11 Possible Causes of Legs Cramps at Night—and What to Do About It

Leg cramps are common, but getting rid of them can be tricky.

By Markham Heid

leg cramps at night

If painful leg cramps wake you up in the middle of the night, you’re not alone—far from it. Up to 60 percent of adults say they’ve experienced leg cramps at night, according to a 2012 study in American Family Physician.

These ill-timed charley horses—characterized by a sharp muscle contraction that can last several seconds to minutes—usually affect the calf and foot, although they can also strike your hamstring. While we’ve all experienced a leg cramp at one point or another, they appear to be more common after age 50, shows a 2017 study in BMC Family Practice.

“You will find plenty of disparate opinions, but the simple truth is that nobody really knows why these [leg cramps] occur,” says Scott Garrison, MD, PhD, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Alberta who has published multiple studies on nocturnal leg cramps.

There are theories, however. Here are some possible why your legs won’t stop cramping up—and what you can do to find relief.

What are the possible causes of leg cramps?

One or several of the factors below—combined with your individual physiology—could explain why you’re waking up in the middle of the night in pain.

1. Not stretching certain muscles

Some researchers have theorized that our modern lifestyle is to blame. While our ancient ancestors spent lots of time squatting—a position that stretches leg tendons and muscles—contemporary life has mostly removed the need for it. There’s also evidence that our mostly sedentary lifestyles (spending big chunks of time sitting or not moving) decreases muscle and tendon length and limberness, which may lead to cramping.

2. Sleeping in an awkward position

Other experts have observed that, when lying face down in bed, the foot is often in a “plantar flexion” position—meaning the toe points away from you, shortening the calf muscles. When the foot rests in this position for long periods, even small movements of the feet could trigger a cramp. Sleeping on your side, with your feet off the bed, or in some other position that keeps your toes neutral—not pointing away from you—may be a better position for these muscles.

3. Changing seasons

Dr. Garrison’s own research has shown nighttime leg cramps are more common in summer than in winter. While not true for everyone, the frequency of these cramps tends to peak in mid-July and crater in mid-January. It’s important to understand that these muscle cramps are caused by nerve issues—not muscle disorders, Dr. Garrison says. Electromyogram tests have shown that nerves running from the spine down to the calf trigger these cramps.

So why summer? “Nerve growth and repair might be more active in summer because of the greater vitamin D levels,” Dr. Garrison explains. Your body produces vitamin D from sun exposure. And so in summer, when your D levels are peaking, your body may engage in “sped up” neural repair, which could trigger these cramps, he says.

4. Dehydration

There’s some evidence that dehydration promotes nocturnal cramping. “There is a clear seasonal pattern in the frequency of muscle cramps, with higher numbers in summer and lower numbers in winter,” says Michael Behringer, MD, PhD, a professor of sports science at Goethe University in Germany. “This suggests that heat and possibly also fluid balance have an influence on the development of cramps.” Dehydration may promote electrolyte imbalances in the blood, which could be one cramp trigger.

5. Really tough workouts

Hard exercise has long been linked to muscle cramps. “Skeletal muscle overload and fatigue can prompt muscle cramping locally in the overworked muscle fibers,” write the authors of a study in the journal Current Sport Medicine Reports. This happens even among highly trained professional athletes, the study authors say. While staying hydrated may help, there’s no well-established method for preventing these kinds of overuse cramps.

6. Nutrient deficiency

There’s evidence—although much of it is mixed—that calcium, magnesium, and potassium imbalances play a part in cramping. Each of these electrolytes helps maintain fluid balance in the blood and muscles, and so it makes some sense that, if they’re out of whack, cramping may ensue. But again, studies have been inconsistent, so more research needs to be done to know how these nutrients affect cramping directly.

7. Standing all day

There’s also research showing that people who spend a lot of time each day standing are more likely to experience leg cramps than sitters. When you’re on your feet but not in motion, blood and water tend to pool in your lower body. This may lead to fluid imbalances, as well as muscle and tendon shortening—all of which could lead to cramping.

8. Medications

Another of Dr. Garrison’s studies links diuretics (high blood pressure meds like Clorpres and Thalitone, for example, have diuretic effects) and asthma drugs (specifically, long-acting beta-adrenoceptors, or LABAs) to a greater risk for nocturnal cramping. It’s possible these drugs have a “stimulatory” effect on motor neurons and receptors, which could promote cramping, his study concludes.

9. Pregnancy

Pregnancy, too, is associated with more frequent leg cramps, possibly due to weight gain and disrupted circulation. It’s also possible that the pressure a growing fetus places on the mother’s blood vessels and nerves causes cramping, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

10. Certain health conditions

Diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, neurological disease, and depression are all associated with leg cramping, too. In some cases, medications could be to blame, as mentioned above. But some of these conditions—namely diabetes and neurological disease—can cause disrupt or even kill your nerves, which may lead to cramping, research shows.

11. Aging

Aging might also play a role in leg cramping, Dr. Garrison says. “It is around the same time that we start losing our motor neurons”—roughly, our early 50s—“that rest cramps start to get more common,” he explains. Both strength and balance exercises may help maintain muscle and nervous system functioning in ways that prevent these issues, research suggests.

