Methods for Preventing Dry Skin

Strong winds and frigid temperatures are altogether normal as the season's advances to fall and winter. The climate, alongside dry indoor air, can unleash devastation on your skin. In addition, frequent hand washing and the utilization of liquor based hand sanitizer, which can forestall the spread of COVID-19 and different diseases, may leave hands more broke and dehyrated than normal.

“During the colder time of year, you lose water through your skin and afterward your skin is to a lesser extent an obstruction to microscopic organisms in the environment,” says dermatologist Margaret “Miggs” Muldrow, MD, of Presbyterian/St Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. Your skin can turn out to be incredibly dry, aroused, bothersome or splotchy—and you can even break out with eczema.

Get free of dry skin and dried out lips with these tips from Dr. Muldrow.

Plug In A Humidifier
When you’re impacting your home’s warmth to keep your family warm, the dampness level in your house is most likely going to drop. Low stickiness levels make certain to dry out your skin, yet a humidifier will return dampness to the air.

Place a humidifier your bed and close the way to that space to secure the dampness. To keep the humidifier working appropriately, utilize refined water and change the channels as coordinated. Watch out for your home’s stickiness levels with a hygrometer or other indoor regulator gadget; a home mugginess level of around 30% to 50 percent is great for your health.

Shower Smart
While a steaming hot shower might sound great subsequent to journeying around exposed, you might need to really reconsider you turn the spigot right to hot. High temp water dries out the skin. Settle on warm water all things considered. Have a go at restricting your time in the shower to only 5 or 10 minutes.

Muldrow says to be aware of the number of showers you take each day, as well. “It’s alright to shower day by day, yet several showers a day is problematic.”

Use Mild Bathing Products
It’s simple to get suckered into the best smelling items, however, fragrances and unforgiving synthetics in body wash and cleansers will aggravate your skin. “Stay away from hostile to bacterial cleansers and body washes with loads of fragrances,” says Muldrow.

You can go through hours analyzing item fixing records, however Muldrow says to recall that aroma-free item with straightforward fixings are ideal. Search for names that say "color free" as well.

Moisturize Right After You Shower
Moisturizing consistently is extraordinary, yet the hour of day you saturate matters, as well. Saturate just after you clean up and after you’ve cleaned up. Balms, creams and moisturizers would then be able to trap existing dampness into your skin.

For patients with truly dry skin, Muldrow suggests a wet wrap. “Soak in a tub of tepid water and don't add anything to the bathwater. Get out, scarcely get dry, and coat your skin with Vaseline, put on night robe and go to bed.” She additionally proposes that cool squeezed virgin coconut oil can be utilized as a cream, as well. The oil’s cell reinforcements mellow the skin and may even decrease the presence of fine lines.

Hydrate With H20
Drinking a sufficient measure of water might help your stomach-related framework, blood course, kidney capacity and waistline, yet water likewise helps keep your skin cells hydrated. On the off chance that your skin isn’t getting sufficient water, it might become dry and flaky. “It’s significant you’re mindful of the quantity of liquids you’re getting, and to drink a ton of water, especially in the wintertime,” says Muldrow.

But recall: Everyone’s water needs shift contingent upon movement level, temperature, stickiness and ailments. For certain individuals, particularly those with certain kidney issues or individuals who take diuretics, drinking an excessive amount of can be hazardous. Ladies should focus on 91 ounces of water a day from both food and refreshments, while men should focus on 125 ounces. Continuously talk with your medical services supplier prior to sloping up your intake.

Want to Keep Your Heart and Brain Young? Do This

Here’s a startling fact: About 3 in 4 American adults don’t get the recommended amount of physical activity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even more sobering: Many adults don’t get any activity at all, aside from what they need to make it through the day. And as we age, more and more of us stop moving. Almost 23 percent of adults between ages of 18 and 44 are sedentary. For those 65 and older, it’s around 32 percent.

While you likely know that long-term inactivity weakens your bones and muscles, you may not realize that it can damage your heart and brain, too. This, in turn, raises your odds of dementia and heart disease, among other conditions, and can lead to early death.

But research suggests that getting exercise can help keep these organs healthy and delay or prevent their decline. And if you regularly work up a sweat over a number of years? All the better.

