Debilitating. Disfiguring. Deadly.
Hello, my friends,
I got this flyer (pictured above) in my mailbox sometime last week. I am not even sure what it was advertising, but it infuriates me because I know it is not how it works. Well, yes, we are going to eventually die, but "Debilitating"? "Disfiguring"?
We at Fit Factor work daily with clients in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s who have healthy, vibrant lives full of energy, adventures, and experiences. They travel, play sports, have hobbies, and are active in their communities.
The second half of our lives can bring some of our most rewarding decades. We may be more confident than our younger selves. We gain wisdom and patience. Sure, our hair has a little more gray, and our faces have more lines. But we can grow older with bodies and minds as healthy as they can be.
I know we discussed all this in the past, but here are science-based secrets to do just that.
Staying onDisfiguring top of our health is much more than getting care when we are sick. Make sure to see your doctor for regular checkups. (And remember your dentist and eye doctor.)
These visits can help find problems early or even before they start. The tests may depend on age, gender, family history, and whether we smoke or exercise.
Your doctor should check for these things, among others:
High blood pressure
Breast and prostate cancer
No, not the grocery store chain. It is a way of eating. We load up on veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and low-fat dairy. We eat less fatty meats, butter, sugar, salt, and packaged foods.
Many studies have found that a whole grain diet can help us live longer and protect us against heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.
Aim for a daily 30-minute walk plus at least two weekly strength workout sessions. Exercise -- especially if we do it regularly -- delivers enormous health benefits. For example, it helps keep brain cells healthy by providing more blood and oxygen, which may delay or improve symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
It also helps us to:
Control our weight
Boost our mood
Keep our bones and muscles strong
Make life easier
Loneliness is harmful to our health. If we feel lonely -- whether we live alone or with someone, have lots of friends or none -- we are more likely to suffer from depression and neurological decline.
Seniors who report feeling left out and isolated have more trouble with everyday tasks like bathing and climbing stairs. In addition, researchers found that lonely people have higher stress hormones that cause inflammation linked to arthritis and diabetes. So stay connected and make new friends. Do volunteer work for your community.
Swap out your white bread for whole grain. Add kidney beans to your salad and some apple slices for your afternoon snack. Fiber helps curb our appetite. It lowers our cholesterol levels and our chance of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer.
It also helps us avoid constipation, which is more common in older adults. After age 50, men should aim for 30 grams of fiber daily, and women should get around 20 grams daily.
Curb Bad Habits
Tobacco kills. It harms almost every organ in our body. Nicotine causes heart disease, lung, gum, and throat cancer, and many other health problems. It is never too late to quit. Your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette. Your chance of a heart attack goes down right away. In a year, your odds of heart disease drop by half. Ask your doctor for help.
Also, too much alcohol can harm your liver and cause some types of cancer. Men should have no more than two drinks a day; women, one a day. If you drink more than that, then try to cut back.
Try Our Stretching Sessions
Stretching combines relaxation and deep breathing. It is like a massage for your soul.
It also helps:
Lessen arthritis pain
It is often better to get nutrients from food, not pills. Still, after age 50 or so, our body does need more vitamins and minerals from foods or supplements than before. They include:
Calcium (to keep our bones strong)
Vitamin D (to support our muscles, nerves, and immune system)
Vitamin B12 (to nourish the brain and nervous system and help with the formation of healthy red blood cells)
Vitamin B6 (to improve our mood and reduce symptoms of depression)
Tell your doctor about any supplements you take so you can avoid harmful interactions with any medications or treatments.
Life tests us in many ways. Loved ones die, setbacks happen, and health problems can mount. But positive thinking can be a powerful ally. When we choose to be optimistic and grateful, our minds and body respond in kind.
People with a positive outlook live longer. For example, one study found that thinking positively about getting older may extend lifespan by 7.5 years. And that is after accounting for things such as gender, wealth, and overall health.
A positive outlook may help us exercise more and eat better. And that, in turn, enables us to feel better in general. Call it a "virtuous circle."
You can learn to be optimistic. It just takes time and practice. Things you can do include:
Smile, even fake smile. It can help lower stress
Reframe. Spin your thoughts on the good stuff instead of dwelling on the bad
Keep a gratitude journal
Do good things for others
Surround yourself with people who boost your spirits
Accept things you cannot control
Stick to Sleep
Insomnia is common in older adults. It is when we have a challenging time falling and staying asleep. It helps to wake up and go to bed on schedule every day. That can help keep our body clock in sync and get the necessary sleep.
Keep your bedroom dark. Turn off your TV, cell phone, and laptop
Avoid caffeinated drinks or alcohol before bedtime
Take a 15 to 20-minute power nap during the day
Ask your doctor if any of your meds might be keeping you awake
Challenge Your Mind
Things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, chess, Wordle, or reading are good for our brains. But that is not enough. We need to look for new learning experiences. Novelties. Learning and trying new things boost our brainpower. It also may lower our chances of cognitive decline.
Aging does not have to be debilitating or disfiguring. So let's make the most out of our second half.
Call us today to get on a fitness journey that will transform your life and how you look at aging.
See you soon.