Think about it: we begin to “age” the second we are born. However, we don’t start using the term “aging” until we are in our 50’sMost people today associate the word, “aging” with “deterioration.” But that’s a very inaccurate association. We have people walk into Mo-Mentum Fitness in their 20’s and 30’s who have signs of “deteriorating” muscle mass, belly fat, tons of inflammation, unstable blood sugar and with NO energy 90% of the time. AND, we have people, over the age of 60 years who are the complete opposite of “deteriorating.” In fact, at Mo-Mentum we have 60 your members who are THRIVING! We are always aging but it is up to you whether you age quickly or slowly, and that my friends, involves your daily actions and behaviors. I think our perceptions of aging usually begin when we are young. If you’re like me, you might have memories of visiting a grandparent or great grandparent in a nursing home. Personally, my first visit to a nursing home was a terrifying event. I was around eight years old when my parents took me to visit one of my great- grandmothers, Violet in a nursing home. When we walked into her room, she didn’t know who I was. She didn’t seem to recognize or like anyone in her room that day, especially me. I remember her yelling a lot of sentences that didn’t make sense. I was ushered out of the room within only a few minutes of arriving. As I walked down the hallway of the nursing home, holding my mom’s hand, I remember seeing VERY “old people” sitting with their heads hanging low, in their wheelchairs, drooling and mumbling all by themselves. I could hear some of the other patients in their rooms moaning and crying as we walked down that VERY long hallway. I also remember that Violet’s nursing home had a very distinct smell. Today I can only describe it as “nursing home smell.” And, I bet you know that smell too, musty and just plain scary. That very day, at age eight, I decided, “If this is what getting old is about, I’M NOT GOING TO GET OLD!”
Here’s the truth; YOU CAN BE HEALTHIER and “BIOLOGICALLY YOUNGER” AT AGE 60 THAN YOU WERE AT AGE 40 or even 30 years old, IF YOU CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE AND YOUR ATTITUDE! Christiane Northrup, M.D., suggests in her most recent book, Goddesses Never Age, if you want to be “ageless” you must defy the rules of deterioration and what it means to be this age or that age. Your best days are NOT behind you! It’s time to change our cultural beliefs about growing older.
Jack LaLanne is a perfect example of expelling the outdated beliefs about aging and replacing them with way better ideas! He lived to be 96 years old. Jack LaLanne died in his sleep, January 23, 2011. He was in his home when he died. The entire week before he passed, he was doing his workouts and he had plans for the next week. Jack LaLanne lived right up until a day or two before he passed away. He did NOT spend his last years in a nursing home. Discussing Jack LaLanne’s death may seem morbid, but the point is that Jack LaLanne LIVED all the way up to the last few days before he passed. He didn’t live in a hospital room or a nursing home. He LIVED his life right to the end.
We are all familiar with Jack LaLanne right? He was the first avid pusher for exercise! At age 70, Jack LaLanne towed 70 rowboats (one filled with several people) while handcuffed, shackled and against strong winds and currents, one mile from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary. I’m not sure many people could do that in their 20’s! At age 78, LaLanne won The Academy of Body Building and Fitness Award. At age 94, Jack LaLanne was inducted into the California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger California Hall of Fame. He was also present at the event, as energetic as ever. There is a LONG list of awards and amazing accomplishments of Jack LaLanne beginning in his 20’s and continuing into well into his 90’s, but it was too long for the purpose of this article. Click on the link provided if you’d like to learn more about this incredible and inspirational man. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_LaLanne.
Centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. There are currently around 53,000 centenarians in the U.S., and by the year 2050 it is estimated that 10 times as many Americans will live to be over the age of 100 years old. Are you going to be one of those people, and if you are, wouldn’t you rather live your life in your home, being busy and active than living in a nursing home where nurses are keeping track of how much you are pooping everyday? Yuck!
It turns out, 70% of how you age is actually UP TO YOU! Start today! You can absolutely change your future by changing your mindset and adopting a new ageless state of mind that helps you to flourish physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The sooner you stop talking about this and take action the better off you will be. Starting today, here are five initial steps you need to take, to thrive in your future and to live agelessly.
1- Exercise Daily
You don’t have to workout for hours at a time for exercise to benefit your health. In fact, too much exercise is not good for you either. However, for exercise to help your body, you must get your heart rate up, sweat and sometimes challenge your body past your comfort zones. You can do this in 30 to 60 minutes. Start off slow. Work with a professional if you haven’t exercised in years or ever. I see people every day that
have tried to take the cheap route and exercise on their own in their homes or in a big box gym. But that just won’t work it you don’t know what kind of exercise to do. It’s boring, motivating and if you are exercising with old injuries you are going to get hurt. Learn to move your body again in the safest, most fun and effective way possible. If you hate exercise you aren’t going to do it….I wouldn’t either. Give exercise a chance and find the right professional to help you learn the best way, the most fun way to exercise for you! Here’s the hard truth, if you haven’t been moving a whole lot and you start exercising, you ARE going to hurt yourself. You need to start off slowly. Why on earth would anyone try to save a few dollars on the cheap gym when you ONLY get one body to live in? Would you go to the cheapest doctor for heart surgery? I bet not! Don’t live in an injured body! Your life DOES depend on it. Invest some time and money into your body so you can stay on your journey toward ageless living and growing up cool.
