I blogged yesterday on the value of exercise for continuing to enjoy doing the things in life that give you pleasure. You also need to exercise to prevent falls. With my work, I see firsthand the consequences of falls, and it ain’t pretty. The physical issues are bad enough, sometimes even fatal, but the damage to your psyche can be just as crippling. People that have fallen say that they replay the fall time and time again, and that it prevents them from attempting ordinary, everyday tasks. Strength is a major component of balance, and ballistic balance (where you are moving) is an exercise that needs to be worked continuously. Balance exercises like standing on one foot are fine, but the chances of falling while standing still are pretty small-most falls occur when one is in motion. The need to practice balance while moving is of paramount importance, and should be part of your exercise routine. Many people wait until they actually fall to get serious about doing balance work. Wrong approach, obviously.

On a brighter note, it appears that coffee and the amino acid L-theanine improve mental focus; something that I seem to need more of as I get older. L-theanine is found in many teas, and also as a supplement (it’s called Suntheanine), and has no stimulatory effects and is safe for people of all ages. L-theanine improves concentration and focus by rapidly increasing the activity of alpha waves, which are associated with feelings of relaxation and mental alertness, and boosting levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms the brain and helps relieve anxiety. I drink 2 cups of green tea daily, maybe more now. I also drink coffee, which has a myriad of health benefits, most recently associated with a significantly reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.