Vitamin D deficiency is an issue of concern for more than just the elderly. This important vitamin contributes to good health in a number of ways in your body. It helps your body absorb calcium and maintain strong bones and teeth. It also helps to reduce inflammation, builds your immune system, and helps to regenerate cells. All of these areas can be beneficial, especially for the elderly! So, how do we make sure that they are getting adequate amounts of this amazing, life-giving vitamin into their systems?
Start with sunlight!
Look up the most beneficial times of year and day to get vitamin D from the sun in your area. Typically during the summer months our skin can absorb vitamin D from the sun. During those times, be outside, when possible, during the safest parts of the day. Be sure to have exposed skin in order to absorb the rays of the sun, but not for such lengths of time as to get sunburnt.
For people who live in extreme Northern climates, they are very aware of how the lack of sunlight can affect their energy levels, their immune systems and their sleep cycles. Those who work nights and sleep days are also aware of the detrimental affect it has on their lives. It's not surprising, then, that the elderly are a large group of individuals that struggle with a deficiency of this vitamin in their bodies. They are often indoors more than out of doors, have slowing metabolisms and have trouble absorbing vitamins and minerals.
A number of foods are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, but the best food source of naturally occurring vitamin D is found in cod liver oil. We all know that the stuff is good for us, but some people just can't stomach the taste. If you are one of those people, but would still like to enjoy the benefits of vitamin D from a food source instead of a supplement, try the cod liver oil that is lemon flavored. It is also found in capsules. It may not take away the unpleasant aftertaste, but you should at least be able to swallow it down! You can also try sockeye salmon and tuna as beneficial options.
If you've tried both sunlight and diet and are still having a hard time getting your vitamin D levels up to par, talk with your doctor about supplementing with vitamin D. Be sure not to take too much, as too much vitamin D can lead to vitamin D toxicity. More specifically, vitamin D3 causes hypercalcemia, or excessive calcium levels. After determining the proper amount to supplement, find out if there are other things that can help increase the absorption rates of the supplement. Also look for signs that will assure you that it is helping to improve your deficiency. The benefits from vitamin D are so widespread and diverse, they are certainly worth taking notice. So start today and begin utilizing the natural benefits of vitamin D for yourself and your elderly friends today!
5 Benefits of Stretching For the Elderly
The benefits of stretching have become fairly well-known in more recent years. There is a time period, however, when these benefits were not commonly known or talked about. That time period is one in which many of our elderly friends and neighbors grew up. The benefits of hard work & fiscal responsibility were talked about a great deal, but care for the muscles of one’s body was not thought of as important. In this article, we’ll lay out 5 reasons why we should stretch & any specific benefits to the elderly from this effort in hopes that you’ll be able to benefit from the stretches yourself & also explain to an elderly friend why it’s so important.
Stretching improves your body’s circulation. Even if a person stretches for no other reason, this reason should be enough! Improved circulation can benefit an individual in a number of ways. It protects against blood clots, helps maintain vitality & functionality of extremities, helps maintain your body’s temperature, etc. If your blood is not able to move freely throughout the muscles of your body, your body cannot perform as well as if it has constant, sufficient blood flow. Begin with stretching large muscle groups & be sure that any knots that you find in the muscles through this process are worked out of the muscles through stretching & massage. You’ll be able to feel the difference when blood is moving freely vs. when it is inhibited.
Stretching builds strength. Some people wonder how stretching can build strength. Isn’t it just a few movements that make your muscles feel a bit better? It is, yet if you do those stretches regularly enough, you build more muscle over time. Think about the muscles that are pulled at during stretching. While you are stretching those muscles, many other muscles are put to the test in order to form resistance to stretch against. One group gets stretched & improved blood flow, another group gets worked out at the same time. It is a win-win situation!
Stretching improves flexibility. Because the water levels in our body often decrease with age, the joints & ligaments in our body can tend to become dehydrated & thus stiff. Hydrate first, then stretch, then hydrate again. Joint & ligament stiffness can be greatly improved by those simple steps. Many people like to skip the hydration step, because if you hydrate often, you also need to visit the bathroom often, but it is tremendously important to good health. Stretching will be greatly aided by hydration & your joints will thank you!
