5 Secrets to Win the Battle Against Aging

Five Secrets to Winning the Battle Against Aging.

As a Physical Therapist in Sutton, the orthopedic conditions that I encounter are exacerbated when lifestyle and daily habits have become poor. This accelerates joint degeneration, pain, fatigue and, consequently, leads to the assistance of a cane, walker, or wheelchair. There are several opportunities for you to improve the way your body functions, and thus limit your risk for preventable orthopedic surgeries later in life. Make these opportunities something you focus on each day:

  1. Stay Young, Mentally: Mental health is an important factor in aging gracefully. The CDC estimates that 20% of adults over the age of 55 experience some mental health disorder. A concerning statistic that is on the rise. The most common mental health disorders in older adults include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder). Depression being most prevalent in those aged 55+. Older adults with depression visit the doctor and emergency room more often, use more medication, incur higher outpatient charges, and experience longer hospital stays. Low back pain and depression are also closely linked. Those who suffer from low back pain typically have decreased life satisfaction and report the inability to perform daily tasks as well as their healthy contemporaries. You might ask: What can I do to stay young mentally? Begin by starting a daily gratitude journal. Spend a few minutes in the morning thinking about 3 things that you are grateful for. Write them down! Research has proven that this will create positive changes in your brain chemistry helping to thwart negative thought processes.
  2. Move with Confidence & Prevent Falls: If you are serious about putting off joint replacements and other orthopedic surgeries, I suggest you start by beginning a daily exercise routine. The benefits of a daily exercise routine are endless. Not only is exercise a panacea for looking and staying youthful, the benefits of a 30-minute daily routine do not stop there. Exercising every day will decrease your risk of many types of cancer, improve your mental acuity, increase your strength, and balance, and deliver a host of other benefits as well. Cardio and strength training both provide additional health benefits. If you are new to exercise (and you are older than 55) I would advise you to seek out an experienced physical therapist to guide you through the basics. Physical Therapists hold doctorate degrees, and work with older adults every day to prescribe safe and effective exercise programs. As PT’s our goal is to bolster bone density and reduce your risk of falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for those 65 and older. Exercise programming can be complicated, so find a professional to work with who can make sure that reach your specific goals, safely. You will not regret it!
  3. Eat Like your life depends on it. Because it does. Just as important as exercise in the battle against aging is proper nutrition. What is “proper nutrition”? With “fad” diets from Atkins, Keto, Paleo (and everything in between) it is certainly a fair question to ask. It seems like everyone is trying to sell a certain diet without understanding your body’s specific needs first. Perhaps you have several food intolerances, cannot eat gluten, and have a severe allergy to shellfish. What then? I advise my patients to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and get your protein from a reputable grocery store. Choose meats that are anti-biotic free and grass-fed. One of the ways that cows are “fattened up” is by overloading them with antibiotics, ruining their gut biome and causing them to add weight at an incredibly fast clip. These antibiotics end up in the meat you consume, which is not good for your health. Make sure your fish is not farm raised. Farm raised fish tends to be less nutritious and is often dyed in color because it lacks the natural nutrients it would receive if it were caught and bred in the wild. When considering sources for calcium, look for dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli is an excellent source of calcium and is a more effective way to deliver calcium to your cells than most dairy products. If you have specific questions regarding diet and nutrition, I suggest reaching out to a nutritionist to discuss your goals.
  4. Maintain strong social connections. According to Yale Professor Lori Santos, in her seminal course The Science of Well-Being, just being around other people is enough to boost happiness levels. Community is a wonderful thing, and is especially important to older adults. One study showed that people with close social ties are less vulnerable to premature death, more likely to survive a fatal illness, and less likely to fall prey to stressful events in life. Whether it is a golf league on Tuesday nights, a bowling night, or bingo club, choose a social event and stick to it. The more socialization the better to live a longer and healthier life! Sources: Myers (2000). The funds, friends, and faith of happy people. American psychologist, 55(1), 56

There you have it. Four tips to live a healthier life and win the battle against aging. Start employing some of these tips today. Watch as your friends and colleagues ask you what your “secret” is to moving pain free and living a high quality of life. Something that we all want! If you do not know where to start, I would suggest making a yearly “physical” with your local physical therapist. Your PT will let you know which muscles groups are weak, tight, or both, and will help guide you toward moving better with more confidence.

If you want to know more about what you need to do to live a healthier and more “fit” life, please feel free to reach out me at drlordan@conciergephysicaltherapy.com or click here to contact us now.

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