Jenson Mak | Vitality & Healthy Ageing Blog

Dr. Jenson Mak covers the best of living a vital and healthy life at any age.

Author: Jenson Mak (Page 1 of 5)

Jenson Mak Running Habits

3 Running Habits to Break (Or Avoid If You’re Just Starting)

As I continue my journey of discovery in the running world community I have begun to understand how the exercise treats our bodies. Many people are born with the body types to run long distances while many have to work their way to feeling comfortable while running. There have been many lessons that I have already learned about myself during my training and continue to find habits that are often hard to break. Here are some of the more common running habits to break or avoid if you are able.

 

  • Starting Out Harsh
    • Those who are new or returning to running after an injury often test themselves by seeing how far and long they are able to go. This is a common practice and is one that should be avoided at all costs. Having not exercised at an excruciating extend allows your muscles to take a break and relax. If you push your body too hard, you risk a new or reoccurring injury down the line. I highlighted the Couch to 5K app in my last blog. This app can be a great tool for new and injured runners to experiment with in the beginning.

 

 

  • Sleep
    • Getting a full night sleep is one of the most important thing a runner can do for their bodies. Runners who chose to complete their workout at night often find themselves with bursts of energy afterward. This can lead to lack of sleep and staying up later. Your full body is working during a run and giving it the rest it deserves is extremely important. Try running earlier in the day or forcing yourself to unwind through meditation after a late night run.

 

 

  • Form
    • This one often gets forgotten about but the way you run has a major impact on the way your body handles the pressure. First, you should never be looking down at your feet while you run. Keeping your head straight forward helps oxygen properly flow. Additionally swinging your arms in front of you and clenching your fists can make for more work on your body.

 

These three habits are ones that many runners encounter during their time partaking in the exercise. There are many more aspects of running that may be hurting the your body but we can save those for another day. Keep in mind these habits and try to break the next time you hit the road.

Jenson Mak Running Apps

2 of the Best Running Apps for Beginners

If you’ve read some of my more recent blog posts, you’ll have noticed that running has become a huge part of my life. Having transitioned from not being able to finish a few miles to now running half marathons, my eyes have opened to the wonders of exercise. My hope is that through my journey I have inspired someone else to pick up the past time. If you are new to running, there are plenty of tools out there to help guide you towards a successful path. Here are a few of my favorite apps for beginner runners.

 

Couch to 5K

 

This app is great for runners of any level of experience. Even if you are already an avid runner but decide you want to start doing races, Couch to 5k can help. The app helps to gradually build runners up to running long distances. The program is set up so that over a few weeks span you can build up your tolerance and endurance. The prompts on the app will have you run for spans of no more than 2 minutes in the beginning. The intervals of running and walking help to get newcomers, at an activity level that best suits their personal fitness. Since being developed the Couch to 5K app has be adapted into variations for 10K, half, and full marathons.

 

RunGo

 

When first starting out on your running endeavor, you may only be comfortable running one route. For many of us, running the same course can become tedious and boring. Fortunately, the creative minds at RunGo have developed a way for you to find new running courses anywhere you go. With over 40,000 different routes, this app makes running a new adventure each and every time. With voice navigation at each turn, this user-friendly experience has the potential to make every run feel like a new endeavor. As an added bonus you can create your own route and the app will guide you along your desired path.

 

While there are thousands of fitness apps out there, it is important that beginners take the time to understand their fitness goals. Couch to 5K and RunGo are great places for anyone to start. With their unique techniques for making running more enjoyable, anyone can have the ability to prepare for the next local race in their area!

 

Jenson Mak healthy Ageing Month

It’s Healthy Ageing Month!

As a specialist in healthy ageing, I know that it is important to always be aware of what your are doing to better your body as the years go by. Many people are unaware of the harmful things that they do, everyday, which neglects them from ageing in a healthy manner. As any good cause does, a month of awareness has been designated to healthy ageing and it just so happens to be September! While most of the world is wrapping up their summer, over in Australia ours is only beginning. Regardless of where you are in the world, it is important that you consider taking strides towards ageing gracefully.

