Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Tips For a Healthy Spring Makeover

With winter behind us, and longer days ahead, the coming months are an exciting time to revisit those January resolutions and kickstart our health goals. As markets become more bountiful, and sidewalks thaw out to make way for running shoes, the energy behind this seasonal shift has an irresistible way of getting us off the couch, and out into the open. From cleaning up our diets to developing a solid routine, our homes aren’t the only ones that can benefit from a spring cleaning.

Find Joy in What Moves You
If you have a love-hate relationship with exercise, you’re not alone. Nothing puts the brakes on a fitness routine like a workout that feels more like a chore, so if slaving away on the treadmill isn’t feeling inspiring, consider changing it up! Now that the weather is warming up, find a form of movement that motivates you like riding a bike, running, hiking or even taking the dog on a brisk morning walk. The Centers for Disease Control recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week which doesn’t have to be regimented exercise, and can easily include anything from yard work to reaching to the top of a breathtaking summit.

Mozart Music

Classical Connection

Discovering the link between classical music, and improved productivity began my junior year in high school. I had a savvy biology teacher who knew that playing Beethoven to a classroom full of teenagers would have a positive effect on us whether we were taking a test, or dissecting a frog. To this day I have fond memories of that year, and nearly twenty years later she’s still teaching, and no doubt imparting her musical wisdom onto the next generation. It doesn’t take a scientist to tell us that music has remarkable effects on the brain, and why innovations like Baby Mozart are starting kids off from birth. Whether you’re listening to it at the office, or whilst cleaning the house, there’s a significant difference in overall mood, and project outcome when you’re working along to a cascading piano concerto versus a television infomercial blaring in the background.

What is it about classical music that has such a profound effect on how we perform? We use dance music to get us through a workout, and Bob Seger to fuel a road trip, but when it comes to getting some serious brain work done, nothing does it better than A Little Night Music. There’s an intellectual complexity about listening to the classics, which has been researched as the “Mozart Effect.” In a study published by the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California, one of three groups of college students was evaluated after listening to 10 minutes of Mozart, resulting in a higher IQ test score in comparison to the other two groups.

Feeling Puzzled May Boost Your Brain Power

If you though the therapeutic effect of crossword, and jigsaw puzzles was all in your head, you’re absolutely right. Carefully strategizing the answer to 35 across or lining up your edge pieces is like calisthenics for your brain, and something you should be doing more often. Working on a puzzle reduces stress in a way that hours spent watching mindless television can’t do, and according to researchers may also improve your long term cognitive health. Need a lift? Instead of looking for the remote, give your brain a good workout instead.

The Happiness Effect

The feeling you get when you’ve found that missing piece is the mood enhancing chemical dopamine. It makes you feel accomplished, and good about yourself, so if you’ve just completed a 1,000 piece masterpiece, your brain is likely running on all of its feel good cylinders. If you’re looking to spice up your social life, puzzles make for a fun group activity to do with family, and friends, so why not reschedule your next poker game, and brainstorm over a puzzle instead?

Dive Into This Total Body Workout

Ever notice that swimming pools seem to always be on the menu of community amenities? You’ll find resort style pools with cabanas, Olympic-style pools, and heated indoor versions all designed to relax, refresh, and give you a great workout! Active adults will be glad to know there’s no need to hit the ground running to build muscle, burn calories, and squeeze in the recommended 150 minutes of weekly cardio activity. Swimming not only gets the heart pumping but also provides older adults a joint friendly, low-impact way to lose weight.

According to Active.com, 30 minutes of consistent swimming equates to 45 minutes of regular exercise with water resistance providing an additional challenge. Orthopedic physicians routinely prescribe aquatic therapy for everything from back pain to joint injuries touting the protective benefits that water has on joint mobility. At Texas Orthopedic Hospital, pool therapy is noted to reduce swelling, help with balance, and improve strength, and flexibility. 55+ communities have caught onto the healing benefits of water exercise with many offering on-site classes designed to help active adults of all fitness levels feel energized, and move with more freedom. Kings Point Suncoast Communities in Florida provide residents with invigorating water workout classes geared towards improving range of motion both gently, and effectively.

