Exploring the effects of aging and how we can work with our bodies to feel our best at the turn of every birthday.
We’ve heard it before: “Must be because I’m getting old.” But can we really use that as an excuse for having those aches and pains, not remembering things, and not staying on track with our goals?
Aging is inevitable. It happens to everyone and is beyond our control—well, not totally. Aging happens in both our mind and in our bodies. But, if we take responsibility for what we can/ITC control about the changes on the inside, we can become even better with age.
We can play a role in our future vitality by making the right choices that will impact how we’ll feel for years to come. As we age, it’s important to believe in our abilities and become more mindful. Try these tips to help you along your journey.
Tips for healthy ageing
Move your body
Keep moving and challenging yourself to stay ahead of the aging process from the inside out. Sometimes with age our connective tissues tighten and become inflamed, causing us to experience aches and pains. This may lead us to move less, but in fact movement in a safe, gentle way can be the best choice to bring back mobility and rehydration to our tendons and ligaments. You have the power to decide to move your body to help you feel more in control of your life and manage your pain levels.
The mind-body connection
Pair movement with mindfulness to take your experience to the next level. Add mindfulness to your workout is simply thinking about your movement in the present. Stay connected to your breath, pay attention to your body’s sensations. Stay in tune with your body as it moves and breathes. Mindful movement is a form of moving meditation that improves body awareness. It’s safe exercise. Listening to our body’s signals keeps us from overtraining.
In order to age well, we need to recognize the potential impacts of aging on our body and mind.
Effects of ageing on the body
- Muscles, joints, and tendons lose strength and flexibility
- Risk of bone loss and lower bone density
- Vision loss
- Decreased metabolism
- Risk of inefficient kidneys and urinary incontinence
- Risk of higher blood pressure
- Less sweating leading to risk of heat stroke
- Digestive systems slow down
- Slower reflexes and loss of coordination
Effects of ageing on the mind
– Memory loss
– Feelings of loneliness, isolation
– Depression/mental illness
– Lack of confidence
Get ahead of the aging game
Align your mind and body to create your best aging plan. With the following strategies, you can take the lead and improve your life going forward. Stay ahead of the effects of aging by focussing on what you can control to support optimal health from the inside out.
Working with the body
It’s important to recognize what we can and can’t control about the aging process. Physically, we can continue to strengthen our muscles and bones, take care of ourselves, get proper rest, and choose quality foods.
Exercise/mindful movement – Physical activity will prevent bone loss, keep your muscles strong, and your metabolism revving. Embrace resistance training, heart-healthy cardiovascular activity, and mind-body movement.
Researchers at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London assessed the health of older adults who had exercised most of their adult lives to see if this could slow aging. Those who exercised regularly maintained their strength, muscle mass and immune function. The researchers concluded that they were able to demystify the assumption that aging automatically makes us frailer. Live a long, healthy life by committing to exercise.
Sleep and rest – Getting proper sleep is a key factor to preventing disease. Sleep allows your body to repair cell damage, refresh your immune system, and restore concentration and memory formation.
Self-care – Make time in your life to keep yourself on your priority list. Focus on engaging in activities that give back to yourself. Honour your body by listening and responding to its sensations.
Food – Enjoy what you eat, practice eating intuitively and share food with others. Age well by ensuring your intake meets all of your nutrient needs.
Working with the mind
Mindfulness – A study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine found that paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgemental way will help with reducing anxiety, depression, and pain. Mindfulness has also been proven to improve immune function.
Gratitude – Looking for what you are thankful for helps bring more joy into your life. Studies cited in Psychology Todayhighlight that people practicing gratitude have stronger relationships, improved self-esteem, and are more resilient in overcoming trauma.
Meditation and breath awareness – Research published at the US National Library of National Medicine shows that meditation can slow the aging process, help reduce pain, and strengthen concentration and focus. Notice your breath and use breath connection techniques to decrease stress, anxiety, and feelings of sadness.
Memory exercises – Strengthen your brain through word games, testing your recall, or learning a new skill such as playing a musical instrument or taking a cooking class. Boosting your memory is part of living a brain-healthy lifestyle.
Social engagement – Decrease feelings of loneliness by sharing your time with others through hobbies or social groups to meet new people and reconnect with old friends.
Aging isn’t just about focussing on the number of candles on your cake. It’s more about what’s happening on the inside of your body—and optimal strength, mobility, and brain power. Decide what kind of life you’d like, and then align that with your best aging plan to thrive at the turn of every birthday.
More Knowledge: You might also enjoy this great article on how to age well through resilience.
Author: Doris Ward is the award-winning Personal Training Specialist of 2018 with canfitpro and has completed training in Yoga for Trauma, Mindfulness, Life Coaching, Peer Support Group Facilitation and Mental Health First Aid. She has been certified as a Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor, Personal Trainer, STOTT Pilates Instructor, BOSU Trainer, Schwinn Cycling Instructor, and Group Fitness Instructor. Doris is a regular contributor to Optimyz Magazine.