How to prevent and get rid of leg cramps

✖️ Stretch it out

While the research on stretching goes back and forth, a small 2012 study did find that people who completed hamstring and calf stretches just before bed enjoyed a significant drop in spasm frequency.

And if you’re in the midst of a spasm? “Stretching the affected muscle while you cramp helps abort a cramp,” Dr. Garrison says. If your cramp is in your lower leg or foot, try a standing calf stretch. If the cramp is in your upper leg, these hamstring stretches may help.

✖️ Eat a balanced diet

Ensuring you have plenty of magnesium in your diet—a mineral many Americans don’t get enough—may be beneficial. Beans, nuts, whole grains, and leafy greens are all great sources. (Some research shows that this may not be helpful for everyone, though, so make sure you talk to your doctor before you make any major diet changes.)

One small study found taking B vitamins supplements could help, too. That’s not enough evidence to warrant popping a new pill, but eating more fish, whole grains, and vegetables certainly doesn’t hurt.

✖️ Stay hydrated

You could also try to drink more water during the day—especially if you’re sweating or exercising. Dry mouth, headaches, fatigue, and dry skin are all signs that you’re not drinking enough water. The color of your urine is probably your best guide. If your pee is pale yellow or clear, you’re drinking enough H2O. If your urine is dark yellow (or closer to amber), you need to drink more.

https://www.prevention.com/health/a20515838/what-causes-leg-cramps-at-night/

There is a short video called, “Ease leg cramps with this DIY calf massage” on this website above.

7 Early Symptoms People With Parkinson’s Disease Noticed First

By Erin Migdol 

The full gamut of symptoms Parkinson’s disease can cause doesn’t typically arrive all at once. If you have Parkinson’s disease, you likely first noticed a mild symptom or two, and thought, “Huh… what’s that all about?” Though Parkinson’s is often thought of as mainly affecting older people, the disease can arise at younger ages, too, and it can involve more than just tremoring, the symptom people tend to be most familiar with. Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that targets dopamine-producing neurons in a part of the brain that affects movement, causing symptoms like rigid limbs, gait problems and tremors.

There is no single “Parkinson’s test” you can take to diagnose the disease; rather, doctors will look for a few classic symptoms and their progression over time. But how do you know if your initial symptoms warrant an exploration into the possibility of Parkinson’s disease? To help answer that question, we asked our Parkinson’s disease community to share the symptom they noticed first.

Remember that when it comes to chronic illnesses, symptoms of one condition can overlap with another. If you’re considering Parkinson’s as a possible diagnosis, be sure to check with a doctor, so you can rule out any other possible causes.

1. Loss of Balance

Parkinson’s disease targets a part of the brain that controls balance automatically, so you may notice you are finding it more difficult to balance. The brain will try to compensate by assigning balance to another part of the brain — the “thinking” part. However, this isn’t as effective, so you may start to notice that you can’t correct yourself when you start to fall and you have to concentrate on balancing, whereas a person without Parkinson’s doesn’t have to think about it.

Matt Eagles, who first began experiencing symptoms at the age of 7, said loss of balance was one of the first things he noticed.

“I was provided with a chair during school assembly, when everyone else had to stand,” he said.

2. Hand Tremor

A hallmark symptom of Parkinson’s is tremoring (though it’s important to note that not everyone with Parkinson’s experiences this). You might notice that your hand, finger or chin shakes while you are not trying to move. Tremors from Parkinson’s can be mistaken for essential tremor and vice versa, though they are two separate conditions. Essential tremor does not include balance and gait issues, and more commonly manifests while a person is moving. However, some people with Parkinson’s experience tremors both at rest and while moving.

“In my case, the first sign was my hand trembling while carrying my plate at a lunch meeting. Soon after I was diagnosed with essential tremor in 1992, 16 years before my PD diagnosis. A neurologist assured me I did not have PD after an exam. It is now thought that in some cases ET evolves into PD for reasons that are unclear,” Kirk Hall explained. “In hindsight, I also experienced some cognitive and swallowing issues in the next few years following my ET diagnosis.”

3. Difficulty Gripping Things

The movement issues caused by Parkinson’s can make fine motor skills difficult. Nicola Lee said while she had been having symptoms like feeling weak and losing energy easily for several months, it wasn’t until she began having trouble buttoning and unbuttoning that she began to get worried.

“It wasn’t just buttons either. I couldn’t grip things well. I had trouble picking things off the floor, which was bad for laundry… None of this was due to tremors, mind you,” Lee said. “Most people think everyone has to have a tremor. I learned that wasn’t the case, especially for early diagnosis like I have. There is much more to it [than] that.”

4. Acting Out Dreams

Actor Alan Alda said he was diagnosed four years ago after he read an article about how acting out dreams was a sign of the disease. Indeed, research has shown that almost all people with rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD), the condition responsible for acting out dreams, go on to develop Parkinson’s disease or a similar disorder. RBD is believed to be caused by a brain stem malfunction that allows people to move in their sleep, possibly due to the breakdown of proteins in the brain that causes Parkinson’s disease.

“I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at them. But what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife,” Alda said.