“You really need to think about ways to keep moving,” says Kevin Bohnsack, MD, a family medicine physician at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Everything that increases your overall activity can ward off that sedentary lifestyle,” he adds—along with the cardiac and cognitive problems that can come with it.

How exercise benefits the heart

As you progress through middle age, your heart gradually begins to weaken. Its walls get thicker and less flexible, and your arteries become stiffer. This raises your risk for high blood pressure (hypertension) and other heart problems, including heart attack and heart failure. And if you’re sedentary, that risk goes up even more.

When you exercise, your heart beats faster, increasing blood flow and supplying your body with necessary oxygen. The more you work out, the stronger your heart gets and the more elastic your blood vessels become. This helps you maintain lower blood pressure and decreases your chances of developing many cardiovascular problems.

It’s aerobic exercise—also called cardio—that really does the trick. Research suggests that consistent, long-term moderate or vigorous cardio training may be most helpful, though any physical activity promotes good heart health. “It can be anything from running to biking to rowing,” says Dr. Bohnsack. “Anything that builds up that heart rate.”

Getting in shape benefits your heart in other ways, too, by helping neutralize risk factors linked to heart disease. Exercise is associated with:

  • A reduction in inflammation
  • An increase in HDL (“good” cholesterol) and decrease in LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and staving off obesity

And though more studies are needed, research increasingly shows that exercise can boost your heart health no matter your age. For example, for one small study published in March 2018 in the journal Circulation, 28 middle-aged men completed two years of high-intensity exercise training. Compared to a control group, scientists found the exercise reduced their cardiac stiffness and increased their bodies’ capacity for oxygen use—both of which may slash the risk for heart failure.

For another study published in the August 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers gave heart rate and movement sensors to 1,600 British volunteers between the ages of 60 and 64. After five days, they found that more active people had fewer indicators of heart disease in their blood. Not too shabby, boomers.

How exercise benefits the brain

What’s good for your heart is generally good for your mind—and research shows breaking a sweat on a regular basis can boost brain health in several ways.

First, exercise is tied to improved cognition, which includes better memory, attention and executive function—things like controlling emotions and completing tasks. It can enhance the speed with which you process and react to information, too, along with your capacity to draw from your past knowledge and experiences.

Getting physical is also linked to slower age-related cognitive decline, where we gradually lose our thinking, focus and memory skills. “In other words,” says Bohnsack, “if you like where you are, it’s a good idea to continue to exercise because that may at least help you retain your current cognitive function.”

And though the jury is still out on whether it improves symptoms, exercise may help prevent or delay dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. For example, one 2017 review in The Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences found that activity was associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s down the line. The link was strongest for people who purposely exercised in their spare time, rather than those who had physically active jobs. This suggests mental benefits may depend on your chosen activity, in addition to the time you put into it.

How does exercise do all this? Scientists aren’t completely sure. It’s thought that working out improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain, helping it function better. Some research indicates it prevents shrinkage of the hippocampus—the part of the brain crucial for learning and remembering things. Experts also believe it stimulates chemical activity in the brain that could contribute to better cognition.

Finally, exercise may help lower your chances of developing other conditions connected to dementia, including cardiovascular disease.

When can you start?
No matter our age, pretty much all of us can gain from exercise. “There is evidence to suggest that doing more vigorous exercise earlier in life is more beneficial,” says Bohnsack, “but it’s never too late to start because everyone benefits from doing some sort of movement or physical activity.”

In addition to its rewards for the heart and brain, working out:

  • Boosts your mood and energy
  • Helps prevent injuries
  • Lowers your risk of other diseases associated with aging, like arthritis
  • Helps you remain independent

Government exercise guidelines recommend that adults shoot for 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity weekly. Ideally, it should be spread across several days. Cardio activities like walking, biking, swimming, bowling, gardening and dancing are good options for older adults.

Your regimen should also incorporate some strength training, along with balance and flexibility moves. (Think yoga or tai chi.) They can help keep you mobile and reduce injuries—especially from falls, which are often catastrophic for older people’s health.

Ease into your routine

Of course, older adults should always speak with a healthcare professional (HCP) before beginning any new regimen, especially if they have a chronic condition, like heart disease. Your HCP can help you decide on a safe, effective routine attuned to your fitness level.

