Most of us want to age gracefully. What does that really mean? I don’t want to silently slip into my older years just existing – I want to live fully. There are things I can do now that will allow me to have the vitality that I want when I am old. A friend said to me recently that “we’re all going to get old and sick.” I challenge that thought. Hopefully, we will all get older but it’s not necessary that we get sick just because we age. We can achieve longevity using food as the foundation for good health.
We all can probably relate a story of a loved one or friend who has died all too early due to a disease that we now know could be abated by proper nutrition. This is a sad sign that our current standard of eating is not serving the nutritional needs of our bodies. It doesn’t matter if you are 20, 50 or 90 your health can benefit by providing your body the specific nutrients it needs.
We are all different so specific nutrients may vary due to our biochemical individuality. But as a general rule, we require lean protein, complex carbohydrates – mostly from vegetables, and healthy fats. For those vitamins and minerals that you may be deficient in and not eating enough from food, you can add high quality supplements. And it may be over time that you might be able to reduce or remove certain supplements as you add more variety of foods to your diet.
If we expect to be active in our older years, we need to be active now. Every health-related web site says to exercise and may give specific examples of what types of exercise is best. But if you don’t like that exercise and won’t commit to doing it, then you won’t get any benefit from starting then stopping only to feel discouraged. Instead make your everyday full of movement. It is so simple to add movement to just about any routine activity. Here are a few examples that I’d consider for those who feel they are just too tired or out of shape to start working out.
Challenge yourself doing everyday activities:
- Washing clothes – make certain to bend over often to put clothes into the washer rather than taking the whole pile and dumping them in all at once. It may take a few more minutes to accomplish the task but you will stretch out your spine. If you can’t make the full range of movement bending in half because of tightness bend your knees; take it slowly and work up to a level where you can manage without being out breath or feeling strained.
- Drying clothes – if you use an indoor clothes dryer, reverse the process of washing and reach as far into the dryer tub to stretch your body. Do this multiple times. There is a huge health benefit to hang clothes outside on a drying line incorporating bending and stretching, if you have the option. There is also an environmental benefit by using less energy and getting vitamin D from the sun.
- Folding clothes – the same idea works here as the other laundry chores. Leave the basket on the floor, bend and pick up one piece at a time. Fold and place back in a basket. Then carry the basket up the stairs. You could make several trips up and down the stairs to get your heart rate up.
- Housecleaning – turn on your favorite music and dance around the house while picking up, dusting, mopping or whatever needs to be done. You’ll be surprised how much more fun an activity can be when you add music and dance to it. Dance in any fashion you like – just go for it.
- Organizing the pantry– take everything out of the pantry, go through each item and make a decision what to do with it. Before putting it back in the pantry consider if it something you should be eating. Get rid of GMO products, corn oil, canola oil, baking spray oil, etc. You can make loading groceries into the pantry a movement exercise by placing things you use the most on shelves the furthest away. This will make stretching something you will do more frequently.
- Organize the closet – go through items that can be donated, sold or discarded. Bend, stretch, lift, twist and turn. Of course, this type of activity is not something you will do often enough to make it an exercise habit. But you could start in one closet one week and move to the next another week and so on.
More than exercise, get plenty of sleep. Skip that extra TV show, forgo that extra video game and make sleep a priority. Review the Startling Effects From Missing Sleep chart. It may surprise you just how valuable sleep is!
A positive attitude may be the critical success factor for aging gracefully. Accept who you are, where you are currently in your physical and mental health. Let yourself feel what you feel, without criticism or judgment. Wanting to change things is not a criticism but an evolution in your life cycle. We don’t remain static throughout our lives. We change in many ways. So it’s natural to want to change if you reach a point where you want a change. If you need help making those changes or a non-judgmental accountability partner, I’m here to help you.
I want you to become the person you are destined to be and grow more beautiful with each day, month and year. Don’t just let life happen to you – transform your life. I’m just getting started. Why don’t you start today and prepare for what’s next!