It’s always important to get enough sleep – no matter how old you are. One recent study focused specifically on those over 50 and found that those who sleep less than five hours a night are much more likely to put themselves at risk for various health issues.
This study, discussed in an article on CNN, looked at close to 8000 civil servants in the UK who were healthy at the age of 50. After tracking them for many years, they found that those who slept five hours or less were at a 30% higher risk for developing many diseases. By age 60 the risk increased by 32% and by 70 it had increased by 40%.
What is the magical amount of sleep a person should be getting? Typically researchers have found that 7-9 hours of sleep is the right amount to keep the average person healthy.
Read the whole article to learn more – and get enough shut eye for your health!
Coffee drinkers can celebrate! A new study authored by the head of clinical electrophysiology research at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and head of electrophysiology at Alfred Hospital in Melbourne has found that coffee just might be helpful to your health. Of course, too much of anything is a bad thing; but they have found that drinking two to three cups a day of certain types of coffee can protect people from both cardiovascular disease and early death.
It’s important to note that the study was observational and that a randomized control trial would be needed to fully prove the relationship. But the information so far is quite promising. The study looked at four groups – ground coffee drinkers, decaffeinated drinkers, instant drinkers and non-coffee drinkers.
Their findings concluded that the largest reduction in early death came from those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day, compared to those who drank none. Ground coffee lowered the risk of early death by 27%, while decaf led to a 14% reduction and instant led to an 11% reduction. The findings for irregular heartbeat were even more surprising with four to five cups of ground coffee a day lowering the risk by 17%; two to three cups of instant coffee lowered that risk by 12%.
Certainly, more exploration is needed into all of these considerations. But it does look promising to drink some controlled amount of coffee a day.
Here’s a bit of a weird story. M&M is adding a new character to its lineup in the shape of a purple M&M. She is the first new character to be introduced in 10 years. The purple character’s personality is “quirky, confident and just a little awkward.”
But don’t get too excited thinking you’ll have purple M&Ms waiting for you in the next bag that you rip open. The new character will be showcasing her personality in stores and on the M&M website. She will apparently appear in some limited edition packaging as well – but she will not be in your regular bag of M&Ms. And here is her debut for you to enjoy…
If you love to hike, now is the time to get ready for the beautiful of Fall. The weather is starting to cool and the leaves will soon change in many places. And while the summer months were crazy at airports, things should be calming down a bit more now as children go back to school.
This list offers choices around the world. The two in the United States featured here include the Appalachian Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail.
The Appalachian Trail runs all the way from Georgia to Maine and includes 2200 miles of footpath trails. Some of the most beautiful areas of the trail are in Virginia as part of the Shenandoah National Park. The trail is marked well enough and has enough campsites that it can be navigated by individuals seeking long-term adventure. There are companies that can also help people to pre-book accommodations and to navigate the trail.
The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 165 mile loop around the Lake Tahoe Rim Basin. The trail was started in 1981 and offers absolutely breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada and Carson ranges while it passes through six counties and four national forests.
Of course, for those looking to leave the United States on a grand adventure, the list also includes offerings such as the Basho Wayfarer in Japan, the Refugio Frey and Cerro Catedral in Argentina, and Mount Toubkal in Morocco.
Anyone who knows anything about dementia, or has seen it firsthand, is highly motivated to avoid developing this dreaded disease in themselves or in their loved ones. Although at the moment there seems to be no way to mitigate the risk of developing dementia down to zero, there are actions people can take to reduce the risk.
It turns out that one of the simplest activities a person can engage in to reduce the risk of developing dementia is walking. According to researchers in Denmark, people between 40 and 79 years old were able to reduce their risk by 50% within seven years by taking just 9,826 steps every day. It was possible to cut the risk even further by walking at a faster pace, for a shorter distance. Those who walked at a pace of at least 40 steps per minute only needed 6,315 steps per day to get a 57% reduction in risk.
Even people who didn’t “power walk” every day, or did not walk as many steps achieved results. The researchers found that walking only 3,800 steps per day, no matter how fast or slow, could still cut their risk by 25%.
The head of the study emphasized that even sedentary people could be persuaded to begin with a very doable 4,000 steps per day if they knew they could reduce their risk of dementia. Once these people got out of their chairs, the hope is they can build up to longer and faster walks to achieve further protection.
As one might expect, going even faster was shown in the study to further increase protection from dementia. By walking at a brisk pace of 112 steps per minute for 30 minutes subjects achieved a 62% reduction in risk.
The researchers concluded that people who wish to reduce their risk for dementia try to increase their pace rather than their distance. However, risk reduction is a positive step in the right direction, no matter how fast or how many steps taken.
The final week of summer is always filled with last minute shopping, organizing school supplies, planning lunches, and so on. Often, both parents and students get caught up in the race of getting everything ready that one of the most important parts of school year prep can easily be forgotten – the backpack. No, I am not referring to the trendy logo or character design your child has been begging for, but rather the physical makeup of the bag and how much is going inside.
The first step in preventing more incidents like these is to learn how to identify if there’s a problem.
Look out for the following signs that your child’s backpack is too heavy:
Your child struggles when getting the backpack on and off.
Your child leans forward or to the side when wearing the backpack.
Your child’s arms or legs are tingly or numb.
Your child has red marks on the shoulders.
Your child experiences pain when carrying the backpack.
Experts have been trying to spread awareness regarding the impact carrying a heavy load can have on a child’s physical development. Dr. David Gentile, an osteopath physician, warns that wearing backpacks that are too heavy can change the natural curve of the spine and prevent the ability to maintain proper posture. He points out that while we have made significant progress in encouraging good ergonomic practices at work with quality office chairs, standing desks, etc., the same must be addressed among students. For the healthiest results, he recommends choosing a lightweight backpack with wide shoulder straps, and to ensure even weight distribution by wearing the bag on both shoulders.
The following are some additional tips offered by physical therapists regarding backpacks:
Choose a lightweight backpack with wide shoulder straps, a waist belt, and multiple compartments.
Ensure the backpack rests in the middle of the back, no more than 4 inches below the waist line.
Limit the contents to no more than 10%-15% of the child’s body weight (e.g. A child who weighs 100 pounds should not carry a backpack that weighs more than 10-15 pounds).
Distribute books and supplies among all the bag’s compartments, placing the heaviest items closest to the spine.
Keeping in mind the advice from the experts and knowing the warning signs should help families with a smoother back-to-school process. Best wishes for a successful school year!