5. Illegible Handwriting

One classic symptom of Parkinson’s is handwriting that becomes harder to read or very small, called micrographia. As you might imagine, the movement challenges caused by Parkinson’s can make it difficult to hold a pen and write.

“When I told my primary care physician that my handwriting was becoming illegible, she told me to see a neurologist,” Jean Mellano said. “Other strange things started to happen that I could not explain. While volunteering at a race, I was rolling posters for athlete giveaways. I could not understand why the other staff could roll five posters to my one. Why was I so slow at performing such a simple task?”

6. Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of Parkinson’s disease, and typically shows up in the first few years of the disease, even possibly before motor symptoms. Fatigue is not the same as being tired — it is the feeling of having no energy or ability to move, but cannot be solved with a good night’s sleep. Fatigue is also often coupled with a lack of motivation, also a common symptom of Parkinson’s due to the loss of dopamine-producing cells.

“Deep fatigue involves every muscle, sometimes even involuntary ones. They are all tired and weak, and in my case, also in pain,” Dr. C. wrote on Parkinson’s News Today. “At the same time, emotions become much more intense, almost overwhelming, and difficult to manage. Mental energy is used to manage the pain and the emotions, leaving little energy for anything else.”

7. Voice Changes

Many people with Parkinson’s notice that their voice has become softer, slower and more monotone. This is due to weakening of the muscles required for speech and greater difficulty controlling the muscles. Another similar symptom is facial “masking,” or a loss of facial expressions.

Singer Linda Ronstadt said the symptom she experienced that began worrying her was her gradual inability to sing.

“I’d start to sing and then it would just clamp up. It was, like, a cramp. My voice would freeze,” Ronstadt said. “And I said, ‘There’s something wrong with my voice.’ And people would say, ‘Oh, you’re just a perfectionist.’ I go, ‘No, there’s really something systemically wrong.’”

If you’re exploring a possible Parkinson’s diagnosis or newly diagnosed, there’s a community here on The Mighty to support you. Click here to ask questions and share what you’re going through.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/7-early-symptoms-people-with-parkinsons-disease-noticed-first/ar-BBUnnUv?ocid=spartanntp

 

Katy Started Her 40-Pound Weight-Loss Journey by Doing at-Home Workouts and Walking Her Dog

By Tamara Pridgett & Popsugar

Katy1

Whether your weight-loss journey is sparked by being tired of being tired, wanting to fit into your favorite dress from five years ago, or just wanting to challenge yourself, it takes time. Katy Sullivan’s reason for starting her 40-pound weight-loss journey was that she no longer wanted to be mentally and physically tired. She started off slow, adding daily activities into her routine like walking her dogs and eventually worked her way up to strength training at the gym. In a little over a year, Katy was able to make a complete lifestyle change.

Why Katy Decided to Lose Weight

Everyone has a different reason for starting their weight-loss journey, and for Katy, it had a lot to do with how she felt physically and mentally. “I got to a point where I was just disgusted with how I was feeling,” Katy told POPSUGAR. “I was always uncomfortable, always tired, never wanted to do anything or go anywhere, and when I did, I was always self-conscious and didn’t even want to take pictures.” She explained that she was “tired of living like that” and was ready to make a lifestyle change. 

How She Lost 40 Pounds in a Year

We’ve covered many inspiring weight-loss stories that started out with a simple change and resulted in a big payoff. For example, Kim began her weight-loss journey by walking her son to school. Similar to how Kim began, Katy eased herself into a simple workout routine.

“Initially, I was doing home workouts in my garage and taking my dogs on a walk,” she said. After that, she began taking classes at the gym, like cycling as a form of cardio. After that, she progressed to more challenging forms of exercise. “One day, I finally stepped foot into the gym with my boyfriend and lifted weights,” she said.

On the nutrition end of things, Katy said she began tracking her macros (how much fat, protein, and carbs she ate in a day) and starting following the Mari gym guides. According to Katy, that’s when she “really started to see progress.” She credits the guides to improving her confidence in the gym and providing her with a supportive and motivational group on Facebook.

What Katy Eats in a Day

Curious about what Katy eats to fuel her daily activities and workouts? Here’s a sample of her daily meals.

  • Breakfast: eggs, turkey bacon, and sometimes avocado toast with a protein shake.
  • Lunch: a protein like grilled chicken or ground turkey with rice and vegetables or a salad.
  • Dinner: a pasta alternative, like lentil or chickpea pasta, or lettuce wrap tacos.
  • Snack: rice cakes with nut butter and sugar-free jelly, a protein bar, or Greek yogurt with fruit and granola.

Katy also shared that her diet doesn’t change when she exercises. “I tend to eat relatively healthy altogether, but I will allow myself treats so I don’t restrict myself and binge later.”

Challenges Katy Faced During Her Journey

One of the biggest challenges Katy faced was not making excuses. “I would literally have an excuse to everything. ‘I don’t have time to work out, I’m tired, I work too much, there’s no food to make,'” she said. To overcome making excuses, Katy said, “I got in the habit of waking up earlier and going to the gym first thing so I couldn’t have all day to change my mind.” By doing so, she said her day started off “so much better.”

