Six Fun Summer Activities to Help You Stay Fit!

Sponsored by Acts Retirement-Life Communities

As the weather warms up, and we put our heavy winter coats into storage, it’s easier to get outdoors for more physical activity and a little Vitamin D. We also have lots of options for exercise.  

But, as the temperature rises, it’s important to stay safe and treat your body responsibly. Exercising in excessive temperatures can be dangerous, especially for older adults, so it’s essential to stay hydrated and to be sure you’re not pushing your body too hard.

Here are six safe activities to help keep you fit in the summer without getting you fatigued. Some of them even will even help you cool down!

Gardening

We all know that demanding physical activity gets tougher as we age, and many of us would be happy having someone else do backbreaking work like landscaping. Light gardening, however, can be a great way to casually exercise, as long as you’re doing it safely.

Make sure you do any bending, kneeling and twisting in correct form. When bending, bend at the knees in a proper squat position, supporting your weight with your upper legs. Multiple repetitions of these squats can help build muscle, support your back and strengthen your core. Sit on a small stool to avoid injury if you have issues with your legs or knees.

If you’re digging with a large spade or shovel, bend at the knees and don’t round your back when you lift the dirt. Lifting with your legs, not with your back, will help you avoid an achy back or serious injury. Also, make sure to stand, stretch and walk around at least once every 30 minutes to an hour to keep circulation flowing.

Always keep plenty of water at hand when you’re gardening or during other physical activity.  We’ll talk more about this later, but hydration is key to your health. Use a spray bottle to mist yourself with cool water if you start to feel overheated. If you have unforgiving knees, be sure to place something sturdy nearby to help support you when you’re lifting yourself off the ground.

A Dip in the Pool

Swimming is great way to keep our bodies in shape throughout the year, but it’s most fun in the summer when a dip in the pool helps keep us cool. If you don’t have a pool in your own backyard, you usually can find one at your local community center, park, or YMCA. Many vibrant retirement communities offer aquatic centers on campus. Imagine a pool that’s always available and steps away – minus the responsibility of upkeep!

Swimming is a fantastic, low-impact exercise that’s easy on the joints and strengthens nearly every muscle in the body. It also can benefit cardiovascular health by strengthening your heart, lowering your blood pressure, and improving your circulation.

If you want to do more than swim laps, you can participate in water aerobics, which consists of a variety of movements, including walking and even dancing in the water. Resistance exercises in the water, such as arm curls and leg movements, can help strengthen muscles, and water relaxation exercises can help lower blood pressure and decrease stress. Water volleyball is trending in many retirement communities across the nation.

Swimming and water aerobics alone can be dangerous at any age, so go with a friend or make sure a lifeguard is on duty. Inexperienced swimmers may want to keep a flotation device near in case of muscle cramps or fatigue.

Take a walk

The advantages of taking regular walks in the fresh air are so numerous, it’s hard to argue against this aerobic exercise, especially after you’ve been cooped up all winter. This low-impact activity can improve circulation, decrease bone loss, improve you sleep, help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, support your joints, improve respiratory function – and much more.  Walking also improves your balance, which is paramount as we age. Read more about the importance of maintaining muscle balance.

Make sure to carry your cell phone when you walk, should you unexpectedly become fatigued and need to call someone for a ride. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, strap on light arm or leg weights, but be careful not to overexert yourself if you’re just getting started.

Try Pilates or Yoga Outdoors

Yoga and pilates can calm your movements, decrease your stress, and help you find inner peace. What better way to experience these benefits than outside on a beautiful day? Since neither of these activities is especially aerobic, there’s less of a chance that you’ll overexert or overheat yourself.

Yoga often is based on broad muscle groups, and focuses on improving balance, flexibility, endurance, strength, and spirituality, with some physical movement. Yoga can range from gentle and peaceful to sweaty and extremely challenging, so any of us can find a style to suit our needs and ability.

Pilates is a more disciplined practice that should be done regularly to experience benefits. Pilates classes focus on flexibility, muscle toning, strength, and body control. Little cardio is involved, and the poses aren’t as complex and challenging as those in yoga. Read about why yoga is becoming very popular among older adults, and about its numerous benefits to the body, mind and spirit.

A yoga mat also will provide a level of comfort when performing pilates. And make sure to carry a hand towel to wipe away perspiration. A professional instructor can show you how to safely perform the moves.

