October = Pink Ribbons!

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women (skin cancer is #1). According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), it strikes one in eight U.S. women. And it’s a huge concern for Baby Boomers and seniors, with the majority of cases occurring after menopause.

The American Cancer Society estimates more than 310,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2017, and more than 41,000 will die from the disease (the rate has been dropping since the late 1990s). Fortunately, recent research is unraveling a few of the questions related to this disease, and paving the way for you to control some of its risks.

Beyond Your Control…Or Not
You simply cannot change certain risk factors. For example, your sex (being a woman), age (over 55) and genetics (certain genes, your race and a family history of breast cancer) can all increase your chances of developing breast cancer.

You can, however, control lifestyle choices. And this is critical, since only 5% – 10% of breast cancer cases are hereditary, according to ACS. Alcohol consumption, your body weight and activity levels all affect your breast cancer risk.

Extra Weight + Baby Boomers or Seniors = Big Risk
Two of the most significant, especially after middle age, are exercise and weight control. These appear most powerful when they occur together.

Being overweight after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer for a couple of reasons.
• First, fat tissue increases the amount of estrogen we produce, and high levels of this female hormone are a known risk factor for breast cancer. A recent study of 93,000 women over age 50 found that increasing skirt size over the years was a strong predictor of breast cancer. Researchers theorize this is related to the additional estrogen that often occurs when midriff girth increases.
• In addition, insulin levels increase with obesity. Although insulin is required to produce energy from the foods we eat, heavy people can become “insulin resistant.” In this condition, the body’s cells can’t properly use insulin, and increased amounts of this hormone are needed. Higher levels of insulin have been linked with breast cancer.

Exercise helps in both of those areas, reducing estrogen and insulin levels; it also promotes weight loss and weight maintenance. Recent data suggests that as little as 1-1/4 to 2-1/2 hours of brisk walking weekly reduces breast cancer risk by 18%.

What You Can Do Now!
ACS recommends the following lifestyle changes to limit your breast cancer risk:
• Get moving! Find a physical activity you enjoy, and aim for 150 minutes of activity weekly.
• Limit sedentary behavior (sitting, lying down, watching television or other forms of screen-based entertainment). Break up this sitting once every hour.
• Be as lean as possible throughout life without being underweight. If overweight, drop a few pounds–even a 5% – 10% reduction in weight makes a difference in breast cancer risk.
• Eat healthy! Although there’s no conclusive evidence about specific foods and breast cancer prevention, ACS recommends a diet rich in vegetables and fruit (2-1/2 cups per day) and whole grains (for dietary fiber), while limiting fat intake.
• Imbibe with care–Limit alcohol to no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women.

For more ideas about breast cancer prevention and overall wellness, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

Healthy Aging Month

September is Healthy Aging Month, an annual obser­vance designed to focus national atten­tion on the pos­i­tive aspects of grow­ing older. This month’s events are promoted to stress personal responsibility for physical, social, mental and financial health, of critical importance for Baby Boomers and older adults.

Stay fit after 50 with movement!

Here are 9 of my best tips for fitness after 50, set to the words Inspire Me!”

I–Initialize your journey. Check with healthcare provider; obtain baseline data. You need to know where you are (weight, blood pressure, blood sugar–whatever your important medical data) to monitor your progress. And know the big WHY! What is the driving force behind your fitness quest–getting off the sofa, decreasing reliance on medication, living to see your grandchildren graduate? These goals will sustain you through obstacles and plateaus.
N–Nurture yourself. Develop support systems and rewards. One of the biggest predictors of success in any new program is a viable support system–a family member, friend, Facebook buddy or neighbor. Rewards are likewise vital, as they’re your own “pat on the back” for a job well done.
S–Slurp it up. Drink lots of water (don’t wait to be thirsty!). Most folks don’t drink enough water, especially as we age. The general recommendation is 8 cups of water per day. If you’re urinating every couple hours, and the color is pale yellow, you’re probably well hydrated.
P–Pump iron. Lift weights and progressively increase resistance. Strength training is critical for strong muscles to help support your body and maintain self-sufficiency.
I–Include cardiovascular exercise, also. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-level activity per week. Walking, swimming, bicycling, dancing, gardening and bowling help strengthen your heart and lungs, and control weight, blood sugar and blood pressure.
R–Rainbow-ize your diet. Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables, 7+ servings per day. These gems are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals that help stave off inflammatioin and some of today’s worse killers–heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer and mental decline.
E–Eat less red meat, sugar, salt and total fats. Minimize these items as much as possible to keep your blood vessels, muscles and brain healthy!

