Jenson Mak | Vitality & Healthy Ageing Blog

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

Category: Healthy Minds (Page 1 of 3)

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 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!

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Health Benefits of Volunteering

As mentioned in an earlier blog, volunteering is a great way for senior citizens to remain involved and active in their communities upon retirement. Not only is giving back to the community a great way to remain involved but many volunteer opportunities also present many health benefits. When it comes to community service, the benefits go far beyond helping others, as it gives so much more for a volunteer to gain.

 

Mental Stability

There are endless opportunities for people to serve others on a level that requires minimal to no physical efforts. While these opportunities don’t benefit the body as a whole, it is just as important for older generations to continuously exercise their brain. Volunteering in educational based roles such as tutoring is a great way to maintain a healthy mental activity level. Even doing work for organizations that guide students through life’s challenges is a boost for the brain. Create the Good shared that studies at Johns Hopkins proved those who volunteer have greater mental capacities, and who would complain having more of that at an older age?

 

Physical Enhancers

With organizations that require volunteers to take physical action, there are surpluses of opportunities to gain while donating their time. There are specific events designated to running or walking for charity, which is a tremendous activity for seniors in and of itself. Additionally, philanthropic groups are always looking for a lending hand; whether it be helping to build a house, paint a mural, serve food, or run a clothing drive. All of these activities involve getting up and moving, giving volunteers a great way to get in their physical activity for the day. Living longer, decreased risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s, and fat burning are all side-effects of volunteering at an elderly age. Some even believe doctors should recommend adding volunteerism when mentioning diet and exercise and healthy means of life.

 

Feel Good

As do most physical activities, volunteering has the ability to reduce levels of stress. Many people have felt the altruism effect but are unsure as to its true value. As someone uses their free time to help others, they are releasing dopamine into their bodies, giving them a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. Those who volunteer are often less likely to suffer from depression, as they have a more comprehensive understanding of those who truly are less fortunate than them.

From boosting brain activity to physical well-being, volunteering does a world of good for the overall health of an individual. More often than not these positive reactions to giving back are seen instantaneously. There are plenty of organizations out there looking for anyone willing to share their time, finding one that is a perfect fit should never be too far out of reach.

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Get Fit at 50 to Embrace 80

Choosing to lead a healthier lifestyle, never truly has an age limit. Many people in their 20s and 30s pick-up on the trend of health awareness and begin their journey around that time in their lives. However, studies have shown that as middle-age approaches, there is a priority shift away from personal well-being. Contrary to popular belief, a person’s 40s and 50s are some of the best years to optimize one’s health and fitness.

 

One of the most important tasks someone approaching middle-aged can do is make sure they are fully aware of their health. For example, someone who may have previously smoked for many years, but eventually quit, will likely want to withstand some tests, making sure their lungs are on the road to recovery. The only person who knows exactly what their body has endured is the individual themselves and making sure no repercussions occurred due to past experiences is vital to continue ageing in a healthy way.

 

A report in the Washington Post shared physician, Andrew Weil’s advice on health aging. Weil’s approach focuses directly on the relationships, especially creating ones that encourage achieving healthy goals. For those seeking a healthier lifestyle, it is crucial to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Finding or even starting a group with people who have an objective to keep active is a great way to hold someone accountable for continuing a healthy mindset. By maintaining social relationships with those who are willing to support and even help someone seeking a better life for themselves is very important to the overall process.

 

Unfortunately, for too many people, deciding to focus on health and fitness comes after a life-altering event. Many people look back and wish they would have changed their lifestyle prior to the incident, however they inevitably change for the better, which is the most important part. Taking preventative measures, while still having the capabilities necessary to continue living independently likely to save not only grief and aggravation but a life. Although many people believe they are well and by their own personal standards, feel fine, doing everything possible to make sure optimal health is reachable is a great way for middle-aged adults to lead their lives.

 

For those approaching their golden years, setting up for a successful transition is as easy as being in control of your own health. Having a complete awareness for every health concern is one essential aspect to formulating healthy middle-aged years. Don’t wait until it’s too late, fit at 50 is possible!

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Superfoods and Their Super Abilities

With the ever-changing trends in foods, it is sometimes hard to keep up with the latest lingo and new products. Recently, a huge focus has shifted to the incorporation of “superfoods” into every diet, but many are confused by the term and what it takes for something to be considered part of this group. Remaining knowledgeable in regards to which foods truly provide the right nutrients for our bodies to continue on a healthy path is crucial, especially when age becomes a factor.

