If you are like most people, your life has been, and may still be, busier than busy. Family, career, responsibilities, education – all are part of life. Time goes by. Then, suddenly, one day, you recognize that in your busy-ness, more time has passed than you realized. Perhaps going up and down the stairs hurts your knees a little bit more than it used to. Or, you may notice that your back is not as strong as it used to be when you were younger.
Before it creeps up on you, stop and take notice of what your body is trying to say to you. All your body really wants you to do is to listen. It’s saying, “Hey, something is missing here.” STOP! PAY ATTENTION! SLOW DOWN! Do things differently. You can choose how you age.
We can’t stop aging; it’s an inevitable part of life. But you can choose how you age. More and more studies are proving that behavior in your middle years is reflected in your health and well-being your later years.
If you take a proactive stance for your health early on, you will have amazing results. Although genes play a role, you do have a choice about how you age. The younger you start, the better your results.
But even if you have neglected your health up to now, it’s never too late. You can still choose how you age. And in the process, you will gain new energy and vitality if you take some steps to change your lifestyle. If you choose how to age, you can become a healthier, more vital you.
Resolve to be Healthier
Whatever day it is, make this day the beginning of a “New Year” for you. This day can be the first day of your new life – a life of health and living well-thy. So resolve to choose how you age. Start right now! These changes can make the most impactful, long-lasting improvements in your health says Dr. Andrew Gurman, president of the American Medical Association:
- Avoid sugar, particularly sweetened beverages.
- Take the screening test at www.DoIHavePrediabetes.org to see if you’re at risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Get moving. Walk or do light to moderate exercise at least five days a week. If able, do aerobic exercises.
- Cut out, or at least cut down on, processed food and food with added salt and sugar.
- Watch your alcohol consumption. Women should have no more than one drink a day; men, no more than two.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Don’t allow secondhand smoke in your car or home.
Exercise and Fitness
“But I haven’t exercised in years,” you may think. Or another excuse might be, “I’m simply too busy or too old.” Excuses are a sure guarantee that instead of aging gracefully, you will have more difficulty in doing chores and pleasurable activities. But it’s not aging, so don’t blame it on growing older. Put the blame where it belongs – on lack of movement.
Too painful to move? Well, sitting on the couch isn’t going to help. Each day you don’t move your body, it will become harder and harder. Again, choose how you age; it’s up to you. Decide to exercise. Do it now!
Starting slow is okay, but doing nothing is not okay. Plan to do a little “moving” each day, and each day add a few more action steps. Moving your body is a twofold gift to yourself – you will enjoy better health now and better health in the future. It’s a gift that just keeps on giving.
Studies repeatedly show that you age better if you exercise. Not only will you have more mobility and for a longer time, but you will also recover more quickly from physical disabilities. Your body reaps the benefits of exercise in many ways:
- Improved cardiovascular system
- Lower blood pressure
- Well-maintained blood sugar levels
- Strengthened joints and muscles
- Better balance
- Increased pep in your stride
- More vigor and vitality
- Better mood
- Feeling happier
- Sleeping better
- A feeling of overall wellness
- Less fatigue
Your brain will sing for joy! Physical exercise may directly benefit the brain says Dr. Ezriel Kornel, a neurosurgeon at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City. Your choice to keep moving could:
- Improve your mental well-being, both now and in the future
- Give you clarity of mind
- Increase your cognitive abilities
You Are What You Eat
We’ve probably all heard the expression, “You are what you eat?” Well, it’s true. Many studies now show the direct benefit of specific foods on aging.
As we are more well-informed today, and with the ready availability and declining costs of organic foods, doesn’t it make sense to tap into this wellspring of youthful living?
What a great way to choose how you age. Not only does the food taste better, but you rid your body of pesticides and other toxins when you go green. Let your future be one of graceful aging, instead of haphazard aging.
Healthy foods give us the nutrients that promote wellness throughout our bodies: brain, muscle, bone, nerves, skin, blood circulation, and immune system.
Eating a steady supply of many different foods that contain a variety of nutrients helps ensure continuing health. Failing to get the vitamins and minerals needed virtually guarantees disease. Doesn’t it make sense, then, to eat the highest quality food you can afford? Organic is the way to go.
Why organic? Because the evidence to shows that antibiotics, growth hormones, herbicides and pesticides found in our everyday food are having a damaging our health and weight.
A study undertaken by the UK’s University of Newcastle proved that organic food has significantly higher levels of secondary metabolites – compounds such as carotenoids, flavanones, phenolics, and resveratrol – that are linked to good health, lower weight and less body fat.
Foods, mainly organic foods, that will provide you with the most vitamins and minerals now and later include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (serving size: 2-3 fruits; unlimited vegetables daily – include at least 1 dark leafy green)
- Sea vegetables are not only low in calories but are also high in Vitamin C and iron. They contain a natural fiber called alginate, which impedes the enzymes in our gut that absorb fat. Sprinkle on to salads and into soups and stews.
- Whole grains (serving size: 1 cup daily)
- Nuts and seeds (serving size: ¼ cup daily)
- Legumes (serving size: ½ cup daily)
- Fish, wild caught, not farmed (serving size: 2-4 ounces – about the size of a deck of cards)
- Beef, grass-fed (serving size: 2-4 ounces – about the size of a deck of cards)
Drinks that will benefit you now and later include:
- Matcha tea, a concentrated powder form of green tea that’s popular in Japan, offers more anti-aging nutrients than many other popular health foods like blueberries, leafy greens, and nuts. Drink 1-3 cups a day in place of coffee, tea or unhealthy snacks.
- Green tea is the most widely consumed beverage around the world (second only to water). Since green tea is made from unfermented tea leaves, scientists at the University of Maryland Medical Center crown it as the brew with the most potent concentration of polyphenol antioxidants, which fight free radicals that damage DNA and cause aging, cancer, and stroke, heart disease.
- Oolong Tea gives you healthier teeth and bones. WebMD.com links oolong brew to the prevention of tooth decay and the prevention of tartar on tooth enamel. Oolong has also been associated with decreased bone deterioration, particularly osteoporosis, in women.
- Water in your body is lost through many body functions such as breathing, sweating, digestion, and eliminating impurities. It also regulates your body’s temperature and keeps the tissues in your body moist. Moreover, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints. So drinking water does much more for you than just quenching your thirst; it is essential to your overall health.
Be Socially Active
If you are active in local community groups, your mental skills may be sharper as you age, a new study suggests. Interaction within your community increases your communication and social skills and helps protect your mental functions as you age.
Here are some ideas for community involvement:
- Volunteer organizations
- Church groups
- Neighborhood associations
- Groups involved in politics or social causes
- Senior centers
Aging and wellness can go hand in hand. It doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember, you choose how you age.
Start now by changing one small thing, and later another small thing. Eventually, those small changes become ingrained habits, creating a huge life transformation.
Change your mind, change your food, start to exercise, feed your soul, and be mindful of all you do. But make it simple. Choose one, then another, then another.
Let us know how you do? Give us your Success Story!