We all get older. Day by day, our life moves forward. Sometimes at mock speed.
We have come to believe that along with our increase in years comes an inevitable physical and mental decline, ill health, and general degradation. If we were to chart it on a graph, it would look something like this:
As we get older, we get sicker, weaker, and rely on more external support like medications to help us through the day. Our mental capacity diminishes. Things slow down. Slowly but surely we aren’t able to do all those things we love to do. It sounds painful and utterly unpleasant. No wonder our contemporary culture has such a deep fear of aging.
With very few exceptions, every modern disease from heart disease and diabetes to auto-immune disease and cancer is on the rise. A hundred years ago, many of these diseases were so rare that they didn’t exist or hadn’t yet been named. Today, it’s rare to find someone who isn’t struggling with some chronic health complaint.
But what if it could be another way? What if the inevitability of decline is simply what we’ve grown accustomed to, but isn’t actually our fate?
There’s a whole school of thought that proposes that one’s physical strength and mental acuity, and, by extension, quality of life don’t have to decline with time. It’s a field called “age management” and practitioners believe that we can shift that graph to looking something like this:
Another way to put this is: “Happy – healthy – happy – healthy – happy – healthy – happy – healthy – happy – healthy – happy – healthy – dead.” I don’t know about you, but that’s how I intend to go out.
Here are four simple strategies you can implement today to keep you strong, healthy, and vibrant even as you increase in years.
1) Cut out the sweet stuff. There’s nothing that ages us faster than sugar. It messes with our hormones and hormone receptors, it depletes vital nutrients (including those that create collagen…), and it increases the creation of appropriately-named AGEs (advanced glycation end products) which promote inflammation and speed aging.
2) Eat real food. Our bodies can’t make what we don’t give them. The building blocks for a healthy body – aka the nutrients we eat – come from real, whole foods. It’s that simple. Do you want your cells to be made of chemical-laden, over-processed, denatured “edible food products”? Didn’t think so.
3) Develop a parasympathetic program. Stress ages us. It’s that simple. And in our modern lifestyles, stress is rampant to the point of being cliché. When we’re in chronic stress state, our bodies are in sympathetic nervous system dominance. In other words fight or flight is activated constantly. This is highly taxing on the body and shuts down its critical maintenance and healing mechanisms.
4) Move daily. What was it that Newton said? An object at rest stays at rest; in object in motion stays in motion… I think you get where I’m going with this.