Move: walk, sweep, dance the salsa, it doesn’t matter!

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

We all need to move! While this seems a little too simply stated for most, getting up and moving is one of, if not the absolute best way, to keep your body healthy.  Movement keeps our muscles toned, helps those joints, and helps blood circulation. Walking is one of the best exercises, but even cleaning house requires movement and energy, and if you dance around a little to some good music in the process you might get a lot of exercise and have fun cleaning at the same time!

Physical activity has positive effects on the brain and brain functioning. Low impact activities such as walking or swimming are especially good because they increase blood circulation which increases the oxygen and glucose that reach your brain, which ,beneficial to the brain’s proper functioning.

Low impact activities that are not strenuous keep your muscles from taking up extra oxygen and glucose, so you can effectively oxygenate your brain. Movement and exercise increase breathing and heart rate so that more blood flows to the brain, enhancing energy production and waste removal. Studies of senior citizens who walk regularly showed significant improvement in memory skills compared to sedentary elderly people. Walking also improved learning ability, concentration, and abstract reasoning in the elderly.

The important thing is too just start moving more; then, you can create an exercise plan just for yourself that is uniquely suited for you. Different exercise plans fit different people, depending on age, lifestyle, physical problems, current fitness, likes and dislikes, etc.

Categories: General

Six Rules for Youthfulness

November 21, 2010 Leave a comment

I have made a commitment to myself not to become a decrepit, senile, old burden at some point for someone I care about. I intend on dropping dead while dancing, youthful and gorgeous, somewhere past the age of 120.  So, I developed Six Rules for Youthfulness for myself.

Do these rules work?  The answer is yes and no.  We are all accountable for our own successes and failures in life. Your success with these rules depends on whether or not you follow them. Unfortunately, people give up on all types of self improvement attempts for a variety of reasons. But, try giving these simple lifestyle changes enough time to work, and you just might surprise yourself with a roaring success.

Our attempts at solutions to aging and the related health problems have been disasters for most part, ranging from all kinds of crazy and faddish diets to obsessions with prescription drugs or exercise programs that we hope will have the miracle answer for our failure to live healthy. Is there a simple answer to getting healthy and staving off some of the ravages of age? Yes, but it takes a stick of dynamite under us for most people to go the simple route. Here are the only six things you have to do:

1.) Keep your brain healthy and alert.

2.) Keep positive beliefs and free yourself from stress.

3.)  Make sure you eat all the things your body needs everyday, use supplements when necessary, and eat none of the things that harm your body.

4.) Keep all the plumbing in top shape: plenty of water, elimination, and plenty of sleep.

5.) Move your body everyday: walking, sweeping, dancing the salsa, or in the gym, it doesn’t matter,

6.) Take care of your skin, neck, and facial muscles.

Gee, that sounds simple doesn’t it? Of course, if it were really, really simple, we’d all be thin and healthy and looking like we were twenty. The hard thing isn’t the doing it; the hard part is the wanting to do it badly enough to stick to those six rules day after day after day….

We Are What We THINK and DO

October 29, 2009 1 comment

Face ExerciseOkay, starting with this post I will talk about thinking and doing in every post.  On the doing sections I’m going to start with rejuvenating the face and move through the rest of the body so that anyone following my suggestions can move forward on getting younger.

Thinking

In his book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcom Gladwell discusses a study where individuals were given documents that had a lot of “old age” words such as “withered” and “prune.” Then they were asked to walk down the hall for another test. You guessed it; they altered speed and posture going down the hall, walking in an “older” manner than they had walked coming in. Guess what, word association works in the opposite way, too.

I started changing the way I thought about aging after reading Depak Chopra’s Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old, and that a book I recommend to everyone I talk to about aging. Getting the right mind set about age is essential if you’re really going to take your body and your brain into reverse aging.

Do for Your Neck

Today, I’m just going to talk about that sag, you know, the one where your neck slides down to your chest and your face slides down on your neck. The first key to raising all those sagging muscles back up is (dreaded word) exercise! Just like you get those sexy abs through exercise, you get an attractive, youthful face through exercise. The facial muscles are directly attached to the skin covering them, so the facial exercise brings increased blood flow and oxygen to the skin providing nutrients and removing toxins.

