Archive for June, 2010
The 3 Bad Habits You Must Avoid to Stay Young Longer!
1) Smoking: Smoking accelerates the accumulation of calcium and fat deposits in the arteries and capillaries. It reduces the body’s ability to carry blood by replacing the hemoglobin with a mutated form that binds better to carbon monoxide, as opposed to oxygen.
Aging significantly affects our lungs’ ability to acquire oxygenated air, and since the heart’s ventricular capacity to store blood is also diminished with age, smoking can dramatically accelerate the effects of aging. Smoking sometimes mimics the aging process by dehydrating the skin and increasing the appearance of pores and fine lines.
2) Drinking Alcohol: Drinking increases our cells’ ability to bind to fat, increasing deposits in arteries and veins. It also affects our liver, disintegrating its surface and causing scar tissue to replace these parts. Liver cirrosis occurs after a significant amount of scar tissue forms on the surface of the liver, preventing it from effecting its cleansing job correctly.
The formation of connective and scar tissue on our organs is a natural process that is also brought on by age. As drinking severely increases scar tissue production around the liver and dehydration of tissues, this habit will undoubtedly accelerate the aging process.
3) Sedentary Lifestyle: Exercise has been proven to be a wonderful way to maintain healthy function of the body. It aids in the balancing of electrolytes and hormones within the body, enhances our resilience to stress, and improves our mood with its production of endorphins.
Exercise also maintains muscular and neural function, activating neural synapses regularly and building an important muscle memory. Maintaining muscle memory is essential to slowing down aging. If muscles are not used regularly, the connections between the nerves and myofibers within the muscles are lost. This causes a lack of response to stimuli, eventually resulting in the premature death of unused myofiber cells composing the muscle.
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How Do We Age?
Aging affects every inch of our bodies. Aging is a slow deterioration of cells, which takes a toll on our vital organs, functions, bodily tissues, and brain.
Aside from its physical effects, aging also affects our emotions, which are shaped by years of responding to stimuli in specific ways.
The aging body goes through a series of changes that have direct impact on how it will later function. As we age, the
main organic changes are a follows:
(1) Vessels’ blood carrying volume is reduced, due to calcification and collagen deposits in veins, arteries, and capillaries feeding the entire
body. Blood flow is thereby reduced, along with the oxygenation of bodily tissues.
(2) The heart’s blood-pumping chambers gather layers of connective tissue that diminish its capacity and holding volume. Blood flow is also reduced and oxygenation diminished.
(3) Lungs lose the elastic recoil that allow for the proper exchange of oxygenated and deoxygenated air. As a result, air remains in the bottom of the lungs, diminishing the amount of oxygen entering the blood. The tissues within the lungs also loose their functioning ability, reducing the amount of available oxygen even further.
(4) The digestive tract loses its readiness to absorb nutrients and becomes blocked with the growth of intestinal flora and yeasts that prevent proper absorption.
(5) The neurons in the brain die over the years, and nerve connections become less and less functional. Electric synapses between nerves and neurons are reduced and the response to stimuli is delayed.
(6) The skin’s ability to stretch and flex is significantly inhibited in air of the physical changes that take place within its layers. Suffering dehydration and diminished production of collagen and elastin, the skin is
more prone to sagging and wrinkling, acquiring a dull appearance and roughening in texture.
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Ahhh, the matter of aging. How can we understand this unstoppable demon that attacks us inside out? How can we accept this fatality?
Just the thought of aging can make anyone stop on their tracks. Although we were always told that “one day we will also grow old,” as teenagers we couldn’t help but think that we had all the time in the world.
But it’s true; we are starting to age. How can we ignore the creases around our eyes? Or our youthful complexion and tone fading away? It’s hard not to think of how aging will affect us in the long run, and if we are, in fact, prepared for its effects.
But aging doesn’t have to be as scary and unpredictable as it seems. In fact, with a bit of knowledge and guidelines, facing the changes brought on by aging can be quite easy.
Because aging affects the body inside and out, it is important to understand our bodies, including how they work and what they are made of. An intricate process in itself, aging affects every single one of our organs. To shake the unpredictability of this process, thorough knowledge of the structure and function of our organs is the first step.
In this article series, we will address the way aging affects each individual organ, and we will also go over the structure and function of that organ. Once we’ve gone through the essentials, you will know exactly
what to expect.
Aging is an inevitable process that we are all bound to go through eventually. Because of its way of limiting our bodies and minds, getting old can be perceived negatively. But remember that with age also comes knowledge, understanding, and wisdom – three aspects of life we all pursue, but that can only be mastered with old age.
Stay tuned to better understand aging as it comes. The more you learn about it, the more you will be able to enjoy your achievements and wisdom without having to wonder what’s next.
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What We Will Cover in Following Article Series
Aging is a broad topic. Covering all the bases will take time and patience. In this series of articles, we have compiled everything that you need to know about aging, preserving your body, and understanding the effects of age.
