Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘aging’

bmiWeight is a topic that gets discussed from the moment we are born. “You just had a baby girl? How much did she weigh?” While we are young, we happily get on the scales and announce that we have gained a couple more pounds. Weight determines which car seat an infant or toddler or young child needs to be safe while riding in a vehicle. Weight is documented on a chart each time we visit the Dr.’s office.

It seems though, that as we grow older, we feel more insecure about our weight. Most likely we are comparing ourselves to all of our friends and acquaintances thinking more about our body size, shape, and overall appearance rather than our weight. I find that looking in a mirror, I feel pretty good, but when I see myself in pictures I am very self-conscious that I am “bigger” than I thought.

Weight seems to creep up slowly for many over the years, and as we age it is more difficult to lose. Our metabolism slows down. We sit more than we did as youth and young adults. We are eating on the run and indulging in treats more often. So, what should we, as adults, do to equip ourselves with the best plan for living a healthy life?

Knowledge is power.

  1. We should not avoid the scales, but we should not overdo either. It is best to weigh yourself once a week at the same time. This will give you the best comparison. Once you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index). To calculate your BMI the formula is: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703. You may also use this BMI Calculator from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).
  2. We need to also evaluate our Waist Circumference. A BMI alone may not give us a full picture. For example, persons with high muscle mass will often have a high BMI when they are actually very fit and healthy. While standing, use a flexible tape measure to find your waist circumference just above your hip bones. For women, a waist above 35 inches may indicate additional health risks. For men, a waist circumference above 40 inches may be of concern.
  3. Finally, we want to think about other risks such as family history, tobacco use, an inactive lifestyle, men over the age of 45 and women who have gone through menopause, and having already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, or some other chronic disease.

Weight is just one indicator of our health and it is one many of us struggle with maintaining in a healthy range, but it is one worth tracking. Decreasing our body weight by just 5 – 10% can greatly reduce our risk of health problems. My husband has been working hard to lose some weight and eat healthier. I am consuming more vegetables and increasing my activity. When we support one another in our healthful adventures, it is more fun and the results are greater. What are you doing to reach and maintain a healthy weight? Let’s get started!

Author: Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D. SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, spires.53@osu.edu

Reviewer: Liz Smith, R.D.N., L.D. SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy Weight – it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle! 16 July 2014. Web.

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.” 2010. http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov. Web.

Read Full Post »

Walk with others

Walk with others

“The police called; they have Mom.  It’s the third time this month that Mom got mixed up and was found in the neighbor’s house.  Mom is getting more and more confused.  She doesn’t prepare healthy meals and often forgets to turn the oven off when she cooks.  She misses doses of her medicine because she forgets.  I feel like she needs daily assistance, but I have to work…  What can I do?”

Does this scenario sound familiar?  It is difficult to think about the possibility that someday one or both of our parents won’t be self-sufficient and will develop an increased dependency in meeting his/her daily needs.  Situations such as these are becoming much more familiar to many working adults.  The percentage of the U.S. population over the age of 65 continues to increase, so does the number of adult workers who are involved in caregiving.  In addition, there has been an increase in persons providing care to disabled children and veterans.

The month of November is National Caregiver’s Month which gives us an even stronger reason to reflect on the stresses and strains associated with the responsibility of providing care for a loved one.   These strains can be particularly difficult for mid-lifers juggling work, marriage duties, caring for their aging parents and the needs of their own children.  Along with the physical demands, it is also difficult to see the loss of independence of our parents.  However, many Americans see the time spent caring for their aging parents as only a small sacrifice.  During this process, caring for an elderly parent can be satisfying and enjoyable often resulting in an improved relationship for both parties. Most children help their parents willingly when needed and feel a sense of satisfaction by doing so.

Some ways to reduce the stress and increase the satisfying aspect of caregiving are some simple ideas that can make the experience more enjoyable.

  1. Set realistic goals and expectations and know your limitations.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Reach out to other family members and friends who can reduce the load of responsibilities.
  3. Remember to take care of yourself.  Losing yourself during the process or not seeing to your own health demands, nor maintaining your own health will only be harmful to both you and your family.  And lastly, involve other people by holding a family conference, seeking professional assistance, and using community resources.

Many communities have resources available to assist in those facing caregiving issues. Contact your local Center for Aging or Board of Disability Services to find more information.

