Did you know that over 40-year-olds might lose up to 8 per cent of their muscle mass every decade? After the age of 70, the pace of decrease may double.
Sarcopenia, or advanced muscle loss, affects roughly one-third of persons over the age of 50. Muscles are crucial for organ function, skin health, immunity and metabolism, as well as for common physical acts like picking things up, reaching for something, opening a jar or getting out of a chair. To put it another way, keeping muscle mass as you become older is critical to living a happy and healthy life.
"Muscle loss is an ageing factor that is rarely discussed, and people accept its signs, such as a loss of strength and energy, as a natural part of ageing," says Ganesh Kadhe, Associate Director Medical and Scientific Affairs at Abbott Nutrition.
"However, muscle fitness can often predict how we will age and remain active and independent."
The good news is that you may assist, prevent or delay muscle loss by taking the appropriate precautions. While muscle loss is unavoidable as we age, it does not have to be.
To stay strong as you age, start following the tips below to fuel and keep muscles fit for years to come!
1. Engage in regular exercise, including resistance training, to maintain muscles and strength.
2. Eat good source of protein from lean meats, eggs and beans; aim for 25-30 grams of protein at every meal.
3. Choose a balanced diet full of veggies, fruits, whole grains, proteins, healthy fats and key vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamin D.
4. Consider taking other muscle health ingredients, like HMB.
5. Talk to your healthcare provider about nutrition, especially if you are ill, hospitalised or recovering from surgery, to manage illness-related muscle loss.
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The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.
Common Lung Disorders
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. It can result from long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. Those affected by COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions.
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. The lungs' airways are constantly inflamed as chronic bronchitis often lasts for months on end. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include incessant coughing, whistling sounds while breathing, wheezing and a tightening of the chest.
It is said that the cure for all ailments is available the natural way. Here are some of the alternative medicine approaches to treat respiratory disorders.
Alternative Medicinal Approaches to Treat Respiratory Disorders
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases. One of the primary causes of asthma is allergies, which often result from the food consumed. It is crucial, therefore, to first prepare a diet that is suitable for an individual. Often, dairy products, meats, and certain nuts can increase the production of mucus.
Foods like these must be avoided. Also, antioxidants can prevent damage resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients.
Yoga and Exercise
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. Exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga etc. that create a need for full capacity breathing are of great importance. Exercising the diaphragm is important and simple activities can go a long way in the treatment of the same.
Pranayama, the practise of controlled breathing, is an integral part of alternative treatment for people suffering from respiratory issues. This extensive breathing practice helps to expand the lungs and improve the capacity of the lungs, which helps an individual breathe more freely.
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate certain parts of the body. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo.
It is important to remember that no one complementary or alternative therapy works well for everyone with respiratory issues. Therefore, a proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan. For those considering alternative medicine for their respiratory problems, it is recommended to speak to an expert first and discuss the approach that may work best. (Vinoda Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)
Read More► Heartfulness Meditation Helps in Reducing Stress, Reveals Study
Heartfulness meditation, a simple heart-based meditation practice aimed at attaining a balanced state of mind, helps in reducing stress and improving the quality of sleep, revealed a study.
The mixed-method study was conducted by US researchers during the Covid-19 pandemic and was published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, said Heartfulness Institute, which has its global headquarters in Hyderabad.
Heartfulness meditation was associated with significant reduction in perceived stress and improvement in the quality of sleep of participants who completed the online-based meditation programme.
Kamlesh Patel, also known as Daaji, the guide of Heartfulness meditation, underlines the need to immediately address stress in one's life.
"The simple focus of life is to become better and better each day. To achieve this we need to be in a state of complete awareness about our self and raise our consciousness in tune with our true nature. Stress is the modern day ill created by our inability to focus on things that matter. Stress and its negative impact on our overall wellbeing has slowly but steadily taken control of every individual," he said.
"While we know Covid-19 as the pandemic, the build-up of stress and its ill impacts is the bigger pandemic and equally a bigger health crisis. Stress needs our urgent attention as well and in consistent practice of meditation we have the most effective vaccination to ward off stress and is the visa for living your life in joy," he added.
The study was conducted by Dr Kunal Desai, Dr Priti Parikh and Dr Alpa Desai of the Department of Internal Medicine, Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright University, Ohio, and Prof Dr Pratibha Gupta, Food Nutrition and Health Agricultural Research Development Programme, Central State University, Ohio.
Stress and lack of quality sleep are considered serious public health challenges despite modern lifestyles, comforts, and technological advances. The Covid-19 pandemic has genuinely brought attention to this pre-existing stress problem by making it significantly worse.
The study aimed to investigate whether using a virtual heart-based meditation program is associated with improved stress levels and quality of sleep. The researchers enrolled 63 participants to receive an eight-week virtually conducted Heartfulness meditation program. Of these, 36 (57 per cent) completed the entire eight weeks of the Heartfulness meditation programme.
