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Outdoor Living is Good for the Soul

Categories: Health & Fitness | Posted: April 11, 2017

There’s no doubt that spending time with mother nature is beyond beneficial. Most studies show that time spent outdoors improves physical, mental and social wellbeing. At any Cornerstone Homes community in Virginia, it’s not hard to find reasons to get outside! If you strive to live a longer, happier, and healthier life, now is the time to embrace your inner Davey Crockett and the great outdoors at one of our communities!

 

At Cornerstone Homes, we’ve long understood the importance of nature and access to it. All of our communities provide plenty of opportunity to access the outdoors – pools, walking trails, lakes, or gardens. Homeowners at Cornerstone Homes enjoy plenty of benefits from time spent outside!

 

  • Physical benefits. Activities such as gardening, walking, or swimming are good for joint flexibility and strengthening muscles and your cardiovascular system. Doing these activities outdoors can lower inflammation levels associated with hypertension, autoimmune diseases and depression. Forget city living! If you want to feel better and improve your health, move to a place with tons of green space (like one of our communities!)

 

  • Mental benefits. Physical activity that takes place in a natural setting improves the memory, increases cognitive function, and has a restorative effect overall. 30 minutes or more of gardening in one of our gardens, or even just sitting in the sun at the clubhouse and soaking up some Vitamin D can have a significant effect on moods, stress levels, and mental health. If being happy and smart is as easy as a few moments in the sun, just hand us a bottle of sunscreen and meet us outside.

 

  • Social benefits. Spending time with good friends is always a great mood booster, but doing so outside comes with a slew of additional benefits! It creates a sense of community, and is the perfect remedy for those days when you may be feeling a little lonely. A group stroll, a card game by the pool, and an afternoon spent in the garden are great for exercising the mind and body, and are easy to find at a Cornerstone Homes community! As they say, the good things in life are better together!

 

Residents of Cornerstone Homes’ communities enjoy all of these advantages, plus so many others. We are truly dedicated to creating a happier, healthier way of life for every member of our community.

 

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The Key to Healthier Living? Owning a Pet!

Categories: Blog, Health & Fitness | Posted: November 14, 2016

A recent study in the medical journal, The Gerontologist, looked at whether there are health benefits for seniors if they have pets. (Anyone who has a dog or cat can tell you we don’t need a scientific study to know that the answer is yes!)

In fact, the study showed that we get definite health benefits from the bonds they form with their companions, especially the benefits they enjoy from dog walking. Aside from being a source of frequent and longer exercise, dog walking is also associated with a lower body mass index, fewer visits to the doctor, and more opportunities for socialization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all adults should spend at least 150 minutes on moderate physical activity every weeolder-adults-walking-dogk. For adults aged 60 years and above, walking is usually the most common form of physical activity – and dog walking fits perfectly in that equation!

Social interaction, outdoor spaces, and camaraderie are a big part of the cornerstone lifestyle. All of our communities feature tree-lined streets, sidewalks and walking trails. Some include natural wooded areas, exercise trails, a lake with a boardwalk and canoe launch, and Bark Parks just for you and your furry friends!

We love our pets! Check out Boxwell Glade Park at Barley Woods, our own green oasis!

Enjoy outdoor living – even when the weather is bad!

Categories: Blog, Health & Fitness, Home & Garden, Richmond, VA, Wake Forest, NC | Posted: January 15, 2016

Nothing beats the feeling of sun on your face, or the contentment of looking up through the trees. That’s why we all head outdoors in the warmer months. But what about during less temperate months?

At Cornerstone Homes, our unique floorplans include a variety of indoor/outdoor living spaces. We offer courtyards, patios, verandas and sunrooms. Functioning as extensions of indoor spaces, outdoor “rooms” are attractive yet useful. Indoors, our sunrooms are just what you need for your sunshine fix on a winter day.

