Stay Healthy and Fit as You Age

Dr. Clayton Lawrence, CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on overall wellness in an otherwise toxic world. (Always consult with your own physician before beginning any new diet/exercise routine).

 Getting old can be tough! While the aches, pains and mental decline of reaching the golden years is a natural part of life, it can be difficult to accept that the body and mind simply don’t function as they once did. The fundamentals of life – things like sleep, nutrition and exercise – remain the same, but have an entirely new purpose, specifically to keep the body moving and the mind sharp and clear. Consider a few of our top tips to stay healthy and fit as you age and welcome the coming years with excitement and confidence.

Sign up for an older adult class at a local gym or YMCA.

Regular exercise is the key to both physical and mental health. But sometimes aging can cause us to reevaluate our routine due to natural muscle and bone weakness. Many local facilities have programs designed for the needs of older adults that take into consideration the health risks presented by aging. Men and women who regularly exercise can slow the progression of arthritis-related disabilities, improve brain function and decrease the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, all while keeping the heart in tip-top shape.

Maintain a good relationship with your doctors

At any age, it is imperative that we form a close bond with our doctors, including those who provide annual physicals, check the health of our eyes and specialize in oral health. When these individuals are aware of our histories, it’s easier for them to pick up on any changes in health. Regular visits mean annual screenings, bloodwork and regular referrals to specialists. Work with your doctor to establish a fitness and nutrition plan that is customized for your specific needs and you’ll be a step ahead of your own health.

Make sleep a priority

We all know how amazing a great night’s sleep feels. We’re energized, mentally prepared and excited to start the day. But a sleepless night or poor sleep habits (like staying up too late or inconsistencies in sleep and wake times) can wreak havoc on our mental and physical health. Just as our bodies age, the brain begins losing neurons as early 20 years old. Pair this natural process with a poor night’s sleep that doesn’t allow the clearing of toxins and it’s a recipe for disaster or, rather, disease. Physically, healthy sleep habits decrease the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

Stay social  

Boost quality of life by spending time with friends and family. It’s all about forming personal connections, building trust and giving (and receiving) love. There are incredible benefits of social support, including a reduction in symptoms of depression, an increase in cognitive abilities, accountability and encouragement to keep up with physical activity commitments, and someone with whom to share health concerns.