If you’ve followed this blog from the beginning, you’ll know that there are many crucial aspects of ageing in a healthy manner. In honor of healthy ageing month, I wanted to round up some of the most important subjects that I have touched upon in the past. I hope this also helps some new viewers to gain insight as to what my blog has to offer!

Healthy Ageing and Diet

When it comes down to health, in general, diet is something that remains consistent across the board. No matter what health issue you have in your life, a well-balanced and thought out eating regimen is never hurtful. When it comes to healthy ageing there are so many aspects of our diet that can be altered. Certain foods can actually help the process of ageing, while others can hinder. My two part blog series about such foods and beverages, guides readers towards the best and worst options when it comes to healthy ageing. In addition, the power behind superfoods is important for people of all ages to understand. Everyone should be incorporating these foods into their diet on a daily basis

Exercise and Ageing

Food may be the main factor behind a healthy lifestyle but exercise can also dramatically lengthen a person’s life expectancy. Certain exercises such as yoga use gentle movement to boost flexibility and wellness. Some of you have learned that running has become a major part of my life. I hope that my journey can help others discover that getting fit at any age is possible.

In addition to all of the lifestyle changes that we make to remain healthy, some of the best things you can do for yourself happen in your senior years. We can spend our whole lives working out and eating well but the true test comes after retirement. Keeping our minds sharp and social abilities up to par are crucial for living a long life. I wrote about some examples of working after retirement that can help keep elders feeling young and involved. Of course, it is always important to have fun, stay young and energized, even when you’re 80!

Jenson Mak Running

Running is the Best Medicine

You’ve likely heard the phrase that exercise is the best medicine. This statement is beyond true! There are countless benefits for the body and mind that come from getting your heart pumping. I have recently taken up running and the results that I have seen in myself are incredible. From someone who could barely run 1 kilometer to now having completed 3 half marathons I have never felt more in shape and active. For those like me who have limited experience in running there are useful tools such as the Couch to 5K app to help get your new hobby started. Minimal skill is required to take up the activity and it can pose so many benefits to your health.

 

During my running endeavors I have found many ways that running benefits all aspects of my health. Many people experience a feeling of enlightenment or happiness while they are running. As all exercise is, running is a great stress reliever. A number of studies have been conducted on the theory and the results have proved how beneficial even 30 minutes of exercise can be towards your mental health.

 

In addition to mental benefits, the physical benefits of running stretch beyond just getting in shape. Running is one of the few exercises that allows your body to continue burning calories after the activity is complete. The activity is also known to keep us youthful as we age. As someone who didn’t start their running career until later in life I can definitely attest to the fact that running makes us feel younger. Not only are there physical benefits to running as we age, but mentally, the sport reduces the risk of mental decline caused by ageing. Those who have already suffered from serious illnesses such as cancers or stroke have added years onto their lives by running post-recovery.

 

Whether you’ve been an avid runner your whole life or you are just finding your passion for it, know that you are truly helping your mind and body by getting out there. There are so many useful tools to help keep runners on track and help build you up to running any length race you desire. Who knows, maybe you will be beside me for the next half marathon!

coconut-oil-on-wooden-spoon-2090580_960_720

Coconut Oil Craze

Over the years we have seen various amounts of trends in regards to health, wellness, and beauty. Most often, these trends have little to do with one another and require their own regiment. However, a recent product has becoming growing in popularity and it happens to help people in more than one aspect of their well-being. Coconut oil has been around for many years as a cooking alternative but many people didn’t realize how truly beneficial the natural oil is for our overall health.