And remember: Even if it’s just a short walk, any exertion is better than none. “Taking steps during the day to do physical activities or movement can be just as beneficial as if you joined a gym,” says Bohnsack. To start, he suggests simple moves like doing squats at work or parking farther away from your office so you can log a few extra steps.

It may help to use an app like Sharecare (available for iOS and Android) to help you track your daily activity.

Whatever you do, Bohnsack says, you must decide if planting yourself on the sofa is worth your long-term brain and heart health: “As I emphasize to patients, ‘A rolling stone gathers no moss.’”

Medically reviewed in November 2020.

Strong Arms for a Longer Life

Study after study reveals that muscle tone in the arms is a significant predictor of longevity and a younger RealAge (strong grip strength, pecs, core and upper back help, too) and it’s not something you can gain by hailing taxis or gesturing wildly.

Turns out that if your upper arms are too big (and flabby) or too skinny, you’re at increased risk for heart disease and cancer.

So don’t think a busy life will provide you with the upper-arm strength you need to stay healthy. You need those oh-so-important 10,000 steps a day, no excuses—and we suggest making sure you do two-to-three-times a week strength-training sessions that include over-the-head arm raises, triceps toners, using the arm bike at the gym and routines with push-ups like the ones at our site. (BTW: Carrying weights while walking is the leading cause of rotator cuff damage.

Only do it with proper instruction and for 20-30 minutes twice a week.) You’ll decrease your risk for heart disease, obesity, sexual dysfunction, certain cancers…plus, get better posture, a less-congested torso (let those internal organs have some space), better breathing, less shoulder and lower back problems and a better complexion!

Talk to Your Child Like an Adult

A bit of baby talk and mimicking a child’s sounds during the earliest months of life makes an infant feel connected and understood and stimulates an infant’s brain.

One study found two-year-olds who heard the most baby talk knew an average of 433 words, while toddlers with quieter families knew only around 169. And earlier studies reveal how often a parent talks to a child and what kind of words are used (meaning not always No, No, No) has an enormous impact on emotional and intellectual development.

Now, research reveals that at around 10-20 months of age, kids need Mom to talk to them as if they were fully verbal and let them know she gets what they’re feeling and thinking. Then, at five years old, the child will have developed the ability to understand others’ thoughts and to emphasize.

Clearly, experiencing this mind meld (researchers call it mind-mindedness, but we like the Vulcan phrase better) helps your child grow into a loving adult. 

So put down the cell phone, turn off the TV and talk to your child about how he or she is feeling and acting; describe what’s going on around you. Pretty soon you’ll be amazed by what an expressive, kind kid you’ve got!

How to Blast Your Belly Fat

We asked our Facebook fans about their biggest bare-the-body worry: a fat belly, a saggy butt or flabby arms. Not surprisingly, nearly 80 percent chose a fat belly. One Facebook fan said, “I am physically active…[and] am losing weight, but my stomach won’t get flat enough.” She’s hardly alone.

So, why is belly fat so stubborn—and how can you get rid of it? We went to our experts for answers. Here’s what we discovered.

Why belly fat is so stubborn

1. You’re too stressed. Stress hormones not only encourage your body to pack on more pounds in general, but also more belly fat in particular.

2. You’re getting older. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, “The older you get, the more reluctant belly fat becomes.” He adds, “Doing what you've done in the past is most likely not going to work as well as it once did. You've got to change it up.”

3. You’re eating for speed. Packaged foods contain your belly’s biggest enemies: partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) and simple carbs. Trans fats increase the fat in your midsection, says Dr. Dean Ornish. They even redistribute fat from other parts of the body to the belly.

Three ways to blast that belly

You can’t spot-reduce belly fat. To lose fat anywhere on your body, you’ll need to eat less and move more. And remember, says personal trainer Jeff Croswell, “This fat didn't come on overnight . . . so to think that it will come off overnight is ridiculous.” Try these tips to speed your success.

1. Eat the right fats. Make sure your diet is full of belly-busting monounsaturated fats, found in nuts, seeds, olives and olive oil, and avocados. Green tea is another fat burner.

2. Choose the right moves. Surprise! Crunches and sit-ups are often ineffective when it comes to shaving inches from your waistline. Dr. Oz suggests yoga as your belly-blasting alternative.

