Tag Archives: Health & Fitness

The “New Old Age” Just Got Better

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For at least two decades we’ve been living with a drastic revision of growing old. What is now dubbed the “old old age” prevailed for centuries; it was a set of beliefs that turned the aging process into inevitable decline physically and mentally. After a lifetime of work, people found themselves set aside, no longer productive or active members of society. Generation after generation these expectations came true. But everyone trapped in the old old age was mistaken to think such expectations were inevitable. Hidden factors were causing beliefs to turn into reality.

The “new old age,” created by the baby boomer generation, threw out the previous beliefs, exchanging them for more optimistic ones, and by now we’ve grown used to a set of readjusted expectations. Millions of people over 65 haven’t retired, and few have taken to the rocking chair. To be healthy and active one’s whole life seems possible. But as much good as the new old age has done, it faced two major obstacles. The first was that aging itself has long been a mystery, not explained by medical science because too many changes occur over a lifetime, and these changes vary from person to person.  The second obstacle, assuming that aging could be defined, was how to reverse it.

An enormous leap forward in overcoming both obstacles was made by Elizabeth Blackburn, the molecular biologist who shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for their discovery of telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes a section of DNA known as telomeres, which cap the end of each chromosome like a period ending a sentence. Telomeres are “noncoding” DNA, meaning that they have no specified function in building cells, but they are far from passive. Their function seems to be to preserve cells. Every time a cell divides, which happens constantly somewhere in the body, its telomeres are shortened. Longer telomeres are typical of young cells in the stage of luxuriant growth; shortened or frayed telomeres are typical of weary senescent cells.

Now the head of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, Blackburn covers every aspect of cell aging and renewal in her 2017 book, The Telomere Effect, co-authored with her close colleague, UCSF Professor and health psychologist Elissa Epel.  They convincingly describe telomeres and levels of telomerase in the cell as our best marker yet for the multifold process of aging. This also implies that by increasing one’s telomerase levels and thereby causing telomeres to grow longer, a healthy lifespan can be founded on cells that keep renewing themselves for decades.

In their book Blackburn and Epel cite a startling actuarial prediction. There are currently around 300,000 centenarians existing around the world, a number that is rapidly increasing. According to one estimate, reaching one hundred is about to become so commonplace that one-third of children born in the UK will live to be centenarians—the issue of protecting your cells is suddenly more urgent than ever.  We highly recommend reading Blackburn and Epel’s book–its wealth of information needs to be absorbed in detail. But the bottom line is to understand what puts your telomeres at high risk and low risk. Continue reading

Improve Your Breathing, Improve your Health

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Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to breathing. Your breathing habits have a direct effect on your health and wellbeing, on your athletic and creative abilities, your performance at work, and in everyday life. What you don’t know could be hurting you or holding you back on many levels, both in the short term and in the long run.

“Statistics suggest that many millions of people worldwide suffer with the profound and misunderstood symptoms and deficits of learned dysfunctional breathing habits. Unfortunately, these habits are rarely identified by practitioners, their effects mistakenly attributed to other causes, and their resolutions prescriptive in nature focus is on symptoms rather than causes.” (Dr. Peter Litchfield, President of the Graduate School of Behavioral Health Sciences”

Dysfunctional breathing habits not only compromise physical wellbeing, but they can have direct, immediate, and profound effects on your emotional and psychological health as well.

Here are some things that you can do on your own to improve your breathing and along with it, your health: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Nighttime Routine

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It’s hard to get going when you wake up needing a nap. It’s no surprise that with as fast as we’re moving, we would expect that falling asleep would be instantaneous and that we would be surprised when it wasn’t. What is the point of a nighttime routine? Much like it is with any other routine, it trains your body to know what to expect, culminating in restful sleep. It trains your brain to slow down and get ready to shut off instead of laying in bed with your mind racing. In order to be ready for the day, we intend to establish a nighttime routine.

You too? We’ve got 3 things to help you get some solid zzz’s as well: Continue reading

For Better or For Worse: How Marriage Effects your Health

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It’s been said that “a good marriage is a long conversation that always seems too short”.  Perhaps it’s because of this companionship that getting hitched boasts such a bevy of health benefits. Recent research shows that married couples report higher level of happiness, better cancer survival rates, more sex, less loneliness, and longer lifespans than their single counterparts.