M–Move throughout the day. Get up once every hour to engage large muscles. Our bodies were made for moving, and we do it less and less! Make a conscious effort to get off your bootie every hour for a few minutes to stretch and exercise your legs.
E–Enjoy healthy fats from fish, nuts and olive oil. These foods are full of unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids–anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants that help protect against aging.

For more ideas for healthy aging, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

Can You Get Stronger?

I’ve written a lot in the past about sarcopenia, the loss of muscle that starts after age 30 and results in a 3% – 5% decrease in muscle mass per decade. This is a serious problem for Baby Boomers and seniors, leading to falls and a loss of mobility, functional abilities and independence.

The best way to fight sarcopenia is with strength training, supported by a proper diet. In particular, protein intake is key for maintaining and building muscle.

Protein at breakfast and lunch is just as important as it is at dinner.

A new study looked at how protein is divided throughout the day to discover if eating protein at all three meals would be beneficial. Most Americans eat about half of their daily protein at dinner, with very little at breakfast and a moderate amount for lunch. The problem with such a protein consumption pattern is that we don’t store protein well; muscle is constantly being broken down and protein needs to be replenished.

Researchers in Canada studied 1,7000 healthy men and women, aged 67 – 84, for three years. The results: those who consumed protein evenly at all three meals retained greater strength than those who ate most of their protein at dinner.

While this result is an observation of an association only, not a direct cause and effect, it does support other investigators who recommend an equal distribution of protein intake for older adults.

The key seems to be eating about 20 – 30 grams of protein per meal.

Here’s a sample menu to show how this could be fulfilled:

Breakfast:
2 eggs scrambled with cheese (1/4 cup)
1 slice whole wheat toast
1 cup lowfat milk

Lunch:
tuna salad (2 oz. tuna) on a bed of greens
1 serving whole-grain crackers
Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup
1 apple

Dinner:
homemade burrito with 2/3 cup pinto beans and chicken, 1 oz., on whole-wheat tortilla
brown rice, 1/2 cup
green salad

For more ideas to stay strong as you age, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

It’s Been Hot…Are You Drinking Enough?

In Southern California, it’s been hot…triple-digit hot!  And for Baby Boomers and older adults, that means it’s important to drink enough water throughout the day.  Reminding people to drink water and providing ideas to increase intake is an important part of my work.

Before you start lifting weights in hot weather, drink water!

After all, worse case scenario, you could end up in the hospital with dehydration, as some of my clients have.  Dehydration can lead to urinary and kidney problems, seizures and even death from low blood volume, which can cause low blood pressure and a drop in oxygen levels.

Our bodies are about 60% water.  Adequate water intake is important to help maintain normal body temperature, carry nutrients and oxygen to cells, protect sensitive tissues, get rid of wastes and provide a moist environment for ears, nose and throat tissues.

How Much Is Enough?

Contrary to what most people believe, there are no official recommendations for plain water intake.  However, there are recommendations for total water intake–from all beverages and foods.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recommends:

  • Women–approximately 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of total water each day
  • Men–approximately 3.7 liters (125 ounces daily) of total water
  • About 80% of total water intake comes from drinking water and other beverages (including tea, coffee, juices, sodas and drinking water)
  • The other 20% comes from food (think: watermelon, soup, spinach, etc.)

