Skin, Hair, Teeth and Aging

The process of aging is one that brings with it: wisdom and knowledge. A significant product of this process is also one that many aren’t overly enthusiastic about. It is the effect on the body’s skin, hair and teeth. Noticed a few extra wrinkles or changes in your hair and teeth lately? Well continue reading to discover the best actions to deal with and possibly slow this progression.

As we age the skin, teeth and hair are among the first parts of our body to display changes. The time when this occurs will differ between individuals according to genetics, exposure to the elements and your current health.

As we age you may already be noticing or can expect to experience the following:

Skin

As the years pass the skin becomes more delicate and fragile which leaves it more prone to bruising. Age spots may make an appearance and skin tone and elasticity is reduced. Increased dryness is often experienced as a result of less natural oils being produced to hydrate the skin. This is a major factor in the creation of those dreaded wrinkles.

Hair

The most dramatic effects on the hair, is that it may change to a shade of grey. The body’s hair color is affected by the pigment, melanin. As time passes, the hair follicles produce less of this pigment resulting in loss of color. Hair loss and thinning can also occur amongst both men and women as we age.

Teeth

How your teeth stand the test of time, is largely reflected in how you have looked after them in the past. Even with perfect dental care, the mouth becomes noticeably drier as less saliva is produced than before. This can sometimes lead to an increased risk of tooth decay. The teeth may also darken, change shape, become thinner and more brittle.

What can be done?

In today’s society, we are often bombarded with idealistic views of perfection, anti-aging and products that must purchased in order to achieve it. However, this can often be misleading and commonly only leads to disappointment. Purchasing so-called anti-aging products are not necessary if you simply follow some basic steps. These will assist in maintaining a healthy hair, teeth and skin to ensure that the aging process is a smooth and slow one.

For Healthy Skin:

Avoid direct exposure to the sun for long periods
Wear a hat, sunscreen and cover the skin as much as possible when outdoors
Drink plenty of water to ensure optimum hydration. This will not only keep you feeling great but does wonders for the skin!
Eliminate smoking
Steer away from oily or fatty foods
Opt for gentle skin products such as soap or moisturizers that are suitable for sensitive skin.
Increase intake of Vitamin C. Did you know that Vitamin C makes a natural collagen? This assists in improving elasticity and is wonderful for boosting the immunity!
Introduce Omega 3 oil into your diet. This oil is highly beneficial to the skin and leaves it feeling supple and smooth. Fish oil, avocados, walnuts, seeds other nuts are abundant in Omega 3.

For Healthy Teeth:

Maintain excellent dental hygiene. Brush and floss after every main meal.
Include an antiseptic mouth wash into your dental care routine to fight bacteria and mouth infections.
Schedule regular visits with your dentist for checkups and cleanings.
To reduce teeth stains; reduce red wine, coffee, black tea and smoking.

For Healthy Hair:

Choose gentle shampoos and conditioners to reduce hair damage
Massage the scalp to stimulate blood circulation and encourage increased hair growth.
Exercise, meditate or participate in a relaxing activity as stress can initiate increased hair loss.
If you experience a dramatic increase or sudden hair loss, check with your doctor.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Aging

Are you experiencing incontinence, difficulties with bathroom visits or pelvic pain? Well you may be one of the many who is displaying symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. PFD is a common occurrence amongst aging women but can sometimes affect men.

What is Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (PFD) is the condition where the Pelvic Floor does not function as it should and includes prolapse of the bladder, rectum, bowel or uterus. This condition is often embarrassing and can leave many suffering from low self esteem and depression as a result. It is commonly undiagnosed and it is quite staggering to find that that an estimated one third of the population of women suffer from PFD, at some point! The likelihood of PFD occurring increases significantly amongst women as they age. Other contributing factors are diabetes, hernia, obesity and hormone imbalance.

Symptoms of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

The most common symptoms of PFD include one or more of these:

  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Frequent incontinence
  • Pain during urination
  • Rectal Pain
  • Pelvic Pressure
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Pain when sitting, walking or standing
  • Urgency to urinate then difficulties emptying the bladder

What can be done?

If you have any of the symptoms, it is essential that you seek medical guidance because it is a condition that does not necessarily need to be endured! If diagnosed early, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction can often be treated successfully using non surgical procedures. These options are available and provide excellent results:

Pelvic Floor Exercises and Rehabilitation

These exercises are incorporated to strengthen the muscles to perform more efficiently and effectively.