So whether you want a spot to enjoy a cocktail or a serene corner for reading, we have indoor and outdoor living spaces that are practical, private and peaceful.

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Who Can Afford to Travel in Retirement? You Can – Here’s How

Categories: Blog, Health & Fitness, Home & Garden | Posted: August 11, 2014

travel

Travel is one of the two most popular retirement goals, along with spending more time with family and friends, according to a Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies report released in December 2013. Seventy percent of Americans feel travel is worth saving for, and 47 percent regard it as a necessity rather than a luxury. However, only 18 percent have factored travel into their retirement savings plan. If you want to have enough money available to make your dream vacation come true, start putting these strategies into practice now.

Estimate Your Travel Costs

Start by estimating the cost of the travel you want to do. Create a spreadsheet to itemize your expenses, and then identify potential locations and how long you plan to stay. This gives you a basis for estimating major costs such as transportation and hotel fees, along with additional expenses such as sightseeing and meals. Don’t forget to include a souvenir budget and emergency expense fund.

To help estimate your costs, you can consult travel agents and guides, conduct online research or use travel apps. You can also use the online cost calculator for estimating major expenses at TravelMath.com.

Set a Savings Goal

Once you have an estimate of your travel costs, you can set a savings goal. To keep your travel plans affordable, this should fit within your overall retirement savings plan. Investment management company Vanguard recommends factoring your retirement travel goals into a bigger picture that considers things like everyday living expenses, health care and projected inflation. You can estimate your retirement savings needs on Vanguard.com.

Plan a Budget

With a savings target in sight, you can plan your budget and monthly saving goals accordingly. Financial expert Susan Warren recommends putting 20 percent of your monthly budget toward savings goals, and then split the rest between 50 percent for necessities and 30 percent for discretionary spending. To achieve your travel savings goal, you can either prioritize it as part of your monthly savings budget or periodically devote part of your discretionary fund toward it.

You will have more available to put toward your travel goals if you have low monthly debt obligations for expenses such as loans and credit cards. If you receive regular payments from an annuity or structured settlement, explore whether you would be better off selling your future payments for a lump sum of cash now. You could then use this money to decrease your monthly debt obligations and save more toward your travel goals. You can learn more about selling your future payments at JGWentworthCashNow.com.

Create a Savings Account

You can save toward your travel goals faster if you use a smart savings vehicle. Personal finance expert J.D. Roth advocates using online high-yield savings accounts to target saving for particular goals. Another way to save is to obtain a travel credit card. You’ll find a recent review of the best travel credit cards at NerdWallet.com. Many offer free hotel stays, free flights and frequent rewards.

Back Pain for Golfers: How It Affects Your Game and Your Life

Categories: Blog, Health & Fitness | Posted: July 30, 2014

golfers

The drive called for power and focus but sometime during the downswing, you pulled a back muscle. It could have possibly been avoided, if you had remembered to focus on body position, follow-through and suggested pre-play exercise routines. But now the pain is here and the discomfort may last for weeks. But at least you lucked out. That pre-existing disc lesion escaped damage. In some ways an easy lesson can be worth the pain.

Back Injuries in Golf

If you are golfing with back pain, you’re definitely not alone. In a review of golf-related lower back injuries, the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine discovered that 17 percent of the surveyed amateur golfers suffer from back injuries. The review also determined that lower back injuries accounted for 25 percent of all golf-related injuries, and that the follow-through phase of the swing is the likeliest point of injury. Male golfers, weighing in with a 25 to 36 percent damage rate, suffer a slightly higher incident percentage than female golfers, who weigh in with injuries in the range of 22 to 27 percent.

What to Expect Beyond the Pain

Back pain is a common and expensive ailment affecting Americans today. According to a University of New Mexico study, medical costs for dealing with lower back pain topped $24 billion in 1990. In 2013, WebMD estimated the cost for treating back and neck pain at $96 billion. Taking care of your back and preventing injuries can save you from high costs.

