HOW TO REVERSE THE AGING PROCESS
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.
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
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,
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.
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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Page Updated 6:40 AM Tuesday 5/31/2016