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The Importance of Lifelong Learning

You have probably heard that it is important to keep your brain active, but do you know why lifelong learning is so important to your health? SixtyandMe.com explains three reasons why you should make education a priority.

#1: Lifelong Learning Improves Your Memory

Intellectual stimulation throughout your lifetime can delay the onset of memory problems and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, according to a study from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Learning something new, like a hobby, skill or activity can boost your memory by strengthening the networks in your brain.

Learning to play a musical instrument has several benefits including increasing your reaction time and strengthening your decision-making and problem-solving functioning.

#2: Lifelong Learning Lengthens Your Lifespan

Researchers David Cutler and Adriana Lleras-Muney suggest that a year of formal education can add more than six months to your lifespan. Their study found that the more educated you are, the lower your rates of anxiety and depression, heart disease, stroke, asthma and diabetes.

#3: Lifelong Learning Reduces Your Stress Level

You do not have to take a class or learn a new skill to receive the benefits of learning – simply pick up a book. Reading can lower your stress levels in as little as six minutes. Lower stress can lead to better cardiovascular health, a boosted immune system, lower blood pressure and decreased levels of depression.

As a retiree, you have more time than ever to pick up a hobby, read, learn a new skill or sign up for classes. Talk to Concierge Services if you would like help finding a local class or have a request for an activity.

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2019 Rootin’ Tootin’ Chili Cookoff Results

Members of our Chili Cookoff Committee spent the day serving up Carol’s famous Chili and getting attendees to “Come on Down” to try their luck at spinning our wheel or playing Plinko.

On February 16th, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbia participated in the 14th annual MFA Oil Rootin’ Tootin’ Chili Cookoff presented by JES Holdings at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. This is one of our favorite events and we have been the Prestin’ Sponsor since 2007. In the weeks leading up to the Chili Cookoff, JES teamed up with The Village of Bedford Walk and held fundraising events within our offices as well as in the community. With everyone’s support we were able to donate a total of $6,859 at the event winning us the Third Biggest Bowl Award.

At the event itself, businesses from the community create booths and serve up their best chili recipes. This year the JES booth theme was The Spice is Right, complete with a functional Plinko Board and Wheel. Our committee and The Village of Bedford Walk residents had so much fun creating this booth, but not as much fun as the kids did playing for prizes! Check out how awesome it looked below.

We cannot thank all those who donated during this fundraising process enough; with our support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbia reached their goal of $115,000 at the event. A special thank you to our sponsors from the community for their donation: Banacom Instant Signs of Missouri, Metro Electric, River City Drywall, Western States Fire Protection, Presley’s Glass Company, Meek’s, Sherwin Williams and Mid City Lumber.

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Maintaining Health while Aging: Advice from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

On Wednesday, March 13, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day. In honor of this day, we talked to Cindy Bunte, MS, RDN, about ways to keep health a priority as you age.

What are some facts you learned in your RDN training that surprised you?

I always knew that eating fruits and vegetables was important, but, in my training, I learned the mentality that food is medicine. In particular, fruits and vegetables fit into this way of thinking because they supply many vitamins and minerals, plant chemicals, fiber, etc. Due to all of these benefits, fruits and vegetables are our greatest protection against disease.

What common misconceptions do people have about health?

When some people decide that they want to work on their health, many sometimes concentrate on working out more than on changing their eating habits or vice versa. It is a combination of both that will give them the best results.

Why is it so important for people to focus on maintaining their health as they age?

Eating well and being active can make a dramatic difference in the quality of your life!

How should seniors approach their health differently as they age?

As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass.  Some older adults do not get the protein they need to maintain muscle mass, fight infection and recover from an accident or injury. Below are some simple and economical ways to increase protein:

  1. Add more beans to your diet. It is easy to add beans to salads, soups, casseroles, etc.
  2. Eat a variety of nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.). You can spread nut butter on whole grain bread, crackers, fruits and vegetables.
  3. Eggs are also a good source of protein! Try adding hard boiled eggs or egg whites to any dish.

What are a few general pieces of advice you would give to seniors about their health?

  1. Resistance training is significant to preventing muscle loss.
  2. Ensure you eat an adequate amount of protein.
  3. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake.
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Happy American Heart Month!

Photo credit to Valparaiso University

February is American Heart Month, a month dedicated to encouraging Americans to focus on their heart health. It is the perfect time to get educated about the risks of heart disease and simple ways to help prevent it.

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death in the world with more than 17.9 million deaths each year. According to the American Heart Association, however, about 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented with education and action.

Even small changes to your diet and lifestyle can make a big difference for your heart. Here are some ways to take control of your heart health this month and every month:

  • Avoid smoking. Smoking damages the blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease.
  • Manage conditions. Work with health care professionals to manage risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • Make heart-healthy eating changes. Swapping out foods high in sodium for fruits and vegetables can help lower blood pressure.
  • Stay active. Being more active can lower your blood pressure, boost your levels of good cholesterol and keep your weight under control.

Learn more about American Heart Month here.

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