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Category: Quality of Life (page 1 of 4)

Sex and seniors. They are doing it. And they are liking it.

Awkward as the idea may be to younger people, sex does matter to people 65 and older. “They report benefits such as feeling more connected as a couple, feeling a greater sense of well-being. If your sex life if going well, then you are generally going to feel happier about that,” said Hinchliff.

On the flipside, if there are problems in the bedroom, it could spell trouble for the relationship: Hinchliff says people can experience feelings of frustration, depression and tension, and have more arguments with their partner.

Hinchliff has been researching stereotypes surrounding older people’s sex lives for 17 years and believes the subject matter has been woefully neglected.

To challenge the taboos, she sought the help of a local artist, who produced a series of artworks of older adults in relationships. The exhibition is now on display in Sheffield. The pieces are fun and downright cheeky.

CBC

Wharton professor Adam Grant says America should shorten the work day by 2 hours

Adam Grant, The Wharton School’s top professor, says instead of the typical 9-to-5, our work days should end two hours earlier too.

“[L]et’s make work days shorter: they should finish at 3pm,” says Grant, an organizational psychologist and New York Times best-selling author, in a recent LinkedIn post.

“We can be as productive and creative in 6 focused hours as in 8 unfocused hours,” writes Grant.

The post has since garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

Research suggests Grant is on to something: In one experiment in Sweden, employees at a nursing home adopted a six-hour work day (with no change in pay), which resulted in improved productivity and worker health. Other research has also linked decreased productivity to an increase in the number of hours worked.

Read more at CNBC

Where you live has a lot to do with your life expectancy

Stilwell, Oklahoma, known as the Straberry Capital of the worlk earned a discouraging distinction: It has the lowest life expectancy in the USA — just 56.3 years. That is 22.5 years less than the comparable national average of 78.8 years.

“People who live blocks apart can have very different expectations in how long they’ll live because of the conditions in which people are living,” said Donald Schwarz, a senior vice president at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “That represents uneven opportunity for people, particularly children, to have long lives.”

Read more at the Washington Post

Preventing muscle loss as we age with strength-training

Strength-training will not only make you stronger, it may also enhance bone density.

The fact that you may regularly run, walk, play tennis or ride a bike is not adequate to prevent an incremental loss of muscle mass and strength even in the muscles you’re using as well as those not adequately stressed by your usual activity. Strengthening all your skeletal muscles, not just the neglected ones, just may keep you from landing in the emergency room or nursing home after a fall.

Dr. Morley, among others, points out that adding and maintaining muscle mass also requires adequate nutrients, especially protein, the main constituent of healthy muscle tissue.

Protein needs are based on a person’s ideal body weight, so if you’re overweight or underweight, subtract or add pounds to determine how much protein you should eat each day.

Read more in the NY Times (paywall)

Walking might be the best exercise

One of the keys to a longer and healthier life is to keep moving. The simple act of walking is as natural as breathing and could increase not only how long you live, but also your quality of life.

It’s easy to get excited about the latest and greatest trends, from high-intensity interval training to ultramarathons to triathlons to powerlifting. But at the end of the day, regular brisk walking gets you most, if not all of the way there—“there” meaning a long and healthy life. This is the main conclusion from the June volume of the prestigious British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM), a special edition dedicated exclusively to walking.

“Whether it is a stroll on a sunny day, walking to and from work, or walking down to the local shops, the act of putting one foot in front of the other in a rhythmic manner is as much human nature as breathing, thinking and loving,” write researchers Emmanuel Stamatakis, Mark Hamer, and Marie Murphy in an editorial in the journal.

