When fatigue sets in many people reach for a “quick fix” in the form of coffee or soda. These beverages provide an initial burst of energy, but they lack the ability to provide long-lasting stamina. Additionally, these drinks often contain excess, non-nutritive calories in the form of sugar. To minimize consumption of excess sugars and fight afternoon fatigue for good, consider other options that provide more staying power.Read More
Reverse the Impacts of Years of Being Sedentary
Are you in that 45-65 age group and think that you can’t combat years of not exercising and being sedentary – so why try? A recent study has suggested that not only is “middle-age” a good time to start exercising, but it can also help reverse the negative impact of years of being inactive or sedentary.
Being Sedentary is the New Smoking – Start Exercising!
It has long been established that living a sedentary lifestyle can have adverse effects on cardiovascular function and increases the risk of heart disease. Additional studies have previously demonstrated that high levels of physical activity performed over a lifetime can offset these effects, and help preserve cardiovascular function to levels similarly found in healthy young adults.
This new study recruited a group of healthy, but sedentary middle-aged individuals to start exercising by participating in a two-year exercise training study. Each participant was prescribed an individualized exercise program, based on their fitness levels.
The amount of exercise prescribed was progressed gradually, beginning with three 30-minute sessions of moderate intensity exercise per week for the first two months. High intensity interval training (HIIT) was introduced into their routines for one session per week during the third month. Exercise frequency and intensity were progressively modified over the next six months until the subjects entered the ‘maintenance phase’ during the tenth month of the study. Two weekly strength training sessions were introduced during this phase to complement the endurance training.
The Results of Adding Exercise to Senendary, Middle-Aged Adults
After two years of training, cardiovascular health was significantly improved. Fitness increased by ~20%, and the cardiovascular age of participants decreased by 5-10 years on average. There was also a ~25% reduction in arterial stiffness observed. The exercise prescription used in this study closely reflected the current population-based physical activity recommendations of 150 minutes per week of physical activity set by the American Heart Association.
Furthermore, the results of this study demonstrate that exercising regularly can have a significant impact on your health and quality of life, no matter what age you are.
If you’re on the fence about starting an exercise program, know that there’s no better time to start exercising than today. If you don’t know how to get started, consider a Princeton Longevity Comprehensive Exam to get a thorough health evaluation, same-day results and a plan to start incorporating fitness into your sedentary lifestyle.Read More
Decades ago people would spend months researching a vacation before traveling to Europe or Asia, but these days travelers will board a plane with minimal consideration to the itinerary, let alone the potential health risks associated with international travel. And while the level of preparation for foreign travel is changing, food safety continues to remain at the center of potential health risks associated with trips overseas. The consequences of poor food safety practices range from traveler’s diarrhea and cramps, to the more severe and less common, typhoid. The most serious cases may even result in death. Thus, it’s important to be prepared and protect yourself from these types of health concerns whenever traveling outside the United States, whether you’re exploring a new territory or not. Here are a few tips to get your started.
Know Before You Go:
You’ve got your passport ready, money saved up, and your flights and hotel reservations have all been finalized. Now it’s time to review the World Health Organization’s International Travel & Health guide for specific health concerns related to your country of travel, as well as what you can do to prepare for potential health risks. You may also want to consider registering with STEP, or the Smart Travel Enrollment Program, which provides safety alerts from the U.S. government regarding the country you plan to visit.
Also, be sure to pay a visit to your primary care physician (or a travel doctor) 4-5 weeks prior to your departure to get the appropriate vaccinations, as well as to discuss possible medical issues prior to traveling abroad. During this visit, your doctor may provide you with extra medications, antibiotics, first aid basics, etc. that you may not be able to purchase in a drug store abroad. In addition to these items, request a physician’s note written in English, and the language of the country to which you are traveling, that justifies the use of your medications, since some countries outlaw drugs that are legal in the United States. Also, leave room in your carry-on luggage for these supplies, your medical insurance card, and an emergency contact list. The contact list should include the local embassy or consulate, as well as relatives to be notified in case of accident or illness, and your insurance company. Finally, consider purchasing short-term travel health insurance if your current health insurance policy does not apply overseas, as good healthcare is often found in the private sector abroad and is very costly.
Once You’ve Reached Your Destination:
It’s best to follow the general health rule-of-thumb and avoid under cooked and/or raw foods, as well as foods that have a high risk of contamination (eggs/egg products, sprouts, dairy, unpasteurized cow or goat’s milk, etc.). Opt for sealed or bottled beverages only, and be sure to avoid tap, well and fountain drinks. Also avoid foods sitting at room temperature, such as on a buffet or street vendor cart.