 

Skin and Hair Care

Using coconut oil as a skin care product is one of the more recently discovered benefits of the item. People use the oil as a substitute for moisturizer. As a natural oil there is a low probability that the coconut oil will cause any adverse effects on the skin. The oil has been known to help with wrinkle prevention and smoothing, a great factor to consider for those wanting to focus on healthy ageing. The antioxidants in the oil help to prevent any degenerative diseases which are often caused by premature ageing. In addition to the benefits coconut oil provides for the skin, it is also highly rated as a hair care product. The oil assists in restoring damages to hair while also giving it a shiny factor.

 

Health Benefits

From its origins of popularity, coconut oil has mostly been used in cooking situations. While your external appearance is heightened by the oil, your insides will also be thanking you for providing it with coconut oil. There are many different reasons why coconut oil is something to include in your recipes but one of the most important is its help in maintaining a healthy diet. In women, particularly, coconut oil has been known to reduce abdominal obesity. The fatty acids within coconut oil help to lose and maintain weight at a healthy level. Some of the other acids that are found in coconut oil have proven their ability to strengthen our immune systems. The fewer calories in coconut oil has made it an essential part of athletes and fitness fans everyday life.

best-healthy-drinks

Best and Worst Food For Ageing: Part 2

Food is one of the most important aspects of our lives. Without it, we don’t survive. If you’ve already ready the first installment of this blog, great, you are already on track to keeping yourself youthful. For those new to the blog, welcome! In hopes of shedding light onto the importance of healthy ageing, this blog gives insight into the best and worst foods in support of the ageing process. This blog will focus on some of the liquids and drinks that most affect the aging process. Take a look at a few of the best and worst contenders.

 

Drink Sparingly

 

Alcohol

While drinking red wine in moderation may prove to be heart healthy, overconsumption of alcohol can hinder a graceful ageing process. Consuming more than one “standard” drink a day, can leave lasting effects on your skin and the rest of your body. Alcohol is an inducer of rosacea, which eventually vanishes. However, over time, multiple rosacea episodes can lead to permanent enlargement of the blood vessels allowing thread veins to show up on the skin. Those who frequently consume alcohol are likely to notice their skin drying and dehydrating more frequently. Many of these beverages contain high levels of sugar which damage the collagen in the skin, causing rapid ageing for many.

 

Soda

It is common knowledge that soda is not the best choice when it comes to a healthy drink. The artificial sweeteners and sugar levels are damaging to the inside and outside of the human body. A study conducted at UCSF showed that daily soda intake can age your cells up to two years at a time. This statistic shows that soda consumption almost as damaging to ageing as smoking does. Not only do the harmful chemicals in soda break down collagen, it also causes damage internally, leading to higher risks of heart attacks and diabetes. A great way to still get the soda bubbly effect is to mix sparkling water with a pure juice!

 

Drink Up!

 

Green Tea

One of nature’s greatest gifts is the benefits that many of the plants provide. Tea, is one of the healthiest drinks out there. There are many reasons people should switch from coffee to tea, one of the being its ability to help the ageing process. Green tea, in particular, is an excellent, natural anti-inflammatory. The polyphenols in green tea, help to fight off any cell damage the body is entailing. Other teas, such a white tea, have proven their anti-ageing abilities by slowing down the breakdown of collagen and elastin. This gives the skin a better chance at remaining wrinkle-free and not swollen.

 

Soymilk

While normal milk definitely has its anti-ageing qualities, soy milk flourishes when it comes to keeping you youthful looking. Soy milk contains isoflavones, which contains skin-firming collagen. Researchers believe that the isoflavones also prevent wrinkles. A study showed that subjects exposed to UV lighting after consuming isoflavones possessed smoother skin than those without consumption. Soy milk becomes yet another great resource to prevent that inevitable breakdown of collagen!

Jenson Mak Half Marathon

Running for a Cause

 

Giving back is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can pursue. Being able to help one another while also benefiting you is an encounter very few will have in their lifetime. I was fortunate enough to partake in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) Half Marathon a few weeks ago. Although the training part was a major facet of the race, being able to help raise money for a charity so close to my heart was the most gratifying part.