Unforgettable Bike Tour Destinations

Forget about crowded tour buses, and car rental counters because discovering exciting destinations on two wheels is how active adults are seeing the world. Bike tours are gaining in popularity with boomers who crave the exhilaration of the open road, and the experience of exploring new cities in a way that car travel or walking tours can’t touch. Whether it’s a solo trip or joining a tour group, cycling is a low-impact way to sneak in some cardio and pursue your next adventure. The hardest part? Deciding which bike friendly city to explore first!

Amsterdam
Home to over 800,000 bicycles and a massive network of bike paths, the experience of cycling through Amsterdam is like the Dutch version of the Autobahn. Whether it’s riding through the tulip studded countryside, or touring the city’s iconic landmarks, most locals would agree getting around on a bike is the only way to go. With over a dozen bike tour companies, active adults can pedal their way through Amsterdam’s rich culture with a variety of options from private, and multi-day tours, to party, and even brewery tours.

The Health Trend You Won’t Find In a Bottle

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but could the key to good health be where you live? Feeling your best in everything you do extends beyond the hours you’re putting in at the gym. Longevity and vitality is a lifestyle rather than a health fad, and while juice cleanses, and superfoods are fabulous, experiencing mind-body health is one that 55+ communities have made their core focus. Anyone who’s researched this neighborhood turned “wellness retreats” has probably noticed a common thread of buzzwords like active, socially engaged, and connected. From the simplistic to the most opulent communities, most would agree that retirement isn’t being done sitting down.

Time, and time again, studies have proven the healing benefits of healthy social relationships, and how they improve everything from cardiovascular health to depression. Active adult communities are specifically designed to bring neighbors together through social clubs, events, and competitive games. The peer community atmosphere is ideal for singles to meet new people, and reduce feelings of loneliness. One resident said that since her move, life had become more socially enhanced, and she even became a cookie delivering member of the welcoming committee. These communities foster a no pressure approach to getting out there by offering activities to suit any lifestyle.

Step Back Into Your Comfort Zone

Leave it to the Danes, to sum up how we feel about a cup of tea, lunch with a friend, or a plush blanket. Social media and wellness advocates are all about hygge, the trending buzzword that’s inspiring homebodies everywhere. I have to admit the first time I saw the phrase associated with a room full of candles, and cocoa with marshmallows, I was intrigued. It sounds like a “hug” right? Well sort of. Pronounced (hoo-ga), this form of self-care defines all things cozy, and meaningful, whether that means your time, or gathering with loved ones. Last year The World Happiness report named Denmark the happiest country in the world based on the quality of living, overall health, and promoting a healthy economy. Hygge is at it’s comforting best during the winter, but our Danish neighbors have made the art of living in the moment a year-round tradition.

What does hygge mean to you? If I had to define how this concept applies to my life I’d say coming home each day to a dog who’s overjoyed to see me, or a sunny northwest day is all I need to feel content. 55+ retirement communities seem to have to savor the finer things figured out from the many social activities to the amenities that encourage self-care. Think of hygge as your new prescription, trying to incorporate a moment of bliss each day whether it’s a bike ride, reading a book, or holding hands with the one you love. There’s something to be said about a culture who’s been practicing this idea for eons sharing their spirit of happiness with the rest of the world.

Alternative Medicine Popular With Baby Boomers

“Health Isn’t a Goal, It’s a Way of Life.” Health markets are a mecca for colorful produce, probiotic beverages, and a steady stream of baby boomer clientele. This generation has grown up on grandma’s chicken soup, and bathtubs filled with ice to remedy everything from the common cold to measles, so it’s no surprise many of these health-savvy folks are choosing a holistic approach to what ails them. According to a CNN article, close to a third of Americans seek alternatives to traditional medicine with many 55+ communities getting on board with on-site yoga studios, farm to table offerings, and massage services.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health showed an increase in the use of alternative supplements like Omega 3 fish oil, and more older adults are looking to herbal remedies to treat a variety of conditions from arthritis, to insomnia. Even more promising, many insurance plans not only cover complimentary medicine such as a naturopath, or chiropractic services, but most require patients to try and fail conservative measures before authorizing more invasive treatments.