What to Do in Case of An Illness:
Even when the best precautions are maintained, it is still possible that you may experience a food-borne illness. In this instance, it’s best not to wait to seek medical attention, especially since gastrointestinal problems from food and/or beverages may quickly lead to severe dehydration. Ask your hotel concierge for good healthcare facilities nearby, or contact the U.S. Department of State for help locating medical services. The embassy and your travel health insurance company will also have a list of options nearby.
If being treated in a medical facility abroad, take health precautions into your own hands. Only accept beverages that are sealed or bottled, and ask your care providers what type of sterilization process they follow prior to accepting care. All injection equipment should be sterilized in boiling water for at least 30 minutes prior to use and discarded afterwards. Also be sure that all healthcare professionals are wearing gloves during your care. Lastly, remain calm and focused on your safety. This will help ensure you get the quality care that you deserve.
Whether you travel for work or for pleasure, your exercise routine can often be hindered by too much time spent in the airport, on the plane, and in a hotel. To ensure that your exercise routine doesn’t end up on the back burner, here are some helpful hints on how to stay active while traveling.
Airport: Will you be attending San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare, Chicago Midway, Dallas-Fort Worth, Burlington, Sioux Falls, Helsinki, London Heathrow, or Frankfurt Airport any time soon? If so, you’re in luck! These 9 airports are the first (of hopefully many) to add yoga rooms to one or more terminals. Yoga rooms are designed to allow travelers a time and place to relax and exercise while embarking on a typically sedentary and stressful journey. Visiting an airport that isn’t so exercise-friendly? No problem. Here are a few ways in which you can get in some physical activity while waiting for your flight!
- Do laps around your terminal! Better yet, do a suitcase walk. Carry your suitcase in one hand and focus on contracting your core so that you remain upright despite the added weight on one side. Switch arms and perform the same distance. If possible, do this 3-5 times per side.
- Find a staircase and climb away!
- Find a stable object for safety and do some calf raises, leg lifts, and squats.
- Pick that suitcase up and do some shoulder shrugs. With your suitcase in hand and down by your side, shrug your shoulders up toward your arms. Switch sides and again, do this several times per side (~15).
- With your suitcase in hand and by your side, do some side bends to work your obliques.
- Last but not least – stretch! Long flights and long layovers can often leave us feeling cramped and tight so why not avoid that by taking a few minutes to stretch.
Airplane: On the airplane, feel free to take some time to relax. After all, relaxing and remaining stress-free is just as important. If you are antsy or anxious on planes, like I am, then try to work out your anxiety a bit! When acceptable, get up and walk down the aisle a couple times. Can’t get up? Do some light stretches in your seat. Stretch your neck, arms and even your back with some seated twists. If you’re on a long flight it is essential to get those legs moving – do some ankle pumps, ankle circles, and seated calf raises to increase blood flow!
Hotel: Are you staying at a Westin, Omni, Even, Fairmont, Sheraton, Kimpton, or Hyatt Place hotel? These hotels are known for being fitness friendly so you don’t have to miss your workout. Forgot your gear? No problem! Check in with the front desk because some of these great hotels will help you keep moving by allowing you to rent workout gear! Not up for the hotel gym? Again, not a problem! Here are some quick and easy workouts you can do in your hotel room with no equipment:
- Push ups, modified push ups (on knees or against the wall)
- Tricep dips off of a chair or bench
- Cal raises
- Standing leg lifts (front, back, lateral)
- Laying leg lifts (great for core!)
- Hip Bridges
- Reverse Kicks
- Mountain Climbers
- Squat and Lunge jumps…and so on!
Are you short on time but want to have a healthy meal for yourself and your family? Or do you have a limited culinary background but like to eat delicious meals? Then a meal delivery service might be right for you. As you may have seen on television or flipping through a magazine, meal delivery services are popping up all over offering fresh ingredients and unique recipes that can be ordered with all necessary ingredients, with perfectly portioned ingredients (which decreases food waste) and is sent right to your doorstep. These companies make it easy to get back into the kitchen and fix a balanced meal.
