Category Archives: Fitness

How to Bounce Back From a Health Crisis

It’s not the cards you’re dealt, but how you play them. (Photo credit: Adobe Stock)

By Claire Zulkey for Next Avenue

After a major injury or illness, your own participation and perspective can make the difference between moving past a health crisis and letting it define the rest of your life.

Psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo cites two reasons why. First, the right attitude corresponds with a stronger commitment to physical therapy or rehabilitation. Plus, happiness is healing. “When we experience chronic stress, when we’re upset or depressed, that actually impedes our immune system,” says Lombardo. “Our body does not heal as well.” read more

7 Ways to Step Up Your Self-Care as You Age

Senior couple hikes along trail out in nature

Try these things for a healthier mind and body — and to just feel good. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

By Patricia Corrigan for Next Avenue

How do you cope with aging?

I’ve been thinking about that question since first exploring it two years ago on Next Avenue. This time, I was prompted to add to my list after a rather unusual conversation with my doctor.

Below are seven of my self-care “do’s.” What are yours?

  1. Get off the medical merry-go-round. “I am not accepting any additional medical conditions at this time.” That’s what I told my doctor earlier this month when she proposed a couple of tests to “rule out possibilities” of other medical conditions related to my growing older.

Saying “No” to the doctor is a powerful way to step off the medical merry-go-round when you’re sick of the ride, sick of the appointments, sick of the tests and all the follow-up conversations — and sick of thinking of yourself as a patient instead of as a whole person. read more

What’s Better for You: Butter or Margarine? Red Wine or White?

Here’s the latest research on smart food choices as we age

By Maureen Callahan for Next Avenue

A bit of butter or margarine in the shape of a heart, melting in a teflon-coated pan

Take a deeper look at the current line of thinking on 4 popular food duels. [Photo credit: Adobe Stock]

In the world of nutrition, certain debates seem to ping pong back and forth. Like the issue of butter vs. margarine. Or the battle between coffee and tea. It all starts when a new study comes along that seems to give a leg up to one food choice above the other. So the debate over healthy food choices marches on.

Here’s a deeper look at the current line of thinking on four of these popular food duels:

Bone Broth vs. Stock

With the Paleo diet movement and athletes like Kobe Bryant singing the praises of bone broth, you might be ready to ditch the homemade stock. But when culinary experts at Bon Appetit magazine turned to bone broth guru and chef Marco Canora, he told them that technically, bone broth is stock. read more

Prepare for surgery with exercise and diet

‘Prehabilitation’ is slowly being recognized as valuable for success after a procedure

By Judith Graham for Next Avenue

Preparing-For-Surgery-web

Credit: Getty Images

A dozen years ago, at the age of 50, Lillie Shockney decided to have breast reconstruction surgery after two bouts of cancer and two mastectomies. The procedure called for removing a flap of skin and fat from her abdomen, used to rebuild her breasts.

Shockney knew a lot about breast cancer and the trials of recovery: she was (and still is) director of the breast center at Johns Hopkins’ Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Characteristically, this dynamic nurse didn’t want to stay in the hospital for any longer than absolutely necessary. read more

Gardening when you’re not yet in shape

This spring, follow these tips to avoid injuring yourself

By Linda Melone, CSCS for Next Avenue

Gardening-web

Credit: Getty Images

Warmer weather and the smell of spring in the air provides major motivation to get outside and dig in the garden — an enjoyable exercise that doesn’t involve a treadmill. Pushing a mower, pulling weeds, digging holes and carrying soil require the use of muscle groups in the entire body. But if you’ve been lounging around for most of the winter, all that bending, digging and planting can wreak havoc on your body, especially when you’re over 50.

Laying the groundwork

“You need to know your limitations,” says Matthew Cauliffe, physical therapist with Professional Physical Therapy, which has locations in the New York metropolitan area. “You’ll want to avoid any activities that aggravate pain. And if you do not regularly perform heavy lifting, bending or squatting, you should begin easy and progress as tolerated.” read more

The 5 exercises you should do every day

Improve your range of motion and balance in less than 10 minutes

By Rashelle Brown for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Balance and mobility training can benefit us at any age, but it becomes more important as you reach and pass the age of 50.