Another challenge Katy faced was how often she was going out to eat. In order to cut back on how often she ate out, Katy started meal prepping. “I always have backup healthy foods in the freezer, just in case,” she explained. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail and that is something I learned quickly!”

Katy2

Katy’s Nonscale Victories and How She Stays Motivated

Weight-loss journeys aren’t just about losing weight. They’re often accompanied by numerous benefits that have nothing to do with a number on the scale. For Katy, being able to put on old jeans was one of her most memorable victories. “The first time I did this, I was so shocked at how loose they were,” she said. “It really put things into perspective, and I have an excuse to get new clothes.” Another victory is when people approach her at the gym and tell her they’ve noticed her progress.

Losing weight won’t happen overnight, and it’s important to trust the process, be patient, and most importantly, be kind to yourself. To stay motivated, Katy said, “I just remind myself I don’t want to ever go back to the place where I was. I know I don’t want to feel like that ever again so I just have to remember why I started, and I know that working out and being healthy just makes me feel really good.”

She also credits her Instagram, which is dedicated to fitness, for holding her accountable and providing her with motivation. “I follow like-minded individuals with the same goals so it is a really positive environment. Also, the people I have met and talk to because of it are so inspiring and encouraging. It just makes me want to keep going, and I know I’m not alone in it,” she said.

Katy’s Advice For Anyone Ready to Start Their Own Journey

There are countless ways to reach your goal of becoming healthier, and Katy shared some advice that helped her (and will help you) get started: “Be patient! You will want to quit, you will think you are not losing weight fast enough, you will compare your journey to others – don’t!”

“Once I stopped obsessing over the all-or-nothing mentality and took a step back – taking rest days, tracking my macros, not letting one weekend of indulgences set me back into old habits – that’s when I was able to make it a lifestyle change,” she explained.

“Make sure to take a ton of pictures throughout and measurements too because the scale can be deceiving.” Her final piece of advice: be consistent and “remember that slow and small progress is still a step in the right direction.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/weightloss/katy-started-her-40-pound-weight-loss-journey-by-doing-at-home-workouts-and-walking-her-dog/ss-BBVkLJy?ocid=spartanntp

25 Subtle Ways Your Body Is Saying, ‘Go to the Doctor!’

By Sarah Crow & Best Life

Slide 6 of 26: While an excellent addition on love songs, hoarseness of the voice can sometimes signal a cancerous growth on the vocal cords. The most common cancerous cause of a hoarse voice is laryngeal cancer, which, due to its noticeable effects, is often caught quite quickly. However, other forms of cancer, such as those above the vocal cords (supraglottis) or below them (subglottis), won’t begin to affect the voice until they have reached the later stages. Either way, if a hoarse voice or a change in voice doesn’t resolve itself in two weeks or so, it’s time to see a doctor.

“For some people, every bump, bruise, or cough means a panicked rush to the nearest urgent care. However, for an even larger portion of the adult population, those trips to visit a medical professional are few and far between. In fact, according to recent research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, just 62 percent of American adults actually get an annual physical, and Census data reveals that, among those who do visit the doctor, patients were averaging one less visit per year than they had in 2001.

So, when does a seemingly minor ailment become one that’s worth checking in with a medical professional about? “If you feel something is wrong, do not just wait until the year is up,” says Dr. David Greuner, MD, of NYC Surgical Associates. “Schedule an appointment for sooner to ensure an issue does not get out of hand.” With that in mind, we’ve rounded up 25 subtle signs you need to see a doctor before it’s too late”.

Read more at:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/25-subtle-ways-your-body-is-saying-go-to-the-doctor/ss-BBMY3Wi?ocid=spartanntp

CBS Host Norah O’Donnell Has Emergency Surgery to Remove Appendix

norah o'donnell appendectomy

Spotting the warning signs of appendicitis could save your life.  (It happened to me).

Norah O’Donnell is on the mend after having an emergency appendectomy when she developed appendicitis on vacation. The CBS This Morning co-anchor revealed that she was having the procedure done on Instagram Stories, adding that it was “not what we had planned for spring break.”

O’Donnell’s husband, Geoff Tracy,  said that she had a “laparoscopic appendectomy,” and is “stronger than steel.”

In a later tweet, Tracy also said that O’Donnell is “doing great.” According to People, she had the surgery before her appendix ruptured—here’s why that was a lucky catch.

What is appendicitis and why does it happen?

Appendicitis is inflammation of your appendix, a tube-shaped sac attached to the lower end of your large intestine. It’s the most common cause of acute abdominal pain that requires surgery in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), and more than five percent of the population will have appendicitis at some point.

The ailment is most common in people’s teens and 20s, but it can happen at any age, the NIDDK says. As for what causes it? Experts don’t really know. “It’s simply due to bad luck,” says David Renton, MD, a general and gastrointestinal surgeon at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

What they do know: Appendicitis is caused by a blockage in the lining of the appendix that causes an infection, per the Mayo Clinic. Bacteria then grow quickly, causing the appendix to become inflamed and filled with pus. And, if it’s not treated, the appendix can burst, which can possibly be life-threatening if not treated immediately.

What are the signs of appendicitis?