Take a Proactive Approach

Many spine and back professionals make resources available through their social media platforms and blogs to give you expert advice. For example, Laser Spine Institute keeps a resource page with a PDF dedicated to helping athletes get back into the swing of things, and they also continually update their blog with tips and advice. Laser Spine Institute’s Community Wellness blog gives healthy eating and exercise tips, as well as industry updates. Stay current on tips and advice from experts and other people who have experienced similar back issues.

Avoid Future Back Pain

To help reduce the risk of golf-related back injury, there are things you can do off the course and before a game. Some warm-up stretches and exercises will help prepare your back for a day of golf without the pain.

Spine-Health.com suggests you warm up before playing golf to lessen your risk of back injury. First, do some basic muscle stretches, focusing especially on your torso, hips and shoulders. Another way to warm up your back is by practice swinging. This doesn’t just improve your game, it stretches out your back and prevents you from pulling it. Practice a smooth, rhythmic swing. This will lessen stress on your back and minimize muscular effort. Balance is another important aspect of a good swing. Bend slightly at the knees and distribute your weight evenly on the balls of your feet.

If you’ve suffered a back injury, your golf game doesn’t have to suffer, too. Listen to your body’s needs and get back on the green in no time.

11 Tips For Exercise Motivation

Categories: Blog, Health & Fitness | Posted: July 8, 2014

Need Exercise Motivation? 11 Tricks You Haven’t Tried

There are so many excuses not to – but where do we get exercise motivation from?  You’d be surprised just how easy it is to fit in a quick and simple exercise in your daily routine.  Whether you’re having a relaxing day watching TV or out running errands, Reader’s Digest provides the following 11 tips and tricks to get you motivated!

From Reader’s Digest Online:

Want to keep your arteries clear and your heart beating strong? Integrative cardiologist Joel K. Kahn, MD, coaches his patients to adopt easy exercise routines with these motivating tricks.

1) First, stop saying you have no time to exercise.

It’s the top excuse I hear from patients when I suggest they get moving. But you do have enough time; what you really need is motivation. Too often people think of exercise in black or white categories: “thirty minutes” or “no minutes.” In reality, any minutes of movement are better than none. Here are some of my favorite tricks to get patients started on exercise routine.

 

2) Don’t ignore exercise.

It’s powerful medicine for your heart and arteries. It strengthens your cardiovascular system, allowing the heart to pump more blood with less effort. It keeps your arteries elastic and flexible, which allows them to expand to accommodate blood flow, which reduces blood pressure. It makes your tissues more sensitive to insulin, which means cells throughout your body more easily absorb and burn blood sugar for energy. It helps lower levels of triglycerides, tiny packages of fat that float around in the bloodstream. Exercise also helps tamp down inflammation and prevents blood clotting, which can lead to stroke, heart attack, and other problems. Finally, exercise creates physiological changes in the brain that lead to an increased sense of well-being, confidence, and an improved mood. And it’s not as hard as you might think.

 

3) Take a 5-minute walk.

5-minute-walkIt’s true that the American Heart Association recommends that we plan 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. But if you can’t always meet this goal, should you do none at all? No! Less activity than the AHA guideline is still beneficial. Even a five-minute walk will bring you some health benefits. What’s most important is this: get started.

For one study, researchers followed the health habits and outcomes of more than 400,000 people for eight years. They found that the people with low levels of physical activity (they averaged about 15 minutes of exercise a day) showed a 14 percent reduction in death compared with the completely inactive group. People who were more active showed even lower mortality.

 

4) Never fast-forward through a commercial.

For every two hours you spend in front of the TV, your risk of becoming obese jumps 23 percent and your risk of developing diabetes increases 14 percent. This is true even if you exercise regularly. You don’t need to cut out TV time altogether—you just need to learn how to multitask. Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine, who has spent his career studying the effects of exercise on health, says that converting TV time to active time could allow some of us to shed 50 pounds in one year!

