Fitness Changes to Make in Your Fifties

Middle aged couple exercising together

As people age, they tend to slow down a bit and take life a little easier, but this can actually have quite a detrimental effect on your overall health, as it causes a decrease in metabolism and therefore muscle mass. Studies have shown that a significant chunk of the population do little to no exercise after the age of 50, and this is something that really does need to change.

Start with a Physical Activity That You Enjoy
For people who are generally quite sedentary, the best way to begin making positive fitness changes in your life is by introducing a physically activity that you genuinely enjoy. This can be anything from walking the dog to taking a sunset stroll after dinner to going dancing a couple of times a week. Starting off slow will help to gradually increase your fitness levels, which will then make other fitness activities seem far less daunting.

Strength Training
Bone density peaks around the age of 30, and after this begins to slowly drop, which is why strength training is so important, as this will give you the strong bones that you need to keep your body healthy. Strength training basically refers to lifting heavy objects, and should be carried out around two to three times a week in order to really build muscle strength and mass. Lifting weights is the best way to do this, and you should try to begin with dumbbells that weigh between five to eight pounds, increasing this to eight to ten pounds as your body gets stronger.

Middle aged woman doing strength training

Realistic Goals
While you may have been able to build up strong muscles in just a few weeks while you were in your 20’s, you need to be realistic about the fact that this is going to take a bit longer now that you are over the age of 50. Make sure that you allow for this when coming up with your fitness goals, while also taking into account that your body will need more recovery time after intense workouts. Patience and consistency are key here, and while the results may take longer to appear, working out regularly will end up giving you the stronger body that you desire.

Cross Training
Many people believe that activities such as high impact aerobics, which work the same muscles over and over again, is beneficial, but this is actually a sure-fire way to cause an injury to your body. Cross training makes use of several different types of fitness activities in one session, resulting in a far more balanced workout that prevents injuries from occurring.

There are many different types of chronic diseases that commonly affect people who are 50 and over, from heart disease to diabetes to osteoporosis, and your chances of developing one of these increases drastically if you are generally quite inactive. However, keeping fit and exercising on a regular basis is one of the best ways to prevent these diseases from occurring, while keeping your body healthy and strong as it continues to age.

Steps for Dealing with a Personal Loss

Grieving woman in black

A personal loss can be so hard to deal with and can hit some much more severely than it does others. For those of you who are trying to come to terms with your grief, here are a few steps that you can take.

Understand the Grieving Process
While the grieving process is hugely individual, there are five general stages that people tend to experience. These are denial, followed by anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. However, not everybody goes through all of these five stages, and the grieving process can take different amounts of time for different people, sometimes just weeks but sometimes years.

Establish a Support Network
Although you may not particularly feel like speaking to anyone, it is so important that you reach out to others and establish a support network for yourself. Withdrawing from the world is all-too-common, but this is only going to be extremely detrimental in the long run, so try to speak to others who have been through similar experiences, as they will be able to share a valuable perspective with you.

Woman hugging her crying friend

Professional Help
If your grief or anger really starts to overtake you and feels like it is all getting too much to bear, then this is a sign that you may need to turn to a professional for help. An experienced therapist will be able to help you to work through any intense emotions that you may be feeling, which will enable you to overcome any obstacles or blocks that are holding you back.

Express Your Feelings
Whether it may be a piece of art or writing in a journal, expressing yourself in a creative way will always be helpful when dealing with a personal loss. This is especially useful when your emotions are really threatening to bubble over, as you will have an outlet into which you can channel this energy, turning it into something productive.

Exercise
Exercising when you are feeling so down may be the last thing that you want to do, but exercise focuses your mind on the task at hand, while also releasing serotonin and other beneficial hormones into your brain. Whether you go to the gym, take the dog for a walk, or sign up for some lessons to learn a new sport, this will also be a great time for you to do some self-reflection, which can really help you to move past any painful memories.

