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Showing posts with label Living Longer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Living Longer. Show all posts

Longevity Vs Peer Pressure

Can you name someone over the age of 90 who is a heavy drinker or a frequent smoker?

I know I cannot. Indeed when I stop to think of older people I know of who drank / smoked frequently, most of them died in their 50s, 60s and only a few made it to their 70s before kicking the bucket.

I cannot name anyone in their 80s or 90s who smokes / drinks and is still alive to tell about it. Which makes me conclude two things:

1. Smoking / drinking really reduces your life expectancy.

2. Peer pressure when people are younger really has a lasting effect on longevity, or lack thereof in this case.

From my own past I can really only remember a few times when people even offered me a cigarette. One of those times was at a wedding reception and all the "cool people" close to my age were hanging out near the side exit at the back of the church, enjoying the cool night air and most of them were smoking. Several of them offered me a cigarette, because I was a teenager at the time and they must've thought that I smoked. I answered each offer however with the following line: "No thanks, I quit." I feel that was a brilliant lie, but a lie nevertheless. Truth is I had zero intentions of taking up smoking just so I could hang out with other people in my age group.

Alcohol on the other hand I have a steadier hand with, having been raised in a family where it was tradition to have some wine during every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Birthday, Anniversary, etc. Never to the point of gluttony, restraint is instilled so that the idea of getting drunk just seems stupid to my family...

However that doesn't mean that everyone in my family also believed in restraint. I had two uncles and one aunt who are no longer with is because they smoked and drank themselves to an early grave. Heavy smoking and hard liquor in all three cases. They lived long enough to see their grand-kids born, but not long enough to see those same grand-kids full grown.

Two of my other relatives have since quit smoking and cut back on the drinking. The first because his mother and father had died from it and it scared him to think he would be next, so he quit. The second had a bit of a cancer scare / reality check and has since quit smoking / drinking.

Notice something else? All the smokers in my family were also the heavy drinkers. For whatever reason those two things went hand in hand. While the rest of us, the remaining 90% of the family didn't smoke and rarely drank.

And for those that embraced this life style of sobriety and healthy living? Well lets just say that they all live into their 90s, with only a few exceptions. At present I am 37 and my grandfather is still alive, and he is as robust as ever. I fully expect to live well into my 90s or die an early death from a mountain climbing accident  (not a prediction, just a random possibility).

Still I would rather die from a random accident or old age than an early death from something that is both preventable and problematic.

The Health Benefits of Boiled Water

Yesterday I wrote a post title The Health Benefits of Green Tea, during which I mentioned there are also health benefits to drinking boiled water.

So here we are, lets discuss this!

1. Kills Bacteria in the Water

Local drinking water isn't always the safest, which is why drinking tea is so popular in many ancient cultures where the drinking water was considered unsafe. By boiling the water first, it kills 99.99% of the bacteria - making the water healthier to drink. The remaining 0.01% that may survive will be killed off by stomach acid or killed by your body's immune response.

2. Purifies the Water

Many contaminates are easily removed by boiling water. The act of boiling breaks down the bonds water has with other chemicals, allowing them to separate and causing those chemicals to either evaporate or to drop to the bottom. This is why if you have water you know is contaminated then tiny particle debris will collect at the bottom after the water has been boiled. (However we should note that boiling water does not get rid of ALL contaminates, like lead. So you should still attempt to filter the water or have it tested for lead.)

3. Weight Loss

Drinking boiled water is great for maintaining a healthy metabolism, which is what you want if you’re trying to shed a few kilos. The best way to do this is to kick start your metabolism early in the morning with a glass of boiled water and lemon. As an added bonus, boiled water will help to break down the adipose tissue (aka body fat) in your body.

4. Assists with Nasal and Throat Congestion

Drinking boiled water is an excellent natural remedy for colds, coughs and a sore throat. It dissolves phlegm and also helps to remove it from your respiratory tract. As such, it can provide relief from a sore throat. It also helps in clearing nasal congestion.

5. Menstrual Cramps

Hot water can also aid in diminishing menstrual cramps. The heat of boiled water has a calming and soothing effect on the abdominal muscles, which eventually can help to cure cramps and spasms.

6. Body Detoxification

Hot water is fantastic for helping your body to detox. When you drink boiled water, your body temperature begins to rise, which results in sweat. You want this to happen because it helps to release toxins from your body and cleanse it properly. For optimal results, add a squeeze of lemon before drinking.


 7. Prevents Premature Aging

There’s a reason you should want to clear your body of toxins: they make you age faster. Also, drinking boiled water helps to repair the skin cells that increase the elasticity of your skin and are affected by harmful free radicals. Subsequently, your damaged skin becomes smoother.

8. Prevents Acne and Pimples

The benefits for your skin just keep on coming. Boiled water deep cleanses your body and eliminates the root causes of acne-related infections beneath the skin.

9. Hair Health and Vitality

Drinking boiled water is also good for obtaining soft, shiny hair. It energizes the nerve endings in your hair roots and makes them active. This is beneficial for getting back the natural vitality of your hair and keeping it healthy.

10. Promotes Hair Growth

Activating the roots of your hair has another added benefit—growth! The hot water promotes the regular activity of the roots and subsequently accelerates the growth of your hair. (Not such a big deal if you are a male Scotsman and prone to lots of facial hair anyway.)

11. Prevents Dandruff

Drinking boiled water keeps your scalp hydrated and helps fight against dry scalp or dandruff.

12. Enhances Blood Circulation and Promotes A Healthy Nervous System

Another important benefit of drinking boiled water is that it enhances your blood circulation, which is important for proper muscle and nerve activity. In addition, it keeps your nervous system healthy by breaking down the fat deposits around it.

13. Digestion

Drinking boiled water is particularly beneficial for digestion. Studies have shown that drinking cold water during or after a meal can harden the oil present in the consumed foods. This can create a fat deposit on the inner wall of your intestine, which can eventually result in intestinal cancer. However, if you replace the glass of cold water with hot, you can avoid this problem. In addition, hot water is beneficial to digestion, which is what you want after a meal.

14. Bowel Movements

Speaking of digestion, drinking boiled water can help to keep you regular, as well as make your bowel movements healthy and pain free. Dehydration can result in chronic problems with constipation. As the stool gets accumulated inside your intestine, the movement of the bowel becomes slower. It is always recommended that you consume a glassful of hot or warm water every morning when your stomach is empty. It decomposes any remnant foodstuffs and makes the movement of the particles smooth and less painful through the intestine.

15. Distills Safe Drinking Water after a Nuclear Attack

Okay, I admit I am adding this one because it is amusing / fascinating, but it could potentially be useful if Donald Trump becomes president. Haha!

Ideally what you want is commercially available water purification tablets, but that won't separate everything. The most reliable way is to distill and purify the water by boiling it at 100 °C.

When you boil water at exactly 100 °C in an effort to distill it, all of the water will boil and become steam, while contaminated impurities won't boil. The steam is then collected in the still, condensed back into water either a cooling fan or cold water surrounding the tubes, and then drips back down into a container.

A simple still can be constructed using plastic bottles, a tube and a heat source. The water doesn't actually need to be boiled in this case. It just has to be placed close enough to the heat source that the heat will slowly cause steam to rise up the tube and then fall into a 2nd container that is placed further away and insulated. The water should still be boiled to get rid of bacteria before drinking it however.

In a pinch someone could even use an old fashioned whiskey still, like the one pictured below.


 16. Cleaning Medical Instruments

 As a follow up to the above survival tip, boiling medical instruments in hot water is also an effective way of cleaning them.