The participants were recommended to attend a minimum of two out of a total of eight virtual trainer-guided group Heartfulness relaxation and meditation sessions each week. These sessions, conducted by one of the authors and a Heartfulness trainer (KD), included 5-7 min of relaxation followed by 20 min of meditation.
They were also provided instructions on using the phone application called 'HeartsApp' on their phones. They could connect as an anonymous seeker with a Heartfulness trainer through the application and meditate without any audiovisual interaction. They were also suggested self-practices to the best of their abilities.
"Our study showed that following Heartfulness meditation practice, PSS and PSQI improved significantly in the participants from different parts of the United States. About 31 per cent were healthcare professionals, and the entire programme was conducted virtually. Based on these observations, we propose that meditation programmes offered via virtual platforms can offer a convenient, helpful, and easily accessible tool to a large community at once to help improve the psychological wellbeing of individuals," said Dr Kunal Desai, who led the study.
"The results of qualitative analysis in our study bring a unique perspective to this aspect as we were able to show that the participants' subjective experiences strongly supported the results of the survey findings. Thus, these results enhance our understanding of how Heartfulness meditation practice helps reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep. Our qualitative analysis suggests these effects could be because a simple heart-based meditation brought a 'calming effect' in our participants, resulting in an 'inner peace'. Such an effect also resulted in inner changes in our participants, including positive thinking, accepting and empathic attitude, and an increase in awareness of one's own emotions and the needs of others."
This study adds to the existing literature supporting the benefits of Heartfulness practice, as reported by some previous studies showing the benefit of Heartfulness relaxation and meditation to reduce stress, burnout, loneliness, and improve the quality of sleep.
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Without a doubt, the wedding is one of the most important days of a person's life. To ensure everything is memorable comes with its own set of pressures and anxiety This can take a toll on your mind and body, leaving you stressed. A great way to combat wedding anxiety is with yoga.
The ancient practice offers scientifically proven solutions to everyday problems both physical and mental. Yoga lowers the stress hormones and also strengthens the nervous system while stimulating the lymphatic system which is responsible for removing toxins from the body.
Yoga also calms the mind and can contribute to deeper regulated sleep which is crucial for wellness. We all are aware how good sleep can help heal and maintain a healthy body. With so much to tend to at a wedding, sound sleep helps you stay fresh the whole day.
Here we sharing yoga poses to help unwind and find your peace:
Sukhasana refers to a cross-legged, seated position, and one of the most basic poses used in yoga practice and meditation. It is also a calming pose and it is one commonly used for meditation and practicing breathing exercises.
Sit on your padding in a comfortable, cross-legged position.
Slide the shoulder blades down your back so your shoulders move away from your ears. The crown of your head should rise towards the ceiling.
Your hands can rest in your lap or on the tops of your thighs.
On your inhalations, feel your spine grow long. On your exhalations, root down through your seat.
Standing Forward Bend stretches and lengthens the hamstrings and calves. It is regarded as a relaxing and stress-relieving pose. Traditionally, it is said to help relieve insomnia.
From Raised Hands Pose, sweep your arms down on either side of your body to come into a forward fold from your hips.
Bring your fingertips in line with the toes. Press your palms flat to the mat if you can. You can use blocks under your hands here if they don't reach the floor.
Bend the knees a little bit so that they are not locked.
Bring your weight a little bit forward into the balls of your feet so that your hips stay over your ankles.
Let your head hang.
Inhale and place your hands onto your hips, press your tailbone down and contract your abdominal muscles as you rise up slowly.
Cobra Pose increases the mobility of the spine, strengthens spinal support muscles, and can help relieve back pain. It opens the chest and the front of the body.
Place your palms flat on the ground directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows straight back and hug them into your sides.
Pause for a moment looking straight down at your mat with your neck in a neutral position.
Inhale and lift your chest off the floor. Roll your shoulders back and keep your low ribs on the floor. Make sure your elbows continue hugging your sides.
Keep your neck neutral. Your gaze should stay on the floor.
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As you perform SetuBandhasana, also known as Bridge Pose, you will become more alert in both body and mind. This rejuvenating backbend will open your chest up and keep your spine flexible.
Lie on the floor, bend your knees, and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.
Exhale and, pressing your inner feet and arms actively into the floor, lift the buttocks off the floor.
Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Clasp the hands below your pelvis and extend through the arms to help you stay on the tops of your shoulders.
Lift your chin slightly away from the sternum and, firming the shoulder blades against your back, press the top of the sternum toward the chin.
Firm the outer arms, broaden the shoulder blades, and try to lift the space between them at the base of the neck up into the torso.
Stay in the pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Release with an exhalation, rolling the spine slowly down onto the floor
Corpse pose is essential to practice at the end of every yoga practice. This posture rejuvenates the body, mind and spirit while reducing stress and tension.
