During the last few weeks, health-conscious women across the country have been engaging in our EmpowHER #HER2015 conversation on Twitter. We’ve been talking about what 2014 taught us about our health and where science, medicine and healthy lifestyles are headed in 2015.
Did you join us? Your experiences and ideas are fundamental to this article! Thanks to everyone who participated. Read on to see what some of our readers and contributors had to say about nutrition, fitness, emotional health, healthy aging and medical innovations that are on the horizon.
Have you made a resolution to diet in 2015? Jennipher Walters, CEO and co-founder of healthy FitBottomedGirls.com recommends otherwise. She says you should resolve NOT to diet and gives nine reasons here.
“I'm a firm believer in the anti-diet way of life. That means listening to your hunger, eating balanced meals that have protein, healthy fats and lots of whole foods in them, sending yourself lots of self love and being active in ways you enjoy,” Walters wrote on Huffington Post.
Diet trends are constantly changing — the grapefruit diet, the Scarsdale diet, Atkins, South Beach, Paleo. Rise above the trends by listening to hunger, eating balanced meals of whole foods and finding an exercise you enjoy. These are habits that never go out of style.
The American College of Sports Medicine has released their fitness predictions for 2015. The number one fitness trend for the New Year? Body weight training, also known as “the exercises you did in gym class when you were six years old.”
This is budget-friendly fitness, requiring only your muscles and a clear space in front of the couch. Push ups, pull ups, squats— the classics. To see all of the American College of Sports Medicine’s predictions, read here.
If you like tennis and demand a good cardio workout, look for cardio tennis, a hot, new tennis trend that is spreading to athletic clubs everywhere.
Baby boomers are aging, and 83 percent of them report that they exercise. As a result, women over 50 can find a greater variety of fitness programs designed especially for them.
Get out! Literally. It turns out nature is good for you. Health care providers are beginning to prescribe ecotherapy, the practice of seeking healing in the great outdoors.
Just moving to a neighborhood with more green space or having a nice view of nature outside the window has been proven to calm children with ADHD and reduce overall stress in everyone.
A study reported on Smithsonian.com revealed that “people who moved to greener spaces experienced a bump in mental health that stuck around for years afterward.”
The Japanese have a word for it: shinrin-yoku which translates as “forest bathing”. A study reported on in WebMd found that practitioners of shinrin-yoku “experienced lower levels of cortisol, a lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure.” The forest is good medicine.
A baby girl born 100 years ago in 1915 had a life expectancy of only 56.8 years. Your daughters and granddaughters born in 2015 can expect to live an average of 81.4 years. That’s an increase of over 24 years — a whole generation. More and more of us are living long enough to meet our great-grandchildren.
If longevity is part of our health story, aging gracefully needs to be part of our beauty routine. As George Burns famously said after his 100th birthday, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”
Millennials, take note: stop smoking and start using sunscreen now for beautiful skin in your golden years. As for everyone else, it is never too late to live better: stop smoking, apply sunscreen and get moving.
Activity is essential as we age. The U.S. Surgeon General reports, “inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are more active.” Any activity decreases your risk: walking the dog, taking the stairs or raking the leaves.
Thirty to 60 minutes of structured exercise several times a week improves balance, bone strength and even delays Alzheimer’s. The field of geriatric medicine now considers exercise a “disease solution”. For a detailed analysis, read here.
For inspiration, watch “Advanced Style,” a vivid documentary of older women living loud and living long. You can download it here or watch it on Netflix.
Medical innovations to look for in 2015
It seems an ibuprofen a day keeps the grim reaper away. This December, Dr. Michael Polymenis, an AgriLife Research biochemist in College Station and a professor in the biochemistry and biophysics department at Texas A&M University, reported that ibuprofen, “given at doses comparable to the recommended human dose, added about 15 percent more to the species lives. In humans, that would be equivalent to another dozen or so years of healthy living.”This study was performed on baker’s yeast, not humans.
Early studies have shown ibuprofen to extend lifespans in several species . Not only did the species tested live longer, they were healthier. Watch for more research in 2015.
Billionaire doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong is disrupting the status quo in cancer research by, as Matthew Herper wrote in Forbes, “rolling out a series of companies that represent a $1 billion-plus effort to fight cancer in new ways. This includes buying DNA sequencers to unravel the DNA of cancer patients, not in a clinical trial but as standard practice, at an unprecedented scale.”
60 Minutes did a piece on Soon-Shiong in December. You can watch it here.
Soon-Shiong referred to our current climate as “the dark age of cancer treatment.” His vision? “The treatment doesn’t need to be painful, metastasis doesn’t need to be a death sentence, cancer could be a chronic disease and treated towards the cure.” Could 2015 prove him right?
Happy New Year from EmpowHER!
9 Reasons to Resolve Not to Diet in 2015. HuffingtonPost.com. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
Benefits of Exercise. NIH Senior Health.com. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
Can exercise prevent memory loss and improve cognitive function? WebMD.com. Retrieved December 22, 2014. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/alzheimers-disease/faq-20057881
Do You Need a Nature Prescription? WebMd.com. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
Exercise as Medicine. TodaysGeriatricMedicine.com. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
Fact Sheet the Baby Boomer Generation. NSGA.com. Retrieved December 23, 2014.
Here Is What '60 Minutes' Didn't Tell You About The Billionaire Who Is Trying To Disrupt Cancer Care. Forbes.com. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
Ibuprofen use leads to extended lifespan in several species, study shows. ScienceDaily.com. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
Moving to An Area With More Green Space Can Improve Your Mental Health for Years. Smithsonian.com. Retrieved December 23, 2014.