Even before the bird chirps and the sun rises, we see parks and lanes occupied by older adults who are up so early for their morning walks or a jog (fitter elderly people prefer this). This scenario is nothing different from what has been happening since decades but technological improvements and Westernization has brought in the bermuda shorts and the smartphone jacks that enable people to listen to music or talk shows and bring a hint of peppiness and a dash of spirit into their otherwise routine schedule that involves reading the newspaper, meeting friends during their walk, playing with grandchildren (if they are blessed enough to be not thrown away from the house) and eating very small portions of foods. Apart from this, many of the individuals aged above 55 years suffer from a series of health problems right from knee pain (which is present in 1 in 4 women above the age of 55), diabetes and elevated blood pressure levels to heart problems. Some of these individuals’ medicine count is incredible-it crosses double digit numbers!
Many problems are faced by overweight/obese individuals whose weight issues play an important role in affecting their good health. Thirty minutes of exercise in the morning has the capability to lower blood pressure for the rest of the day in those older men and women who are obese/overweight and this is known by all. What we don’t know is the fact that disturbing your continuous sitting routine by taking short and frequent breaks all through the day has the capability to enhance benefits of reduced blood pressure in women to an even greater extent. So, when you sit down to watch your favorite soaps on TV which might continue for hours don’t forget to get up during ads and walk around, bend up and down (even minimally would do) or rotate your wrists and ankles in a standing position to keep your body flexed.
Don’t Sit & Burn but Do Walk & Turn
We’ve seen articles that show that prolonged hours of sitting down negates much effects of exercising in any person and this made a group of researchers curious whether prolonged hours of sitting negated the advantages of exercise in the morning in older adults. Also, they wanted to know whether such morning exercise schedules would add more benefits if those were combined with taking frequent and short breaks in between sitting schedules.
The research included 67 participants of which 35 of them were women. All of them were asked to take part in three different scenarios in any random order with each of the scenarios being separated by a gap of 6 days. The three scenarios were:
Systolic Vs Diastolic: Riskier between the Two
Systolic pressure (the first number) is the pressure in blood vessels that exists when the heart beats and diastolic pressure (the second number) is the pressure that exists between beats. How many of you are aware of the fact that BP numbers were modified in 2017 and are not 120/80 mmHg anymore? Please update yourself on the latest numbers with the help of www.firsteatright.com. According to experts, higher systolic pressure readings above the age of 50 is more predictive of cardiovascular events than diastolic blood pressure. So, this study proves to be extremely beneficial to women encouraging them to take up light activities in between sitting sessions to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Though the research team is surprised over the gender-bias associated with the result their theory is that all women in the study were post-menopausal (time of life during which their risk for any heart disease is at an all-time high) and had difference in adrenaline response.
While the above strategy works good for lowering blood pressure, adopting the exercise-sitting break routine in people at a higher risk for BP and above the age of 55 might prove to be advantageous in controlling and preventing the development of high blood pressure.
After a day’s work out at the gym or tired from your morning hectic work there is every chance that your heart goes out for the chilled energy drink that’s ready to beguile you with its refreshing taste and false promises. Energy drinks are extremely popular today especially among teenagers and young adults who rely upon it as their lifeline to energy. These individuals owe their gratitude to these drinks considering it as a dietary supplement which has no side effects but only positive impact on the body. The marketers of these products too are clever indeed! They book reputed celebrities and powerful people to advertise their product promising improved concentration, physical performance and decreased fatigue while ensuring that its disadvantages are out of focus.
Energy drinks contain a large proportion of sugar, caffeine, taurine, amino acids and may/may not be carbonated. Promoted as health supplements that provide instant energy, muscle strength and endurance there are no scientific studies that support these advantages but there do exist many of them that enlist numerous disadvantages of drinking these beverages. Studies have proved that when these drinks contain ingredients apart from caffeine it makes them extremely dangerous and hazardous. Someone who consumes such energy drinks frequently is at an increased risk of cardiac problems such as heart attacks, arrhythmias and mind-related changes such as anxiety and phobias.
Drink Your Way to Heart Attack
Researchers, curious to know how energy drinks affected the heart, enrolled 34 adults aged between 18 and 40 years in their study. This study was published in the renowned Journal of the American Heart Association and conducted in the US. Though there were only 34 people involved, this is the largest control study of the effect of energy drinks on the heart.
All the participants consumed two 16-ounce bottles of one of two energy drinks or placebo that was filled with lime juice, carbonated water and cherry flavoring for three days. It was a double-blinded study which gave no chances of one-sided conclusions as both, the participants and the researchers were unaware of who drank which product. Researchers measured the electrical activity of the participants’ heart using an electrocardiogram and blood pressure too every 30 minutes for a period of 4 hours. This activity measures the time taken by the lower chambers of the heart to prepare to generate a beat again. When the time interval is too short or too long, there are chances of an abnormal heartbeat putting the individual at a risk of arrhythmia that can lead to life-threatening consequences.
