The Benefits of Flexibility As You Age (and how to get more)

It can be tough to stay mobile when you get older. It’s hard enough maintaining a proper work-life balance, but it becomes even more challenging as your body ages. Some people can find it extremely difficult to simply get out of bed in the morning, or perform relatively simple tasks throughout the day. Stretching may help, by improving your range of motion.

Stretching your muscles properly is important at any stage in life, but it’s even more critical that you do it as you age.

Here are just a few of the reasons why you need to take whatever steps you can to maintain your flexibility as you age.

Expanding Your Range of Motion

The more flexible your muscles are, the better the chances that you’ll have a full range of motion throughout your life. Not only will this improve your performance when playing sports, such as tennis or golf, it could also help protect you from suffering back pain.1

Flexibility As You Age | Princeton NutrientsWarming up before physical activity is a great way to help your muscles get the oxygen and blood they need to perform their best. It could be something as simple as taking a short walk or taking a few practice swings with a golf club or tennis racquet. Once you’ve done your warm-up for about 10 minutes or so, then perform your stretching exercises to get your muscles loose.2

Reducing Your Chances of Developing Arthritis

Stretching your muscles not only helps expand your range of motion, it might also help protect you against the pain caused by arthritis. Far too many older people develop osteoarthritis, a condition that results from the breakdown of cartilage between your joints. It is estimated that more than 12 million people age 65 and older have this condition.3

While osteoarthritis can’t be prevented entirely, stretching your muscles can help you manage discomfort. Increasing flexibility as you age may help relieve stiffness and soreness. But before you start your stretching routine, use a heat pack to warm up your muscles. Then, once you’re finished exercising, use an ice pack to reduce swelling.

Improving Your Posture

Flexibility As You Age | Princeton NutrientsIf you are slowly starting to show signs of stooped shoulders or other posture problems, stretching your muscles on a regular basis could help. Our shoulder and chest tendons and ligaments tend to tighten with age. Stretching your muscles can help loosen them. This increased flexibility will go a long way toward correcting posture problems.4

Lowering the Risk of Falling

As we age, our risk of falls increases. Falls can be devastating, particularly in the elderly, who are at the highest risk. This is where stretching may prove beneficial. If you are more flexible, you can greatly lower the chances that falls will happen. Regular stretching of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and the lower back can help improve your stability and balance.5

Giving You More Energy

Who doesn’t want a little more energy every day? The need for more energy increases with age, as it’s a key component of maintaining independence and good health. Stretching your muscles helps to increase blood circulation. This, in turn, helps to increase the flow of nutrients throughout your body. As a result, you have more energy to get out and enjoy life.

But it’s important that you do the right kinds of stretches if you’re looking for more energy. “Dynamic” stretches are best, such as leg swings, shoulder circles, lunges, and squats. These are different from “static” stretches, which you perform while your body isn’t moving. Talk to a trainer at your local gymnasium to find out the best stretches to help boost your energy levels.

How to Find the Right Stretching Regimen for You

Flexibility As You Age | Princeton NutrientsWhether you’re retired or you’re still in the workforce, you need to make time for physical activity. Finding a proper work-life balance is always important – even more so as you get toward retirement age. By working with a professional trainer, you can find the stretching routine that works best for whatever shape you may be in.

In general, experts recommend that older adults stretch at least two times a week, and stretch their muscles to the point to where they feel either a small amount of discomfort or notice a sensation of tightness.

During your routine, you should try to hold each stretch anywhere from 30-60 seconds.6

The Takeaway

Don’t assume that just because you’re getting older you have to be resigned to a life of fatigue and pain. When you increase your flexibility as you age, by stretching your muscles on a regular basis, you’ll experience benefits you might not have previously thought were possible.

Learn More:
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Sources
1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4934575/
2.https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/benefits-of-flexibility-exercises
3.https://www.lifespanfitness.com/fitness/resources/articles/health-benefits-of-stretching-exercises-in-older-adults
4.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273412829_Effects_of_stretching_exercises_for_posture_correction_systematic_review
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003582/
6.https://certification.acsm.org/blog/2014/january/the-basics-of-personal-training-for-seniors

Emu Oil: An Ancient Australian Skincare Secret

It seems the pursuit of skin-friendly oils knows no end. Jojoba, argan, pomegranate, and rosehip oil have all surged in popularity as skincare remedies over the past few years.