Light Outdoor Sports or Recreation

Light outdoor sports such as bocce ball, horseshoe throwing, pickleball, and shuffleboard keep are untraditional ways to exercise that can keep your body moving and strengthen muscle tone.

Hiking, cycling and kayaking are more intense ways to exercise, and can be great for the body, as long as you don’t exceed your physical limitations. If you have any doubts, talk to your doctor before participating.

As with swimming, it’s best to participate with a partner in these sports so you can watch out for one another!

The Importance of Hydration

It’s crucial to drink water to stay hydrated during any outdoor physical activity, especially during the summer. Our bodies are made up of 60 percent water, so being hydrated helps you remain healthy and maintain proper body functions. It also helps you to think clearly, repairs your muscles, and increases your metabolism. Even if you’re taking a dip in the pool, you should keep hydrated.  Here’s additional information on the importance of hydration.

Opportunities at Your Fingertips

Retirement communities can offer perfect settings for outdoor recreation and exercise. Most have outdoor sports areas with shuffleboard and bocce ball courts, horseshoe pits, and more, as well as indoor and/or outdoor pools. Walking trails offer safe and convenient ways to get in your daily walk and enjoy Mother Nature, and community gardens are typically buzzing with activity during this time of year.

You’ll always find someone to enjoy activities with you in a retirement community.

Professional staff, including certified fitness trainers, are available for support, classes, instruction and general tips on how to succeed with your exercise plans. Acts communities, for example, have wonderful programs to benefit the body, mind and spirit, so that all residents can have the chance to achieve their wellness goals.

to learn more about what the Acts lifestyle can offer you.

 

What You Should Know About Dietary Supplements

This post was developed in partnership with USP

First, the good news: We’re taking care of ourselves better than ever before, and have easy access to thousands of dietary supplements (about 29,000, as a matter of fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration) to help give us the levels of essential nutrients we need that we don’t get solely from the foods that we eat. (Note: Besides vitamins and minerals, dietary supplements include amino acids, enzymes, herbs, animal extracts, and probiotics, and can be manufactured as capsules, tablets, liquids or powders.)

The not-such-good news: Before you hand over your hard-earned money for any supplement, know this critical fact: Not all supplements are what they claim to be, with the ingredients, potency or purity stated on their labels!

That’s absolutely right. While dietary supplements might seem similar to drugs, they aren’t required to pass the same kinds of rigorous clinical trials, and aren’t regulated by the FDA as drugs. That means they can be sold without FDA approval and the degree of safety and efficacy testing done on these products is not always clear.

FACT: Dietary Supplements Do Not Go Through the Approval Process Required For Drugs

So, while 76 percent of all Americans take some form of dietary supplement to maintain or improve our overall health (an exclusive FabOverFifty survey of 270 members of our community backs this), we’re not always certain that what’s on the label is in the bottle. Yet, 43 percent of the FOF women surveyed do not have a full understanding of how dietary supplement quality is regulated.

Another alarming fact: Hundreds of supplements in recent years even have been found to be “tainted with drugs and other chemicals,” according to the Federal Trade Commission website. That means some supplements are not only ineffective, but potentially unsafe.

Interestingly, 69 percent of the women who participated in the FOF survey report that they buy the supplement brands “they trust most,” but when the survey asked if there’s any way you can be sure that the ingredients on dietary supplement labels are the actual ingredients in the supplements, a whopping 82 percent said  “no” or they’re “not sure.”  So how can you unequivocally trust a brand if you’re unsure whether its supplements are actually delivering what they’re promising? The answer is obvious: You can’t!

Setting the Bar For Supplement Standards

I was recently glad to learn, however, that an independent and scientific nonprofit organization, called United States Pharmacopeia (USP), establishes federally recognized public standards for dietary supplements, and awards a USP Verified Mark to those products that pass its multi-step Dietary Supplement Verification Program. This mark gives us confidence that we’re choosing quality supplements, and assures us that what’s on their labels is in their bottles. USP knows that the “quality of our healthcare results depends on the quality of the products we take.” This is one of those apparent facts we sometimes overlook in our dash to try supplements that promise to do good things for our bodies. Happily, 97 percent of the respondents to the FOF survey said they might be or definitely would be more prone to buy a supplement brand with a verification seal. 

