Gaining Ground

How to Become Healthier as You Age

Most people seem to believe that health diminishes and beauty wanes with age.

That's just the way it is...” they say.

But is it really? Should we actually expect that after each birthday past say, age 35, to look in the mirror and see ourselves less energetic and less vibrant than the year before, aging daily right before our eyes?

I'll bet most of us grew up with the mentality that more birthdays were simply tantamount to looking, feeling and acting older. Well, if that's what you believe and choose to do nothing about it, that's what you can expect. If, on the other hand, you subscribe the belief that, with concerted effort in the right areas, we can slow down and actually reverse signs of aging, then it can happen for you too.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENS IN OUR BODIES AS WE AGE. What are some deficiencies that come with age, what can we do to repair them, and how do we prevent further losses?

From a scientific stand point there are several areas of “loss” that can happen in the body as we age. The good, or even better news is that, despite what might be going on in your body, your DNA, those genes that are passed down in the family good and bad, control only 30% of the outcome of our health. Which means that if you do the math, we actually have control of over 70%. Just think about that for a minute. What you eat, the thoughts you let in your brain, environment around you, how much water you drink, how many hours and the quality of sleep you get, how you handle stress and the supplements you take or don't, all play a role in that 70% of the outcome of your health. Let's take a look at some of the things many people become deficient in and what we can do to stop, slow down or replenish these losses.

COLLAGEN IS THE MOST ABUNDANT PROTEIN IN OUR BODIES. It's found not only in our hair, skin and nails, but also in our cartilage, bones, tendons, ligaments, muscle, cornea, artery walls, and teeth. Typically, between the ages of 30 and 40, we lose as much as 30 percent of our collagen. Connective tissue and artery walls can become weaker and less supportive, skin sags and will bruise easily, hair may lack lustre, nails become brittle and growth is slowed for both. And because another 30 percent is lost every decade past the age of 40, taking a collagen supplement is definitely something to consider.

HAIR THINNING OR LOSS TENDS TO BECOME NOTICEABLE in the 50's and 60's for both men and women. Medications, illness, infections, chemicals, stress can all stop the hair from forming properly and therefore inhibit growth. Using toxin-free products, eliminating all chemicals and processing from your diet and personal care products and managing stress are all beneficial. Using an all-natural, plant-based scalp infusion regularly, combined with a chemical free shampoo has also been shown to have remarkable results.

INCREASED FAT AROUND THE MIDDLE, LOW MUSCLE TONE AND A DECREASE IN STRENGTH is indicative of muscle loss, known as sarcopenia. More commonly seen in seniors, muscle loss can occur at any age. Any one or combination of a sedentary lifestyle, extended hospital stay, low physical activity, inflammation, stress, poor diet and low protein intake can all contribute to lost muscle. And a lower percentage of muscle mass, naturally means a higher percentage of body fat. Daily exercise that includes weight bearing activities, managing stress, eating a clean, balanced diet and including a protein at each meal or supplementing with a quality protein shake (and I'm not talking about Boost, Ensure or Glucerna) and some amino acids can help restore and protect muscle mass.

Once affecting only the eldest of our seniors, people in their early 40's are now suffering with MEMORY LOSS AND CONDITIONS SUCH AS ALZHEIMER'S, DEMENTIA, AND PARKINSON'S.

Along with the fact that you have 70 percent control over the outcome of your health, it is prudent and necessary to do what you can on a daily basis to change your lifestyle in a way that will put and keep your body into a state of homeostasis, or balance.

Eliminating all packaged, processed, and refined foods, especially sugar and artificial sweeteners, is a fabulous place to begin.

Replacing soda and caffeinated beverages with water, eating small meals throughout the day to stabilize blood sugar and prevent the carb/sugar spike, adding in a healthy fat and a lean protein with each meal should have you seeing noticeable improvement in short order. Supplements like cera-q, L-theanine, stem cell, antioxidants, are also beneficial.

If you are experiencing any or all of these losses, please remember that arrival at your current situation is more about the things you've done consistently over time that brought you there, rather than the number of birthdays you've celebrated.

Which is great news because that means there is much you can do to begin reversing the process and taking back control of your health.

Tania Gustafson

Nutrition & Fitness Coach (IBNFC)

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