But, if these aforementioned long conversations are more likely to happen over an indulgent meal than a shared workout, beware.  A 2016 study of nearly 2,000 married couples indicated one hefty downside to marriage: a larger waistline.  Men in the study were nearly twice as likely to be obese, while both women and men that were married worked out less (approximately 47 minutes less per week) than their married counterparts.

So, what’s a health conscious but happily betrothed couple to do? As it turns out, there is a silver lining in all this.  A study presented by Johns Hopkins researchers that analyzed the data of questionnaires completed by 3,261 middle aged couples 6 years apart. It showed that while married couples typically have overall lower exercise rates, it only takes one person to in the relationship to sway the trend in a positive direction.  For example, if you (but not your spouse) breaks a sweat on a regular basis, your better half is up to 70% more likely to meet minimum exercise recommendations in the future–so long as you keep up the good work.  This effect was maintained, regardless of whether the husband or the wife was the original fitness buff. Conversely, if either spouse gave up their exercise regimen, the other was more likely to follow suit. The implication is that your exercise behavior has an outsized impact on that of your spouse.

My partner still won’t exercise!

Sometimes, it seems that despite best intentions, it’s impossible to get your partner off the couch. Here are 5 ways to get moving together! Continue reading

5 Common Medical Conditions People Overlook

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In our busy, go-go-go world, we are typically required to work through common ailments like migraines and joint pain. However, doing so can wreak havoc on your life and overall health. This article will reveal the 5 medical symptoms that neither men nor women should overlook. If you experience any of the symptoms on this list, contact your physician as soon as possible. Continue reading

Five Steps to Engage Creatively with Stress

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There is no question that life is stressful. The world events of 2016 escalated stress levels across the great divide of personal opinion and viewpoint. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the big picture. How do we confront conflicting ideas and problematic personalities? How can we manage stress levels hitting new highs on your internal stress-o-meter?

Consider the strategies of creative strength training. The stamina built by implementing five simple principles soothes stress levels, encourages you to have fun, and leads to a happier state of mind. Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Enjoy the Break

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Maybe you’ve just found yourself with a spare five minutes to your name. Celebrate, because it doesn’t happen every day. If you’re like us, maybe your first instinct was to seek out a forgotten task you could use to fill those five minutes. I mean, if we’ve got the time, might as well be productive, right? Before you rush off, we want to submit the idea that perhaps you just take those five minutes to rest. Perhaps you take those five minutes and just enjoy each of the 300 seconds as they come.

We intend to enjoy the break.

Why? Here are 3 parts of you that could use it: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Get Outside!

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Spring is around the corner and that means it’s time to start adventuring. Climb out of that winter hibernation. Dust off your boots, dig out your backpack and get going. If you’re not quite ready to trek too far from home, we still have a couple of sneaky ways to start incorporating the outdoors into your day-to-day routine. Our intent? It’s to go outside!

You too? Here are 3 ways you can squeeze it in: Continue reading

Exercise Together: 3 Exercise Techniques To Bring You And Your Spouse Together

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Many couples spend hours after work watching TV and not talking. It’s easy to fall into this routine. However, If you are hoping to figure out how to spice things up, then it is necessary to find something that both of you like to do. One of the most beneficial things that a couple can do together is exercise. Exercise will get you both in shape and loving each other’s good looks once more. Often, couples disagree on the exercise format. Which often keeps them from doing their workout together. Here are three exercise techniques that will are fun, healthy and will strengthen your relationship. Continue reading

Strategies to Face the Unthinkable: When a Spouse is Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s

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The moment a loved one receives the terrifying diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, difficult changes are on the horizon. I can think of nothing more daunting than to be a spouse facing these challenges. The supporting partner must navigate relationship changes, safety issues, as well as medical and financial decisions. At the same time, they are left to grieve the relationship they once knew.

Life will soon be inexplicably changed forever. The partner, now altered by this disease, will likely exhibit challenging behaviors and unpredictable personality changes. It is a difficult road full of unthinkable demands for the one providing care. A new reality requiring a tremendous amount of support. Following are suggestions for those facing this tragedy. Continue reading

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