Keeping Your Brain Sharp And Young As You Age

How to Keep Your Brain Sharp and Young as You Age

There are many not-so-fun side effects of getting older and many reasons not to look forward to the inevitable march of time. While many of the down sides we tend to focus on though are to do with our bodies failing us, perhaps even worse is when our mind starts to give in and we find ourselves becoming more forgetful and much slower in our thinking.

Even if we don’t necessarily suffer from any specific condition such as dementia, we can still find ourselves getting slower in our thoughts and struggling to keep up with everyone else which can be immensely upsetting and isolating.

It doesn’t have to be that way though and if you are willing to put in the time and the effort, your brain can be strengthened and kept young just like a muscle.

Here we will look at how you can keep your brain sharper and prevent some of that age related cognitive decline.

Exercise

Exercising is an important way to keep your body strong and healthy as you get older but it has other benefits besides the obvious. One of the most useful of these is the way it can help to strengthen your brain – and if you’ve ever struggled with short-term memory loss as you’ve gotten older, it may interest you to know that memory improvement is one of the main effects of starting a new exercise regime and particularly one involving lots of cardio.

Use

The saying ‘use it or lose it’ is definitely one that applies here and using our brain regularly in creative ways is one of the very best ways you can avoid letting it start to deteriorate. The best uses are ones that involve forward planning and holding numbers, so if games like chess or even computer games are ideal. These work the ‘fluid intelligence’ by training working memory. Learning new tasks is also important, as this helps to encourage ‘brain plasticity’ to keep the brain limber and ensure you can teach old dogs new tricks. That said though, anything will help – even just reading occasionally.

Diet

The right diet can do wonders for looking after your brain and helping to prevent the onset of various neurological diseases or general deterioration. Particularly useful are fatty acids such as omega 3 which you can get from fish and supplements, vitamins such as B9 (also known as folic acid) which can be found in fruits and veg and amino acids (proteins) which you can get from meat or from supplementation.

Lifestyle

Similarly, your lifestyle can also have an impact on your mental health. Things like your sleep regime and fresh air can affect your brain, while alcohol consumption can also have a big impact. Live in a manner that is conducive to good brain health and you will get more benefit from the better diet and other changes.

Staying Active

Old age shouldn’t look like a training program filled with brain tasks, gym sessions and supplements though, better is to just lead a lifestyle that will keep you active and engaged. For instance you can benefit from staying at work or from starting new hobbies. As long as you keep challenging yourself and pushing yourself, your brain won’t start to go to waste.

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The Benefits of Strength Training for Women

The Benefits of Strength Training for Women

There is a quote that’s often tossed around in the fitness industry – “Lifting weights doesn’t make women huge. Eating cupcakes makes women huge.”
While amusing, this quote is true. It’s often thought that strength training also known as weight training is a man’s domain and that women will get muscle-bound and manly if they did weight training. That’s why you often see most women hitting the cardio machines in the gym while the men grunt away at the free weights corner.

The truth of the matter is that strength is not only for men. Weight training has many benefits for women too. It won’t make you big or manly. The woman’s physique and lack of testosterone prevents her from packing on massive muscle mass. It just doesn’t happen without performance enhancing drugs.

Now that we’ve cleared up this misconception, let’s see why you absolutely must start weight training as soon as you can. The benefits are just too good not to.

* Prevents muscle atrophy
Strength training prevents muscle atrophy. Both women and men lose lean muscle once they reach their thirties. Every year they lose some muscle mass. Weight training will prevent this from occurring and may even reverse the process. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

* Slows the aging process
Weight training retards the aging process. As mentioned earlier, you’ll lose less muscle, be stronger and healthier. A healthy body is more capable of handling the ravages of time. Women who engage in weight training often tend to look younger than their years.

* Reduces subcutaneous fat
Strength training increases blood flow to the muscles that are being worked. If you have thighs that are fatty or a belly that’s flabby, just place your palm on these areas. You’ll notice that they’re generally colder than other parts of your body that are leaner.

