Dis-Ease: Tips on Aging Well
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
An old cliché but also a truth. It is simple and to the point.
If simple then why are so many people not practicing prevention? Why do people wait until disease sets in and then try to fix a problem? We all know what we should and should not be doing.
I was there. At the end of high school I was diagnosed with mononucleosis. In first year University, I had the measles. At the end of my second university degree program, I got cold sores on my nose. What was my system trying to tell me?
Image courtesy of lamnee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I was expending a great deal of energy, but wasn’t giving my body what it needed to support my busy lifestyle. I made subtle changes in my nutrition. I tried eating vegetarian, but found I had low energy with this type of eating, likely because I did not do it properly. I cut out soda pop in my late twenties after being diagnosed with fibrotic breast tissue and also because of the cold sore that would appear on my nose.
One day, I asked “What would it take for me to change how I eat?” Did I need to be diagnosed with a terminal disease or some other disease/disorder (diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems)? In my profession as a physiotherapist, I see the effects of the lack of prevention on a daily basis.
It was symptoms associated with peri-menopause that were interfering with my ability to be as active in my life that finally got me to take notice. I could have taken synthetic hormones or had some gynaecological treatments that would have eradicated the symptoms, and gone on my way of eating less than ideal for what I was demanding of myself. Instead though I changed my habits.
Change your habits
- Eat more vegetables – especially greens: It is recommended that at least 1/2 of your plate is filled with green vegetables. I love my green smoothie in the morning.
- Get to bed earlier and relax by reading at least 1 hour before sleeping: Dr. Bill Code told me once that the few hours before midnight are ideal for the production of certain hormones. Two important mood hormones in the body are melatonin and seratonin. He also told me not to sleep with blue light on in my room (computers, tv, alarm clocks, cell phones), for it interferes with melatonin production. Melatonin is not only produced in our brains but in the gut and is a powerful antioxidant. Serotonin is important for the regulation of mood, appetite and sleep. 80% of it is produced in the gut.
- Exercise regularly: At 43 year of age, with several life changes happening, including starting up my own clinic, stress increased and my exercise levels decreased significantly. There was also a significant shoulder injury. Taking the metabolic makeover test was a wake up call for me. I made a commitment to resisted exercises for a minimum of 15 minutes 3x/week. Yoga is 1x/week. Cardio or hockey is 2x/week.
- Have a daily spiritual practice: This has nothing to do with religion. Being in nature, writing, meditating, reading or listening to Hay House radio can be my spiritual practice. Even a hike or kayak, which is quiet time in nature is spiritual for me.
- Connect with others: After searching pub-med (medical journal on line) and the internet, I did find one article that cited references on the benefit of social connection and wellbeing. Personally, I am a connector. I connect with people through my Business Networking (BNI) group, my Univera business, my work colleges and clients, and friends and family. This does not mean that I don’t benefit from time for my self. That is part of my daily spiritual practice.
- Have fun and laugh: Some of my greatest more recent memories are of playing with my friend’s children, whether in the ice rink or in a park. As adults we often forget to play. We may exercise, but that is not the same as play. Every once and a while, just play. Swing on the swings. Jump on the trampoline. I laughed to the point of abdominal pain jumping on the trampoline with my friend Brianne. It was better than doing 100 sit-ups.
- Let go of fear and do what you do from a place of love and joy: This may sound corny but after reading the book Dying to Be Me, I had a shift from thinking about doing all of the above things out of a place of fear of getting a disease or growing old and infirm, to doing them out of a place of love for myself.
If you are interested in aging well, contact Wendy and attend one of her workshops.