How about a few sit-ups or push-ups during commercials? How about a five-pound dumbbell lifted overhead 15 times with each arm for a 60-second break? If that seems like too much, at the very least, don’t ever take a commercial sitting down. Use every commercial as a cue to get up and move.

 

5) Stop thinking of yourself.

That is, practice active acts of kindness. Because one way to motivate yourself to get in small, regular bouts of activity is to do them for someone else. Dedicate small acts of exercise to the good of someone you love, the happiness of a stranger, or the good of society. For example, return your shopping cart to the store rather than leave it in the lot near your car. (Do it as a favor to the kid whose job it is to go gather all the carts). While you are out shoveling snow, clear your neighbor’s walkway too.  Get up and stand on the bus or subway so someone else can have your seat.

 

6) De-motorvate your life.

demotorvateTime-saving devices (think dishwashers and elevators) save more than time: they also prevent you from burning calories. Mayo Clinic researcher James Levine found that habits like using a dishwasher rather than washing dishes by hand, driving to work instead of walking, and using the elevator instead of taking the stairs cause the average person to save 111 calories a day.

Over time, that adds up to 10 extra pounds a year. Whenever possible, try not to motor your way through life. Use a broom or rake instead of a leaf blower, your body instead of a remote control, or elbow grease instead of an electric mixer.

 

7) Don’t take waiting sitting down.

We stand and wait a lot: at the grocery store, at the bank, at the post office, at the ATM, at amusement parks. And that’s just the waiting we do standing. A lot of it we do sitting down. Consider a doctor’s office waiting room. Or what you do during the average 10 to 20 minutes each of us spends on the telephone each week? Try to stand and move as much as possible while you find yourself waiting. Depending on where you are, you could march in place, do a few laps around your house, try a few stretches, or climb a flight of stairs.

 

8) Get a pedometer.

pedometerMeasure how many steps a day you take, then set a goal to increase the amount by perhaps 500 steps a day for a week, then jump it up again to the next level. New habits such as these will get you there: Park as far away as possible from the entrance to work. (I do this every day, and enjoy a 10-minute walk each morning and each evening). Spend half of your lunch hour walking. Propose a walking meeting with colleagues if you don’t need access to a computer during the meeting. Take a short walk whenever you arrive to a destination a little early.

 

9) Don’t throw in the towel if you miss a workout, or a week.

There are two critical times when people fall off the exercise wagon: after a really busy period at work and after a vacation. They skip one workout and then another and then another. Soon they’ve gone a week or two without exercise and they think, “why bother? I’ve lost everything I gained.” But this isn’t true at all. In fact, Duke researchers proved this when they put 183 out-of-shape, overweight men and women at risk of developing heart disease through the paces of an eight-month-long exercise plan. Once they got everyone in shape, they wanted to see what would happen if everyone then blew off their workouts. So they asked all the participants to take two weeks off. They learned that all was not lost. Participants’ triglycerides remained low and their HDL cholesterol remained high.

So recommit yourself to exercise as soon as you can. Cut back on intensity and duration as you ease yourself back into the swing of things.

 

10) Take vitamin Y (ie, yoga).

yogaYoga is like four-for-one exercise. Most people don’t realize that certain types of yoga count as cardio. It also strengthens your muscles, so it counts as weight training too. Of course, it gets you flexible. Finally, the emphasis on breath work and the power of your thoughts make it a moving meditation.

Some poses—such as Tree and Dancer’s Pose—also improve your balance, preventing falls. Studies have also linked yoga with a healthier heart rate pattern, less atrial fibrillation, and lower blood pressure. Start with a beginner’s class or DVD. Even yoga once a week for 15 or 20 minutes offers flexibility, mental focus, and relaxation.

 

11) Move in the morning.

