Keep Moving for your Good Health

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I recently read The 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging, (2012) written by Dr. Mike Moreno. The title wasn’t quite accurate, of course, since we all know we can’t stop those sneaky hands of time from creeping up on us.  However, the doc did provide some useful strategies for vital aging.

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Reasons to try Meditation

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5 Reasons to try Meditation

  1. Meditation may help us sleep better. At least 40% of Americans don’t get enough of the quality sleep they need to function well during the day.*  Many of these insomnia sufferers are women. Our insomnia is caused by hormonal changes we face in our lives, such as pregnancy and perimenopause.  
  2. Meditation relieves stress, and can help those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression. 
  3. Meditation provides other mental health benefits:  an increase in happiness, self-acceptance and awareness, concentration, focus and more – as found in the article, The Benefits of Meditation You Never Knew, from the Art of Living website.
  4. Meditation can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and even increase energy levels, just to name a few physical health benefits.
  5. Meditation may help strengthen our aging brain by slowing down the loss of gray matter, according to UCLA researchers.

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Cholesterol: Enemy of your Heart

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Cholesterol: Enemy of your Heart

 

 

 

 

 

I first discovered that I had high cholesterol levels when I was 23 years old. I was skinny as a rail, but inside, fat was globbing up my arteries. (Is globbing a word? Not sure).  My body produced cholesterol like it was going out of style. I inherited this tendency from my mom, along with her nose (aarrrgghh!) and eyes.

Of course, I also ate the worst foods in the world, never thinking about cholesterol or how it could lead to hardening of the arteries, which could lead to heart attacks . . . Hell, I was 23, what did I know? At that age, you’re gonna live forever! (On the plus side, I did exercise like a fiend; aerobics being the fitness class of choice.)

Even my mom’s heart health woes didn’t faze me.

She suffered from high cholesterol and high blood pressure, a dangerous combination.  In her sixties and seventies she suffered from heart attacks, angina, mini strokes . . . She had angioplasties and bypasses. She visited doctors way too often, and depended on a wide variety of prescription medications. Yikes.  Not a pleasant way to live.

It wasn’t until I got to the top of that proverbial hill, at age 40, that I really began to take my heart health seriously. Suddenly, middle age was staring me down, and I didn’t like the look on its face. When my doctor took a blood test and my cholesterol level was something like 275, I knew I had to make some lifestyle changes.

I started fighting against cholesterol.  I knew it wasn’t enough to simply exercise. I worked to eat a much healthier diet (you know, veggies, fruit, beans, whole grains, the whole kit and caboodle) and took natural cholesterol fighting supplements.

My dad was a BIG fan of garlic (I swear, he actually put in on his oatmeal) and claimed it cured high cholesterol and anything else that ailed you. He was pretty darn healthy, for an old guy. Of course, you could also smell him a mile away.

Taking my Dad’s sage advice, I tried so-called odor-free garlic supplements.  My hubby let me know, gently, of course, that they weren’t the best form of perfume. (What?? The labels lied??). 

Lifestyle changes improved my sense of well-being. However, it wasn’t enough to make significant changes in my total cholesterol level. My doctor prescribed Lipitor®, a statin drug, and along with diet and exercise, my total cholesterol level is at 179 (at my ripe old age of 60). There are pros and cons to taking statin drugs, as described in this document from the New Zealand Ministry of Health. 

Luckily, I haven’t suffered from any noticeable side effects. And for some people, taking charge of their heart health through diet and exercise may be enough to avoid prescription medications. 

Other ways to lower cholesterol levels:

Top 5 Lifestyle Changes to Improve your Cholesterol 

How to Lower your Cholesterol without Drugs

©Vital Aging 4 Women. 2017

Ted Talk Tuesday: Women’s Heart Health

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C. Noel Bairey Merz is director of the Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, where she is a professor of medicine.

As we’ve all now realized, heart disease is the #1 killer of women, causing more deaths than breast cancer.  In this Ted Talk, Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz talks about how we can deal with this health crisis, making the important point that research has long focused on men; and that this needs to change.  Women have different kinds of heart attacks than men, and different symptoms when having a heart attack.  Continue reading

How Nature Benefits our Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband and I just got back from our annual July vacation, which starts with a family reunion in Manistee, Michigan.  This year, after leaving Manistee, we drove up to the Upper Peninsula, one of the beauties of the mitten state. 

We traveled to Tahquamenon Falls State Park and rode on the Toonerville Trolley through the woods (and saw two, count ‘em, two black bears!). We enjoyed walking the trail to the lower falls, taking pleasure in the scenic beauty of the plants, trees, and of course, the rushing water tumbling over rocks and spilling into the river.  Later, as we drove back to our hotel, we noticed that the sky seemed immense; it wasn’t blocked by buildings, billboards and other clutter. Lack of traffic, police and ambulance sirens, and all the other city noises added to the pleasure of being “up north.”  Continue reading

Ted Talk Tuesday: Lisa Genova & Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Ted Talk Tuesday will be presented every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month.  Please visit again on Tuesday, July 18th.  

Do you remember the movie, Still Alice?  It came out in 2015. Julianne Moore is Alice, a woman who struggles with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. In her case, it was familial; she carried the gene for AD. This neurological disease has also been linked to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, along with other modifiable risk factors. In a recent bulletin, the AARP pointed out that the cases and costs of AD continue to rise, with no end in sight.* Continue reading