The Cat Box

You’ll always find something of interest in the Cat Box

The Life In Your Years — March 7, 2013

The Life In Your Years

I just read a posting on a sort of “senior” website asking what do you see when you pass a 76-year-old woman on the street. The answer they were looking for was “nothing,” you don’t notice her at all. To that I say “so what?”

When I walk down the street I don’t notice anyone who is representative of any age; unless they stand out for some odd reason. Most of the time a person stands out is because their “difference” is apparent, and may I say appreciated by this girl. People’s more extreme individual traits do catch my eye.

Aside from some ageism in the workplace (and the degree of that varies between occupations) I believe that there has never been a better time for ageing in this country. And the Baby Boom that occurred in those years from 1946 to 1964 here in the US could have had something to do with that. There is power in numbers and the Baby Boomers are 76 million strong.

We Boomers benefit from the availablity of modern drugs to keep us going. Happily, some of us also spend time exercising and enjoying a healthy diet.

In 1900, life expectancy for much of the industrialized world was under 50. Now one hundred and some years later we are living well into our 70s and 80s and our ageing accomplishments are twofold. First we are living longer. I don’t know this, but I bet at the beginning of our living longer we were simply living longer. These days we live longer with substantially improved quality of life for those additional years.

Abraham Lincoln said it a long time ago, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” It is my crusade to put more life into each day, and if I can inspire anyone else to join me, I invite you to come along. Let’s get moving.

Shine On — November 16, 2012

Shine On

I recently read an article in Huffington post about 14 things that 50-somethings are happy to no longer stress about. I was surprised by one woman’s comment that she no longer stresses about wearing make – up or how her hair looks.

In another article I read the inspiring story of a woman who coming back from a debilitating disease was excited about feeling well enough to put on some makeup, fix her hair, and wear something special for her husband.  She felt good enough to get some shine on.

In my 20s, selling advertising in Houston, I often heard my sales manager say, “Fake it till you make it.” He encouraged us to shine with confidence and success even if we didn’t own it yet, because people were buying us as well as the product we were selling.

Turn it on and keep it on!

Is the beauty of age that you no longer have to bring your shine?

I personally enjoy an experience more when I feel confident about bringing my best self, so it doesn’t make sense to me that a benefit of aging is to no longer need to bring your shine. And are we to conclude that when applied, the mature shine doesn’t shine as brightly to the world as a more youthful shine. That is as counterintuitive to me as that old hill we supposedly go over as we mature.

The road of life that takes us from birth to death brings plenty of twists and turns but I can’t imagine that we reach a point where it all turns south. How would you identify your pinnacle day? “Yes, I remember the day well. April 16, 2007 was the very best day of my life and then I went over the hill.”

Ridiculous.

Keep going

I imagine life’s road ever so slightly inclined uphill all the way – just to keep us striving and reaching and growing. It’s got bumps, holes, and long flat stretches to be sure, but it is mostly a slight incline all the way to the very end when we make that final pass into the Great Unknown. Please remember to use your blinker when you make that final pass.

The road of life is a design from which to shine and not a voluntary turnoff onto steep decline. So always remember to shine on up the road and to give others a toot to remind them to turn their shine on too.

The Least Obese Again! — October 29, 2012

The Least Obese Again!

In October 2010 I blogged about an article in 5280 Magazine entitled “The Last Lean Americans” which reported Colorado’s obesity rates at about 15 to 20 percent to be the lowest in the nation.

Well, Colorado has done it again in 2012. It’s not surprising that the state with a population as active as Colorado’s would have the lowest percentage of obese individuals. These Pew findings are from surveys conducted with 177,663 U.S. adults from January through June 2012 for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

Gallup calculates respondents’ Body Mass Index using the standard formula based on their self-reported height and weight. The World Health Organization defines a normal BMI range as being 18.50 to 24.99. It labels BMIs of 25.00 to less than 30.00 as overweight/pre-obese, and those with BMIs of 30.00 or higher are considered obese.