Woman tired from exercising

Don’t Try to Numb the Pain
It can be tempting to turn to mind-altering substances when you are dealing with a personal loss, as these can often numb the pain that you are feeling. However, not only will this make it much harder for you to deal with the loss in the long run, but it can also lead to an addiction, as you will end up turning to this substance whenever you begin to feel down.

A personal loss, as well as the grieving process that accompanies it, can be caused by a wide range of things. Whether it be the death of a loved one, the loss of a friendship, or a divorce or breakup, make sure that you take the necessary steps to help you to deal with your loss, as this is what will help you to really move on.

Easy Ways to Up Your Turmeric Intake

A cup of golden milk made of turmeric

Turmeric is an ingredient that originates from South India, but has recently been receiving worldwide recognition for all of the health benefits that it brings. From easing arthritis to preventing cancer, here are a few easy ways to increase your intake of this superfood.

Golden Milk
Golden milk is one of the most effective ways to take turmeric, and only takes a few minutes to make. Simply mix some turmeric and ginger in with milk, and then bring this to a boil. Turn off the heat, leave to cool, and then add a small amount of raw honey to sweeten it. If you plan on drinking the golden milk before bed, as this is fantastic for promoting quality sleep, also add in a bit of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom, as these help to magnify the effects of the turmeric.

Turmeric with Eggs
Eggs are a food that are commonly eaten for breakfast, and are great at disguising the taste of turmeric. Since egg dishes tend to mostly be yellow, this also hides the color of the turmeric, making it great for fussy eaters. When cooking the eggs, try to use coconut oil if possible, as this will bring its own set of health benefits with it.

Juice It
If you would prefer to consume turmeric in its freshest state, try seeing if you can purchase some turmeric root. This can then be juiced into your regular juices, although you will only need to use a thumb-sized piece of the root with each serving. Studies have shown that incorporating turmeric into a daily green smoothie can reduce inflammation in the body by up to 90%.

Raw chicken marinated with turmeric and other spices

Cooking with Turmeric
Many people believe that turmeric can only really be used in curries and Indian dishes, but this is far from the truth. There are so many dishes that work well with turmeric in it, with the ingredient enhancing dishes such as carrot soups and lentil stews. You can also disguise turmeric well in rich tomato sauces, and then use this for everything from pasta to pizza.

Baking with Turmeric
In addition to incorporating turmeric into your main meals, you can also try baking with it. There are many dessert recipes out there that include some turmeric, from scones to pound cakes, so have a look online to see what appeals to you the most.

Golden Paste
Golden paste, which is made from water, oil, turmeric and black pepper, makes the turmeric extremely bioavailable, making this the option to go for if you need quick results. However, many people find the taste of golden paste to be difficult to stomach, and would prefer to take it as a pill instead. Fortunately, this is easy to do yourself at home, requiring nothing but a pot of golden paste and some pill-shaped molds. Fill these molds with the golden paste and then freeze, taking them two to three times a day for best results.

Turmeric is an ingredient that just about everybody could benefit from, as it boosts the health in so many different ways. Even if you do not personally enjoy the taste of turmeric, these tips will help you to incorporate more of it into your everyday life, in easy and tasty ways.

Avoiding Knee Pain and Injuries

Woman attending to her injured knee

Knee pain becomes more prevalent with age, and can be caused by either a one-off injury, or from repetitive knee motions. To keep your knees in the best shape possible and avoid any pain or injury, take a look at these useful tips.

Maintain a Healthy Weight
Carrying excess weight can cause unnecessary stress on your knees, and will seriously increase your chances of developing knee pain. By maintaining a weight that is healthy for your size, you will be able to prevent this extra stress, while also lowering your chances of developing osteoarthritis.

Pay Attention to Your Running Technique
If you are a runner, then you have a far greater chance of injuring your knees, unless you pay close attention to your running technique. You should be leaning forward from your ankles, and landing mid-foot, while keeping your knees soft and bent each time you land, to minimize the amount of impact that they receive. You should also keep your feet pointing in the direction at which you are running, as having your feet splay out to the side will end up torquing your knee each time your foot hits the ground.