Blue Apron: Blue Apron aims to reach a range of customers from beginners to experienced cooks. Their chefs and farmers work together to use farm-fresh and seasonal produce, meat that has no added hormones, and sustainably-sourced seafood. They provide recipe cards as well as how-to-videos starting at $8.74 per serving. Blue Apron can accommodate a variety of dietary preferences and can also personalize your menu each week based on your food preferences with meals that fall between 500-800 kcal per serving. Blue Apron aim to provide balanced recipes that include a healthful portion of vegetables, grains, and proteins and they deliver nationwide to most addresses (and you can skip any delivery before the weekly cutoff if you have to travel). (www.blueapron.com)
Plated: Plated focuses on fresh ingredients and globally inspired recipes. They provide a new seasonal menu every week which is good for every cooking level. Plated focuses on seasonality, quality, sustainability, and having specialty items that you may not find in stores. The estimated calorie count for specific recipes can be found on the menu page but typically an entrée is around 600-800 calories. Plated delivers to 95% of the US (excluding Hawaii and Alaska) and there are a few cities in Texas (San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and Midland) that Plated do not ship to and if you have to travel you can change plans or skip weeks. (www.plated.com)
Hello Fresh: Hello Fresh uses fresh ingredients that are nutritionally balanced, meals are ready in 30 minutes or less with easy-to-follow instructions, and all of this is sent right to your doorstep. The meal kits don’t cater to specific dietary needs, but in keeping with FDA regulations, they do disclose all allergens on nutrition labels. They have a team of Registered Dietitians on staff that focus on nutrient content. Meals generally contain anywhere from 500-800 calories each. They deliver across the continental USA and there is no commitment, you can skip or cancel at any time. (www.hellofresh.com)
Chef’d: Chef’d offers both a la carte meals and dessert offerings. If you have any particular dietary restriction, preference, preferred skill level or cook time you are able to filter through 300+ available meals. Chef’d also offers subscription-based meal plans for people that follow Weight Watchers or the Atkins lifestyle and there is also a plan that was developed in accordance with the American Diabetes Association and evaluated by dietitians. Chef’d delivers to all zip codes located in the Contiguous United States. (www.chefd.com)
Green Chef: Green Chef’s offer fresh, organic ingredients that can be tracked from supplier to the dinner table. They have chef-crafted recipes that require 45 minutes or less to prep and cook and cater to a range of dietary preferences. They carefully select the freshest seasonal ingredients ensuring that each dinner that you have is good for you as well as the environment. Green Chef delivers throughout the US (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and limited areas in Wisconsin and Minnesota). (www.greenchef.com)
Remember that it is important to do research on any type of meal delivery service before starting one so for more information about a specific meal delivery service visit the web address as listed above to see if one is a good option for you and your family. Then hopefully once you have gained the confidence to make a few meals, you might even try to use the ingredients and techniques that you have learned and experiment on your very own.
For many of Princeton Longevity Center’s clients, traveling for business is part of a normal work week. We’ve found that some simple tips can go a long way in improving and/or supporting one’s health on the road. Here is a small snap-shot of some tips we encourage our clients to focus on when traveling:
- Pack Snacks: Even if you don’t normally snack, packing snacks can help you to have a healthy option when meals are delayed, food choices are limited or time zone changes disrupt your usual eating patterns. Some healthy, portable ideas include the following:
- Use the HealthyOut app to quickly find (and even order) healthy restaurant dishes across the country. Check out their site or search “Healthy Out” in your phone’s “app” store. Another similar tool is www.HealthyDiningFinder.com where you can search using a zip code/town and the site will highlight “healthy” menu items at nearby restaurants; you can customize your menu item requirements (ex. low carb, low calorie, etc.) based on your needs. You can reference these resources ahead of time so that you have a plan for where you will eat and what you might order.
- Pack your medications: If you have prescription medications that you need to take, don’t forget to pack them so you take them as directed! It’s best to keep them in their original bottle and then put the bottle in a clear Ziploc bag in your carry on luggage. If you need to carry the medication with you during the day, you should bring an empty pill case that you can organize your medications into once you arrive at your destination so that you can carry it easily and discreetly during the day. Any supplements that have been recommended to you by your physician or dietitian should be packed as well.
By now, most of us are aware of the many benefits that myofascial release can offer: increased circulation, improved muscular range of motion, and reduced muscle soreness, just to name a few. Whether you maintain an active lifestyle or not, everyone can benefit from regular myofascial release.
However, foam rollers usually aren’t convenient to travel with due to their bulky size, and you’ll rarely find foam rollers in most hotel fitness centers. Luckily for you, there are myofascial release tools on the market that are extremely portable and work just as well as traditional foam rollers at massaging out stubborn trigger points.
Often called a “massage stick”, “stick roller”, or “myofascial release stick”, they usually range from 17″-28″ in length and are available in varying degrees of flexibility (more firm or less firm). They can range anywhere from $20-$40, depending on the make and model. No matter which you choose, they get the job done. So don’t suffer with tight, sore muscles just because you’re on the road and couldn’t fit your foam roller in your luggage. Invest in a myofascial release stick; your muscles will thank you.