Wow -- it's already Day 20! Still with me? Good! Here's today's challenge....DRINK MORE WATER. There is nothing like it for feeling and looking better.
Over 70% of the human body is comprised of water, so even mild to moderate dehydration can negatively impact virtually every bodily system. Not drinking enough water has been associated with everything from: fatigue, irritability, anxiety, agoraphobia, depression, food cravings, and allergies, migraine headaches, angina, rheumatoid joint pain, back pain, colitis pain, fibromyalgia pain, constipation...YEEESH.
Worse yet, medical experts believe that over time dehydration can contribute to: high cholesterol levels, heart failure, chronic fatigue, cancers, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, stroke, and Alzheimer's.
"I know nothing about sex, because I was always married." ~Zsa Zsa Gabor
"Women need a reason to have sex -- men just need a place" ~ Billy Crystal
Believe it or not, there is actually scientific evidence that having an active sex live can help keep you younger, longer.
Dr. David Weeks, a psychologist from The Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland and the author of Secrets of The Superyoung, studied the behaviors of 95 individuals who looked far younger than their chronological age.
Dr. Weeks and his team, were surprised to find that an active sex life was a major ingredient these individuals remarkable anti-aging abilities. Another landmark study from Wales analyzed the relationship between health markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and EKGs for over 900 men in their 40s and 50s. They found that men who had sex at least twice a week had a fifty percent lower risk for early death. And a Swedish study found that women in their 70s who reported a lifetime enjoyment of sex were likely to live longer.
According to Dr. Weeks, the reasons for this are probably both physical and emotional. For one thing, sex increases the production of endorphins (the bodies’ natural painkillers) which can help decrease stress and anxiety – both of which can accelerate the aging process. Sex also increases the production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which helps to increase lean body tissue, strengthen bones and improve circulation in the body.
On the emotional side of the equation, feelings of connectedness and belonging have been shown in numerous studies to be key components in successful aging. It is likely that intimate physical relationships feed this most basic human need.
Additionally, researchers have theorized that people who are sexually active throughout their lifespan are probably more likely to take care of their bodies in an effort to remain attractive to their partners. This usually means eating better, avoiding excessive weight gain and exercising regularly – all of which are all associated with greater health and longevity.
Most experts agree that what you eat plays a key role in staying healthy and aging gracefully. However, there is increasing evidence to support the notion that what you DON’T eat is at least as important in prolonging life.
Since the 1930’s scientists have been studying the affects of underfeeding or “calorie restriction” on health and longevity. Numerous animal studies with all types of creatures (ranging from mice, to dogs, to monkeys) consistently reveal that animals whose food intake is limited live longer and have fewer health problems than those who are allowed to eat as much as they want. In fact, in one National Institutes of Health Study, monkeys on restricted-calorie diets lived about twice as long as those with unrestricted access to food. In one mouse study, mice lived an average of 53 months longer than the oldest laboratory mice on record!
These studies have made many health professionals to question whether or not the same is true for human beings. Would calorie restriction (also known as CR) help us live longer, healthier lives, as well? Many scientists believe the answer is a resounding, “yes”! Although it is not exactly clear why this might be the case. It may be that lower calorie diets reduce the production of free radicals, which can damage cells. Or perhaps these diets help lower high blood sugar levels which can contribute to both heart attacks and strokes.
However, even if CR does prove to be an effective way to extend the human lifespan, it would be virtually impossible to get large numbers of people to adopt this lifestyle. For one thing most people would find it difficult (if not impossible) to reduce their calorie intake by 30-40%. And even if they could subsist on diets that low in calories, supplementation would be necessary to insure adequate intake of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients. And lastly, in a society where almost 65% of the population is overweight or obese, we are clearly a long way off from having a nation of people who are eating less than the recommended daily allowance.
Regardless, current CR research would suggest that (at the very least) people should try to achieve and maintain healthy body fat levels -- because by overeating we may (quite literally) be digging our graves with our spoons.
Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. ~Chinese Proverb
We’ve all heard it said that stress can cause premature aging. But is that REALLY true? And if it is -- what actually causes that to happen?
Scientists are just now beginning to tease out the differences between so-called “normal aging” and stress-induced aging. But there is no doubt that connection between stress and physical declines is very real. In fact, it has been estimated that a whopping 90% of all doctor’s visits are in some way stress-related!!!
There is increasing scientific evidence to suggest that chronic stress changes both the physical structures and chemical pathways in the body in ways that mimic (and therefore accelerate) the normal aging process.
For example prolonged exposure to the stress hormone, cortisol, appears to shrink the hippocampus, a structure deep within the brain associated with memory. Therefore, stressed individuals are more likely to have memory deficits similar to those seen in the elderly
. Additionally, chronic stress appears to alter the brain signals which result in the decreased release of anabolic hormones, such as DHEA, which help keep cells healthy and maintain good immune function.
Dr. Elissa Epel (and her colleagues) from The University of California at San Francisco studied the chromosomal differences between the mothers of chronically ill children and the mothers of healthy ones. Her research indicated that stress actually altered the chromosomes within the cells, by shortening structures known as telomeres.
Telomeres are responsible for allowing cell division and preventing the scrambling of cellular information. As we age our telomeres shorten, when they get too short, cells can no longer divide, become inactive and die. It appears that stress effects the telomeres in the exact same way. In fact, the mothers of seriously ill children had cells that looked on average -- 10 years older than their chronological age!
In total, these studies would suggest because of the many negative effects that stress has on our bodies, learning to cope with and manage stress is one the most important and effective anti-aging strategies.