The reason for this is blood circulation. Areas that have excess fat have lower blood circulation. Weight training will recruit the different muscle groups and your body will be forced to draw blood into these areas. Your blood circulation will improve and this indirectly leads to a loss of subcutaneous fat.

What is subcutaneous fat? It’s the fat that’s just under your skin. Women usually have more subcutaneous fat on their buttocks, thighs and hips. Another reason why you should get rid of this fat is because it causes the appearance of cellulite.

No lotion or brushing can get rid of cellulite. Only a clean diet and weight training can help burn off the excess fat and diminish the appearance of cellulite.

* Reduces visceral fat
Visceral fat is a very dangerous type of fat that covers your internal organs. There are a lot of toxins in visceral fat and it’s an easy type of fat to gain. Dieting will not remove visceral fat. You MUST engage in weight training and cardio activity. Over time, your body will burn off the visceral fat and you’ll be less likely to get diseases and become sick.

* Boosts metabolism
It boosts your metabolism so that you burn more calories while at rest. You’ll be less likely to gain weight easily.

* Combats osteoporosis
As women age, they’re more prone to osteoporosis. Strength training will prevent this because it stresses the bones and this will force the body to deposit more bone which in turn fights osteoporosis. Isn’t weight training amazing?

By now you should know just how fantastic this form of training is. Besides the points mentioned above, working with weights will also prevent diabetes, lower your cholesterol, boost your heart health, improve your posture and balance and prevent back pain.

While all this is well and good, the one benefit of strength training that most women will love is that it will transform your body into a picture of health. Your body will become more feminine because of the tone and any curves will look better. You’ll look great naked and when you’re at the beach, you’ll really rock that bikini.

Strength training is the answer you’ve been looking for.

 

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21 Ways To Age Better In 2016

21 Ways To Age Better In 2016

The proportion of people considered middle or old-aged are increasing every day. The percentage of people older than the age of 65 increased by a factor of 15.1% of the

agingbetterin2016
Aging Better In 2016

population between the years of 2000 to 2010 so that now those older than 65 represent more than 13% of the population, compared to just 4.1% of the population in the year 1900.

According to the National Institute On Aging, declines in fertility and improvements in longevity across the world will cause the senior population to grow to 1.5 billion by the year 2050, versus the 524 million it was in 2010.

Fortunately, being 65 doesn’t mean the same thing as it did a century ago and we have found ever-increasing ways to improve the aging process—prolonging life and improving the quality of life. Many of the things we can do to improve our health status and age better than in years past involve lifestyle changes.

Medicine and doctors alone cannot be responsible for keeping us healthy. It takes a personal commitment and thoughtful consideration toward good health so that we can age better and live healthy lives for decades after age 65. The choice to live healthier into old age begins and ends with you and the personal decisions you make around living healthier.

 

Our attitudes toward aging also make a big difference in our overall quality of life in our older years.

This is an important consideration, because in reality, if you feel old, then you will be.

Make 21 ways to age better in 2016 part of your healthy lifestyle:

