Aging is inevitable but how you age is not. You can be 20 years older or 20 years younger than your chronological age. The difference lies in the choices you make. Healthy aging can be easy. Nothing shows your age more than being off balance, slow to react and slow to think. These things not only show your age, they can result in injury, illness or accidents. Work on these and you can live younger and healthier.
Loss of balance often goes undetected until you experience an injury or fall. Balance is important to avoid injuries and falls as well as strains and sprains. To have good balance you have to work on it. It requires core strength, practicing your balance with eyes open and closed and a good vestibular system, (the circular canals in the ears that keep you oriented). For healthy aging:
- Challenge your balance by doing exercises that require you to shift positions and move and stand on one leg at time.
- Use a Bosu or Balance ball
- Practice balance with eyes closed
Good reaction time both physically and mentally is a big part of healthy aging. It requires attention and practice. Any mental or physical task that requires a quick response can result in serious injuries or mistakes if you can’t react quickly enough. Distracted driving and walking while using cell phones or texting has become a serious issue and with good reason. Accidents and injuries are occurring at an alarming rate. For healthy aging and to improve your reaction time:
- Give full attention to the task at hand.
- Practice focus
- For physical reaction time play sports such as tennis, ping pong, catching a ball or other activities that require a quick response.
- For mental reaction time, practice drills for math, spelling, pattern recognition or use a computer program such as Lumosity.
Your brain controls all of your bodily functions as well as cognitive function -your ability to think quickly, clearly and accurately. Healthy aging includes giving your brain what it needs to functions at its peak. Your whole body participates and what you eat, how well you care for yourself and how you use your brain makes a difference. Some tips are:
- Keep your arteries clear and your heart pumping. This provides vital nutrients to your brain. Healthy aging is controlling cholesterol to keep your arteries open and flexible and exercising to pump nutrients and maintain heart health.
- Feed your brain what it needs. The brain loves healthy fats and despises sugar and grains. Choose anti inflammatory fats such as fish, olives, avocados, nuts, seeds and any of their oils as well as a variety of fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow.
- Decrease inflammation and oxidation. Control blood sugar. Sugar and grains inflame the brain. Supplement with DHA, a component of fish oil, since the brain is over 60% DHA, Use green tea extract (EGCG) and broccoli seed extract (Sulforaphane), turmeric or its active ingredient curcumin and pterostilbene.
- Exercise your brain. Healthy aging requires you to use your brain in different ways. Learn new skills such as a language, art, dance, and music. Recent studies showed that people who pursued artistic endeavors slowed the onset of cognitive decline.
These are just a few of the many aspects of healthy aging. To get a thorough understanding of your weak spots, schedule an anti aging Executive Physical and turn back the clock.