Active Minds: Keep Your Brain Sharp as you Age

Active Minds: Keep Your Brain Sharp as you AgeDo you find that more and more you’re forgetting the simplest things? Do you go into a room and forget why you wanted to be there? Or do you have a problem with people’s names? Forgetting things and having problems concentrating is common – particularly as you get older. But aging does not have to be associated with memory problems. It is possible to keep your mind sharp and quick as you get older, which will give you a better quality of life and a lower risk of dementia. Take a look at these ways to train your brain to stay in shape.

1. Give your brain a workout

You need to exercise your body so you keep your muscles strong and your heart healthy, and you need to exercise your mind if you want to be thinking clearly throughout your life. Many people get into the habit of doing things in the easiest possible way, which does not help when you are trying to keep your mind active. Complete some mentally challenging activities every day such as crosswords or puzzles, and vary the way you do things so you are forced to pay attention to your activities and your surroundings. Drive a different way to work, read an article you wouldn’t normally read, or eat your dinner using the opposite hand to hold the fork. Use your brain, don’t lose it.

2. Organization is key

Give your brain a fighting chance and make sure you are as organized as you can be. If all your documents and items are in the right place you won’t waste time looking for things and you will also be able to focus your mind on more important matters. Make use of all the things at your disposal to become better organized so you don’t forget important dates and facts – use apps for your phone, a traditional desk diary, planners, and notebooks.

3. Your diet helps your brain

It is important to eat a healthy diet so your brain and your body are fit and well. Cut out saturated fats and include plenty of lean meat and fish, wholegrains, vegetables, and fruit. Drink plenty of water as dehydration can contribute to poor concentration and memory lapses.

4. Sleep well

Set your neural pathways and repair your brain functions with a good rest overnight. Sleep is important in many ways, not least because it helps you function better mentally during the day.

4 Reasons Why Fruits and Vegetables are Good for You

4 Reasons Why Fruits and Vegetables are Good for YouA balanced and healthy diet is essential for everyone, whether you want to lose weight, have more energy, keep well, or get fit. And a balanced diet is not complete without the addition of plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating lots of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis offers many different health and wellbeing benefits, including heart protection and protection against disease. Choose a variety of different types of vegetables and fruit for the optimum nutritional benefit. You should try to eat between 3 and 6 cups of vegetables and fruit each day – if you can eat more, all the better. Fruit and vegetables should make up the bulk of your meals as they are low in calories and packed with nutrients.

Here’s why fruits and vegetables should occupy an important place in your diet.

  1. Fruit and vegetables offer heart-healthy benefits. Studies show that the people who eat the most vegetables and fruits have the lowest risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. With heart disease and stroke the biggest killers in America, it is important to lower your risk in any way you can. Fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables at every meal. You can also lower your blood pressure by eating more fruit and vegetables.
  2. You can lower your cancer risk with fruits and vegetables. Certain forms of cancer can be avoided, experts say, when you enjoy a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and citrus fruits, are particularly useful for protecting against lung cancer, stomach cancer, mouth cancer, and throat cancer.
  3. Fruits and vegetables improve your digestion. Get a healthy digestive system by eating fruits and vegetables. These foods reduce the risk of constipation and help you avoid disease by clearing blockages and keeping your digestive system healthy. It is the fiber in fruits and vegetables that makes a difference – choose whole fruits and not juice as this is where the fiber remains.
  4. Eating fruits and vegetables can even help protect your eyes. Vitamin A, which is found in many different fruits and vegetables including carrots, cantaloupe, and sweet potato, helps night vision and you can also protect against macular degeneration and cataracts with fruit and veggies.

No Time to Exercise? 7 Tips to Get More in Your Life

No Time to Exercise? 7 Tips to Get More in Your LifeIn the real world, an hour to exercise every day is an impossible dream for many people. If you have a family, a job, or any other commitments, finding time for a workout can be more challenging than the workout itself. If you have no time to exercise don’t give up on your fitness goals – check out these seven tips for fitting exercise into a packed schedule.