Warming Up
Before you do any type of exercise, it is important that you first warm up and do a few stretches. Stretching the muscles in the front and back of your thighs is especially important, as this decreases the tension that is placed on your tendons, which therefore alleviates the pressure that your knees would otherwise have faced.

Woman stretching and staying active

Stay Active
Even if you are already experiencing minor pain in your knees, it is important to stay active on a regular basis. Allowing your activity levels to decrease will only lead to weakness, which would then make your knees much more susceptible to injury. Even just walking will be extremely beneficial to your knees, as walking is a great form of cardiovascular exercise, and puts minimum stress on your joints.

Don’t Neglect Your Shoes
When it comes to avoiding knee pain, wearing sensible shoes that fit your feet well is an effective method. This will help your legs to maintain the correct alignment and balance, which protects your knees from extra stress. If you are a runner, the way in which your shoes fit your feet is especially important, and you should also make sure that you replace your shoes either every three months, or after 500 miles of wear, as this is what is recommended by experts.

Avoid Activities that Stress Your Knees
While staying fit and active is important, you should also try to avoid specific activities that will cause extra stress to your knees. Examples of these are deep knee bend exercises and downhill running, both of which place a huge amount of tension on your knees.

A knee injury can be incredibly painful and frustrating, which is why you should take all of the necessary steps to prevent this from happening. From ensuring that you warm up before exercising to keeping your weight under control, these tips will help you to keep your knees healthy for years to come.

Navigating Your Way Through the Bread Aisle

Smiling bespectacled woman holding bread

The bread aisle is an area of the average grocery store that has significantly grown in recent years, with so many new additions to now consider. From added fibre to gluten-free, here are a few tips to help you to navigate your way around the bread aisle.

Whole Grain vs Refined
One of the biggest decisions that people usually make when it comes to bread is deciding between whole grain varieties or refined, white varieties. You are likely already aware of the fact that whole grain is much healthier, as this contains the outer bran layer of the grain, which is where the majority of the fibre can be found. White bread is created from a refined version of these grains, meaning that all that is left is the starch. Make sure that the bread that you buy actually states that it is whole what, whole rye, whole spelt or cracked wheat, because terms such as wheat flour, enriched wheat and unbleached wheat are simply other names for refined flour.

Added Fibre
While whole grain bread already contains much more fibre than refined white bread, many brands add in some extra fibre, and this is usually positive. They do this by adding ingredients such as flaxseed, oats, psyllium or wheat bran to their bread mix, resulting in much higher fibre levels per slice.

Different Types of Flour
While wheat may be the most popular flour used for bread, there are several other types of flour that you are likely to have noticed too. Rye tends to be the second-most popular, and is quite dense compared to wheat, but has its own unique flavor and aroma. Corn and oats are other options, as is buckwheat, which is not a traditional grain, but is actually from a plant that is related to sorrel and rhubarb.

Sliced ciabatta on a wooden board

Gluten-Free
Gluten-free products have been on the rise lately, and when it comes to gluten-free bread, these tend to be made from four main starches; potato flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch and rice flour. While these are a great way for those who have a gluten allergy or Celiac disease to enjoy bread, those who do not suffer from these conditions are best off avoiding gluten-free bread, as they have high glycemic indexes, which means that they end up significantly raising blood sugar levels.

Different Uses for Different Breads
One of the reasons why there is so much choice in the bread aisle is because each bread tends to be best used for a specific purpose. For those who are making simple sandwiches, whole wheat slices are often best, as their flavor is quite minimal, allowing your sandwich fillings to really shine. Traditional flatbreads, such as pita bread and naan, are unleavened, meaning that they do not rise, and are chewier and denser, making them perfect to be stuffed. There are also many specialty breads out there, made from everything from sourdough to pumpernickel to rye, and each of these will have quite a distinct flavor, so do best when paired with stronger, more intense, fillings.

The bread aisle can often be quite confusing, which is why it is always a good idea to educate yourself on bread before heading out to do some shopping. For those who would like even more guidance on choosing bread, try visiting your local bakery rather than the grocery store, as the bakers will be on hand to provide you with in-depth advice.

