I came across an article in a newsletter recently that I finally found a minute to read. It is about sensibly resisting the aging process and I noted that with very little change, it is quite consistent with material already published here in The Health Gazette. Since it’s an important topic I have provided a significant excerpt below.

From "Secrets of Feeling Younger" by Carole Jackson.

CHOOSE YOUR AGE

One example of youth-focused living is the group of seniors who tour in their own rock show (no, I don’t mean the current tour of the Rolling Stones), belting out witty takes on aging like "Stairway to Heaven," "Every Breath You Take" and "Forever Young." These seniors and many like them choose to live not by the calendar or number of candles on their birthday cake but from their heart — and to enjoy all their time on earth.

To learn more about how to "age gracefully," I spoke to Edward L. Schneider, MD, dean emeritus and professor of medicine and gerontology at the University of Southern California (USC) and author of AgeLess: Take Control of Your Age and Stay Youthful for Life (St. Martin’s).

Dr. Schneider told me that there are two secrets to taking control of your aging…

Keep living. If you drop out of life and just watch TV all day, you’re going to feel your age (and more). Staying active and engaged is the real key to aging gracefully.
Stay healthy. Even if your spirit says, "I’m young," your body won’t keep up if you don’t take good care of it.
To maintain youthful zeal, Dr. Schneider recommends a number of basic elements to good health. They sound simple — no high-tech treatments or high-priced medications. That’s the beauty of it.

GET MOVING

Physical activity is the single most important thing you can do. This doesn’t have to mean intense workouts at the gym, stresses Dr. Schneider. Just get off the couch.

Dr. Schneider recommends: Put on your walking shoes, and join a few friends for a daily morning trek through the park. It’s never too late to start moving, and exercise will make you feel better all around, mind and body. According to one study, walking 30 minutes five or more times a week at a rate of two to three miles an hour reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease by a big big 30%.

WEIGHT TRAINING, TOO

Important as it is to get moving, that’s not enough — you also need to pay attention to weight training. Falling down and breaking a hip is just about the worst thing that can happen to an older person.

Dr. Schneider recommends: Invest $10 in a set of hand weights, and use them every day. Weight training keeps bones strong and intact as you age. For more on easy weight-bearing exercise, see Daily Health News, November 11, 2003.

GET YOUR SLEEP

Older people often find it difficult to get to sleep at all, let alone get a good night’s sleep. But getting sufficient sleep is essential to remaining active, cheerful and alert.

Dr. Schneider recommends: Alternate hot and cold. Soak in a hot bath or shower, and then slip in between cool sheets in a cool, dark room.

WATCH WHAT YOU EAT

Good nutrition is the secret to preventing the degenerative diseases of old age, yet for one reason or another — social isolation, dental problems, reduced taste or smell or physical or mental health issues — many older people fail to eat properly.

Dr. Schneider recommends: Sprinkle antioxidant-packed berries on whole-grain cereal for breakfast… have a salad garnished with a few chicken strips or shrimp for lunch… or opt for the salmon instead of the prime rib the next time you go out for dinner. Try to eat omega-3-rich coldwater fish (such as salmon, tuna or sea bass) at least twice a week, and aim to meet the USDA recommendation of nine daily servings of fruits and veggies. If you live alone, make an effort to get together with friends for at least a few meals each week.

TAKE SUPPLEMENTS

According to Daily Health News contributing editor Andrew L. Rubman, ND, even a good daily multivitamin cannot provide all the nutrients you need, so talk to a trained physician — preferably a naturopathic one — about supplementation. (Caution: Many older people have chronic health concerns for which they take multiple medications. This makes consulting an expert an absolute must before taking supplements.) Dr. Schneider recommends…

Calcium. If you’re age 50 or older, take 1,500 mg daily. For maximum calcium absorption, be sure your supplement includes magnesium.
Fish oil. Take 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg daily. This is one of the best things you can do for your heart, notes Dr. Schneider. Note: Do not take fish oil if you have a bleeding disorder or if you are taking blood-thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin) or aspirin.
Folic acid. Take 800 mcg daily. Folic acid is a B vitamin that lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood that damages blood vessel walls and contributes to cardiovascular disease.

LEARN TO LIVE WITH STRESS

Stress is not going to go away, so the best thing you can do is learn how to cope with it.

Dr. Schneider recommends: Develop your own coping mechanisms, such as exercise, meditation or talking things over with a friend. Try to keep a perspective on what’s really important, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

THE POWER OF PREVENTION

Of course, there’s lots more you can do to stay healthy as you age — get regular check-ups, control chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, stay sharp by reading books and doing crossword puzzles, keep up with your friends and community connections and steer clear of unhealthy habits such as drinking too much alcohol or smoking.

The ageless truth? Treat yourself well and maintain a healthy attitude inside and out — and the future is yours to enjoy.

Source: Bottom Line’s Daily Health News, 14 November 2005

There it is, all quite sound. Stay engaged with life and remain physically active. One significant improvement would be to utilize optimum, balanced nutritional supplementation rather than the ad hoc and piecemeal approach. You can find all you need from our recommended source.

One other thing I think is important to include when advising people to get plenty of sleep is to avoid taking sleeping tablets. The hypnotic (that’s the technical name for the class of drugs) medications prescribed by orthodox doctors are quite a bad idea.

The quality of sleep provided is poor and the potential to significantly interfere with achievement or resumption of healthy sleeping patterns is marked. Add the known side effects and possible dependency and they can be a disaster.

By following a few simple rules for living you can actually free yourself from adverse aging. Who says following rules is so bad, when you get to age on your own terms?

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