WE HAVE TO WORK HARDER!
We know we are aging. We don’t like it. It sucks ass! But there is nothing we can do about it. Aging will flux just as time has always. But we can slow the aging process. That’s right I said it-Slow The Aging Process. Follow me as I paint this masterpiece.
Let’s focus on the muscle, bones, and joints.
What happens as we age?
While we trip through our 40’s and stumble into our 50’s our muscles begin to lose density, strength, endurance, and flexibility. These negative issues can affect our coordination, stability, balance, and physique. The lost muscle may be replaced by fat. The bones begin to shrink in size and density. This weakens the bones making them more vulnerable to fracture. This is why it “appears” people shrink as the age. Our joints begin to stiffen, and mobility becomes compromised.
How do we slow this horrible process? Get up! Move!
Include weight bearing exercises 2-3 times per week. This weight training doesn’t have to involve hundreds and hundreds of pounds. Any weight that challenges the muscle being worked is sufficient. Simple activities such as walking, jogging, taking the stairs, body weight exercises, or 8 minutes of HIIT will have significant positive effects.
As the WHO explains, “Increased physical activity and improving diet can effectively tackle many of the problems frequently associated with old age. These problems include reduced strength, increased body fat, high blood pressure, and reduced bone density.”[i]
In my opinion, I believe this next tip is crucial in slowing the aging process. Avoid Alcohol. Many have their own opinions about this topic so I will leave it as such; avoiding alcohol will assist in retarding the aging process.
Nutritionally, focus on getting enough calcium and protein from food. The best calcium sources include leafy greens, almonds, seeds, broccoli, canned wild salmon with bones, white beans and of course, grass fed hormone free dairy. As we age, we absorb protein less efficiently, so make sure you are getting enough in your daily diet and focus on lean, easily digestible sources. These include fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, protein powders and soaked and sprouted beans.
Next let’s focus on the cardiovascular system.
What's happening as we age?
As we age the cardiovascular system slows and blood vessels and arteries begin to stiffen. Consequently, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the body. Couple this with obesity and the heart has to work even harder to pump blood to the extremities. The heart muscles must adapt to handle the increased workload; often causing enlargement. These changes increase the risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
How can we keep things flexible and running smooth?
You must get some sort of physical activity each day. Ideally, some kind of weight training should be performed at least 2 times per week as well as performing cardio at least 4 times per week. I recommend HIIT. HIIT will save you time and give you the cardiovascular workout you need. Also incorporate walking, tennis, or swimming for the active rest days.
Make sure you are avoiding bad fats, such as hydrogenated products and fatty red meats. Focus on oily fish and plant fats such as avocados, walnuts, olive oil and the like. A diet high in refined starchy carbohydrates and sugar can raise triglycerides, so focus on whole grains like oatmeal and limit the sweets, opting for fruit instead of sugar.
Your Brain doesn’t know how old you are!
This is probably the most important aspect to slowing the aging process. Do not cage yourself within a number. If you expect over 50 to be full of deterioration and pain-then that’s what you get. If you believe in a number to identify who you are, then you will depreciate! Some research suggests that merely expecting physical deterioration increases the likelihood that someone will physically deteriorate. “In one study, scientists surveyed 148 older adults about their aging, lifestyles, and general health expectations. They concluded that expectations regarding aging “play an important role in the adoption of physically active lifestyles in older adults and may influence health outcomes, such as physical function.”[ii]
Another important factor in slowing the aging process in regards to your brain is using it! Keep learning, laughing, connecting with others. Doing puzzles and games, purposely trying to remember new things, and engaging in meaningful conversations will all help to exercise your brain and keep it working well.
Feed your brain well. Make sure you are getting plenty of omega 3 fatty acids from fish and the plant fats mentioned above. Please- eat the whole egg not just the white. Dietary cholesterol from whole foods has been shown to have minimal impact on blood cholesterol, and the yolks are full of choline which is a healthy, much needed nutrient for brain health. Same rules apply here for starches and sugars – Alzheimer’s disease is now being termed “Type 3 diabetes”, so avoiding excess sugar, refined carbohydrates and junk food will help stave off cognitive decline.
Even though we will grow older, it does not mean that you have to slow down and deteriorate. With just easily doable changes to adjust to your body’s needs, you can stay vibrant and healthy.