17. Keep your Baby Healthier in the Womb

It is strongly recommended that pregnant women regularly drink boiled water. Consuming hot water (not scalding hot, just warm) keeps both mother and child hydrated, detoxified and energized. It reduces fatigue and infections while promoting healthier bowel movements, reduces the effects of morning sickness and heartburn.

Boiling the water before hand and letting it cool is a necessity for pregnant mothers. You cannot be drinking it too hot, but the good news is that boiling it first gets rid of unwanted bacteria and also contaminates which are unsafe for your baby. (Again, we should note that boiling water does not get rid of ALL contaminates, like lead. So you should still attempt to filter the water or have it tested for lead.)

The Health Benefits of Green Tea

I have been meaning to write a post on the health benefits of green tea for some time now, and have mentioned it many times in past posts, but never a post that focuses solely on green tea. Finally, here it is:

Green tea is one of those rare herbal products growing in consumer popularity mainly because scientific research has validated its health benefits. As a supplement it is being marketed towards prevention of cancer, although green tea has also been linked in research to benefits like preventing diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and other chronic diseases, along with no notable evidence of severe adverse risks even at fairly high dosages (1600 mg of green tea catechins or about 6 - 7 cups of tea per day), the impetus for consuming green tea and its healthful components is strong.

Green Tea's Popularity

Culturally, green tea has been around for many centuries and lauded for its health benefits. Whether it truly was a benefit and how much wasn't fully revealed until recent decades, when studies into the benefits of green tea made it possible to how much it truly benefits tea drinkers.

The tea leaf industry dominates, but there has also been growth in green tea supplements (pills) for those people too lazy to remember to drink a cup or two of green tea per day.

All this talk about green tea has made me thirsty. I am going to go put a kettle on.

And while that is brewing I am going to make a list of all the tea in my cabinet...

  1. Alpine Punch Tea (rooibos, coconut, apple, cinnamon, ginger, cardamon, black pepper, rose blossoms, almonds).
  2. Blueberry Tea (blueberry, ginseng, gingko).
  3. Camomile Tea.
  4. Chai Black Tea.
  5. Cinnamon Tea, two different kinds.
  6. Earl Grey, Decaffeinated Tea.
  7. English Breakfast Tea, two different kinds.
  8. Green Tea, three different kinds.
  9. Ginger Tea (ginger, stevia, black tea).
  10. Honeybush Tea (honeybush, safflowers, sunflower petals).
  11. Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea (black tea, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel).
  12. Korean Barley Tea or 보리차 (toasted barley).
  13. Korean Plum Tea or 매실차 (plum, sugar, honey).
  14. Korean Ssanghwa Tea or 쌍화차 (ssanghwa powder with crushed almonds).
  15. Mekong Cinnamon Tea.
  16. Moroccan Mint Tea.
  17. Orange Pekoe Tea.
  18. Peppermint Tea.
  19. Traditional English Tea

Now some of those teas actually belong to my girlfriend (#3, #4, #7, #9, #16, #17, #18 + #19), but to be fair the lion's share of them (11 out of 19) are mine. Thus it would be logical to assume the following:

#1. I must really like tea.
#2. I apparently really like cinnamon tea (this is true).
#3. I really like Korean teas, likely due to my time spent living in South Korea.
#4. I still have 3 different kinds of green tea, although I must admit it is not my favourite.

And those are just the teas I was able to find in the cabinets on short notice. We might have other packages of tea hiding in tins hiding behind pancake mix or bags of rice in other cabinets. I could drink tea every day for a year and probably not run out.

Anyway, lets get back to the topic of green tea.

The Contents of Green Tea

Polyphenols, the major active components of green tea, is what is responsible for some of green tea's health benefits, whether are consumed as a tea or as a pill. However that is not the only active ingredient within green tea, so consuming a pill containing polyphenol doesn't necessarily give you all of the health benefits.

Green tea also contains the following compounds:
• Polyphenols: catechins, phenolic acids, tannins, and flavonols/antioxidants (kaempferol, quercetin, myricitin, and rutin)
• Xanthines: caffeine and caffeine-related stimulants (theobromine and theophylline)
• Vitamins: vitamin C and B vitamins
• Amino acids: L-theanine
• Microelements: aluminum, fluorides, manganese
• Essential oils
+ Boiled Water*** - Boiled water oddly enough has a long list of health benefits all by itself, but that is another topic for another day.

Green tea includes caffeine and caffeine-related stimulants, specific flavonols (which act as antioxidants), and the highly researched class of green tea catechins. Primary green tea catechins consist of epicatechin (EC), epicatechin gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG, the most potent in this group, is responsible for most of green tea’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties - which is why green tea is so handy against preventing cancer.

So basically green tea has lots of vitamins in it, plus a host of anti-cancer ingredients, making it overall very useful for preventing cancer and promoting good health in general.

Risks of Green Tea

The U.S. FDA cites 400 mg as the safe threshold for daily caffeine consumption. Above 400 mg, health risks include gastrointestinal upset, muscle tremors, and palpitations. But to drink that much caffeine from green tea, you would need to drink the equivalent of 10 cups of coffee, or approx. 12 cups of green tea per day.

Tea leaves also tend to accumulate aluminum from soil, and chronic high aluminum exposure (more than 20 mg per day for a 150 lb. person) has been found to cause Alzheimer’s disease. However that is basically impossible to consume, as that would require drinking approx. 800 to 1200 cups of green tea per day. It should also be noted that many foods contain aluminum and that small doses of aluminum (approx. 0.1 mg per day) do have health benefits (increases immune response), whereas high doses (20 mg or more) of aluminum have health risks.

So basically the health risks of green tea are practically non existent, and could only result if someone was consuming ridiculous amounts every day beyond the normal amount.

Are you working too hard for your health?

Do you ever feel depressed because all you ever seem to do is work and you rarely have leisure time to spend with your friends or family?

Do you regularly feel tired from working so much that you basically just come home and collapse, eat comfort food and watch TV because it requires the least amount of work?

Do you often agonize over the balance between life and work?

Does your family have heart disease, diabetes, and/or a history of Alzheimer's in your family members who also worked long hours every day?

About a century ago it was common for factory workers to be working 10, 12 or even 14 hour shifts. The 8-hour work day only became a reality during the 1930s when there was so many unemployed people that factories were under pressure to spread the number of hours out amongst a greater number of employees.

Following that success various organizations pushed for a 4-hour or 6-hour work day, but those movements never amounted to anything beyond some interesting cartoons about the economy during the 1930s.

Around the same time such organizations involved in the US Labor Movement, primarily the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), were also pushing for a 4-day work week and other such interesting ideas that never took hold.

If you answered yes to a bunch of the questions at the top, you probably are feeling pretty overworked yourself - or your family has a history of working too hard too. However ask yourself, did working that hard increase the quality of life for you or your family?

Given the choice which do you value more, leisure time or having more money?

Well lets try to answer that question using MATH.

Lets pretend for a moment that you currently work 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for a total of 40 hours per week. And while we are at it, lets assume you are making $20 per hour - so $800 per week, minus taxes/etc.


Then one day your boss offers you a new option: 6 hours per day, 5 days per week for a total of 30 hours per week. Same pay, but less hours so it would be $600 per week, again minus taxes/etc.

At which point you have to ask yourself, would you prefer to work 40 hours per week and be exhausted after work, have very little leisure time, etc.

Or would you prefer 30 hours per week, 10 hours of extra leisure time, and a pay cut?

According to surveys conducted across Canada, most Canadians say they would take the 30-hour work week and would love to have extra leisure time.

There is a third option too. 8 hour work days, but only a 4 day work week. 32 hours total. This way you get a whole day off for leisure time.