Medications:

With the guidance of a doctor, you may find that there is a variety or medications that can be administered to provide relief and a reduction in PFD

Education and Behavior Therapy:

Changes in lifestyle or behavior can have a dramatic effect in minimizing the occurrence of PFD.

– Managing a healthy weight. (This also reduces risk of Diabetes, which can also aggravate Pelvic Floor Dysfunction.)
– Controlled fluid intake
– Bladder training

Biofeedback:

This therapy is designed to retrain patients how to co-ordinate the abdominal muscles with the pelvic floor muscles. Biofeedback training successfully reduces the symptoms in 70% of cases.

Relaxation:

Relaxation is a powerful therapy when dealing with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, as stress is a major contributing factor in worsening PFD symptoms. Stress causes muscles to tighten, so take the time to do something you find relaxing. Yoga, meditation and Tai Chi are renowned for their ability to reduce stress and tension.

Surgery

If the symptoms are more severe or continue to occur over an extended period of time, more invasive and surgical procedures are an option and have high success rates. Pelvic Floor Reconstruction surgery, slings for incontinence and other options are available to reduce or eliminate the symptoms.

What Next?

If you suspect you may have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, speak to your doctor to find out the best course of action to ensure you feel comfortable, happy and healthy no matter what your age!

Sexual Patterns and Aging

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Sex is a wonderful activity that provides amazing benefits to both your mind and body! It has the powerful ability to release tension, stress and anxiety. It also boosts circulation and helps to improves physical and psychological well being!

With aging, a vast array of changes can take place throughout the entire body. The way that we function is altered and one of these functions is our sexual behavior. Many people may come across difficulties in this area through the progression of aging but there are many things that can be done in order to maintain a healthy and enjoyable sex life!

What Changes Occur?

Changes in Men:

Inconsistency in Erections

Difficulty Reaching Ejaculation

Increased stimulation required

Problems experiencing orgasms

Changes in Women:

Difficulty becoming aroused

Lack of lubrication

Sex may be painful or uncomfortable

Increased stimulation required

Reduced orgasms

What is the cause of these changes?

A combination of factors can contribute to changes in sexual behavior. The desire to participate in sexual activity can be diminished due to changes in hormones and increased pain that is commonly accompanies aging. Medications and physical restrictions can also have a dramatic impact on sexual desire and performance.

What can we do?

Sex is not just for the young but is fantastic for the young at heart! With the changes of aging, the act of sex can sometimes be more daunting or challenging. However, don’t give up and be sure to persevere because with so many benefits, you’ve got nothing to lose!

Steps to improve your sexual enjoyment today!

Communicate

Be open and honest with your partner. Don’t take it so seriously all the time and take the time to be playful and enjoy the experience. Consider initiating sexual activity in the morning, when energy levels are usually higher. Most importantly, explore and experiment to find what works best for you and your partner!

Love Yourself!

Release any feelings of inadequacy or low self esteem. Embrace your body and appreciate everything that it is capable of. Be positive and confidant!

Intimacy

Sex doesn’t just include intercourse. It encompasses strong emotional connections that are highly rewarding. A romantic outing, physical contact and kissing are perfect ways to increase intimacy.

Get moving and get physical

By maintaining good levels of physical fitness, you won’t just improve your physical health and wellbeing – you will also improve your sexual activity.  You will feel much more energetic and vibrant – and that is always going to be conducive to good sexual health as well.

Additional Help

Sexual changes are a natural progression of aging. Instead of fighting these changes, discover the many ways around them to allow you to embrace you and partner’s bodies. If you are concerned or would like to know more about your sexual enjoyment, schedule an appointment with your local doctor. You will be amazed with the knowledge and assistance that is available!

Aging and Body Pains

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Do you wake up in the morning expecting to feel refreshed only to discover you’ve found yourself with a stiff and sore back or knee or hip? We’ll you’re not alone!

You may have found that in earlier years, such pain would be the direct result of a strenuous sports game or other vigorous activity but now seem to receive the same result from a short errand or light gardening.

As we age we are more prone to feeling aches and pains throughout the body. Sometimes these require medical attention. Severe inflammation of the joints, known as arthritis, is a very common condition that is experienced amongst the older population. This can cause tremendous pain but luckily there are many avenues for treatment and relief available, with the help of a doctor.

Most times, general aches and pains can be dealt with at home with fantastic results!

