Thursday, June 04, 2015

Health and Fitness: Keeping Your Golden Years Golden, guest blogger Helen Hilton

As they approach retirement, many people choose to stop focusing on health and fitness, instead leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles. This is a grave mistake. Exercise and healthy eating can actually help to slow many of the effects of the aging process. As our God-given bodies begin to age many of us choose to accept and embrace this aging process, but many more struggle to accept their changing abilities and those extra aches and pains that they feel at the end of the day. The good news is that you can choose to minimize the effects of the aging process on your body and that it is much easier to achieve than you might think: Staying healthy and feeling your best is important as you age, and the two sure-fire ways to ensure that you remain as active and health as possible are to eat well and to exercise regularly:

Eat Well, Live Well

Healthy home grown fruits and vegetables should be at the heart of every meal you eat (the five a day rule has been in place for a long time and it continues to hold true), but there is more to eating well as a senior than simply maintaining the same healthy diet that you have enjoyed during your younger years. You should begin to opt for low fat dairy products in order to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of hypertension. You should also avoid too much red meat, instead opting for plenty of low fat but protein rich chicken and fish instead. Finally, it’s important that you do remember to eat three healthy meals every day: as we age our appetites tend to get smaller, and whilst it is OK to eat smaller portions to suit your appetite, you should avoid skipping meals which can have a massively detrimental effect on your overall health and wellbeing.

Exercise and Repair Your Muscles

Exercise is important at any age, but it becomes increasingly important as we age. As well as benefiting our physical fitness and health levels, exercise can also improve how you feel mentally and emotionally, and generally contribute to your quality of life. As we age our physiology begins to change, leaving us with reduced muscle mass and weaker and more brittle bones. After the age of forty the metabolism also slows down, which can lead to weight gain. All of these factors combined serve to make exercise vital to the aging population. Exercise can improve your core strength, rebuild your muscle mass, and help you feel more supple and revitalized. The more you exercise now, the easier you will find it to continue having good mobility as you age. Despite this all being good, common sense, an incredible 78% of men and women over the age of 40 either don’t get an adequate amount of exercise or simply choose not to exercise at all. You only get one body, and it’s an important responsibility to take care of it to the best of your ability for the full length of your life.

Active Minds Lead to Active Lives

As well as ensuring that you take good care of your body, it is also essential to ensure that you take care of your mind and nourish your mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Mental health issues and alcohol abuse are common problems that affect women of the baby boomer generation, though these issues are largely unreported by the press. The fact is that as they age their pace of life slows and for many women this can lead to a sadness brought on by an inability to cope with change. Depression also affects one in five seniors living within the United States: many older people are lonely and struggle to cope with their new position in society. It is therefore important to keep your mind as active as your body and remain active within your church and your wider community. As well as protecting your mental wellbeing, this proactivity can also help to keep dementia at bay and ensure you can continue to serve and support those around you.

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