Or even a fourth option. 10 hour work days, but only a 4 day work week. 40 hours total. This way you still get a whole day off for leisure time, but are still managing to work 40 hours per week.

However options 3 and 4 seem to miss the point. Overworking causes health problems, like a 33% higher chance of stroke and a 15% higher chance of heart disease. Other health problems like diabetes and Alzheimer's are also associated with overworking.

Taken together this also means that people who overwork have a much shorter life expectancy. Their risks of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, heart disease and many other ailments are dramatically increased. It is difficult to say how much this effects the longevity of people working long hours, but it is safe to say that people working 50 or more hours per week have an average shorter longevity than people working 40 hours per week or even 30 hours per week.

Here are some more facts for you:

The United States is the only country in the Americas that does NOT have paid parental leave. Canada and other countries in North / South America have an average of 12 weeks of paid parental leave. This effects the physical well being of adults working long hours and their ability to balance work and family.

134 countries in the world have laws setting the maximum number of hours a person can work in a week. The USA is one of the few countries without such a law.

Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers. (According to the International Labour Organization.)

The USA has no federal law requiring paid sick days.

Most countries in the world have laws requiring workers to have at least 20 paid vacation days.

Many countries also have paid holidays. The USA has zero. Canada has 9 paid holidays.

I could just keep going. There are lots of facts and figures on this topic I could quote. But my purpose here isn't to tell people to work less hours. It is to encourage people to have more leisure time for the sake of their health and to hopefully have less stress. If you truly love your work and it is stress-free, or maybe you even love having a little stress, then maybe it isn't such a big deal that you work so hard.

But for many of you then you have probably already concluded that having more money doesn't make you any happier. Therefore I want to offer 12 steps you can take in an attempt to have less stress, live healthier and ideally also live longer and fuller.

After all, what is the point of working 50+ hours per week every week until you die at the age of 55 because you didn't take good care of your health? Wouldn't it make more to have more leisure time, take care of your health and live to the ripe old age of 95?

12 Steps to Live Longer, Healthier and More Stress-Free

#1. Do something every day that doesn't cost you any money and yet makes you happy. It might be spending time with your kids, taking the dog for a walk, or going for a nature walk with a friend.

#2. It is okay to ask your boss for less hours at work. The worst they can do is say no. They can't fire you for asking for less hours (because if they did, that would be grounds for a lawsuit).

#3. Remember to use your paid vacation time and/or sick days if you have them. Don't bother saving them up because otherwise you probably won't get to use them at all.

#4. If your work place has the option to do so, asking to work from home might be a good solution for you. Saves on travel time and most companies report higher productivity from people who work from home.

#5. If you have a baby and want to take some time off to spend time with your newborn, it is okay to do so. You might even wish to take extra time off which is unpaid, and that is okay too.

#6. If you somehow suggested to your boss that your entire company switch to a 6 hour work day (possibly with shifts from 9 to 3 and from 3 to 9) that would be just plain awesome. Your whole company, including your boss, would benefit and live longer/be happier as a result.

#7. Take siestas or naps if you get a chance. People who take naps in the afternoon live longer, have less weight problems and have less mental health problems.

#8. Pick a sport or activity you think you could still be doing into your old age and then do it regularly. eg. Dancing is a good activity for both young and old.

#9. When you feel overworked don't go straight for the junk food when you get home. Take your time and make something nutritious instead. The junk food may make you feel happier temporarily, but it is not good for your health or your long term happiness.

#10. Exercise regularly. You don't have to do it constantly, but you should make an effort to at least be doing something that gets your heart rate going. For best results pick exercises or sports that you enjoy doing and makes you happy.

#11. Work towards finding a job where you work less hours, have less stress and feel happier about yourself. Working just to pay the bills may keep bread on the table, but your long term happiness should be the primary goal.

#12. Be creative in how you spend your leisure time. Try new things. Avoid doing the same thing all the time, especially if it is something that doesn't actually bring you happiness.


PERSONAL NOTE

I am reducing my work hours in 2016. Last month I started reducing the amount of hours I am currently working. I currently have an abundance of clients and have raised my rates twice in the last year.

My goal in 2016 is to be working 4.5 to 6 hours per day and only 4 days per week. I estimate I will be working approx. 22.5 hours per week. That may not seem like much, but when you consider I *currently* charge $50 per hour for personal training I would still be doing quite well.

As is normal for personal trainers, not every time slot gets filled so the total number of hours I will be working from week to week may vary dramatically, but ideally this will mean more time for me to focus on leisure activities... things like fishing, working on my skills in the kitchen, and woodworking. While still managing to help my clients achieve their fitness goals.

* I may be raising my personal training rate in 2016 significantly.

Wii Fit for Cancer Patients

Q

"Hi,

My name is Robert and I am actually reaching out to you on behalf of a co-worker Miranda. Her husband Chad is battling cancer and has been going through chemo. He is at a point where he is not eating too much and not as mobile as what he should be... not so much that he can’t, it is more like he won’t so we are reaching out to see if you have experience dealing with cancer patients. It would be in home (Hamilton) and obviously not a vigorous work out but enough to get his strength up and a little motivated. Any help or referrals would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Robert A."

(The names of the individuals mentioned in the above email and in my response have either been changed or omitted to protect the identity and privacy of the individuals.)

A

Hello Robyn!

Sorry, I don't live that close to Hamilton. However I do have a recommendation that has worked for several cancer patients.

My recommendation is that you get him a Nintendo Wii Fit. This is not a product endorsement on my part, rather it is more of an endorsement from a cancer patient I know who has attested to the product's ability to keep him motivated and exercising as much or as little as he feels like on any particular day. So if you are looking for something that will motivate him - and continue to motivate him even when there is no personal trainer present - this is certainly an option.

If you wish to research this topic I recommend reading the following article:

http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2012/researcher-uses-nintendo-wii-to-address-cancer-related-fatigue/

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
CardioTrek.ca

12 Tips for being Happier, Healthier and Living Longer

#1. Eat your veggies - especially your favourite veggies - regularly.

#2. Enjoy sports that get you outside. They're fun and they're good for you.

#3. Stop worrying about what other people think about your choice of exercises. Just do them and have fun exercising.

#4. Try new things that get you outside and enjoying life in the sun.

#5. A little sunlight won't kill you.

#6. Enjoy your desserts, but don't drown yourself in them.

#7. The best parties are the ones where you drive home sober and extremely happy. (The worst are when you are too drunk and don't remember how you got there...)

#8. Being selfish and greedy with bacon will only make you lonely and fat. Sharing the bacon and keeping some in the fridge as leftovers, that is learning moderation.

#9. Golf was a sport invented by drunk Scots. Love it or hate it.

#10. Yoga will bring you more peace of mind and wellness of body. Don't diss it until you've tried it.

#11. Too much stress is never good for you. Learn to relax and unwind doing things that keep you active and alert.

#12. Spending time with family in the great outdoors is the best exercise a person can ask for.


A Good Night's Sleep

Everyone needs a good nap now and then.
Last night I slept really well.

And I know why. I set my alarm clock ahead an hour so it went off at 8 AM instead of my normal 7 AM.

That extra hour of sleep made a world of difference in my opinion.

Now I understand not everyone has the convenience of being able to sleep in an extra hour whenever they want to, being a personal trainer in Toronto most of my clients are not expecting me to meet them for a personal training session until 10 or 11 AM at the earliest. Very rarely do I take on a client who wants a 9 AM workout.

But if you do have the convenience of being able to sleep in an extra hour - and you are currently suffering problems sleeping, I strongly recommend getting that extra hour to see if you can reset your biological clock.