Activities That Stimulate Your Brain Power

Woman thinking while working

While the brain is one of the parts of the body that is most often used, it is also an area that is often neglected. However, there are a few easy activities that you can try out to stimulate your brain power and give this vital organ a healthy boost.

Make Use of All of Your Senses
It is likely that, as you go about your daily life, you do not make a special effort to engage all of your senses. However, studies have shown that engaging usually unused senses can really help to stimulate the mind while boosting memory. So whether this means you choose your outfit in the morning by touch and texture rather than sight, or close your eyes while you are eating a meal, to really taste the food, try to make the most of each of your senses.

Use Your Non-Dominant Hand
People tend to either be right or left handed, and they use their dominant hand for the majority of their daily activities. However, pick one day a week where you try using your non-dominant hand instead, as this will not only require more focus, and strengthen your hand-eye coordination, but it will also help to build new associations within the brain’s neural connections. From brushing your teeth to writing to cooking your dinner, it may be difficult at first to use your non-dominant hand, but this will become much easier as the day goes on.

Woman deep in meditation outdoors

Meditation
Meditation brings with it so many different benefits, one of which is a huge boost to the brain. Not only does meditation make a huge difference when it comes to memory and focus, but one study even claims that meditation can significantly help to prevent mental illness. There are many forms of meditation that you can try, but, if this is completely new to you, begin with a couple of simple breathing exercises and then take it from there.

Language and Word Games
Word games and puzzles have long since been believed to be beneficial to the brain, and this is still the case. These types of games challenge the way in which you recognize, understand and remember words, all of which provides your brain with a fantastic workout.

Smiling woman with headphones on and dancing

Listen to Music
The “Mozart effect” is a theory that states that listening to classical music can make a person smarter, and there certainly is some truth to this. Studies have shown that listening to music, especially when exercising, can increase cognitive levels, while improving verbal fluency skills, as well as give a boost to mental focus. Any type of music can do this, not just the classical genre, so compile a few go-to playlists that you can listen to throughout the day.

Some studies have shown that the brain can often begin to lose some of its sharpness at the early age of 45, making it vital that you spend time stimulating it as much as possible. From playing word games to mindful meditation, these are just a few of the ways in which you can give your brain a healthy boost.

Foods to Pack in Your Gym Bag

The foods that you eat before and after a workout are extremely important, as different foods will be able to fuel you in different ways. If you have been confused about the best snacks to pack in your gym bag, here are a few ideas.

Yoghurt

Pre-Workout: Greek Yoghurt with Berries
Greek yoghurt with berries is a great pre-workout snack, as the yoghurt contains a combination of whey and casein, meaning that you are getting a great balance of slow and fast-digesting proteins, which provide your muscles with the amino acids that they need during a workout. The yoghurt will take between four and six hours to digest, while the berries, which are a great source of carbohydrates, will take around two, giving your body long-lasting fuel.

Post-Workout: Tart Cherry Smoothie with Fresh Ginger and Whey Protein
Smoothies are always refreshing after a gruelling workout, and a tart cherry smoothie, along with some fresh ginger, will go a long way in helping to reduce inflammation, preventing any soreness. When it comes to the whey protein, around 30 grams of this is the optimum amount, as this will help to stimulate synthesis and growth within your muscles.

OROGOLD Foods to Pack in Your Gym Bag woman on grass eating banana.jpg

Pre-Workout: Bananas
Bananas are an easy snack to carry around, and are absolutely packed with potassium and complex carbohydrates. Both of these can significantly help with nerve and muscle function, so even if you do not enjoy eating bananas on their own, try adding them to a smoothie or some Greek yoghurt.

Post-Workout: An Orange and a Hardboiled Egg
Eggs are often considered to be the perfect food, and hardboiled eggs are extremely portable, and make for a great post-workout snack. The protein in the eggs will help to repair your muscles, but try to choose eggs that are organic and free-range, as studies have shown that these are usually much higher in the fatty acids that help to prevent any inflammatory damage that a vigorous workout may have caused. Oranges contain high levels of potassium and water, which will help to rehydrate you and replenish energy.