There are a few things to look out for with this. Dr. Renton says that the classic symptoms are pain that starts around your belly button, around the same time that you don’t feel like eating anything. You also may have bloating, nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, and a fever. That pain then slowly migrates to the lower right quadrant of your abdomen, where it persists.

“It doesn’t get better,” Dr. Renton says. The pain also might get worse when you cough, walk, or do any other kind of jarring movements.

If the pain does start to feel better, it could be a sign that your appendix has burst, Dr. Renton says—but then you’d likely feel really sick in general.

What is an appendectomy, exactly?

An appendectomy is a procedure that removes the appendix. It’s often done laparoscopically (meaning, a surgeon makes a few incisions in your abdomen, inserts special surgical tools and a video camera into your abdomen, and uses them to take out your appendix). “It’s pretty simple,” Dr. Renton says, noting that it takes about 30 minutes to do.

Afterward, your doctor will generally recommend that you avoid heavy lifting for about four weeks. “Other than that, most people are back to normal in a couple of days,” Dr. Renton says.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to lower the odds you’ll develop appendicitis, Dr. Renton says. “There’s nothing you can take and no way to prevent it,” he says. “If you have an appendix, you have a risk of developing appendicitis.”

However, if you suspect that you have appendicitis or you’re having unexplained abdominal pain, it’s best to get it checked out ASAP, just in case, Dr. Renton says. “Listen to your body,” he says. “It’s much easier to take care of early appendicitis than late, ruptured appendicitis.”

https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a26929884/cbs-host-norah-odonnell-appendectomy-surgery/

 

7 Science-Backed Ways to Stay Healthy As You Age

By Marygrace Taylor in Prevention Magazine

These simple habits can have a major payoff.

Once upon a time, staying healthy meant eating some veggies and, well, pretty much nothing else. But with each passing decade, the risk for injuries and chronic illnesses increase, and wellness starts to take a little more work.

The good news? There are plenty of things you can do to keep feeling like your best and doing the things you enjoy. Here, seven that are worth integrating into your regular routine.

1 Keep moving

Being active doesn’t just help prevent chronic diseases. As we age, it can also lower the chance for serious injury.

“Strength, balance, and flexibility exercises are key to preventing falls, which are one of the greatest threats to our healthy longevity,” says Scott Kaiser, MD, a family physician and geriatrician at Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.

Regular exercise could also boost your brainpower. When sedentary adults performed three 45-minute exercise sessions per week for six months, they had improved executive function (the ability to focus and make plans) equal to someone nine years younger, found one Neurology study. So go ahead and lace up those sneaks.

 

2 Prioritize protein

Grocery bags starting to feel a little heavier than they used to? Muscle loss is a normal part of aging, but research shows that eating enough protein can help you preserve what you’ve got—and even support your efforts to build more.

How much should you get in a day? Recent findings suggest that adults over 65 need 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of weight to support muscle health. (That’s at least 68 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound person.)

Make sure to add a lean protein source to each meal, like fish, poultry, or beans. And choose wholesome high-protein snacks too. Think: Greek yogurt with fruit, hummus with veggies, or a protein-packed nutritional drink like BOOST. (We’re fans of the strawberry and chocolate flavors. Yum!)

3 Get regular checkups

Don’t just go to the doctor when you’re sick. Regular well visits are a chance to screen for (and catch!) health issues that become more common with age, like high blood pressure and diabetes, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

You and your doctor can also decide whether you’d benefit from additional tests, like screening for osteoporosis or certain cancers.

Finally? Those checkups are a prime opportunity to check that you’re up to date on all of your vaccines—especially ones that offer extra protection for older adults, like the flu shot or shingles vaccine.

 

4 Reach out

Meet a friend for coffee, check out that photography class, or FaceTime with your grandkids. “Investing in meaningful relationships is one of the most important things we can do to increase our health, quality of life, and wellbeing,” Dr. Kaiser says.

One big reason why? Social wellbeing is tied to lower levels of interleukin-6, an inflammatory factor involved in chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and some cancers, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

5 Get enough sleep

If you’re finding it harder with each passing year to snooze soundly, you’re far from alone. Nearly half of older adults say they regularly have trouble falling asleep, according to The University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.

The problem? Sleep-deprived folks are more likely to feel depressed, have trouble remembering information and focusing, feel sleepy during the day, and fall more during the night, reports the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

You need the same amount of sleep today as you did when you were younger—between 7 and 8 hours per night, the NIH says. If you’re having trouble hitting that mark, talk with your doctor. She’ll help you figure out whether an underlying sleep problem is behind the tossing and turning and what you can do to get the rest you need.

6 Make time to de-stress

Unchecked tension doesn’t just put you in a lousy mood. It also boosts inflammation in the body, which can speed aging and make you more likely to get sick, according to a Frontiers in Human Neuroscience study.

In fact, findings suggest that the majority of diseases are related to chronic stress. Stress hormones like cortisol are also thought to negatively impact memory and contribute to brain shrinkage starting as early as our late 40s, according to a Neurology study.

Finding ways to unwind can make a difference—even if it’s only for a minute or two. “Even if you’re pressed for time, take a moment and take one restorative breath,” Dr. Kaiser says.

