Val's View: Aging Gracefully Without the Stress
Posted on 12 June 2020
Let's face it health, wellness, fitness, and nutrition are not a one-size-fits-all approach; however, we all still want to feel good no matter our age. With the costs of healthcare skyrocketing, I'm thinking an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sometimes it is easier said than done.
Do you prefer cookies to Kale? I certainly do. Perhaps its ping pong over paddleboarding?
Health and wellness are not about a rigid routine or never giving in to the good stuff - it's about finding what works for you.
Facing Overwhelm? Now is the time to let it go!
With all the information and choices in the health and wellness area, it's easy to get overwhelmed. One day it is the Zone Diet, the next it is the Keto Diet. Fish oil is the secret to heart health, but then research shows it causes cancer. Who can keep up?
We have come a long way from thinking all we had to do was eat our Wheaties, but I am not sure it is any more straightforward. Think about it: gluten-free wasn't in our vocabulary a decade ago.
A healthy routine looks different for myself than my husband, Bob. For instance, he eats mostly vegan after his doctor told him to lower his cholesterol. He faces this lifestyle shift by addressing diet and exercise head-on. When he isn't eating his veggies, you will find Bob on his paddle board.
On the other hand, I eat most foods in moderation, but I'm sometimes lazy. I'll juice occasionally, but I'm not drinking celery for dinner. I love spicy salsa on my food and in my dance class. I enjoy a long walk with a friend, plus its free therapy. I figure as long as I move it, I won't lose it.
There is something both Bob and me enjoy. We both love some excellent ethnic cuisine, especially Thai and Indian food. The turmeric in the curries is outstanding for its anti-inflammatory properties and protecting brain cells from harmful free radicals.
While there are so many different ideas around what makes one healthy and another not so healthy, I think scientists can agree the following recommendations can extend our lives.
The most essential factor in this conversation is the mind-body connection and paying closer attention to our stress levels. This is even more true with the added stress of COVID-19 and some of our limited human interactions these days. In addition to the current landscape, we have many distractions and interruptions in our lives right now - from the traffic here in Florida, these new smart computer phones we carry in our pockets, and the non-stop news cycle, just to name a few. It is more critical than ever to learn to relax and go with the flow. To release some stress, try journaling your thoughts and feelings, take up some meditation, or try some breath work.
Join the Community
One of the secrets to the Villages community in central Florida is how they are keeping people active and engaged. You can spend the day golfing with the ladies then head to lunch, followed by a visit to Anthony's. There are so many activities I can't believe it. Take in a comedy show, play bingo all day, or just relax and share a glass of wine with your neighbors. The idea is to make room for fun with your friends and family. If laughter is the best medicine, play with your grandkids in the sprinkler or just watch them jump with glee. Joy is great for physical well-being.
Take Time for Yourself
I'm a big fan of self-care. For me, a massage is an automatic reset button. You can relax in a hammock as a form of meditation. Our bodies are incredible machines, and if we treat them kindly, they can heal themselves. Botanical sprays give a dose of aromatherapy for therapy and can soothe a hot flash in a hot minute. Light a candle with calming scents such as bergamot or orange blossom and sink into the bath. Make some time to read that book on your nightstand.
Get Ample Amounts of Sleep
I can't recall the last time I had a bad cold because I use sleep as a tool to strengthen my immune system. It's not always easy to turn off the TV or the brain for that matter, but it is critical for those zzz's. I find eating lighter meals in the evening and minimizing my screen time close to bedtime really helps. That blue light from our computers and phones can affect our ability to doze off. Hormone imbalance can also be a significant factor. I've used melatonin and valerian root at times to ease restlessness and to help get proper sleep so I can wake up refreshed and energized.
Maintain a Positive Attitude
This all has me wondering how much our age has to do with our mental attitude? I'm still feeling it in my late fifties, looking forward to the super sixties, I've seen stunning at 70 and outstanding '80s. Hey, why not? My mother-In-law is a prime example. In fact, science says the perception of age can have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of your life. Our attitude is coming with us no matter where we are headed, and this can be your best accessory. Today I was smiling after salsa class, and it really is contagious.
The goal we all hope to achieve is balance, if not bliss. The good news is that we are more aware than ever of what we eat, drink, do, and think. Everyone wants to feel energetic and look in shape, and while that looks different to everyone, finding your formula is the trick. Just remember, stressing about it won't do you any favors!