FabOverFifty was pleased to be invited to participate in USP’s “Trust in Quality” campaign to raise awareness of its valuable verification program.  After all, being confident in the quality of our supplement choices helps us make good health decisions.

The Mark You Can Trust

Supplements bearing the USP Verified Mark:

1.  Contain the ingredients listed on the label, in the stated strengths and amounts.

2.  Don’t contain harmful levels of certain contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes. The FDA has discovered hundreds of dietary supplements containing drugs or other chemicals in recent years, particularly in products for weight loss, sexual enhancement, or bodybuilding, according to the Federal Trade Commission website. “The ‘extra ingredients’ could cause serious side effects or interact in dangerous ways with medicines or other supplements you’re taking.”

3.  Will break down in the specified amount of time so the dietary ingredients can be dispersed or dissolved to deliver their intended effects.

4.  Are made in a facility that follows FDA and USP Good Manufacturing Practices, using sanitary and and well-controlled processes.

USP tests products in its own labs according to USP public standards or other detailed, science-based quality specifications. Its scientists have extensive experience evaluating quality for both drugs and dietary supplements. Over 100 different dietary supplements, representing different brands and retailers, carry the USP Verified Mark.  What’s more, USP will pull products off shelves, and test them, to make sure they continue to meet program standards. The USP Verified program evaluates each product individually. Not all of a brand’s products may have completed the process to receive the USP mark.

USP advises us to always consult with our healthcare practitioners before taking any supplement or over-the-counter medication. Although 63 percent of the women responding to the FOF survey reported they don’t typically do this, it seems like it’s time to make a change.

FOF QUIZ: How Much Do You Know About HEP C?

This post is sponsored by Quest Diagnostics

If you were born between 1945 and 1965 you are many times more likely to have Hep C than other adults. Take our quick quiz and see how your knowledge about the disease stacks up against the facts.  We’ll report the results–and the facts–soon.

1. Were you born between 1945 and 1965?

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2. Have you ever heard of Hep C?

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3. Which organ does Hep C affect?

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4. What are the early symptoms of Hep C?

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5. Have you ever been tested for Hep C?

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6. Is is easy to be tested for Hep C?

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7. Baby boomers account for ____% of all Hep C infections?

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8. Baby boomers are ______ times more likely to have Hep C than other adults?

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9. Is there a successful treatment for Hep C?

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10. Current treatments for Hep C are simple and typically have mild and manageable side effects.

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Health Quiz Answers Revealed!

One of the biggest headache makers is keeping track of what medical tests to have, and how often, once we turn 50 years old.  Just when we think we have it all straight in our mind, new guidelines pop up, and we have to change course. We tested your knowledge about some of the important tests that help us detect potentially life-threatening health issues early.  Here’s how you did (correct answers highlighted in green).

 

The American Cancer Society says women between the ages of 45 to 54, at average risk for breast cancer, should have a mammogram:

 Every year (59%) 

Every 2 years (38%)

Every 6 months (3%)

Never (0%)

 

 

The American Cancer Society says women at average risk for breast cancer should have mammograms every ______, or every year if they choose, starting when they’re 55 years old.

 2 years (76%) 

6 months (19%)

3 years (5%)

Never (0%)

 

A colonoscopy is:

 An exam used to detect changes and abnormalities in the colon (98%) 

Cancer of the colon (2%)

Removal of the colon (0%)

None of the above (0%)

 

 

After reaching 50 years of age, women at average risk for colon cancer should have colonoscopies:

 Every 10 years (44%) 

Every 5 years (40%)

Every other year (16%)

Never (0%)

 

At what age should women at average risk for osteoporosis start getting bone density scans:

55 (56%)

45 (31%)

 65 (13%) 

70 (0%)

 

Women should get bone density scans starting age _________ if they display risk factors for serious bone loss:

45 (49%)

 50 (29%)  

55 (16%)

60 (6%)

 

 

Which are risk factors for serious bone loss (Check all that apply.)

 A bone fracture that occurs much more easily than expected (52%)  

 Loss of height over time (27%)  

 Stooped posture (11%)  

 If either of your parents had hip fractures (9%)  

 

It is recommended women over the age of 50 have screenings for sexually transmitted infections.

 True (52%)  

False (48%)

 

 

Which of the following are STIs? (Check all that apply.)