Pre-Workout: Oats with Almond Butter
If you are heading for a high-energy workout, then carbs will be your best friend, which is where the oatmeal comes in. However, in order to keep yourself feeling satisfied for the next few hours, cook the oats with some almond butter, as this is also a great source of magnesium, which is necessary for muscle contraction and relaxation.

Vegetable omelette

Post-Workout: Vegetable Omelette
Eggs are extremely high in leucine, which helps to trigger the synthesis of protein in muscles, which is why they are such a great post-workout food. By packing your omelette with lots of different vegetables, you will be providing your body with a wide range of vitamins and minerals to help it to recover, from red bell peppers for vitamin C to pineapples for bromelain.

When it comes to pre and post-workout snacks, remember that timing is everything. The ideal time to eat is around thirty minutes to three hours before a workout, and within twenty minutes after working out, as this is necessary to keep your muscles healthy.

Protecting Your Family from Cleaning Compounds

Woman cleaning house

When it comes to keeping a house clean, most people tend to turn to commercial cleaning products. However, many of these can actually be quite toxic, producing fumes that can irritate the eyes, lungs, and heart. While it is possible to make your own cleaning products, commercial cleaners are sometimes unavoidable, so, if this is the case for you, you need to know how to protect your family from the damaging compounds that are released.

Keep Your Home Ventilated
In order for fumes to be able to leave your home, you need to keep your home well-ventilated. This means keeping all of your windows open and placing fans in strategic positions around your house to optimize the air flow.

Do Not Mix Cleaning Products
While it may be tempting to mix a few different cleaning products together, especially if they are all designed to target different types of dirt, this can be extremely dangerous. The different ingredients in said products can end up reacting with one another, causing fumes that are even more toxic than they would have been.

Family walking dog in park

Spend Some Time in Nature
If you have just given your house a deep clean with commercial cleaning products, then it is likely that your family will have already inhaled these toxic fumes. A great way to clear these from your lungs while giving them a chance to dissipate from your house is by taking a walk in nature, as this enables your lungs to pump in fresh oxygen while pumping out the chemicals. However, make sure that you choose an area that contains plenty of green trees and plants, and spend at least one to two hours there.

Drink Water and Leafy Greens
As you likely already know, water flushes out the system, meaning that you can reduce the toxicity of any chemicals inhaled by drinking extra water to dilute them and wash them out. In addition to water, you should also be juicing leafy greens and drinking those, as these are great for detoxing the system and will help to move any chemicals out of your body.

Mother pouring orange juice for daughter

Vitamin C
In the same way that vitamin C protects the body from colds and the flu and speeds up healing when these illnesses do occur, it is also able to help protect the body from any damaging effects that the cleaning chemical compounds may have. Whether you give your family vitamin C supplements or simply increase their intake of fresh foods that contain vitamin C, this is a great antioxidant to have on your side.

Check the Label
When purchasing cleaning products, always remember to check the label, as this will give you some idea of exactly how toxic the product is. If it states that the product’s vapors are harmful, then try to find an alternative product to use.

Commercial cleaning products can be so dangerous, and the best way to protect your family from them is by using products that are natural and safe. If you cannot find these at your local store, try making some yourself, as effective cleaning ingredients, such as vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, are easily available everywhere.

Find Time for the Great Outdoors

Woman in the forest

The great outdoors benefits the health in so many different ways, from reducing stress and obesity to increasing creativity, and there are countless studies to prove this. However, research has also shown that more and more people, both adults and children, are experiencing a lack of interaction with the great outdoors, but, fortunately, this is something that is easy to fix.

Taking the First Steps
If you have never been much of an outdoorsy person, then spending time outdoors will likely not come naturally to you. Rather than forcing yourself to take a hike up a huge mountain, start off slowly, with activities that you and your family can enjoy together. Whether this means pulling your child along a trail on a sled, finding new places to walk your dogs, or collecting leaves and seeds for a craft project, all of these activities still share the same goal of getting you to spend some time outdoors. If there is absolutely nothing that appeals to you just yet, pick an activity that sounds achievable, and set yourself a prize so that you have some extra motivation.

