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How To Reverse Your Age – 10 Really Simple Things To Do
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Many of us have come to the conclusion that aging is unavoidable. And as we add years to our age we unconsciously expect a waning energy level and stiffening joint. And then we feel the slightest hint of any of these, we sigh in acceptance to what we were expecting anyway.
But this thought may be wrong after all. According to Larry Matson, Ed.D, co-author of the book, Live Young, Think Young, Be Young…at Any Age, once a person reaches their physical peak (usually between 30 and 35 years old) only less than 1% of their physical and mental decline after each birthday can be attributed to the aging process alone. Matson makes us understand that thinking it's normal to be over-weight at 40, have multiple chronic diseases at 60 and be totally dependent at 70, is a wrong notion, because age, according to him is really a measure of time, not how ‘old' we are.
Matson is not only making us aware of how faulty our thoughts have been, but also provides a list of the factors that make us to physically and mentally feel the effects of aging, and simple things to do to minimize their impact:
1. Lack of physical activity: According to Matson, lack of physical activity is the number one factor that speeds up aging and is associated with a lot of chronic diseases we experience when we grow older. You really don’t need to go to the gym every day to stay active, but you can find ways to include little physical activities into your daily routines. Take regular walks, and when you do, take quick steps, take deep breaths, and also pay attention to your posture—keep your shoulders back, stand and sit up taller, and don't slouch.
2. Inadequate mental stimulation: At the heels of lack of physical activities is poor mental stimulation in the list of factors that speed up the aging process. Matson makes us understand that as we get older, we use our minds less and we just don't realize it. Matson says, "We get zoned into a particular job task and get good at it, but we don't use other parts of our brain." He advised that after a long day of caregiving, you should resist the urge to just sit and veg out in front of your favorite television show instead, try engaging in one mentally-stimulating activity before bedtime. Tackling a Sudoku puzzle, reading a book, learning a new hobby, are a few ideas. Anything that forces your brain to work in a way that it normally wouldn’t is good enough.
3. Too much stress: According to experts, chronic stress can cause your cortisol levels to go up drastically, leading to inflammation and metabolic malfunctioning. One way to keep your stress level low is to identify what easily stresses you out, anticipate when they are likely to happen, and take steps to manage your response. Also taking deep breaths through the day can be helpful. You can also get involved regularly in activities that help you stay calm and balanced, such as meditation and yoga exercises.
4. Bad dietary decisions: Fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins are good for you. Try to keep your intake of processed food down. One way to optimize your eating plan is to chew your food more mindfully and slowly.
5. Attitude adjustment: Adjustment in our attitude is perhaps the most important thing to consider in managing the aging process. According to Matson, "Most people underestimate the effect of the mind, but research in this area is very powerful". Caregivers adopt a "fix it" mentality and often feel that they should be able to do everything for their loved ones. Feelings of guilt and low self-esteem result when they fall short and that affects the way you see yourself. You can become more in-tune with the tone of your inner voice and regularly swap negative notions with more positive ones. Matson also suggests finding ways to enrich the lives of others, offering support and advice to fellow caregivers is a good example.
6. Pill-popping: Medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) are helpful for managing certain health conditions, but may end up doing more harm than good in the long run due to Poly-pharmacy. "Know what you're taking and why you're taking it," Matson advises. He says that some medications are prescribed for conditions that can be otherwise managed by making some lifestyle adjustments. So next time you visit your doctor, ask if there's any way you can safely reduce your dosage, or even go off a prescription.
7. Excess Alcohol: Research have shown that small amounts of alcohol may have some health benefits, however, moderation should be your watchword. Women are advised to consume not more than two drinks in a day. Beyond that, the negative aspects of alcohol begin to outweigh the benefits.
8. Second-hand smoke: Long-term exposure to second hand smoke is almost as bad as smoking an actual cigarette. Don't put up with secondhand smoke. You as a non-smoker should set boundaries around that and be firm about it. "It is the smoker's responsibility to smoke away from you and others," Matson says.
9. Chemical contaminants: You really don't have much control over the environment when you're outside your home, but you do in your own home. Try to minimize your exposure to chemicals around your own home, and cut down on the number of times you use aerosol cleaning and beauty products.
10. The genetic factor: knowledge is power, they say. You may not be able to change your genetic code, but you can reduce the impact of your detrimental genes reasonably by researching your family history and making the lifestyle changes necessary to manage the unique set of vulnerabilities you may have inherited.
There isn’t any magic wand that you can, by simply waving it, automatically reverse aging, neither is there any miraculous remedial procedure yet that anyone can follow and never experience at least the symptoms of aging and of chronic disease.
But you would agree that making small, simple lifestyle changes can significantly improve your physical and mental wellbeing, and somewhat make you have some ‘control’ over how fast or how slowly the aging process affects you.
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