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Healthy Lifestyle

Adopting A Healthier Lifestyle In Your 80s Can Add Years To Your Life 

According to new research from Japan, even when you’re in your 80s you can add years to your life by adopting healthy lifestyle habits. 

Scientists in the research paper discussed how reducing your alcohol intake, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and increasing sleep can give individuals some of the biggest changes in their life for the better. 

Healthy 40-year-olds in the study showed a life longevity that increased by six years when these specific habits were regularly implemented into their daily lives. The benefits were even more prominent within individuals who were 80+ years old. 

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The gains in life longevity also applied to individuals who were dealing with life-threatening illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease. 

The study came from Osaka University, and was meant to prove that it’s never too late for someone to give up negative habits that impact their health. The study was based on almost 50,000 individuals from Japan who were tracked for up to 20 years. 

“This is a particularly important finding given the prevalence of chronic disease has increased globally,” said Senior author Professor Hiroyasu Iso.

The team says “taking ownership of your health is key to a pleasurable retirement.”

“Idioms and proverbs about the importance of maintaining good health span the ages. Many emphasize how closely health is tied to happiness and the opportunity to live a fulfilling and enjoyable life.”

The study was published in Age and Aging, and emphasized how healthy behaviors adopted over time, when one is middle aged or older, have a significant effect on lifespan. 

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Specifically, researchers found that adopting five or more healthy lifestyle habits increases  life expectancy for individuals older than 80, including those with chronic conditions. The results of the study were also dependent on socioeconomic status which can increase someone’s access to things like assisted healthcare, and healthy lifestyle brands. 

The study began nearly 30 years ago when participants in the Japan Collaborate Cohort (JACC) Study filled in surveys regarding their diet, exercise habits, alcohol consumption, smoking status, sleep schedules, Body Mass Index, and illnesses. 

The overall goal of the study was to increase common knowledge on what simple lifestyle changes can make a difference when it comes to someone’s quantity and quality of life. It’s known as one of the first studies to measure the impact of improving lifestyle habits among older individuals. 

“The finding that lifestyle improvements have a positive impact on health despite chronic health conditions and older age is an empowering one, especially given the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions and longer life,” said lead author Dr. Ryoto Sakaniwa.

Lead author Dr Frank Hu, of Harvard School of Public Health, in Boston, described the study results as “a positive message for the public”.

“They gain not just more years of life but good years through improved lifestyle choices.”

Dog Flowers

Pet Safe Flowers To Brighten Up Your Garden This Summer 

As the summer quickly approaches, many of us are gearing up to beautify our gardens and homes with flowers. For those of us with pets, it’s important to know which flowers are safe to have around the house in case our furry friends decide to do what animals do best and eat something they shouldn’t. 

To ensure all the flowers you buy are non-toxic to your pets, it’s recommended to buy individual bouquets rather than the ones that are pre-assembled. Pre-made bouquets don’t normally have every flower in them listed when you purchase, so it can be hard to tell if everything is safe. 

Like most plants, if ingested, flowers can cause your dog or cat to have an upset stomach, so it’s important to know the least harmful ones you should be reaching for at the garden store. 

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Roses are a classic and safe option for both dogs and cats. Fallen petals that can be accidentally ingested by your pet won’t make them extremely sick, and they come in a wide variety of colors to brighten up any space. If your roses have thorns, try placing them in the least accessible place possible.

Gerber Daisies are some of the most popular flowers among pet-owners as they are both beautiful and safe to have around. Make sure that when you buy these flowers you’re purchasing Gerber Daisies specifically, as other flowers within the daisy family, like chrysanthemums or mums, can be toxic to pets. 

Sunflowers are a classic and safe option for summertime. If the petals or seeds are ingested by a dog or cat, it’s likely that they will experience mild stomach discomfort, but they won’t have any serious health issues. 

It’s vitally important to note that if you notice your pet has a habit of eating plants and/or flowers that you stop them immediately and try to reconfigure your space to give them little to no access to the flowers themselves. 

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Orchids are another beautiful option that pet owners can feel confident about having in their home. Like most flowers on this list, if your pet ingests a petal or leaf they’ll likely experience an upset stomach, but they’re non-toxic overall. 

Freesias are a tall and funnel-shaped flower, which makes it even harder for pets to reach if they’re in a vase. They are, however, lemon scented, which could be tempting for any furry friend. These flowers are non-toxic to dogs and cats though, so an upset stomach will be the biggest concern if they do ingest any part of the flower. 

Beyond the safe flowers, it’s important to know of the ones that you should absolutely never have around a dog or cat, as they’re toxic if ingested. 

