Ouch! Our Center for Disease Control offers this sobering statistic (https://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/index.html):
“On average, U.S. adults have hearts that are 7 years older than they should be. Watch this video, and figure out your own “heart age” by taking this quiz.”
Out tickers shouldn’t age faster than we do – right?
Don’t become, or be an “average” US adult.
Control what you can (the CDC counsels):
Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn how to quit.
Manage conditions. Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any medicines you have been prescribed. Learn more about preventing and managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Make heart-healthy eating changes. Eat food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium. Try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and aim for low sodium options. Learn more about how to reduce sodium.
Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up the 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks. Learn more about how to get enough physical activity.
Thanks to our British friend, Ms. Lamb ( YourCoffeeBreak.co.uk. ) and Amy Packham for these five simple hacks to help you zonk quickly:
TRY EM please… ZZzzzzz
5 ways to fall asleep in five minutes
If you aren’t falling asleep after 5‑15 minutes of being in bed, then Harley Street’s hypnotherapist Fiona Lamb is here to help with her five methods to fall asleep in five minutes.
Getting enough sleep is a crucial part of our wellbeing and mental health.
Sleeping allows our minds to collaborate themselves and to process emotions. If you aren’t getting enough rest this can lead to a weakened immune system and make you more prone to depression and anxiety.
Racing thoughts can stop us being able to drift off quickly and naturally.
-> If you aren’t falling asleep after 5‑15 minutes of being in bed, then Harley Street’s own hypnotherapist Fiona Lamb is here to help with her five simple methods to fall asleep in five minutes.
1. Tension body scan ‑ releasing any tension prepares your body for sleep. This relaxation technique involves doing a full body scan by squeezing and relaxing each muscle. Start at your toes and move up your body, being aware of each part of your body in turn.
2. Focus on your breathing ‑ if you breathe quickly when you get into bed it will be much harder to relax and be calm ‑ and so fall asleep. By slowing down your inhaling and exhaling you regulate your nervous system. Focus on slow, soft breaths.
3. Roll your eyes backwards ‑ you can simulate the same eye movement you experience in sleep by rolling your eyes upwards and back. If you do this three times you will automatically feel yourself going into deeper relaxation.
4. Hum to yourself ‑ studies have shown that the vibrations of humming can relax you. It can also act as a distraction from anything unwanted that pops into your mind. Be sure to choose a song that isn’t too fast or reminds you of anything emotional!
5. Visualize ‑ use the power of your mind to focus on calming and restful images. Imagine going back to a time you felt deeply relaxed and content. This works best when you use at least three senses so think about what you saw, felt and tasted.
This article was originally posted on YourCoffeeBreak.co.uk.
I’m fortunate to be lactose tolerant, so my universe of dairy products is bigger than for some of you.
A favorite dairy product of mine is CHEESE
Credit: Karen @ gifer.com
“Right” cheeses, meaning natural and “not too fat, not too salty”, are super duper add-ons to my diet. Saturated fats in most cheeses can be problematic, so do read package labels – okay?
When I’m a bad boy (in my 80/20 eating regimen) – a shaken vodka martini with blue-cheese-stuffed olives is special for me.
The very good folks at VERYWELLFIT offer a fine summary of Good and Not-so-Good cheeses, their nutritional value, and potential diet benefits.
Good? Mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss.
Not-so good? Cheddars if calories and saturated fat are a concern. This hurts me as a devoted CABOT Cheese fan and Vermonter. We Green Mountain Boys love our dairy – eh yup.
Malo? Processed or “faux” cheese – such as cheese whiz, wrapped cheese singles, and out-of-a-jar cheese dips.
If your Doctor and you are game – go for the real deal and enjoy. There are potential dietary benefits. For one, the protein level and fat content of good cheeses help one feel “full.”
Watch the saturated fat and sodium, and enjoy.
Yours in wellness,
I’m not a formal yoga practitioner, yet I do apply “yoga moves” without knowing the correct Sanskrit asana (pose) titles. Someday . . .
Here’s a laid back Hero’s Pose, which is officially a “supta-virasana” according to the good folks @ yogaanatomy.net
Now – be a hero! This is what a physical therapist advised when I experienced one – is a “GOOD STRETCH!”
If your interest in yoga for mindful stretching and stability (I hope that it is indeed) is piqued – this web link offers ten starting asanas:
My royalty-paid image below sorta summarizes important aspects of Boomer stability and stretching.
Dynamic stretching in all three body planes is a no brainer (right?) before strength or stamina regimens (evidenced by the “cardio” runner :
- side to side (think side lunge variations)
- front to back (envision Bird bobbers or Good mornings to stretch posterior chains)
- rotational or torque twists as I call ’em (think wood chops)
Static stretching and deep core “cool downs” are definite no-brainers as well.
