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?

Depression and anxiety are not a routine part of aging. But the signs of these conditions are sometimes brushed aside. Common symptoms include apathy, hopelessness, changes in sleeping or eating habits, persistent fatigue, difficulty focusing or making decisions, mood swings, unending worry, and wanting to be alone. If any of these symptoms are interfering in a person’s daily life, it may be time to reach out for help. Treatment ranges from medications and talk therapy to exercise and socializing. 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

Root vegetables—like sweet potatoes, turnips, and parsnips—are often featured in vegetarian cuisines. They are low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. For example, the flesh of a medium baked sweet potato has only 103 calories and enough vitamin A—1,096 micrograms—to meet one’s entire Recommended Dietary Allowance for the day. But most root vegetables are also very high in carbohydrates and should be limited to one serving per day. Easy ways to eat root vegetables: boiled, mashed, baked, roasted with a little olive oil, or tossed into soups and casseroles. (Locked) More »

Are drugstore sleep aids safe?

An occasional night of sleeplessness may warrant the use of an over-the-counter sleep medication or a sleep-promoting dietary supplement. Sleep medications that are available over the counter use antihistamines as their main active ingredient. They are generally safe, but there aren’t a lot of data about their long-term use. Dietary supplements that may promote sleep include chamomile, melatonin, and valerian root. There aren’t a lot of data about the safety and effectiveness of chamomile and valerian root. Melatonin can be taken safely for the long term. It is meant to shift the timing of one’s sleep cycle. (Locked) More »