Results showed that those who consumed energy drinks displayed higher heartbeat intervals at four hours in comparison to those who consumed a placebo. The systolic and diastolic blood pressure rates also displayed higher ranges in these individuals. Researchers became sure that the effect was highly above what caffeine alone might cause. But further research is needed to find out the list of ingredients that might play vital roles in causing these effects in energy drinks. Energy drinks normally have around 300 mg of caffeine per 32 ounces and anything under 400 mg does not cause electrocardiographic changes. Drinking between three and five 8-ounce coffee cups a day amounts to the accepted 400 milligrams of caffeine. This once again clearly proves that caffeine is not a problem when its consumed below its acceptable ranges and it’s the other ingredients that’s doing all the dirty trick. Consuming more than the recommended amounts of caffeine too causes side effects which are explained in detail at www.firsteatright.com.
Hence, people, especially youngsters and those suffering from health conditions, should stay cautious, avoid consuming energy drinks frequently and choose healthier options instead to stay active and energetic. Healthcare professionals must also advise their heart patients, those with high blood pressure and other patients as well against consuming energy drinks for their own health benefits.
Reaching half century might be a reason for celebration in the game of cricket but not a joy for many in real life. Greying hair, appearance of crow’s feet, menopause troubles (for women), diminishing eye sight and declining charm are not the only troubles you face once you enter your 50s. There are even more complicated ones that can put your total body metabolism and physical health to a toss, such as increase in weight.
Its not surprising to see individuals in their 20s, 30s or 40s struggle to shed off extra kilograms juggling between exercise sessions, diet plans and detox drinks in a desperate attempt to lose weight. It doesn’t make sense when someone in his/her 50s tries to compete with people belonging to a younger age group as it is a complete waste of time. ‘The going gets tough when the age gets going’ cannot be truer as shedding away those extra flabs and weight around your waistline becomes close to impossible.
How to Lose Weight After You Cross 50
There is no denial that we reach our peak bone mass by the age of 30 and we all manage the rest of our lives with the stored-up bone density. Age also decreases muscle mass and physical activity levels-two primary reasons for increased weight gain after 50. American College of Sports Medicine puts each of us in a shock mode by revealing that our bodies experience a 5-10% decline in muscle mass every decade after the age of 50 because of which resting metabolic rates decline by around 2-3% every decade. This means that you might be eating the same quantity of food as in your 40s and still gain weight. This almost answers all of our doubts regarding increased weight gain as we age.
Humans love to stay active and go about doing their activities. We consciously don’t decrease our activity levels just because we grow old. Age does it in most people’s cases due to different reasons-some suffer from arthritis/joint pain while few others start devoting less time for physical activity and move around less often. This decreases muscle activity thereby causing muscle loss.
Remember, nothing is impossible to a willing heart. All you need is that extra push and effort to help you stay on track. Simple changes mentioned here can help you go a long way towards good health:
Strength Training: Walking might be the best activity suitable for people across different age groups. But one must combine it with at least two days of strength training to build muscle mass and lose weight. Cardio exercises help you burn fat, but muscle building involves resistance training. Either do lighter weights with more reps or heavy weights with decreased number of reps. There are reports showing the advantages of lifting weights only twice a week-it helps to gain around 1.4 kilograms of muscle mass.
Power-pack your Protein Routine
Youngsters, especially guys crave for protein-rich food during their teenage years and well into their 20s or 30s to build muscles after which your craze diminishes. Reputed nutritionists and dietitians recommend adults over the age of 50 to at least consume 30-40% of their daily calorie intake from proteins. Sadly, not even half of the requirement is fulfilled by those over 50 years. It works much better when the protein consumed is dispersed evenly throughout the day. Latest studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that eating equal quantities of protein during every meal is linked to increased muscle mass in people over the age of 67. Don’t forget your eggs for breakfast, munch on a handful of nuts for lunch and add some protein-rich curry/milk during dinner.
Dine out Less Frequently
People over 50 years eat out frequently due to absence of restrictions in the form of children (kids go out for higher studies or are married off) whose presence compels them to prepare food at home and feel like ordering good food every now and then. They consume high-calorie, processed foods and eat out to their heart’s content thus increasing daily calorie values. It is advisable to rely on home-cooked food to keep your waistline in check.
Add Fat, Only the Good Ones
Weight loss is more about what you eat compared to what you do. Forget about eating the same way in your 50s as you did in your 20s and 30s. Stay clear of junk food. Eat foods rich in proteins, whole grains, fruits, veggies and ‘good’ fat. Get the complete list of foods that are high in ‘good’ fat from the website www.firsteatright.com. Substitute your oily samosas and kachoris with yummy fruits and veggies. These little changes to your diet can go a long way towards improving your overall health.