But have you heard of emu oil?

Hailing from the southern hemisphere, this oil is on the more exotic end of the spectrum, and it’s making a name for itself as an effective addition to skincare regimens.

You see, emu oil – which is sourced from emus – is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. All of these nutrients work together to soothe, moisturize, and even help delay the aging of the skin.

Ready to get exotic with your skincare regimen? Then read on to get the scoop on emu oil benefits.

What Nutrients Make Emu Oil So Great?

So, what exactly is in emu oil that makes it so great for the skin? The answer lies in its abundance of healthy fatty acids and antioxidants1:

Oleic Acid

Also found in olive oil, shea butter, and coconut oil, oleic acid is an omega-9 essential fatty acid that easily penetrates the skin.The unique ability of oleic acid to penetrate the skin is invaluable. It acts as a carrier for all the following nutrients and compounds, allowing them to also sink in deeply.2

Linoleic Acid

An omega-6 essential fatty acid, linoleic acid helps maintain the structure of the top layer of the skin – the epidermis.3

Carotenoids

Often found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, carotenoids influence skin tone and color.4

Polyphenols

As potent antioxidants, polyphenols fight off the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that are generated by environmental toxins, such as UV rays, air pollution, pesticides, and cigarette smoke. These harmful molecules can damage multiple body systems, including the skin. In fact, it’s thought that free radicals play a significant role in the development of the visible signs of aging.5

Tocopherols

Commonly derived from vegetable oils, tocopherols are a form of vitamin E. They contain antioxidant properties which offer multiple benefits for the skin.6

Emu Oil Benefits For The Skin

Emu Oil | Princeton NutrientsSo, what can all the nutrients found in emu oil do for your skin? Turns out, quite a bit! Here are a few of the ways emu oil can work in your skin’s favor:

Moisturizes Dry Skin

Do you go through moisturizer like it’s going out of style? Then you might want to try emu oil. Emu oil can hydrate rough, dry skin, thanks to the presence of vitamin E and linoleic acid.

Vitamin E effectively improves moisture levels and helps strengthen your “skin barrier.”7 What’s your skin barrier? It’s the outermost layer of skin, and one of its functions is to help your skin retain moisture.

And linoleic acid is also great for dry skin. Studies have shown that linoleic acid is especially good at moisturizing advanced, aging skin.8

Helps Slow the Signs of Premature Skin Aging

Emu Oil | Princeton NutrientsFree radicals are a prime suspect when it comes to the visible signs of aging in the skin. Many of the free radicals that cause this aging are generated by harmful UV rays.9 If your skin is damaged by free radicals caused by UV rays, you’re bound to experience wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots.10

The good news is, antioxidants can combat the effects of these free radicals, and help slow the signs of aging on the skin.11 Emu oil contains powerful antioxidants – like polyphenols and vitamin E – that can help prevent the signs of premature aging.12,13

Diminishes the Appearance of Dark Circles

Dark circles under the eyes can make you look perpetually tired. But a study has shown that a topical application of vitamin E for 8 weeks can diminish the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.14 So, if you struggle with dark circles, you might want to try a little vitamin E-rich emu oil under your eyes.

Helps Decrease Acne

Do you break out regularly? Then there’s a good chance that the oil your skin produces inadequate levels of linoleic acid. Scientists have found that low levels of linoleic acid in skin oil are associated with acne breakouts.15

Further studies have shown that a topical application of linoleic acid, as well as vitamin E, can work to help prevent whiteheads and blackheads.16,17

Improves Skin Tone

Carotenoids are responsible for giving skin a rich, robust color. In fact, research shows that skin with high levels of carotenoids is actually perceived to be healthier and more attractive.18

Since emu oil contains carotenoids, it may be useful in preventing a pale, wan appearance.

Soothes Irritation

Itchy, red, and irritated skin can be downright annoying. But emu oil may be of some help. A study done in 2013 showed that emu oil can work to soothe skin prone to redness and irritation.19

An Unusual Oil With Unusually Good Benefits

Emu oil may seem exotic to us, but it’s actually been a reliable skin care remedy for thousands of years in Australia. This nutrient-dense oil can work to improve the quality of your skin by helping to increase hydration, reduce breakouts, improve skin tone, and soothe irritation. It just may be time to make some room in your medicine cabinet for emu oil!