Have some more time to spare? Try working yoga into your day. In a study of middle-aged adults, performing yoga for 90 minutes, five days a week was found to lower levels of inflammation and stress hormones, as well as slow down the rate at which cells age.

7 Lean into today

There are countless reasons why getting older is great. (Senior discounts! Way more wisdom!) So instead of succumbing to tired stereotypes, think about what you love about your current age.

Yale University research shows that older adults who see aging as a good thing live almost eight years longer and have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who view aging negatively. “Having a positive view of aging is associated with both living longer and living better,” Dr. Kaiser says.

It turns out, the fountain of youth was inside your head all along.

 

https://www.prevention.com/health/g26115957/healthy-aging/

6 Speed Walking Tips to Help You Burn as Many Calories as You Would Running

Got bad knees ?  A tad over-weight ?  Not into running ?  Then this article is for you.

By Alisa Bowman & Prevention Magazine

Pro tip: Your posture is super important.

You don’t have to be a runner to torch calories and reap the weight loss benefits of cardio. In fact, you can burn just as many calories walking as you can running—if you speed walk, says Michele Stanten, an ACE-certified personal trainer, walking coach and author of Walk Your Way to Better Health,

“All a walker has to do to burn more calories than a runner is to outpace the runner,” she explains. For example, if you walk 4.5 mph (a 13 to 15-minute per mile pace) for about 42 minutes, you can burn as many calories as a runner who does a 10-minute mile. Push it to 5 mph (a 12-minute per mile pace) for 35 minutes, and you can match the runner’s calorie burn in a shorter amount of time.

In addition to burning more calories, you’ll also boost your overall health. A faster walking pace can reduce your risk of death, especially from heart and respiratory diseases, according to a 2019 study from the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom.

While walking at a speed of 4.5 to 5 mph may seem intense, it’s possible to sustain if you build your endurance and gradually increase your time, says Stanten, who offers her tips below.

How to speed walk for weight loss

Ready to pick up the pace? Here are Stanten’s top strategies for improving your average walking speed and boosting your metabolism’s calorie-burning powers.

1. Stand tall. When you elongate your spine, you gain more distance in between your hips and rib cage, which allows your legs to swing more freely than when you slump into your pelvis.

2. Look out in front of you. Keep your line of vision 10 to 20 feet ahead instead of looking down at your feet. Roll your shoulders back and down to help open up your chest and un-hunch your back so you can take deeper breaths.

3. Swing your arms faster. Bend your arms at 90 degrees as you swing them forward and back. Avoid swinging them across your body or winging them out to your sides. This can mess with your stride and make you lose energy—fast. Pumping your arms will help you engage your upper body and core to help you move more efficiently and walk faster.

4. Take smaller steps. When your front leg reaches out too far, it acts like a brake and slows you down. With shorter, quick steps, your foot lands almost underneath you so you roll right over it. To figure out your gait, follow this exercise from Stanten: Raise one knee to hip height so your foot is hanging just below your knee, like you’re marching. Then, extend your leg in front of you and bring your heel down to the ground. It should be just a few inches in front of your other foot.

5. Do speed intervals. Alternating between short but fast bursts of walking with slower-paced intervals not only helps increase your walking speed—it can also help you burn more calories, even after you’re done exercising. “The longer or harder you work out, the more time it will take your body to return to normal,” Stanten says. “As you recover, you’ll continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate for as little as 20 minutes or possibly up to 24 hours.” For a serious post-workout calorie burn, try this interval walk:

  • Warm up by walking at an easy to moderate pace for three minutes. You should be able to hold a conversation with a friend.
  • Speed up to a brisk pace for 30 seconds. At this pace, you’re moving pretty quickly and will find it harder to speak in full sentences.
  • Go fast for 20 seconds. You’re walking at your top speed at this point, so be sure you can sustain it for the entire time.
  • Sprint for 10 seconds by giving it everything you’ve got. You can’t carry a conversation at all at this pace and might be breathing heavily.
  • Repeat the 30-, 20- and 10-second set of intervals for four minutes, followed by a 1-minute recovery at a moderate pace.

6. Compete against yourself (or others). Count the number of steps you take during your fast intervals, and try to beat that number on subsequent intervals. If you’re walking with a friend, ask them to keep track of their numbers and compare them at the end of the workout. This will motivate you to increase your speed and improve your endurance.

https://www.prevention.com/fitness/workouts/a19695821/speed-walking-increase-calorie-burn/

If you must sleep (j/k), Do it on your Left Side

HOW SLEEPING ON YOUR LEFT SIDE AFFECTS YOUR HEALTH

How Sleeping On Your Left Side Affects Your Health

People sleep in different positions. Usually, people choose the position they feel the most comfortable to sleep.

However you might not know this, but if you sleep on the left side, you can enjoy many benefits.

You might have found the perfect position, but you can try this one. After reading all the benefits, for sure you will at least try sleep in this position.

7 Benefits Of This Sleeping Position

1. Normal Heart Function

The left side of the heart pumps blood towards your body. This makes sense why you need to sleep on the left side because in that way you can make it easier for your heart to function properly even when you sleep.

