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Senior Planet Centers

Senior Planet Centers

“It’s a wonderful world out there, swimming back and forth in the calming waters. So when I turned 50, I started walking everywhere I needed to go instead of taking public transportation, and I joined a gym. At 55, I joined a different gym—one that had a pool. Would I swim half a lap and then feel like I was going to die and give up? It turns out, science is on my side. By taking a lot of rests, I swam an incredible 14 laps that day. In New York City, where I live, I’ve found swimming groups to join and activities to engage in, including an annual lap swim contest with a dinner and party hosted by NYC Parks & Recreation. A tip for women: If you’re worried about the effect of chlorine on your locks, wet your hair, lather in some conditioner and cover it with your bathing cap while you swim. It’s a wonderful world out there, swimming back and forth in the calming waters. Instead of running on a treadmill, I brace my feet against the side of a pool and glide off into the bright blue buoyant world, swimming back and forth at whatever relaxing or invigorating pace I feel like taking that day.
Why Chocolate May Be Good For The Heart

Why Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart

Eating chocolate has been tied to a reduced risk of heart disease. Now scientists have uncovered one possible reason. Using data from a large Danish health study, researchers have found an association between chocolate consumption and a lowered risk for atrial fibrillation, the irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke, heart failure and other serious problems. The study is in Heart. Scientists tracked diet and health in 55,502 men and women ages 50 to 64. They used a well-validated 192-item food-frequency questionnaire to determine chocolate consumption. During an average 14 years of follow-up, there were 3,346 diagnosed cases of atrial fibrillation. After controlling for total calorie intake, smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index and other factors, they found that compared with people who ate no chocolate, those who had one to three one-ounce servings a month had a 10 percent reduced relative risk for atrial fibrillation, those who ate one serving a week had a 17 percent reduced risk, and those who ate two to six a week had a 20 percent reduced risk. Dark chocolate with higher cocoa content is better, according to the lead author, Elizabeth Mostofsky, an instructor at Harvard, because it is the cocoa, not the milk and sugar, that provides the benefit. Still, she warned about overindulgence.
Aging Does Not Necessarily Preclude Healthy Arteries

Aging does not necessarily preclude healthy arteries

"As people get older, their arteries become stiffer and they develop high blood pressure. He and his colleagues suggest that a healthful diet and lifestyle can reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stiff arteries, both of which raise the risk for heart disease. The team studied nearly 3,200 people aged 50 and older who took part in the Framingham Heart Study, and they assessed how many participants met the requirements for healthy vascular aging. The researchers defined healthy vascular aging as having normal blood pressure and the arterial stiffness of people aged 30 and under, which was assessed using a method called pulse-wave velocity. One percent of older adults have healthy blood vessels The results showed that nearly 18 percent of participants (566 individuals) met the definition for healthy vascular aging. The age group most likely to meet the requirements for healthy vascular aging were aged 50 to 59, in which 30 percent met the definition. Niiranen says that they also found that the participants with healthy vascular aging had a 55 percent lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. In fact, they found that participants who were meeting six out of the seven targets of the American Heart Association's (AHA) Life's Simple 7 program were 10 times more likely to meet the requirements for healthy vascular aging than participants who met none or only one of them. Life's Simple 7 In 2010, the AHA for the first time linked "ideal cardiovascular health" to seven simple diet and lifestyle changes that people can make to reduce their risk of stroke and heart disease. However, he suggests that the odds of maintaining healthy blood vessels - "even into old age" - increase by following Life's Simple 7, and concludes that: "For the most part, it's not genetic factors that stiffen the body's network of blood vessels during aging.