Prevention

Before I continue, it must be said, that prevention is better than cure! Sure, aging and aches are inevitable, however, these pains and stiffness can be greatly reduced if your body continues to stay physically active! I’m not talking about running a marathon but am referring to gentle walking or other non strenuous activities to keep your body flexible and therefore less prone to injury and pain!

Pain Relief

Stretching

Activities such as Pilates and Yoga are a wonderful and gentle exercise program that increases strength, tone and flexibility. With increased flexibility, comes reduced risk of injury! These exercises are also renowned for their stress relieving effects!

Massage Therapy

A good massage not only relaxes and relieves muscle pain but is also a highly effective stress reliever! Massage is ideal for dealing with chronic pain.

Products

A trip to your local chemist will provide you with a range of products that are readily available to ease the discomfort of body pain. Topical analgesic creams and muscle relaxants provide tremendous relief for cramps and aching joints. Many doctors recommend the use of anti-inflammatory medication to relieve severe muscle pain. However, this should be used with caution and with the guidance of a doctor due to its slight blood thinning effect.

Holistic Medication

With the increased awareness of chemical and medicinal side effects, more and more people are turning towards holistic alternatives and have found great results! Many people swear by nutritional supplements, TENS therapy and seek relief through Acupuncture and Chiropractors.

If you are concerned about unusual aches and pains, seek advice from your doctor.

The Bad Stuff About Obesity in America

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If you think obesity is on the rise in America, you’re absolutely right!  It’s now known that about 60 million people in the US are obese.  Obesity affects more women than it does men, and women aged between 20 and 74 are those predominantly affected by this epidemic.

And most of them are African American or Mexican American.

That’s according to the statistics anyway – and they are nothing short of alarming.

Obesity in the US has been on the rise since the 1960’s, and it was from this time that the life of the average American got busier.  Much more career focused, busier, less active and more convenience-driven.  That’s also why take away chains are doing such a roaring trade…but look a the incredible cost.

A rise in obesity means increased health problems, which drains our stressed health system.

But, what exactly is obesity?

It’s one thing to be overweight and another thing to be obese.  When one is overweight, it means they are heavier in the muscle, bone, water and fat department.  If one is obese, they have too much fat.  According to health care professionals, to be obese, guys have in excess of 25% body fat, and women have in excess of 30% body fat.  Biologically, women have more body fat than guys.

So that is what is considered to be obese.

And that’s pretty significant.

Obesity is directly linked to lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease – even breast, colon and prostate cancer.  But physical diseases isn’t where it ends.  Obese people tend to suffer more from mental health conditions such as depression, low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence.

Obesity can happen to anybody…but positive change all boils down to willpower

Sure, it’s often the case that obese people come from obese families.  The fact of the matter is though that it can happen to anybody.  You just need to have that lifestyle of eating too much and exercising too little – if at all.  All of these factors are a recipe for obesity.

As scary as the statistics are and the ramifications of obesity, the power is with you to ensure you don’t become obese – or stay obese, if you already are.

Earlier this year, on Good Morning America, we watched how 500 people lost a combined weight of nearly 700 pounds.  That’s astonishing isn’t it?

The five people were Eric Freemyer who lost 130 pounds, Wendi Tillem who lost 124 pounds, Kim Eidson who lost 159 pounds, Marty Moorehead who lost 163 pounds and Ken Shooltz who lost 120 pounds.

They lost weight by using a variety of diets from Aitkins to Dr. Siegal’s Cookie Diet, and exercising.  As great as the weight loss has been though, all five of these people have made the necessary lifestyle changes to keep their weight within the healthy range.

As great as those stories are though…

…some of you guys out there may have tried diets like this, but to no avail.  Perhaps you could not stick with it?

If that’s the case, don’t beat yourself up.  Understand that permanent weight loss is the only weight loss.  There is no point yo-yoing…losing five pounds here, ten there.  You need to achieve a healthy weight and you need to stick to that weight, in order to be healthy.  Lifestyle is the only way.

So before you reach for that next diet shake or order weight loss pills, remember that.  Do you really want to be drinking shakes all your life?  Do you really want to be popping pills?

More often than not, the answer is no.  And that’s a good thing, because lifestyle is the only way.  Adopt a healthy, balanced diet and exercise at least half an hour a day, three days a week.  There really is no other way to do this permanently.

Keep reading my articles to get helpful tips to help you achieve it for yourself – and your family!

Parents ARE the biggest Influencers!

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In the United States, obesity in children is definitely on the rise!  It is now estimated that 1 in 3 American kids are considered either overweight or obese.