It’s the best time to fit in a workout, and here’s why. It makes your workout number one on your to-do list. When you exercise later in the day, dozens of obstacles and excuses are likely to come up. When you roll out of bed and get moving first thing, those excuses don’t have a chance to derail your motivation. There’s also some evidence that a morning workout can undo some of the metabolic damage of whatever fatty, high-sugar foods you might have consumed the night before. Try to going to bed earlier so you can get up earlier. Agree to meet someone at the gym to help ensure you get out of bed rather than hit the snooze button.

Eat More Chocolate! 5 Healthy Ways to Indulge

Categories: Blog, Health & Fitness | Posted: May 19, 2014

chocolateChocolate in Smores by the campfire, a nice cold bowl of chocolate ice cream, or even individual candy bars – it’s easy to indulge in your favorite chocolate treats.  But can you do it and still stay healthy?  Health.com experts says YES!

“If you find that a treat of one or two individually wrapped squares quickly turns into a handful, try incorporating small amounts of dark chocolate into meals and snacks instead”, says Health.com Writer and Author Cynchia Sass, MPH, RD.

Here are 5 Healthy Ways to Eat Chocolate:

 

1) Blend it into a smoothie

In addition to adding dark chocolate chips or few squares of chopped dark chocolate to smoothies, you can also get your fix (and the health benefits) by whipping in unsweetened cocoa powder. The chocolaty flavor and sweetness of the cherries mask the bitterness of greens like kale, so you can sneak in an extra serving. Look for raw or pure non-Dutched cocoa powder. Dutching or alkalizing is a chemical process that lowers acidity, which has also been shown to markedly reduce the cocoa’s antioxidant content. It’s often done to reduce bitterness, but I find that quality brands taste wonderful in their natural, non-alkalized state.

 

2) Add it to cereal

Add some healthy decadence to the most important meal of the day by chopping a square or two of dark chocolate and swirling it into hot oatmeal, or sprinkling chocolate shavings onto cold cereal, along with sliced strawberries or a chopped mini banana. Research shows that having “dessert at breakfast” helped weight-loss seekers prevent rebound weight gain by reducing hunger and keeping cravings under control. Scientists even found that this strategy helped reduce blood levels of ghrelin, the so-called “hunger hormone.” Chocolate for weight loss? Yes, indeed!

 

3) Drizzle it

Melt a bit of dark chocolate by adding hot (but not boiling) water a little bit at a time as you continually stir, then drizzle it onto anything from fresh fruit to popped popcorn, along with a sweet spice like cinnamon. But don’t stop there: A hot culinary trend is to pair dark chocolate with other unexpected foods, like chocolate-dipped asparagus, roasted cauliflower drizzled with dark chocolate, or chocolate-covered olives, sundried tomatoes, and cloves of black garlic. Hey, you never know until you try it!

 

4) Fold it into nut butter

I’m kind of obsessed with nut and seed butters. I currently have jars of every kind I could find, including pecan, walnut, macadamia nut, cashew, almond, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, hemp seed, and coconut butter. I use them in lots of ways, but one of my favorite tricks is to add things to them, including minced, unsweetened preservative-free dried fruit, spices like fresh grated ginger, rolled whole oats, and chopped dark chocolate. Smear the combo onto fresh fruit, like sliced figs or wedges of apples and pears, or use it as a filling for celery stalks or a dip for baby carrots.

 

5) Add it to savory dishes

Chocolate-dipped veggies may sound adventurous, but incorporating chocolate into savory dishes isn’t all that unusual. Think: mole, the traditional Mexican sauce made with chocolate, chilis, and other spices. Other delicious ways to incorporate dark chocolate at lunch or dinner include adding it to vegetarian chili, eggplant caponata, or even hummus. Bon appetit!

 

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View the original article at http://news.health.com/2014/05/09/5-healthy-ways-to-eat-more-chocolate/?xid=Time-chocolate-051214

Affordable Anti-Aging Products

Categories: Blog, Health & Fitness | Posted: January 21, 2014

NBC’s The Today Show recently featured several affordable products under $100 that help fight the effects of aging on skin.

