I’m betting most of us would rather live a shorter but healthier life than a longer unhealthy one. Ideally, many would choose a longer, healthier life. The goal of anti-aging or healthy aging strategies is to be healthier, look younger and feel lighter and more energetic. Life spans are increasing in the U.S., thanks in part to steady improvements in healthcare and living conditions. Age-related chronic diseases, which can negatively impact the quality of life, are also on the rise. Longevity is related to our genetics but a lot depends on personal choices and lifestyle factors, which impact health and wellness. Sustainable anti-aging strategies are meant to develop over time, as trying to make too many changes too quickly can turn out to be more stressful than helpful. We all have the power to alter our daily habits to achieve major benefits that directly affect our quality of life.
What happens to our bodies as we age?
- The body begins to lose muscle strength and flexibility, increasing the chances of musculoskeletal fatigue and injury.
- The metabolic rate slows, making it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
- The motor nerves begin to deteriorate, slowing reaction time and affecting balance and eye-hand coordination.
- Calcium loss increases over time, weakening the bones and increasing fracture risk.
- The body’s ability to process glucose declines, increasing the risk of developing diabetes.
- Blood pressure steadily increases.
- The ratio of good (HDL) to bad (LDL) cholesterol increases in favor of LDL cholesterol.
- The immune system’s ability to ward off disease is weakened.
- Vision grows weaker and hearing ability declines.
- Mild or severe cognitive impairment may occur.
- As the cells’ ability to divide and multiply reach their lifetime limit, cell death results and organ function gradually declines.
- Mitochondria that supply energy to the cells becomes less efficient.
Wow, sounds scary. The good news is that Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers are redefining the concept of healthy aging with the realization that you can do a lot to delay the onset of these side effects of aging. Disease is not inevitable, as we make our own choices about our environment, our diet and our lifestyle, which all influence our health. Is now the time for you to take control of your own wellness? It’s never too early or too late to begin a program of rejuvenation by paying attention to your physical, mental and social fitness. Focus on prevention, as aging is inevitable but succumbing to age-related disease is not. Engage in life through physical, social and productive activities.
Small, sustainable changes can lead to measurable gains in life quality.
- Being socially engaged has a positive effect on overall wellness. Studies show that social interactions, such as staying in touch with family and friends, pursuing interests and volunteering, improve quality of life both physically and mentally.
- Staying active within the community and participating in local events can provide significant gains in vitality and maintaining independence.
- It’s official. Regular exercise is a key to aging well. People who exercise live longer, healthier lives than those who are sedentary. Exercise, even in small doses, increases muscle and bone strength and improves memory. Strength training improves neuromuscular control, reducing the chances of injury. Keeping exercise simple and choosing a program that can be done anywhere, such as walking or biking, is key to sustainability.
- Good nutrition not only improves life quality, it also improves the chances of an increased lifespan. Avoiding added sugar and refined carbs, and adding one more fruit and vegetable to your daily meals is a good starting point.
- Practice stress reduction by doing anything you find relaxing, such as reading a book, listening to music, or deep breathing exercises.
- Maintaining a healthy weight can help protect against heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Belly fat is particularly harmful. Exercise and a healthy high fiber diet helps to reduce belly fat.
- Keep your brain active and your mind sharp by switching up your routines or trying something new. Learning and tackling new challenges helps to ward off cognitive decline. Healthy aging means continually reinventing yourself, adapting to change and finding things to enjoy.
- Supplements that can provide healthy aging benefits include antioxidants to help protect cells and prevent oxidative damage, ubiquinol for cardiovascular health support, omega-3 fatty acids for overall health and brain function and turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Products for healthy aging include:Anti-Oxidant 2.0 by Vital Nutrients provides an exceptional blend of antioxidants in a highly synergistic formula. Additionally, a proprietary blend of valuable phytonutrients adds 21,300 ORAC value per serving. UBQH™ Ubiquinol 100 mg by Integrative Therapeutics provides CoQ10 in a readily absorbable, active antioxidant formula for support of cellular energy, cardiovascular health and overall wellness. OmegAvail Marine by Designs for Health provides molecularly distilled omega-3 fish oil with guaranteed purity. The inclusion of lipase ensures enhanced digestion and absorption. These very pure fish oil softgels are naturally lemon flavored and are free of heavy metals, environmental pollutants and oxidative impurities. Turmero Active™ (K-75) by Apex Energetics provides 400 mg per serving of turmeric extract standardized to 95% curcuminoids for immune and wellness support.