An average of 62.8% of all American adults were overweight or obese in the first half of 2012 — 36.3% were overweight and 26.2% were obese, which is pretty much unchanged from 2011.

Being the least obese sounds good, but our percentage of “overweight to obese” is 55%, which although is better than the almost 63% national average still represents pretty many people who are not as healthy as they could be.

fitness brings happiness

An October 25th article posted in Huffington Post  reports that obesity rates for the US middle aged (45-65) population  are on the rise.  Speaking of “on the rise,” the rate of STDs caught by men in this middle age category has more than doubled over the past 10 years, that’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Though that story is better saved for another day, I need to just say that middle aged men may want to be working out more and making out less. I’m just sayin’.

this could be you

Back to Colorado. Let’s think about next year’s Pew Report on Obesity. We could just continue to wallow around that 55% mark or we could mesmerize the rest of the country and the world with our level of fitness and healthy good looks. Ladies, I invite you to explore Lean.Clean.Mean on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Lean.Clean.Mean. Total inspiration. Guys, check out the blogs and the workouts here http://www.mensfitness.com/training.

Whatever you end up doing begins with a single step. It’s the hardest part sometimes but one step leads to another and before you know it you’ve gone around the block. Use it and lose it. I’m off to the gym. Later.

Forever Young — August 24, 2012

Forever Young

I just received my Thought for Today Newsletter which is filled with very interesting and useful information from Oprah. Today’s issue has a story about slowing the aging of cells that caught my eye.

Elizabeth Blackburn

Elizabeth H. Blackburn, PhD, won a 2009 Nobel Prize for her research on a tiny bit of cellular machinery that turns out to be a hugely important clue to human health: telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of our threadlike chromosomes (“similar to the plastic tips on shoelaces”) that keep our genetic material safe from damage. Every time a cell divides, as our immune and skin cells regularly do, the telomeres tend to get a little shorter—which makes them an excellent indicator of cellular aging. When telomeres get too short, cells stop working properly. Blackburn and one of her colleagues discovered an enzyme that replenishes and repairs frayed telomeres, helping us stay healthier as we get older.

This enzyme, called telomerase, slows the rate at which telomeres degrade, and research indicates that healthy people with longer telomeres have less risk of developing the common illnesses of aging—like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, which are three big killers today. But telomerase also has the potential to fuel the growth of any cancer cells already lurking in the body. So you don’t want to just dial up a person’s levels. Instead, discover the lifestyle factors that boost telomerase naturally.

A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is one of the clearest examples. Exercise is another key; enough daily exercise to make you break a sweat. Exercise mitigates the effects of stress—and stress, we know, shortens telomeres. In fact, early studies indicate that stress reduction techniques like meditation help people maintain the length of their telomeres.

Scientists are on the verge of discovering many of telomerase’s secrets that could uncover valuable information to combat aging, fight cancer, and even improve the quality of medical treatment in other areas such as skin grafts for burn victims, bone marrow transplants, and heart disease.

It doesn’t seem very difficult to add some omega-3 to the diet. I love to eat walnuts on my Greek yogurt and I have started adding a tablespoon of ground flax seed to it also. The walnuts go on top of a banana and a handful of blueberries and half a peach when they are in season that I put on there too. I also drizzle on some honey.

When the weather gets cooler I put my toppings on steel-cut oatmeal instead of yogurt and add a dollop of heavy cream. This is so easy and delicious it makes breakfast my favorite meal of the day all year round.

Find foods rich in omega-3 here: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=84

There are web sites on the internet that offer products that supposedly contain telomerase and that supposedly slow the signs of aging. I don’t know anything about them though.

Professor Elizabeth Helen Blackburn, AC, FRS, FRSN is an Australian-born American biological researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who studies the telomere.

Thought for Today Newsletter is filled with very interesting and useful information. Just go to oprah.com and sign up for it.