 

ROC Max Resurfacing Cleanser, $10.00

Gets rid of oil, debris, and dead skin cells.

Skinceuticals.com, $87.00

Fight free radicals for a healthy look.  Think of it as a “multi vitamin” for your skin.

Jan Marini Intervention, $65

“Use it in the evening for flawless skin”.

Strivectin-SD Eye Concentrate, $65

Makes eyes look brighter and more fresh.

Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, $26

Helps reguvenate the skin for less wrinkles and a brighter complexion.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Cell-OX Shield XL, $30

Gives coverage without peaking through your makeup.  Applying sunscreen at any age protects skin from damaging from the sun.  Lightweight and “easy to apply”.

Vichhy Celludestock, $39.50

This cream attacks areas of the body that are prone to cellulite.  Rub on the skin daily to reduce inflammation and appearance of cellulite.

 

To watch the full report from The Today show, see the view below for more information.

Tips for Staying Active on Thanksgiving

Categories: Blog, Health & Fitness | Posted: November 26, 2013

Push, Lift, Walk.  Push, Lift, Walk.  Those are the latest tips we’ve found online for keeping active and healthy this Thanksgiving.

The Bad: Studies show that if you count all the snacking, the feast, the desserts, the seconds (the thirds?), you may be looking at taking in 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. That’s at least twice as much as an average sized, active adult needs. Just the Thanksgiving dinner alone generally weighs in at 3,000 calories – source

The Good: An indulgence like a Thanksgiving meal is OK for most diets and health plans.  With the “Push, Lift, Walk” method, it may be even easier to feel less guilty about indulging.

Push yourself away from the table.

Lift plenty of glasses of water all day.

Walk it off when all is said and done.

While it may be pushing boundaries of dietary sanity, Thanksgiving is still one of the greatest days of the year because of all the THANKS that will be given.  Be sure to enjoy time with family, the grandkids, and the warmth of a great meal – whether we have to cook it, or not.

From the Cornerstone Homes family to yours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Health Benefits of Traveling

Categories: Blog, General Announcements, Health & Fitness | Posted: October 3, 2013

(from SeniorsGuideOnline.com)

traveling

Stay healthy by traveling…

It’s never too late to go on an adventure! And what’s not to love? Whether you’re visiting family or planning the getaway of your dreams, traveling can bring a spark to your retirement.

Consider this: travel can be good for your health. Getting out of your home promotes physical activity—something your body and you’re mind can’t get enough of as you age.

Maybe you’re visiting a national park or sightseeing with a friend. You’re probably walking more than usual, but with so many things to see, you don’t even notice. You’re strengthening your body by exercising and you’re enjoying it too!

Or maybe you’re staying with your family for the holidays. This is one of the easiest ways to share a good time with people you love, and at the same time you’re improving your mental health and preventing yourself from being lonely.

And of course there’s always the mental picture of you relaxing on a beach in the Caribbean. Even this can be healthy too. Being in fresh air may give you more energy, help your body function properly, and even give you a brain boost.

Just about any kind of travel is good for you, as long as you’re properly prepared. There are endless destinations, so pick one you really think you’ll enjoy. Plan your trip long in advance and run it by both your family and your doctor. They’ll help you work out a safe and reasonable itinerary, as well as guide you on what to pack.

Your health and financial situation may determine the scope of your trip, but they shouldn’t prevent you from getting out every once in a while. If your plan on doing a lot of walking, train in advance by walking in your neighborhood. If you are going abroad, find out from your doctor if there are any disease risks and make sure you receive any necessary vaccines.

And sorry, Medicare does not cover Caribbean vacations, but you may be able to find discounts or reduced fares for seniors. If you’re looking for something more affordable, research sites or attractions that are within driving distance of where you live, or plan a visit with your family.

So what are you waiting for? Keep yourself physically and mentally active through travel, and make the most of your retirement.