Our life is indeed cruel. In our teenage years and as younger adults, we feel like sleeping for hours together but lack of time curbs us of our sleeping beauty pleasures whereas after 50 years we have ample time but are unable to sleep. Research shows that overweight/obese people get less sleep comparatively. This lack of sleep increases the production of hunger hormone ghrelin which makes an individual eat more. One must also diligently follow similar sleep routines every night. Go to sleep and get up at roughly the same time every day. This sets your circadian rhythm and your body is disciplined to avoid any more chances of becoming obese/overweight.
Colors make our life colorful, every color has a mood attached to it, the splash of colors across the wall adds beauty and creativity to the place and above all, bring in elegance and warmth to our abode. Hospitals walls are white, school walls are multi-colored, gyms are given combination colors and restaurants follow a theme! Homes too are painted according to the individual’s taste and preferences-maybe a pattern on one wall with plain colors on other three walls to make the room look different yet smart. We decide upon the age of a building mostly by the look that it wears and this look is based on the painting of the structure. Even a 20-year-old apartment seems to be bright and gay when its repainted! We like to repaint the walls and structure so very often to maintain the newness of the place and keep it in good condition. Most paint their buildings at least once in 5 years while there are some who have never painted it in more than a decade. In Western countries every individual takes responsibility for his/her place and does every task possible-right from gardening to painting their house. They involve kids too in most of these chores and hence, have an attic or a basement where all the stuff related to these chores are stored. Anywhere around the world people do have leftover paint cans, brushes and turpentine to ease out the process when need occurs immediately. But, the chemicals in paints pose a serious threat to our health and there are chances for debilitating effects on our well-being too.
The Smell of Paint
Some feel dizzy while entering a newly painted house, some other cough and a few others’ eyes start to water. There is a pungent smell that fills the room when we enter painted houses and its recommended to stay off the house for a couple of days until the smell diminishes and things return to normalcy. It’s especially true in the case of children who cannot adjust to such conditions many times and are at an increased risk of falling sick. A sick child is the last thing that we wish and the latest research would surely discourage many of us to even think about repainting the house. A study published in a journal shows that women exposed to common paint chemicals at work were likelier to give birth to children with autism spectrum disorder-more the exposure to these chemicals, higher was the risk of the disease despite taking into account many autism-related factors such as smoking history, alcohol consumption levels and the mother’s age at the time of giving birth. We already have older studies that have shown a link between paint chemicals and autism but this present study is not a green signal to confirm that painting chemicals are sure shot classifiers of autism though evidences do point in that direction.
Many oil-based paints contain benzene in ample quantities which is a carcinogenic agent that’s also present in glue, markers, vehicle exhaust and pesticides. Don’t worry! All of us are exposed to vehicle exhausts, use glue to make our beautiful craft activities and kids too use glue for sticking and pasting. This doesn’t mean that all of us are going to be affected by cancer some other day. The dangers are high only when the exposure is for a prolonged time and at higher quantities. At the same time, spending your night inside a locked newly painted house or one that lacks sufficient ventilation is a big threat indeed. So, how about people who work in paint and chemical industries? They are definitely at a higher risk of exposure to benzene-a class of chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Volatile Organic Compounds
VOCs can cause harmful effects on our health such as irritate our eyes, nose and throat, cause breathing difficulty, nausea, cancer and can even cause damage to the central nervous system. Pregnant women exposed to these compounds are at an increased risk of giving birth to low birth weight infants who suffer from learning disabilities owing to such weight changes. These VOCs are found in various things right from air fresheners, cosmetics, furniture and carpets to varnishes, dry-cleaned clothes, office printers, wood burning and gasoline. Avoid using products containing VOCs as much as possible and if you are using them ensure that the product contains tags such as ‘Low VOC content’ and dispose off the product once your job is finished. Never leave them in your garage or basement as this can lead to disastrous side effects. There have been new batches of paints released that state ‘zero VOC’ claims yet these too release chemical gases that are harmful.
Paints are also strong sources of lead whose exposure can once again affect children’s development, retard growth and cause damage to the central nervous system. Its lead that gives paint its color and texture thereby amounting to about 70% of a can of paint. When such paints are used to prepare kids toys and furniture there is a great possibility that the kids chew on these toys taking in small quantities of lead into their body. This can lead to convulsion and even death sometimes in kids. While the recommended lead limits are 90 ppm for household paints its been found that one of the paints manufactured contained unrealistic amounts of lead-as much as 74,200 ppm which is toxic beyond words (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/over-73-of-paints-found-to-have-excessive-lead-study/articleshow/61334283.cms).
Paints are harmful and toxic to all of us especially, pregnant women, young kids and older people. We cannot refrain from painting but all we can do is to ensure that the painted place is well-ventilated and airy. Nowadays we have multiple options in the form of zero VOC paints and low-chemical paints and it’s better to make use of them to stay away from harmful side effects.
Paint Stripper Chemical Methylene Chloride Poses Risk of Cancer: https://cen.acs.org/articles/92/web/2014/08/Paint-Stripper-Chemical-Methylene-Chloride.html
Are Paint Fumes a Health Concern? https://time.com/5619823/paint-fumes-harmful-research/
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
+91 7846 800 800
Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.