 

Prior to starting my race training, I was barely able to run 1K without struggling to breathe. I was truly amazed at the ability the human mind has when it wants to achieve a goal. I had always believed the preconceived notions that long distance running was not healthy as it weakened joints. Now that I have completed training and participated in my first race, I have escaped from negative thoughts about running. I am finally able to appreciate the benefits of running. I hope that my discoveries help to encourage others to push themselves to their fullest potentials. Sometimes we must cross boundaries and step out of our comfort zones to fully understand our body’s abilities.

 

As I mentioned, completing this race was a challenge I had faced myself with. More importantly, this race was about raising money for some of Australia’s most important philanthropies. I was truly honored to be a part of the team that supported NeuRA. This organization works hard to complete in-depth research for neurological diseases. NeuRA is a very important organization to me, as many of you know that I specialize in healthy ageing. I also have some close relatives who have suffered from strokes, dementia, and Autism. NeuRA passionately strives to answer many of the questions that come along with these diseases. I am very proud that my team helped to raise of $14,000 for NeuRA and their continued research efforts.

 

Throughout this entire experience, I have learned a great deal about myself and the capabilities the human body possesses. The most humbling part of this venture is the fact that so many people around me were generous enough to donate to the cause. I am extremely proud to have ranked in the Top 10 Individual Fundraisers for SMH Half Marathon. Words are unable to express my gratitude towards everyone who donated and supported me in this endeavor. I am looking forward to continuing to help raise funds for NeuRA and to continue my training for future races!

 

If you are interested in learning more about the SMH Half Marathon, NeuRA, or even donating to cause, please feel free to follow this link!

 

healthy-2210997_960_720

Best and Worst Foods for Healthy Ageing: Part 1

 
Most people are well aware of the fact that eating well benefits overall health. There are certain foods that have the ability to help us age in a better manner. But many are unaware that there are also foods that speed up the ageing process. As our bodies begin to naturally age, it is important that we remain aware of what we are consuming and what those foods are doing to our body.
 
Foods to Limit
 
Red/Processed Meat
 
Although the protein levels in many of these types of meats are high, there are other harmful aspects that do not support healthy ageing. When red meat is cooked at high temperatures, it becomes a source for advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These products are harmful molecules that the body produces. AGEs are enemies of your skin, as they break down collagen. When it comes to processed meats, (i.e. bacon, hot dogs, pepperoni) health experts raise concerns about high saturated fat levels as well as nitrates. Both of these factors can cause wrinkles as well as inflammation.
 
Potato Chips/ French Fries
 
These perfect sides to sandwiches and burgers are not likely to help the ageing process. The high levels of salt in these foods leads to water retention, which causes serious bloating. Salty treats such as these usually contain trans fat as well, which should be avoided as we age. Adults should avoid consuming more than 6 grams of salt a day. A small bag of chips can sometimes contain up to 10% of your sodium intake. Additionally, trans fat lowers the “good” kind of cholesterol and raises the levels of the “bad” type of cholesterol. If possibly avoiding these types of food is recommended in order to help the ageing process.
 
Anti-Ageing Boosters
 
Salmon
 
As mentioned in a previous blog, this fish is considered a superfood and does wonder for the body. With high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, salmon not only has the ability to help your insides, but your skin also benefits from its nutrients. One of the leading causes of premature ageing is excessive inflammation. The healthy fats in salmon help eliminate such swelling and puffiness, giving skin a smooth texture.
 
Avocados
 
Over the years, health professionals have continued discovering the endless benefits of avocados. This fruit (yes, it is a fruit), contains monounsaturated fat, one of the healthiest fats out there. This fat helps to keep the skin hydrated, less inflamed, and plumper. Due to its diversity, the avocado has the ability to take the form of many spreads and dressings. Many people find them to serve as great supplements for everyday items such as mayonnaise!
beach-2090091_960_720

Retiring in Central America

People work their entire lives, to eventually leave their job and find a place where they can spend the remainder of their free time doing whatever they wish. Finding the perfect location to settle in and continue living life after a career can be challenging. It is important to find a location that best suits individual needs and provides a healthy environment to enjoy everything retired life contains. These South American destinations have been recognized as some of the best places for retirees because of their ability to keep people feeling young.

