Today, there is a higher number of aging adults than there has ever been in history. With breakthroughs in medicine, easy access to better resources, and overall healthy quality of living, a life beyond our 80s is not an unrealistic expectation. It is well known that with age, we begin to develop health issues. Complications such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, cognitive decline, decreased stamina, and hearing loss occurs with longer life. With this said, is physical deterioration inevitable? Not exactly. Although genetics play a big part, a healthy lifestyle plays an important role as well. You can add preventative options to your daily routine to help make a difference in the aging process.
Prolonged stress is hazardous for us no matter our age. As we grow older, we are not able to recover quickly from high stress levels. During these moments of stress, a hormone known as cortisol will release within our bodies. Cortisol is vital and protects us when we are in stressful situations by helping us to respond better. After the stress passes, the cortisol level will lower and stabilize with our heart rates.
How Stress Causes You to Feel Older
Needless to say, when stress continues for long durations, cortisol will continue to be released, which is very harmful to our bodies—ultimately disturbing our sleep, affecting our mental and emotional health, energy levels, and recovery time.
If this continues, stress will eventually be typical for our bodies. We no longer realize we are still experiencing and stuck in a stressful state. So what are the consequences of prolonged stress?
- high cholesterol
- heart disease
- short-term memory complications
- digestive issues
- brain fog
- high blood pressure
- weight gain
Changes to Your Lifestyle That Will Help
Here is a list of preventive measures that will help you reduce the levels of cortisol released within your body and help you recover while maintaining your health.
- time spent outdoors
- an anti-inflammatory diet
- regular to moderate exercise
- supplement support and nutrient balancing for adrenals
- weighted blanket
Managing Your Insulin
Did you know that maintaining healthy insulin levels within your body is essential to a life of longevity? But this may not be a conversation you are holding with your primary care physician if you have never been diagnosed with diabetes. Research shows that extreme insulin levels increase the development of diseases related to aging, such as coronary heart disease, strokes, dementia, cancers, hypertension, and type two diabetes.
Remove Defined Carbohydrates From Your Diet
Suppose your diet consists of a steady amount of refined carbohydrates and sugars. In that case, the cells within your body will become resistant to insulin, causing an increase in insulin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. If the insulin levels remain high, your cells become more resistant, resulting in a condition known as metabolic syndrome. The side effects are excess fat in the midsection, fatigue, elevated blood sugars, high blood pressure, and inflammation throughout your body.
Hypoglycemia and prediabetes are health issues associated with long-term high insulin levels. Often early detection will change the future effects. On many occasions, an individual’s insulin levels have increased and headed toward dangerous levels without them knowing. It is crucial to have your labs tested to learn your insulin levels, and it is essential to know your insulin level to evaluate your progress.
Preventative measures to reduce insulin levels during early stages are easily attainable. They consist of consuming protein during meals, staying active, and reducing intake of refined carbohydrates. A functional medicine practitioner can help you monitor your insulin levels and recommend different supplements for your specific needs.
Maintain Hormonal Balance
Hormones are substances within the body that control development, growth, reproduction, metabolism, tissue repair, inflammation, and immunity. Ensuring that our hormones stay healthy is very crucial. But due to aging, hormone production lessens, which causes an imbalance and change of effectiveness within our internal system.
Hormones and Aging
This imbalance and change can cause several health issues such as:
- dry hair and skin
- unexpected weight gain or loss
- weak nails
- aches, muscle weakness, and tenderness
- joint pain, swelling, stiffness
- memory problems, brain fog, and more!
If you become worried about hormone levels within your body, visit your functional medicine provider. They will be able to test estrogen levels, testosterone, cortisol, thyroid hormones, and progesterone to determine your body’s hormonal status, along with the solution to working toward hormonal balance.
A Hormone Friendly Lifestyle
Diet and new lifestyle habits will make a tremendous difference in balancing the hormones within your body—ultimately leading to a better aging process and overall health. Suggestions include but are not limited to:
- Eat healthy fats and nutrient-dense foods
- Get plenty of sleep each night
- Regular exercise
- Stress reduction
- Supplementation to assist your health
- If suggested, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may also decrease symptoms.
Keeping Inflammation Away
The body will use inflammation as a way to protect itself. For damage repair, the body will release antibodies, proteins and increase blood flow. But did you know that inflammation can arise due to consistent exposure to food sensitivities, irritants and toxins, autoimmune disorders, and long-term stress? If this persists for several days, it is chronic.
How You Age With Chronic Inflammation
Chronic Inflammation is a prime reason for increased aging, developing atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, strokes, fibromyalgia, heart attacks, sinus infections, arthritis, cancer, and autoimmune conditions.
Testing for Inflammation
Your primary care provider can run numerous tests to check for inflammation signals within your blood. The ESR Blood test (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), a CPR blood test (C-reactive protein), and a food sensitivity test are labs doctors use to help determine the problem.
Living an Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle
Chromis systemic inflammation preventative measures include:
- Reduced stress levels
- Adopting and maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet
- Routine exercise
- Ensuring your level of vitamin D is good
- Adding anti-inflammatory superfoods into your diet such as omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), ginger, linolenic acid (flax and hemp seed oils), turmeric, spirulina, and green tea.
Lastly, daily physical activity is essential for aging well. As we age, we begin to experience a loss in muscle mass and bone density, affecting our immune system, physical strength, stability, and bone strength. If you would like to maintain a life of independence throughout every stage of your life, you must develop a flexible and active lifestyle throughout the years.
Choose Activities That Are Best For You
This information is not saying to join a sports team (although you may do so.) You should find an exercise that you can remain committed to that best suits your fitness level. Walking, a Pilates or Yoga class, cycling or swimming are all habits that will contribute to your life. A form of weight resistance is also beneficial and highly recommended. Weight resistance will help strengthen your heart, joints, and bones.
Get Your Body the Help it Needs
If you need help understanding your physical condition, seek out a chiropractor, osteopaths, or physiotherapists, each of these professionals will be able to help you better understand your current physical health.
Although we cannot choose whether we age, we can influence how well we age. We are never too far gone to make a change. Start preventative measures today and adopt better lifestyle routines to help optimize better aging.
Working with a Functional Practitioner is the best place to start. Together, you will run labs, pinpoint your specific imbalances, and focus on your path to healthier long-term life.
Book a free discovery call with Cherise. Schedule an appointment HERE.
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