It’s shocking isn’t it?  I remember back when I was at school, and it was rare to see a child who was overweight.  All the kids seemed to be really skinny back then, and little wonder.  We ate healthy and instead of sitting in front of a computer playing games, or sitting down playing on the Xbox, we were outside playing cowboys and Indians and running around.

The way kids live has changed and it is reflected in their growing size.

And sadly, if the trend continues, for the first time ever, we will see a younger generation die before their parents – as a normal thing.

So, the question is:

Who is INFLUENCING these kids and making them fat?

The biggest influencers of children are their parents.  And that shouldn’t come as any surprise.  Take a look at American adults and you’ll find that – according to Wikipedia – 64% of adults are overweight or obese, and 26% are obese.  Wikipedia cites the source of those statistics to be “Obesity Statistics: U.S. Obesity Trends” published in 2006.  So the statistics are probably worse now, given the rising rate of obesity.

Parents often, are working fulltime, and it results in them taking shortcuts when it comes to diet.  Instead of cooking healthy foods at home, many parents turn to drive-thru alternatives and poor quality “heat and eat” options from supermarkets. 

And the prevalence of computers, the internet and gaming consoles means kids aren’t playing outside so much anymore.  They are sitting in front of a computer – and often eating junk foods while they’re playing games.  And working parents, who are often time poor – allow their kids to do this.

It makes for a dangerous mix.  A bad diet and sedentary lifestyle.  Put simply: kids are getting old before their time.  And they are getting lifestyle diseases as well – Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems, breathing problems, some cancers – even strokes and heart disease.

Parents are working hard.  Don’t get me wrong.  But they – and their children – are paying for it with their health.

 

How to change things

To change things, parents have to take ownership of the problem.  They need to see themselves as the major influencers of their children, and then take action to change it. 

These things can help:

  • Set aside family time each day to do something active – it only has to be half an hour – and make it fun!
  • Take the time to prepare healthy meals – if you are time poor, try cooking healthy things that you can store in your freezer, and simply heat and eat on busy nights!
  • Keep computer game time to a minimum – set a ceiling limit and encourage your kids to play in the backyard or sign up for a sport.
  • Actively encourage your kids to participate in sports and other active interests – save money on takeaway food and use that money to enlist your kids in a sport that will help them get active.
  • Be active yourself and eat healthy – you are to be an example to your kids.
  • Don’t give your kids unhealthy foods for lunches and snacks – you have to set the rules.

Remember, it may seem like hard work in the beginning, but it only takes 30 days for a new action to become a habit.  So work hard at creating these healthy habits.

Your kids will thank you for it in the future!

Age IS just a number…but Generation Y are old before their time!

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As discussed in the previous articles, the baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – are actually turning back the clock!  They are becoming more youthful as they age, and not letting the year and date on their birth certificates govern the way they live, look and feel.

They are improving their lifestyles and discovering the closest thing to a fountain of youth.

But what about their offspring?  Can the same be said for them?

Sadly, the same can’t be said for the children of the baby boomer generations and their grandchildren.

The fact is…

…The younger generations are old before their time!

The world may be getting faster, and the boomer generation may be getting off the couch and into a healthier lifestyle.  But their children – the Generation X and Y’s aren’t doing enough.  They are experiencing climbing obesity and an increase in lifestyle attributed diseases like heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

More scary still though is the prognosis for Generation Z – children born in the year 2000 and after.

According to Dr. David Katz of the Yale Preventive Medicine Research Centre, “Children born in the year 2000 or later are not expected to outlive their parents.”  He attributed this shocking revelation to poor diet.

Dr. Katz went on to say that a, “poor diet in kids is more dangerous than alcohol, drugs and tobacco combined!”  He quoted this in a Wall Street Journal article in March 2005.

Now, as a personal trainer, I was totally shocked, yet unsurprised by this statement.  Sure, we all know that people really need to lift the quality of their lifestyles, but to be told that our children and grandchildren won’t outlive us is nothing short of confronting.

It’s time for action – no excuses!

If the younger generation dying before their time disturbs you, then it’s time to take action and stop this from happening.

The power is in our hands.  I implore you to do the following and encourage everybody you know to do them as well:

   Reduce your alcohol consumption (if you are of age of course!)

   Stop smoking completely (again, if you are of age)

   Cut down on excessive sleeping or under sleeping. 