2- Move Throughout Your Day
Exercising for 30 or 60 minutes and then sitting down for the rest of the day will NOT help you live agelessly. The human body is built to move. I know you’ve heard this and I will continue to show you how important it is to remember this concept: OUR BODIES ARE SOOOO 50 MILLION YEARS AGO. Your body still believes we are living in the caveman times. It’s just a waste of time to look for a magic formula or quick fix to lose fat, gain strength and build up your energy. Learn to speak caveman to your body instead. The part of your brain in charge of your body’s basic functions, such as metabolism, heating, cooling, hunger, hormonal function and even your mood and memory, does not speak a language. Your primal brain is the part of your brain communicating with to you when you “just know some one is lying or sincere,” but can’t explain why? We call it a “gut feeling,” but it’s your primal brain speaking to you in caveman! The primal brain only understands action and it speaks to you though your “gut feelings” and actions. Your body understands movement to mean that you are thriving Your body understands sitting for hours at a time to mean that you are deteriorating. When you sit for hours you tell your body that you are going into famine and possibly you are going to need to hibernate. Think about this like you were living 50 million years ago. Think like this; if you are living in caveman times and you are not going to eat for a long time, it makes sense to eat A LOT of food when it is available and it makes sense to move as little as possible so you use as little energy as possible (by moving as little possible) so you can have reserves (fat) for when you run out of food. Remember, in the caveman days food was not abundant and easy to come by.
3- Take Care Of Your Mind
I think it’s fair to say that nobody wants to lose their mind! A common fear of getting older is dementia, which is caused by the physical degeneration of the brain. Don’t forget; neither dementia nor Alzheimer’s disease is a normal process of aging. Decide today that you are going to take action everyday and live the lifestyle that protects your brain and keeps it healthy and alert until you are 110 years old!
In terms of memory loss, stress is actually one of the major culprits. We often blame, getting older for memory lapses like forgetting where we put our keys, or forgetting whether or not we locked the front door when we left our home this morning or forgetting someone’s name. But the truth is,
it is the lack of skills to manage stress that creates inflammatory chemicals in our brains that leads to memory deterioration, not getting older!
In his 90’s my Grandpa Hale told me stories about when he worked with Howard Hughes as a very young man. He remembered the stories of building and test flying airplanes and meeting Howard Hughes very clearly. He never forgot my name or anyone else’s name. He was an engineer, so he couldn’t match his clothes to save his life, but that was no different from when he was younger according to my grandma and mom. My Grandpa Hale was sharp as a tack until he passed away at age 93.
To live agelessly you will need to learn to handle stress, because stress isn’t going to go away. Part of managing stress is incorporating daily practices into your life like exercise, movement throughout your day (NOT sitting), eating clean, meditation, participating in your hobbies, laughing, learning to breath and spending time with people who fill your soul. All of these actions help you to lower cortisol levels, inflammation, boost your immune system and support your brain health.
4- Eat a Diet that Nourishes Your Body
release of beta-endorphins (which makes everyone feel better) in the moment, unhealthy foods and a sedentary lifestyle create brutal cycles of inflammation and oxidation.
When you eat sugary, processed foods your insulin levels rise in order to lower your blood sugar levels. Our bodies are only made to process a tiny bit of sugar, which is actually meant to be a signal to tell us to stop eating. Insulin at elevated levels in your blood results in the release of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines. These little chemicals damage your LDL’s (the bad cholesterol), which in turn damage the walls of your blood vessels. The buzzword today is “inflammation,” and too much sugar is a huge component of our current inflammation problem. Sugar causes inflammation in your body and inflammation leads to the formation of plaques in your arteries, which increases your risk for all kinds of inflammatory based diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, heart attacks, arthritis, strokes, aches and pains, low energy, and belly fat. Constant inflammation inside your body from bad nutrition breaks down your cells and can make you feel like you got hit by a truck on a daily basis. This is deterioration.
It is VERY easy to talk about cleaning up your nutrition, but we ALLLL know it’s not easy to ACTUALLY take action on cleaning up your nutrition. You need support, specific direction that fits your lifestyle and personality, and you need practice to change a long-term habit like what you eat. If you are serious about living agelessly you need to invest some time and focus into this process. Go ahead and read up on nutrition. However, if you are serious about making changes, I guarantee you that help, support, accountability and motivation are essential components of long term change.