As we unveil each individual aspect of aging, we will discuss the human body in immense detail. Aging is a very intricate process that targets the body not only on the surface but in its depths. Understanding the functions that make up the body is imperative to fully comprehending the effects of aging.
You will find quick anatomy lessons of each part of the body, followed by a detailed explanation of how that organ or tissue is affected with age. The more we learn about how each organ becomes modified with the changes associated with aging, the better we will comprehend how age will affect other systems, organs, and body parts.
Aside from the physical aspects of aging, we will discuss the emotional roller-coaster that aging brings. We will address important topics like death-perception, creativity, and sexual interest, so as to increase your awareness of what to expect as you age.
Within this article series you will also learn about essential vitamins, minerals, and food supplements to replace the depletion of nutrients that is associated with old age. We have also compiled a list of suitable anti-aging herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine or Ayurveda.
As we conclude our series, you will have learned everything you need to about aging and how to fight the effects brought on by this condition. It is quite a relief to finally get a grasp on such a mystical, unknown, and sometimes frightening aspect of life. Fear no more. Stay tuned for future articles and stop wondering what age will bring along next.
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What is Aging?
Even though it is a natural process that we will all eventually face, aging is a mysterious phenomenon that can only be truly understood if its experienced. Because of the infinite organic changes that place in the body during aging, it’s hard to pinpoint aging as one, unique event.
Like all organic substances, a shelf life is assigned to every living creature. Just like food can go bad overtime, so is the case of the human body. You can store cereal for over a year - its shelf life. Store it incorrectly however, and its shelf life will be reduced. Whether the cereal is stored properly or improperly, its taste and texture will change as time goes by.
Why is this?
The cereal, like the human body can exist under specific conditions. After its shelf-life reaches a certain point, the cereal’s composition changes. If it is not protected while in storage, it can turn foul before its assigned shelf-life is over.
The human body was deigned to endure over 100 years of life. Nevertheless, specific lifestyles can seriously modify the true life expectancy of a human being. Today, humans’ life expectancy averages around 75 years of age. The difference lies in the effects of the world we live in today, which is filled with chemicals, pollutants, preservatives, and other synthetic products that alter our body’s endurance and life span.
Aside from the detrimental effects of common environmental factors, aging is also ruled by genetic factors passed down by generations of family history. Hereditary traits play a crucial role in how an individual will age, and they are especially important after the age of 30, which is when the aging process beings to take place. At this time, hereditary traits are more likely to develop as the body’s preparation is reduced. In air of reduced immune function, disorders can develop more readily.
To simplify the definition of aging, it’s a phenomenon occurs in our bodies as soon as we stop developing, and it increases exponentially as time goes by. Aging consists mainly of the deterioration of body tissues as a result of wear and tear on the body throughout the years. While everyone ages differently, the effects of aging are the same in all of us. To best preserve our bodies, it’s all about identifying how we are aging so as to tackle our aging weaknesses.
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Laughter Delays Aging
Just living longer is the goal of many, but living longer and enjoying it should be the goal. Laughter can help to live longer joyfully. The health benefits (physical, mental, and emotional) of real laughter are only now being discovered. Most people instinctively know that you can relieve a tense situation with laughter, but they probably don’t realize how healthy that laughter really is.
Remember when then President Reagan asked the doctor who was about to operate on him after an assignation attempt if he was a Democrat or a Republican? That was an attempt at using laughter to relieve a tense situation, and it worked.
Stress will kill you, and laughter relieves stress. Laughter is a powerful way to improve the mental state, and only recently has the scientific community begun to recognize the value of laughter and why it works.
Dr. Lee Berk and Dr. Stanley Tan, both of Loma Linda University in California, have recently been studying the effects of laughter on the immune system. So far, their studies have shown that laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases muscle flexion, and raises levels of infection-fighting T-cells, which give the immune system a boost, and disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells, which produce disease-destroying antibodies. Laughter also causes the release of endorphins, which are the natural painkillers that cause a general sense of well-being.
Laughing is an aerobic exercise that provides a workout for the diaphragm, and this increases the body’s ability to use oxygen that speeds up the flow of the natural chemicals.
And it’s not just laughter, either, the anticipation of laughter gives a boost to the immune system and reduces stress. Just knowing that you are about to be entertained or about to have a good laugh reduces levels of stress hormones in the blood and increases levels of chemicals known to aid relaxation.
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Senior Political Power
The candidates know it. They know that senior citizens vote. Younger people might attend the rallies and make a lot of noise, but when it comes to Election Day, those younger people might have something else that they would rather do than stand in line to vote, but senior citizens do vote.
The younger people are busy. They are out there working at full-time jobs and raising families. Older people are watching CNN and reading the newspapers and news magazines. Older people do know what is going on in the political arena, and they DO vote. Why do you think that Social Security and Medicare are considered “sacred cows” by politicians?
The AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) organization has a huge presence in Washington. The AARP lobby group is one of the largest and because politicians know that older Americans DO vote, the AARP lobby is very powerful. There are hundreds, and maybe thousands, of other groups and organizations out there that are made up of senior citizens who want to have a voice in government.
When “political” season hits America, the candidates are out there traveling from coast to coast and clogging the airwaves with their messages about their positions on topics that all Americans care about. But the ONE thing that every candidate agrees with every other candidate about is that Social Security and Medicare are topics that seniors care about, and seniors DO vote.
The “powers that be” have made it easier for older Americans to vote. Many senior citizens vote by mail now. They ask for and receive a ballot by mail, and they mark their ballot and return it by mail. Of all age groups, seniors have the largest voter turnout than any other! Seniors DO vote!
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Education for Seniors
As our bodies are growing and maturing from birth to maturity, they are getting better and stronger. After our bodies reach maturity, they begin to decline. That’s just the law of nature. But the mind is different. The mind also matures beginning at birth, but there is no point at which it reaches maturity and begins to decline, unless we allow that to happen or some awful disease sneaks up on us. As a matter of fact, there is absolutely no physical reason why we can’t get continue to learn new things all of our lives.
There was a time, not so very long ago, when the scientific community believed that the brain, like the rest of the human body, declined with age. The brain, so the thinking went, was “hardwired” in youth and then began losing neurons without replacing them. Recent studies, however, contradict this conclusion. The brain, it seems, is a much more dynamic organ than was once believed.
In other words, when it comes to the human brain, you really CAN teach an old dog new tricks. It seems that the educational community has been listening, too. Schools and colleges everywhere now have what they call “continuing education” programs that are really aimed at seniors. And the Internet simply abounds with all kinds of educational programs that seniors can participate in from the comfort of their own homes.
The fact is that by learning new things, we can help our brains to continue to grow and gain functionality rather than decline and lose functionality. Exercise helps the body and exercise also helps the brain. Sign up for a continuing education class at your local college, or sign up for an online course about anything that you might be interested in. Get those brain cells out and give them some exercise!
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It really isn’t all that amazing, but people who DO things are happier than people who DON’T do things. It is so easy when we become senior citizens to just sit down, stop participating in life and stop enjoying things that we’ve always enjoyed. It might be easier to stop, but it isn’t smarter to stop.
Scientists used to think that the brain aged and declined just like the rest of the human body, but new studies show that that isn’t at all true. New studies show that if we keep our brains active, as old neurons die they are replaced with new ones. The brain is dynamic, and if we keep it busy and active, it just gets better and better all of our lives.
Hobbies that bring a smile to your face and put joy in your heart can also keep your brain young and vital. Watching television is good. I like some television, but watching television is not a hobby. Watching television simply provides a diversion; it doesn’t make you think.
There are many hobbies that older people can enjoy. There are hobbies that don’t require physical dexterity or ability. I would never suggest that a senior citizen take up basketball or any other physical sport, but I might suggest that they take up virtual basketball, virtual football, tennis, or even golf. There are games all over the Internet that require using the brain to win.
Simply attempting to work the crossword puzzle in the daily newspaper can be a brain-challenging hobby, and there are millions of crossword puzzle books and online crossword puzzles.
So watch a little TV if you want to, but then turn it off and read a book or work a crossword or word-search puzzle. Or put a jigsaw puzzle together, or learn to knit or crochet. Take up a hobby and participate!
See you next time,
Aging and Stress
Stress will kill you! Stress will also make you look and feel older than you are. Stress is like an octopus with arms reaching out to invade and disrupt every aspect of life, work, friendships, and family relationships. Stress affects us both externally as well as internally.
Stress added 10 years of aging (both external and internal) to women with high stress levels, according to a study at the University of California in November 2004. These women were the mothers and care-givers of chronically ill children, so their stress levels were very high. Most of us aren’t in that position, but the study did show that stress will cause appearance of age to the external body and the deterioration that age brings to the internal body. Stress really will kill you.
There are basically four categories of stress. You need to which one(s) is causing your stress before you know how to deal with the stress. The four kinds of stress are:
1. Survival Stress: This is the “fight or flight” response that all of us have when are faced with imminent danger to ourselves or to a loved one. There is nothing you could or would want to do about survival stress. It’s a natural self-protective response that helps to keep us safe.
2. Internal Stress: This is the stress that we feel when we really are “doing it to ourselves” ó when we worry about things that we have no control over or even go out and intentionally put ourselves into what we know will be a stressful situation.
3. Environmental Stress: This is the opposite of internal stress. Environmental stress is caused by such things as pressure at work or school, excessive noise, crowded rooms, etc.
4. Fatigue and Overwork Stress: This stress is caused by working too long or too hard without proper rest or time out to rest and relax.
There are many ways to relieve stress, exercise, meditation, long relaxing baths, reading, etc. Meditation is an excellent method to relieve both physical and mental stress. Start with you being good to yourself. Handle stressful situations as they occur. Get the required rest and eat a healthy diet.
See you next time,