Technically I didn't even wake to the alarm. I got up at 7:40 feeling well rested (and needing to urinate) and then I showered and I am now feeling the best I have felt in a week at least.

I am also a big fan of taking naps / siestas when your schedule permits it. A short 30 to 45 minute nap shortly after lunch is great for boosting your energy levels.

Sleep, as scientists will tell you, is extremely important to your overall health. A good night's sleep keeps you from packing on the pounds (lack of sleep causes people to overeat, especially sugary things, in order to boost energy levels), builds extra muscle (you build / regenerate approx. 80% of your muscle tissue while sleeping), and quality sleep boosts various "happy" hormone levels, which act as painkillers, antidepressants, and increase your metabolism levels so you regenerate damaged tissue faster (eg. fights back against cancer, heals injuries). The boosted metabolism even fights back against aging.

Thus quality sleep makes you slimmer, stronger, happier, healthier and younger.

Good sleep, healthy food, lots of exercise
and you will live a long and healthy life.

What is worse is that fatigue causes your body to start producing hormones that blocks your blood from drawing upon fat reserves for energy. This means that when fatigued you can only get energy from food - which means that exercising while fatigued you are drawing upon only food energy and not stored fat energy. So if you want to be burning fat then you really need to be well-rested before you exercise.

So if you are falling asleep at your desk then clearly you are not getting enough sleep. And if you are trying to lose weight by exercising, then you won't be seeing much results because you will feel fatigued all the time, unenergetic, and exercising without any results.

You are never too old to start a new sport

I was going through old emails earlier today and found one I had failed to answer (it was in the wrong folder).

In the email a mother was talking about signing her son up for archery lessons and said "he is kind of too old to start new sports".

I read this with quiet bemusement.

I didn't laugh out loud or anything. I was just mildly amused and a tad indignant. How is SIXTEEN too old to start a new sport?

I mean com'on, many athletes don't start their preferred sport until they are 17, 18, 19 or well into their 20s.

And there is nothing stopping adults and even seniors from taking up a sport - including a competitive sport - well into their golden years.

An elderly (and even overweight person) can easily learn to do the splits (see photo below) or any number of other activities during their older years.


They might get really into bicycles - and even fixing bicycles in their old age.


They might take up archery as a recreational sport - or even compete in archery competitions.


They might even take up boxing, martial arts or yoga.



What it really comes down to is that there is nothing stopping you from starting a new sport - and even competing in a new sport.

Age, disability, sex/gender, being overweight - these are just excuses.

Willpower and taking the first steps towards a new goal, those are the deciding factors.

Sleeping Positions and how they Effect your Health

A good night's sleep effects your health in many ways, and likewise different sleeping positions also effect your health - sometimes in adverse ways you didn't know about.

Below we will explore 9 sleeping positions and how they effect your health.

1. On Your Back, Arms at Sides

Good for the back and neck.
Back sleepers tend to snore more and sleep apnea is more common.

2. On Your Back, Arms Up (the Starfish Position)

Good for the back and neck.
Prevents facial wrinkles and skin breakouts.
May result in snoring and problems with acid reflux.
May put pressure on nerves in your shoulders, leading to pain.

3. Face Down

Good for digestion.
Difficulty breathing through your pillow.
May cause neck pain and back pain.

4. Fetal Position

May cause problems for your back and neck.
Restricts deep breathing in the chest.
Good position for problem snorers or pregnant women.

5. On Side, Arms at Sides

Okay for back and neck, also reduces sleep apnea.
May cause facial wrinkles and sagging breasts.

6. On Side, Arms Out

Okay for back and neck, also reduces sleep apnea.
Shoulder and arm pain due to restricted blood flow and pressure on the nerves.

7. On the Right Side

May cause heartburn while you are sleeping.
Better for pregnant women, improves circulation to the fetus.

8. On the Left Side

Puts more strain on your liver, lungs, and stomach (while minimizing acid reflux). This in turn will make you hungrier in the morning.

9. Pillow-Supplemented

Regardless of which sleeping position you prefer, you will get a better night’s rest with less pain in the morning by supplementing your body with a pillow.

Back sleepers can put a small pillow under the arch of their spine, side sleepers can place a pillow between their knees, and stomach sleepers can place a pillow under their hips to support the joints and allow for full, pain-free relaxation.

And remember to stretch every morning after sleeping! It will improve your flexibility after staying in the same position(s) all night.

Live Longer, Eat Healthy and Exercise

The Japanese are some of the longest living people on the planet and no where is this more true than the island of Okinawa, where many of the longest living Japanese people live.

Now keeping in mind this is not a matter of genetics. It is a matter of exercise and diet. The people of Japan simply exercise a lot more and healthier when compared to many other cultures around the planet.

It is very much a health-crazed culture which values eating healthy foods and regular exercise, and this is doubtlessly the biggest contributing factors to their long lifespan.

Japan's quality of health there is ranked number one in the world. Their life expectancy is also number one. If you live in Canada or the USA however it’s a different story, and not one to brag about.

America’s health score is the worst amongst all developed nations. Canada is significantly better, but it is dropping in recent years as a higher obesity rate starts to take grip in Canada. What is funny is that the USA spends more money on health care - billions of dollars more than any other country. The reason is because Americans get sick very easily, they get cancer very easily, and they get a huge variety of health problems very easily - and it is all due to low exercise and an unhealthy diet.

So what is Japan doing right and what is the USA doing wrong?

Infant Mortality Rate

Well lets start with infant mortality rate (IMR) as that can be a big contributor to life expectancy. For example if you have 100 babies and 50% die as infants and the rest live until 100 years old, then the average lifespan is 50 years old. Thus a country with a high IMR will have a lower life expectancy.

Japan's IMR is 2.17 per 1000 births.
USA's IMR is 5.9 per 1000 births.

So right from the very start America is killing their babies with bad food. Or maybe it is some other cause. (Such as a health care system driven by greed...)

Some people point the finger at America's tendency to vaccinate babies like crazy. Babies in the USA get 26 doses of vaccines. Japanese babies gets a mere 12. Now there is no proof that over-vaccination is tied to infant mortality in the USA, but there needs to be a study done on this sometime to see if a lower vaccination schedule would increase the number of babies who live past the first year. Because the IMR alone lowers life expectancy in the USA by a year or two.

Culture

Japanese people believe in being peaceful, calm, positive and to behave honourably. Especially in public. It is sort of a Zen Buddhist thing that they believe in. They believe in being patient, forgiving, kind and virtuous. For the vast majority of Japanese this is working really well because their culture is very low crime.

The murder rate in Japan is 0.4 per 100,000 per year.

The murder rate in the USA is 4.8 per 100,000 per year.

(Note: Japan's suicide rate is higher, but that is only because some of them believe in seppuku - Japanese ritual suicide when a person has dishonoured themselves so much they can no longer perform a role in society. Since seppuku is mostly a male thing it shows in the difference between life expectancy for women and men in Japan, where women live 7 years longer on average. So a quick way to raise your life expectancy is not believe in suicide.)

Exercise

Japanese people love hiking in the mountains. A long mountain climb burns a lot of calories and is a bit like weightlifting for the legs because you are going uphill so much. Many Japanese people also enjoy jogging, swimming, weightlifting and a huge variety of exercises.

Bathing

Now you might not think this is a factor, but many Japanese people swear by it. Soaking in very hot water - especially hot springs - is said to be very therapeutic for the skin. Whether this increase longevity is another topic, but I am mentioning it anyway. The extreme heat of the water does kill bacteria and that contributes to a lower rate of infectious diseases and illnesses.

