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Resolutions for better health

Mid-year is as good as New Year for making a new you!

Author: Doreen Corbey June 22 2008

woman stretching before working out

So when did your New Year resolutions end exactly? Most people’s have bitten the dust by March, perhaps to spring back in May, ready for beach body time, and then again in July for final panic mode! Here are a few which are almost certainly in most people’s top ten. Hopefully, one of them will get you re-started if you’ve flagged.

5 fruit and veg a day

Eating 5 fruit and vegetables a day. Fortunately, the shops are helping us to achieve that goal. But don’t think just 5 fruit and no vegetables is enough; a new study by Rush University Medical center in Chicago has concluded that eating 2+ vegetable a day can help slow down mental decline due to ageing. Those people who ate 2.8 servings of vegetables almost halved their rate of memory decline compared to people who ate less than 1 serving a day. According to the study, it is not too late to start, as older people who started the 2+ veg a day still showed significant delay in mental decline.

Another study has shown that turmeric can also slow mental decline. This is because it contains curcumin, a powerful anti-oxidant. Scientists at the National University of Singapore found that 60-93 year olds who ate curry containing turmeric performed better in mental tests than those who never or rarely ate curry. The incidence of Alzheimer’s in India amongst 70-79 year olds is four-fold less than in the USA.

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Skin anti-ageing

I regularly attend courses on skin and ageing. Probably the most conclusive recommendation that I have learnt is that the best anti-ageing cream is a UV sunscreen. In my consultations with facial clients, less than 2% of respondents say yes to the question is “do you use sunscreen daily?”. The majority say they use UV sunscreen for holidays and the remainder say yes for just during the summer. Over 50% of people who come to me for facials are concerned with skin ageing but out of those, 0% of those use a sunscreen on a daily basis.

It appears to me that there is a myth in this country that if the sun doesn’t shine, there are no UV rays; these are associated with the warming, heating and perhaps burning feeling we get like in the summer or when we’re on holiday. In fact, these effects are caused by UVB rays which are not a primary cause of skin ageing. UVA is out there whenever the sun is out; we don’t feel it but it is a major cause of skin ageing. So whenever I recommend sunscreen to anyone I always urge them to look for UVA plus UVB filters.

UVA + UVB filters alone do not sufficiently protect against UV-induced skin-ageing. Adding vitamins A, C and E and anti-oxidants enhances the effectiveness considerably, in some cases doubling the strength of the filters. One of the best I’ve found is Environ’s RAD16 which contains UVA + UVB filters to SPF16, plus vitamins C + E + plant form vitamin A. The vitamins double the effectiveness of the sun filters, taking it to an equivalent of SPF30 without the extra chemicals. (A sunscreen of SPF30 has double the chemicals of an SPF15 but only 1% added UV protection.)

Exercise

Exercise usually crops up as part of our goals throughout the year and if it’s not fun for you, then you’ll know how difficult it is to keep up. If you’re someone who loves computer games, you’ll know what a slob this can make you become – hours sitting on a chair while your fingers do the exercise.

Wii is actually some good news here!. One man in Philadelphia, Mickey DeLorenzo, lost 9lb in 6 weeks of playing Wii tennis, bowling, boxing or baseball for 30 minutes a day and did not change his diet. He had never before dieted or exercised to lose weight. However researchers have come forward to say that, although a physically active computer game is good stuff, it still doesn’t beat getting outside to move and breathe in the fresh air. In a comparison between Wii tennis and actual tennis, the latter wins hands down.

But seriously, it’s never too late to get into exercising. Advice from exercise expert Professor Wayne Derman is that for adults, we should aim for 30 minutes a day moderate exercise 5 times a week or, 20 minutes vigorous exercise 3 times a week. In addition to these two regimes, strength training plays an important part. Find what works for you and try to stick to it. If will power is not your strength then, although expensive, a personal trainer could be a good solution. I have a friend who has a trainer who she sees only once a month. It’s not much but in between those monthly appointments, she’s set tasks and goals which she must achieve, no excuses.

About the Author

Doreen has had a passion for massage since she was 15 years old. She still has that passion, and offers massage, specialist facials and other beauty treatments in her home-based salon in Surrey. With any energy left over she will devour all the beauty pages of all the magazines she can lay her hands on!

Doreen's homepage: Bellessence

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