Healthy Aging Archive

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For mellow movement that helps your heart, try tai chi

Tai chi is a gentle, adaptable practice that features flowing movements combined with breathing and cognitive focus. It may be especially helpful for people who are recovering from a heart attack or other medical problems or who have heart failure. Tai chi also can be a gateway to other types of physical activity because the practice may improve balance, reduce the risk of falls, and even help ease lower back pain—a common reason for avoiding exercise.

Is sex hormone therapy safe for your heart?

The age-related drop in sex hormone levels can cause undesirable symptoms such as hot flashes or a flagging sex drive. Various formulations of estrogen or testosterone can ease those symptoms, but hormone therapy has a mixed record when it comes to cardiovascular safety. A 2023 study suggests that testosterone therapy is safe for men at high risk for heart disease. But women at high risk for heart disease But women at high risk for heart disease considering estrogen-based therapy need to balance menopausal symptom severity versus the greater chance of an adverse cardiovascular problem.

No bones about it

While the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis most often strikes women, about 6% of men ages 65 and older have it. Preventing osteoporosis and treating it if it occurs focuses on stopping or at least slowing bone loss. The main ways to do this are maintaining proper calcium and vitamin D levels and engaging in weight-bearing activities and exercises that help build muscle and improve balance. Raising low testosterone levels or taking a class of drugs known as bisphosphonates also may help.

An inside look at body fat

As men age, their metabolism naturally slows, and they burn calories more slowly. They can be less active and consume extra calories. The result is a buildup of visceral fat inside the abdominal cavity and around vital organs. This can raise heart disease risk factors, such as blood pressure, blood sugar, and total cholesterol levels. The best way to fight visceral fat is with aerobic exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet that includes plenty of protein.

Mastering memory maintenance

Memory loss is a pervasive worry. Dementia will affect an estimated nine million Americans by 2030 and 12 million by 2040. A 2023 study suggests six healthy lifestyle factors can significantly slow memory decline: eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, not drinking alcohol, being socially active, and engaging in brain-challenging activities. Another 2023 study suggests regular Internet use may be linked to a lower risk of dementia.

Can you feel younger than your age?

Research has found that people with more positive attitudes about growing old tend to live longer than those with negative thoughts about aging. They also have a lower risk for diabetes, stroke, cancer, and heart disease and better cognitive functioning. People can maintain a healthy mindset about aging by adopting certain lifestyle habits, such as reducing anxiety, finding purpose in life, seeking challenges, socializing more, and rejecting negative stereotypes about aging.

Rising up from a fall

Older adults need to safely be able to sit and rise from the ground whether kneeling in the garden, looking for something under the bed, or playing on the floor with the grandkids. This movement is also helpful when getting up after a fall. Three exercises that can help older adults with daily up-and-down mobility are kneel-to-stand, crawling, and sit-to-stand.

3 group housing trends for the 60 and older set

Three group housing trends can help ward off loneliness and isolation in older age. One trend is specialized communities, which are private mini-neighborhoods that promote shared activities, involvement with neighbors, and sometimes shared goals (such as providing stable lives for foster children). The communities are run by the people who live there or by nonprofit organizations. Another trend is home sharing—taking on a boarder or sharing a home with friends. A third trend is residential care homes, which are small assisted living facilities in private homes licensed by the state.

Steps to spot the signs of hoarding

Hoarding disorder is a mental health condition characterized by an inability to discard certain belongings to the point of unhealthy accumulation. While the types of hoarded items vary and might be useless to others—old clothes, boxes, papers, junk mail, or even spoiled food or garbage—the person hoarding the items is convinced they'll be needed one day. The mere idea of parting with them is extremely distressing. In time, stuff fills the home in mounds of disorganized clutter that jams rooms and hallways and threatens safety. Beyond clutter, signs of hoarding disorder include impaired behavior, such as social isolation, sleep loss, or indecision.

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