Regular facial exercises lift the sag, and the skin becomes smoother and younger looking. (Please remember, before making any changes to your diet of exercise program, discuss changes with your medical practitioner. I am not a medical practitioner.)

When doing any exercise, think happy thoughts about how the movement you feel is toning, lifting, and improving your muscles.

Two of Five Exercises for the Neck

The first exercise I did to start raising the sag in my neck goes as follows:

  1. Sit upright, tilt your head back looking at the ceiling, while keeping your lips closed and relaxed.
  2. Turn the corners of your lips downward, open your lips and stick your tongue out as far as you can, concentrate on the top of your tongue moving down and in as if headed toward your neck.
  3. Keep your tongue out in this position for 10 counts, and return your tongue and head to its normal position.
  4. Repeat the exercise 5 times.

Here’s the other one for today:

  1. Sit upright, tilt your head back looking at the ceiling, while keeping your lips closed and relaxed.
  2. Next, lift your lower jaw over your top jaw as far as possible like you were biting an apple on a string at a Halloween party.
  3. Relax and repeat 10 times.

That’s it for today. Next blog, I’ll write more about right thinking, give you the other three neck exercises, and talk about helpful products for your face.

How You Think – How You Age

October 22, 2009 1 comment

David Felten, at Indiana University School of Medicine, and his team of researchers discovered a hard-wire connection between the body’s immune system and the central nervous system under control of the brain. Further research has documented the ways in which the brain sends signals to the immune system–by finding receptors on the surface of immune-system cells that act as keyholes to accept chemical neurotransmitters released by the nervous system, as well as identifying new “keys,” neurotransmitters that would talk to cells of the immune system and tell them what to do. When we feel stressed, it’s not a good message.

 ForestA stressed brain orders the release of hormones and other chemicals that damage the immune system and even affect the life expectance of cells which ages us faster. While we cannot prevent many things that happen in our life that lead to strong feelings of sadness, stress or anxiety, we can control how we deal with them.  Stress events can be “good” things or “bad” things, but our brains don’t seem to be able to tell the difference. For example, getting a job promotion can cause the same amount of stress as getting laid off at work, or having a baby can be as stressful as having a loved one die. When we are stressed, our bodies try to tell us by elevating our blood pressure, giving us a headache or upset stomach. Such symptoms should be our clue that we have out-of-control stress and should immediately start thinking differently.

 The trick is not to try to live a real life without stressful experiences, but to learn how to cope with stress in healthy ways. We can almost instantly calm our minds and bodies by going over our personal list of the things in our individual lives that give us a sense of inner peace, comfort, strength, and love. If this doesn’t work for you, try reading an inspirational book, taking a nature walk, or if you’re like me you can sign up for an athletic activity such as yoga and laugh yourself back into a good frame of mind.

 So, the best advice I’ve heard about lowering stress can be summed up in two sentences.

  1. Don’t take life too seriously.
  2. Choose to be happy.

How is the stress control working for me? Pretty good I think. I have always chosen to be happy over being unhappy. That’s sort of a no-brainer! Not taking life too seriously has been a bit more of a challenge, but I’ve almost figured that one out, and while life continues to throw stress events at me, they’re having less affect on me.

 Next time, I’ll be talking about the power of thought on the body that occurs through associations with the conditioning in our lives.

Brain Games

October 12, 2009 1 comment

When I think of aging , I mostly think that I would like to be able to be old and still remember where I live and what my children’s names are.  If keeping your brain sharp and active is important to you, as it is to me, here’s some information that may give you, as it did me, a little motivation.  Even in old age, the brain can grow new neurons. If we put severe mental decline caused by disease aside, most age-related losses in memory or motor skills brain_chemistry-thumbsimply result from inactivity and a lack of mental exercise and stimulation. Research also shows that the brain grows stronger and sharper as long as you continue to use it. For example, avid reading into your golden years (whoever thought up that term?) continues to increase the rate of speed that you read and the amount of information that you are able to comprehend and retain. All of our abilities get better with time if we continue to use them, including problem solving skills.

