Here we are, once again, bringing in a new year … I always find this to be an exciting time for me, a time to reflect on the previous year and determine how I can make this new year better than the last. This year I’m going to make healthy aging my mantra and you should too no matter what your age.
There are two things I want to work on this year …
First, I want to get moving again:
Think about what most of us do between the hours of 9-5, 5 days a week. We sit in an office, hunched over a computer working. No doubt most of us will pick up some kind of injury, like a back, neck or hip injury. This then teaches us that we need to slow down and stop being active (which is encouraged by most people we know). This is not healthy aging.
We spend our retirement also sitting down and during all this time, our bodies start to lose their flexibility, their muscle tone and their vitality. This is when imbalances arrive and it’s when we start to experience chronic pain. Sometimes this is exacerbated by illness or inflammation but very often it is simply the result of a lack of use, improper movement and muscular imbalances. So how do we fix it?
You Start To Move Again. It’s really just that simple.
Stop treating yourself like you’re made from glass just because you may be over 50. You need to push your body for it to adapt and become stronger. That is how you begin aging healthfully.
That doesn’t mean you should launch straight into an intense CrossFit regime though. Instead, you need to make sure that you introduce yourself to exercise gently with walking or swimming and then build on that. I find when I stick to a weekly yoga schedule I feel like I’m at my best.
Here are some health benefits of yoga for the 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond:
- Minimizes Hypertension
- Strengthens Bones
- Helps Keep Your Weight In Check
- Reduces Anxiety
- Protects Your Joints
- Builds Strength and Balance
- Sharpens Your Mind
- Boosts Your Mood
However, I do have one word of caution, if you are new to yoga I highly suggest that you take a beginners class at either a yoga studio or your local seniors center. Many seniors centers have what they like to call GOLD classes which are geared specifically to those over 50. They teach poses at a lower pace and lower intensity. You also receive the benefit of correction, meaning your instructor is there to correct a pose if you are doing it incorrectly. That way you are less likely to injure yourself.
If you have some experience doing yoga, there are a plethora of Yoga DVDs on the market and YouTube has some great gentle yoga videos geared toward seniors. In no time, you’ll be moving better than you ever did in your youth!
Second, I have to get back on the healthy food bandwagon:
The holidays are known for totally wrecking your healthy diet with all the fatty, sugary and carb filled foods on the table. While, I did try to make the healthiest choices I must admit I also did my share of indulging, recklessly … without any guilt or trepidation … I dove in face first, you might say 🙂
So, now it’s time to boost up the:
- Amino Acids
- Omega 3s
- Immunity Support
Why is this so detrimental in the aging process? Let’s take a look:
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and they’re incredibly important for your health especially as you age. These compounds serve all manner of important roles in the body from forming enzymes to aid digestion to forming neurochemicals. They also act as the raw materials that the body is made from though and that makes them crucial in restoring tissues as we get older including muscle and skin.
Beta Carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E help combat free radicals in the body. Free radicals are compounds that travel freely around the body and that are reactive when they come into contact with the cell walls. This is bad news, because they can eventually damage the exterior of the cells to the point where they look wrinkled and aged. Worse, they can eventually break through to the DNA and cause mutations that lead to cancer. Eating lots of antioxidants will keep these to a minimum, thereby reducing the negative effects they have on the body.
Omega 3s are very good for keeping your brain young and healthy in older age. That’s because it is able to improve cell membrane permeability, speeding up communication between brain cells. Better yet, omega 3s is an antioxidant which protects joints and improves nutrient absorption. It also slows the break down of muscle (which vitamin C does as well).
Vitamin C also happens to boost the immune system, which means that it can help to fight all manner of illnesses and invading forces that can badly damage your health in older age.
Did the holidays totally wreck your healthy schedule, too? What do you have planned to get back on track?
See you in the comments,