Thursday, May 30, 2013

Boomers Retire? No, Just Repurpose

F. Scott Fitzgerald said that "there are no second acts in American lives."  Boy, was he wrong. Baby boomers across the country are proving that there are not only second acts, but third, even fourth acts after they ostensibly retire.

The AARP has recognized this and provided a website that can help repurpose your life if you are retired or near retirement and seeking another career. The cite is entitled Many people pay thousands of dollars to so-called life coaches who are supposed to provide guidance in seeking new careers or starting new business ventures. While the AARP site won't take the place of a good coach, it is free and does offer a number of articles and resources that you can explore on your own.

The website is accessed through Linkedin  As its mission statement says, it "helps experienced professionals find jobs, manage their careers, start businesses and explore options through engaging articles and interactive tools.

Let me know if you find it to be helpful.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trouble Sleeping? Here Are Two Cures That Really Work

Many boomers and near boomers have trouble sleeping. There are many prescription and non prescription drugs available as sleep aids. Many people are reluctant to use those due to potential side effects and the danger of possible addiction. What are the alternatives?

One method I have used successfully is a form of breath work. I take 4 deep breaths and usually I am out before I know it. I inhale through the nose for a count if 4.  The key is to breathe from the diaphragm  rather than the chest. Next exhale as long and as loud as you can but at least for a count of 8, twice the amount of inhalation. This form of breathe work seems to relax the mind and body and bring on sleep.

I recently came across another method recommended by the well known alternative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil. He says that jasmine can be as effective as any drug. Jasmine is found in soaps as well as room diffusers. I have not tried it yet but I do intend to do so. If you do decide to do it, let me know if it works for you.

Sleep tight!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

What Are Boomers Doing?

Here are a couple of very interesting articles on boomer retirement plans and their contributions. I know I was surprised when I read them and I think you wiki be too.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Is Barefoot Running Bad for You and Your Feet?

About a year and a half ago, I bought a pair of Nike Free barefoot-style running shoes.  Although I am not a runner, I do try to walk two to three miles a day.  As with a lot of runners and walkers, I was fascinated by the articles and books that touted the benefits of running barefoot or with shoes that mimicked that style.  Supposedly, according to anecdotal evidence, it prevented a whole host of foot and leg injuries. After wearing the Nikes for about a year, I developed a pain in my right ankle and foot.  After several months of pain and visits to several doctors, I finally learned that I had three fractures to my heel. Since I could not relate the injury to any specific time when I struck the heel or suffered an accident, I began to wonder if the shoes were the cause. A recent study suggests that may be the case.

In an article published in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the author, Sarah Ridge, a professor of exercise science at Brigham Young University, presented the results of an experiment she conducted to determine whether barefoot running reduced injuries or caused them. Dr. Ridge gave a group of 18 men and women Vibram Five Fingers shoes which are designed to mimic barefoot running. Another group of 18 wore their normal shoes.  All of the participants were experienced runners who usually ran between 10 and 15 miles per week. Before beginning the study, all of the runners were given MRIs and tested for foot injuries.  Both groups tested similarly.

After ten weeks, both groups were re-tested.  Those tests showed that nearly half of the runners wearing the barefoot style shoes showed signs of bone injuries to the foot.  These included increased edema, or the accumulation of fluid around the bone, and actual stress fractures to the heel and metatarsal.  Those in the control group, who wore their usual shoes, showed no such signs of injury.

What does this mean for the average runner or walker?  I think it shows that before choosing to wear the barefoot style shoe, make sure they are right for  you and your style of running or walking. And, above all, be very cautious as you use the shoes, making sure that they are not causing injury.

Monday, May 6, 2013

How to Perform Yoga Exercise Routines While Flying

I don't know about you, but when I fly in today's airplanes I feel like Colonel Nicholson (played by that wonderful actor, Alec Guinness) in the movie "Bridge Over the River Kwai." If you have seen that movie, you will remember the scene where Colonel Nicholson is captured by the Japanese during World War II and placed in a small metal box in the boiling hot sun as a punishment. When he gets out, he can barely walk because he is so cramped. Flying in those small seats on airplanes (17 inches across) for any length of time gives me the same feeling. I get up at the end of my flight and my back and feet ache as I try to retrieve my bag from the overhead compartment. Fortunately, there may be a way to avoid those feelings: Yoga!. Yes, yoga.

 As discussed in a recent article in The New York Times, "Striking a Pose Above the Clouds," May 5, 2013, there are several yoga poses you can do while flying and even sitting in your suit. These are basically simple stretches that will improve your circulation and maybe prevent that aching back. One of the easiest is to stretch and twist your body to the right and then the left. I suggest that you exhale as you twist to each side and inhale as you sit upright. Of course this move may be difficult if you are sitting next to the window or in the middle seat. Another simple move is to place your ankle on top of the opposite knee and hold it there. Again, given the narrow space between your seat and that in front of you, this move may be difficult to do unless you at least partially recline your seat. While these exercises can help with the lower back, a simple hug to yourself can provide relief for the upper back. Just hug yourself, trying to hold your hands against your shoulder blades.

I find two other stretches to be particularly helpful on long flights; One is simply to bend forward as far as you can in your seat. The other is equally easy: raise your hands in the air as high as you can. Do this several times while doing deep, diaphragmatic breathing and you will feel better overall. One helpful hint is to stand up as often as you can to avoid swollen ankles or worse yet, phlebitis an inflammation of the veins in the leg and which can cause death if blood clots are formed). Another way to avoid those is to simply lift both feet up on your toes several times/ You can do this exercise sitting or standing.

These are just a few poses and exercises that seem to help. It is also important to drink lots of water to keep hydrated and avoid alcohol. Try this approach and see if you feel better after a long flight.