 

What Are They?

According to Health.com, there is no medical or legal definition for a superfood. Nutritionists consider foods of this group to be powerhouses, loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. There are countless foods out there that contain all of these elements, but health professionals are encouraging people to utilize the ones with the highest levels of each. A lotl of food items have been labeled as a “superfood” and it is important to recognize why they have earned the title. Here are a few fan-favorites from each food group and the reason they are so “super”;

 

  • Blueberries: filled with fiber, vitamin C, and cancer-fighting compounds
  • Salmon: contains omega-3 fatty acids, which the body cannot produce by itself (prevents heart disease)
  • Broccoli: high levels of vitamin C and folate (helps reduce risk of certain cancers)
  • Oats: full of fiber, magnesium, and potassium, helping to boost metabolism (and in certain forms tastes delicious!)

 

Benefits of Eating Them

Experts say that eating superfoods on a regular basis can significantly improve health in more way than one. Of course, ultimately healthier bodies are an advantage to eating superfoods, but they have also been proven to prevent chronic illnesses. By consuming these foods, people are additionally prolonging their lives and giving themselves one consisting of good health. Certain superfoods mentioned above have actually helped in lowering blood pressure and other pre-existing medical conditions. The examples above just begin to scratch the surface of the benefits that come from superfoods, and by consuming at least one superfood on a daily basis (alongside an overall healthy diet), quality of life is destined for improvement.

 

Food trends are becoming a huge part of society and people are becoming more concerned about exactly what they are putting in their mouths. Certain foods have become a part of the “superfoods” group, consisting of large amounts of key nutrients needed to help improve the overall health of our bodies. Including these foods into a diet has benefits beyond belief and should be considered of high importance to those conscious about healthy living.

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Stay Fit From Home

 

Who says you need a gym membership to stay active and in good health? Many people are making the transition to using in-home techniques for working out, especially those with limited access to a fitness center. The growing trend of working out from the comfort of your own home has become easier to accomplish every day. Through various online resources and programs which bring wellness coaches right to your home, staying fit is accessible at any age.

 

The internet has become a great resource for finding useful tips when it comes to health and wellness. As the largest source of online videos, YouTube, has also become a bank for easy to follow in-home workouts. By simply using the search bar one can effortlessly find the routine that best suits their individual goals and ability levels. For example, those just starting out with their fitness training should use key terms when searching such as “low-impact” or “beginner level”, usually followed by the style of workout desired (i.e. cardio, weight training, yoga). Those with more advanced training intentions, finding a video suited for targeted areas of improvement are just as straightforward. Here is a great example of a result when “low-impact cardio for beginners” was searched. The internet has truly done wonders for those seeking different techniques to improve their workout routines, especially when it comes to those not able to leave their homes.

 

Another great system for those hoping to avoid the chaos of a gym is the utilization of in-home trainers. This concept not only includes purchasing equipment for the home but also hiring personal trainers, who come to your location and demonstrate best exercises for your fitness desires. Most personal trainers who travel to your home provide their own equipment, but purchasing personal equipment is definitely beneficial for days off from the training sessions in order to continue improving fitness! Amazon provides some high-quality pieces for reasonable prices, which would make great additions to any home fitness plan.

 

Certain circumstances may limit people from leaving their house on a daily basis to complete their exercise routines. With today’s technology advances, it has become much easier to continue achieving fitness objectives from the comfort of your own home. There are also plenty of programs and individuals willing to provide their training services at a location best suited for the fitness seeker’s needs. Getting and remaining in shape doesn’t require a gym, but a little determination and dedication can help get the fitness goals you desire!

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5 Ideas for Continuing to Work After Retirement

 

When it comes to completing a career and retiring many people are hesitant to completely give up on the idea of working. Studies have shown that keeping busy and involved in the workforce after retirement, is beneficial to overall health and prolonging of life. There are an infinite number of options for those not wanting to just golf, sit on the beach, or visit their grandkids, in order to continue working in a productive environment.

 

Previous Employer

There are a lot of people who after retirement miss their previous place of employment, and therefore seek a chance to continue working in the same or a similar field. Many times, an employer feels a mutual connection with the retiree and will offer them to remain a member of the team in a part-time position. If the positive relationship is reciprocal, there is no need for it to end, when a new role can be created for the individual looking to retire.

