Defeat Aging with Activities
“The body never lies.” – Martha Graham
Let’s face it, getting old isn’t for sissies. I have heard this mantra many times over the years of seeing bodies walking in and out of my office. The good news is we can do something to improve the aging experience.
I know what you’re thinking: this girl has lost her mind, how can you do that? Well, I can’t offer you a pill or a quick fix, but I can offer some advice to help slow the process of aging and help you help yourself through the process.
Most importantly, it’s never too late to start. The key to your health is to become attuned to your body and its needs. Secondly, learn to motivate yourself to address those needs. Awareness is critical to preventing many health problems and improving those that can’t be prevented.
Motivation follows from awareness and education, but sometimes we need a gentle (or firm) push. This may be the first time you have found it difficult to tie our shoes or put on your socks, or perhaps you have just admitted to yourself that it now takes you 15 minutes to get out of bed in the morning. Yikes!
I’d like to walk you through some of the physiological changes that occur during the aging process. Have you ever experienced any of the following scenarios?
* It seems to take longer to get over a muscle strain or other injury.
* What has happened to my muscles? I’m shrinking.
* I cannot believe how heavy that feels; am I loosing strength?
* Holy cow, I feel tight! Why am I not as flexible as I used to be? (As we age, we have a corresponding increase in calcium deposits and scar tissue in the body, which can decrease overall flexibility.)
* I feel stiffness in my joints/muscles, is this arthritis?
* Why are my hands and feet always cold?
While some of you might be nodding your heads in recognition, other may be thinking, “no way, this will never happen to me.” The body will respond to environmental, musculoskeletal and dietary changes whether we want it to or not. But we can take action to lessen the negative impact from those changes.
Start slowly and integrate small changes into your lifestyle. Incorporate simple activities and strengthening exercises into your day. It can be as easy as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking at the back of the parking lot instead of fighting for the spaces up front.
Walk your dog. As the old saying goes, if your dog is overweight, then you don’t get enough exercise. Dogs need exercise too; and love the opportunity to get out.
Swimming or water aerobics are excellent activities to take up as we age. Any exercise in a non-gravitational environment is incredible; there is less stress on the body in the water and gives 16 times the resistance of air, so you will get a vigorous workout.
Activity also allows for individuals to maintain a sense of independence. Start a simple, active stretching routine. As we age, the body slowly dehydrates, muscles become more inelastic and susceptible to injury. By stretching, we can improve the elasticity of muscle tissue, which promotes the release of the body’s natural lubricants inside the connective tissue. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, too. Many local gyms and fitness studios offer yoga, balance and strengthening classes for “older individuals”.
Remember, “Success isn’t the result of spontaneous combustion; set yourself on fire.”