You may have heard that “sitting is the new smoking.” A study comparing mortality rates of sedentary nonsmokers and smokers who exercise vigorously found that active smokers lived significantly longer than the couch-potato nonsmokers, further demonstrating that a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous for your health.
But what can you do if you have a desk job that leaves you sitting for long stretches of time? For workplace wellness, the good news is that any change from a seated position can be beneficial. Continue reading →
I was fortunate to spend this Independence Day hiking in Golden, Colorado. While delighting in our purple mountain majesties, I was reminded that taking frequent walks is one of the best strategies for maintaining independence as long as possible with age.Continue reading →
One of your most important senses is one you’ve probably never heard of: proprioception. You can experience your proprioception by closing your eyes and trying to stand balanced on one foot. Without visual input, proprioception is the inner awareness of your body that allows you to keep your balance. You might take for granted that your brain knows where your feet are, but without ongoing stimulation into this feedback loop as you age, this sense begins to fail and the risks of falls and injury increase.
Most people think of exercise as a weight loss strategy. But, weight is about 50% genetically determined and, in some cases, exercising might even cause you to gain weight. Muscle weighs more than fat, so as you get stronger, your weight might go up rather than down. Also, the body’s metabolic system slows down to conserve energy as we burn more calories through exercise. If we only exercise to lose weight, then people who are slim genetically might think they don’t need to bother, and heavy people are left discouraged.
By the time you walk from one room to the next, you’ve forgotten what you intended to do once you got there. You meet someone new and have lost track of his/her name before the first conversation is over. You sit down to your computer, get sucked into your incoming emails, and then can’t remember whom you intended to write to in the first place. Sound familiar?
These experiences might leave you worried that you are on the scary slide to dementia. While it’s true that memory and brain functioning are generally strongest in our 30s and then begin to falter, there is much that you can do to prevent decline and regain cognitive functioning. Also, epigenetics (the study of the interaction between genetics and lifestyle/environment) has shown that even those with genetic vulnerability for dementia can prevent those genes from being activated by making healthy lifestyle choices. Continue reading →
Make exercise as enjoyable as possible so that it becomes a lifelong habit. Some people naturally like exercising and savor the experience itself. However, for most people, including me, working out can feel like a chore. I exercise regularly because I know that most of what we think of as the effects of aging actually are caused by sedentary lifestyle. But I prefer the carrot to the stick, so I try to make exercising something I want to do rather than focusing on it as something I ought to do.