In contrast most Americans take showers, which doesn't scrub off all the bacteria.

Green Tea

Unsweetened green tea is most common beverage in Japan is tea. Their green tea includes gyokuro, sencha, bancha, matcha (powdered green tea), konacha and hojicha. This may be the healthiest drink that exists and that is why the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese drink it as their main beverage. Green tea is very high in alkaline - and alkaline prevents cancer. When compared to other foods with high alkaline scores green tea has an acid binding score of 53.50 while spinach is only 28.01. (High blood acidity is a high contributor to cancer, so reducing the acid in your blood using alkaline makes a huge difference.)

Green tea also lowers blood pressure because it contains theanine, which helps relax a person. In contrast most Americans drink coffee - which raises blood pressure and makes you jittery.

Diet

Japanese people eat a wide variety of vegetables and also a lot of fish. This extra variety of greens, beans, nuts and berries, and even seaweed means that they get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in their diet. In contrast most Americans go for "meat and potatoes", which doesn't give them much variety in their diet - and the only seaweed most Americans are eating is an additive to their ice cream.

Fish wise Japanese people eat a lot of tuna and salmon, which is very healthy for you because of the Omega-3 fatty acids in it. In contrast Americans eat a lot of pork, poultry and beef - which are high in bacteria. Fish is readily available all over the USA, but most Americans prefer farm animals for their meat.

Japanese people also eat a lot of soy - which has a long list of health benefits.

With respect to sugary foods Americans eat 3 times that of people in Japan. The average American consumes 153 lbs of sugar per year. That is almost half a pound of sugar per day.

Taken all together the obesity rate in Japan is 3.2%. In the USA it is 35%, so clearly Japan is doing something right and Americans are doing it horrifically wrong.

In an effort to lower obesity rates in Japan even further the Japanese government has reclassified obesity as anyone with a BMI over 25 (the global standard is 30 or more). This way they can scare more Japanese people into eating healthier.

The following is a list of popular foods in Japan:

Sweet potatoes/yam; Soy; Goya - a type of melon; Konnyaku - a Japanese jelly derived from the starchy tuber of the Konjac plant; Shiitake Mushroom; Gobo - a root vegetable; Hechima - a gourd or squash; Seaweed; Turmeric - this spice contains a powerful anti-inflammatory; Mugwort or fuchiba spice; Hihatsu - a type of pepper; Fennel or ichiba spice.

5 Tips to Help You Live Longer

#1. Force yourself to eat healthy. Learn what is good and bad for you and start avoiding the bad stuff.

#2. Learn to have fun eating healthy. Learn which healthy foods you enjoy the most and step #1 will be ridiculously easy once you get started.

#3. Be active well into your old age. If your muscles and bones deteriorate due to lack of exercise then you are much more likely to have poor balance... fall and break your hip... become bedridden... your healthy deteriorates further... and kaput, you're done! (Seriously, I've lost track of the number of people I know of who died because of their poor exercise levels resulted in them falling, breaking a hip and then their health falls to pieces within a short time period.)

#4. Start being more active now. Don't wait for later. Being active now will add years to your life and your quality of living.

#5. You only live once, so overcoming your mental laziness is your first step to overcoming physical laziness.

BONUS - Find something energetic that you enjoy doing and keep doing it well into your old age - and you won't just live longer, you will pass on your passion (eg. like your passion for bicycles) to the next generation of your family.


12 Exercises for Building More Sensitive Ears using Hearing Exercises

I have consulted a number of sources, including audiologists, who say it is impossible to regain your ability to hear better. The vast majority of them - well nigh all of them - say that hearing loss is permanent.

However having suffered hearing loss when I was a child, and regaining some of my hearing over the past 22 years, I must affirm that I think the scientific community is WRONG when they say it is impossible to regain some measurement of hearing.

To explain this I will be doing two things: 1. I will be trying to be as scientific as I can when explaining my ideas; 2. Some of my explanations will be based on conjecture and hypothesis, so I saying this now as an informal disclaimer so that people understand that some of my ideas may not scientifically accurate, but are instead based on my first hand experience. I was also be basing some of my exercises further below upon my research into zen and yoga techniques designed to improve hearing.

When I was 12 years old a shotgun shell went by my left ear and was so loud it caused hearing damage. I was temporarily deafened in my left ear. (There is a long story about how this happened, but I will spare you the details.)

I am now 34 and during that the last 22 years I have had my hearing slowly improve over time. Initially it was very quick. I went from being temporarily deafened to simply "severe hearing loss" / almost deaf in my left ear.

By the time I reached university in 1999 my hearing had improved somewhat, to the extent that combined with my perfect hearing in my right ear I was able to function most of the time. I would regularly need to ask people to repeat themselves because of my hearing difficulties, but I was able to cope 99% of the time.

Since graduating in 2003 my hearing has continued to improve over time, to the point that I would now describe myself as having only moderate to light hearing damage in my left ear.

However several questions remain... Did my ears physically heal over the past 22 years, or did my brain simply get better at interpreting the sounds it was receiving? I think it is a bit of both. I believe there was some initial healing process, wherein part of the damage to my ears was permanent - and the other part was simply temporary. It was the temporary aspect which healed up more quickly. After that had healed however I believe my brain has learned to compensate and use what little hearing I have in my left ear and has slowly improved with time.

Which brings me to why I think audiologists are wrong when they say it is impossible to improve your hearing using hearing exercises. They are only thinking in terms of permanent hearing damage - they are completely ignoring temporary hearing damage, and they are completely ignoring the possibility that the brain can learn over time to compensate and "hear better" based on what data it is receiving from the ears.

So yes, based on my personal experience you can improve your hearing over time - the trick is to heal any temporary damage to your ears, and to attune your mind so the hearing ability you do have is used to its full potential.

12 Hearing Exercises for Building More Sensitive Ears

Note: The first three are really more maintenance issues, so you don't cause further damage to your ears over time.

#1. Routinely check for a build-up of earwax.

Some hearing loss can be caused by excess wax in your ear canal. Snap a photo of your ear with a camera, or have a friend look into your ear with a flashlight. If you see impacted wax, do not touch it. Trying to dig it out yourself will only make it worse.

If the blockage isn't severe, try to wash it out yourself. (Note: Only do this if your eardrums don't have tubes or holes in them.) Use an eyedropper to put a few drops of baby oil, mineral oil or hydrogen peroxide in your ear to "soften" the wax. After a day or two, use a rubber-bulb syringe to gently put warm water into your ear. Tip your head to the other side to let the water (and wax) drain out.

If the blockage is severe, call your doctor or audiologist and make an appointment to have it removed.

#2. Make sure you don't have an ear infection.

If your ears are in extreme pain, see a doctor immediately to make sure you don't have an ear infection or ruptured ear drum. If these conditions are left untreated, they can permanently damage the hearing in your inner ear.

#3. Take measures to stop any further hearing deterioration.

Reduce your exposure to loud, sustained noises. If noisiness like this is part of your job try wearing specialty ear plugs or changing jobs. If you wear earbuds or headphones to listen to music, keep the volume low or moderately low. When encountering loud sustained noises protect your ears with your hands and move further away from the source of the noise. Try to reduce your exposure to high volumes overall, and you'll reduce future hearing loss.

#4. Don't talk so loudly.

If you have lost a significant portion of your hearing, speak in a slightly softer tone than you think you need to. It's common to overcompensate and talk loudly if you can't hear your own voice very well, but if other people can't hear you, they'll tell you to speak up.

#5. Use your hearing more.

