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Sacramento Boomer

50+ Ways to Add Years to Your Life

Apr 29, 2019 12:57PM
Sitting too long, sleeping too much, poor diet—we’re constantly reminded of the lifestyle choices that can take years off our lives. But what about things that can actually add years back? “Life extension is a focus for many of us, especially those who are entering the second half of our lives. Longevity is important, but what’s even more important is quality enjoyment within living longer,” says Michael Krick, CSCS, owner and founder of KrickFit. 

“How long we live, i.e. our lifespan, is probably mainly determined by our genes. If our parents lived into their 90s, there’s a good chance we’ll live into our 90s as well,” says Maxine Barish-Wreden, MD, medical director of the Sutter Institute for Health & Healing at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. “How well we live however, i.e., our healthspan, is largely determined by how we live our lives—our sense of purpose, connection and joy, and our health habits.”

With the help of dozens of local doctors, wellness practitioners, and health experts, we gathered the best tips on how to live a better, longer life.

On the Bright Side

“If you don’t tend to look at the positive side of life, that’s OK. With some practice you can become more optimistic. Start to focus on how your thoughts impact your behavior and when you become aware of an automatic negative thought, pause, and re-frame the negative thought into a positive one and notice how you feel and behave.”—Loretta Parker, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, 916-837-5228, lorettaparkerlmft.com


Give Thanks

“Live in a state of gratitude. When you’re constantly counting your blessings and feeling grateful, you smile a lot, which uplifts you. This leads to a healthier state of mind that brings better quality of life.”—Amitis Pourarian, Owner of THE STUDIO Martial Arts & Fitness, 916-258-5425, trainatthestudio.com


Matter of Balance

“Over 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 who live independently experience a fear of falling. Preventing falls and increasing the activity level among older adults will add years to your life and enjoyment. There are many classes held on fall prevention to assist with reducing the fear of falling and [how to] reduce social limitations because of the fear of falling.”—Tom Bollum, Executive Director of Live Well at Home, 916-459-3220, livewellathome.com 


A Safe Home

“Think about things like a ramp at the front door, removing throw rugs and extension cords, adding grab bars in the tub or shower, non-skid floors, [and] more comfortable handles on doors or faucets. You might be able to get help paying for these changes. Check with your area’s agency on aging, state housing finance agency, welfare department, community development groups, or the Federal Government.”—Tom Bollum, Executive Director of Live Well at Home, 916-459-3220,  livewellathome.com 


Social Butterfly

“Socialization and activities with friends will extend your life. If it’s hard for you to leave home, you can enjoy visits from someone in your home or have assistance in going out. Boredom and loneliness are real and can be prevented. Companionship and assistance with errands and transportation are available through volunteer organizations as well as home care agencies.”—Tom Bollum, Executive Director of Live Well at Home, 916-459-3220, livewellathome.com 

Eating vegetables and fruits rich in fiber.


Superfood

“Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and foods containing fiber can help protect the body against the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and much more. As always, consult your doctor before making any change in your diet.”—Jeff Caponera, Communications and Marketing Manager at Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Association, 916-625-4057, suncity-lincolnhills.org 


Lobby for a Hobby

“Find something you’re interested in and join a class or a club. Social connection is just as beneficial to your health as exercise and eating habits. There is no downside to having a fuller social life.”—Jeff Caponera, Communications and Marketing Manager at Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Association, 916-625-4057,  suncity-lincolnhills.org 


By Any Stretch

“Stretch your way to better health with yoga. As we age, our connective tissues (i.e. fascia, tendons, and ligaments) can become matted up and immobile. The longer we leave these areas unattended, the tighter and more locked up our body becomes, which leads to stiffness and pain. A great way to lubricate our connective tissues, relieve pain, and improve mobility is yoga.”—Gretta Smith, Owner and Yoga Teacher at Ohana Moon Yoga, 530-208-3157, ohanamoonyoga.com


Body of Water

“We are composed of over 60 percent water and our vital organs are closer to 80 percent. In order to maintain overall health and vitality, our entire system must be hydrated. Water is great, and high-water-content foods, like cucumbers, celery, radishes, cauliflower, watermelon, strawberries, and grapefruit are even better. These fruits and vegetables also contain vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients to help lower cholesterol, fight cancer, and lower the risk of disease.”—Gretta Smith, Owner and Yoga Teacher at Ohana Moon Yoga, 530-208-3157, ohanamoonyoga.com