  1. Get up earlier to fit exercise into the beginning of your day. Don’t try to wake up at 5am every morning if you are not used to this schedule, but you could try to go to bed 30 minutes earlier and wake up for a brisk walk or a yoga session.
  2. Use your commute as a chance for a workout. Why stay stuck in traffic when you could be walking to work or running there instead? If you live too far away or you take public transport, get off one or two stops earlier and walk the extra distance.
  3. Be active in front of the TV. Installing a stationary bike or a treadmill is excellent for working out while you catch up with your favorite shows. But if you cannot do this, buy a jump rope and skip while watching, or do lunges and push-ups.
  4. Sit on a fitness ball to work at the computer, make phone calls or watch movies. You strengthen your core and you can also add extra exercises to work your muscles.
  5. Include your kids in the fitness regime. It can be hard to find time for a workout when you have young children. Take babies in a stroller or baby carrier while you walk or run. Play games with older children in the park and fit in some exercises on the equipment while they join in or play their own games.
  6. Fit a workout into your lunch hour. You have a valuable opportunity for fitness in your lunch hour – 30 minutes of walking, running or time at the gym still leaves you enough to change and get back to the office. You tend to be more productive in the afternoon if you have made the space and time for exercise at midday.
  7. Make fitness part of your life – don’t miss an opportunity to work out, whether that means climbing the stairs rather than taking the elevator, or fast-walking round the mall.

3 Top Tips for Beginning Exercise After 50

3 Top Tips for Beginning Exercise After 50It can be difficult to know where to start when you want to begin an exercise regime after the age of 50. If you are new to exercise or it has been many years since you were last active, starting to work out can be a challenge. But exercise is highly beneficial at any stage of life – and particularly as you get older. Here’s how to start a fitness routine over 50.

1.       Include a complete range of activities to benefit your whole health.

It is important to enjoy a variety of different activities so you benefit your health in different ways. This is especially important as you get older. You should include cardiovascular exercise, stretching, and strength training. Cardiovascular exercise helps your heart and improves blood flow around the body. It also increases your stamina so you are better able to take part in everyday activities without getting out of breath. You should try for 20 minutes of cardiovascular work per session, three or four times a week. Stretching is good for maintaining movement in your joints and avoiding conditions like osteoarthritis – Pilates and yoga are good. Strength training is using weights or resistance to condition and strengthen the muscles. You can also reduce the risk of injury to your back.

2.       Make exercise a part of your everyday routine.

You don’t need to go to the gym five days a week in order to get fit. Activities that move your body all help to increase your fitness, whether this movement takes place on the treadmill or when walking around the mall. Try to build up your fitness by looking for ways to be active in your day to day life. For example:

  • Go walking whenever you can. If you have a dog, take him for long walks. If you don’t have a dog, borrow one. Park several blocks away from your destination so you have to walk the extra distance. Always walk to talk to your colleagues rather than emailing or calling.
  • Make sure you have some comfortable shoes in the car or your bag so you can be active at a moment’s notice.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

3.       Choose activities you enjoy.

Don’t struggle through an exercise class if you hate it – choose something you love and it won’t feel like you’re working out. For example, you can take a dance class or go swimming.

4 Ways to Prevent Summer Heat Dangers

4 Ways to Prevent Summer Heat DangersSummer heat is on the increase and it can be a serious health problem. Heat waves in the summer cause heat-related illnesses that can be fatal – heat stroke, for instance, is very serious. Every year hundreds of people in the US die from the heat. You are more likely to suffer problems in the city as the concrete traps a lot of heat and releases it at night, and you are more likely to suffer if you are an older adult, a young child, or you have a chronic health condition. However, heat can make life difficult for everyone. Here’s how to prevent heat-related dangers this summer.

1.       Understand the dangers of heat

Heat can cause health problems when the air temperature climbs higher than your normal body temperature. This makes it difficult for your body to cool itself using sweat. When the body temperature rises it can result in heat-illness symptoms, and may even be fatal.

2.       Spot the heat-illness symptoms

Make sure you keep an eye on young children and the elderly in order to promptly identify symptoms of heat illness. The most common heat problems include the following:

  • Heat cramps – most commonly experienced when you have been exercising in extreme heat as a result of an imbalance of salts, these cramps affect your legs and abdomen.
  • Fainting – a drop in blood pressure may result in fainting. This is more common if you are not used to the heat.
  • Heat exhaustion – your body temperature rises but is not extremely high. You may also suffer from nausea, headaches, weakness, and dizziness.
  • Heat stroke – your body temperature soars to a dangerous level. Heat stroke also causes confusion, rapid heart rate and weak pulse, difficulties breathing, exhaustion, vomiting, and unconsciousness. Call 911 if you suspect heat stroke as this condition can be fatal if not treated.

3.       Take steps to cool down

4.       Prevent overheating

  • Move to a cool place, preferably an air-conditioned room. Rest and recover from heat-related symptoms.
  • Remove excess clothing and apply cool compresses to the skin.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day in order to keep healthy and happy in the heat. It is important to keep your fluid levels high even when you do not feel thirsty. Acclimatize slowly if you are going into a hot environment and you are not used to extreme heat. Take it easy and do not overdo it – compete any heavy activities later in the day.