Stretching improves your range of motion. It may not be by much at first, but if you keep at it, stretching can help a great deal. Being able to bend down and touch the floor without becoming unbalanced is a very difficult thing for most elderly individuals. After stretching for several months consecutively, you may find this much easier. Your risk of falling decreases while your range of motion & flexibility increases. This alone is a reasonable justification to make stretching a part of your daily routine at least a few times a day.
Stretching improves your posture. We tend to shrink or slouch downward and inward as we age. Stretching promotes the movement of our bodies upward and outward. This is important for our core to be healthy. Think of all of the internal organs that are housed in your core. If they are all smashed together as you slouch in your chair, they will all be compromised! Lungs crushed together with your diaphragm & stomach cannot fully expand & thus your breath will be inhibited. If your bladder is squeezed somewhere in between, it’s capacity is diminished. Heartburn is more likely to occur. Stretching along with core building exercises will help keep that posture in good shape so that you can sit comfortably without slouching & receive the full benefit from a body that is functioning properly.
This is quite obviously not a comprehensive list of the benefits of stretching, but regardless of whether all of the benefits are listed, you ought to be able to see that it is an excellent routine to build into your day. Check online to find specific videos that help elderly patients to stretch safely, especially if falling is a concern. There are a number that start people stretching in chairs so that they can receive the benefits without the risk.
The Importance of Posture to the Elderly
The aging body is an amazing thing. How life can take us from such a small creature to our prime & then through the process of growing old is remarkable indeed. As we age, however, we discover that there are some things that we were never forced to think about before that have suddenly become important. Posture is one of those things. Our bodies are created in a very aligned way. Life, circumstance and gravity seem to grow heavier over time and pull us further forward & down. This can wreak havoc, not only on our muscular and skeletal systems, but also on our internal organs. There is some natural stooping that will occur as we age, but we've all noticed that some people age much more quickly and are drawn downward and forward to a much greater degree than their counterparts of relatively the same age. But, what is natural and what is not?
Calcium. It is natural for your body to lose bone density as a person ages due to a lesser production of calcium. Osteoporosis is common in post menopausal women and in men that are over 65. This lack results in bones that are less dense & a bit of shrinking in the overall height of a person. While this is natural, extreme stooping is not & should be addressed sooner, rather than later, by a physician.
Weight. Aging can often come with an addition of weight which can pull at the skeletal structure bring it downward & forward. Keeping this in check will have many health benefits, one of them being that your posture will be better.
Muscle. Muscle strength is naturally lost as we age, but we mustn't give up and give in when it comes to our muscle mass. Yes, some may be lost naturally, but why lose more by inactivity?
Joints. Anyone experiencing arthritis knows how rigid and achy joints can cause one to draw inward instead of stretching outward. Finding relief from this pain can do much to improve the posture.
Keep in mind that posture does not stand alone in your overall health. If you slump forward, your internal organs are compromised in their functions as well. It is difficult to draw full, deep breaths into your lungs which will ward off pneumonia. Other organs, like the bladder, are weakened because of increased weight atop them that was never meant to be there. It is not necessary that these things become issues, however. Here are a few brief suggestions for you to improve your posture and attain a healthier life.
It seems simple enough, but practicing being mindful of your posture is truly a difficult undertaking. Being sure to sit erect, stand, & walk without slouching can take a great deal of strength of will AND body! Keeping your spine straight & your shoulders back and down is an excellent start on the pathway to good posture.
Supplementing your healthy diet with calcium & vitamin D can improve your bone density & affect your posture positively. The vitamin D will also improve your mood!
Building up your muscle mass & strength with do great things for your posture. It will also give you the needed strength to make progress in your attentiveness to posture.
Pain relief. Be sure to seek help in this area, especially if you have arthritis or another debilitating pain. Our body draws in to protect itself from pain, & it is nearly impossible to combat this with attentiveness alone, as the drawing in can also be happening during sleep. You should try to remain as pain free as possible. Do not think that “soldiering on” will make it easier in the long run.
A few such interventions as these listed should bring about great change & health for you as you age! Enjoy your old age, & your years of wisdom while feeling great!