Laugh Out Loud

“Don't take yourself too seriously...LAUGH!”—Gretta Smith, Owner and Yoga Teacher at Ohana Moon Yoga, 530-208-3157, ohanamoonyoga.com


Nine is Fine

“Eight hours of sleep is enough for most, but some people feel and function better with even nine hours a night. Sleep is the only way our bodies can completely recharge. It not only is when the cells in all our organs repair, but it is also (surprisingly) a very important and active time for the brain. It’s during sleep that certain immune system chemicals are released. Getting enough sleep later in life is especially important in keeping our mind sharp and our body healthy.”—Michael Krick, CSCS, Owner and Founder of KrickFit, 415-707-9912, krickfit.com


Watered Down

“You should drink at least half your body weight in ounces. That means, a 170-pound man should drink 85 ounces of water per day and a 140-pound woman should be drinking 70 ounces. That may seem like a lot, but our body is comprised mostly of water and proper hydration is the first step to good health. Not only does every cell require water to function properly but upping your water intake will also improve the suppleness and elasticity of the skin—making you not only feel, but look younger.”—Michael Krick, CSCS, Owner and Founder of KrickFit, 415-707-9912, krickfit.com


Inner Strength

“The key to keeping our bodies strong to carry us into later life stages is through strength training. Cardiovascular training is still important because it strengthens our heart and lungs, but it’s only through resistance training that we gain strength and stability. When you use weighted movement, you build the necessary muscles it takes to increases bone density; meaning you’re at a decreased risk of osteoporosis or osteopenia. Strength training also decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.”—Michael Krick, CSCS, Owner and Founder of KrickFit, 415-707-9912, krickfit.com


One Step at a Time

“Stay active and walk daily. Not only can it help you sleep better and control your weight, but even moderate activity can boost your life expectancy.”—Hoang Pham, MD, Internal Medicine, Mercy Medical Group-San Juan, 916-536-3540, mymercymedicalgroup.org


Under Pressure

“In large part, people are living longer these days because they’re controlling their blood pressure. Many adults can do this without medication by making simple lifestyle changes and staying active. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise per week. You can also help take control of your heart health by watching what you eat. A Mediterranean diet that’s low in saturated fat and emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, and legumes can make a positive difference in your blood pressure levels. If you take blood pressure medication, do not stop this without talking with your doctor.”—Julie Loewen, MD, Internal Medicine, Mercy Medical Group-Roseville, 916-536-3540, mymercymedicalgroup.org


Sugar Rush

“There is an epidemic of diabetes, and our palate has adapted to look for foods higher in sugar. Choose brands that have a lower sugar content and higher fiber content. Balance out any carbohydrate that you eat with a healthy protein or healthy fat to help prevent a blood sugar crash. You’ll feel more energetic and eat smaller portions later if you do this regularly.”—Julie Loewen, MD, Internal Medicine, Mercy Medical Group-Roseville, 916-536-3540, mymercymedicalgroup.org


Friends with Benefits

“Socialization keeps us from [feeling depressed], lonely, and unimportant. It also stimulates many parts of the brain, enabling recall of memory.”—Yvonne and Paul Kelly, Co-Owners of Daycation for Seniors, 916-899-6166, daycationforseniors.com

Your furry friends can extend your life.


Man’s Best Friend

“Pets can lower blood pressure and anxiety, and they give us companionship and help us reminisce.”—Yvonne and Paul Kelly, Co-Owners of Daycation for Seniors, 916-899-6166, daycationforseniors.com


Get Zen

“Practice yoga daily. Yoga has the ability to inspire and improve self-care. A daily yoga practice helps put life into perspective and reduces stress. Yoga moves prana—our life force (breath)—through our body, thus increasing circulation, balance, and strength. All of this adds up to reducing stress, which is one of the biggest ways to fight disease.”—Kim Vanacore, Owner and Manager of Radiant Yoga, 916-933-0300, radiantyogaedh.com