Spread the legs one to two feet apart, the toes are turned outwards, the heels facing each other, a comfortable distance apart.
Bring the arms a little away from the body, palms turned upward.
Relax the neck and allow it to turn to the side if it is more comfortable.
Close the eyes and focus the attention on the body, breathing normally.
Begin focusing on each body part and relaxing it, then moving on. Keep the mind focused on relaxation, the breath should be normal. Relax the whole body.
Breathing properly contributes to the stress response which worsens with anxiety. Do not take breathing for granted, take out the time at the beginning and the end of any yoga session or just once in a day breathe deeply for at least 2-3 minutes and you can see the difference without moving a muscle.
The short time effects of yoga can be felt through breathing techniques by learning to deeply breathe you not only allow your muscles to relax but you also feel equipped with other relaxation techniques like meditation.
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A very common tip to improve heart health is to exercise regularly. But what form of exercise is best for the heart and how much exercise is too much? There have been several myths about the impact of exercise on the heart, while some sound reasonable, there are many that are inaccurate. One such myth is that one should avoid exercising after a heart attack.
Avoiding exercise for the first few weeks after a heart attack may be advised. However, studies show that supervised exercise helps in improving the outcome for all patients. It is important to note that after a heart attack, one should begin a regular activity program to reduce the chance of additional heart problems. Most patients are provided with a prescription for cardiac rehabilitation which entails an exercise program, diet instruction, educational classes on lifestyle changes and emotional support through a peer support group.
While everyone recovers at a different pace, here are a few guidelines that one may follow to get started:
Consult your doctor before starting exercise. Based on your heart disease, condition, heart function (ejection fraction), rhythm etc. Your doctor will give you an exercise prescription.
It is best to start slow. Once, you get used to walking regularly, you can increase your pace gradually over time. If shortness of breath is felt, it is best to slow down the walking pace.
Exercise should always be done in 3 phases warm-up, peak exercise and cool down, please.
What helps is walking at a moderate pace for the first 10 minutes the first time and each day tries to a few minutes more. At the end of the month aim to walk for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
It is important to keep in mind that one should cool down after finishing the exercise by gradually walking at a slower pace for the last 3 minutes.
If the patient walks outside the house, as a precaution they should walk with someone or in short distances close to home so they do not get too far away.
One should drink a glass of water to prevent dehydration before you start walking.
Choose an exercise or an activity that you enjoy doing. For example, walking, cycling, aerobics, etc.
Doctors' advice should be taken before lifting heavyweights.
Exercise should be done regularly to ensure benefits. 6 days a week of exercise is advisable.
Exercising at the same time daily is important to establish a habit. It also minimizes any variable that may impact the exercise.
If any symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, palpitation occur and does not go away, one should stop the exercise and notify the doctor.
There are several changes that take place after a heart attack like energy levels and medications. This affects exercise tolerance. Therefore it is important to keep the exercise expectation day to day as one goes through the healing process.
If a patient does not go through cardiac rehabilitation, they should begin with gentle exercise after a heart attack. The amount of exercise that is advised to each patient will depend on how active the patient was before the cardiac event and how severe the event was. Overall, one must keep in mind that they should start exercising as soon as they can after a heart attack to get the energy and strength back.
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A regular and consistent yoga practice can do wonders for your health and over well-being. The pandemic has accelerated the need for physical activity, and no wonder, yoga has emerged as the preferred choice.
Sarvesh Shashi, Founder, SARVA lists the top mistakes beginner yogis often tend to make:
1. Don't over-exert yourself. If on a scale of 1 to 10 -1 being easiest and 10 being the toughest every asana need not be a 10. Some days an 8 feels like a 10 and on others, a 15 feels like an 8!
2. Don't hold your breath unnaturally unless the trainer specifically mentions this during practice. Breathe normally.
3. Avoid practicing yoga when you are exhausted, during illness, Yoga should make you feel the rush of happy hormones in the end, not entirely exhausted!
4. Do not practice alone. This one is more of a guideline. If you're a beginner, it's best to practice under someone's guidance. It is not advised to simply read and practice, it may lead to a muscle pull or discomfort. While practicing advanced postures for the first time, it's best to have someone assist you while doing these.
5. Avoid wearing tight clothes and do not wear shoes. Especially tight upper body clothing will restrict the movement of the rib cage and lung that would result in incomplete breathing.
6. Don't shower immediately, after a good sweaty workout, let the body dry normally and then shower for a normal cool-down of the body.
7. Do not perform inversion or 'feet up' asanas, during the menstruation cycle. Preferably perform relaxation and breathing techniques.
8. Do not perform any high-intensity workout post-yoga. Perform it before yoga practice for a better effect.
9. Avoid drinking too much water during the practice. You can have water at a moderate level just to overcome your thirst during practice.
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