If we continue to challenge and engage our brains with activities such as continued learning,  activities that require us to think on our feet and assess information quickly and accurately, and continue to stretch our brain muscles, our brains will definitely reward us with increasing good memory and cognitive skills. According to Ronald Kotulak, author of Inside the Brain: Revolutionary Discoveries of How the Mind Works, “The brain is like a block of marble, and we have to use outside experiences to shape it into a working organ. Experience sculpts neural networks for language, vision, thinking and other capacities. ” Simple things, like more formal education, can contribute to intellectual stimulation of the brain and may even strengthen the brain cell networks to help in preventing mental function damage.  So, the message is take care of your brain so it can take care of you.

So, now you may be wondering how I’m doing with brain exercises, and how they may be helping in my quest for youth. The brain contains approximately 100 billion neurons, 900 billion glial cells, 100 trillion branches and 1,000 trillion receptors and reacts to stimuli in a series of electrical bursts, spanning a complex map of connections. However, if you have a severe concussion you lose a lot of those neurons and that complex map of connections.  That’s what happened to me, but the right nutrition and mental exercises has brought most of that back and learning new material is moving faster than ever.

Here’s a  good website for mental exercises :

http://www.eons.com/brain-games

Not just any game, such as crossword puzzles, will do. Joe Hardy, PhD, a cognition neuroscientist who develops brain plasticity training programs, says, “The key thing in terms of exercise for the brain: You need to do new things, thus forming new paths.”  Hardy has been developing brain games for the San Francisco-based company Posit Science. The games — the Brain Fitness Program and Insight — have been tested in several randomized clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health. The results indicate that the brain age clock can roll back 10 years.

So let’s keep exercising our brains until we’ve rolled back the clock 10 years or more.

Let’s grow young together!

October 7, 2009 4 comments

Well, here I am sixty-one and starting my first blog. I’m a boomer on an anti-aging quest.  I’ve done a lot of research lately on reversing aging without surgery–I’ve also done a few experiments on myself. So, I’ve decided to blog twice a week to share my experiences with whoever is interested in reading along as I work toward a twenty-one-year-old body and a twenty-one-year-old’s life expectancy .

One thing I’m sure of is that there is a real mind/body connection, and I think we need to start with getting and keeping our physical brains healthy. While mental attitude is extremely important, the first thing we need to think about is the physical condition of our brains. The human brain is capable of continually adapting and rewiring itself. Even in old age, it can grow new neurons. While disease can cause severe mental decline, most age-related losses in memory, mental functions, or motor skills come from lack of mental exercise, physical exercise, and proper nutrition. In other words, take care of your brain. It’s never too late or impossible to take charge of you own body!

The first thing I started working on was the right nutrition for the health of my brain. So far, so good, my brain is actually getting faster than ever for learning and memory tasks. Here are five tips on food for the brain in case you want to join me:

1. Keep your brain well hydrated. Your brain is about 80 percent water, the first rule of brain nutrition is adequate water to hydrate your brain, about 80 ounces a day. Even slight dehydration can raise stress hormones which can damage your brain over time.

2. Balance your glucose (sugar) to provide fuel for your brain. Refined sugar will only fuel the brain for a short period of time. Complex carbohydrates, found in fruits and vegetables, have long chains of sugar molecules that the body breaks down gradually, releasing glucose to fuel the brain over time.  Berries and citruses are highest in complex carbohydrates and also antioxidants which reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.

3. Eat essential fats to ensure brain health. The health of your brain depends not only on how much (or little) fat you eat, but on what kind it is. Mental performance requires the specific type of fat found most commonly in fish, known as omega-3 fatty acids. Other types of fat can actually undermine intelligence.

4. Include plenty of protein rich foods in your diet. Having protein at each meal helps to balance blood sugar levels and helps make neurotransmitters which are vital for the thinking process. Add lean meat, eggs, cheese, soy, or nuts to a snack or meal to limit absorption of carbohydrates.

5. Eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to protect your brain. Dietary intake of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables significantly reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment. Vitamin E and Vitamin C and beta carotene inhibit the production of free radicals.

Okay, this has made me hungry, so I’m off for some water and some nuts.  Next time I’ll be talking about mental exercises that help tone the brain.

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