I don’t run on Dunkin’. I run on sleep. And so do you. In recent years, you’ve probably heard a lot more about the importance of sleep. I know it can get annoying, even stressful, if you feel that you can’t find the time for more sleep or if your brain simply doesn’t seem to allow you to get more than few hours each night. Skimping on sleep is a necessity sometimes but it can become dangerous to pride yourself on your ability to "get by" on little sleep. That's not how the human body works. So, why is sleep so important?
While I was 12, my parents separated and my mom became a single parent to two preteens. Judy worked full-time and took care of everything at home. Now that I’m middle-aged, I have a greater appreciation for her habits and the choices she made while I was growing up. A few lessons stand out as I look back from 40-something years old.
Did you know…
Balance, put simply, is the ability to maintain your center of gravity. It involves strength & stability of the foot, ankle and trunk as well as input from the eyes (visual), inner ear (vestibular system), joints and muscles (proprioceptors). All these systems work together to help us stay upright.
The visual system is really important when it comes to maintaining balance, which is why you can feel wobbly when you get up to go the bathroom in the dark and why your balance can change depending on where you focus your eyes. The vestibular system sends signals to the brain that is related to our head position, orientation in space, and motion. If the vestibular system is “off”, you may feel dizzy and unable to maintain balance. This system isn’t as efficient when we get older explaining why I no longer enjoy roller coasters or curvy roads!
Age-related changes in muscle mass, motor neurons, the vestibular system, eyesight, and even blood pressure can result in balance difficulties, thus leading to an increase in falls in older populations. However, just because these changes happen naturally doesn’t mean we can’t slow the process and make improvements.
In 2020, about one in five Americans reported using a smart watch or fitness tracker. It can be a tool that helps or hinders; it all depends on how you use it! Here are few pitfalls to be aware of and a few tips to get more benefit from your smart watch or fitness tracker.