What Noise Pollution Is Doing to Your Heart

Do you feel stressed every day and have trouble falling to sleep at night? Do you wake up in the morning exhausted? I felt that way for months — at my wit’s end. When I finally discovered the reason, I was shocked.

Weird Symptoms With No Cause

I felt irritable, tired and sluggish, which was weird because I’m normally perky and energetic. Things got so bad that I finally decided to give in and buy over-the-counter sleeping pills to get some relief. That morning, my sister called me out of the blue and told me to check something I had never considered.

The Phone Call That Changed It All

You see, my sister and her family live in Chicago. When I told her about my symptoms, she asked: “Is there a lot of noise near your house?” The answer was yes, because our city has been redoing the streets near us. All that time, the real reason for my day-and-night stress was noise pollution!

The Truth About Noise Pollution

What is noise pollution? It's any unwanted sound that forces its way into your surroundings. You want peace and quiet, but you can’t make the noise go away.

Usually, noise pollution is caused by loud music, insensitive neighbors, wild parties, cars driving by or airplanes taking off. At work, there can be a lot of noise from heavy machinery.

Not all noise pollution is loud. Even quiet sounds can interrupt your concentration if they’re constant. A coworker that won’t stop clicking their pen is one of my personal pet peeves.

A Not-So-Silent Enemy

Some people will tell you, “It’s just noise; it’s not that big a deal.” Don’t believe them. Noise pollution can cause more problems than you think, and serious ones at that:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Insomnia
  • Weak immune system (from not sleeping)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

It's even worse if noise pollution gets in the way of a good night’s sleep. People who live in noisy areas find it harder to fall asleep, and they get less of the regenerating “deep” sleep the body needs to repair itself. This causes other problems, from low energy levels to weight gain.

Noise Pollution and Stress

Constant noise can be devastating for your mental health. When it seems like you can’t escape from loud sounds, your emotions suffer:

  • Stress
  • Panic feelings
  • Irritability
  • Sadness and depression
  • Exhaustion

The longer the situation keeps going, the worse you feel. It can get to the point where you're thinking about taking medicine for the side effects, but the real culprit is too... much... noise!

Tips for Stopping Noise Pollution

Inside the home, turn down the volume on electronic devices. Ask your kids to wear headphones when listening to music or playing video games. What about noises from outside?

One option is to choose home decor that deadens sounds. Insulated walls, double-pane windows, carpeting and thick curtains can help. There are even soundproof layers if your neighborhood is really noisy.

Set aside time every day to relax somewhere quiet. Take refuge in a quiet space when you get home from work. My bathroom is my haven, soaking in a bubble bath with a book for 30 minutes.

At work, you can block out irritating coworkers and noisy equipment with noise-cancelling headphones at your desk. Listen to calming classical music instead. This is invaluable for concentrating when you're focused on a task.

When a Nosebleed Is Not Just a Nosebleed

Nosebleeds. Are they messy and inconvenient? Absolutely. Do they sound the alarm bells for people who experience them, or for parents of children who develop them? Usually not. Should they? In most cases, no. However, though nosebleeds are typically not causes for concern, some symptoms may develop that warrant a call to the doctor. Moreover, when nosebleeds occur frequently, it could be a sign of a bigger issue. Below you will learn about when a nosebleed is not just a nosebleed and when it should prompt you to call the doctor.

When Nosebleeds Become Cause for Concern

Most children and adults have experienced at least one nosebleed in their lifetimes. If you have, then you know that a few minutes of self-care should be enough to abate the bleeding and let you resume your daily activities with little break in stride. However, there are some instances when nosebleeds prove to be a little more troublesome. When these events occur, how do you know when to call the doctor?

When To Call the Doctor for Nosebleeds in Adults

You may be used to frequent nosebleeds, especially during certain times of year. However, just because they’re frequent visitors does not mean you should ignore them completely. Below are a few symptoms for which you should look:

  • A nosebleed that persists for more than 20 minutes despite your best attempts to suppress it
  • A nosebleed that causes you to lose more than a cup of blood, even if it lasts for less than 20 minutes
  • A nosebleed that is accompanied by bleeding from other areas of the body, such as from the rectum or ear
  • A nosebleed that is the result of a serious blow to the head
  • A nosebleed that results in gagging, breathing troubles or vomiting due to blood dripping down your throat

These symptoms may indicate a more serious health issue. Some conditions that cause nosebleeds include high blood pressure, blood clotting disorders and infections of the arteries, among others.

When To Call the Doctor for Nosebleeds in Children

If you’re like most parents, you may worry when your child experiences a nosebleed — not so much because of the nosebleed itself but rather, because of your little one’s comfort during an episode. However, the cause for your concern may shift — and should — if the following occurs:

  • A nosebleed that persists for 20 or more minutes despite you putting direct pressure on it
  • A nosebleed that arises as the result of a blow to your child’s face
  • A nosebleed that occurs as the result of an object stuck in your child’s nose
  • A nosebleed that is accompanied by headache, dizziness, vomiting, fatigue or breathing problems

If a nosebleed is accompanied by other symptoms, it could be an indicator that your child has lost too much blood.

If you or your child experience frequent nosebleeds, do not just chalk it up to environmental factors or genetics. Frequent nosebleeds may indicate that there is a problem within the nose, such as a nasal polyp or some type of growth.

More often than not, a nosebleed is just that — a nosebleed. However, if you or your child experience worrisome symptoms, contact your doctor if nothing more than to err on the side of caution.

This Is Why Is I Don’t Buy My Salad Dressing at the Store

The idea that most store-bought salad dressings aren’t healthy may sound strange. “What about low-fat, fat-free or organic?” you’re probably asking. The shocking truth is that they’re almost as bad as regular versions!

1. The Fat-Free Trap

Fat equals flavor. I’m not saying you should eat full-fat dressings, just that they tend to be more flavorful. Food manufacturers know this.

Do you know what they do to compete with other brands? Instead of adding high-quality herbs or healthy ingredients, they put extra sugar and sodium in dressings marketed as low-fat or fat-free. All of that sodium is bad for your blood pressure and your heart.

Some dressings slap the word “organic” on the label to make it seem healthier than it really is. Calling something organic only means it hasn’t been grown without pesticides, but it doesn’t mean the ingredients are good for you. Many contain tons of saturated fats, salt and sugar.

2. “Healthy” Vinaigrettes That Aren’t

What about vinaigrettes and Italian dressing? Aren’t they supposed to be healthy? Well, when you make them at home, they’re absolutely amazing for your health. Most of the time, store-bought varieties aren’t.

All you need to do is take a quick look at the ingredients list for some of these dressings to understand what I mean. You’ll find preservatives, food colorings and other weird ingredients that can mess with your body. Like, what in the world are “calcium disodium EDTA,” “potassium sorbate” and “xanthan gum”?

These processed ingredients can make inflammation worse and trigger digestive troubles. If you have gout, arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) or other types of chronic pain, tossing out prepared salad dressings should be at the top of your to-do list.

3. Organic Salad Dressings With Cheap, Processed Oils

Another trick I’ve seen manufacturers use is mixing a really healthy oil with a really cheap one. Extra-virgin olive oil is a nutritious, high-quality oil with healthy fats that protect your heart. It’s also expensive.

To make more money, companies put a little EVOO in the dressing and a bunch of cheap soybean oil or vegetable oil. The label has “EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL” in huge letters, but the dressing actually contains mostly vegetable oil.

Soybean oil and other highly refined vegetable oils are completely lacking in nutrients. They’re bad for your heart instead of good, and they increase inflammation.

What Should You Do?

Don’t get me wrong. My tastebuds jump for joy with a tasty salad dressing. These four practical tips let you have your salad dressing and eat it too:

  • Make your own salad dressing: Tossing together a vinaigrette with EVOO, herbs, and balsamic vinegar only takes a few minutes. You can find good recipes online for a huge variety of healthy dressings.
  • Choose dressings with simple ingredients: If you only have time for store-bought dressing, the fewer ingredients, the better. Cold-pressed dressings made with EVOO, fresh-squeezed juices, veggies and natural ingredients can be healthy.
  • Know what a serving size looks like: Put your dressing in a measuring spoon to see what that low-cal serving size really is.
  • Serve dressing on the side: You can get some dressing on each bite without overdoing it by dipping your fork into dressing instead of pouring on top.

A crispy, veggie-packed salad is the perfect complement for everything from turkey sandwiches to spaghetti. It's too bad that most bottled dressings undo the benefits you get from eating salad in the first place.

5 Effective and Affordable Tools for Correcting Your Posture

Poor posture affects more than just your spinal function and comfort. Poor posture contributes to rounded belly, agitation, stress, anxiety and depression. It can also lead to long-term physical health issues, such as poor circulation, high blood pressure, joint dysfunction and more. For all these reasons and then some, it’s crucial that you invest in your posture sooner rather than later. Check out the top five most effective and affordable posture correcting tools on the market today.

1. Evoke Pro A300 Posture Corrector

This lightweight, breathable posture corrector is slim enough to wear under your clothing and comfortable enough to rock all day long. Designed to improve posture and provide pain relief, the Evoke Pro A300 realigns the spine and shoulders while you wear it. It boasts soft armpit pads and flexibility that lets you move freely while you’re wearing it. Priced for just under $25 on Amazon, and bosting a 3.5-star rating, this is a cheap but effective way to achieve better back support.

2. SOMAZ Adjustable Posture Corrector

The SOMAZ posture corrector fits more like a vest than anything else. Like the Evoke A300, it is lightweight and discreet enough to wear under your shirt while at work, home or out and about. Because it reaches from your clavicle down to the bottom of your spine, it offers full back support, which the designer says is more effective in achieving full posture correction. During use, the vest provides gentle back support while pulling the shoulders back, thereby providing correction for the duration of you wearing it. This design also has 3.5 stars and costs about $20 at Amazon.

3. Upright GO Posture Trainer and Corrector

Wouldn’t it be nice to constantly have someone remind you to sit up straight? Okay, probably not, but if that “someone” was a “something” — like, a tiny device attached to your back, the reminder may come off as less intrusive and more sincere. The Upright GO Posture Trainer, which now comes in a second version, is an electronic device that gives you a small little reminder to sit up straight when you slouch. Though the reminder is just a small vibration, it’s enough to train the mind and body to work together to correct your posture throughout the day. You can also track your progress through an app, which helps you gain awareness of what you’re doing wrong as well as what you need to do to correct it.

The device is slightly pricier than the first two, at $80. However, it has earned a solid four stars from its users.

4. FlexGuard Support Back Brace Posture Corrector

If you already experience back pain as a result of your poor posture, try this back support/posture corrector combination. Though it is more noticeable than the other options, it prevents slumping shoulders and curbs back pain all while training your back to sit straight. Also, because it forces you to let your spine support your body, it relieves the stress that your muscles have taken on as a result of your slumping. You can find this model for just $25 on Amazon, where it boasts four full stars from nearly 12,000 customers.

5. BetterCo BetterBack

A Shark Tank innovation, the BetterBack from BetterCo has thousands of five stars reviews from very satisfied customers. Lightweight and portable, this particular posture corrector was designed to correct poor posture that stems from the lower back. It also eases the lower back pain that occurs as a result of your slouching. Users claim that by wearing it for just 15 minutes a day goes a long way toward correcting their posture for good. You can get it at GetBetterBack.com for just $49.99, plus free shipping. If you’re not convinced after 60 days that it’s the right device for you, you can return it hassle-free.

An investment in your posture is an investment in your whole body health and future. Spend a little today for the right device and save on more costly back treatments in the years to come.

The Possible Causes of Premature Graying

Many men and women stress finding gray hairs; they assume it is a sign of poor health or aging. When the gray starts to appear earlier than expected, it can throw people into an absolute panic but is that the appropriate response. 

There are many reasons your hair might turn gray “prematurely,” but more often than not, it is a natural progression, with several professionals suggesting that by the time you turn 50, half your hair is gray. Obviously, those opinions are not all-inclusive, but they point to an interesting factor: going gray is normal, even predictable, so why do people fear it instead of embracing it. Whether out of existential dread or concerns about public perception, going gray prematurely is likely the result of one or a combination of factors.

1. Genetics

Genetics plays a significant role in when and how your hair will turn gray. Look into your family history; when did your mother’s or father’s hair turn gray? What about siblings, cousins, aunts, or uncles? If most people in your family have turned gray early, the odds are that your hair will follow suit. However, there is a chance that your risk of inheriting premature gray hair is unlikely, in which case, there might be another culprit.

2. Lifestyle

What is your lifestyle like? Are you sedentary or active? Do you have a fulfilling personal life? Your lifestyle can affect your hair, but to what extent is still unknown. While people have speculated for years that stress plays a significant role in premature graying, there is little to no evidence corroborating the assumption.

3. Diet

Diet can be a crucial player in when your hair turns gray and even how healthy it is. Your hair depends on several cellular and biological processes that, in turn, depend on several vital nutrients. If you are not getting enough nutritional value from your food, you may see adverse effects on your hair. For instance, vitamins B-12, A, C, D, and E are essential to hair health. If you are deficient in any of these nutrients, you can experience hair loss or other signs of premature aging, like graying hair.

4. Smoking

One of the worst things you can do for hair health is smoke. Unlike stress, smoking has been proven to have a connection to graying hair, especially among those 30 and younger. If you are concerned with premature graying, avoid smoking cigarettes and avoid secondhand smoke inhalation.

5. Medical Condition

While not the most likely cause of early graying, certain medical conditions can lead to the development of gray hair. Pituitary and thyroid gland problems are two conditions that might be connected to graying hair, but it should be noted that such results are incredibly rare. 

Premature graying is most often a result of genetics, but depending on your lifestyle, diet, and habits, the aging or transformation of your hair might be reversible. However, if genetic or permanent, do not assume you need to cover it up. Gray hair is a natural part of aging and is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. 

Do you fear gray hair, or do you embrace the change?

My Favorite Juices for Health

Have you noticed how the entire world is focusing more on health now than seemingly ever before? If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, it’s time to! Good health is essential for overcoming illness and staving off disease. Not to mention the fact that you feel so much better when you take good care of your body and give it the nutrients it needs.

 Recently, I’ve been experimenting with different juices to see how they make me feel. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve come up with a list of juices that help me feel healthy and vibrant while giving me a little extra pep in my step. I decided to share this list with you so you can benefit from these incredible juices as well! So check out this list of my favorite juices for optimizing my health

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Watermelon Juice

Who doesn’t love the sweet, invigorating flavor of watermelon? If you like fresh watermelon, you’ll probably love watermelon juice. It’s full of lycopene and beta carotene (which are both powerful phytonutrients known to boost the immune system and help neutralize free radicals in the body). In fact, you won’t find another fruit that has more lycopene in it than watermelon.

Watermelon is also very hydrating since it’s comprised mostly of water (approximately 91%). Since most of us are dehydrated at least some of the time without even knowing it, drinking watermelon juice can help keep us properly hydrated (especially those of us who have a difficult time drinking plain water).

Spinach Juice

I thought I’d lead out with watermelon juice before talking about a juice that seems much less appealing. If you find yourself grimacing at the thought of spinach juice, just hear me out. Spinach juice is one of my very favorites to drink, though I usually combine it with other ingredients to mask its flavor.

Spinach is one of the most nutritious ingredients you can consume. It’s also very low in calories, which is a huge plus if you’re watching your weight like I am. In just 3 cups of spinach, you can get as much as 340% of your daily vitamin K content and up to 25% of your vitamin C needs.

 Usually, I put one or two cups of spinach in my blender with one cup of water, then blend it until it’s smooth. After that, I’ll often toss in a small handful of blueberries or strawberries, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a small apple and blend it all together. This makes a pleasant, but not overly sweet juice that’s packed full of immune-boosting nutrients. I prefer to drink this juice first thing in the morning, as it energizes me and helps me feel ready to tackle my day.

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Carrot Juice

If you’ve never had carrot juice made from organic, subtly sweet carrots, you’re in for a treat. I like to buy my carrot juice from my local health food store, but you can make your own carrot juice if you have a good juicer at home.

Carrots are a great nutritional choice for mature adults because they contain a lot of beta-carotene, which is important for good eyesight. Carrot juice also contains vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and many other nutrients. If you don’t think straight carrot juice is sweet enough for your tastes, try adding a small amount of stevia to sweeten it without adding harmful sugars.

 These are three of my favorite go-to juices for good health. I tend to drink the watermelon juice in the summer and the other two juices year-round. None of these juices are calorically dense enough to be a meal replacement, but you can drink them along with a meal or as a light snack to give your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and energetic.

7 Pieces of Exercise Equipment Ideal for a Senior’s Home Gym

Maintaining workout routines as you age requires understanding your capabilities and knowing the safety concerns that most affect you. You will want to choose low-impact, efficient, and relatively safe equipment for people at an increased risk of injury. Thankfully, manufacturers and fitness enthusiasts have been aware of senior concerns for decades, meaning there are plenty of equipment and program options available for all those individuals who want to maintain a current habit or start anew.

1. Elliptical

Cardio is an excellent way to burn calories and maintain mobility. While many people use treadmills in their daily workouts, seniors should try an elliptical — a stationary cardio machine that mimics the movements of walking or cross-country skiing. The elliptical is low-impact and integrates safety mechanisms into the exercise with arm levers, adjustable resistance, and heart rate monitoring.

2. Recumbent Bike (Stationary or Standard) 

Cycling is and has always been an excellent cardiovascular exercise. While a traditional bicycle or stationary bike is a perfect option for people of all ages, some seniors may struggle to get on and off it without risking injury.  

A recumbent bike eliminates the typical obstacles of a traditional setup with a chair-like design, lower configuration, and fewer obstacles when getting on or off. Recumbents come in both stationary and standard models. Fixed options are the best for people with balance or confidence concerns. However, the standard mobile option comes in two and three-wheeled designs.

3. Lat Pull-Down Machine

Rounded posture, aches, and unaligned backs often occur among seniors because of weakening muscles and decreasing back strength. A lat pull-down machine is an excellent tool for strengthening the upper back muscles.  

The exercise requires the user to be seated. You place both hands on the bar and pull it down, either in front or behind you. The weight can be adjusted to suit your current fitness level.

4. Stability Ball

As people age, balance can become a significant concern. Core muscles are responsible for not only balance but also posture. A stability ball provides a unique and productive experience for those looking to build core strength. Because the ball is low to the ground, there is minimal risk of injury. Additionally, seniors can use the exercise tool for more than balancing routines; stretching is also great to increase flexibility.

5. Rowing Machine

Another excellent tool for building core strength is the rowing machine. Through resistance, posture, and movement, the device helps strengthen the core; it is also a low-impact form of exercise and entirely customizable. You can choose the set amount, repetition, and appropriate pressure for your current capabilities, all while increasing your endurance, working your muscles, and improving your flexibility through repetitive stretching.

6. Yoga Mat

No one said your home gym had to be expensive. Yoga is a beneficial and life-affirming exercise program incorporating flexibility, mobility, balance, breathing, and mindfulness. The only piece of equipment required is a yoga mat, which is also beneficial for other floor exercises. Another excellent program for seniors is Pilates, which is like yoga.

7. Wrist or Ankle Weights

Are you looking for more of a challenge when jogging, walking, or using the elliptical? If so, consider wrist or ankle weights. They are very light — only one to three pounds — and can be worn or carried. The best thing is the weights add just enough resistance to a low-impact workout without adding so much to become cumbersome or add stress to the joints. 

Any of the above equipment would be excellent additions to a senior's home gym. However, only you know your current abilities, so be safe.

6 Home Remedies To Manage Arthritis Pain

Arthritis stems from one of two medical conditions: osteoarthritis — the degeneration of cartilage and bone — or rheumatoid arthritis — an autoimmune disease. While medical professionals can prescribe pain relievers and other medications to help combat symptoms, most suggest combining medicine and natural approaches for relief. There are several options for treating your arthritis at home without depending on prescriptions or over-the-counter products alone.

1. Exercise

Exercise can seem counterintuitive to those with arthritis because it involves impact and absorption at the joints. However, the appropriate form of exercise can promote flexibility while strengthening the fundamental muscles around affected bones and cartilage.   

When starting an exercise regimen, you should talk with your doctor about appropriate exercises, and you need to consider your current level of physical activity and health. People with arthritis will want to focus on low-impact workouts, which include:  

  • Cycling  
  • Walking  
  • Water activities  
  • Tai chi  
  • Yoga

2. Weight Management

Managing your weight can have a significant impact on your arthritis. The heavier you are, the more pressure you place on critical joints, including the knees, hips, and ankles. With degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis, obesity can increase the rate of deterioration. The American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation suggests losing weight can have significant benefits on arthritic conditions, such as:  

  • Decreasing pain  
  • Improving mobility  
  • Preventing future damage  

Before delving into a weight loss journey, consult your primary physician to set goals. Your doctor can help determine a healthy target weight and design an effective program. 

3. Diet

As always, a healthy and balanced diet is the key to optimum health. A rich diet comprised primarily of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods can boost immune system strength and coordination. While there is evidence suggesting a strong correlation between rheumatoid arthritis and dietary choices, some studies also support the use of a diet to improve the lives of those with osteoarthritis.  

When assessing your current diet, there are several items to limit or stay away from, including processed foods, red meat, added sugars, saturated fats, and salt. As for the foods you want to include:  

  • Fatty fish (high in omega-3s)  
  • Turmeric dishes  
  • Tofu  
  • Edamame  
  • Dairy  
  • Broccoli  
  • Citrus fruits  
  • Nuts

4. Mindfulness

As a chronic pain condition, arthritis leads to stress, anxiety, and sometimes depression. The National Institutes of Health offer several studies and examples of how mindfulness can improve the mentality and physical condition of those with arthritis, especially rheumatoid arthritis.  

When you meditate, you help your body relax. When your body is relaxed, the brain has less need to produce fight-or-flight hormones, including cortisol — the stress hormone. Meditation, then, can inhibit the body's inflammatory responses by controlling unhelpful chemical reactions, potentially curbing arthritis pain.

5. Acupuncture

Practitioners of acupuncture — an ancient Chinese medical treatment — believe that inserting thin needles into precise locations on the body can help reroute energies and balance the body's meridians. With limited research-backed evidence, it is challenging to prescribe acupuncture as a definitive treatment for arthritis. Still, there is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest the practice can help some patients.

6. Herbal Supplements

While not backed by scientific research, some evidence suggests that herbs can help with arthritis symptoms. Some of the most popular herbs include:  

  • Ginko  
  • Bromelain  
  • Boswellia  
  • Thunder god vine  
  • Devil's claw  
  • Stinging nettle  

Arthritis is a chronic pain condition, but several home remedies and options can help relieve symptoms. If you are interested in trying one of the above methods to manage arthritis symptoms, talk to your doctor first. 

Do you have any suggestions for arthritis pain relief?

6 Natural Ways To Alleviate Symptoms of Menopause

For most women, menopause will begin in their late 40s or early 50s, lasting for a few years. While not all women will experience severe menopausal symptoms, nearly two-thirds will. The symptoms include:

  • Irritability 
  • Mood swings 
  • Night sweats 
  • Tiredness 
  • Hot flashes

If that wasn’t enough, menopausal women have an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Because of the increased risks and predictable symptoms, most women look for relief from their doctors. However, not all women want to turn to prescriptions or OTC medicines to help combat symptoms. Thankfully, there are several natural ways to reduce the severity of menopause.

1. Diet and Weight Management 

Menopause leads to several hormonal changes that can weaken bones, meaning calcium and vitamin D are crucial nutrients during menopausal years. While there are many sources of both essential nutrients, some of the most beneficial are: 

  • Natural sunlight  
  • Leafy greens (Kale, spinach, collard greens) 
  • Calcium-fortified foods 
  • Oily fish 
  • Eggs 
  • Cod liver oil

While menopause commonly leads to weight gain because of hormonal changes, genetics, aging, and lifestyle choices, excess body fat around the waist increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Aside from reducing severe health risks, women who lose at least 10% of their body weight can eliminate uncomfortable menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

2. Exercise 

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. While it might not have any effect on hot flashes, several studies suggest the positive impact of consistent workouts, including: 

  • Improved energy 
  • Better sleep 
  • Decreased stress 
  • Healthier joints 
  • Improved metabolism 
  • Reduced risks of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, anxiety

3. Hydration

A common side effect of menopause is dryness and dehydration; the assumed cause is decreasing estrogen levels. Menopausal women should consume at least eight to 12 glasses of water per day to reduce the likelihood of dehydration, dryness, and bloating.  

Drinking enough water can also help with weight management and loss. When you drink enough water, you are more likely to feel fuller longer. Additionally, water can increase your metabolism.

4. Trigger Foods

Some women might be surprised to learn that certain foods can trigger adverse menopausal side effects, such as mood swings, night sweats, and hot flashes. While there are several common triggers, including alcohol, caffeine, spicy and sugary foods, every woman is different. 

It would be best if you kept a symptom diary to track your trigger foods. Write down everything you eat and how you feel after the meal. You want to keep track for several weeks to determine likely food triggers.

5. Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens mimic the effect of estrogen in the body, meaning foods rich in these compounds can help balance hormones during menopause. Women in many Asian countries consume diets rich in phytoestrogens, and many experts credit that to why women in such countries rarely experience hot flashes. 

The phytoestrogen content can vary by food and processing method. Some of the foods with the highest phytoestrogen content include: 

  • Soybeans 
  • Soy products 
  • Tofu 
  • Flaxseeds 
  • Tempeh 
  • Linseeds 
  • Beans 
  • Sesame seeds

6. Supplements

While the evidence is limited, many women stand by the use of natural supplements for treating menopausal symptoms. Some of the most popular supplements include: 

  • Black cohosh 
  • Phytoestrogens 
  • Probiotics 
  • Prebiotics 
  • DHEA-S 
  • Kava 
  • Dong Quai 
  • Evening primrose oil

Menopause is a natural part of life, but its symptoms can be challenging. By making a few lifestyle and dietary changes, you can curb the severity of symptoms. However, you should always consult your doctor before making any drastic life choices. 

How do you cope with the symptoms of menopause?

The Benefits of Pilates for Seniors

I feel like I maintain my health pretty well for a gal of my age, but lately, I’ve been discovering that the workouts I used to do are a little too … vigorous for me. All that jumping around I used to do is no longer possible (unless I want to risk breaking a hip or dislocating a knee).

At first, I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t do my favorite high-impact exercise routines anymore. I was under the impression that without jumping around like a maniac, I wouldn’t be able to achieve a high calorie burn. Boy was I ever wrong! I’ve discovered a new workout that gets my sweat dripping without my feet ever leaving the ground at the same time. It’s called Pilates.

I know, I know, Pilates is nothing new. But it’s one of those classic workouts that many of us have abandoned because we somehow thought it was old-fashioned or less effective than doing 50 burpees within a 10-minute time span. Thankfully, I have rediscovered why Pilates is so great and so effective for those of us with “advanced age.” Here are some of the top benefits of Pilates for seniors.

It Increases Flexibility and Strength

Try bending down and touching your toes. If this is hard for you to do, or if you only get as far as your knees, you could benefit from Pilates. With an emphasis on controlled movements and small ranges of motion, Pilates is very effective at increasing flexibility while also boosting your strength.

It Improves Mobility

Mobility is a little bit different from flexibility. Mobility primarily involves the major joints you use to get around and perform everyday actions. If you’re anything like me, you probably feel a little stiff in the hips, back, and knees.

Unfortunately, when you’re struggling with mobility, the tendency is to want to restrict your movements as much as possible because it hurts to move. But being sedentary will only make mobility issues worse. Pilates, on the other hand, gently guides your body through a variety of movements that can help improve mobility and get blood flow to key joints that might otherwise remain stiff.

It Is Gentle and Easy to Modify

Unlike high-impact workouts or HIIT routines, Pilates is gentle on the body and won’t tax your joints. It’s also easy to modify Pilates movements to fit your unique fitness and flexibility levels. One of the things I love most about Pilates is that it has virtually no impact. It’s also appropriate for individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and other conditions commonly experienced by seniors.

It Helps Prevents Falls

If you’re prone to falling, don’t underestimate the importance of a good Pilates routine. Pilates improves core strength, posture, and balance so you’re less likely to fall. It can also strengthen the core and legs so you’re steadier on your feet and have the muscular strength to hold yourself upright.

It Makes You Feel Good!

One of my favorite Pilates benefits is the way I feel after a workout. Once I learned that exercise doesn’t have to be painful, it became much easier for me to stay active and maintain my physical health into my senior years. Exercising releases feel-good hormones, including endorphins that give us energy and help us avoid depression and mood swings.

If you aren’t yet convinced that Pilates is right for you, give it a try! You have nothing to lose and a new favorite workout to gain. Try finding a Pilates class at a gym near you or simply turn on your TV and find a Pilates class on YouTube that you can complete in the comfort of your own home. Your body will thank you!