HOW TO REVERSE THE AGING PROCESS


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Tips on How to Reverse the Aging Process
By Donovan Baldwin

First of all, you must realize that age itself can be viewed from several different angles.

For example, you might think of age as how old you are in years, how old your body is relatively in terms of health and function, or how old you think and feel you are. Most of us actually think in terms of some combination of these, shifting the importance of each one in our mind depending on circumstances, the topic at hand, or our own personal needs and expectations.

So, What IS Old?

Let me ask YOU a question. Did you see the commercials that show up on TV a couple of years ago with the people who are all over 100 years old? These people may be old in years, old chronologically, but they are probably in much better health and physical condition than many people years younger than they are...and they are certainly enjoying life more than many people at ANY age. They are, in one sense of the words at least, more young than many chronologically younger people.

While certain components of aging, such as time and our genetic inheritance, may be beyond our control, we can still exert an influence on other aspects of the aging process, delaying, reversing, or simply cancelling out some of them by the choices we make and the lifestyle we choose to lead. Even though we cannot do much about the ticking of the clock, acting on how we think, feel, and act, can actually change the aging process within ourselves.

Whatever our parents gave us, we DO have control over our weight, our metabolic rate, the condition of muscle and bone, our immune system, our thought processes, wrinkles, and even our sexual responses if we choose to take the necessary steps. Not only that, it is never too late to begin...nor too early for that matter.

So, what are the steps we can take to reverse aging?

1. One of the most important steps is to become more active and stay active throughout life. Sorry, I can't avoid the word, as much as I know it will send a lot of people heading to some other website with a discussion of something more entertaining. However, in order to help delay or even prevent many of the most debilitating physical AND mental byproducts of aging, you MUST make regular moderate exercise a fact of your life.

Please realize, however, that you do not have to work yourself to exhaustion several days a week to help slow down or even reverse the aging process. In fact, trying to do too much too soon is one of the biggest reasons anyone at any age may quit an exercise program. If you have not been active until now, then anything you do to become more active, is...well...exercise! If you have not been lifting a three pound weight 10 times a day, three days a week, then doing so is exercise and will produce benefits. If you have not been walking around the block five times a week, then doing so is exercise. If you cannot make it around the block, go to the end of the block and come back. Go a few steps farther every day or so, and eventually you WILL make it around the block. Then you add another block.

Exercise is too broad a subject for me to cover in a couple of paragraphs, but remember these points: Start small, increase gradually, don't expect too much right away, your body must be challenged to improve, and most exercise books are written with young somewhat fit people in mind. Most exercise books also lead people to believe that the major effects of exercise are external. In reality, a major portion of what exercise does to and IN the body is invisible and occurs in small increments which we may not be aware of, but which can be so profound as to cause us to live many extra years in great health. Most of these small changes are cumulative, that is, they happen over time as exercise is practiced regularly, and they also initially add to the burden of the body as it seeks to find a new level of health and fitness.

As I mentioned, much of this change is hidden at first, but for people starting out exercising, the changes occuring out of sight can be so intense as to cause discomfort at various levels. This is one reason why it is so important to start out easy and increase gradually. This sudden change with its accompanying discomfort is often also a cause of people choosing to quit their exercise program without even being aware of why they actually quit going to the gym or taking that evening walk which they had hoped would do them so much good.

2. Pay attention to your nutrition. As we age, we very often continue our youthful eating habits into our later years without modification. However, our bodies do change and it behooves us to alter our food choices as well. Also, we no longer have the resting metabolic rate we had years ago. This means that we will not burn calories as efficiently as we used to, and, especially when combined with the decreased activity which often accompanies aging, this causes us to gain weight.

Additionally, while the typical American and European diet can be unhealthy at any age, as we age, we tend to lose interest in food due to various mental and physical events. This can create its own problems.

As we grow older and enter that group known as "seniors" many of us will lose interest in eating. Perhaps we no longer experience the joy of all the flavors and textures as we lose some of our ability to taste foods. In some cases the preparation just seems to become too much of an effort...particularly for those now cooking for one who no longer associate the meal with the company of a loved one. It therefore becomes critically important to make getting the right nutrition a conscious daily choice. At the very least, we should probably make sure that we eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fruits, and vegetables. It is also important to take a daily multivitamin, and some experts even go so far as to recommend taking two a day. For those who are just not sure if they are getting enough protein, vitamins, and other nutrients, there are a host of nutrition bars and drinks available. Be careful, however, as some of these can be high in sugar and sodium.

3. You need to get plenty of rest. Now, by rest I really mean sleep, which becomes very important as we age. When we were younger, we couldget by on a few hours of sleep or even deny ourselves rest, i.e. sleep, and just keep driving on. Ever party until the wee small hours and then go to class or work with just a couple of hours of sleep...or less? As we age, however, our bodies actually come to need more rest to repair and rejuvenate. While exercise and proper nutrition can help us stay fit and aid in effective resting, they also require us to get the sleep we need. Many of the beneficial effects of exercise and nutrition actually occur during sleep, and sleep can help stave off some of the negative effects of aging.

4. Make new friends. As we age, we eventually begin to lose some of our friends and connections. If we retire, we no longer have that daily contact with acquaintances and, perhaps, the public. People who retire and do not keep up their connections to other members of society tend to slide into an emotional and physical state which affects their health and sometimes ends in an early death. People who remain active, vital members of society quite often keep going in good health for years even without the benefits of a specifically planned program nutrition and exercise. Their interest in life and the people around them keeps them active and enjoying their daily activities, including food, rest, activity, and all the things that sometimes make life worth living. The more connections we have, the more connected we feel to life, and the more helpers we may have in time of need as well.

5. Activate other levels of existence. For some, this will mean religion, while for others, it may mean an increased appreciation of nature, or the exploration of the inner self. Making time for reading, contemplation, or actual study can go a long way towards keeping us young(er) longer. This could mean taking a course in something we've always wanted to learn. This new awareness and knowledge can open a new world of interests and contacts. Even things as simple as working crossword puzzles can help keep us more alert mentally and aid in keeping our awareness of, and interest in the world around us at a peak.

Some very specific steps for those inclined to follow this a bit a further would be the study of such disciplines as tai-chi, yoga, or meditation. The first two specifically combine the elements of physical and mental exercise while also teaching forms of meditation which may have been hidden from us. Meditation itself, while not specifically an exercise, can improve certain physical functions while providing us with insights into our lives as it shows us new solutions to old and new problems while offering us a means of achieving rest and relaxation. Despite the public's fear that these disciplines may be too hard to learn, particularly by those in or approaching their senior years, they are actually very easy to learn and the small effort required at first will eventually reward the persistent practitioner many times over.

While some of us are lucky enough to have been blessed with just the right combination of genes, upbringing, and experience to keep us hale and hearty into our later years, most of us will have to make personal choices and take action if we wish to delay the effects of time or perhaps reverse aging itself.

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Donovan Baldwin is a 70 year old freelance writer and amateur bodybuilder. He is a University of West Florida alumnus, is a past member of Mensa and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. In his career, he has held many managerial and supervisory positions. However, his main pleasures have long been writing, nature, health, and fitness. In the last few years, he has been able to combine these pleasures by writing poetry and articles on subjects such as health, fitness, weight lifting, yoga, weight loss, self improvement, and life.

You may find some of his articles and comments on senior health and fitness posted on his blog at http://fitness-after-40.ws.

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Reverse Aging
Page Updated 6:40 AM Tuesday 5/31/2016