Friends at a meal

Al Fresco Dining
Rather than eating your meals inside your home, try al fresco dining once in a while, as this is a great way to spend some extra time outdoors. While you may only be able to do this when the weather is cooperating, enjoying a meal outdoors will add to the sensory experience of the whole meal, and will do your far more good than staring at your computer or phone. Whether this means a lunchtime picnic in the park rather than an office cafeteria meal, or breakfast on your doorstep under the sun, you will no doubt find that your food tastes so much better when eaten in the great outdoors.

Find an Outdoor Hobby
If most of your hobbies are based indoors, then it is time to find an outdoor hobby that you love, as this will encourage you to spend more of your free time outside. For those who enjoy staying active, there is plenty to choose from, including cycling, running, canoeing and golfing, while those who do not really enjoy sports much can turn to everything from photography to gardening to outdoor cooking.

Woman and daughter gardening

Start a Garden
Starting a garden is a great way to really get closer to nature, and simply having that one-on-one time with the earth around you brings with it its own set of unique health benefits. Even if you do not have a large area of land to work with, simply setting up a few pots outside your house can still have the same effect. If growing flowers has never appealed to you, turn your attention to growing food, which can easily be done in a small space. From herbs to potted vegetables, growing something that you can eat will only increase the sense of accomplishment that you will feel from starting a garden.

Making time for the great outdoors is more important than ever due to hectic, digital lifestyles. From finding an outdoor hobby to al fresco dining, these are tips that just about everyone can follow when it comes to making the effort to spend more time outside.

Boost Your Midlife Brain Health

The human brain naturally shrinks with age, meaning that brain cells do not work quite as effectively as they used to. By the time a person reaches the age of 45, the memory begins to decline, as do other aspects of brain health. However, there are a number of ways in which you can boost a midlife brain to improve its health while giving it some extra protection for the upcoming years.

Man doing puzzle

Brain Exercises
There are many brain games and puzzles out there that are designed to help create new associations between different parts of your brain, which is great for strengthening it and keeping it sharp. You can also try carrying out normal, everyday activities, but using your non-dominant hand. For example, if you are usually right-handed, try using your left hand to do everything from brushing your teeth to hoovering the carpet.

Woman running with dog

Regular Exercise
One of the most effective ways in which you can boost your brain health is by partaking in regular exercise, as this has been proven, for many years, to be able to boost cognitive function. It does this by reducing cell damage and inflammation while increasing the density of brain cells, as well as blood vessels in the brain. When it comes to the different types of exercise out there, aerobic exercise is one of the best, as this can help with the parts of the brain that are associated with organizing, multi-tasking, and planning, while boosting heart health at the same time. Resistance training has been linked to beneficial effects on the memory, as has low-intensity yoga, so try to include these in your exercise routine too.

Control Your Blood Sugar Levels
Not only does high blood sugar levels lead to obesity and diabetes, but this also damages blood vessels in the brain, while impairing the parts of the brain that are responsible for memory. Lowering your blood sugar levels is as simple as making a few lifestyle changes, from practicing regular exercise to eating a diet high in vegetables, fibre and whole grains.

Group of friends

Socializing
Humans are social creatures, and, as studies have shown, socializing is important when it comes to keeping the brain stimulated and sharp. Research has shown that older adults who are less socially active tend to experience more cognitive and physical limitations, so make sure that socializing takes a priority in your life.

Brain-Boosting Foods
While a healthy diet itself is important for your brain, as well as your body, there are certain foods out there that are known for being especially beneficial when it comes to brain health. At the top of the list are foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, such as oily fish and walnuts, as these have been linked to improved memory and focus, as well as a lowered risk of dementia.

Your brain is incredibly complex, but boosting its health does not need to be. From physical activity and a healthy diet to brain games and socializing, these tips will help you to keep your mind as sharp as possible while your body continues to age.