Maintaining joint range of motion allows you to move naturally and helps to combat the postural problems that cause neck, back, shoulder and hip pain.

Far from only preventing stumbles and falls, balance training is extremely important for everyone because it makes us better at every physical thing we do. Having a keen sense of proprioception (the sense of where your body is in space) makes all movement more efficient. When combined with fluid joints that allow for a full range of motion, this puts you at your functional best. read more

Moving together to reduce the risk of falls

Strength and conditioning classes focus on fall prevention and connecting with others

By Sherri Snelling for Next Avenue

fallprevention-web

Credit: Getty Images

Dance is for everybody. I believe it came from the people and it should always be delivered back to the people.

– Alvin Ailey

Verine Morris, 42, has spent more than a decade with a fear of falling. Wheelchair-bound for 10 years after a nasty fall at work, followed by a terrifying car accident, she decided she needed to overcome her anxiety and learn how to move independently again. This epiphany led Morris to Celeste Carlucci’s New York City-based classes, Fall Stop MOVE STRONG.

Carlucci, a former Alvin Ailey dance student who performed with Broadway’s legendary choreographer Bob Fosse (Chicago, Cabaret), has spent more than 20 years as a fitness and wellness expert teaching movement and body strengthening. Her fall prevention-designed class technique was created primarily to help those over 50 focus on proper alignment, posture and what she calls “the joy of movement.” read more

Can we delay aging?

Research on animals suggests we could improve humans’ healthy lifespan

By Felipe Sierra for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

Editor’s note: This article is part of Next Avenue’s 2015 Influencers in Aging project honoring 50 people changing how we age and think about aging.

No, we cannot “prevent aging”… but what if we could delay it?

Unfortunately, the deterioration that comes with aging is part of a fundamental aspect of the universe, so it cannot be eliminated. Recent research suggests, however, that the rate of deterioration is indeed malleable, at least in many different animal models. So why not in people? read more

Downward facing dork: Taking up Yoga at 60

He wanted to find inner peace. Here’s what he found instead.

By Kevin Kusinitz for Next Avenue

Credit: Thinkstock

Credit: Thinkstock

For a guy like me, taking up yoga when pushing 60 was a bit like trying to date a 21 year-old — probably good for my circulation but with a strong chance of falling on my face.

No matter. I decided to give it a whirl, as much for a spiritual as physical overhaul. Still, I had questions. I mean, if yoga is supposed to make you full of inner peace, how does that explain Alec Baldwin? More importantly, what if I wasn’t as flexible as I once was?

Actually, no worries there — I was never as flexible as I ever was. I couldn’t even yawn without lapsing into a minor myoclonus. For me, yoga would be a leap of faith, followed by a possible leg cramp. read more

The 10 best pet companions to have at your side

These dog and cat companions provide multiple benefits.

By Debbie Swanson for Next Avenue

BostonTerrier-web

A Boston terrier is a good choice for older adults.

Maybe your father needs to keep up with his exercise, but without anyone at home to nudge him outdoors, he tends to put it off. Maybe your mother needs something to focus her attention on instead of her health worries. The right animal companion is the perfect way to keep older adults active as they age in place, and to help them feel less alone, needed and loved.

“An animal provides another focus, a reason to get up in the morning, an opportunity to exercise, unconditional love and a social lubricant,” says Rebecca Johnson, director of the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri. For adults living alone, “animals can reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation,” she says. Research has also found that pet owners take better care of themselves, rebound faster from illness, maintain lower blood pressure, and have a lower risk of heart disease, Johnson says, adding that she has seen these benefits firsthand at TigerPlace, an independent living community co-developed by the university that encourages pet ownership. She credits animal companionship there with transforming withdrawn, sedentary adults into active, social members of the community. read more