Jenson Mak | Vitality & Healthy Ageing Blog

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

Tag: Dr. Jenson Mak (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 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!

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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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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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Top 5 Healthy Food Substitutions

It’s never too late (or too early) to start adjusting your diet towards becoming healthier for the sake of your body. If you typically don’t spend your time experimenting with foods in the kitchen, then you won’t know about the healthy substitutes that you can use in your cooking. By substituting these simple, everyday foods, for ingredients that typically make your meals unhealthy, you can enjoy all the foods you love while contributing to the overall health of your body, and longevity of life!

 

Black Beans

When thinking about luscious cakes, brownies, and sweet treats, black beans are the last thing that would come to mind, right? However, if you’re looking to cut calories and carbs, while still enjoying your sweet desserts, black beans are the way to go. The legumes are considered one of the healthiest foods for your body, as they are packed with protein and fiber. Substituting black beans for flour in your baking dishes will allow you to maximize your nutrition without noticing a taste difference. Wherever a recipe calls for a cup of flour, use a cup of black beans, well drained and mashed.

 

Olive Oil

The ever so popular mediterranean diet has caused many to switch their diets for optimal health, and olive oil plays a key part. Olives are one of the oldest food sources known to mankind, including one of the healthiest. Olives are filled with OMega-3 fatty acids that your body needs to function properly. Instead of using the typical vegetable oil, opt it for olive oil. It is also great for making dressings or cooking dishes (although its health benefits are optimized when unheated).

 

Greek Yogurt

You’ve heard about the health craze all over. Greek yogurt is not going anywhere thanks to its high nutritional benefits. Greek yogurt is packed with high protein, and less sugar, sodium, and fat compared to regular yogurt. Greek yogurt is also great for substitutes. Instead of using mayo or sour cream in your daily cooking, plain greek yogurt will make your meals much more nutritious without a taste difference. It’s also great for making dressings, desserts, and baking because of its thick and creamy texture.

 

Wine

Wine is also considered part of the mediterranean diet. Known as the Drink of the Gods, the ancient drink comes with more health benefits than any other alcoholic drink out there. For one, many studies have shown that wine can play a role in preventing depression and anti-aging due to the high amount of antioxidants made with the drink (with moderate consumption). It’s also a great drink to sip when out at the bar with friends or relaxing at home, as wine is significantly lower in calories compared to sugary and sweet cocktails.

 

Applesauce, Dates & Cinnamon

There’s nothing evil about sugar, spice, and everything nice in those beautiful iced cupcakes and luscious chocolate cakes, right? Wrong. Many experts have found that sugar can actually become as addictive to humans as some drugs. Sugar is responsible for obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases, as it converts to fat in our bodies. The new guidelines show that men and women should not consume more than 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day. The key is to stay away from as much added sugar as you can, however, it is still possible to enjoy sweet treats. One old fashioned trick is to substitute applesauce in recipes that call for sugar. This also allows your item to become more moist. Another trick is to add dates to recipes that call for sugar. Dates are naturally sweet, so you won’t notice the taste difference. Cinnamon is also a great spice to substitute sugar for. Recent studies have found that cinnamon has amazing health benefits that could positively impact your health. Try adding cinnamon to your coffee or oatmeal instead of sugar!

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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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5 Health Benefits of Yoga

Yoga and meditation have been studied and practiced for thousands of years. The primary idea of yoga is to find peace and happiness between yourself and your body in the outside world. Even if you consider yourself happy, the practice gives you a boost in your life through the way that you think. Yoga is a great way to enhance your health and wellness, and is an excellent practice for those looking to age well. The practice fights against stressors and allows you to find peace within your mind, while strengthening your physical body as well. Through consistent yoga practice, you can increase your health through these benefits

 

Mental Health

Yoga has a great positive effect on various mental health diseases. Yoga allows you to become one with yourself through practice, ultimately decreasing negative thoughts. The brain is able to relax and focus on one thing only: the practice. Studies have shown that consistent yoga practice has had a positive impact on patients fighting mental health struggles. It is one of the most positive homeopathic medicines available for mental diseases.

 

Muscle Strength

Yoga also comes with the benefits of a daily workout. If you’re looking to build up muscle strength, yoga is a great practice. Because you are using your own body weight, you aren’t pressured of dealing with free weights, which could be harmful if not practiced correctly. When using your own body weight, you have the ability to build the strength you need naturally through practice.

 

Increased Flexibility

Your body’s flexibility is very important when it comes to working out. When your muscles aren’t stretched before and after a workout, you risk the chance of developing an injury. Yoga allows you to increase your flexibility and loosen your muscles. Through practice, you’ll see a great difference in your typical workouts and exercises.

 

Better Breathing

Because you are focusing on your breath and your body during yoga, you practice the art of better breathing. Breathing allows you to calm your body down and receive the oxygen it needs to circulate through your blood in your body. During yoga practice, your body practices circulation and increases the functions of your organs as you practice breathing techniques.

 

Sleep Better

Yoga is also great for those who have problems with sleeping. As yoga calms the body down through the practice of breathing and mindfulness, you’ll feel more at peace and calm after your practice. As your body is relaxed, you will be able to sleep better at night, which is essential for your health and daily function.

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