 

Nonprofit/Volunteer Work

Although a large portion of nonprofits seek volunteer work there are many organizations who seek part-time employees to assist on projects. Finding a cause meaningful to someone, and putting any extra time and efforts towards supporting that cause is a great way to remain sharp after finishing a career. Participating in programs such as tutoring, animal care, and fundraising are just a few opportunities requiring limited manpower for retirees.

 

Consultant Work

Doing consulting work is an ideal post-retirement situation especially for those with unique niches or experience. Money Crashers recommends such an experience, as most consultants have the flexibility to set their own hours, as well, give expert insight on an area in which they possess a vast amount knowledge. Participating as a consultant is a great way for a retiree with a specific background to decide the amount of time they want to continue to be a part of the workforce.

 

Personal Retail

Upon hearing “working in retail,” many think this means becoming a cashier or working for a department store, however, the retail industry has become more of a personal experience in recent times. With a countless number of “be your own boss” industries popping up, there are so many opportunities for a retiree to continue working, but from the comfort of their own home. With makeup companies such as Mary Kay to clothing lines like Lularoe, those who have completed their careers can continue to make an income, while having fun!

 

Hobby Related Work

Finding a job that supports a beloved hobby or interest, additionally gives those who have completed a career, a way to continue growing. Say, for example, someone enjoys crafting and creating handmade items. With websites such as Etsy, individuals can open their own unique online boutique and create a profit from doing something they are passionate about. Doing something you love and making money from it, what better way to keep busy!

 

There are a lot of people who fear the word “retirement”, as they feel life as they know it will be coming to an end. For those wanting to continue being productive and not simply wait around for the next adventure, finding work after retirement can help support a longer and healthier lifestyle. Distinguishing the right balance of ending a career and continuing to follow a passion can create a whole new chapter in life!

 

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The Best Health Apps 2017

As technology and education continues to revolutionize and empower human beings, there is no better time to focus on your personal health and fitness than now. The ease and flexibility of having a fitness app on your phone allows you more time and motivation to workout throughout the day and keep up with your health. Here are the top health apps you should have on your phone for optimal daily motivation.

 

Workout Trainer

This app is great for those looking to stay active throughout the day. If you get bored of the same, boring routine, then this app is for you. Workout trainer provides you with hundreds of workouts from strength training, to cardio, to yoga and relaxation. You get to pick what type of workout you’re feeling that day and which muscles you want to strengthen. This app will ensure that you’re staying physically active throughout the day with many different options for you to choose from. This is a great app to switch up your routine, while keeping track of your daily activity.

 

Yoga Studio

If you’re tired of driving back and forth to the yoga studio every morning, while traffic is far from allowing you to destress. Yoga Studio is the app for you. First of all, yoga should be relaxing, and there is nothing relaxing about paying a costly monthly fee for joining yoga studios each month. Yoga studio is a great app to use throughout your day. All you need is a relaxing, quiet space to turn your home into the same comfort as a yoga studio. The app offers a variety of virtual yoga classes from beginner to advanced practices. Save time and money by implementing this app into your lifestyle, and be on the road to a relaxing and stress free daily routine.

 

My Fitness Pal

Part of living a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise is planning out and monitoring your daily activity and the foods you eat. My Fitness Pal is a great app for those on the go. The app allows you to scan or enter in details about any foods you eat throughout the day. It also allows you to enter in your daily physical activity, which can be linked to other apps in your phone. The app will keep track of the nutrition of your daily foods, such as calories, carbs, sodium, etc, while tracking your physical activity. You can also set goals such as weight loss, and the app will help you with a target of calories to intake daily, and exercises to practice throughout the day.

 

Sleep Cycle

One of the biggest aspects of living a healthy lifestyle is getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep Cycle is a great app to keep track of your sleeping. It works through a motion sensor in your phone and a microphone which is able to be heard when you move around in your sleep. It also has an alarm feature that will softly wake you up, allowing you to train your body to go to sleep and wake up at a consistent routine time. The key to your daily productivity is sleep, therefore this app will allow you to start the day right.

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How Long Should Seniors Work?

Retirement is a major change of lifestyle for everyone, and it’s not easy for anyone to adjust to full retirement after a lifetime of doing useful work. While some look forward to time to pursue hobbies with no need to work every day, others are left mystified, unable to fill their days with anything but boredom after a lifetime of making worthwhile, valued contributions to their communities. And the fact of the matter is that western culture has tended to treat people as old because of their age, not because of their health or vitality. However, we are seeing that trend start to shift, thanks to an ageing global population, healthcare leading to improved health into much later in life, and the growing understanding that staying active and staying connected with others, socially, lead to longevity, vitality, and a sense of well-being.