Click here to check out more of my Anti-Aging Reports on iVillage.com
We've all heard it said that stress ages you. But is that really true? And if so, what exactly does stress do to our bodies to speed up the aging process? For the answers to this, check out my Anti-Aging Report for this week on iVillage.
Here is the transcript of my recent iVillage report on "The Secrets of Centenarians: How To Live To 100 and Beyond"
Did you know that there are more people over 100 years of age living in the US than in any other country in the world? It’s true!
Believe it or not there are an estimated 50,000 centenarians living in the US today. Even more surprisingly (due to cutting-edge medical technology and the aging of The Baby Boomers) centenarians are actually the fastest growing age group in the country. It’s been estimated that by 2050 there will be almost one million people in the US who’ve had 100 candles on their birthday cakes.
Scientists around the world are studying these rare individuals with research projects such as The New England Centenarian Study and the Okinawan Centenarian Study so that all of us may benefit.
Which begs the question, “is living longer primarily a function of nature or nurture”. In other words, how much control do we really have? Can we really do something to dramatically impact the length of our lives -- or is it just a matter of having good “luck-of-the-draw” genes?”
Well, twin studies would suggest that genetics are probably responsible for about 25% of longevity. That’s good news because it means that about 75% is related to lifestyle and environmental factors. In other words, although genes are part of the equation, reaching a ripe old age is mostly a result of things over which we have more control.
When centenarians are analyzed as a group, there are common factors in their behaviors and mental outlook that emerge time and time again. So here are some of their secrets to help you increase your chances of hitting The Big One Double Zero.
Sorry that I haven't blogged in a bit, life's been a bit crazy...good crazy...but crazy.
One of the things that I've been working on for the past two weeks is a weekly video column for iVillage.com. I'll be doing The Anti-Aging Report, which has information and tips for living longer, healthier and happier.
To view this week's report: Click on this link and you'll be directed to The Total Health Videos part of the site, cursor over the small icons on the right until you see "The Anti-Aging Report" (with a picture of me flapping my trap).
CharlieWeingroff.com Charlie Weingroff has a doctorate in physical therapy, is a certified athletic trainer, former NBA strength coach and current strength and conditioning specialist. Great information from one of the best in the business when it comes to connecting the worlds of physical therapy and personal training.
"Do Work!" with Coach Dos Join celebrated strength coach Robert dos Remedios for his brillian insights into the world of strength and conditioning. "Coach Dos" knows his stuff -- and knows how to teach it to others!
Michael Boyle's Strengthcoach.com It's known as "the world's best source for performance enhancement information" for a reason. Join Coach Michael Boyle and the top minds in the industry. Worth the price of membership for access to the forum alone.
Perform Better If you need anything for your facility (or home gym) chances are the good folks at Perform Better have it. Renowned for their excellent customer service and unparalleled selection.
Functional Movement Systems Two of my heros, Gray Cook and Lee Burton (and friends) have developed an amazing system for health and fitness professionals to identify imbalances which can impair movement and contribute to injury. As Gray says, "Move well first - then move often."
Stop Chasing Pain Dr. Perry Nickelston is a DC and an expert in reducing pain using laser therapy. Great information on moving better and staying pain-free for life!
Bettergolfwithfitness.com Are you in shape for golf? No really, I'm serious. Being fit can help you play better, reduce your risk of injury and correct swing faults. Be sure to check out Titleist Level 3 Certified Golf Fitness Pro, Anthony Renna's blog -- designed to help you get "your fat butt in shape for golf"...subtle and charming, but you get the idea.
Golffitnessproducts.net "Golf fitness" - nope, it's not an oxymoron!! Check out this amazing resource for all things related to golf fitness. Packed with tons of credible, free articles, videos, blog and a podcast on everything from nutrition, to the mental game to workout tips. Hey, they don't all have to look like John Daly.
Fitness Foresight Be sure to check out Tom Godwin's blog from the UK. An intelligent perspective on health and wellness.
Fitness Insights by Jamie Atlas He's smart, he's funny -- and he's an Aussie transplanted into the mountains of Colorado. Be sure to check out my pal, Jamie Atlas' musings on all things health and fitness.
HellerHealth.com Check out my friend, exercise physiologist and registered dietician, Sam Heller. She's brilliant and funny and has her own informative radio show on Siruis. Fridays 12-2 PM EST. Always fun and informative!
Visit Nettervillefitness Check out my friend and fellow educator, JT Netterville's informative and motivating blog for the newbie and fitness enthusiast alike.
Your Fitness Guru Check out my buddy, exercise physiologist, Liz Marmesh as she brings together the best info from all corners of the fitness world.
Bizzywomen.com Bringing high quality information together in one place to empower busy professional women. Topics include investing, finance, work-life balance, parenting, and everything in between.
Other Cool Sites To Check Out
Animals Love Snacks Enter the delightfully silly, brilliant, creative brain of my buddy, "JuRu" with the dada-esque "Animals Love Snacks". I have no idea what it all means, but I love it!
Antidote 360 I'm a member of the Guru Group, a professional advisory panel working with new Antidote 360, an integrated marketing agency specializing in health & wellness marketing solutions.
Crazy Asian Gal If you like baking, Asian food -- or cats check out my multi-talented girl from Canada!
Home Sanctuary Want simple tips to make your home your sanctuary? Check out this great blog from Rachel Anne Ridge.
Skinny Latte Strikes Back! Check out the musings of Phil from The Land Down Under, as she shares the secrets she learned to transform herself from an overweight deconditioned woman to a fit and fabulous female. Very inspirational!!