Most of us might be afraid to live to 100 years old because of the fear of a decreased quality of life or living with aches and pains. But if we could feel good and still do the things we love to do like playing with our grandchildren, then I’m sure most of us would want to stick around. What we don’t realize is that mental decline and arthritis are not inevitable with aging. They can be avoided if we make the right choices now. We have the ability to age well despite our genetics. Genes are just a playbook for survival meant to play out during certain circumstances; switched on or off due to stimulus or environment. Healthy lifestyle choices are key to not only live well now but in our later years too. When making daily choices, break it down into 3 simple categories: Eating, Moving, and Thinking well!
We may not be able to control everything (this would be counter-productive to avoiding mental stress), but we can make small changes in our daily choices that will reduce the overall stress on our body.
Thinking well includes choosing positive relationships over bad ones- limit time given to negative people or places. Setting healthy boundaries is a struggle for many people but can be extremely empowering and helpful to controlling the negative influences on your mental health. Don’t overload your day with too many tasks. Be ok if you don’t complete all the things. Re-train your brain! Take time whether it’s 1 minute or 1 hour each day to close your eyes, breath, and clear your mind. Counter-intuitive
, but you will be more productive if you take that break. Sleeping is another necessity to recharge mentally and physically- get 7-8 hours each night!
Pay attention to physical stress like not getting enough rest, working long hours, over-use or repetitive use, and lack of movement/exercise. We can control how much sleep we get, how much time we take to care for overused joints and muscles, and daily exercise. These are daily choices that can improve or reduce your quality of life. Among the many benefits, exercise has been proven to be as effective as anti-depressants, improve brain health, and positive mental outlook- yes please! Just a 10 minute walk can result in more energy, increased mood, and circulation. Sitting to your spine is like sugar to your teeth. Movement is necessary to pump nutrition through your spine and to your brain. This is called imbibition. You will notice that if you don’t take the time and work those long hours, over use without stretching or resting, or skip the gym eventually it catches up with us in the form of illness, weight gain, or injury.
Eating well can be tricky if we are mentally stressed. One of the best ways to stay on point with your diet is to make a weekly plan for meals. Plan more whole foods, less processed, more color (fruits and veg), less white “foods” like sugar and dairy, more water, and less soda. The more processed food is leads to more preservatives and less nutrients in your diet. The color of food indicates different essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Our bodies need a wide array of nutrients to function properly and without them a slow breakdown will happen showing up as symptoms and disease. Proper water intake is especially necessary for brain function. Your goal should be a daily intake of half your body weight in ounces of water. In the long run, it will cost less to eat grassfed beef, free range chicken, non-gmo (genetically modified organisms) organic vegetables and berries. It will cost more for doctor’s visits, medications, surgeries, missed time from work, early retirement, or nursing home care if you don’t invest in your daily lifestyle choices now.
Make a plan and start today! Pin point the major culprits contributing to bad health and illuminate the tiny tweaks you can make now to make huge changes in your quality of life!
Laugh more, drink more water, and get moving!