In addition, sleeping in this position can help the circulatory system to use gravity as a benefit, to be more specific with the aorta and the inferior vena cava i.e. IVC which is a big vein that helps carry the deoxygenated blood to your heart and is on the right side of the spine.

2. Beneficial For Pregnant Women

There is nothing wrong if you decide to sleep on the right side during the pregnancy. However, if you sleep on the left side, you can enjoy few benefits. That is specifically for the last trimester.

The benefits are that it can help boost better circulation of blood, save the liver from unwanted weight by allowing it to do its various functions.

3. Improves Drainage of the Lymphatic System

The Lymphatic system removes impurities and toxins from the body. According to experts, the lymphatic system drains into the thoracic duct placed on the left side.

That is why you will benefit if you sleep on the left side. Because in that way you will help to accelerate and facilitate the removal of toxins from the body.

In addition, the lymphatic system gathers protein that escaped from the cells. If you sleep on the left side, you can aid to bring them to where they are supposed to be.

4. Help The Liver Not To Congest

The liver is on the right side of your body, and it can become congested if you spend hours sleeping on the right side.

Sleep on your left side in order to keep substances and toxins and for them to be neutralized by the liver before being moved out of your body or collected in the liver.

5. Improved Function Of The Spleen

The spleen is the organ that is part of the lymphatic system. It is located on the left side of your body, and if you sleep on that side, you will help the spleen to function better.

What happens is that the gravity boosts the blood flow to the spleen and at the same time allowing it to filter the impurities.

6. Prevent Heartburn At Night

In case you have GERD i.e. gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux you should consider sleeping on your left side.

When you are in this position, your stomach is placed below the cardiac sphincter. The cardiac sphincter connects the esophagus to the stomach.

If you sleep on the left side, the contents found in the stomach won’t flow back into the esophagus, and that will prevent the nighttime GERD or acid reflux.

7. Boost The Gut To Help Get Rid Of Waste Products

The ileocecal valve i.e. IV is a place on your left side where the junction of the large intestine and small intestine is located.

You need to sleep on your left side in order to boost the proper elimination of the waste products. While sleeping on your left side, you help them transfer from the small to the large intestine.

Thus allowing gravity to do its work and boost regular bowel movement.

Now you are aware of the benefits; tonight try this sleeping position. You might find it hard to adjust at first, but with time not only you will get used to it, but you will also enjoy the benefits.

http://healthypins247.com/how-sleeping-on-your-left-side-affects-your-health/

Carrie Underwood’s Weight Loss Secrets Revealed

a person standing posing for the camera: Honoree Carrie Underwood accepts an award from Keith Urban onstage during the 2018 CMT Artists of The Year at Schermerhorn Symphony Center on October 17, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. Carrie Underwood shares her weight loss secrets on Instagram.

ByLeian Naduma & Medical Daily

Carrie Underwood is known for her toned and healthy body. She posts her weight loss secrets on Instagram and shares how she maintains her figure despite having two kids, Isaiah and Jacob. Here are five of her valuable ideas on how to maintain a sexy physique postpartum.

Constant Exercise

Ever day, Underwood posts her exercise routine for reference to those who yearn for a healthy body like hers. She recently shared how challenging it was for her to shed off weight after having her second child Jacob.

The “American Idol” Season 4 winner admitted that her body did not function as well as when she had her first child, Isaiah. She said that her body has not recovered from gaining weight and losing it faster than it did last year, Celebrity Insider has learned.

Despite her difficult journey, she suggested that continuing a routine exercise is key to maintaining a healthy physique. She noted that it’s important to continue the healthy habit of exercising even though one is only losing weight at a slow rate. The singer also stated that focusing on every pound and body area is not helpful in the weight loss process.

Food Journaling

Underwood has also shared her meals on social media. She uses the FitnessPal application to keep track of the foods she eats. The mother of two noted that it helps people avoid eating more than necessary and restricts their calorie intake. Among Underwood’s favorite meals are oatmeal and cereals like Kashi Go Lean and Heart to Heart and she prefers eating them without milk, according to Cosmopolitan.

The fitness enthusiast has also highlighted the importance of accepting what her body is capable of achieving instead of being too hard on herself. She shared her insight into how difficult it was for her to lose the extra weight after feeling bloated this year. She said it was more productive for her to continue her routines and just accept the limits to her fitness goals.

Positive Outlook

Underwood also stressed that being too hard on yourself does not help in your weight loss journey. She cited that maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes beyond physical health but also mental stability. If you do not follow a positive outlook while working on your goals, you will not feel content. The “Cry Pretty” songstress cited that when she was too hard on herself, achieving her goals became harder for her to accomplish.

