Are You Aging Gracefully? Do These 5 Things Daily!
The other day I was bumping around on the web. Among the volumes of political headlines and celebrity who-cares? fluff, this article caught my eye.
The Adult Diaper Market is About to Take Off
~ Sales of adult incontinence garments in the US could equal those of baby diapers in a decade~
Really? Immediately I had two thoughts. First: not me, not yet! And second: buy some stock in Depends!
As uncomfortable as this topic is, it is a reality. Our population is aging and living longer. Gender, wealth and possessions don’t matter, we all want to be aging gracefully.
Projections of the entire older population (which includes the pre-baby-boom cohorts born before 1946) suggest that 71.4 million people will be age 65 or older in 2029. This means that the elderly ages 65 and older will make up about 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2029, up from almost 14 percent in 2012.
Never before in the history of the US will we have such a large segment of people 65 or older. It really is a good news/bad news development. The good news, we are living longer, generally healthier lives. We are more aware of the effects of lifestyle choices and have information available to help us start a personal journey of aging gracefully by enjoying a healthy lifestyle.
The bad news, longevity will cost more in healthcare dollars and will likely strain most retirement plans. And frankly, most Americans seem to have skimpy retirement accounts to rely on as they leave the workplace. Retirement has been completely redefined as traditional financial safeguards have disappeared. Just like personal fitness, retirement savings will reflect the persistence and determination of each individual.
I am not a financial planner, a personal trainer, or a trend futurist. But my personal goal is to make daily lifestyle choices that keep me out of adult diapers. And if the day comes when I slip into some Depends, well, I will at least know I am making money while I pee my pants!
But until then, here are five tips that will help us age well:
Sleep– Almost all studies have found that we need 7-9 hours a night of sleep. Apparently people 65 or older are struggling with lack of sleep. For some of us, nighttime is when “busy brain” shows up. Busy brain is my term to describe the daily details and personal bullshit that loops around your mind, an endless mental train track, carrying a cargo of concerns. It usually starts right after you get up to pee around 2 am. I find that writing down my concerns or my to-do list is the best way to stop my mind from juggling bacon, my 401K and finding the best push-up bra.
Exercise– You have heard it before: Move it or lose it! All adults should be getting 5-6 hours a week of challenging exercise. Talk with your doctor to find what type of movement will work for your body. As a woman over 50, my best workouts include HIIT, weightlifting and long duration/low intensity cardio. I know that physical movement benefits my sleep, helps to drain my stress tank and gives me a sense of gratitude for my body. If I skip a workout, I am generally cranky and sleepy all day.
An Eating Plan– Commit to buying (and eating!) at least 3 organic fruits/veggies a day. Cut out the cheap wheat carbohydrates. Eating highly processed foods makes us middle- age folk sleepy and chubby at minimum. But more concerning science has shown that most disease originates from inflammation. Simply put, too much sugar and processed foods can push a body into a state of inflammation. Often food sensitivities, insulin resistance, cancer and obesity are linked to an inflammatory diet. Fuel with good clean food.
Water– Drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. For years I thought I drank enough water, but I was really drinking coffee and tea instead. Don’t make my mistake! Constipation, dry wrinkly skin and fatigue are all signs that you are not drinking enough H2O. If I am hungry or bored, I take that as a sign that I need to drink a glass of water. Drinking water fills me up physically and it resets my mental state. If you find water boring, float some cut up fruit in a pretty pitcher, keeping it cool in the fridge. I have a Berkey filter to remove impurities, smells and chemical taste from my big city water source.
Forgive– (This has been a big one for me this past year) We all struggle with anger. At its worst, we want revenge on the ones who have hurt us. Often we can’t stop thinking about what they did, rehearsing our opportunity to get them back. Unforgiveness drains health, peace and wholeness from our lives. Commit to living in a state of forgiveness. Your whole health depends on it, body, soul and spirit. For the past year I have been focusing on forgiving myself for my missteps and mindless choices from my late teens and early adulthood. I love the phrase that I have heard around “social” lately: Know better, do better. It is so true, once we know better we can make the choice to do better. Self awareness is a critical element of aging gracefully, we are responsible for our emotional health as well.
Aging gracefully is half action and half attitude. Making choices to support your body with healthy food and physical movement are the foundation to an engaged mind and an active lifestyle. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy all those retirement dollars you worked so hard to invest! Remember, intentional investing today is the way to enjoy future dividends, both in your body and in your money.
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