5- Sleep 7 to 8 Hours Every Night
A fairly recent discovery, called telomeres, has pushed the science of sleep to the top of the list of vital health and longevity behaviors. Telomeres are like the little caps on the ends of shoelaces. Accept telomeres are caps on the ends of our chromosomes. And, just like the caps on the ends of our shoelaces, telomeres keep your chromosomes from fraying and breaking down. Shortened telomeres are a central reason for a faster aging process. Simply stated, if your telomeres break down you break down. Your EVERYDAY lifestyle choices are DIRECTLY tied to your telomere length.
Researchers at the University of California have discovered through several studies that sleep deprivation is one of the most influential causes for accelerated loss of telomere length. As telomeres shorten, the ends of your chromosomes become frayed and you begin to lose your energy, you get sick more often, you begin to have trouble losing fat especially around your belly, and you begin to suffer from more aches and pains. This breakdown is not caused by aging, it is caused by the deterioration of your telomeres and chromosomes and this can begin in your 20’s and 30’s! Your body repairs itself when you are sleeping. Hormones that signal the repair process to begin are released between 10pm and 2am. Stevenson, in his book Sleep Smarter explains that at 10pm your body naturally begins to release melatonin to increase internal metabolic energy to repair, rejuvenate and to strengthen your body. Around this same time your body also releases more antioxidant hormones to protect your DNA from damage and to revive your brain function.
But have you ever felt tired and ready for bed at 8:00 P.M. and then when you go to bed at 10:30 P.M. you’re awake again? Like you’ve gotten a second wind? You did get a second wind! The release of melatonin increases your internal energy so your body can repair itself. Have you ever noticed that when you are in bed by 9:00 or 9:30 P.M. you fall asleep better? To live agelessly you need recover every night and that means going to bed before 10:00 P.M. I struggle with this one, but I can guarantee I’ve gotten way better at getting to bed by 9:30 P.M. and I can REALLY tell a difference the next day. I have more energy, my brain works better and my body feels better.
I have a habit of working a little bit before I go to bed. I’ll try to finish up an article, or even start an article because I got an idea while I was in the shower. But last year I was at a Mastermind retreat and I committed to going to be earlier and waking up earlier. In the morning my brain works way better and I get more done in much less time. It took me a several tries to get into be by 9:30 P.M. I would just not feel tired enough. But I pushed myself to get in bed and just read if I needed to. I also have a bed time routine that tells my body and brain that I’m going to bed. That routine WORKS! Start a routine if you are having trouble getting into your bed by 9:00 or 9:30 P.M. I
clean up for the night, set my clothes out for the next day, take a shower or bath, then I get into bed and write the top 10 things I’m grateful for in my journal and read for 5 to 30 minutes. This works! I have to admit that I fall of the wagon sometimes but I can tell the difference the next day. It takes time to build these habits into our lifestyle but they are all worth it. Take the time, find your support system and start living agelessly.
The good news is that you get to choose whether you are going to age wisely or miserably. If you abuse your body at any age you will begin deteriorating at that point. If you continue to beat your body up, you’re body will literally stay on the path of deterioration. That is not aging! That’s just abuse. Whenever you decide to take care of your body and to do it consistently, you will stop deteriorating. AND, it won’t take long to feel the difference! The actions listed above are simple, but not necessarily easy. So you need to create a support system. That is one of the benefits of belonging to a small gym or studio where you get to know and like the people with whom you are attending small group and team training classes. I hear our members talking about REALLY good recipes for eating clean and how they are getting more sleep. When people talking about these habits surround you, like struggling with how to keep their bodies moving through out the day, or finding the clean foods that they like and then succeeding, it DOES rub off on you. When you are only hanging around people who are on the path to nursing home living, that will rub off on you too. You get to chose who influences you.
Most of us were probably hard on our bodies at one or more times in our lives, like in our 20’s, 30’s and maybe even up until your 50’s and beyond. Today and all the days after today are the ones that matter now. However, it doesn’t matter if you plan on starting….it only matters if you actually do it! Begin living agelessly today, one day at a time. Start with Step 1 on this list and add one more step every month for the next 5 months. Check out our programs at Mo- Mentum Fitness. We focus on fun and time saving programs that fit into your life and where you will be surrounded by other people just like you who are working on creating their best lives and living agelessly including our signature Fit After 40 Program. This is your chance. Don’t think twice…just jump in and make it happen!
If you are not near Mo-Mentum Fitness check out small studios and gyms near you that are run by passionate well-educated fitness professionals. Changing you lifestyle is not easy on your own but very doable with the right support. Stay tuned to our newsletters, we offer great tips for working ageless living into your lifestyle everyday!