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You're only as old as you feel

Are you too old to feel young or too young to feel old?

It is easy to accept that in your first twenty years of life, change is rapid. You grow both physically and intellectually. Your body undergoes drastic changes and you accept this as a norm.

Not much changes in your twenties, thirties and forties. Aging is a gradual process hardly noticed. In most cases, youth and health are taken for granted.

But before you know it, you are in your fifties. Now it begins. You feel a little stiff in the morning. You have more aches and pains. When you’ve climbed a flight of stairs, you’re out of breath, and your knees complain. You go to the doctor and say ‘I don’t feel myself. I’m more tired, achy. I don’t sleep well. My energy level is down.’ And the doctor will check you out and hopefully find nothing wrong, but still, the doctor may suggest sleeping pills, anti-depressants, or anti-inflammatories. You think, ‘there’s got to be something wrong with me” and you begin to feel old.

There’s nothing wrong. It’s the new norm. Your body is slowing down, your hair is falling out or turning grey, your skin is developing wrinkles, your blood vessels become stiffer and your slowing heart has to work harder, your bones are shrinking in size and density, you’re losing muscle mass making you feel weaker, your mind is not as sharp as it once was, and your sex drive has driven off without you. If you’re female, you have the added burden of menopause, which can leave you feeling exhausted from hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep deprivation.

Looking at this grocery list of old age symptoms can be enough to depress anyone, but stop and think for just a moment. If you’re lucky enough to experience the miracle of aging, then you’ve had the good fortune of living a full and long life. Chances are you have accumulated wisdom and the ability to deal gracefully with unfortunate events or conflict. It makes sense that if your first twenty years of life were marked by rapid change, so are the last twenty. Menopause is nothing but puberty in reverse.

So, where do you go from here? If it’s all doom and gloom, how can you continue to enjoy your life, despite the ever more increasing symptoms of old age? There is a saying “You’re only as old as you feel”. Recent studies have shown that your view on aging has a large impact on your aging process. It makes sense - mind over matter. So how can you continue to feel young? I’ve compiled a small shopping list to help you feel young and stay healthy. Of course, I must now add the disclaimer, not to follow my advice without first consulting your physician.

  • Remember that the changes you are undergoing are a natural progression. You are NOT sick, so stay away from medication as long as you can manage your condition with healthy life style choices. Medications carry a price. They are never without side effects.

  • Surround yourself with young people. Social energy and enthusiasm is catching.

  • Learn new skills. Your mind will thank you for the challenge by staying active and alert.

Add Omega-3 to your diet to support your brain and nervous system.

  • Walk, swim, or do any kind of aerobic exercise. Keep that blood flowing and cleaning out the ‘old’ pipes.

Add Vitamin E to your diet to support your cardiovascular system.

  • Do strength bearing exercise, such as resistance training or light weights. If you have arthritis, be sure not to stress your joints.

Add vitamin D, C, and Calcium, Magnesium to your diet to support muscle and bones.

  • Eat a healthy diet of vegetable, fruit, fish, lean meat and whole grains to support your digestive system.

  • Reduce the size of your meals in direct proportion to your physical activity level to maintain a healthy weight.

As you age, your body needs less calories, unless you are so physically active that you

can maintain the muscle mass of a younger person.

  • Add Kegel exercises to your workout routine to promote bladder and urinary tract health.

  • Meditate and practice deep breathing to reduce cortisol, oxygenate your organs, boost your immune system, balance your neurochemicals, increase mental alertness, and improve your sleep.

  • Practice the attitude of gratitude – remember growing old is a gift.

No matter your age, you are never too old to switch to a healthier life style, start a new hobby, or learn something new. Don’t be the person who thinks “I’m too old to feel young”. Instead be the exception and the inspiration to others. Be the one who acts and thinks “I’m too young to feel old!”

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