Writer:  Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Science, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County

Reviewer:  Cheryl Barber Spires, R.D., L.D., SNAP-Ed Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, West Region

Read Full Post »

Time to stand up! Standing up is good for your health. Research is showing that even if you are physically active, sitting a good portion of the day can be a risk factor for poor health and office meeting -standingpossibly even premature death. Most of us spend a lot of time sitting at computers and driving. Time to stand!

Dr. Joan Vernikos, author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals and former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, provides an explanation of why sitting affects our health in ill ways. Dr. Vernikos states that we were not designed to sit so much. She feels we were actually designed to squat and kneel. Hours of uninterrupted sitting causes your body to be more affected by the force of gravity. We need to exert our body to overcome the force of gravity and the effects it can have on our body. Thus, we need to stand up often, especially when we are sitting for awhile.

By standing up often or interrupting our sitting we change our posture. It’s our change in posture that helps up overcome the force of gravity that causes us to age. Dr. Vernikos found that simply standing up at least once every hour caused good cardiovascular and metabolic changes in your body. Simply, standing up from a seated position increases an enzyme that transports fat to muscles in your body to be used as fuel. Those other movements you do around the office or at home, like reaching to get something, bending down to pick something up, are not really exercise activities but do interrupt your sitting which are effective against aging. She suggests we try to do more of them in a day. One way at work, might be to put your coffee out of your reach so you have to get up to drink it.

Are you sitting up straight reading this? Dr. Vernikos recommends a straight back chair for your office or home. She is not really in favor of standing desks, as it’s the movement of up and down that is more important. Good posture helps your body function properly. If you think that you can stand up and sit down repeatedly for a few minutes and that will help, she found it didn’t really work. We have to spread out the times we stand up throughout the day, to get the effect of delaying or preventing the damage associated with aging and our loss of flexibility.timer

So, set the timer on your cell phone or your computer and stand up at least once or more an hour. Just standing up can help counteract the process of aging on your body. You may already have damage but good news! You can reverse the damage and your body can recover. The older we are the longer it may take, but it can be done. So, take a standing break and stand up straight.

Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County, Miami Valley EERA, brinkman.93@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Smith, M.S., RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension.

References:
Mercola, Dr., [2013]. Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, Available at http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/23/vernikos-sitting-kills.aspx
Vernikos, J. [2013]. Are Standup Desks the Solution? YouTube video, Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAblfJBvYOA&feature=c4-overview&list=UUjs924QtuVACKIVqUqlKdWw

Read Full Post »

Old_WomanIt has been proven that we can, indeed, age gracefully. Let’s look at some of the personal characteristics of healthy people approaching 100 years of age. We all have one thing in common; we grow older every day. Although there is not one specific thing we can do to stop the process, it might be possible to slow down our natural aging and eliminate some age related disorders.

Physically, healthy people are thin. This is achieved by leading a lifestyle that includes a nutritional diet and daily exercise. Consuming low-calorie, nutrient rich foods that consist of lean proteins, plentiful fruits and vegetables gives them a well-rounded diet. Diets of physically healthy people are also typically low in fat, sugars and sodium. In addition, physically healthy people are non-smokers; use only moderate amounts of alcohol; and sleep well. They are rarely ill, use preventative health services, and have a positive outlook about their health.

Intellectually, the healthiest people retired in their seventies and kept active both before and after retirement. They were interested in learning something new every day, had a passion for reading and discussing current events, and often reflected on the good things in life. Regardless of whether their continued education and acquiring of new skills was intentional or not; they benefited greatly from keeping their mind sharp.

Emotionally, those with the longest lifespan were optimistic. They were pleased with their lives, were rarely hostile to others, and adapted well to change in their lives. Having an outlet for relaxation and recreation were also important to them.

Relationships were very important. Most had successful marriages or had always been single. They maintained a large social network, attending social functions whenever possible.

Finally, spiritually, they had many things in their life that provided purpose and meaning for the appreciation of beauty in nature to prayer and meditation each day.

It is never too late to set in motion positive changes in our lives. We are not guaranteed a certain amount of time on earth, but we can surely enhance the quality of the time we are here. It only makes sense to enjoy the company of other people, to learn something new every day, to tell funny stories, and enjoy a good laugh. Cultivating a personal passion after retirement and helping those less fortunate than ourselves will add life to our years.

Source: WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/tc/healthy-aging-topic-overview?page=2.

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, green.1405@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewer: Terri Chatfield, Program Assistant, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, chatfield.25@osu.edu.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts