Longevity: moving our body to live longer

Why physical activity has such an impact on our health? What happens to our health when we do not add workout into daily routines? What does longevity mean and how is it linked with exercise?

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The concept of Longevity

Living longer and better is an aspiration pursued by most people. Longevity corresponds exactly to that ability to add more years into our lives, as well as more health into those extra years.

In 2015, the World Health Organization introduced the concept of Healthy Ageing, the process of developing and maintaining a functional ability that promotes wellbeing in older age.

Among many of our daily habits, physical activity is one of the most important determinants of longevity due to its role in the prevention of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and premature death. Exercise improves our overall health, mood, and quality of life. It can also sharpen mental function, boost concentration, and help us to sleep.

Inactivity: putting our lives at risk

Nowadays, unconsciously, many of us spend most of the time seated while watching TV, checking our mobile phones and tablets, working on computers or reading. As opposed to a decades ago, people currently spend much more time inactive and motionless, especially due to the use of technology: washing machines allow us to relax and rest; cars are more affordable which means we walk less. All in all, contemporary life is much easier than in the past.

Despite such a very pleasant and comfortable scenario, the lack of exercise contributes to the emergence of many chronic conditions and increases the risk of premature death. In most developed countries, economic activity revolves around the services sector. Workplaces are mainly at offices, where we stay seated and seldom move away from the desk. Unfortunately, children are already experiencing the impact of inactivity as there are much more pretexts to play inside than outside.

Move your body: it’s never too late to start

The good news is that the benefits of physical activity accumulate across life, so we are never too old to start worrying about exercising. Harvard Health Publishing advises us to work toward reducing the amount of time we spend sitting every day. For instance, those with desk jobs are recommended to get up to walk around regularly, try chair yoga or a go for a few desk exercises. If we have been inactive for quite a while, we should walk 2 minutes every 10 to 15 minutes (during commercial breaks when watching TV or reading). And if we jog, we could add an extra level of effort to it by starting at our regular pace and then gradually increasing it.

Small adjustments in our daily routine can add up to big changes in our life. Adding physical activity into our everyday habits will allow us to increase longevity, living longer and better.

 

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Water: the most valuable substance of all

One can endure only a few days without water. Although very often forgotten, providing the body with the fluids it needs is vital to life itself and to proper performance.

 

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The value of hydration

Water represents 75% of body weight in infants and 55% in elderly, being essential for cellular homeostasis and life. Staying hydrated is crucial to the body’s ability to control temperature.

Adults are recommended to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, although it also depends on the person and each individual’s characteristics, including their diet, gender (since men generally sweat more than women), and body size (larger people are more prone to sweating than thinner people). Environmental conditions are also an influencing factor: the higher is the temperature, the higher is the risk of dehydrating.

The intensity of exercise and its duration affects as well the loss of fluid. Those who enjoy physical activity should drink before, during and after exercise. Dehydration can occur in every physical activity setting, even if the temperature is not high. Well-trained athletes need to be even extra-cautious. Their bodies are used to additional stress and perspire much more than less fit people, so they are able to stay cool more efficiently than most of us.

Dehydration: know the signs

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, we should be aware of a few signs of dehydration.

First, the colour of the morning’s first urine is an overall indicator of hydration status.

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 14.43.45  Straw or lemonade coloured urine is a sign of appropriate hydration.

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 14.55.38 Bright urine often is produced soon after consuming vitamin supplements.

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 14.56.16 Dark coloured urine, the colour of apple juice, indicates dehydration.

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 14.56.59Colourless urine means overhydration (happens when the body takes in or holds on to more fluid than the kidneys can remove).

Also, early signs of dehydration are thirst, flushed skin, premature fatigue, increased body temperature, faster breathing and pulse rate, increased perception of effort and decreased exercise capacity.

Later signs include dizziness, increased weakness and laboured breathing with exercise.

Don’t wait to feel thirsty

For some of us, the practice of drinking water regularly can be a tedious task and is often forgotten. Oblivious to the fact that we are not taking the necessary amount of water, symptoms of dehydration may appear.

To make drinking water a habit is extremely important. Having a glass with water at the same time each day could facilitate the adoption of the routine. You may also carry a bottle of water on the morning commute or keep a cup of water on the desk. Waiting for thirst to replenish your body’s water levels may not be the best strategy: by the time you become thirsty, you have already lost two or more cups of water from your physical structure.

 

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Parents: help your kids reach full potential at school – part 2

Following the previous article we give you a few more tips to guarantee your children will have a prosperous school year. This time we talk about sports, grandparents and dyslexia. 

Sports

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Sports are always a good choice as an extra curricular activity. According to a study from the University of Illinois, USA, the

better physical preparation, the better the intellectual development. Additionally, exercising has other benefits like fighting obesity, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, increasing memory and attention, strengthening the muscle, bones and articulations, increasing self-esteem, diminishing anxiety, improve sociability, tolerance and discipline, helping with sleep and promoting good eating habits.

Family relationships: grandparents

Did you know that according to a study from the Institute of Aging from Boston, USA, a close relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is associated with a lesser risk of depression for both?  Psychological health becomes better as there is a stronger mutual emotional support.

Another study suggests that children with a close relationship with their grandparents have less emotional and behavioral problems. Grandparents are also a source of learning for children. They pass on pass on historical, cultural and scientific knowledge and help in the language development

Dyslexia

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the world have dyslexia, a genetic language disturb that interferes with the way the brain processes the written language. It causes problems in reading, as the child will have troubles recognizing words previously read or known. Dyslexia is not a sign of lack of intellectual capacity or laziness. A child may simply need more time to process all the information. It can be overcome with specialized therapy and other resources like adequate learning materials.

If you think your child may be dealing with dyslexia, contact us and we will help you booking an appointment with an appropriate specialist.

Check the previous article to learn more on eating, sleeping and studying.  Read more on pediatrics.

Sources (in Portuguese):   Dyslexia      Grandparents       Sports

 

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