3. Get more sleep. According to sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus, lack of ZZZs affects levels of several hormones that influence appetite. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night, and you should see a flatter belly sooner.

Dropping belly fat won’t just make you look better, it will make you healthier, too. That’s because carrying extra weight in your abdomen puts you at increased risk for everything from diabetes to heart disease to cancer.

For those of you who are more worried about a saggy butt, try Dr. Mike Clark’s butt and thigh workout. If you need a little extra help slimming down and getting into shape, try exercises designed to target your trouble spots.

How to Develop Your Diabetes Action Plan ?

How S.M.A.R.T goal setting can help you stay on top of your diabetes management.

Managing diabetes requires care, commitment and planning. With your diagnosis, it’s helpful to develop an action plan that is specific to you.

To develop this plan, you’ll work with your healthcare provider to decide which goals are best for you and how you’ll reach them. Here are some tips to get you started.

Be S.M.A.R.T.
To manage your diabetes in the way that’s best for you, you’ll need to set some personal goals. The American Diabetes Association suggests conceiving them as “S.M.A.R.T.”:

  • Specific: Decide exactly what you want to achieve and how that will look. For example, you might say, “I will walk 4,000 steps (about 2 miles) every other evening on a route I map through my neighborhood.”
  • Measurable: Find a way to measure your progress so that you’ll know when you’ve hit your goal. Try, “I will use a smartphone app to track my steps and the days I walk.”
  • Attainable: Make sure you have what you need to achieve your goal. If some element is missing, figure out how you’ll acquire it. In other words, “I will use the health app that comes with my smartphone or download another app that tracks steps. I’ll also buy good, supportive walking shoes.”
  • Realistic: Your goal needs to be something you know you can achieve, and you need to feel a commitment to it, not just an obligation. That could translate to a statement like, “Committing to exercise as a lifestyle change is important to me, and this plan will help me achieve that change.”
  • Time-specific: No open windows here. Set a realistic timeline or deadline for yourself for meeting your goal. As in, “By the end of the first week, I will have walked 12,000 steps.”

What kinds of goals should you include?
The key areas for goal setting to manage your diabetes and blood sugar levels are:

  • Healthy eating
  • Regular physical activity
  • Medication adherence
  • Checking blood sugar
  • Developing problem-solving plans
  • Reducing risks associated with having diabetes
  • Mental health (coping with your diagnosis and its management)

These seven areas of management are what the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) calls the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors.

Talk with your healthcare provider about appropriate aims in each of these areas. Everyone’s needs will differ, and your plan should put the “personal” in personalized management.

Remember not to overlook the mental health, or coping, aspects of your plan. Getting a diabetes diagnosis can be unsettling or even shocking, so be sure to include goals related to maintaining a healthy outlook and getting support when you need it.

And you don’t need to set big goals for each of these. You can create small steps and short-term targets (for example, “Eat two servings of vegetables every day this week”), re-evaluating how your plan worked for you as you reach each deadline.

A special case: illness
The best-laid plans can go off the rails when illness strikes, and your diabetes management plan isn’t immune to this possibility.

Of course, you do have some control over your wellness and you should do your best to stay current with screenings and preventive care that are recommended for your age, health history and sex. These steps can include regular blood pressure checks, screening for breast and colon cancer and ensuring that your vaccinations are up to date.

But even the most careful attention to such details can’t completely protect you from diseases like the common cold. That’s why you’ll need a plan B for sick days when viral or other illness strikes. This kind of planning falls under the “problem-solving” area of your management plan. You can’t predict every situation that arises, but you can establish in advance what you’ll do if your health or other areas hit an unexpected curve.

A sick-day plan might involve more frequent blood glucose checks, a commitment to keep up food intake, increased liquid intake (sugar-free) and notes about what should trigger a call to your clinician. As with all parts of your management plan, the sick-day steps should be developed in coordination with your doctor.

Evaluating your success
Each time you reach a deadline, it’s a good idea to pause and look back at cases where you met your goal—or fell a little short. If you came up short, look at the factors that interfered with your progress and see what you can do to reduce those obstacles for your next steps. Talk to your clinician about ideas for adjusting a goal or minimizing obstacles.

These moments of self-evaluation are also your time to establish your next set of goals, in partnership with your doctor.