These toxic flowers include lilies, mums, tulips, azaleas, daffodils, foxgloves, hydrangea, baby’s breath, peonias, iris’, lavender, and eucalyptus. To be absolutely safe, always do your research before bringing any sort of plant or flower into the home.

It’s Never Too Late To Believe In Yourself: One Woman’s Story Of Going From Retired Banker To MasterChef Winner

Irini Tzortzoglou was bored of retired life, so at the age of 60 she decided to enter the famous cooking competition MasterChef, which she ended up winning. Now, Tzortzoglou is living her best life as a chef, writer, and public speaker.

Fashion Designer

Alexa Chung Announces The Closing Of Her Fashion Label Due To ‘Challenging’ Conditions 

Celebrity TV presenter and influencer Alexa Chung has announced that she is closing her fashion label of the same name after five years. She stated the closing is due to economic pressures caused by the pandemic. 

The label itself was shown twice during London fashion week, and just recently collaborated with the brand Barbour. Chung stated that the label “is not going into administration but is winding down.”

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Items from the recent Barbour collection will still be available on the brand’s official site until the end of the month. 

Chung noted on Instagram that “the decision to stop wasn’t taken lightly, the experience of setting up and being at the helm of my own company has been rewarding and frequently joyful, but the last couple of years have been challenging for small independent businesses and ours is no exception”.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, Chung was reluctant to embrace the e-commerce branch of her label, a move that she claims she would do differently if she were to start over again. 

Chung originally was known as a model and presenter on the UK’s Channel 4 Popworld, making her a major influencer of the new rave scene. She launched her fashion label in 2017. 

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Chung’s first show at London fashion week was deemed a major success, with reports of the designs being “London tomboy meets Parisian chic.” After that the label was really known for its outerwear.

“Fashion in particular unfortunately suffers from a quite high rate of people really struggling. So more than ever it’s important to have people around supporting you.”

Chung isn’t the only celebrity with a fashion brand that has seen better days in the past. Rihanna closed her ready-to-wear branch of her Fenty line last year while Victoria Beckham has also been financially struggling to upkeep her brand. 

While other celebrities have found major commercial success with their fashion lines, Kim Kardashian with Skims or Kanye West with Yeezy, the pandemic has made retail an incredibly difficult field to be successful in, especially as an entrepreneur. 

How Rotary Phone Toys Managed To Stay Relevant Throughout The Rise Of Smart Technology

Chances are we’ve all played some version of house when we were growing up. Pretending to be grown up, cooking in the play kitchen, and making important calls on our toy rotary phones. These classic elements of play have withstood the test of time, so much so that old school toys like toy rotary phones are still relevant today, regardless of how much technology has changed. 

Fisher Price initially released the toy “chatter telephone” in 1961. You can likely still picture the red phone receiver, eyes that would blink when the phone would ring, and a happy smile.

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Although we’re living in a new era of toys and technology, certain nostalgic items like the classic rotary phone have continued to sell and be played with worldwide. While actual rotary phones may no longer be in style, the toy is still holding its place in the market. 

Jules Burder is someone who has worked in early childhood education for 14 years. She recently spoke to the media and confirmed that the rotary phone – whether in toy or actual form – “ticks many developmental boxes. The repetitive task of rotating the dial builds fine motor skills and dexterity – this helps with pre-writing skills like pen holding,” she stated. 

“The phone also helps with counting, number recognition and even rhythm – you can imagine the click and the zing as the dial is drawn to each selected number.”

“Pretend play helps young children draw from and reflect on their own experiences and it encourages them to develop an understanding of social norms,” she says.

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“The nostalgia factor may explain why parents keep buying these toys.”

Lucia Di Mauro, the owner of Stranger Than Paradise toy shop, believes “nostalgia plays a large part in the dial phone’s enduring popularity.”

“We find that parents remember these toys from when they were kids. The design is mostly unchanged, and it sparks a memory of love or happiness. In the same way that people want to share a great song or movie, parents [and grandparents] want to pass on this positive experience to their children and grandchildren,” Lucia says. 

“Obviously, its appeal to children is not based on nostalgia. They don’t know that the toy is modeled on an old item that is no longer produced. It’s a multifaceted toy that offers many types of play, and that is what kids love.”

Flick Davies, the store manager of Honeybee Toys, finds that, “rather than the adults seeking it out, it’s the children who gravitate towards it. It seems they can’t help but pick it up. Instinctively they know what to do with it – it’s got a receiver like mummy’s phone … that just happens to be attached by coloured string.”

Small Pets Are At Risk Of Heatstroke As Temperatures Rise

If you’re a small animal owner, it’s important to remember as we transition into warmer seasons in the coming months that your furry friends are at risk of heat stroke, depending on where you live, their setups, and how easy it is for them to cool down. Animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, chinchillas, and others need to be protected from extremely hot and humid environments.

