, they are not mistakes at all, but victories. Don’t let her get down on herself for messing up and remind her to focus on what she can do better next time.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Teach your girl that her own accomplishments are the only ones that matter. Trying to get ahead of other people will only leave her further behind them.

Accept Compliments
She’s great and needs to get used to people telling her so. Advise her to give herself time to absorb a compliment and take it seriously, and pass it on! Complements should be given and received.

Happy teenage girl

Exercise
Staying physically active always helps to improve self-esteem. She’ll look better and feel less stressed while staying healthy.

Take Pride In Your Thoughts
If she’s a chip off the old block, your girl probably has a lot of good ideas to offer. Tell her to be bold about them. If someone disagrees, it just means that they see things differently than she does.

Accept What You Can’t Change
Sure, there are going to be things about herself that she’s not completely happy with. If its something she can change, like reaching a healthy weight, she should start today. If its something she can’t change, she probably notices it more than anyone else, and its probably not worth obsessing over.

Contribute
Nothing builds self esteem like helping to make a positive change. When she sees how much she can accomplish, her self esteem will sky rocket.

if you have a girl in you’re life that you want to see flourish, tell us about her. Let us know what she’s doing to build confidence and how you’re helping her do it. We want to hear all about it.

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