 Genital herpes (36%)  

 HIV/AIDS (19%)  

 Syphilis (16%)  

 Chlamydia (13%)  

Shingles (10%)

 Gonorrhea (6%)  

 

It is recommended women over the age of 50, especially those born between 1945-1965, get a HEP C test

 True (74%)  

False (26%)

 

Women who never smoked still should start getting CT Scans for their lungs starting at age:

 Never (41%) 

65 (23%)

55 (18%)

45 (9%)

50 (9%)

 

A Test About Health Tests That Could Save Your Life

One of the biggest headache makers is keeping track of what medical tests to have, and how often, once we turn 50 years old.  Just when we think we have it all straight in our mind, new guidelines pop up, and we have to change course. Test your knowledge about some of the important tests that help us detect potentially life-threatening health issues early.


The American Cancer Society says women between the ages of 45 to 54, at average risk for breast cancer, should have a mammogram:

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The American Cancer Society says women at average risk for breast cancer should have mammograms every ______, or every year if they choose, starting when they’re 55 years old.

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A colonoscopy is:

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After reaching 50 years of age, women at average risk for colon cancer should have colonoscopies:

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At what age should women at average risk for osteoporosis start getting bone density scans:

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Women should get bone density scans starting age _________ if they display risk factors for serious bone loss:

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Which are risk factors for serious bone loss (Check all that apply.)

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It is recommended women over the age of 50 have screenings for sexually transmitted infections.

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Which of the following are STIs? (Check all that apply.)

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It is recommended women over the age of 50, especially those born between 1945-1965, get a HEP C test:

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Women who never smoked still should start getting CT Scans for their lungs starting at age:

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How To Rejuvenate Your Health From Within

This post is sponsored by ChromaDex, the makers of TRU NIAGEN®.

I’ve been thinking about my obsessions (important and insignificant) throughout my life: My grades at school to my goals at work; the length of my hair to the size of my jeans; the balance in my checkbook to the health of my kids.

Now that I’m 71, I have one obsession that I consider paramount, and that’s MY HEALTH. No, I haven’t become a hypochondriac. As a matter of fact, I don’t like to complain when I’m under the weather!  I simply want to take care of my body the best I can, so I can live a fit and healthy life for as long as possible. Don’t worry. I’m not going to lecture you about what I’m sure you already know: Eat the right foods, in the right combination; sleep the right amount of time, and exercise the right way. I’ll simply say that if you don’t live your life this way now, get with it and make it your way of life.

Instead, I want to share significant news about one of the most essential molecules we have in every single cell of our bodies, called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.  NAD+ (that’s the easy way to remember it) is indispensable to life and vital to functions that ensure proper cellular energy metabolism. It makes it possible for our cells to convert the fats, proteins and carbohydrates we eat into the energy we need to stay in top shape. NAD+ also activates our “longevity” genes, which regulate cellular aging and the chemical and biological processes that help us maintain healthy and fit lives.

Unfortunately, our level of NAD+ substantially declines as our bodies slow down with age, even if we do cardio and weight-bearing exercises all week, consume a diet of nutritious whole foods, get adequate sleep, and stay away from smoking and drinking. Fortunately for you and me, a brilliant scientist has discovered that nicotinamide riboside (NR), a unique member of the vitamin B3 family also known as NIAGEN, will be converted to NAD+ in our body.

And, now I can rejuvenate my health, starting from within, with a dietary supplement called TRU NIAGEN. I have been taking TRU NIAGEN every single morning for the past 18 months, and I feel wonderful—from overall feelings of well-being to improved sleep quality and consistent energy. I can think of only a single time I’ve napped, too. It supports my desire to age the best I can!  It’s like the premium fuel for my car, helping me to “run” smoothly every single day.

to give it a try and save up to 31%!

Why You Should Make Sure Your Biological Clock Is Running On Time




This is a sponsored post. ChromaDex compensated FabOverFifty with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

Driverless cars and virtual reality headsets may be 21st-century technological marvels, but they’re no match for our remarkable human body of interconnected systems that work together to keep us alive—and healthy! Even more phenomenal, 24-hour “clocks” in every one of our cells and tissues impact the way all our organs work, from our heart to our liver, and one master clock in our brain leads the way. Although most of us happily said sayonara to science back in high school, it pays to get a basic understanding of what makes our internal clocks tick, and how to help keep them on time. Because if the clocks go haywire from the way we’re living our lives, we could be jeopardizing our well-being.