Your brain's pathways are like rocky trails, gravel roads and highways. If you use part of your brain more often the extra activity (traffic) on those mental pathways will strengthen and expand. This is why blind people often have very acute hearing and sense of touch - they have been forced to use their hearing more and thus their mental pathways controlling the interpretation of sound has been rapidly expanded.

This is not going to turn you into some kind of superhuman listener (like the blind comic book hero Daredevil), but it will allow you to improve your ability to hear things - even despite minor or moderate hearing damage.

#6. Learn to identify sounds / Auditory Indexing.

According to Zen monks learning to identify sounds is one of the first steps in learning to better control your sense of hearing. The practice is known as "Auditory Indexing". Without identification a person can become confused, overwhelmed or frightened by the sounds they are hearing. By learning to identify which sounds are which they can hear the sounds, but tune out those sounds they recognize as being too far away, not a threat, of little interest, etc.

An hearing exercise you can do at home is to listen for sounds you cannot identify, and once you find a sound that you don't recognize go and see what it is. Memorize that sound. Start over again and listen for other sounds you don't recognize.

#7. Learn to control your mind and avoid distractions.

A person who is distracted by random thoughts will not notice sounds that are nearby them. Learning to control distracting thoughts is a complex process and first requires a person to let go of their mind before they can learn to control it. I strongly recommend reading the book "The Unfettered Mind", which is a small collection of essays / letters by the Zen monk Takuan Soho and deals directly and indirectly with the topic of how to control your mind. In the book Takuan Soho references Japanese swordplay (kendo), but that can be used as a metaphor for any task.

#8. Listen for your own heartbeat.

This is difficult for even people with perfect hearing to do, but it can be done. The sound of heartbeat is there, but it is being muffled by numerous other sounds. Late at night, in a quiet room it is a much easier task to hear your own heartbeat - but with practice a person can listen for their heartbeat even in a crowded room.

If you get bored of listening to your heartbeat you can also listen to your breathing, your stomach/digestive organs, and even the sound of yourself blinking. If that seems like too much of a challenge try making very quiet sounds with your feet or fingers - such as rubbing your fingers together - and listening / concentrating on that sound.

#9. Extended Hearing Exercise.

This exercise has its source in tantric yoga. To do this sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Imagine a series of circular ring emanating around you at fixed distances.

First listen to all sound coming from within a 3 feet radius of you. Identify each sound that is closest to you. Ignore sounds that are further away, even if they are louder, so that they become background noises. Each time you concentrate on a new sound briefly identify what it is. Footsteps, conversations, mechanical noises, the rustle of leaves, the buzz of insects, the sound of running water, the distant roar of the city.

Next expand your hearing range to 10 feet and concentrate on the sounds found within this range. Continue expanding in circles around you to include the surrounding room, the building, your neighbourhood and the distant sounds of the world beyond.

#10. Listen to music.

When listening to music - such as an orchestra - identify which musical instruments are making what sounds. Learn to tune out the sounds of the other instruments and only listen to the one instrument. Challenge yourself to try and listen to only one of the musicians at a time.

#11. Test your limits.

The human eardrum can hear sounds anywhere between 16 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Extremely low (bass) sounds or extremely high pitched sounds cannot be heard by the human ear.  High pitched sounds like a dog whistle can only be heard by a variety of animals because the frequency is so high its beyond the range of human hearing - but that doesn't mean you cannot attempt to hear similar high pitched sounds.

Testing the limits of your hearing may require the help of an audiologist doctor, in which case I can recommend an audiologist in Vaughan who gives free hearing tests.

#12. Hypnosis.

According to a variety of researchers people in a state hypnosis can hear sounds from extreme distances, such as the case wherein a hypnotized person could hear a constant hissing sound at 230 yards (0.21 km), whereas a non-hypnotized people typically could not detect the same hissing sound until they were within 30 yards of the source.

This suggests that experimentation with hypnosis and hearing could prove to be highly beneficial for someone who wants to retrain their brain to hear noises more acutely.

BONUS: Audio Calibration!

During this exercise the listening person stands in the middle of a room and imagines him or herself to be at the centre of a clock face: directly to the front would be Twelve O'clock, directly behind is Six O'clock, ninety degrees to the right is Three O'clock and so on.

A second person moves about stopping at random and calling out “Now”. The listener must then guess the direction and distance. So for example, if the second person is standing six feet directly behind them the correct answer would be; “Six O'clock/six feet”. When a correct answer is a point is scored, if incorrect, the second person says the correct answer so that the listener can associate the correct answer with the immediate auditory experience.

Once the listener can get 9 points out of 10 then they go to the next level of difficulty, for which the listener and second person come up with a slightly more difficult task - possibly by changing the volume of the sound, the distance to the speaker, the preciseness of the distance, adding extra background noises, etc.

CONCLUSIONS

Don't listen to what the audiologists are saying that you cannot improve your hearing. If you have only minor or moderate damage to your ears then there are plenty of ways to rewire your brain so you can function without full hearing capabilities. I managed to do it and my hearing only seems to be getting better the older I get.

Get Better Sleep = Sleep Healthier

Want to live longer and have a happier more stress-free life?

Start by sleeping healthier.

If you are one of those problem sleepers who keeps tossing and turning like a tornado that just can't get comfortable and looking panicky at your clock every half hour, well then you are not alone. There are quite a few people out there who have unhealthy sleep patterns - and it messes with their health, their weight, their ability to focus/concentrate and a whole batch of other problems. Getting a proper night's sleep is crucial if you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle or accomplish a variety of fitness goals.

But instead of focusing on the ills, lets focus on the cure.

1. Don't exercise in the evening - Do stretches instead.

Exercising too much will rev you up and keep you awake! Keep your fitness regimen to the morning. It may mean waking up ultra early but once you develop the routine, you will fall asleep earlier at night.

If you want to do anything before bed the best alternative is to do stretching or light yoga for 5 minutes.

If you do exercise in the evening time it so it is 2 hours before sleeping so you don't get revved up too close to your bedtime. You need that cool down period before sleeping. This is why stretching is better because it won't rev your muscles / blood pressure up, and it will help you feel more relaxed.

2. Write a to-do list before bed.

If you are the type that cannot sleep because too much is on your mind, get it out in the form of a list. Then you know what has to be done, and you can worry about the details the next day.

3. Don't eat too late or drink caffeine after 4 PM.

Food gives you energy. Keep your dinner or evening snack light, and cut off caffeine in the afternoon around 4 PM. For best results cut out soda pop and tea (except perhaps chamomile since that helps you sleep).

4. Wake Up Earlier.

If you get up earlier in the morning, thanks to an alarm clock, you will have less problems falling asleep at night. It will be rough at first, but you will see much better results once you get used to the routine.

5. Get a regular schedule.

The more routine your sleeping patterns are, the better chance you have to fall asleep. It is inconsistencies that result in bad patterns. Train your body to sleep and wake by sticking to a schedule. It will be hard at first, especially if you are trying to go to bed and wake up earlier. Once the habit is established for 21 days, it will really help cement your sleeping patterns and it will stabilize!

6. Avoid Light / Loud Noises

Get some extra thick curtains for the bedroom which you can pull shut easier. Someone should really invent a device that opens the curtains in the morning on a timer. That would be so awesome. Avoid playing loud music while you are trying to sleep. If you need some kind of noise / music get a fan or turn the volume down really low and set it so it will stop playing in an hour or so.

7. Naps

Afternoon naps, around noon / 1 PM are good for you. Primates (apes, chimpanzees, etc) all take siestas in the afternoon and the human species are supposed to take naps too. That is why in the afternoon you often feel tired around 1 PM, but most people just ignore it and keep working. However if you work from home / have a flexible schedule then taking daily naps is an option for you.