The main study in the BJSM special edition surveyed more than 50,000 walkers in the United Kingdom—a variety of ages, both men and women—and found that regularly walking at an average, brisk, or fast pace was associated with a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality and a 24 percent reduction in the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. All the data was self-reported. Participants were asked how frequently they walked and whether they would describe their usual pace as “slow,” “average,” “fairly brisk,” or “fast.” Though self-reported data like this is often viewed as a weakness, in this case it may actually be a strength. This is because “slow” versus “brisk” for a 30-year-old is different than “slow” versus “brisk” for a 70-year-old. In other words, what the researchers were really measuring was rate of perceived exertion, or how hard people felt they were walking. This method is proven to be an effective way to gauge effort and intensity during exercise. “A very simple way to grasp what a ‘brisk’ pace is in terms of exertion is to imagine it as a pace that gets you out of breath when it is sustained for more than a few minutes,” says Stamatakis, lead author on the study and professor of physical activity, lifestyle, and population health at the University of Sydney, Australia.

Another study, published earlier this year in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, examined nearly 140,000 men and women in the United States and came to the same conclusion. Engaging in at least 150 minutes per week of brisk walking was linked to a 20 percent reduction in all-cause mortality.

Read more at Outside Magazine

The Economist’s annual ranking of the world’s most livable cities for 2018

Each year, the Economist Intelligence Unit release its annual Global Livability Index which measuring the most livable large cities in the world. In this year’s report, Vienna, Austria has succeeded in displacing Melbourne, Australia from the stop spot, which it previously held for a record seven consecutive years.

The Economist says:

The concept of liveability is simple: it assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions.

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability rating quantifies the challenges that might be presented to an individual’s lifestyle in 140 cities worldwide. Each city is assigned a score for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories of Stability, Healthcare, Culture and environment, Education and Infrastructure.

The 20 top rankings are populated with cities in Europe (9), Australia (4), Japan (2), New Zealand (1), and Canada (4).

Honolulu was the highest U.S. city at number 23. The next highest American city was Pittsburgh in 32nd position. Manchester was the highest ranked in the UK at number 35.

Here are the top 50:

1. Vienna, Austria

2. Melbourne, Australia

3. Osaka, Japan

4. Calgary, Canada

5. Sydney, Australia Continue reading

Housing university students with seniors can benefit everyone

Symbiosis is a housing program that matches university students at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario with seniors living alone in the community. And it’s an idea that is becoming increasingly popular. It helps lower housing costs for university students and can have significant health benefits for the elderly.

The co-generational housing program is called Symbiosis because it’s based on a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship, says its founder, Soumeya Abed.

“It connects students who are looking for affordable housing with seniors who have a spare room, a furnished room, and can offer a little bit of extra support and companionship,” she said.

More at CBC

Health data shows Canadians are failing their children

It’s not surprising to read that one in four children in Canada are overweight or obese, and only one in three school-age children meet minimum physical activity guidelines.

But other published findings about the health and well being of our children in Canada might be surprising.

Children First Canada and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health have just published a new report examining the mental and physical health of the 7.9 million young people under the age of 19. “Many Canadians think this is one of the best countries in the world to raise a child, but the statistics prove otherwise,” says Sara Austin, founder and lead director of Children First Canada.

She notes that Canada ranks a middling 25th out of 41 countries in UNICEF ranking of well-being of children and youth.

And
Continue reading

Watch: What French women get right about aging well

FIRE: Financial Independence, Retire Early

Millennials especially have embraced this so-called FIRE movement — the acronym stands for financial independence, retire early — seeing it as a way out of soul-sucking, time-stealing work and an economy fueled by consumerism.

Followers of FIRE tend to be male and work in the tech industry, left-brained engineer-types who geek out on calculating compound interest over 40 years, or the return on investment (R.O.I.) on low-fee index funds versus real estate rentals.

Indeed, much of the conversation around FIRE, on Reddit message boards or blogs like Mr. Money Mustache, revolves around hacking one’s finances: strategies for increasing your savings rate to the hallowed 70 percent, tips for cheap travel through airline rewards cards, ways to save nickels and dimes at the grocery store.

Some practice “lean FIRE” (extreme frugality), others “fat FIRE” (maintaining a more typical standard of living while saving and investing), and still others “barista FIRE” (working part-time at Starbucks after retiring, for the company’s health insurance). To be “firing” is to slash one’s expenses to maximize saving while amassing income-generating investments sufficient to support oneself. To have “fired” is to have achieved that goal.

More at the NY Times (paywall)

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