Jan 27 2019

Are you in it for the long run?

Published by at 1:48 pm under General

Are you in it for the long run?
How you treat yourself today will determine how you live in the future.

I recently had the pleasure of spending time with several “elderly” people. I say elderly, in quotes because it was really hard to consider them all elderly, even though they were all in their eighties. The difference in how they looked, acted and enjoyed or didn’t enjoy their lives was fascinating to me. Their level of health was certainly the result of how they had treated their bodies and approached life’s challenges in the past. As we continually explore different diets, lifestyle choices, and the research that suggests how we should conduct our lives in regards to health, I thought, ‘Here is the proof in the pudding’ so to speak!

One gentleman is turning 89 this year. While he has some health issues, they are being managed by a health practitioner through regular checkups. He is extremely active and walks two miles each day. His diet is high in whole foods and low in processed foods and sugar. He doesn’t smoke and enjoys some alcohol but doesn’t abuse it. He keeps his mind mentally challenged by trading stocks and is an avid reader. He still drives, is highly social, takes interest in the world around him and focuses on the positive, rather than complaining about his aches and pains. He truly acts like a man half his age.

The next lady I spent time with is also very active. She walks daily and eats a diet of whole foods. She is so positive, despite losing her husband recently. She goes to bed early and wakes early to take her daily walk. She lives alone, is agile and independent. She also drinks socially but doesn’t abuse it and has never smoked. She is curious, takes pleasure in the small things, spends time with friends and family and is very eager to meet new people. She is not on many prescription drugs, “but does take an occasional Advil”. She also seems so much younger than her eighty something years!

Another woman just turned 86. She is also very active, walks daily, eats a diet of whole foods with little sugar, doesn’t drink alcohol, and enjoys her friends and family. She is an avid reader and keeps herself mentally challenged. But…she did smoke for many years. Five years ago, she had throat cancer and suffered through radiation and chemo. And now it has returned. All due to smoking!

Lastly, another lovely lady I met is overweight, eats a lot of junk and processed foods, loves “craves“ sugar and doesn’t exercise at all. She loves to sit in her chair and watch TV. Though she has a positive attitude, she seemed so much older than the others. She has a classic case of metabolic syndrome, with congestive heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, overall inflammation, and a very unhealthy gut. She has been on round after round of antibiotics due to urinary tract infections. She has brain fog, and suffers from some depression. Sadly, her lifestyle is more solitary because she is highly immobile.

While my knowledge of these four people is somewhat limited, it was enough for me to think about how the choices we make in our daily lives are cumulative and the results as we reach our 70s, 80s, and 90s can be bad or good. What choices are you making and actions are you taking to ensure a long healthy life? Of course genetics and other factors play a role in the length and quality of our lives, but if it were based on diet, health and lifestyle choices alone, are you making choices for the long run?  Keep in mind the following things you can do today and everyday to be at your best all your life:

Maintain a healthy weight.

Keeping a healthy body weight is important for keeping your body healthy. It is also an indicator of your dietary choices and your gut health. Weigh yourself regularly to make sure you are staying in a healthy range. Too much weight around the middle is hard on your internal organs. Excessive weight is hard on your joints. Being overweight can lead to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cataracts and certain types of cancer. Weight can creep on over the years, so try to keep a healthy weight by sticking to whole foods, and away from processed foods and foods high in sugar and of course exercising.1*

Exercise daily.

Daily exercise is one of the most important things you can do for you body. Get out and walk, don’t sit for long periods of time, stretch to keep your joints limber and your spine supple. It is important for maintaining a healthy weight but also boosts mental health. It keeps your heart healthy, your blood pressure under control and boosts your immune system. Sit on the floor and get back up! Do deep knee bends. All the daily activity will keep you active in the future. So many older people fall and can’t get themselves back up. Don’t let that be you! One common denominator in these folks I met who were the healthiest is that they all took look walks.*

Monitor your blood pressure

High blood pressure over time can be deadly. It can lead to stroke, heart failure, vision loss and heart attack.  If you find your blood pressure is on the high side, be sure to see a health care provider on a regular basis, check it at home and be sure this is under control. It is called the “silent killer” because you can have high blood pressure and not know it. So check this regularly! Daily exercise and keeping your weight in check will help with this.2*

Monitor your blood sugar

“…29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 8.1 million may be undiagnosed and unaware of their condition. About 1.4 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in United States every year. More than one in every 10 adults who are 20 years or older has diabetes…” Be sure to check your blood sugar at your annual checkup and avoid sugar and processed foods. Maintaining a healthy weight is key to keeping your blood sugar within a healthy range. 3*

Keep your cholesterol levels in check

When your cholesterol levels are high, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels that over time can make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries which can lead to heart attack.4*

Prescription Drugs

By keeping your body healthy, it is more likely you can avoid prescription drugs. Be care of the slippery slope of too many prescription drugs! Barring genetics, you might be able to avoid them by following a healthy lifestyle. Overuse of prescription drugs can be hard on your kidneys and liver and lead to more and more prescription drugs. They can affect mood and bring all sorts of other side effects.*

Pay attention to good gut health

A healthy gut means a healthy body, so maintaining a healthy gut today will keep your overall body healthy for the long term. We can ward off sickness, inflammation, bowel disease and myriad other health issues when we are healthy at the core. Avoid unnecessary antibiotics that wipe out  healthy bacteria. *

Alcohol abuse

Drinking too much alcohol taxes your liver. We need healthy livers to continually filter toxins from our bodies. If you drink, don’t overdo it!*

Smoking cigarettes

Just don’t!*

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Stress can really age us. Constant worry, especially about things of which we have no control, should be avoided! Take time to meditate on what is important and write down your worries. Give yourself 30 minutes each day to worry than give yourself a vacation from your worries the rest of the day. You’ve got tomorrow to worry about stuff again…but only in your 30 minute window. (I’ve tried this and it works!)*

Sleep well

Regular sleep is essential for good health. If you think you might have sleep apnea, take part in a sleep study. Sleep apnea can result in many health issues such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and diabetes…not to mention makes you feel terrible during the day because you never get a good night’s sleep. This is something that will age you very quickly so take action. (We will delve into this more in a separate blog).5*

Drink plenty of water

Dehydration is common among older people. It can lead to many health problems, including urinary tract infections, so drink up!*

Take care of your teeth

A healthy mouth is important for so many reasons. Brush, floss, get regular check ups.*

Develop a good relationship with a health care provider you trust.

Stay on top of your health. Don’t let things snowball. So many people avoid the doctor for many different reasons. Perhaps you don’t want bad news, you don’t want to be poked with a needle, or you haven’t found someone you trust. But prevention is worth a pound of cure! Taking Body Biotics Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia daily is part of that prevention. *

Keep your eye on the future and take care of yourself today. Don’t let yourself go. Your older self will thank your younger self.

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/
  2. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/statistics
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/…/syc-20350800
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631

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