Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Your heart is the fastest responding muscle in your body. When you work out cardiovascularly (heart rate increases, you breathe heavily, and your whole body is involved in the movement), the heart adapts upwards within 24 hours. Aaaaand, if you dodge exercise more than you dodge taxes, then your heart adapts down, down, down.
Do you want your midlife body to stay as vital, youthful, and cooperative as long as possible? As Dr Michael Roizen MD, co-founder of RealAge and chair of its Scientific Advisory Board puts it: “Physical activity decreases the greatest causes of arterial aging, including stress, the greatest ager of all.” Good news: you can combine strategies to achieve the youngest, most stress proof, physiological body possible. No heart stopping shocks coming, but the secret to a Strong, Age Defying Hearty Har Har is ……….
… to exercise and eat well. Did you see that coming? But what does “eat well” for heart health mean in practical terms, especially for baby boomer women? We wondered ourselves so checked in with Registered Dietitian and celebrity, best-selling author Frances Largeman-Roth. Based on her input, we offer you the following juicy tips:
1. Vitamin C is a heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory nutrient that helps repair and produce body tissues. Add oranges or grapefruit to your snack routine to get your daily dose. Other vitamin C-rich foods include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, papayas, mangoes, kiwi and bell peppers. Basically, eat fruity stuff aka “fruit.”
2. Limit high-calorie, sugary drinks such as soft drinks, and sweetened iced tea and coffee drinks. Instead, drink lots of water – at least 2 liters per day. Water, water everywhere. Alcohol isn’t so great for you either. Yes, we know about the studies that tout the benefits of red wine, and Mayo Clinic simply says that it MIGHT be healthy in MODERATION. They theorize that flavonoids or resveratrol may be the beneficial substances. More to come on our radio show about those flavonoids.
3. Support your circulation. Add a guaranteed source of cocoa flavanols, like CocoaVia® cocoa extract supplement, to your breakfast every morning. Once we learned about flavonoids, we jumped at the chance to try cocoa extract powder supplements when we met CocoaVia at a fitness convention a few years ago, because they are …. flavanols..in cocoa form. What’s not to like about cocoa that’s clinically proven to help maintain healthy circulation?
4. Fight inflammation. Eat foods that contain high amounts of anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that fights inflammation and may help reduce the risk of heart disease. You can find it in blueberries, blackberries, plums, cherries, Mission figs and eggplant. (note from Alexandra: Figs – ewwww)
5. Instead of cooking spray or butter, use olive oil. Olive oil is a great heart-healthy ingredient; the Mediterranean diet has long been linked to heart health and longevity. Try drizzling extra virgin olive oil on top of pasta and using it as a salad dressing or as a substitute for butter on bread.
Frances Largeman-Roth recently partnered with CocoaVia® to help spread awareness on maintaining good heart and circulatory health, and we’ll be sharing more of her tips on air. when we interview her live. Yes, in the world of
Yawn, Who Cares Exciting News, we proudly announce our own partnership with CocoaVia® for our revamped, bigger (cue the cannons and confetti) radio show on VoiceAmerica that begins March 19, where we and our guests will share weekly amazing info about active, healthy aging. For more information visit www.cocoavia.com/. Then do 10 push-ups.
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly: Anyone else find menopause a little stressful? In the award winning category of “Stating the Obvious,” menopause stress can contribute to memory loss and weight gain. As in, “I sure don’t remember gaining those 30 pounds. What the heck??!!”
So who wants a solution to reduce menopause symptoms, decrease stress, minimize weight gain, improve memory, and even boost longevity? Those who know what a high energy,
chatty, loquacious, interactive mover and groover I am will be surprised to hear the answer coming from me. (Or not, as you already saw this post’s title. Menopause might make us forgetful, but not stoopid.) Anyway… turns out Meditation can turn back the hands of time and pounds. Additionally meditation has even been proven to make us nicer, kinder, more compassionate people. (Hear that hubster? I’m not menopot moody. I’m meditation deprived).
Just a few daily minutes of meditation can calm us, reduce stress, and slow our heart rate. Sounds a lot like the benefits of exercise, right? But without moving! Meditation may also reverse the effects of aging on the brain. It thickens the prefrontal cortex, the area of brain that helps with planning and attention. For people with memory loss, meditation helps increase memory via more blood flow to brain. But wait, there’s more! Meditation also decreases our body’s stress hormones, heals our wounds faster, and lowers our blood pressure.
Factor in recent studies that show meditation increases telomere length, and you have your longevity, happier life bonus plan! In the DNA world, telomeres are the little plastic pieces on the end of our chromosome shoelaces. The longer your telomeres, the longer your life span. Short telomeres accelerate aging and correlate to a shorter life. People who meditate daily for at least four years have longer telomeres than those who do not meditate. For ten added quality years of life, be the first to enter the word in the comments for that plastic shoelace piece without having to google it. Hint: It starts with an “a.”
I’ll take an order to go please of a young, long-living brain garnished with my years of experience. Since I have big plans to be around four years from now, I might as well get on that telomere lengthening program.
When I was recently at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort, I decided to attend three meditation classes. Loved them! Not only did I stay still and quiet for record time (ok, half an hour for each), but also I have stuck with meditation since coming home. More on that later in this post. Remember to keep reading!
