HEALTH & WELLBEING – Jan/Feb Edition 2023

A GREAT TIME TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

MEDICAL MINUTES BY JOHN SCHIESZER

If you have an old passion, now is the time to revitalise it. The new year can usher in a new you. Never before has there been such a great demand for workers, and many companies are especially seeking older adults because they tend to have a stronger work ethic. Currently, it is very easy to establish your own business no matter what your age thanks to the internet. At 74 years of age, painter Mary Joan Branstetter never thought she would be having such a big career. In the past couple years, her daughter and son both almost died. It was only through her art and the encouragement of her husband that she was able to endure. Her husband Mark knew she had talent and so he arranged for a workspace in their house filled with windows and outside light. It was just the right light and environs for bringing her brand of contemporary impressionism to life. Branstetter is a contemporary abstract impressionist and her recent collections found surprising popularity in the Pacific Northwest in the States. Now, she has several art shows planned. “I started painting again after I retired. I am now a mother, grandmother of eight and great-grandmother of four. My husband is a golf professional and retiring this year. He is a big part of my art because he has supported me and encouraged me to follow my passion,” said Branstetter. That support now is paying off in a significant way: A new career at 74. For many years, Branstetter had been doing hand-painted cards and they were noticed and word spread. Now, she has had two art shows in Seattle (Washington) and other venues are planned. “My work is inspired by colour. Colour in the world is what makes life beautiful. My multi-cultural family has inspired me to see that the combination of everyone is a blanket of amazing differences. When you combine all that beauty together, it’s colour at its best. The more colour, the more beautiful the world becomes,” said Branstetter. Leigh-Ann Webster, who is the executive director at the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching and a certified personal trainer, says this is an ideal time for an older adult to start a new business or career. “It is invigorating for people to begin new careers later in life, and these people can also bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the people they are serving. If someone is thinking about starting a new career path they should figure out how to do it and begin. I doubt they would regret this decision,” said Webster. Start by writing down what your dream is, said Webster, who is 51 years old. Then, ask yourself why you want to pursue this venture and what regrets you think you will have if you don’t chase after this dream. “If you still want to pursue your dream after this, then begin creating a roadmap and charting out what needs to happen, so you can take the first step forward,” said Webster, who is based in San Diego (California). Re-Wirement May be Required Career consultant Paula Fitzgerald Boos is a re-wirement coach. She helps older adults define their personal value and create a proactive plan to get them to their next great role. As a “third act/re-wirement” consultant, she works with clients as they make intentional and thoughtful choices about “who” they want to be by designing a life of richness. She said anyone can start a new career at any age. “A mistaken belief continues to be that careers and professional lives are linear. This is not the case,” said Boos. Some of her clients have made dramatic vocational changes later in life. One of Boos’ clients was an artist who became a non profit development leader and started their own website related to art and returned to creating more of their own art. Another client was a corporate marketing and communications leader at Boeing who became a photographer. “There continues to be more research

confirming the value of age diversity in teams, and more companies are getting on board with the idea that having different generations in the workplace can contribute to strong culture,” said Webster. There are many talented people who didn’t get their career rolling until later in life. Duncan Hines developed his cake mix brand when he was 73 years old. Anna Mary Robertson Moses was nicknamed Grandma Moses and started her American folk painting career at 78. In 1938, Louis J. Caldor, an art collector in New York, saw Moses’ paintings in the window of a drug store. He bought their supply and 10 more from her house for $3 or $5 each. The next year, three Grandma Moses paintings were included in New York’s Museum of Modern Art exhibition titled “Contemporary Unknown American Painters”. Too often it is fear that holds individuals back,” said Webster. “Facing your fear, choosing change, and being a half a shade braver leads to growth. Humans are designed to continue to keep growing until we die.” Many of today’s older adults are redefining what it means to be retired and they are following their passions. Having a job after official retirement is becoming increasingly common. Employers are recognising that mature workers often have strengths that some younger workers don’t. John Schieszer is an award-winning national journalist and radio and podcast broadcaster of The Medical Minute. He can be reached at medicalminutes@gmail.com.

NORDIC WALKING FOR HEALTH

BY RACHEL GARROD

Being an advocate of all things walking I have recently begun exploring the rather strange looking phenomena of Nordic walking. This form of walking has been around since the early 20th century when skiers explored different methods to maintain fitness during the summer. However, the Nordic walking we see now arose in 1997, when a Finnish sports institute and ski pole com pany came together to engineer high-performance poles and develop a walking technique that would deliver maximum health and fitness benefits. Nordic walking is a great all-round body workout. Walking with poles com bines cardiovascular exercise with a vigorous muscle workout for your shoul ders, arms, core, chest and legs. Unlike walking without poles, you activate all the muscles above the waist (utilising about 90 per cent of your musculature as opposed to 50 per cent without poles.) Because of this Nordic walking burns 20 per cent more calories when com pared with normal walking. You might also experience elevated heart rates during Nordic walking compared with normal walking but without noticeable additional effort. The lightweight, tall poles and upright posture encourage a rhythmical gait that tends to feel more comfortable than walking without poles, even at a fast pace. It is important to note here that the correct poles are essential to enabling the full health benefits of this sport. Hiking poles that take the sup port of the body do a different thing entirely. Nordic walking can be done by almost everyone. There is evidence that it is superior, with respect to improvements in functional health, than other exer cise in people with heart disease. In a recent study from Ottawa, 130 patients were randomised to either high-intensity interval training, moderate-to-vig

orous intensity continuous training or Nordic walking over a 12-week period. The researchers evaluated functional capacity, quality of life and depres sion symptoms following the exercise programs. Although all the exercise programs improved quality of life and depression symptoms, Nordic walking demonstrated the most significant improvement in functional capacity, an increase of 19 per cent, compared with 13 per cent for high-intensity inter val training and 12 per cent for moderate-to-vigorous intensity continuous training. Many studies in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease have shown im provements in breathlessness, muscle strength and exercise tolerance after a period of Nordic walking, and studies of Parkinson’s disease have shown improvements in gait and balance after training. Here in Andalucía, we even have our own Nordic walking competitions and Danish-born Kike Villanueva Heimann, who has lived in Marbella since he was two months old, has twice been crowned “king of the walking poles”. In 2023 I will be looking to bring this fantastic health sport to our “paseo” with the loan of poles, instruction and heart rate monitoring. So, if you want to experience Nordic walking, why not get in touch.

Rachel Garrod Respiratory Physiotherapist Ph.D Tel. (34) 699 501 190 rachelgarrod1@gmail.com www.betterbreathingphysio.com

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