Posted on June 9, 2009. Filed under: Health and Wellness... |

Since it’s never too early [or too late] to start taking better care of yourself, I periodically sneak some health and wellness posts in my blog.  There are 6 anti-agers listed in the first half of this post, and I’d like to include two of my own:
7. Sleep on your backI’ve been a side sleeper for a long time, but for the past year and a half, I’ve been sleeping on my back, and not for beauty reasons.  It ended up being an added plus.  The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) cautions that sleeping in certain positions night after night leads to "sleep lines"…wrinkles that become etched into the surface of the skin and don’t disappear once you’re up.  Sleeping on your side increases wrinkles on cheeks and chin, while sleeping face-down gives you a furrowed brow.
8. Never lose the kid in yourselfPeople often tell me I’m like a little girl, and they are right.  Even while on a plane, an Asian gentleman who I was sitting next to, said that to me as he witnessed my delight at the experience of my first (and only) plane trip (hey, what can I say?  I’m a late bloomer).  I was taking pictures, oohing and ahhing at what I was seeing out the window.  In spite of the jet lag he was probably experiencing, we laughed all the way to our destination.  Even my traveling friend laughed, telling me she was laughing with me, not at me, but the jury’s still out on that one.
The second part of my post is some info on who lives longest.  This is a generalization, and if you really want to dodge the aging bullet, just do everything in moderation, take time for yourself and those you love, and don’t take yourself too seriously.  Remember the quote from Chili Davis:  "Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional".  I’ll close this post with another good quote about aging:
Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.
Maurice Chevalier

‘Nuff said…
Yours in good health,

6 Surprising Anti-Agers

By Judy Jones

New science-backed strategies for postponing, reducing or entirely eluding the march of time

Lead a Boring Life

Oops, did we say boring? We meant diligent, responsible, hard-working, organized and self-disciplined, all facets of what researchers label conscientiousness. People who have this trait not only live longer (presumably because they avoid risky behaviors like smoking) but are also less likely to suffer from dementia in old age. Those at the top of the conscientiousness chart reduce their risk of de­veloping Alzheimer’s symptoms by a remarkable 89 percent compared with those at the very bottom, according to research by Robert Wilson, PhD, a professor of neuropsychology at the Rush University Medical Cen­ter, in Chicago. “Conscientiousness doesn’t prevent the underlying pathologies, like the buildup of plaques and tangles traditionally associ­ated with Alzheimer’s and similar ill­nesses,” Wilson explains. “Instead, it seems to provide a protection that allows some people to tolerate the disease in their brains much longer without the appearance of symptoms.”

Embrace Your Age

Feeling good about growing older may help you live longer. When Yale University researchers studied the mortality rates of 660 seniors who had been participating in the Ohio Lon­gitudinal Study of Aging and Retire­ment, those who started out two decades earlier in the study with a posi­tive attitude toward old age ended up living an average of seven and a half years longer than others, says study coauthor Becca R. Levy, PhD, an associate professor at Yale School of Public Health. The study subjects who had refused to buy into negative cultural stereotypes about aging when they were younger tended to have greater enthusiasm about life when they grew older.

 Move to an Old Neighborhood

A 2007 Stanford University study showed that people who were trying to increase their physical activity levels were more than twice as likely to succeed if they lived in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, which tend to be in older areas. This was also shown in a University of Utah study of neigh­borhoods in Salt Lake City; those built before 1950 are generally more walkable than newer areas, because they were designed primarily for pedestrians, not cars. “Adding a decade to the average age of an area’s housing decreases women’s risk of obesity by about eight per­cent and men’s by 13 percent,” notes researcher Ken Smith, PhD, professor of human development and family studies.

Drink Some Coffee

A few cups a day during midlife can decrease your risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia when you’re older, although it will almost certainly make you jittery along the way. A team of Swedish and Fin­nish researchers who tracked the cof­fee consumption of 1,409 peo­ple for an average of 21 years found that the moderate drinkers—those who tossed back between three and five cups a day—had a 65 percent lower risk for dementia than those who drank fewer than two cups a day. (The results for heavy coffee drinkers were inconclusive.) Study coauthor Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD, research director at the University of Kuopio, in Finland, points to the healthful ef­fect of caffeine, which has been shown in animal studies to reduce plaque formation in the brain. Decaf coffee doesn’t provide the same benefit, although, like the regular brew, it does contain an abundance of age-fighting antioxidants.

Spice up your meals

Researchers recently tested 24 common herbs and spices, and found high amounts of compounds that may stop the inflammatory damage caused by elevated blood sugar levels. The herbs and spices, all bought at a local Wal-Mart, included cinnamon, thyme, Italian seasoning and cloves. “The active compounds in these herbs and spices have the potential to reduce the inflammation that contributes to nearly every human disease,” says the study’s coauthor, James Hargrove, PhD, associate professor of foods and nutrition at the University of Georgia in Athens. The researcher advises you to liberally season your food with a variety of spices, thereby doubling or tripling the medicinal value of a meal.
Hang out with happy people

Scientists have known for some time that happy people live longer because their good spirits help protect them from illness. The new twist is that hap­piness is socially contagious: You can catch it—or its opposite—from the peo­ple close to you. Analyzing the social networks of the participants in the Framingham Heart Study, researchers at the University of California discovered distinct clusters of happy and unhappy people. “People who are surrounded by many happy people are the most likely to become happy themselves in the future,” remarked researcher Nicholas Christakis, MD, a professor of medical sociology at Harvard. Moral? It pays to choose friends who lift you up. 


Who Lives Longest?

By Melinda Dodd

Do you belong to any of these groups that have a longer-than-usual lifespan?


> Asian-American Women in Bergen County, New Jersey With a life expectancy of 91, these suburban New York City women rule the U.S. In general, Asian-American women live the longest of any ethnic group. Preliminary research suggests a reason: Even after exposure to Western lifestyles, they continue to eat lower-fat diets than typical Americans.

> Firstborns Compared to their younger siblings, older kids are twice as likely to reach age 100, say University of Chicago researchers. This may be because they were conceived by younger (read: health-ier) women who were using their freshest eggs.

> People with a lot of moles While skin cancer remains a worry, researchers from King’s College in London say that people with more than 100 moles have longer (more protective) telomeres, chromosome-protecting buffers that delay aging and may extend longevity by up to seven years.

> Winter babies Although they’re not sure why, Chicago researchers discovered that 80-year-olds born in January will live two percent longer than their peers—especially those born from April to June.

> Women with wide hips . . . but not a lot of junk in the trunk. Women at a healthy weight who have hips wider than 41 inches outlive other women with the same BMI, possibly because of genetic, hormonal or physical characteristics that guard against heart disease, say Swedish researchers.

> Good sleepers Women who doze seven to eight hours a night may outlast others, suggests a 22-year study from the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. Sleeping over eight hours in-creases mortality risk by 17 percent; getting less than seven hours raises the risk to 21 percent.

> Believers Going to church or temple or praying privately makes healthy adults likely to live considerably longer than people who don’t worship, reports Health Psychology; stress-reducing social support and a group aversion to risky behavior may explain why.



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