Note:  these recommendations are for healthy people who are adequately hydrated.

So if 80% of your fluid intake is from what you drink, that translates to 72 oz. (9 cups) for women and 100 oz. (12.5 cups) for men.

An “unofficial” recommendation is the color of urine: if it’s dark, you may be headed towards problems; if it’s the color of lemonade, you’re on track.  However, many factors impact the color of urine (darker or discolored), including medical problems, medications and certain foods.   But a light yellow is probably a good sign.

And keep in mind that the amount of water needed is influenced by exercise, weather, elevation and illness.

Ways To Get Enough

Most health professionals recommend people drink 8 glasses (8 oz. each) per day.  No real basis for the number, but it is easy to remember.  And although all liquids count, let’s get serious: ditch fruit juice and get the fiber and full feeling with whole fruits, get rid of soda and its high-sugar content, go easy on diet drinks because they have their own set of problems.  And because many Boomers and seniors are watching their weight, water is just the overall best choice.

Here are five ways to help you consume enough water:

  1. Buy a water bottle to easily track your intake.  Most are 20+ oz., so drink four – five full containers per day.
  2. If you take medications, drink an 8-oz glass of water with each dose.
  3. Try different temperatures.  Some people love icy cold water; I can down more at room temperature.
  4. Add sliced fruit or vegetables to flavor water without adding sugar or calories.  Berries, citrus and cucumbers make tasty additions.
  5. Drink a glass of water before each meal.  Bonus: this practice may help you eat less at mealtimes.

Many older adults complain about getting up at night to urinate.  If this is a problem, stop drinking water at dinnertime; just skew your intake heavily to the earlier part of the day.

For more ideas to get enough water intake, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.

Three Steps to a Longer Life

Most Americans want to live to the ripe old age of 100. This is especially important for Baby Boomers and older adults. But for many people, their health behaviors do not support that goal.

weight loss for baby boomers

Keeping your weight down is one of three successful longevity variables.

What if investigators could pinpoint three lifestyle variables that can increase longevity, and what if they’re all relatively uncomplicated to achieve and free to everyone?

This is exactly what a group of researchers did recently. Looking at 14,000 U.S. individuals aged 50-89 over a 14-year period, they focused on the lack of three risky behaviors, specifically:
not obese (BMI less than 30)
non-smokers (had smoked less than 100 cigarettes during their life)
moderate alcohol drinkers (for men, less than 14 drinks per week; for women, less than seven per week)

Compared to the general population, people with these three health behaviors lived 3 – 5 years longer, without disability (defined as no limitations in activities such as walking, dressing, bathing, getting out of bed, or eating). Not only was their longevity increased, but the added years were healthy ones.

And compared to individuals who were obese, smokers and alcohol drinkers, men who led the healthier lifestyle lived 11 additional years, and women added 12 years of life!

This study adds support to the role of prevention when it comes to living longer with less chronic health complications. And you don’t have to be young to start making a positive effect in your life.

• If you’re fighting with your weight, seek out the help of a doctor, Registered Dietitian or other healthcare professional. Even if you can’t get your BMI out of the obese classification, a 5% – 10% drop in initial weight brings about tremendous health benefits.
• If you smoke, seek out a smoking cessation program through your doctor, health insurance company or the American Cancer Society.
• If you drink to excess, talk with your healthcare professional or visit an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

Assess your status on these three health behaviors, and start working your way towards a longer life with greater wellness.

For more ideas to improve your longevity, give me a call!

We can discuss some practical tips and discover if any of my programs or classes are a good fit for you.
If you’d like to schedule that call with me, just CLICK THIS LINK, and let me know in the message that you would like a 1-on-1 call with me right away and I will be in touch to schedule that – oh, and leave me your phone number in there too since email is not as reliable as it used to be! Thanks.