Everyone knows someone who defies the stereotypical ‘aged person’ – the vibrant, healthy and switched on person with a keen interest in the things around them, quick wit and joie de vivre. These are the role models for aging well – but what are the natural health solutions that they employ to become that way?
Implementing beneficial lifestyle strategies from middle age will help: exercise, a good diet, stress management. Researchers believe that these actions have the potential to reduce mental and physical decline – the negative effects of aging. Age-related chronic diseases like arthritis, Alzheimer’s and diabetes are also reduced with good lifestyle choices.
Consider these natural health solutions – most of them are free!
Be active every day
Almost any kind of regular physical activity— walking, running, yoga, biking, or even gardening—provides tremendous benefits for both your mind and your body as you age. People who exercise regularly tend to live longer than their lazy friends.
Exercise also keeps your joints lubricated and increases your strength and flexibility. A simple daily exercise routine helps you improve your balance reflexes, decreasing your likelihood of falling, and increase your confidence. The older we get the more devastating falls can be.
Manage your stress
Prolonged exposure to stressful situations can result in serious physical and emotional problems, including cardiovascular disease, anxiety, insomnia, digestive disorders, a weakened immune system, and depression. While production of most other every other significant hormone in your body declines with age, the stress hormone, cortisol, remains constant but the body’s ability to recover from a cortisol rush diminishes. This means that you may feel the effects of stress for longer as you get older.
To help manage your stress, get more sleep and learn conscious relaxation techniques. These increase slow brain waves and decrease blood lactate, a substance associated with anxiety attacks. By using simple natural health solutions like these will have a huge impact on your levels of stress.
Keep mentally active
While physical exertion of your muscular and cardiovascular systems has a positive effect on the brain, the most essential activity for preventing cognitive decline is mental exercise. Undertaking mental challenges keeps the neuronal connections in your brain strong, in the same way that physical exercise keeps muscle fibers strong.
Staying intellectually engaged may help prevent Alzheimer’s or delay the symptoms of cognitive decline in those who have the disease.
As people age, keeping in close contact with your friends, family and community will help them maintain strong psychological health. It’s wise to make an effort to participate in some kind of community activity, whether that means your church, volunteering at a school, singing in a choir, or just not retiring from your job. Depression can get worse with age, and staying active can help in its prevention.
Your diet can have an enormous impact on your health and longevity. A nutrient rich, balanced diet will help maintain cardiovascular health and a strong immune system. Many age-related conditions, including insulin resistance, weight gain, heart problems, and loss of muscle mass, result from chronic inflammation in the body.
Limit your intake of saturated fats, refined grains (like pasta), and sugar, and ban all trans fats (found in many packaged foods). Eat fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (like cold-water fish—salmon, tuna, and mackerel).
You can support your body by increasing your intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Few of us eat enough antioxidants and phytonutrients on a daily basis to maintain good health and build a strong immune system. Experts agree that you should take a good daily multiple, which includes the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E (natural, not synthetic); the B vitamins, zinc, calcium, and amino acids; and CoQ10, alpha-lipoic acid, and L-carnitine; vitamins K and D; and a good carotene blend (with lutein and lycopene as well as beta- and alpha-carotenes). Adding an omega-3 fish oil blend plus pre- and probiotics will give your brain, heart, and nerves added protection.
There is no doubt that healthy aging can be achieved by investigating natural health solutions. Consulting a natural health practitioner is the first step to aging well.