 

USA Today says of American seniors: “the percentage of people who work and people who want to work has increased markedly in both the 65-and-older and 75-and-older groups, says Sara Rix, senior adviser for the AARP Public Policy Institute. For 2011, the participation rate for 65 and older was 17.9% compared with 10.8% in 1985. For 75 and older, the rate jumped from 4.3% in 1990 to 7.5% in 2011.”

 

Certainly, there are plenty of seniors with extensive plans for their retirement, wishing nothing more than to pursue their hobbies free from workaday demands on their time. Quite a few intend to travel extensively, particularly those with grandchildren and relatives scattered far from their home base. They should feel absolutely no shame in not working if they don’t feel the urge to, they have made their contribution and should enjoy their retirement years as they wish to.

 

The benefits of working later into life are numerous. In addition to the mental and physical health benefits that come with staying productive, an uncertainty with the global economy is almost certainly a driving factor, as the income and benefits ensure a sense of security.

 

The USNews reported on a study, the researchers asked people age 50 and older the reasons for continuing to work in their retirement years. Here are the top 10 reasons they gave:

 

  • I want to keep earning money to retire more comfortably (53 per cent).
  • I would be bored not working (31 per cent).
  • I keep working because income from other sources is not enough (18 per cent).
  • I want to feel productive, useful, helpful (18 per cent) 5. I have a job that is fun, enjoyable (15 per cent)
  • I want to interact with people (13 per cent)
  • I want to stay physically/mentally active (12 per cent)
  • I need health insurance (6 per cent)
  • I am pursuing my dream: I have a job doing what I want to (6 per cent)
  • I want to learn new things (2 per cent)

 

Those who still prefer a life of being appreciated by employers who value their many years of experience should have that option for as long as they wish. A sense of purpose is an important ingredient in a satisfying life, and there is no rule saying that this purpose can only be fulfilled by hobbies or travel. There is no specific age that should slow you down, as long as you speak with your doctor about your health regularly as you age. Seniors should work for as long as they wish to and are capable of.

 

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Antibodies May Protect Brains From Age

Recent research suggests that old blood may have a negative impact on the body by damaging organs and increasing the effects of aging. A newly developed compound shows promise in protecting against this, by preventing aging in the brains of mice.

 

Initial Studies

 

The link between blood and aging was first discovered during experiments that connected young and old mice so that circulating blood was shared between them. The older mice showed improvements, including developing healthier organs and gaining protection from age-related diseases. However, the younger mice showed signs of premature aging.

 

Experiments like this suggest that young blood has restorative properties, but something in older blood causes harm. Hanadie Yousef at Stanford University appears to have isolated a protein responsible for some of the damage caused by older blood, and developed a potential way to prevent it.

 

The VCAM1 Protein

 

Yousef discovered that a protein called VCAM1 increases in the blood as the body ages. The levels of VCAM1 are 30 percent higher in individuals over 65 compared to those under 25. Yousef tested the effects of the protein by injecting blood plasma from older mice into young mice; as expected, the young mice showed signs of aging. She then repeated the experiments using blood plasma from humans in their late 60s. Again, the young mice showed signs of premature aging after injections of older blood.

 

The effects of aging were prevented during experiments where Yousef also injected a compound to block VCAM1. Young mice given the antibody at the same time or before an injection of older blood were protected from the negative effects. Yousef hopes that this research will contribute to an understanding of the way mechanisms that cause aging work and how to reverse them in order to encourage healthy aging.

 

Surprising Results

 

Other researchers are impressed with the findings, but interested in seeing more data and replicated results. Jonathan Godbout at Ohio State University expressed cautious optimism about the work leading to a possible treatment to protect aging brains.

 

Some teams have started giving plasma donated by young people to older adults, to find out if it will impact their health or possibly lessen the effect of Alzheimer’s disease. Although this is a start, neutralizing the effects of the older blood is likely to give the best chance for success.

 

Protect Against Old Blood
Yousef says a drug to protect people from the damaging effects of old blood would be more effective than plasma injections. It would be safer, less expensive, and easier to produce on a wide scale than transfusions. She is in the process of patenting her compound and hopes to develop an effective treatment against the effects old blood on aging.

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