You’ll also need to commit to reproducing your earlier successes. The process of managing diabetes is an ongoing one. Maintaining the beneficial changes you make in your lifestyle is key, and refreshing your goals as you assess your progress can help.

Lastly, don’t forget to reward yourself for meeting your goals. Include in your plan some small but special indulgences for achieving your aims, such as a long, quiet bath or a nice (healthy) dinner out.

The Most Important Part of Your Fitness Program

The human body is an extraordinary machine, able to withstand tremendous amounts of physical stress such as marathon running, football and long days of physical labor. Exercise and training can do wonders for endurance, strength and athleticism, but without proper rest and recovery, physical challenges will begin to take a negative toll on the body.

To get the maximum benefit from the effort and time you spend exercising, rest and recovery need to be an integral part of your fitness program. The more time you spend exercising, and the higher the intensity of your exercise routine, the greater your requirement for periods of rest and recovery.

For instance, if you take a brisk 30-minute walk five to six times per week, you may need very little rest or very few days off. But if you’re following a training program that includes cardio and strength training (and possibly running an occasional 5k or competing in a tennis or basketball league) you will want to schedule days of rest and recovery.

What is rest and recovery?
Rest and recovery can simply mean decreasing or eliminating the intensity, time and frequency of exercise. For instance, if your normal routine is to run five miles at a 12-minute per mile pace, you may choose to substitute running with a three-to-five mile walk for a day or two. This will allow you to stay active while significantly reducing the overall workload on your body, giving your muscles a chance to repair and recover from the days of more intense activity.

Muscle repair and recovery primarily occur after exercise, when your muscles release waste products from exercise such as lactate. Rest and recovery also help to promote blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles. This process promotes the replenishment of phosphocreatine stores, restoration of intramuscular pH (acid/base balance). It also helps to the regaining of muscle membrane potential, which is the balance between sodium and potassium exchanges inside and outside of cells. By allowing periods of rest and recovery, these processes lead to restoring the physiological and chemical balance within our bodies. You’re muscles will love you for the rest—and when you come back a day or two later, they’ll be stronger and you’ll feel more energetic.

Recovery is typically very light exercise at a much lower intensity than usual, or days off from any kind of exercise. If you’re training for a sport or a race, a rest period may be a day or even a week of low or no physical activity. You could also replace a training day in the weight room with an hour in the pool.

Key components of rest and recovery

Listen to your body
One of the simplest things you can do is listen to your body. If you’ve been exercising regularly without rest days and you encounter a day where you’re feeling run down, extra tired, sore and maybe even struggling to keep up with your normal workout, your body may be telling you, “I NEED A BREAK!” Don’t ignore these symptoms of overtraining and take a day off, whether it’s active recovery exercises or total rest.

Nutrition and hydration
Full rest days or days that include active rest should provide a great opportunity to focus on proper hydration and nutrition, both of which are critical for recovery from the stressors of exercise. Proper nutrition and hydration immediately after an exercise session, as well as during days of rest, help to replenish vitamins, nutrients, carbohydrates and proteins essential for the repair and health of muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.

A good night’s sleep (at least 8 hours) is critical to allow both your mind and body to recover from both the physical and psychological demands of exercise stress. (See Ornish Living articles, How to Get Your Most Restful Night of Sleep and Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep.)

Meditation and yoga
Both meditation and yoga practices help to focus our attention inward, which allows us to better sense our body, how we feel and our need for rest and recovery. Adding time for meditation and yoga during our rest and recovery days is a way to effectively enhance this time as well as improve our energy level.

A 2005 study in the journal Sports Medicine found that massage has shown physiological, neurological and psychological benefits. Incorporating massage into your fitness plan will pay huge dividends. Massage will help to circulate blood and fluids into and out of the muscles and joints as well as circulate waste products from exercised muscles.

Regardless of your fitness level, age or exercise experience, periods of rest and recovery are critical for longevity, physical health and effective exercise. If you don’t currently include any rest periods in your fitness program, get started soon and reap the benefits. You body will respond wonderfully!

Ready to incorporate rest and recovery into your fitness plan? Check out the Ornish Living article, How to Prevent and Treat Overtraining.

This content was originally published on Ornish Living.