 

Learn More:
7 Surprising Health Benefits of Drinking Pomegranate Juice
Go Pitch A Tent: The Incredible Health Benefits Of Camping
NEWS: Mindfulness May Change or Improve Your Genes


Sources
1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3818616
2.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0168365995000887
3.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650500
4.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11880562
5.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25906193
6.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8827691
7.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277239
8.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17921406
9.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299230
10.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583892
11.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20399614
12.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813915
13.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891
14.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17147559
15.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2936775
16.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9692305
17.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6455256
18.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3871348
19.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24250695

NEWS: People Age Better When They Have A Purpose In Life

Living a meaningful life is obviously important, whether you’re 20 or 80. But according to a new study, it could actually help older people improve their physical ability, helping them to maintain their independence and possibly even helping them live longer.

What the Science Says

Researchers looked at how a purpose-driven life correlates with physical functioning among older people. They analyzed answers from people age 50 and older who took part in the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) survey in 2006 and 2010. The respondents answered several questions regarding their overall health, and also participated in tests meant to measure their walking speed as well as the strength of their grip.

Some of the questions on the survey involved whether or not the respondents felt they had a purpose in life. Specifically, whether they felt like they had tangible goals for the future or they were just drifting through life aimlessly. They then compared those answers to the results of the grip strength and walking tests.

You might not think that the strength of your grip or the speed at which you walk would have much of an impact on your lifespan, but the authors of the study strongly believe otherwise.

In fact, they believe they are signs of overall health. An increase in walking speed, they report, is equivalent to being nearly three years younger as your chronological age.

Finding Purpose| Princeton NutrientsAccording to the researchers, the respondents who said they felt there was a purpose to their lives were at a 13 percent lower risk for having a weak grip than those who reported feeling less of a sense of purpose. Those saying they had a high sense of purpose were at a 14 percent lower risk for having a slow walk compared to the others. The findings showed a direct connection between leading a meaningful life and improved physical ability.1

According to the researchers, people who feel a heightened sense of purpose will be more proactive in addressing their health, participate in healthier activities and have more control over their impulses.

How Do You Find Purpose in Life?

Further research will be needed in order to definitively establish a specific cause-and-effect relationship between improved physical functioning and finding happiness through a purpose-driven life. But the indications are that there is some sort of connection.

What does it mean, exactly, to have a purpose in life?

There’s no “one size fits all” answer to the question, because it will mean different things to different people, no matter what their age may be. Finding purpose may be simply enjoying your home and your family and friends. You might be aiming for social change. Or you might find purpose in doing your job extremely well. Some people believe they find purpose in creative pursuits, such as writing, music, dance or painting.

But even if you don’t feel that you have a purpose in life, that doesn’t mean you have to be resigned to being bored and miserable until you die. There are a lot of things you can do that will make you want to get out of bed in the morning.2

Here are just a few of them.

Identify Your Passions

Finding Purpose| Princeton Nutrients

You might have enjoyed a fantastic professional career and feel that you have everything. But that doesn’t mean you can’t continue finding purpose in life. Think about what you feel when you watch television, read a newspaper or magazine, or go online. W

hat images make you happy? Which ones enrage you? Think about the interests or activities you find exciting or interesting and pursue them.

Turn To The People You Trust

Hopefully, you have a close circle of friends and family members whose opinions you value. Talk to them about their interests and passions and you might find something you’ll want to pursue. It could be finally learning a new language, trying to break 80 on the golf course or even skydiving. If President Bush could jump out of a plane when he turned 90, why can’t you?

Be Patient

Purpose won’t come overnight. It will take time, patience and a great deal of courage to turn your passion into action. Take baby steps, such as finding a small thing you can do each day to make life better for someone else.

Whatever You Choose To Do …

Do something. Just because you’re getting older, that doesn’t mean you can’t still get out and wring every drop out of the years that lie ahead. Finding purpose is somewhat like a life insurance policy — it helps ensure you remain active and engaged for a healthier, happier – and possibly longer – life.

For more quality of life news, keep reading here:
NEWS: Mindfulness May Change or Improve Your Genes
A Bad Memory May Actually Be A Good Thing (here’s why)
Happiness Will Save Your Life

Sources
1.http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2648692
2.http://www.aarp.org/personal-growth/transitions/info-06-2011/5-weeks-ep5-purpose.html