Love Nest

“Surround your life with a circle of loving friends and family. Over time you may need to weed out people in your life. Find a way to do so as lovingly as possible. Think of a garden that may need to be cut back in order to thrive. Surrounding oneself with others who will laugh, cry, and bring out the best in us is key to a long life.”—Kim Vanacore, Owner and Manager of Radiant Yoga, 916-933-0300, radiantyogaedh.com


Food for Thought

“Eat a colorful diet. Avoid extremes. Find moderation where you can but feed your body each bite as you are feeding the most precious person in your life. Because you are.”—Kim Vanacore, Owner and Manager of Radiant Yoga, 916-933-0300, radiantyogaedh.com


Score a Goal

“Have goals that you can be passionate about and use this as the fuel to live life to its fullest.”—Brad Cahoon, DVM, CVA, Veterinary Healing Center of El Dorado Hills, 916-933-6030,  vethealingeldoradohills.com                         


Nice as Pie

“Always strive to be better and help others to do the same.”—Brad Cahoon, DVM, CVA, Veterinary Healing Center of El Dorado Hills, 916-933-6030, vethealingeldoradohills.com


Stay Calm and Carry On

“Don’t sweat the small stuff and stress about things that are out of your control.”—Brad Cahoon, DVM, CVA, Veterinary Healing Center of El Dorado Hills, 916-933-6030, vethealingeldoradohills.com


Just Keep Swimming

“Swimming takes the strain off your joints, improves mental health, and puts you in a better mood, which all result in improving quality of life. No matter your condition or fitness level, you can still get the benefits of aquatics.”—Scott Sharrow, General Manager of VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa Roseville, 916-831-7070, villasport.com


Break a Sweat

“Sweating in a sauna can lower blood pressure, soothe chronic conditions, relax your arteries, and protect your lungs. Follow your time in a sauna with a massage to fully relax, rejuvenate, and restore your body.”—Scott Sharrow, General Manager of VillaSport Athletic Club and Spa Roseville, 916-831-7070, villasport.com


Spiritual Healing

“Get in touch with your spiritual side. This can be different for everyone: prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, walks in nature. Several studies have suggested that people who have regular spiritual practices live longer.”—Dawn Alden, ND, Revolutions Naturopathic, 916-351-9355, revolutionsdocs.com


In the Fasting Lane

“Try intermittent fasting a few days a week—meaning having at least 13 hours between your dinner and breakfast. It can be difficult to maintain, but it has excellent benefits for weight loss and reducing insulin resistance—both of which can impact life expectancy.”—Dawn Alden, ND, Revolutions Naturopathic, 916-351-9355, revolutionsdocs.com


Bill of Health

“See a naturopathic doctor (ND). NDs promote behaviors in their patients that foster health and reduce risk factors for chronic disease. Studies have found that patients are significantly more likely to discuss health maintenance and optimization with naturopathic doctors compared to medical doctors.”—Dawn Alden, ND, Revolutions Naturopathic, 916-351-9355, revolutionsdocs.com


Sleep like a Baby

“Be protective of your sleep. Have a consistent seven nights a week schedule. It can vary by an hour here or there, but not more than that. Sleep long enough that you feel rested, and if possible take a 30-minute or less nap in the mid-afternoon. Allowing your body to do all of its scheduled nightly maintenance will go a long way in keeping all your body functions well-oiled and protected.”—Amer Khan, MD, Sutter Neurologist and Sleep Expert, Medical Director of Clinical Quality for Sutter Independent Physicians, 888-287-2270, sutterhealth.org; Founder of Sehatu Sleep, 916-742-7718, sehatusleep.com


Brain Teaser

“Stay active! This means being physically, mentally, and socially active. Exercise or walk daily. Engage in stimulating hobbies. Read. Learn something new. Play brain games. Socialize with others. Persons who remain active are less likely to have cognitive decline with age, including dementia.”—Shawn Kile, MD, Medical Director of the Sutter Neuroscience Institute and Co-Founder of the Sutter Memory Clinic at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, 888-287-2270, sutterhealth.org

Hearing aids could reduce the risk of Dementia.