Perseverance

Lastly, Underwood has shared that not giving up on one’s goals is an important factor in achieving a healthier body. She posts her journey every day, showing that one of her weight loss secrets is perseverance. She said that worrying about the number of pounds you lose per exercise or becoming anxious in achieving faster results does not help. She noted that consistency is what helped her achieve a healthier body.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/weightloss/carrie-underwoods-weight-loss-secrets-revealed/ar-BBV51rV?ocid=spartanntp

Emilia Clarke Reveals She Suffered Two Brain Aneurysms: ‘I Wasn’t Going to Live’

emilia clarke got

  • Emilia Clarke, known for her role as Daenerys Targaryen on HBO’s Game of Thrones, revealed that she suffered two life-threatening brain aneurysms in an essay for The New Yorker.
  • Clarke says she felt the excruciating pain of her first brain aneurysm while doing a plank: “At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.”
  • Learn what a brain aneurysm is and how to spot the symptoms.

Clarke, 32, recalls her early symptoms in the essay: “On the morning of February 11, 2011, I was getting dressed in the locker room of a gym in Crouch End, North London, when I started to feel a bad headache coming on.”

She continued: “My trainer had me get into the plank position, and I immediately felt as though an elastic band were squeezing my brain. I tried to ignore the pain and push through it, but I just couldn’t. I told my trainer I had to take a break. Somehow, almost crawling, I made it to the locker room. I reached the toilet, sank to my knees, and proceeded to be violently, voluminously ill. Meanwhile, the pain-shooting, stabbing, constricting pain-was getting worse. At some level, I knew what was happening: my brain was damaged.”

Clarke doesn’t remember everything, since the events of that day became “noisy and blurry,” but she does recall the sound of a siren, someone saying her pulse was weak, and throwing up bile. Once she was at the hospital, she was sent for an MRI, where she received a swift diagnosis: a subarachnoid hemorrhage (aka, a life-threatening stroke).

“For the next three hours, surgeons went about repairing my brain. This would not be my last surgery, and it would not be the worst. I was twenty-four years old,” Clarke wrote. She admitted the pain was unbearable after waking up, and she had no idea where she was-and yet, she went back to work to film season two about month later.

But Clarke still had a growth on the other side of her brain, which doubled in size by the time she finished filming season 3 of Game of Thrones. She was scheduled for a second emergency surgery, which was much more invasive (the doctors had to go through her skull).

While she says the recovery was much worse than her first surgery and she was “convinced she wasn’t going to live,” Clarke is now back “at 100 percent.” Finally fully healed, she wants others to be aware of her story.

So what exactly is a brain aneurysm-and why are they so often deadly? Here are the symptoms you should never ignore.

What is a brain aneurysm, exactly?

A brain aneurysm is a ballooning blood vessel in the brain, and if it bursts, it can cause bleeding, also known as a hemorrhagic stroke. Most brain aneurysms occur between the brain and the tissues covering it-also known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage, which is what Clarke was first diagnosed with.

Think of it this way: An aneurysm is a weakness in the wall of one of your brain’s blood vessels, Howard Riina, MD, a neurosurgeon with New York University’s Langone Medical Center previously told Prevention. That weakness allows the blood vessel to push outward and form a bulge, much like an over-inflated balloon. Once it ruptures, the pressure and lack of blood can lead to unconsciousness and death.

“Until a rupture or leak occurs, many people are walking around with an aneurysm and don’t know it,” Dr. Riina explained. “Some data we have suggest 6 to 9 percent of the population have one.”

It’s unclear why Clarke suffered her first aneurysm at 24. While the specific causes of a brain aneurysm aren’t known, some people are at higher risk than others, especially if they are older, smoke, have high blood pressure, or consume drugs and alcohol. If you have inherited connective tissue disorders, polycystic kidney disease, or a family history of brain aneurysms, you’re also at an elevated risk.

What are they symptoms of a brain aneurysm?

A severe headache, which Clarke experienced during her workout with her trainer, is often the first sign of a subarachnoid hemorrhage. Often people describe it as the worst headache they’ve ever had, similar to being struck by a bolt of lightening. Some of the other most common symptoms of a brain aneurysm include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizure
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Brief loss of consciousness
  • Confusion

How is a brain aneurysm treated?

There are two different treatment options for a brain aneurysm: surgical clipping and endovascular coiling. These two procedures have risk of bleeding in the brain and loss of blood flow to the brain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, surgical clipping is a procedure in which a neurosurgeon removes a section of your skull to locate the blood vessel that’s causing the aneurysm and then inserts a tiny metal clip on the neck of the aneurysm to stop it from leaking or bursting.

Endovascular coiling is a less invasive surgery and involves placing a catheter into an artery, usually your groin, that leads to the aneurysm. Then, the neurosurgeon pushes a soft platinum wire through the catheter leading to the aneurysm. The wire coils up in the aneurysm to seal the aneurysm from the artery. Some other treatment options for ruptured brain aneurysms include pain relievers, calcium channel blockers, and anti-seizure medications.

Toward the end of her essay, Clarke emphasizes that she is doing better than ever. “In the years since my second surgery I have healed beyond my most unreasonable hopes. I am now at a hundred percent. Beyond my work as an actor, I’ve decided to throw myself into a charity I’ve helped develop in conjunction with partners in the U.K. and the U.S. It is called SameYou, and it aims to provide treatment for people recovering from brain injuries and stroke. I feel endless gratitude.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/health-news/emilia-clarke-reveals-she-suffered-two-brain-aneurysms-i-wasnt-going-to-live/ar-BBV4fC5?ocid=spartandhp