And even if you don't have a flexible schedule try to sneak in a nap or two on the weekends. You will feel better and more well rested.

Live Long and Prosper!

Strength Training After 40

The Benefits of Strength Training
  • Builds Bone Density
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduces risk of diabetes
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Prevents Injuries
Strength training for people over the age of 40 also reduces the aging process by toning the muscles, improving posture and balance, gaining energy, stamina and achieves an overall revitalization in appearance - resulting in a more youthful looking you.

Some people also falsely believe that strength training will not help them to lose weight, or will make them muscle-bound - confusing weight lifting for bodybuilding. The truth is, strength training burns a lot of calories so it can be just as effective as cardio, but as you get older strength training becomes more important because some cardio exercises like hard running can be hard on the joints, including the knees and ankles. Thus for mature people strength training is a safer alternative as it is less likely to result in injuries.
It also makes your body look good after weight loss through training and a good diet has been achieved! Adding muscle promotes a healthier (and faster) metabolism, which will effectively de-age you as a higher metabolism increases the amount of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in your system.

Even if you don't have any history in strength training, anyone can start, at any age! Just start small with a pair of 5 or 10 lb dumbbells. If you are not sure how to strength train, hire a personal trainer. Having a personal trainer, even for a few sessions to demonstrate exercises and create a program to follow on your own, will be very helpful to get started.
Once you're seeing progress then you will see all the benefits strength training can do for you.

50 Reasons why it's Harder to Lose Weight as you get Older

Once you hit the age of 40 everything becomes more difficult.

Especially if you were out of shape during your 30s and suddenly realize its time to fix that. Aside from the fact that you no longer look great in your clothes, it becomes harder to lose weight. And there is a long list of reasons why it becomes more difficult as you get older.

Physical Effects

When you hit the BIG FOUR O you will notice a few things are different. You may have noticed gravity is no longer your friend. Gravity isn’t your only problem; the human body tends to go through some pretty crazy changes, beginning around age 35. Here’s a look at a few of the things that may impact weight loss.
  1. If you’re a woman, you’re probably dealing with what is known as perimenopause, which is a decrease in estrogen. Yay! Oh, wait… That is not as good as you think.
  2. Hormonal changes make you hungrier. That second loaded baked potato is looking mighty tasty right now, isn’t it?
  3. Metabolic rates tend to slow. In other words, even if you stick to that all-vegan, macrobiotic-anti-whatever-else diet, you may still gain weight. Who knew green beans could cause muffin top?
  4. Cortisol production increases. Cortisol is a stress hormone that may contribute to the aforementioned muffin top. Don’t give up and think that because you appear to be a muffin you should eat more muffins.
  5. The sudden incidence of insomnia may result in lower energy levels the next day. Although you might get caught up on your scrapbooking, you are less likely to burn any meaningful calories.
  6. Believe it or not, you may lose a few inches as you progress past 40. Gravity has a lot to do with this. Your weight doesn’t go south with your height; in fact, it can be more difficult to lose.
  7. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll lose some lean muscle mass. Losing muscle not only means it’s harder to open that jar of spaghetti sauce, exercise becomes more daunting.
  8. Fat cells increase and grow. You can’t lose fat cells without surgery, but you can always grow new fat. Maybe it’s better to skip that second piece of German chocolate cake, after all.
  9. Joints begin to creak and ache more. Does this mean you shouldn’t exercise? Of course not. Does this mean you will exercise less? Probably yes, unless you’re into masochism.
  10. You move more slowly. Call this a combo of many of the aforementioned effects. Although you may experience less discomfort, you’re also burning fewer calories. Kick it up already!
  11. Your skin loses its elasticity. Although this does not have a direct impact on weight loss, the sight of floppy skin may give you the impression that your efforts aren’t working; in turn, you may give up prematurely.
  12. Thyroid changes can develop after 40. If you are working your butt off and still not seeing results, visit your doctor. You may need medication.
  13. A decline in melatonin can cause you to wander the house at all hours. Unfortunately, we tend to wander to food when we’re bored or sleepless. Put down the brownies and try a cup of chamomile tea, instead.
  14. For women, the effects of osteoporosis can be an inhibitor to exercise, which in turn can make it difficult to lose extra pounds. While you should be careful, your doctor can guide you to a safe exercise program.
Mental and Sensory Effects

Yes, this does refer to the fact that all-nighters are no longer a good idea. However, it’s not just your desire to party that changes. There are mental and sensory aspects that can impact your weight loss, as well.
  1. You’re tired. Remember how tired you were after a night of clubbing? You may not have gone out last night, but you feel like you did. You need more sleep as you get older, and if you don’t get it, you won’t have the energy to get moving the next day.
  2. Now that you’re older, you might think “To heck with it.” After 40, you may feel you’re past your prime; if you already think you’re less attractive, you may be less inclined to exercise or watch what you eat.
  3. If you don’t partake in any enjoyable activities for yourself, you may feel depressed once your children grow up and move out; this sadness can lead you to eat more for comfort.
  4. You may become more absent-minded. No, that’s not a reference to dementia. As we age, small lapses in memory are common. You may forget that you only exercised for 15 minutes this morning, and promised yourself another 15 minutes at night.
  5. Anxiety and depression are more prominent in older adults. Perhaps it’s the thought of our own mortality. In any case, mental health can have a direct impact on physical health and well-being.
  6. After 40, you might find it harder to focus on a task. What does this have to do with weight loss? Have you ever tried to cook a healthy meal while imagining bunnies chasing a rubber ball in a field? As silly as it may sound, if you can’t gather your concentration to fix a meal, you’ll probably end up at your local drive-though.
  7. Like memory and focus, balance can be affected by age. If you feel off-balance, you may be too self-conscious or afraid to exercise, for fear of looking silly or of injuring yourself.
  8. Have you noticed that it takes more salt to flavor your food? Yep, the sense of taste can start to decline, as well. If you’re not careful, you may end up dumping an entire bottle of ranch on that side salad you’re having with dinner.
  9. Are you worried about your job? As we age, we often worry that we appear less useful than someone half our age. Fear of your future at your company may contribute to stress levels and make you more likely to snack around the clock.
  10. If you used to read the nutritional labels on food, but have recently experienced a change in eyesight, you might opt to avoid the tiny print rather than admit you need glasses. This is more likely to be a concern if you used to pride yourself on having 20/20 vision.
  11. If you can’t come to terms with the fact that you aren’t in your 20s or 30s anymore, shaping your body to what you want it to be can be difficult. Accept yourself and strategize accordingly.
  12. Overzealous determination to look the way you did 15 years ago can backfire. Don’t skip breakfast because you MUST lose five pounds. Your already slowed metabolism will slow even further from lack of fuel.
Changes in Family and Home Life

