As we age it is important to stay active and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As the saying goes “if you don’t use it, you lose it”, there is some truth to this. At OWL Chiropractic, we think staying active as we age helps us add life to our years and ward off chronic diseases. Below we will explore some tips for adding years to your life and life to your years.
Strength training: Maintaining muscle mass as we age is so important. Proper muscle mass helps with balance and reduces the risk of falls and fractures. Strength training also wards off osteoporosis and osteopenia by building bone density. It is important to do weight bearing exercises at least 2-3 times per week. If you have never strength trained before it is important to seek the help of a professional. A Lot of gyms give silver sneaker discounts and/or have programs designed for seniors.
Walking: Do not underestimate the power of walking. Walking just 15 mins per day has shown to have a positive affect on people's overall health and wellbeing. Walking after a meal is a great idea, it can help with digestion. Walking also has a positive effect on our mood and cognition, both which decline in our older years.
Working on balance and flexibility: As mentioned previously the risk of falls and fractures is concerning as we age, so doing stuff to decrease this risk is so important. Stretching is great for muscle flexibility but can also aid in balance and stability. Exercises like yoga and tai chi are geared towards improving balance and flexibility. Again if you are a beginner there are many resources out there to help you. I know the local YMCA has yoga and tai chi for older adults.
Get enough sleep: I can not stress this enough. Sleep is so important for your overall health. Proper sleep helps with anxiety, depression, weight control and can reduce your risk for chronic disease. Establishing a regular sleeping routine is important and aiming to get 7-8 hours is recommended. (Read more here about what else sleep does for you.)
Eating a healthy diet: Nutrients are essential for life. You are what you eat and your cells build tissues based on what you provide to them. You feed them junk they have no choice but to make junk. You want a diet rich in fats, proteins, veggies and fruit. Limit sugar and processed foods. The best diet plan, if you can not pronounce / understand the ingredients then you should not eat it. A healthy diet will help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Stay social: staying social helps keep your brain going. Studies have shown that people who are part of regular social clubs age better and have less cognitive decline then people who don't participate in social activities.
Aging is inevitable however it can be done gracefully and you can add life to your years and years to your life if you take care of yourself. This can be done by making sure you are getting enough sleep, proper diet, staying social and working on strength, balance and flexibility.
Start with one habit and then add another. Rome wasn't built in a day! So grab a friend, 4 legged or 2 and go for a walk together, be social and active!!!
Extra: There is a Netflix series called Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zone that may give you some food for thought. Check it out and let us know what you think...