Easy upper-body boosters

The loss of muscle mass begins in one’s 30s and accelerates after age 60. A loss of upper-body strength can make it more difficult to complete daily activities, and it may also increase the risk for muscle injury during an activity that involves reaching. A physical therapy program can help increase muscle mass in older age. A program typically involves gentle stretching to keep muscles supple, plus strengthening exercises like triceps curls, with low amounts of weight (just a few pounds) and a high number of repetitions. More »

Are you missing these signs of anxiety or depression?

 Image: © davidf/Getty Images The signs of mental illness aren't always obvious. Subtle changes in mood or behavior are often attributed to aging, just like weaker muscles and fuzzy thinking. "There's a tendency to dismiss it as, 'Well, of course I'm worried, I have heart disease,' or, 'Of course I'm sad, I'm not as relevant as I once was,'" says Dr. Michael Craig Miller, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. But depression (extreme sadness, worthlessness, or hopelessness) and anxiety (debilitating worry and agitation) do not need to be routine parts of aging. Getting help for these feelings can help you maintain your health and enjoy life to the fullest. More »

The importance of bystander CPR

CPR can keep a person experiencing a cardiac arrest alive until paramedics can arrive. Traditional CPR involves chest compression to manually keep the heart pumping, and also mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to provide oxygen to the person in cardiac arrest. Bystander CPR involves only the chest compressions. They’re both important, but when cardiac arrest occurs, there’s already some oxygen in the blood. Doctors say it’s much more important to immediately pump that blood to the brain than spend extra time trying to give the patient more oxygen. (Locked) More »

The pros and cons of root vegetables

 Image: © rudisill/Getty Images Root vegetables — like turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips — may not be the sexiest foods on the table. But they're big celebrities in a number of cuisine trends like the "vegetable forward" movement (which elevates vegetables into creative entrees and side dishes) and root-to-stem cooking (which uses every part of a vegetable, including the tops, stems, and skins). While it's fun to use old standbys in more interesting ways (like roasted parsnips with pistachio and lemon), it's important to eat root vegetables judiciously. "They are so high in carbohydrates that they are more like grains than greens. It makes more sense to put them in the same category as breads, rice, or pasta," says dietitian Teresa Fung, adjunct professor in the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. More »

Are drugstore sleep aids safe?

 Image: © Spauln/Getty Images It's 2 a.m. and you can't sleep. Is it okay to take a nonprescription remedy? "They're not meant for the long term, but it may be okay for an occasional night of problems with sleep," says sleep expert Dr. Lawrence Epstein, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. But which option should you reach for? Drugstore shelves are lined with a dizzying array of products promising a good night's sleep. They fall into two categories: nonprescription medications and dietary supplements. More »