   Enjoy a balanced diet

   Exercise for half an hour per day, at least 3 times per week

    Do things for your wellbeing – do things that make you feel happy

    Meditate for 20 minutes each day to refresh and revive

    Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of drive

These are simple things you can start doing today to feel better and increase your longevity.  Do these things and you will notice a difference in how you look and feel – in next to no time!

And remember, you’re actually getting younger when you do this! Make it a habit and really benefit!

Determining your REAL age

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If somebody was to ask you for your age, you would automatically think of the year you were born.  And you would be forgiven for thinking that.  After all, that’s the way the great majority of people determine their age.

But what if I was to tell you that your real age is actually different to that?

Each one of us has a birthday, but we also have a body age.  And the good thing about body age is that we have quite a bit of control over what age it is.

It boils down to our lifestyle!

In determining your true body age, assessments take into consideration how many hours a day you sleep, whether you ride a motorbike to work, if you wear a seatbelt when you are in a car, if you ever drink drive or travel with somebody who does, how many hours per week you exercise, what sort of diet you have, if you grew up in a nuclear family or broken home, if you have a lot of family support, if you are married or single, etc.

All of these things are taken into consideration when it comes to determing your true body age.

Our true body age takes into account the following main areas:

  • Diet;
  • Physical fitness;
  • Health; and
  • Wellbeing.

How to find out your true body age

There are plenty of tests you can take online that will reveal to you your true body age.  I’ve had the pleasure of investigating quite a few of them, and the one I recommend is found at http://realage.com.  The test will probably take you around 20 minutes or so to do from memory, and it will give you a fairly good, indicative body age.

Just answer the questions and submit your answers for the revelation of your body age.

What if I get a disappointing result?

Don’t worry!  Many people get a result that indicates their true body age to be older than their real birthday age.  That’s because so many people need to improve their lifestyles.  They need to improve their diet, lift their physical fitness, address health issues and do things to improve their overall wellbeing.

And the thing is, doing this isn’t really that hard at all.  You have so much more control over your true body age, than you do over your birthday age.  After all, you cannot change the date and year you were born.

Age really is a lifestyle thing at the end of the day.  And by making improvements to your lifestyle,  you really can increase your longevity and hang round a lot longer!

How 60 is the New 50 and 50 is the New 40!

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If you think today’s 60 year olds are looking more 50 than 60, and you think today’s 50 year olds look more 40 than 50, you’d be right!

The baby boomer generation – those people born between the years 1946 and 1964 – are a lot younger than those of generations before them.  And it’s because they are very conscious of living well.  The baby boomers want to enjoy life to the max, and that’s why they embrace things that make them look good and feel good.

And the same goes for doing things that make them appear more youthful.

Let’s focus our attention on…

…Celebrity Boomers!

In recent years, we saw former US Presidents George W Bush and Bill Clinton turn 60.  Actress Demi Moore also turned 47 late last year.  But you simply wouldn’t know it!  Demi looks ever youthful, and the former presidents are hard to keep up with, when it comes to how active they are.

Bush is an active lover of fitness – running on average about three miles, four times each week.  It’s also been noted that he is a routine cross-trainer with an elliptical trainer, free weights and swimming.  In 2001, according to website Doctor Zebra, he could run a mile in about 7-8 minutes.  His own physicians put him in the top 2 per cent of men his own age, when it comes to cardio fitness.  He’s in great shape.

And take a look at Madonna!  She is into her 52nd year and has an incredible fitness and nutrition regime.  She consumes a macrobiotic diet (vegetables and protein-rich foods) and works out not just once a day – but all throughout the day.  Exercise for her may include cycling, swimming or martial arts.  In addition, she practices Ashtanga Yoga and will do Pilates daily as well. 

It’s really hard to believe these celebrities are in fact the ages they are, because they certainly do not look it!

And you don’t have to be a celebrity to make yourself younger!

According to Dr. Robert Butler of the International Longevity Center, there are things we can do today to be more youthful.  He recommends stopping smoking completely, cutting down on alcohol, paying attention to portion control and exercise.

And he knows a thing or two about this, given that he is a doctor, but also because he is now into his 80’s, yet works 60+ hours a week, exercises daily, has a very active family life and still sees patients who insist on seeing him.

“I love what I’m doing and I just can’t imagine being retired,” he was quoted as saying on Agingresearch.org.  “There’s too much to do.”

So if becoming younger is something you’re keen on doing, be sure to read the articles I have coming up.  We’re focusing on ageing and how you can reverse the trend to live your life to the full – no matter what year you were born!