In my last article I shared my "Why" for training and taking care of myself the best way I know how. (Finding Your Fitness Focus In February)
That "why" has changed for me as I have gotten older. When I was in the service I went to the gym to lift weights because I wanted to get bigger and stronger. And while those things remains on my radar, they serve a purpose greater than only wanting to look good. Being strong, flexible and fit means I can put in a good days work without being trashed, and still have something left for my family.
Aging happens. There's nothing you can do about getting older, except dying. That's the bad news. The good news is that you are not the first person (or 100,000,000th person) to get older, so we can see some patterns to how the aging process works. AND we can do something about fending it off.
Here's are just 5 of the ways you can "Fend Off Father Time" and live your best life now and for many years to come.
1. Brush Your Teeth and Floss
Gum and teeth health are not only an appearance and quality of life issue, but an overall health issue as well. Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease; in fact according to the Harvard Health, people with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart disease. AND poor dental health leading to bacterial infection can actually damage your heart valves. Yeah, brushing and flossing is that big of a deal.
2. Learn To Fall and Get Up
Coach Dan John shares that after age 55, statistically, the most dangerous thing we do (outside of commuting to work) is shower. At that age and above, slipping in the shower, falling on ice, and being in a traffic collision are worse for our longevity than anything else. Being able to get on the ground and get back up is THE skill to master and retain as you get older. There is a reason we do balance work, work down on the floor, and do "Get Back Ups" around here.
3. Use Sunscreen
Your skin isn't just a cover for your muscles and bones. It is a living, active organ, and one of the most important ones of the body. As you age, your skin gets thinner, dry, and less elastic. Using sunscreen and moisturizer helps keep it from prematurely aging and protects you from the environment. And PLEASE! Do not ignore moles or spots that change over time. Doing so can turn the small inconvenience of getting them checked by a doctor into a big problem, like skin cancer. Be nice to your skin, and it will reward you with better health.
4. Exercise Your Mind
Never, ever, ever stop doing the things that keeps your brain active. Reading, learning a new language, take up a new hobby, journaling - these are all things that keep the mind strong and healthy. And keep your "fat head". The brain is made up of about 60% fat, so don't avoid getting essential fatty acids (EFA) into your diet. And yes, this is a plug for you taking a high quality EFA supplement such as SFH Omega 3 - it does your body AND brain good.
5. Move Your Body
It's not a secret that our bodies deteriorate as we age. Muscles lose size and strength. Bones get smaller and less dense. Your tendons and ligaments follow suit, and mobility is lost. Coordination and balance start to go.
There is something you can do about all that. And that something is exercise. But not just any old exercise is ideal. Yes, walking is good for you. And cardiovascular exercise has its benefits. But NOTHING is as effective to slow down the systemic decline of aging like resistance training, strength training, weight training; whatever you want to call this kind of training. Loading the muscles through a full range of motion, regularly and appropriately is key to maintaining an optimally healthy body as you age. And you don't have to lift a kajillion pounds. You just have to work on progressively loading and making the body respond by getting stronger over time. Get in here already! 🙂
There is no fountain of youth - sorry. No magic pill, lotion or potion that has been or will ever be found that will make this body live forever. But don't let keep you from taking action and doing the things you can do to live "useful" for as long as you can.
Brush Your Teeth. Learn To Fall and Get Back Up. Use Sunscreen. Exercise - Mind and Body. And for crying out loud, don't smoke).
Be PROactive. Do It Now.
Make It Happen!