Researchers have said that there needs to be an increase in public awareness of heatstroke, and the risks that different animals have to experiencing it. Climate change is making it even harder for small animals to remain cool during the summer months. 

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The most common symptoms that researchers found across every species include abnormal breathing, lethargy, collapsing, and stomach issues like diarrhea. Caged animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, and ferrets are at risk of heatstroke because of their confinement in their cage set ups. Make sure you have the largest and safest set up for your small animals and allow them to get free time every day to stretch. 

Dr Anne Carter, a researcher at Nottingham Trent University, said: “There is a misconception that heatstroke in pets only relates to dogs in hot cars and we need to do more to raise awareness of risk factors not only for dogs but in the wider pet population.”

“Owners of small animals such as rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs may need to review their pet’s housing and take steps to keep their pets cool in the warmer months to reduce the risk of heatstroke.”

If you have a flat-faced rabbit, typically lop-ears have flatter faces, it’s important to know that they are more susceptible to heatstroke.

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Emily Hall, a researcher and vet, said: “Heat-related illness can affect all pets and is likely to become more common as global temperatures rise. Our findings highlight the need for better public awareness of heatstroke and the risk to all animals.”

“The fact that brachycephalic [flat-faced] dogs and rabbits were overrepresented in our study suggests that owners of these animals should be particularly vigilant during hot weather.”

The data from the study observed a relatively small number of pet patients, so the researchers made it clear in their findings that the overall figures for heat stroke among small animals, dogs, and cats is likely much higher than any reported numbers. 

Lack of awareness from the owner can be the biggest cause of death from heatstroke. In general, when you commit yourself to an animal, no matter how big or small, it’s important to do the proper research and make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep them comfortable and healthy throughout the warmer months.

Teaching Preschoolers Healthy Lifestyle Habits Can lower Risk For Heart Disease, Study Says

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that introducing healthy lifestyle habits to kids at a young age can lower their risk of developing heart disease later in life. Healthy lifestyle habits include staying active, eating five portions of fruits/vegetables, and reducing overall salt intake. 

“The SI! Program (Salud Integral – Comprehensive Health) was developed as a multilevel and multi-component school-based program for the promotion of cardiovascular health and achieving lasting lifestyle changes in children from preschool age. It was implemented in three countries from the year 2009 onwards,” said Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, general director at Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC), director of Mount Sinai Heart and principal investigator of the project.

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The authors reviewed the results which were taken over a period of 10 years, and surveyed more than 3,800 children aged between three to five from 50 schools across Colombia, Spain, and the US. The children were mainly assessed on how their knowledge, habits, and attitudes changed towards a healthy lifestyle. 

Those who participated in the program itself showed a significant increase in knowledge, attitude, and habits that support a healthy lifestyle. Fuster explained that they were able to analyze the success of the program by focusing on the maturation of the children, and changing the questionnaires to adapt with them as they get older. 

Children who received more than 75% of the program had a significant change from the baseline of their overall knowledge, attitudes, and habits, especially when compared to the children who received less than 50% of the program. 

 “The school environment is a great area to introduce healthy lifestyle interventions because children are spending so much of their time there,”  said Rodrigo Fernández-Jiménez, MD, PhD, and author on the study. 

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“There are specific times in a child’s life when improvements can be made to enhance long-term cardiovascular health status. Our review, and previous studies, suggest that four to five years of age is the most favorable time to start a school-based intervention focused on healthy habits.”

“Most preschool interventions focus solely on physical activity and diet. The SI! Program breaks down cardiovascular health into four components. Through the first two components, children are learning how a well-balanced diet and physically active life are directly connected to a healthy heart. Next, they learn about emotion management, which seeks to instill behavior mechanisms against substance abuse – mainly smoking – and dietary decisions later in life. Finally, the children are taught about how the human body works and how it is affected by behavior and lifestyle,” said Gloria Santos-Beneit, PhD, and lead author of the study.

In the future, the authors hope to put a greater focus on the involvement of the families of the children in the study. Socioeconomic status has a major influence on how easy it can be for a child and family to maintain healthy lifestyle habits, so the authors of the study are looking for ways to intervene and make it more accessible to them. 

“Further research is needed to identify specific socioeconomic status factors that influence child health and effectiveness of intervention in the long term, and the issue of sustainability or need for re-intervention,” Fuster said.

Californian Firm Introduces Sustainable ‘Mushroom Leather’ As Vegan Alternative 

Dr. Matt Scullin is the CEO of biomaterials company MycoWorks. He recently discussed their newest vegan alternative to leather that could help save more than just animals. The scientists behind the alternative believe that mycelium, a material grown from fungi, could help save the planet as it can be engineered to look and feel like real leather. 