 

3434623631_732401bb81_b

Costa Rica

Walk down the streets of this Central American country and surely the words “Pura Vida” will be shouted, plastered on t-shirts, and written on doorways. The term literally translating to “pure life” is how the people of Costa Rica go about their means of surviving. The air is clean, the people are friendly, and the weather is warm. What more could a retiree want? The cost of living in this beautiful country dips well below average, and healthcare costs are extremely affordable. The location of the region is ideal for quick travels to various parts of the world, making it an ideal home for those wanting to travel often upon their retirement. Staying healthy in this community is extremely attainable, as the fresh fruits and activity options are abundant.

 

 

Sayulita-nanzalview

Mexico

The country voted “Best Place to Retire” by International Living is one of the least expected contenders on the list. Although the media heavily highlights the crime and challenges the country faces (just like every other country), this destination has become so much more to those who choose it as their retirement location. Real estate prices are great and there are plenty of environments where senior citizens can feel welcomed and at ease. Throughout the country there are various climate zones, so one can choose to live in a more mild region with slight seasonal changes, or be by the beach on any given day of the year. Retirees have plenty of options for maintaining an active lifestyle as the nature adventures are plentiful!

 

 

When it’s time to retire, people want to find somewhere away from the lives that they have led for the past 30-40 years. South America has become a home to many retirees hoping to escape the hustle and bustle they once lived through. With a wide range of temperature options, this region provides a great option for those looking to calmly enjoy their years to come. As an added bonus, no family members will ever complain when they have to come visit!

19098096576_45205db755_b

3 Apps That Encourage Healthy Eating

Maintaining a healthy diet has become much more challenging with fast food restaurants opening on every corner and people sharing their culinary creations on social media. Though certain occasions in life call for some indulging, eating healthy as often and for as long in life as possible holds the key to aging gracefully. With the rapid advancements, technology provides in everyday life, finding the best recipes to stay in as great of shape possible is always in the palm of your hand. Here are a few great apps to help manage a balanced diet.

 

Harvest

Not sure if this is the right time of year for blueberries? This user-friendly app is great for anyone who is a fan of fresh produce. The app’s simple design shows exactly which fruits and veggies are “in-season” and which time of year consumers are likely to find the freshest produce. Not only does it give projections for the fruit’s season, but it also shows users how to determine the perfect ripeness. Fresh food lovers, rejoice as Harvest has provided the handbook in perfecting the ideal summer fruit salad.

 

Fooducate

Everyone is somewhat familiar with the meanings of nutrition labels, but truly understanding the calories is where many fall short. This clever app will share the genuine nutritional value of the foods being consumed. It even offers healthier substitutions when a user inputs a junkier food item. The Fooducate app alerts users of potentially harmful ingredients that would cause fluctuation in their attempt to eat better.

 

HelloFresh

With the hectic lifestyles led by many, finding time to make it to the grocery store in order to get ingredients for a specific meal becomes a difficult task. The people over at HelloFresh came up with the brilliant idea to deliver exact measurements of ingredients to make homemade meals feel like a breeze. Every meal comes with holistic nutritional information, easily transferable to a calorie counter. The app allows customers to see which meals they can expect to receive in each shipment along with detailed recipe instructions and additional uses for any unique ingredients included.

 

The food industry has made it very easy for individuals to lose track of the calories included in everything they consume. Luckily technology has made so many advancements and allows us to obtain nutritious options and guidelines instantaneously. When utilizing such tools, becoming healthy will become an easily achievable lifestyle transition for anyone!

Page 1 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén