Category Archives: Prime-Timers Health

Lesson #5 on Living Longer and Staying Sharp

This article in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013)  both humbled me and inspired me. So much so that I am serializing her lessons here in my blog.

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.

Now for the fifth of six smart habits of super agers. Here Olga’s Lesson #4.

Lesson #5: Cultivate a Sense of Progress

We all need the feeling that in some small ways we’re improving—or at least not backsliding—whether at the gym, at our jobs, or in our relationships. Without periodic doses of what psychologist Teresa Amabile, Ph.D., calls “small wins,” our morale craters.

The Legacy: A competitive volleyball player, Olga’s granddaughter Alesa Rabson, 23, enjoys a lush genetic inheritance. “Grandma has taught me there’s no excuse to be lazy,” she says.

Trouble is, chalking up wins becomes more difficult from midlife on, when it’s easy to feel like you’re getting slower and weaker by the day. Fortunately, there’s a remedy. The trick is to ­reframe progress so that it becomes a relative measure, not an absolute one. In other words, to move the yardsticks as you age.

This is something that masters track does ingeniously. Olga’s results are “age-graded,” meaning they are adjusted to account for the expected decline of the human body. And Olga applies the “move the yardsticks” strategy off the track as well. For instance, she still says yes to many social requests but not to all— increasing her fulfillment by cherry-picking the best life has to offer.

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!

Olga’s Lesson #4. Return tomorrow for Olga’s Lesson #6.

Lesson #4 on Living Longer and Staying Sharp

This article in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013) both humbled me and inspired me. So much so that I am serializing her lessons here in my blog.

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.

Now for the fourth of six smart habits of super agers. Here is Olga’s Lesson #3.

Lesson #4: Be a Creature of Habit

Olga’s running buddy, Christa Bortignon, 76, has set seven world records this year en route to the 2013 World Female Masters Athlete award. Without Olga as a mentor, she says, “I wouldn’t have even known masters track existed.”

There is no book, you will notice, called The Seven Ephemeral Whims of Highly Successful People. The reason: Habits work.

“What you have to do is just get yourself to the track,” says Christa . There, she’ll dial up Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 on the iPod, circle the track twice, then jog it once.

It’s as if Christa is turning the tumblers on a lock: Those small familiar actions cue the body that it’s showtime. “Your muscles have a memory,” she says. “They know.”

Under stress, people tend to fall back on routines—whether healthy or unhealthy. In a recent experiment, University of Southern California psychologist Wendy Wood, Ph.D., one of the world’s top experts in habit formation, found that students around exam time slipped into autopilot. It was habits—not cravings, as you might expect—that determined their food choices, for better or worse.

Olga’s own weekly calendar is ­anchored in rituals. Her mornings typically include a stretching routine; she adheres to a predictable bedtime. If it’s Tuesday, she is out bowling; if it’s Thursday, she is likely making pierogi in the basement of her church.

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!

Olga’s Lesson #3. Return tomorrow for Olga’s Lesson #5.

Lesson #3 on Living Longer and Staying Sharp

This article in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013)  both humbled me and inspired me. So much so that I am serializing her lessons here in my blog.

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.

Now for the third of six smart habits of super agers. Here Olga’s Lesson #2.

Lesson #3: Eat Real Food

Harold Morioka, Olga’s 70-year-old coach, is one of the most gifted masters athletes ever, the only runner of any age to break world records in every distance from 60 to 800 meters.

People are intensely curious about Olga’s diet. And while her eating habits are healthy – there’s very little processed food in her cupboards, for instance – they are by no means perfect. She is no stranger to carbs, often having toast in the morning (perhaps topped with cheese and honey) and bread again in her lunchtime sandwich. She likes her meat and she likes it medium-rare. At a baseball game she’ll down a hot dog and a beer.

Instead, it’s her approach to eating that may be an overlooked part of the puzzle. Olga eats four to five times a day, and not much in the evenings. She won’t skip meals or scarf fast food and count on a handful of supplements and vitamins to pick up the dietary slack. (She does take a baby aspirin each day to prevent blood clots, and glucosamine to shore up her joint cartilage, which takes such a pounding on the track.) A balanced diet ought to do it, she figures. Nature had a couple million years to get this right. Plus, she says, “food’s cheaper.”

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!

Olga’s Lesson #2. Return tomorrow for Olga’s Lesson #4.

Lesson #2 on Living Longer and Staying Sharp

This article in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013)  both humbled me and inspired me. So much so that I am serializing her lessons here in my blog.

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants
age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively. How does Olga continue to compete? Why does she feel, today, practically the same as she felt at 50?

Now for the second of six smart habits of super agers. Here is Olga’s Lesson #1.

Lesson #2: Stay on Your Feet

At home – a tidy suite in the lower level of her daughter’s house – Olga rarely sits for long. She’s continually popping up to stir a soup, write a letter, or make a phone call. She climbs the stairs, she figures, “probably 50 times a day.” She switches on the TV only to watch her favorite game shows (Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!) or check the ­weather. Apart from a brief stint as a ­secretary after she left her family’s farm, she’s never had a desk job.

Olga’s life is anchored in rituals. If it’s Tuesday, she’s out bowling.

Simply standing up more is the best thing sedentary people can do to start
becoming healthier, maintains Joan Vernikos, Ph.D., the former director of Life ­Sciences for NASA and ­author of the book Sitting Kills. The painless act of rising from your chair pumps blood from the feet to the head, and tunes the vestibular system, which helps maintain blood pressure and keeps you steady on your feet.

Even a regular morning jog can’t compensate for being inert the ­other 23
hours of the day, research shows. Extended bouts of inactivity have been found to increase subjects’ risk of serious afflictions—including hypertension, blood clots, and even some types of cancer—no matter how “fit” those subjects were.

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!


Olga’s Lesson #1. Return tomorrow for Olga’s Lesson #3.

Lessons on Living Longer and Staying Sharp From a Nonagenarian Track Star

At 67 and still an avid runner (as well as a fan of many outdoor activities) I am tempted at times to think “I’m somebody”! Then I run across an article like this one in Parade Magazine (Dec. 28, 2013) that both humbles me and inspires me! Both reactions are good and necessary.

The article and Olga’s wisdom are so good, I will serialize her lessons in my next few posts. Don’t miss even one! Here goes ….

Ninety-four-year-old Olga Kotelko, a retired schoolteacher from West Vancouver, Canada, could be the poster child for late bloomers. Seventeen years ago, at 77, she entered her first “masters” track and field competition, for participants age 35 and over. At 85, she knocked off nearly 20 world records in a single year. Today, she is the only woman in the world over 90 still long-jumping and high-jumping competitively.

How does Olga continue to compete? Why does she feel, today, practically the same as she felt at 50? Around the continent, more and more researchers are studying so-called “super seniors” like Olga, who appear to be applying brakes to the aging process itself—defying the slide into a foggy decline, remaining sharp and healthy deep into old age.

“We think longevity is probably about 70 to 75 percent lifestyle,” says Angela Brooks-Wilson, Ph.D., a geneticist in the Genome Sciences Centre at the B.C. Cancer Agency in Vancouver. That means just a quarter of healthy aging is about the protection you inherited, and up to three-quarters is determined by how you play the hand you were dealt.

This is excellent news. Will any of us be sprinting into our 90s, like Olga? Perhaps not. But can just about all of us be more like Olga? Absolutely!

Now for the first of six smart habits of super agers.

Lesson #1: Swap the Sudoku for Sneakers

Even before she laced up her first track spikes, Olga was always active. As a kid on the Saskatchewan prairie, she and her 10 siblings played baseball with a rag-stuffed ball—and she was still playing up until age 75, when she began thinking about a new pastime after being plowed down in the outfield by an overzealous teammate chasing the same pop fly. A friend suggested masters track, and just a few months later, at her first international meet in Tucson, Olga launched the javelin 10 feet farther than her competitors’ marks. She soon hooked up with a coach—and started rewriting the record books.

As comprehensively as scientists know that exercise helps the body, they’re still learning how far it goes in shoring up the brain. Increasing evidence suggests that for fending off senior moments (“Where’d I leave my car keys?”), not to mention full-blown dementia, exercise works better than even those brain touted to boost memory and function. A recent review of research by Norwegian scientists found that the gains people make on such puzzles don’t necessarily carry over into real life. “They’re not going to help you as you age, with, say, driving,” says Justin Rhodes, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois at ­Urbana-Champaign. “But exercise can help you improve across the board.”

Here is Olga herself – be inspired!


Return for Olga’s Lesson # 2 tomorrow!

Food for your Brain

brain_foodWe’ve all had those days when we just can’t seem to concentrate. And while there’s no magic pill to bring us back to the height of our cognitive powers, there are some foods that have been shown to improve brain function, protect against age-associated cognitive decline and encourage focus and clarity.

But before you dismiss the diet-brain connection as mere conjecture, keep in mind that study after study has found a relationship between what we put in our mouths and how well we can perform important thinking and memory tasks. While certain nutrients may specifically assist brain function, there is also the totality of our diets to consider.

One recent U.K. study found that a diet high in saturated fat actually caused damage to neurons that control energy and appetite in mice. And several well-regarded studies have shown that meal timing is an important predictor of performance. For example, research shows that eating breakfast can improve the memory and skills of schoolchildren.

brainfood

Certain foods can even clean the brain!

Health Nutrition—Berries!As we get older, damaged cells accumulate in the brain, which can lead to age-related diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. That’s where berries come in. Polyphenols, which give berries their deep-red or -blue hue, activate proteins that “clean up” damaged cells, breaking down and recycling the toxic chemicals linked to age-related mental decline, says study author Shibu Poulose, Ph.D., a molecular biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston.

Scientists have found the first evidence that polyphenol compounds in the fruits activate the brain’s natural “housekeeping” mechanism.

Juice Plus+ contains 26 different berries, fruits and vegetables which form the perfect partnership for our brain health as well as our overall wellness.

iDoctor

No, that’s not a typo, and I’m not talking about eye health.

My smartphone is getting ‘smarter’ every day, and so am I because of it.

I already use iphone apps to record my exercise (Runkeeper), to track my water (Water Your Body), to make healthy food and drink choices (Fooducate), to find local, in-season produce (Locavore) and even to check that I buy organic versions of certain fruits and veggies (The Dirty Dozen).

All these tools and Juice Plus+ keep me out of the doctor’s office. But when, one day, I need medical help, my future looks brighter than ever because of my … smartphone!

Could a smartphone be the future of medicine? Could the ‘iDoctor’ be the digital doctor of the future, with the doctor-patient relationship increasingly being founded on WiFi?

One of the world’s top cardiologists, Dr. Eric Topol says ‘yes’.

Director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute, chief academic officer of San Diego-based Scripps Health in California, Dr. Topol has a prescription that could improve your family’s health and make medical care much cheaper. He claims that the key is the smartphone. Topol has become the foremost expert in the exploding field of wireless medicine. These days he “prescribes more apps than meds!”

According to this forward thinking doctor, billions of dollars are wasted every year for screening and unnecessary medications because people are “being treated like a cattle herd” in our frantic fee-for-service, litigation-happy world. “Medicine today is about as wasteful as one can imagine,” he said.

Topol believes that a third of drugs prescribed are “total waste” and mass screenings represent “medicine dumbed down” by treating everyone the same.

Dr. Topol believes the smartphone can help make the doctor-patient interaction much more intimate because now he’s sharing the results in real time. “We can make the office visit an enjoyable thing.”

As he describes in his book The Creative Destruction of Medicine “the patient of tomorrow is the biggest switch. People need to take ownership. They need to seize the moment and seize the data.”

Topol says the future will be a health system focused on the patient, thanks to all the data these gadgets and monitors will turn out. He is one of a growing number of medical experts, like Dr. David Katz, Dr. Bill Sears and Dr. Mitra Ray, who believe the patient should be given the tools and knowledge to ‘own’ their own health and health care. We call that “Self-Care”.

One ‘tool’ that thousands of doctors are using with their patients is Juice Plus+.

Mediterranean Diet Prevents Age-Related Cognitive Decline

Researchers studied more than 3700 elderly volunteers associated with the Chicago Health and Aging Project. They were divided into three groups based on the percentage of the Mediterranean diet intake with the highest group switching 55 percent of their diet to Mediterranean.

All the three groups were then put through mental tests every three years over a period of 15 years. The researchers found that those who included a large amount of Mediterranean diet showed greater ability in the mental tests especially those related to long and short term memory.

“When someone incorporates a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and non-refined grains such as cereals and breads and breaks it up with a little wine, there appears to be at least some protection against cognitive aging”, researchers said.

Mediterranean Diet refers to the dietary habit in over 16 countries in the Mediterranean region. According to the American Heart Association, some of the highlights of this diet include:

* Plenty of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
* Olive oil instead of refined oils
* Low to moderate amount of dairy products, fish and poultry
* Low to moderate amount of wine

This study further reinforces the health benefits conferred by this diet and also adds that following this regime may boost brainpower even in aged individuals.


As a Prime-Timer myself (past retirement age though not retired!) this study is particularly encouraging. I am so glad I use Juice Plus+ to help achieve the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Juice Plus+ is the most thoroughly researched brand name nutrition in history, with more than 30 studies published in medical and nutrition journals and 12 more studies underway.

Loving Life at 90

phyllis_suesTo look good and feel good is work. To look great and feel great is a full-time job. There is no cheating! It’s daily! Minute-by-minute, second-by-second.

This is the process Phyllis Sues loves and loves to work at. She turned 90 on April 4th and she hopes to be no less creative in 10 years time.

“Life in itself is a challenge and you can either accept it and take action, or you can sit and do nothing,” says Phyllis. Her advice: “there is only one winner: accept the challenge, take action and get on with your life no matter what age.”

“I’m not aware of being 90. I’m aware of feeling physically as good as I have ever felt and mentally even better. I practice dance and workout every day. This body has to know who’s boss and being 90 and feeling 20 is as good as it gets! People ask me all the time what’s my secret. I tell them move, learn and listen.”

The reward is a healthy body and mind; her body and mind are one. “We are partners and we work play and live as one.” She can’t sit around and think about tomorrow. Her body and mind have to be trained from the first breath, otherwise it’s down hill all the way. Dwelling on age is a trap; “there is no age, it’s living each moment to it’s fullest.”

Phyllis started her own fashion label at 50, became a musician and learned Italian and French in her 70s, learned tango and trapeze at 80 and walked into her first yoga class at 85. “So, if you think you’re old, think again!”

What inspires her is the process of learning. “I like experimenting and have no fear of trying something new, so flying high on a trapeze at 80 was never a question. Becoming a musician late in my life was not accidental. It was meant to be.”

Dance has always been Phyllis’s passion. She had her first ballet lesson at 14 and knew then that dance would be her life. Four years later she was performing in a night club in Boston and soon after that, on Broadway.

“If you don’t train the body every day it withers. If you don’t train the mind everyday, you lose it.” That’s why she learned Italian and French; learning a language is a great mental exercise. She then challenged herself to write music. She wrote the music and lyrics for her first song “Free Fall” which was inspired by flying on the trapeze. A CD followed with 12 songs: Scenes Of Passion. And then six tangos for Tango Insomnia.

“I admit, I’m driven but I’m driven by desire and that’s the formula. Desire is so powerful, like you are propelled as if from a canon. Desire to me is the driving force, but action is the result.”

Working and accomplishing something mental and physical makes her day worth living. There is a way to beat the clock. “Stay fit and enjoy the journey. Accept the challenge and go for it!”

Phyllis Sues is an inspirational Prime-Timer; long may she continue to inspire us.

What does Wellness Cost?

All this for less than the price of a cup of coffee?!

jpwhatsinit

According to Accounting Principals’ latest Workonomix survey, the average American worker is shelling out more than $20 a week on coffee, for a yearly average of $1,092. That’s about $3 a day.

Some claim that drinking coffee has health benefits – we seriously doubt it. But whether you drink coffee or not (we much prefer tea!), there is no doubt that $3 could be spent every day on something with proven health benefits.

hike2We have had the privilege of ‘eating’ Juice Plus+ and working with it for over 20 years, so to say we are ‘believers’ in this family of products would be an understatement. We are in our late 60s, in great shape and take NO medications of any kind! Juice Plus+ has been the catalyst we needed (as do most people) for dietary and lifestyle changes that have been life-changing.

Juice Plus+ (whole food) provides the nutritional essence of 26 different fruits, vegetables and grains in convenient capsules and delicious soft chewables; it’s the most thoroughly researched, safe and effective nutritional product in history.

Most of us do our best to bridge the gap between what we eat and what we know we should eat, but we are very confused about supplements – it seems that some are considered dangerous to our health. 

Hundreds of prominent doctors like Dr. Bill Sears tell us that we should eat many more fruits and vegetables; these same doctors know we can’t or won’t so they prescribe Juice Plus+.

Juice Plus+ has been thoroughly studied in pregnancy, children, young adults, athletes, families and the elderly, with results published in major, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Juice Plus+ is proven to powerfully support good health.