The sessions were totally different from each other: one was a guided visualization that the instructor talked us through from start to finish. Another was a silent meditation with the instructor giving directions and suggestions at the start, then setting a timer that lulled us back at the end. The third had verbal guidance that segued into soft music and nature sounds. All three meditations left me revved, calmed, and focused enough to learn more. One thing the Ranch teachers stressed — perhaps better to say “emphasized” — is that meditation comes in many forms and styles. Pick one or a few approaches that resonate with you, as there is no right or wrong way. We reap the active aging benefits regardless, in as short as seven hours in some cases.
Since I am a total meditation beginner I asked one teacher whether having phone apps would help. Cha Ching Ohmmm! That got a resounding thumbs up, heart rates down as a good idea! As soon as I crossed the border back into the U.S. (also known as “covered rate plan for my cell phone”), I downloaded “Relax and Rest,” “Meditate Now,” and “Beginners Meditation.” All are free. So far my favorite is “Relax and Rest” as it offers verbal guidance. My mind wanders less when I have a voice calling me back from my mental to do lists, thoughts of the past and future, and sleep’s siren call. Try them if you are wanting to reap meditation benefits and have a smart phone. Heck, you may end up with a youthful, sleek, brainy phone once you download these apps!
If you want more variety and longer, soothing guided visualization with original music, try this Healing Waterfall series. We make a small commission as affiliates if you buy through this link (or click on the image to the left), though the cost to you is the same. I prefer cues and guidance with soft background music such as these meditations offer, which is why we recommend them.
I am on Day 6 of meditation, with some sessions lasting 5 minutes, others hitting an ambitious 13! So far I have noticed a bit more ability to focus and my creativity has been on the upswing. I thought of this post title after yesterday’s session, for one thing! Now to be nicer to my sister. Might need those four years of meditative practice first. snarfle snark
Alexandra: I was going to meditate, but I forgot. Maybe next time.
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Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Alexandra: A 2012 survey on beauty by BOOMbox Network found that we midlifers are concerned about crow’s feet, lip lines & creases, forehead wrinkles, dark creases around the eyes, skin texture, aging spots, facial wrinkles, dry skin, oily skin, acne, and uneven skin. Whew, that is an extensive and somewhat frightening list! Guess we aren’t the only ones who spend time staring at the mirror, just looking for something to worry about. And here we thought our worries ended once our kids left the teen “my parents are here to ruin my life” years!
The BOOMbox survey also found that baby boomer women want accurate, credible information about skin care products. Not surprisingly, we trust our friends, family and bloggers for information about quality, effective products more than other sources.
Kymberly: I also trust myself to read labels and to research things I want to learn more about. In so doing, I found some Fun Fit Facts about skin that may interest you. For one, your skin renews itself every 28 days. Isn’t that good news if you decide to embark on a new skin care regimen!? And where is your skin thickest? Thinnest? You have to skim the skinny in this Skin Infographic to find out.
Did you know we host a radio show? If you are committed to improving your skin as you head into midlife, listen to Beauty author and Make-Up artist to the stars, Michelle Phillips. Click to hear our radio interview of her on Being Beautiful Inside and Out. While there, scurry through our trove of episodes to discover clever, motivating, illuminating answers to many of your active aging questions.
Then enter a giveaway we and Theraderm are offering. In fact, Theraderm is generously offering two prizes. But first, a word from my sister.
Alexandra: Theraderm sent me the Cleansing Wash, Fruit Acid Exfoliant, OPC Reparative Gel, Peptide Hydrator, Platinum Protection Sunscreen, Enlighten Skin Brightener, Peptide Repair Eye Creme and the Anti-Aging Lip Complex to try, based on my requests. So far my favorites are the sunscreen, skin brightener and lip complex because I feel like I can see discernible results (no burning and soft lips). Unlike some other skin care products I’ve tried, I’m also happy to say that none of these have given me acne.
Right after I started using the products Theraderm sent me, I walked into my exercise class and was asked by one of my students what I had done to myself to look so young. I almost had to argue with my student to convince her I hadn’t had any work done to my face. I can’t say the skin care products were the cause; I can only say what happened.
I like that the sunscreen is paraben free, oil free, fragrance free and non-comedogenic (doesn’t block pores), yet I do wonder about some of the ingredients, as I don’t recognize many of them. I do recognize urea, which sounds like it might be from urine (it is), yet it’s an organic compound that’s been effective for skin hydration for thousands of years. But I digress….
Two lucky readers can win the Theraderm Skin Renewal System with Peptide Hydrator (value: $140.50)
Cleansing Wash (4oz)
Fruit Acid Exfoliant (2oz)
OPC Reparative Gel (1oz)
Peptide Hydrator (1.7oz)
Gentle Action Application Pads (100ct)
Unbuffered Lactic Acid
Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs)
Patented soluble Keratin Peptides
Kymberly: Sad news for our non-US friends. The Theraderm giveaway is open to U.S. Residents only. The two winners will be selected September 23, 2013 because we want to wrap up this silky smooth giveaway before we head to FitSocial to speak and learn. Enter below.Apply liberally, then rinse and go!
Really want to clean up? Then:
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