“We’re predicting that mushroom leather could be a sustainability gamechanger, unlocking a future of design which begins with the material, not with the object.”

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Fine Mycelium is a patented material that can be grown from fungi in trays within a matter of weeks. The material replicates both the appearance and feel of leather, while outperforming it in strength and durability. Recently, the material made it’s designer debut as an exclusive Hermès handbag.

“It can give the same emotional response as an animal leather. It has that hand-feel of rarity. On a planet of finite natural resources, both the technology and the mindset of carbon-neutral, grown-to-order mushroom leather could be revolutionary, and have implications for innovation in manufacture beyond fashion,”  says Scullin.

“I’m interested in talking to people in creative industries about how the possibilities of fungi can help open the mind to new ideas. I am excited to support the fashion world in its efforts to become more sustainable. There is so much potential in fungi to overcome some of the problems we face,” says Merlin Sheldrake, author of ‘Entangled Lives: How Fungi Makes Our Worlds, Changes Our Minds, and Shapes Our Futures.’

Mushroom leather can be grown in pieces to a specific shape and size as well, which eliminates the need for cutting and wasting product. A recent report from the Higg Materials Sustainability Index found that bovine leather does more environmental damage than any other fabric, including plastic-based synthetic fabrics. This damage is due to the deforestation and gas emissions associated with harvesting real leather. 

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Leather goods account for about 15% of the luxury market, and scientists believe sustainable alternatives could greatly decrease the fashion industry’s carbon footprint. 

“In order to have a substantial impact on sustainability, the material needs to be accessible at a lower price point. We are working with luxury fashion first because they are ahead of the curve when it comes to sustainability. These are brands which are in a position to think big and to think long term,” says Scullin.

Sheldrake believes that “one of the overarching lessons learned from studying fungi is reforming the way we think about waste. If fungi didn’t do what they do, our planet would be piled metres high in the bodies of animals and plants.”

“We have been trained as consumers to think in terms of a straight line whereby we buy something, use it and throw it away. Fungi can inform thinking about fashion on lots of levels. This is about material innovation, but it’s also about the culture of making endless new things, and what we can learn from thinking in terms of nature and of cycles instead,” he explained.

Dua Lipa Expanding Her Career With Lifestyle Brand Service95

Dua Lipa announced to Vogue this week that she would be launching her own lifestyle brand, Service95. Dua explained the brand as a “style, culture, and society concierge service,” which has been a hobby of hers for quite some time now.

“I’ve dreamed about this for so long. It’s a massive hobby of mine – I’ve always compulsively made lists of everything: my favorite places to eat, my favorite places to stay. Honestly, if I were to show you the Notes app on my phone right now…” 

Service95 is described to be a weekly newsletter featuring recommendations personally chosen by Dua. 

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“All my friends and family, wherever they travel in the world – even if they’re just there for one night – they’ll text me to ask what they should do. I’m their go-to person for recommendations.” 

Service95 will “allow those outside Dua’s inner circle access to that same insider knowledge she’s acquired as one of the biggest – and most well-travelled – superstars on the planet,” Vogue wrote.

Dua is also mending this new project with her non-profit organization the Sunny Hill Foundation, which recently opened up a kindergarten in her parent’s native town of Kosovo. Service95 will be used as a platform to shine the spotlight on inspiring figures and the causes that Dua feels passionately about. 

“For young people, looking at the news can be quite intense. You want to help but you don’t really know how to help. I want to help give young people the tools to make a difference.”

She’s not just stopping there either, Dua announced that along with the newsletter the project will also involve a podcast called At Your Service, which is described to have a wide variety of guests, including activists and some of Dua’s most famous friends. 

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“It’s very interesting being on the other side of the interview! All the guests I’m speaking to have very inspiring stories, and hopefully [as listeners], you will learn something about yourself,” she says. 

“Providing a platform for grassroots voices, or breaking down pressing issues in an accessible way, that element is really important to me. I’ve always believed that being of service is my mission in life. The whole idea is sharing information and helping each other.” 

“Subscribers can look forward to an artfully curated mix of think pieces, travel tips, and advice. There will be lots of different voices, interesting articles, and my own personal note about what I’ve been up to and what I’ve discovered,” Dua explained. 

“I want to be able to experience things, I don’t want to go to an amazing city and stay inside my hotel then leave and just say that I’ve been there. That has always been a massive thing for me. No matter what, I’ll make an effort to do something fun, and now I hope I can inspire others to do the same.”

Experts Worried About Rise Of ‘Zoom Dysmorphia’ As Pandemic Continues

Experts are worried that spending too much time staring at ourselves in “funhouse mirror” sizes on video-conferencing calls will begin to distort our self images.