Staying Healthy Archive


Counting steps works as well as counting exercise minutes

A 2024 Harvard study of more than 14,000 women found that counting steps was just as effective as counting exercise minutes as a means of tracking whether a person is getting enough activity to reduce disease risk and boost longevity.

Can you fight age-related voice changes?

Age-related changes to the vocal cords can make the voice sound thin, reedy, raspy, breathy, lower, or higher. Certain strategies can help protect the voice. Examples include avoiding overuse, such as trying to speak over loud noise all day; staying hydrated, which keeps the vocal cords working well; avoiding spicy foods and irritants in the air such as smoke, which can inflame the vocal cords; and avoiding frequent throat clearing.

Tackling the top stressors for dementia caregivers

Caring for a person with dementia is physically, emotionally, logistically, and financially demanding. Caregivers can benefit from numerous services, such as caregiver support groups; respite care; and dementia care navigators, such as the local Area Agency on Aging (which can provide a long list of resources) or a local hospital dementia care program. It can also help to speak to doctors about consolidating appointments for the person with dementia and to reach out to family and friends to ask for assistance.

Should I use a continuous glucose monitor?

Some people with diabetes use a device that continuously monitors the level of blood sugar. The monitor sends the information wirelessly to another device, such as a smartphone, so the person can easily see the blood sugar level. As of 2024, there is no solid evidence that these monitors can help people who do not have diabetes. However, the monitors may one day prove to be useful in people with diabetes risk factors, such as obesity, prediabetes, or a family history of diabetes.

Tips to change your night-owl lifestyle

Being a night owl might increase the risk of developing many health problems, so it might be worth it for night owls to go to sleep a little earlier. The sleep schedule must be shifted slowly to make a lasting change. Tips to do that include setting a bedtime goal between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.; going to sleep 20 minutes earlier every five days, until the bedtime goal is reached; possibly using certain sleep aids until the bedtime goal is reached; and setting a consistent wake time no later than 9 a.m.

Stroke rates holding steady for people 65 or older, but increasing among younger people

A 2024 report from the CDC found that stroke rates are rising in middle-aged and even young adults. Scientists say the increase might be due to rising rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and opioid use. Stroke rates in people 65 or older have remained the same.

Living your best life

As people face their mortality, they often focus on how to live their best life in their remaining time. Two Harvard experts—Dr. Howard LeWine and Dr. Anthony Komaroff—share advice on how they are achieving this during their golden years. Some of their suggestions include embracing the natural changes of aging, doing inspiring activities, learning to live in the moment, and finding one's sense of purpose.

Take time to stretch

Contrary to popular belief, stretching probably won't help people avoid sore muscles or injuries, which often result from overuse. However, short but regular stints of stretching can improve flexibility (the ability to move the joints and muscles through their full range of motion) and help people stay active as they age. Improved flexibility can make it easier to do everyday tasks involving walking, climbing stairs, or reaching. And for people who hike, play pickleball, golf, or other sports, a regular stretching program may improve their performance.

Try this: Rajio taiso

Rajio taiso is a popular Japanese exercise routine done by people of all ages and backgrounds and consists of performing 13 stretching and bending movements set to music.

Aiming for sound design

Adjusting to new surroundings, such as a new or remodeled home, can affect people's hearing ability. Certain home features absorb sound, making it easier to hear. These include carpeting, paneling, curtains, and upholstered furniture. Other features allow sound to reverberate, making hearing more difficult. These include hardwood floors, cathedral ceilings, and minimalist decor. Hearing aids don't necessarily help, since they magnify all sounds.

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