Health and Fitness

Use Your Gifts

Gifts may mean many things. from the Longman dictionary of contemporary English, a “gift” is defined as something good you receive or something good that happens to you, even though you might not deserve it. It could be something simple such as a toy car or even a seashell. They are a powerful way to show thoughtfulness, love and affection.

Another way to look at a gift however is talents that have been bestowed upon us or a calling in our life. As I’ve got an older, I’ve tried to examine how I can use whatever gifts I’ve received to serve others. We have all received talents that we can use to serve others and not just for our own benefit.

Ariel Guzman wrote that to use your gifts most effectively, you need to 1. Consider what you’re good at. Truthfully consider what gifts and talents you’ve been given. 2. Think about what you enjoy and become involved in causes you feel passionate about. 3. Ask those close to you. Ask family or close friends to help provide some insight into your talents. 4. Learn about needs in your community. Explore causes you care about and see what needs they may have for volunteers. 5. Find a fit. Once you’ve identified your talents and gifts and the needs within the community, find a fit between you and the cause you care about.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

New Years Resolutions

Well we’re now a little more than one month into 2022. How are you doing with your resolutions? If you’ve got a little off course, don’t worry. It is never too late to get back on track. Did you resolve to try to lose weight, stop smoking, sleep better, or exercise more. These are all valuable and attainable goals.

In the book “2 Day Diabetes Diet,” Erin Palinski-Wade said that you should aim to set SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

If weight loss is your goal then maybe you should say that you going to lose 20 pounds in order to attain a healthy BMI within 90 days.

If your goal is to stop smoking then plan to join a specific cessation program that sets an attainable goal that will enable you to stop smoking within three months and reverse the detrimental effects on your body.

We have all heard about the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation. We are all sleeping less than our ancestors. Set a goal to increase your amount of sleep by 30 to 60 minutes per night. Plan your day so this becomes attainable by doing such as things as decreasing your screen time. Educate yourself regarding the negative affects of sleep deprivation to make this goal even more relevant.

Set specific exercise goals such as taking the stairs every day at work or doing strengthening exercises three times a week. Schedule time to improve your flexibility with stretching and yoga on a daily basis. This will only improve your overall feeling of well-being and may decreasechronic pain issues and may even make you better at limbo!

Don’t worry if you fall off the course. It happens to everybody. Relevant and attainable goals that are important you will always draw you back.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

How Will You Measure Your Life?

In 2012, Clayton M Christiansen published a book called How Will You Measure Your Life? It is A powerful book, filled with inspiration and wisdom that helps readers forge a path to health and fulfillment.

A kind and thoughtful person once told me that you should measure your life with a ruler. Take measure and stock of your life Be self-aware and don’t be afraid to do some self examination,

As a Rehabilitation Physician, sadly I see cases all time of people living unhealthy and unfulfilled lives because of the choices they have made. Poor diet and health habits often ages them greatly beyond their years moving them rapidly along the ruler of life. This robs them of the energy and mobility to truly enjoy life and achieve many of their goals.

Roy T Bennett, The Light in the Heart tells us to “Don’t just change, transform. Don’t just take, give. Don’t just see, feel. Don’t just dream, do and don’t just exist, live.“ It’s an important reminder that how you act and take care of yourself, along the ruler of your life, matters. It’s a journey, not a destination.

Mae West once humorously said “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.“

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Drinking Tea to Prevent Dementia

Everyone knows that a newly steeped hot cup of tea, enjoyed with someone you care about, can be incredibly enjoyable. But did you know it it may help you maintain your cognitive function later into life? A study in the 2016 “Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging” showed that drinking tea frequently is associated with a lower risk of dementia, especially for people who are genetically predisposed to the disease.

The reasons for this are not completely clear and may include other factors associated with tea drinking such as avoidance of other unhealthy activities. The findings suggest that the brain protecting affects of tea drinking could stem from bio-active compounds in tea leaves, such as flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential, and L-theanine, which regulates neurotransmitter and brain activities.

Healthier eating habits tend to be present in tea drinkers. This includes the consumption of more leafy green vegetables, the darker the better, as well as non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower. Fish and meats higher in omega-3 fatty acids make up foods that along with tea drinking can help fight dementia.

Cold showers are also getting more attention lately, and not for the reason you may think. Finishing your shower with 30 seconds of cold water may provide significant potential health benefits and help prolong your physical and cognitive health. These benefits include accelerating your immune system, and improving circulation as well as the health of your skin. The cold water causes your body to increase blood flow to warm your core and protect vital organs. This increase in blood flow is a good thing for your overall health.

As I’ve also written many times, to slow the cognitive and physical effects of aging, exercise is key. This includes both resistance exercises as well as aerobic exercises. Exercise is well known to help improve our mobility and ability to perform work. Exercise also stimulates the production and repair of components of our cells and genes that can help to offset aging.

There is much we can do to slow our biological aging by adjusting diet and lifestyle factors. So sit back and enjoy a cup of tea.

Stay well!

Health and Fitness

Low-Impact Exercises

A very smart, insightful and fit person recently reminded me about the importance of low impact exercises. As we approach our middle ages and beyond, it’s important to consider strength and functional gains in conjunction with joint protection and injury prevention.

I have written about this in the past in my blog post “When to Stop Running “. Most fit, athletic and active people grow up doing high-impact athletic activities such as basketball or running. We enjoy taxing our bodies to maximum exertion and and receiving an endorphin release from sustained effort.

Is important however that we transition to low impact workouts that are easy on our joints, particularly the knees. This may mean ending our running careers or event eliminating a mini trampoline work out. Low-impact workouts include a variety of exercises that can both increase your heart rate as well as improve your strength. These include but are not limited to swimming, yoga, walking, bicycling, or elliptical machine workouts, just to name a few

In general, low impact exercises will usually involve keeping 1 foot on the ground and therefore reduce stress and pressure on your joints. Swimming is a classic low-impact exercise that can strengthen virtually every muscle of your body and give you a great aerobic workout. A large amount of expensive equipment is not necessary if you get creative with body weight type exercises. This includes activities such as yoga which maintains sustained postures.

Other great options include use of bands or straps. You can use them to work multiple muscles of your arms and legs as well as your core. They decrease stress on your body by providing graded resistance on your proximal joints as you stretch them further from your body. Even if you have no equipment at all, you can do some basic old fashioned exercises such as jumping jacks, burpees or mountain climbers, When you’re on all fours, bring your knees up repeatedly towards your chest. This will give you a great aerobic workout with an added benefit of working your core.

Be creative but always consider long-term health maintenance. Avoid high-impact exercise routines that entail repetitive bouncing or jarring of your joints.

Stay well!