Hear, Hear

“Get your hearing tested and wear hearing aids if indicated. Your brain needs sensory input to remain active. Additionally, persons with uncorrected hearing loss are less likely to engage in conversations and are less socially active. In a recent study, hearing loss was listed as the top risk factor for dementia.”—Shawn Kile, MD, Medical Director of the Sutter Neuroscience Institute and co-founder of the Sutter Memory Clinic at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, 888-287-2270, sutterhealth.org


Face the Music

“Listening to music can lower stress and improve your health. However, there’s evidence that playing musical instruments is good for you too.”—Hoang Pham, MD, Internal Medicine, Mercy Medical Group-San Juan, 888-287-2270, mymercymedicalgroup.org


Heart to Heart

“Control any vascular risk factors that might impact heart health or brain health. This includes high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, and smoking. Addressing these risks can lower the risk of cardiac disease, stroke, and dementia.”—Shawn Kile, MD, Medical Director of the Sutter Neuroscience Institute and Co-Founder of the Sutter Memory Clinic at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, 916-854-6960, sutterhealth.org


Take a Breath

“Regular meditation can improve agitation, anxiety, and depression and can also help [you] handle stress better by helping reduce cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. There was also a recent study published in the Journal of American Heart Association suggesting that meditation has a possible benefit on cardiovascular risk reduction.”—Anna Rashidi, PharmD, Compounding Pharmacist and Owner of Innovative Compounding Pharmacy, 916-984-9222, icpfolsom.com


Picture of Health

“Supplements are helpful in improving your health. There is plenty of research showing tremendous benefits of inflammation-lowering supplements such as Curcumin, certain types of fish oils, and more. Antioxidant supplements such as Coenzyme Q-10 are also helpful. When choosing a supplement opt for a professional grade one to ensure its quality and effectiveness.”—Anna Rashidi, PharmD, Compounding Pharmacist and Owner of Innovative Compounding Pharmacy, 916-984-9222, icpfolsom.com


Fruit Loop

“The USDA recommends making half your meal fruits and non-starchy vegetables. These foods are full of fiber and vitamins and minerals, which help keep bodies healthy and balanced. Make sure to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, as each color provides a different nutrient important for many different health functions. Tip: The darker the color, the more nutrients it has!”—Emily Ramsey, Registered Dietician at Dignity Health Mercy General Hospital, dignityhealth.org/sacramento


Antioxi-Dos

“Eat more antioxidants, which are found in plant-based foods such as citrus, strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and dark leafy greens. These healthy compounds prevent exposure to oxidative stress, which triggers both disease and cancer.”—Emily Ramsey, Registered Dietician at Dignity Health Mercy General Hospital, dignityhealth.org/sacramento


Veg Out

“Fiber is found in all fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains and has a bounty of health benefits. Research suggests that diets high in fiber may prevent heart disease as well as help with management of weight and diabetes. Additionally, diets low in fiber have been associated with increased risk of colon cancer. The daily recommended intakes are 25g of fiber for women and 38g fiber for men.”—Emily Ramsey, Registered Dietician at Dignity Health Mercy General Hospital, dignityhealth.org/sacramento


Body Check

“Know your body. See your doctor or practitioner if you have any new lumps, bumps, or pains that don’t go away. Better to be safe than sorry. It’s easier to treat something early rather than late.”—Cathy Anthony, Oncology Nurse Navigator with Sutter Cancer Center at Memorial Medical Center, 916-453-3300, sutterhealth.org/services/cancer


Knowledge is Power

“Learn about the foods you’re eating. Some foods may be less healthy than you think. Some of those multigrain breads or prepared salad dressings may have more calories, fat, and sodium than some junk foods.”—Cathy Anthony, Oncology Nurse Navigator with Sutter Cancer Center at Memorial Medical Center, 916-453-3300, sutterhealth.org/services/cancer

Good friends are priceless.


