Wrinkles may be a natural part of getting older, but you can slow your skin's aging with changes to your lifestyle and environment, a skin expert says. "Daily activities, such as protecting your skin from the sun and eating healthy foods, can go a long way in preventing your skin from aging more quickly than it should," dermatologist Dr. Michele Green said in an American Academy of Dermatology news release. Sun exposure is a major cause of premature skin aging. Protect your skin from the sun by seeking shade, wearing sun-protective clothing -- including a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection -- and by applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing. Clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label will provide the greatest sun protection. Here are some other ways in which you can protect your skin:
- Apply a facial moisturizer every day. Moisturizers trap water in the skin, giving it a more youthful appearance. Consider using a moisturizer that contains sunscreen, but remember that sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours when you're outdoors.
- Limit face washing to twice daily and after sweating, and use skin care products labeled "hypoallergenic," "fragrance-free" or "non-comedogenic."
- Don't scrub your skin or use skin care products that sting or burn.
- Avoid repetitive facial movements such as squinting, frowning or holding a straw or cigarette in your mouth, which can cause wrinkles over time.
- Never use tanning beds.
- Don't smoke.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. This may help prevent damage that leads to premature skin aging.
- Exercise regularly to improve circulation and boost the immune system, which may give the skin a more youthful appearance.
- Consider using a retinol cream, which is a derivative of vitamin A.
- And there is always professional help available.
Many female athletes lack knowledge about nutrition, which could harm their performance and put them at risk for health problems, a researcher says. A review of two decades of literature on female athletes older than 13 found "a lack of general knowledge of nutrition among athletes, coaches and other sports team specialists," said researchers on the study. "Other factors included poor time management and food availability, disordered eating behaviors such as chronic dieting or a drive for lower body weight," researchers added in a Rutgers news release. "Some female athletes may purposefully restrict their calorie intake for performance or aesthetic reasons, while others may unintentionally have low energy expenditure due to increased training or lack of education on how to properly fuel themselves for their sports' demands." Researchers pointed out that the problem may be worse with particular sports and activities. "In addition, specific sports, such as gymnastics, distance running, diving, figure skating and classical ballet emphasize a low body weight; thus, making these athletes at greater risk for inadequate calorie consumption, poor body image, disordered eating or a serious mental health disorder diagnosis of an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa," researchers said. When nutrition doesn't meet the needs of energy output for sports or for proper body function and growth, female athletes' bone and reproductive health can be affected, she warned. "Deficiencies in vitamin D, zinc, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins can occur from exercise-related stress and inadequate dietary intakes," researchers said. And these deficiencies can have long-term effects. "Recent reports suggest that up to 42 percent of female athletes have insufficient vitamin D levels and up to 90 percent fall short of the adequate intake for calcium. These two deficiencies can increase the risk of bone stress fractures and also place these athletes at risk for osteoporosis later in life," Researchers noted. Researchers suggested it's up to doctors, dietitians, psychologists, coaches and parents to monitor and counsel female athletes to ensure they're getting a proper overall diet. The review was published recently in the Journal of Women's Health.
When it comes to pumping iron, women have as much to gain as men. A new study compared the results of women and men aged 50 to 90 who started resistance training exercise programs, finding that though men were more likely to gain absolute muscle size, their gains were on par with women's relative to body size. "The differences we found primarily relate to how we look at the data -- that is, absolutely or relatively. 'Absolute' looks at the overall gains, while 'relative' is a percentage based on their body size," researchers said in a news release. The researchers compared muscle mass and strength gains in more than 650 older men and 750 older women across 30 resistance training studies. Most participants had no previous resistance training experience. They found that when looking at absolute gains, older men gained bigger muscles and had greater improvements to upper and lower body strength. Women saw the biggest increases when it came to relative lower body strength. The researchers further analyzed which resistance training techniques gave men and women the best results. "Older men might benefit from higher intensity programs to improve their absolute upper and lower body strength," researchers said. "But older women might benefit from higher overall exercise volumes -- that is, more weekly repetitions -- to increase their relative and absolute lower body strength." Training for a longer duration could also help increase relative and absolute muscle size for older men or absolute upper body strength for older women, researchers said. They noted resistance training offers several health benefits, including increasing stamina, balance, flexibility and bone density. It also can improve sleep and sense of well-being, as well as decrease injury. The findings were published recently in the journal Sports Medicine.