Of course, we’re not talking about microscopic Bulova clocks, but rather biological clocks that cause all organisms on earth, plants to animals (and that includes you and me), to respond to the daily cycle of sunrise, sunset, sunrise. In layman’s terms, our master brain clock receives daily light and dark information through our retinas, and transmits these signals to all the other clocks by secreting hormones and through other chemical processes. Our 24-hour “circadian rhythms” can influence our sleep-wake cycles, eating habits and digestion, body temperature and other vital bodily functions.

>> Learn how you can regulate your circadian rhythm today

At daylight, when we’re lowest on energy after a night’s sleep, a hormone called ghrelin kicks in. Known as the “hunger hormone,” it stimulates our appetite, influences the amount of food we consume, and promotes fat storage. “When we wake up hungry, we’re motivated to get up and get food for increased energy,” explained Dr. Charles Brenner, a Stanford-educated PhD, who studies cells and aging. Another hormone, called leptin (known as the “satiety hormone”), signals to us that our tummy is full.

“Then, when most of us sleep, our brains clean up a bunch of toxic waste that accumulates over the course of a day, and the chemical life-maintaining processes taking place inside our bodies slow down,” Dr. Brenner added. We continue to burn fuel when we’re asleep, but since we’re not eating all night, our body converts glycogen stored in our liver and muscles into blood sugar for energy during the overnight period.

“It’s indisputable that we function best when we get enough sleep. Its restorative properties help make us high functioning when we’re awake,” Dr. Brenner said.

WHY WE ABSOLUTELY NEED A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

Consider some of the beneficial properties of sleep, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:

  • Sleep helps heal and repair heart and blood vessels; ongoing sleep deficiency seems to be associated with increased heart rate and blood pressure, as well as with higher levels of certain chemicals linked with inflammation, which may put extra strain on your heart.
  • Sleep helps maintain a healthy balance of those hormones I mentioned before that make us feel hungry or full. When we don’t get enough sleep, our level of ghrelin goes up and our level of leptin goes down, making us feel hungrier than when we’re well-rested.
  • Sleep affects how our body reacts to insulin, the hormone that controls our blood glucose (sugar) level. Sleep deficiency results in above-average blood sugar levels, which may increase the risk for diabetes.
  • Sleep helps our immune system to stay healthy, so our body is well-defended against foreign or harmful substances. It’s harder to fight common infections when you don’t get adequate sleep.

AND, HOW TO HAVE A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

Now think about some of the actions that will help give you good “sleep hygiene,” namely seven or more hours of sleep per night that you need for health and wellbeing, according to a joint consensus statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.  

  • Avoid eating late at night because your body is more likely to store those calories as fat and you’ll gain weight rather than burn the calories as energy.
  • Don’t drink caffeine late in the day or overindulge in alcohol. We tend to have a drink to make us sleepy, but when the alcohol wears off around 3 a.m., we’re wide awake.
  • Turn off your cell phone and computer. These devices emit blue light, which signals morning (sunrise is blue light and sunset is red light). They also disrupt melatonin production, so we don’t sleep as well as we did before the technological revolution.
  • Go to sleep in a dark, quiet room that’s not too hot, which will help you relax your mind and body. A cool room is best.
  • Try to go to sleep around the same time each night.
  • If you can’t fall asleep, don’t lie in bed tossing and turning. Get up and read a book (but not on a device).

Take a daily dietary supplement of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a cutting-edge form of vitamin B3 that helps your cells replenish nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD). Incredibly important to all of your living cells, NAD helps regulate circadian rhythm and increases energy production at the cellular level.

WHY NAD IS TRULY A BIG DEAL

Scientists have discovered that NAD is so important because it allows our cells to convert the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates we eat into the energy we need to stay in top shape. NAD also helps to activate longevity genes, which control cellular aging, as well as all those chemical and biological processes that help us stay fit and healthy, said Dr. Brenner. It was Dr. Brenner, in fact, who actually discovered the connection between NR and NAD, and is the Chief Scientific Advisor behind TRU NIAGEN® from ChromaDex, the worldwide patent-holder and innovator behind the ingredient.