By the time you’ve hit 40, there’s a good chance that your home life has reached a comfortable stride: it’s unlikely you’re still raising infants, but you may be dealing with teenagers. Family situations can impact weight loss, as well.
  1. If you’re old enough that the kids have left the nest, congratulations. Now you can go out to eat at places that don’t serve toys with meals. Unfortunately, your newfound rich, exotic eating experiences can contain up a day’s worth of calories in one sitting.
  2. Even if your kids are still at home, they’re probably a bit older. Chasing after a young child tends to burn more calories; yelling at a teenager, not so much.
  3. If you’ve been married for a while, it’s likely you and your spouse are very comfortable with each other. So comfortable, in fact, you don’t feel the need to impress each other anymore. Seconds on everything, please.
  4. If you’ve downsized recently, you might find you have less area to clean and sanitize. Less to do=less calories burned.
  5. Remember when the kids were younger and there were trips to the park, the zoo, the beach…. All that walking was great exercise. Now your family is older, and no one wants to see the new manatee at the zoo.
  6. If you do have teenagers, you are probably restraining yourself from strangling them at this very moment. Stressful family situations can provoke overeating.
  7. Blame the kids: if your growing children demand having more snacks in the house, it can be harder to avoid munching. Remember, you don’t burn calories like you used to.
  8. If job security isn’t a concern because you’ve moved up in the company, you might find yourself with more responsibility. At the end of a long day, the last thing you want to think about is broiling and steaming up a healthy meal. Burgers and fries are a lot easier to collect on the way home. Besides, didn’t the Reagan administration declare ketchup a vegetable?
  9. Dinner problems can be the same on the weekends. The last thing you want to do on your weekend is cook, isn’t it? Besides, your clan would rather have pizza. You’re too tired to cook anyway, and that pie covered in extra cheese and pepperoni sounds too good to pass on.
  10. If you have reached the age where the kids have moved on, you probably feel it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy “me time.” Unfortunately, me time might include an uninterrupted movie and a container of cheese balls that you don’t have to share. I bet you’d swear that container was nearly empty when you grabbed it.
  11. If you have downsized and it’s just you and your spouse, the two of you may decide there’s no need to cook. Even if you don’t dine out, fast snacks and meals can contain far more calories and fat than a regular meal. Go ahead and cook that meal; your body will thank you.
  12. If you suddenly take extra interest in your appearance, your spouse may believe you are having an affair after so many years of marriage. Jealousy and uncertainty can lead you to want to ease his or her mind, and can hamper your efforts.
  13. If you have waited to start a family until after 40, you have a host of challenges in front of you. The exhaustion of raising an infant later in life can leave little time for personal consideration and health.
  14. If you are over 40, single and sans children, you have all the time in the world, right? All that time will do you no good if you aren’t motivated, and sometimes family is the best motivator. If you still have parents or siblings, turn to them for a little kick in the rear.
  15. If your spouse has let himself or herself go, it can be harder to lose weight. Don’t ask me why. I hear spouses start to look the same the longer they’re together. Does that mean the wife will grow a beard, too?
Friend Challenges

Whether you’re a man or woman, you probably have buddies. If not, you should make some. However, your friendships can interfere with your weight loss goals, whether or not the interference is intentional. Here’s how.
  1. Friend get-togethers often include snacks and alcohol. Lots of snacks and alcohol. It might have been easier to burn off that second glass of wine or beer ten years ago.
  2. Have you ever heard the expression, “birds of a feather flock together?” If the rest of your friends are putting on weight, you may feel more comfortable letting yourself go, as well.
  3. Over-40 girls-day-outs (or guys-day-outs) may include less activity and more sitting. Remember when you enjoyed shopping with your girlfriends or working on a car with your guy friends? Now, you may be too tired to exert that much energy on your day off. You may opt to veg out in front of a television with a bag of nacho chips, instead.
  4. Ice cream gatherings among women are an opportunity to vent your life frustrations, and an opportunity to stock up on empty calories. The same holds true for beer socials and men. Remember, your metabolism is slower now; all that junk food is wreaking havoc on your frame.
  5. Your friends mean well, they really do. However, you are less likely to take on a new diet and exercise regimen if you don’t have the support of your pals. If your friends are comfortable with extra weight, they may not be inclined to support your plans for personal restructuring.
Environmental Challenges

Sometimes, the biggest hurdles are things we can’t change.
  1. Now that you’re past 40, you may not want to wear those tiny jeans or those muscle-enhancing shirts. Don’t give up because you can’t fit into them; learn to ignore labels.
  2. You may be trying to watch what you eat and do, but have you noticed that portions seem to be growing when you dine out? With a slower metabolism, you have to be cautious about how much food is served. It’s not a contest; you aren’t required to finish the meal.
  3. You can’t do anything about society’s perception of healthy or beautiful. If you are healthy and are working out, but not losing any weight, stop trying to look like that 20-year-old billboard model. Even she doesn’t look like that.
  4. The media would have you believe it’s perfectly normal to be overweight and unhealthy past 40. Don’t believe that for a minute. How you look and feel is up to you, not primetime television.

Fitness for Men at Forty

Getting older is not very pleasant. Sometimes it just plain sucks. As you move past your thirties and into your forties you will start noticing there are a lot of changes happening to your body - and they're not pleasant changes like when you hit puberty and started noticing girls more.

For more men it becomes painfully obvious that you are not the young man that you used to be. You have to come to grips with the fact that your late thirties and early forties is a whole new phase in life. No longer is your body naturally going to be at the same level as it was in your 20s or even early 30s, even if mentally we still have the same or greater desires to be fit and athletic.

It can be rather sobering to realize it but while your body might basically look the same as it did when you were 25 or 30, its needs have changed. Your body has started to produce much less testosterone making it more difficult for you to build muscles, your metabolism starts slowing down and you get tired easier, and your recovery / healing periods are longer. Plus you are at a greater risk for heart disease and cancer.

However before you think it is time to check into the retirement home... think again!

By this point in life you should also have the experience and hopefully the wisdom to understand and accept these changes, and then adapt by developing a smarter and more effective strategy to counteract all of these affects of getting older. In this manner we can then keep moving in the positive direction of staying healthy and fit well into our retirement years - and stave off the worst effects of aging.

The Secret of Anti-Aging

It all starts with the diet.

Shocking right? So often it all goes back to diet again. Your diet will probably be about 80% to 90% responsible for how you look and feel as you hit 40 and beyond. The other 10% to 20% will be training and exercise levels. I know a guy in his 60s, avid cyclist. Has the body of a 30 year old because he stays active, but he can't blame it all on exercise because his family is mostly vegetarian so he is, not by choice, eating pretty healthy most of the time simply because that is what his family eats.

So why is diet so important? To start, a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to make sure you are getting all the nutrients into your body. Next you need to limit things like sugar, excess fat, and carbohydrates because it will take you so much longer to burn off accumulated fat since your older body has difficulty maintaining its metabolism.

Finally diet and supplementation (multivitamins, minerals, etc) has a huge impact on our daily energy levels, sex drive, stress, depression, memory, mood, and prevention of illness and disease.

You need to take the time to really understand all the results of eating healthy sometimes versus eating like a pig all the time. That also involves making sure you are consuming the right type of supplements to help combat aging. That means having things like: A daily multivitamin, flax seed oil, whey protein, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, zinc, and l-arginine, in the cupboard to boost your internal systems.

The Right Kind of Exercise

Along with nailing down a healthy and balanced meal plan, you need to workout the correct way. Specifically that means more weight lifting and high-intensity interval training.

Why these two methods? Weight lifting is important for maintaining and even increasing lean muscle mass. Muscle mass is directly related to your metabolism. On top of that, if you incorporate more full-body exercises such as squats, deadlifts, clean and pulls, or one-arm snatches you can help increase the natural production of testosterone in your system to offset the loss from aging. You could actually end up feeling younger instead of older.

When performing cardio work, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a superior choice compared to regular cardio exercises because of how efficient it is at burning fat, helps increase testosterone levels, and helps exercise your heart by providing a new challenge.

No Time like the Present

As you get older it becomes more apparent that there is no time like the present. You are running out of time. There comes a point where you can't put off exercising and taking care of your diet if you truly want to live a long time and be able to enjoy the autumn years of your life instead of being confined to a scooter and dying quickly because you refused to take care of yourself. But, you need to make that choice, not because you feel like you have to, but because you've realized the kind of life you want to have and the kind of life you want to avoid.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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