Severe winter weather has a grip on much of the United States, which increases the risk of injuries from slipping on ice, shoveling, sports such as skiing and sledding, and car crashes. "One of the most frequently seen causes for visits to the emergency room this time of year is from slipping on icy sidewalks," said researchers Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare. "These slip-and-fall injuries can range from a small bruise or cut to a traumatic brain injury, so it is important that people take steps to reduce their danger," Researchers said in an Intermountain news release. There are a several ways to reduce your risk of winter-related injuries. Keep sidewalks, driveways and walkways free of snow and ice. Be sure to use sand or ice melt. While anyone can slip or fall on icy and snowy walkways, seniors are especially vulnerable. Injuries can include concussions, severe bruising, muscle sprains, broken bones and back injuries. On average, 11,500 people are treated each year in U.S. emergency departments for snow shoveling-related injuries. The lifting, digging and repetitive motions of shoveling can put significant strain and stress on the body. Before shoveling, make sure you stretch. If shoveling is too strenuous, it might be a good idea to hire someone to clear your snow. Wear shoes or boots with good traction. Proper footwear is crucial when shoveling or walking outdoors. When walking: Take your time, take shorter steps, pay attention (don't text or rummage through your purse), and keep your hands out of your pockets. Each winter, an average 116,800 Americans are injured and 1,300 killed in weather-related motor vehicle crashes. When driving, allow extra time for bad weather and/or traffic delays. Rushing to your destination can put you in danger. Maintain ample distance between you and the car ahead of you. Braking distances can be up to nine times longer on snowy and icy surfaces. If your car has four-wheel drive, use it. Have brakes inspected to make sure they are in good working order. Always wear your seat belt. When skiing, snowboarding, sledding or doing other outdoor activities, always wear appropriate safety gear such as a helmet, goggles, gloves and snow pants. So far this season, doctors at Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City have seen twice as many serious sledding injuries as last winter. Wearing a helmet could prevent some of those injuries, according to Jessica Strong, community health manager at the hospital. "Head, neck and abdominal injuries are common for kids taking part in winter activities," she said in the release. "If it's sledding or skiing or snowboarding, wearing a helmet is a vital part of keeping kids safe, and can help avoid serious injuries."
Today's young athletes push themselves harder than ever before, which raises their odds for injury, experts say. But there are proven ways to minimize injury rates, according to the Stanford Children's Health sports medicine team. Here's what they suggest: Prepare for the season: Develop a comprehensive conditioning program for the off-season or when there are fewer games/meets. It should focus on strength, power, speed and coordination, which can improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury. Always warm up: Always do a thorough warmup. Before any practices or games, you should do 5 to 10 minutes of aerobic activity, followed by active flexibility movements like high knees, butt kicks, skipping and arm circles. Make training changes gradually: A rapid increase in amount or intensity of sport can increase the risk of overuse and traumatic injuries. After being off for several days due to an illness or minor injury, ease back into your sport with a modified training day. Before the start of a new season, do daily jogs or cycles followed by dynamic warmups and strengthening exercises. This will help prepare your body for your sport. Listen to your body: Don't ignore seemingly minor injuries. Doing so may make symptoms last longer, and also increase the risk of a more serious injury. Spend extra time on tight areas during warmup and ice sore areas after practice. Also, modify your training: A few short days of modified training can help a minor injury disappear and can prevent loss of playing time. Eat, drink and sleep: A healthy diet, proper hydration and adequate sleep are essential. A small protein-rich snack or drink immediately after activity improves recovery and performance the next day. Young athletes should get 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Create an off-season: It's important to take a break from your sport each year in order to reduce the risk of injury, fatigue and burnout. Take at least four weeks off from a single sport each calendar year and do other sports and types of physical activity during that time.