Studies in mice have shown that there are two NAD peaks per day, produced during its own circadian cycles: A daytime NAD peak is largely driven by the food we eat in the morning (minimally processed whole foods are best), and that’s followed by a nighttime peak. “We know that NAD daily cycles are required for essentially all aspects of metabolism, in your liver, heart, brain, immune system, peripheral nervous system, and in your blood,” explained Dr. Brenner.  

Maintaining a regular sleep and work schedule, moderate exercise, staying out of the sun, and limiting alcohol intake all can help retain and increase the NAD levels we need for healthy, strong cells. But, and this is a BIG BUT, our levels of NAD naturally decline as we age. With the inevitable stresses of life, this decline may speed up anytime we eat too much, drink too much, work too much, stay in the sun for too long, or don’t sleep well. This means basically every time we’re normal human beings. So, it makes complete sense to take a supplement with NR, which will give your body a proven source of NAD.

By boosting NAD you support your circadian functions, which may help you to sleep better, have better digestion, better mental capacity and support whole body wellness.

I’ve been taking Tru Niagen every single morning for the past 18 months, and I feel wonderful—from overall feelings of well-being and improved sleep quality to consistent energy. I can think of only a single time I’ve napped, too. A single dose of Tru Niagen produces clinically significant increases in NAD levels, supporting our desires to age the best we can!

 

To learn how you can regulate your circadian rhythm today

FOF SURVEY: How Much Do You Know About The Supplements You Take?

We partnered with United States Pharmacopeia (USP) to help educate you about the dietary supplements you take.

Seventy-six percent of Americans take dietary supplements, but do we know if the ingredients on the labels are really the ingredients in the supplements? Take our quick survey so we can see how your knowledge stacks up against the facts!  We’ll report the results– and the facts– soon.

1. How often do you take dietary supplements?

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2. How do you choose which brand of dietary supplements you buy? (Please select all that apply.)

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3. Why do you take dietary supplements? (Please select all that apply.)

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4. What areas of health improvement are you specifically seeking from the dietary supplements you take? (Please select all that apply.)

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5. Do you know what the specific supplements you take are supposed to do for your body?

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6. Do you think the quality of dietary supplements are regulated by the Food & Drug Administration?

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7. Is there any way you can be sure that the ingredients on dietary supplement labels are the actual ingredients in the supplements?

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8. Do you typically check with a healthcare practitioner before taking any supplement?

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9. If a supplement brand had a seal signifying that what was on the label was in the bottle, would you be more prone to buy that brand?

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10. What does the “potency” of a dietary supplement refer to? (Please select all that apply.)

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11. How important is the “purity” (e.g., what it says is in the supplement) to you?

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Feeling Good: It Starts at the Cellular Level




Sponsored by AboutNAD.com

If you’d first met Leo shortly before he died, you’d never guess he was 102. He still walked with a spring in his step, carried heavy bags of groceries, and was constantly on the move. What’s more, Leo never ever napped during the day. And, his cheeks were as pinchably round and rosy as ever!

Not so with Rosalie, 30 years younger. Her favorite activity is sitting in front of the TV, for hours on end, where she’ll often fall asleep, sometimes for long stretches. When Rosalie agrees to take a walk around the neighborhood with her husband, her pace is excruciatingly slow and cautious, and she starts to tire after a couple of blocks. She’s thinner, too, even though she isn’t dieting, and she’s definitely paler.

Why does one person, a centenarian at that, act so much younger than someone who’s actually young enough to be his daughter? Although Rosalie hasn’t been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, she has a medical condition called “frailty syndrome.” It’s real, it’s disheartening, and it’s debilitating, and each and every one of us needs to do everything we can to prevent or delay it.

If you have at least three of these five symptoms, you’re considered frail: 1) Decreased muscle strength 2) A feeling of fatigue 3) Slow walking speed 4) Low levels of activity, and 5) Unintentional loss of at least 10 pounds within the past year. Our grandparents may have believed frailty was an inevitability of aging, but it’s absolutely not! Frailty syndrome now is classified as a medical condition, and, as our population ages, scientists are working hard to find ways to reverse it!

“Frailty syndrome is linked to more deaths, more hospitalizations that end up with patients in nursing homes, more falls, more combinations of chronic diseases, and more complications and side effects from prescribed medications,” said Dr. Peter M. Abadir, a noted gerontologist and clinician with the esteemed Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.

