Most of us want to live long and well. Modern medicine can take care of the “long” part but if you want to live “well”, you have to optimize your nutrition and lifestyle. Do it right and you will be able to travel and enjoy your retirement, go for bicycle rides with your grandchildren without aches and pains, and enjoy feeling good in your body and mind.
Which parts of ageing are under your control?
We are all born with a certain genetic makeup, we are given an upbringing and family history, we live in an environment that influences us and we make choices we can’t take back. All of these things are what got you where you are. This is the stuff you can’t influence.
But there’s a lot you can. The bad hip, growing belly, high blood pressure, and poor blood sugar control are not inevitable. A lifetime of sitting, a chronic sweet tooth, and the “I have to finish everything that’s on my plate” mentality have a lot to do with it. With habits like mindful eating, regular movement, strength training, sleep hygiene, and a nutritious diet, these symptoms might appear much later or, perhaps, never.
What is different for seniors?
Everyone should be working on improving the abovementioned lifestyle factors, young and old. But with age, you have to be more intentional with your approach. There are several common physiological changes that will make it harder to achieve good results. Here is a list of the most important ones.
- Hormonal changes – Mainly decreased oestrogen and progesterone production in women and testosterone in men.
- Nutritional deficiencies – Caused by reduced appetite, nutrient absorption, and secretion of enzymes and stomach acid.
- Sedentary lifestyle – Resulting in loss of muscle mass, bone density, overall strength, flexibility, and mobility.
- Reduced cognition – Caused by nutritional deficiencies, neurodegeneration, and extended use of pharmaceuticals.
As you can see, this is quite a heavy load to bear. These changes often cause a cascade of others, resulting in loss of energy, slowed metabolism, and negative changes in mood, sex drive, and body composition. But now that you see what you’re dealing with, you can effectively do something about it.
This rest of this series is focused on just that. You will learn how to boost your vitamin and mineral intake from real wholesome foods to correct deficiencies and improve mood and energy levels. We will explain how to get enough protein, fat, and carbs to maintain muscle mass. We will go over appropriate hydration and how to tackle alcohol. And we will provide you with weight management tips. This combination of nutritional and lifestyle tactics will help keep you active as long as possible. And it’s never too late to start.