Friends in Need

“Studies have shown that people with mental health difficulties are significantly at higher risk for physical health problems and a shorter lifespan. Socialize and spend time with others who are supportive and positive. Socialization increases resilience and can make a drastic difference in how a person tolerates stress.”—Jennifer Thomas, PsyD, Director of Clinical-Behavioral Health Services and Chief of Psychology at Sutter Center for Psychiatry, 916-386-3000, sutterhealth.org/scp


Peace of Mind

“Take time to pay attention to your senses. Try to engage fully with the important people or aspects of your life. Learn about how mindfulness works. Studies have shown that mindfulness reduces anxiety and increases mental and physical health.”—Jennifer Thomas, PsyD, Director of Clinical-Behavioral Health Services and Chief of Psychology at Sutter Center for Psychiatry, 916-386-3000, sutterhealth.org/scp


No Regrets

“Living in the moment can allow you to live life more fully and may help reduce anxiety and stress. Try not to live in a ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ [mindset]”—Cathy Anthony, Oncology Nurse Navigator with Sutter Cancer Center at Memorial Medical Center, 916-453-3300, sutterhealth.org/services/cancer


Walk This Way

“Even a short walk out in the sun or in nature can improve your mood and health. It’s important that when taking that walk you try to engage and notice your surroundings.”—Jennifer Thomas, PsyD, Director of Clinical-Behavioral Health Services and Chief of Psychology at Sutter Center for Psychiatry, 916-386-3000, sutterhealth.org/scp


Hang Up

“Put down your phone. Our lives are becoming consumed with digital devices and social media. Limit your screen time and achieve greater happiness by spending more time with those who really matter to you in life such as your family, significant other, and friends.”—Kaleb Wallen, Co-Owner of Steve Wallen Swim School, 916-939-7075 (El Dorado Hills), 916-794-7977 (Roseville), wallenswim.com

Keep active


Sink or Swim

“Swimming is a sport that people can do at any age. Not only is it a life skill, but it’s also a low-impact activity that’s good for your health. It strengthens the core as well as your arms, legs, and cardiovascular system.”—Kaleb Wallen, Co-Owner of Steve Wallen Swim School, 916-939-7075 (El Dorado Hills), 916-794-7977 (Roseville), wallenswim.com


Word of Mouth

“The National Cancer Institute recommends you see your dentist four weeks prior to beginning chemotherapy or radiation treatment. These treatments can greatly alter your immune system. Patients often are unaware of the side effects the treatments can have within their mouth. Your dentist can look for things like cavities, gum disease, infections—anything that could cause future problems or compromise your cancer treatment.”—Jeff S. McClure, DDS, Blue Oak Dental Group, 916-786-6777, blueoakdentalgroup.com


Happy Smile

“See your dentist regularly so you can receive the necessary care needed. An increased quality of life often begins with a healthy, pain-free mouth.”—Jeff S. McClure, DDS, Blue Oak Dental Group, 916-786-6777, blueoakdentalgroup.com


Circle of Life

“Optimize your circadian rhythm, i.e., get daily natural sunlight exposure and avoid artificial light at night; eat, sleep, and wake up at the same time every day; and, get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Avoid eating or drinking anything other than water 3-4 hours before going to bed.”—Maxine Barish-Wreden, MD, Medical Director of the Sutter Institute for Health & Healing at Sutter Medical Center, 916-887-4660, sutterhealth.org/smcs


Give Back

“Connect with your purpose, your values, your contribution in the world, and stay active in your family and your community. Give what is yours to give and give it generously; reach out to others less fortunate than yourself.”—Maxine Barish-Wreden, MD, Medical Director of the Sutter Institute for Health & Healing at Sutter Medical Center, 916-887-4660, sutterhealth.org/smcs


A is for Affirmation

“I’m a strong believer in keeping my mind clear of negative thought through meditation, affirmations, and gratitude. The first words spoken when the alarm goes off each morning are ‘Happy Monday’ or ‘Happy Friday,’ depending on the day. Like clockwork, the cards are shuffled and an affirmation card is selected, read, and displayed by the time I’m out the door ready for my day.”—Kim Rhinehelder, CFRE, Vice President of Communications, Outreach & Philanthropy at Eskaton, 916-334-0810, eskaton.org


Love Yourself

“Negative self-talk can be defeating. One ritual I have is when I have a negative thought, I recognize it and immediately think of something positive. It takes discipline and awareness, but I experience the benefits first-hand every day.”—Kim Rhinehelder, CFRE, Vice President of Communications, Outreach & Philanthropy at Eskaton, 916-334-0810, eskaton.org


By Kourtney Jason