GIVING FRAILTY THE GOOD FIGHT

Dr. Linda Fried, an internist, first defined frailty syndrome in 2001 and warned that it puts us at risk of “very bad outcomes.” But what makes some of us frail when we’re only in our 50s, while others never become frail, like Leo? Our genetics and environment certainly play important roles, and even if we don’t have control over either, we can control two other factors that we’ve been hearing about for years—how we exercise and what we eat—according to Dr. Abadir. “Different studies, here and in Europe, have proven again and again that 30 minutes of moderate exercise, six days a week, is linked to a 40 percent mortality risk reduction. You can gain five years in a lifetime with moderate exercise,” Dr. Abadir stressed.

This doesn’t mean you have to jog around the block countless times, until you’re about to pass out. Moderate exercise can mean walking the dog, or yourself, at a lively pace, or making a concerted effort to walk up and down the stairs in your house throughout the day. Weight-bearing and balancing exercises are also critical for maintaining your core strength, so you minimize your risk for falls. “Common sense stays the common sense when it comes to the science of aging,” Dr. Abadir added.

Scientists have discovered that fasting stresses our body at the cellular level far more than we usually do, at least when it comes to nutrition. By overeating, we don’t give our cells a chance to naturally and properly regenerate and rejuvenate, so we’re stuck with loads of damaged, poorly performing cells that can cause all kinds of havoc on our bodies, and contribute to age-related problems.

WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR CELLS AS WE AGE?

“Our bodies are in continuous decline and repair processes, which can be linked to most of the diseases of aging,” said Dr. Abadir, whose research is focused on mitochondria. “These are small organelles inside every cell of our bodies that convert oxygen into the energy (fuel) needed for cellular repair,” he explained. Mitochondria power the muscles and tissues of the body and are responsible for creating 90 percent of the energy needed to sustain life and support organ function. When mitochondria stop working properly, organs start to fail and cause us to get sick with diseases like heart failure and diabetes, and even die.

Although we lose mitochondria as we age, researchers have discovered that when older adults (their average age was 67 in one study) regularly exercise, the amount of their mitochondria increases significantly. This, in turn, increases energy and endurance!

Our cells also hold an important molecule called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), which works within our mitochondria to perform critical functions, such as enabling our cells to convert the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates we eat into the energy we need to stay in top shape. NAD also kicks our “longevity genes” into gear, which regulate cellular aging and the chemical and biological processes that help us maintain healthy and fit lives.

Unfortunately, our level of NAD also substantially declines as our bodies slow down with age. Doing cardio and weight-bearing exercises six times a week, consuming a diet of nutritious whole foods, getting adequate sleep, and staying away from smoking and drinking all are essential. The inevitable physiological stresses of life, however, can lead to poorly functioning mitochondria and the decline of our NAD levels.

Learn more about NAD at AboutNAD.com.

Interested in Going “Au Naturale”? … When It Comes to Hormones Know Your Facts First!

This post is sponsored by Vertical Pharmaceuticals, LLC.

This post was written by Dr. Tara Allmen, in collaboration with FabOverFifty. Dr. Allmen is a renowned gynecologist, menopause expert, and author of Menopause Confidential: A Doctor Reveals the Secrets to Thriving Through Midlife, Haper Collins, 2017.

Hormone therapy can be tricky waters to navigate, especially as you hear many women today talking about “natural” alternative options. I always say it’s best to start at the beginning, know your facts, so you can make the most informed decision about your health and wellness.

A widespread search for “natural” alternatives began in earnest.

That brings us to the story of bioidentical hormone therapy. Bioidentical hormone popularity has soared in the last decade, so let’s understand what they are and what they’re not.

Let me first make it clear to all of you, according to ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) and NAMS (North American Menopause Society), hormone therapy is the most effective way to treat menopause symptoms including hot flashes.  If you are a generally healthy woman within 10 years of your last menstrual period, you should consider trying hormone therapy to treat your symptoms.1

Unlike the conventional hormone therapy such as oral tablets that contain a combination of synthetic estrogen and a synthetic progestin, bioidentical hormones have the same chemical structure as those made naturally by a woman’s ovaries before menopause.1 Bioidentical hormones are not actually found in nature. Instead, they are synthesized from plants and made into estrogen and progesterone.2 (more…)