By Allyson Marrs
It's the heart of the winter season. Among all the great things this time brings, body fogginess and dulled senses also hitch a ride. The body is seemingly in a constant state of overstimulation, surrounded by the aroma of evergreen, glowing lights, cars honking, the smooth edge of a pair of skiis and delicious Champagne. It's easy for everything to blur together. To keep senses sharp, try these tricks.
Best Bet: Use it! Like the saying goes, "take time to smell the roses" because it will help boost your nasal receptors. To strengthen, test your skills by blindly sniffing various potent oils and spices. The sense of smell is linked to the limbic system, which processes both memory and emotion, making smell the strongest link to memories. Having a sharp nose means having a sharp mind.
Vitamin Boost: Zinc, vitamin B, B-12 and folate will all help your inner animal take over.
Best Bet: Before improving taste, you must work on smell, with 90 percent of taste actually being smell. Then, concentrate while you eat, taking note of each individual flavor and giving real time to enjoy a meal. Alternate between items (entrée, veggie, starch, repeat) to keep your taste buds guessing. This technique will also keep your buds from adapting to a flavor, thus dulling it.
Vitamin Boost: Like the sense of smell, zinc will boost your buds.
Best Bet: Indulge in activities that require careful use of the hands such as cooking, knitting, playing an instrument or putting together a puzzle. This will utilize key muscles. Like the other senses, actively focus on the task and really feel the objects and different textures you're interacting with. Alternate between textures giving both your hands and feet a variety. It's no secret about the calming effect the human touch has, and its therapeutic nature is one to be cherished.
Vitamin Boost: B vitamins, vitamins A, C and E and zinc can all help with degenerate nerve diseases that will affect this sense.
Best Bet: This is our go-to sense and one that age likes to really mess with. While a big part of sight is genetic, protecting your peepers is an effort everyone should make. For those strapped to a desk during the workweek, give your eyes a break from the computer. Frequently rest by taking eyes off the screen and scanning the room and focus on objects at different distances. Blinking is also the best way to treat your eyes because the tear film provides necessary nutrients by keeping them moist.
Vitamin Boost: Antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids will keep the right nutrients flowing to the eyes.
Best Bet: Another victim of overstimulation, the sense of hearing is forced to tangle with white noise, background noise and dominant noise all at the same time. At any one moment, there can be dozens of sources emitting a sound and auditory attention is torn in every direction. To exercise this sense, take at least 10 minutes every day to listen to absolutely nothing. Sit in silence. The ears need a break! To avoid abuse, keep the volume down when using those popular earbuds. If the person next to you can hear the music, it's definitely too loud.
Vitamin Boost: Magnesium, vitamins A, C and E will all help prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
FOOD FOR FUEL
By Allyson Marrs
Each month, we'll feature a Bellevue Club member who's made a change in his or her life with the help of the Club's Wellness program.
"I have a lot of people in my life interested in my health," said Rick Otta, Bellevue Club member since July 2011. "I have a responsibility to my family to be healthy, productive and provide them with long-term support."
After routine medical checkups, Rick decided that it was time for a change. His cholesterol, blood pressure and weight were not where they needed to be, so he looked to the Club's Wellness program to help him change his lifestyle.
His first stop was nutritional counseling with dietitian Cindy Farricker. It started with understanding food's purpose. Rick began to set goals for daily calories and portion sizes, using a food diary, and learned how to choose "good" items from lists that tantalized with everything but. "This alone helped me to make substantial progress in my weight-loss goals," he said.
To date, he's lost 17 pounds, reduced his blood glucose level by 26 percent, lowered his blood pressure and improved his HDL (good), and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels—all without the help of medication. And he knows his way around the weight room.
Wellness evaluations with Wellness Coordinator Jason Kennedy and sessions with his trainer Cory Patterson have kept Rick motivated. "The Club has provided easy access to the resources I need to improve my heath and longevity," he said.
The process is ultimately a lifelong one, but with advice from the "Cindy devil" on his shoulder, reminding him about healthy choices, and the support from others around the Club, it's a challenge Rick looks forward to.
Wellness Coordinator: Jason Kennedy | 425-688-3461 | firstname.lastname@example.org