Remember that one measure of expected longevity (which should be of interest to many Boomers) – is standing on one leg with eyes closed for 15 seconds or more.
Stability and Stretches DO matter!
Until I recently read a 2010 Scientific American article, I thought that an enteric system might describe a building column’s ornate design. Too soon older, too late smarter?
I could definitely use a second brain for preparing my 2018 tax returns, for picking this year’s SuperBowl champions, and for augmenting my two brain cells in brain #1.
This article’s author states, “The little brain in our innards, in connection with the big one in our skulls, partly determines our mental state and plays key roles in certain diseases throughout the body…The second brain contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.”
“…emotions are probably influenced by the nerves in our gut,” Mayer says. —signaling in the gut as part of our physiological stress response, —is but one example.
Wow?! “it’s little wonder that meds meant to cause chemical changes in the mind often provoke GI issues as a side effect.”
Plus, “at least 70 percent of our immune system is aimed at the gut to expel and kill foreign invaders.”
Competitors – go for the gold, with pre-event butterflies which are your ” normal” gutty eustress signals. Oddsmakers – you can use your creative “good stress” to pick the winners of Super Bowl 53 next month (maybe).
If you need something else to do for these playoff game weekends – you can color your way through this butterfly maze:
Our two brains communicate a lot!
Trust your Gut.
Accept butterflies in our crazy life.
This topic is a tad offbeat for me – as we’ll “endure” 80-degree temperatures in Southern California this week. And shame on me if I don’t get my daily doses of vitamin D when my weather is just delightful. For folks who like white stuff and frost on the pumpkins – this “frightful” weather reminder for wellness is for you.
- Safety – use very good judgment for attire, exposure and contingency communication plans are muy importante. A snowshoe trek may be great until it’s not when you lose your path and your cell phone is out of coverage. Does someone know the route you took? What’s your plan B?
- Hydration – as our Winter solstice comes and goes – it is human nature to forego or lessen your hydration when at work or play. Don’t! An adult should sip at least 64 ounces of water / clear liquid every day whatever the temperature or humidity may be. Start early with a coupla glasses of lemon-spritzed water with your breakfast (if it’s a non-fasting day). If you’re intermittently fasting – STILL chug a lug. Your muscles are normally at least 40% water – so remember your H2O. Your body is about 1/2 water content, so remember your H2O.
- Resolutions – early in each new year we are reminded of how few of our resolutions keep traction on wintry ice for more than a month. And stress grows as those holiday pounds make your attire a tad snug. My only resolve? I will stick to an 80-20 rule for good habits 51 weeks each year (in fitness, and sustenance practices) being our 80%. Protein ( 3/4 to one ounce of protein daily per pound of current body weight) is a key macronutrient for that 80% (SUGAR and simple CARBS are NOT).
- DENIAL – those 1-2 pounds of white body fat an average boomer gains from Turkey Day through Epiphany should not be denied. I’ve don’t want to head down that DA NILE river, and I hope that you don’t either. I’ll just work it off on a weekend ski trip? NOT. We need to do better than that. Mom was right about an ounce of prevention.
- Stress NOT (or as little as humanly possible). We’ve all been there / done that with seasonal stress that shouldn’t be there – YET IT IS. Elders don’t remember how demanding they can be on your time and talent. Uncle Charlie or Aunt Rachel make you bite your tongue with their familial antics. Your kids and grandkids can knock you off your 80-20 routine. You know the drills as I do. Do your best to relax, decompress by whatever means you can (hot baths, punching bag, solo strolls, or breaking a sweat). When your cortisol levels are up from social stress – those holiday sweets go directly to white fat storage.
Fa la la la la. Days are shorter. Viruses 🦠 are lurking. Workout timing gets tougher. Portion control of party yummies and daily feats make it harder to stick with an 80-20% guideline for diet.
Are you jolly? I hope so, despite these HoHoNo challenges to your wellness and fitness.
My own approach?
1 Establish a gameplan, then stick to it(most days)
2 Skip the guilt if you go off the reservation for an extra cookie or miss one cardio workout
3 Check your Vitamin D3 intake and consider a D3 supplement (see bestreviews.com)
4 Enjoy mineral baths (epsom salts) or saunas to naturally detox and shed a few calories
5 Stress not- Uncle Jon and “that” unique relative will head home soon
6 Do quick deep core and whole body routines before parties and big meals
7 It’s okay to say no to extras
8 Monitor your resting heart rate – if it is “ high” of 10-12 beats per minute on a given Holi-day, you are likely dehydrated, over-trained or have a cold lurking
9 Hydrate (as in lots of lemon 🍋 water- not wassails) Even when the weather outside is frightful- you need 80 ounces a day
10 💤 7 restful hours!