Benefits of Nature During the Aging Process | Beehive
Aging can take a toll on us, even if we're healthy individuals. It is very rare in today's world, however, for those who are aging to escape problems that go along with it. Often, disease can cause more difficulty than any toll that the normal wear and tear of the years has done. While a simple walk in the park may not turn back the biological clock, in the following article, we're going to take a look at a few ways that getting into nature can help you alleviate some of the symptoms of common diseases or problems often associated with aging.
-Hypertension. There is something incredibly soothing about walking, or even sitting in nature that can calm nerves & slow heart rates. It has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Light exercise has been shown to have the same effect. So, whether it's taking a walk or working for awhile in the garden, get outside for a bit & feel the benefits!
-Diabetes. Being in nature requires a bit of effort from us. You can use those natural surroundings to fight against a very common disease that accompanies aging, diabetes. Walking or biking through the park on a regular basis, or simply puttering around in the yard can help regulate your blood sugars. If you garden, you can get a “two for one special” with exercise, plus having fresh, healthful fruits and vegetables to supplement your diet.
-Dementia. How could nature help with dementia, you ask? It's quite simple, although it does take a bit of effort at the outset. Bring along a book of birds, trees or flowers while you spend time out of doors. Challenge yourself while you are out by finding and identifying the things you see. The next time you are out, see if you can remember what they were before looking them up again. Many of those in #dementia care facilities could benefit from this. Something this simple can be done in almost any setting, from rural to urban. If outdoor spaces are not readily available, it would also be feasible to do with indoor plants and garden plants. Another great addition to this exercise would be to find books of poetry that address the beautiful things that you find while you are on your excursions.
-General Health. Most people are aware that outdoor air is less polluted than indoor air. Therefore, it stands to reason that anyone experiencing lung problems would benefit from more time outdoors. Vitamin D from the sun is also a healthful benefit of spending time outdoors. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium, helps regulate sleep & gives a general sense of well-being.
Certainly, there are a number of benefits from being in nature at any age. As we grow older, it becomes more challenging to spend times outdoors than it was when we were younger. But, consider, if you will, all of the different ways that it could improve your health & life. Then, get out in nature and start enjoying life!
Vitamin D in the Elderly
Vitamin D deficiency is an issue of concern for more than just the elderly. Many people who live in extreme Northern climates are very aware of how the lack of sunlight can affect their energy levels, their immune systems, their sleep cycles, etc. Those who work nights & sleep days are also aware of the detrimental affect it has on their lives. It's not surprising, then, that the elderly are a large group of individuals that struggle with a deficiency of this vitamin in their bodies. They are often indoors more than out of doors, have slowing metabolisms, & have trouble absorbing vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin D contributes to good health in a number of ways in your body. It helps your body absorb calcium & maintain strong bones & teeth. It also helps to reduce inflammation, builds your immune system, & helps to regenerate cells. All of these areas can be beneficial, especially for the elderly! So, how do we make sure that they are getting adequate amounts of this amazing, life-giving vitamin into their systems?
Start with sunlight! Look up the most beneficial times of year & day to get Vitamin D from the sun in your area. During those times, be outside, when possible, during the safest parts of the day. Be sure to have exposed skin in order to absorb the rays of the sun, but not for such lengths of time as to get sunburnt.
Eat up! A number of foods are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, but the best food source of naturally occuring Vit. D is in cod liver oil. We all know that the stuff is good for us, but some people just can't stomach the taste. If you are one of those people, but would still like to enjoy the benefits of Vit. D from a food source instead of a supplement, try the cod liver oil that is lemon flavored, or even the capsules. It may not take away the unplesant aftertaste, but you should at least be able to swallow it down! You can also try sockeye salmon & tuna as beneficial options.
Supplement! If you've tried both of these ways & are still having a hard time getting your levels up to par, talk with your doctor about supplementing with Vit. D. Find out if there are other things that can help increase the absorption rates of the supplement, as well as signs to look for that will assure you that it is helping to improve your deficiency. The benefits from Vit. D are so widespread & diverse, they are certainly worth taking notice. So step up and begin utilizing their benefits for yourself & your elderly friends!