  1. Build and strengthen your muscles. Older people are at risk for muscle atrophy from inactivity. Muscle mass and strength decreases as we age. The more you can do with even mild weight lifting, weight lifting machines and muscle strengthening, the better balance and stability you will have so you can avoid falls and other injuries.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. Even if you are only overweight and not obese, you run the risk of these diseases that are directly attributable to lifestyle. It means eating less and exercising more.
  3. Walk more. A trip around the block or on a treadmill every day can keep your balance and lower body strength up. Walking is also good for your heart and peripheral vascular system.
  4. Practice “functional fitness.” This means doing squats, reaching and bending exercises to increase flexibility. These exercises mimic the everyday activities you do as part of everyday life. Practicing them through exercise will keep you functional for a longer period of time.
  5. Spend time with friends. Consider having a regular gathering with one or more friends to decrease isolation and give you something to look forward to each week. Keeping close ties to friends, helps improve mood and will improve your outlook on life.
  6. Practice puzzles and games. Things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other puzzles will keep your mind sharp so that you don’t lose your mental fitness. Research has shown that older people who continue to challenge their brain will stay mentally sharper—even staving off signs and symptoms of dementia.
  7. Get preventative medical examinations. Many diseases, such as prostate cancer, diabetes, and breast cancer increase with age. Having a personal medical doctor who can remind you to be screened for these diseases can be helpful when it comes to preventing complications and detecting diseases when they are too far advanced to treat.
  8. Check your blood pressure regularly. As one ages, the arteries “harden,” raising the top number or systolic number of the blood pressure over time. This needs to be treated like any other type of high blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked at the local pharmacy regularly so you can inform your doctor if the blood pressure readings are increasing.
  9. Keep the faith. Keeping up with whatever religious beliefs and practices you have been enjoying through much of your life will give you a sense of serenity that will carry you forward in your older years and can increase your social contacts.
  10. Eat a diet high in plant-based foods. Foods that come from plants such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes are high in protein and complex carbohydrates, as well as antioxidants, which help beat the aging process. Limit the amount of meat you eat to lean cuts only and make sure that most of your diet is from non-meat sources.
  11. Take vitamin supplements. Vitamins specifically made for older adults vital contain antioxidants and nutrients that promote eye and cardiovascular health. A one a day vitamin is usually enough and you can be assured that, even if your diet slips a bit, your vitamin will help make up the difference in nutrition.
  12. Practice yoga. Yoga is an East Asian exercise form that involves doing different poses while meditating and focusing on breathing along with the poses. Yoga is known to increase flexibility and muscle strength. It gives you a sense of peacefulness and serenity to reduce health-harming stress. Yoga also provides about another 100 more benefits for physical, mental, and emotional health.
  13. Practice Tai chi. This ancient Chinese martial art form that has gained in popularity in the US, especially for its health benefits. Tai chi involves performing graceful movements in tune with breathing exercises that can improve mental focus, overall health, flexibility, and muscle strength.
  14. Practice Qigong. This is another ancient Chinese martial art form that is tamer and more health-focused than Tai chi. The goal of qigong is to increase the energy flow of qi (life sustaining energy) in the body so that natural healing of disease can take place. It can be adapted to be used in patients who are not able to walk or even get out of bed.
  15. Use meditative practices. Meditation can be done anywhere and by anyone. It involves progressive muscle relaxation and focusing on the breath. It can involve speaking a mantra, which is a calming syllable that aids the meditative process. It can also involve the use of guided imagery, in which you imagine yourself at a peaceful location of your choice, which facilitates a relaxed state of mind and improves mental and emotional health.
  1. Read more books or newspapers. Reading books will keep your mind sharp because you are doing something interesting and informative. If books aren’t your thing, try reading magazines or newspapers, which can also keep you up to date on things going on in the world or in your areas of interest.
  2. Go to the movies. Movies can be a great escape that can get you out of the house, enjoying the latest in movie entertainment. Popcorn without added butter can be healthy for you and you can enjoy a few handfuls while being entertained, relaxing and reducing stress.
  3. Keep a Journal. Keeping a journal of your life experiences will keep your writing mind sharp and will give you something to look forward to every day. Add to that the fact that it’s a nice memoir to leave for your descendants.
  4. Try a vegan diet. Vegans eat only foods that come from plants and do not eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products. This is a diet high in nutrients and low in calories. Take fish oil supplements as a way to get essential fatty acids not found in most vegan foods.
  5. Quit smoking. Smoking is not only linked to lung cancer but to other cancers, such as bladder cancer, and cardiovascular disorders. It is never too late to quit smoking and prolong your life as a result.
  6. Cut down on alcohol. The latest recommendations are to have no more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women and two alcoholic beverages for men. Try to drink more red wine, which contains antioxidants to help prolong life.

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