“When you’re young, you’re encouraged to try new things. At a certain age, nobody says that to you anymore. If you’re lucky enough to be alive, why not say yes to all of it at any age” – Mary Steenburgen,
You can’t avoid aging. Aging just happens to us. But at any age, you can prevent losing the capability that you’ve already had. We’re going to take a look at a couple of things regarding how to maintain activity, maintain excitement, and be young in your body and in your mind. And that’s what we’ll talk about in the next couple of podcasts.
In 2017, a study published in prevention magazine found that those who do high activity levels have cells that age more slowly than those who do a very low level of activity. And that’s what really struck me when I was starting to see a trainer, it wasn’t so much that I wanted to lose weight, which I did. I didn’t want to lose all the things that I loved doing, like going hiking or just being able to go visit my friends. I tried to maintain a healthy enough body to do the things that I really love to do. I wanted to keep doing these things for a long time. You want to stay young, and almost every age, because what happens is, if you start doing these things early in your life, then you will maintain it.
There’s a really good book called Younger Next Year; Live Strong, Fit and Sexy Until You’re 80 and Beyond by Chris Crowley. This book’s idea is how we can continue to be young, in our bodies and our activities. And what they talked about at the beginning of the book is there some ways to get older. We’re all gonna get older. It’s all gonna happen to all of us. You could be that person who’s on a downward slope. They go from healthy and young to not healthy and living a very sickly life. Then there’s more of a box shape where that person was healthy, stay healthy their whole lives, and then they have fantastic aging ahead of them. They’ll be able to do the things they’ve always wanted to do. Then there’s the more house shape aging. That’s where you maybe didn’t start out so good, kind of like me, where you didn’t really take physical activity very seriously. And then towards the middle of your life got fit, and then tried to maintain that through their ages. That’s something that’s possible.
It’s a lot like retirement savings. Getting healthy is about investing early. So if your first thought when listening to this podcast was, “I’m young! I don’t need to learn about getting older or staying young. I am young. Nope.” Being young, particularly when it comes to health, is about investments all the way through your life. If you do these things that invest in your health and invest in your physical being, you won’t have to worry about how you end up aging later. He talks about, in this book, that you want to think that being healthy is about longevity. You want to get older, and you want to keep getting older. So this book talks about a lot of science. This is a really deep, thick book about how to stay healthier. There’s also a companion book that talks about how to exercise. And then there’s a special one for women about staying younger and being healthier all the time. So he talks about the fact that decay is optional. Of course, as we age, that’s inevitable. We have to age. Things will get harder as you get older. But here’s the thing, you can through good eating through exercising and staying active. You can age more gracefully. You want to maintain that health so that you can go on doing all the things that you want to do for a really long time.
He suggests joining a gym so that you have all the equipment available to you. I found that I enjoy having my own area of my house that has gym equipment. I love being at home and exercising and not going to the gym. You find out what works for you. Try a class. There’s a group of people at my office that got involved in these exercise classes, and people who I don’t really think of as exercisers suddenly were dedicatedly going because, you know what? They saw each other there. And then if you didn’t see someone, you say, “Hey, you know I didn’t see you at that class yesterday. Are you okay? you’re doing all right. Did you fall off the wagon? Do you need a ride? you want me to give you a ride?” and so they can be an encouragement to each other. Make sure that you pick a time that works for you. If your morning person or an afternoon person or work just gets really busy in the afternoon. The other thing they suggest too is that you try to tap into what you really love doing. If you love that exercise, you’re going to be more likely to do it. But here’s the secret. I learned this one the hard way. That you got to do it, even if you don’t love it.
But these are the rules that he gave at the very end of the book.
- Exercise six days a week for the rest of your life. This is about doing things that make sense to you and make sense with your age. There’s no quitting in this. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a trainer to the very end of her life. He had her do things that were challenging to her. That’s the secret, you got to find something that is challenging for you at whatever age you’re at. If you’re young, and you’re exercising, and it’s not a challenge, it’s no good. If you’re older, and you’re breaking yourself all the time, that’s not great either. Find the right challenge
- do serious aerobic exercise four days a week for the rest of your life.
- Do serious strength training with weights two days a week for the rest of your life. Sometimes weights are hard to buy. he mentions weights. They’re great. And there’s a lot of ways to do this economically. There are other things out there too. There is bodyweight exercise. There are strength bands out there. Make sure you get the ones that won’t snap because then you could get hurt. But there’s a lot of ways of getting that strength training in there without weights because they do take up a lot of room.
- Quit eating crap. That is great advice.
Prevention Medicine website gave some studies when it talked about staying young physically. First of all, they said that people who do a higher level of activities have younger cells not going to get into the science of it. There’s something out there called telomeres. But when you exercise more, you can almost gain up to nine years. I tell you that when I lost weight, I felt younger than I did when I was in my teens. Drinking red wine has great antioxidants. They found that smoking is terrible for aging. Drinking a lot can also prematurely age you. the Mayo Clinic did a study that you have to cut the white stuff out of your diet, that’s going to be sugars and white bread. Those simple grains basically turn to sugar the second you eat them in your body. It is so bad for you. It causes inflammation, it makes you feel terrible. And while you can have a little bit of sugar, they talk about not having above a certain percentage of sugar every day.
The thing that I found, and it talks about it in this article as well, is that there are so many things in your life that used to be best practices, you know, your trainer in the gym would say, make sure you warm-up. Make sure you get your stretches in. make sure you cool down. Make sure you get a lot of water. Whatever, I don’t have to do that. How many times do you actually do those things? Go out and warm-up and cool down. It is pretty easy to forget those things. But what happens as you get older is they become absolutely necessary. The things that were best practices now are ways that you can maintain your health. by stretching and warming up and cooling down, you will reduce the times that you will get injured from exercising. The goal is to exercise in a way that allows you to exercise the next day again. Doing those things that are always best practices you’re always told to do. Now you have to do them. The Harvard School of Medicine found that stretching regularly will help your body be flexible, and your joints and muscles will remain injury-free. That’s the goal. So when you’re not stiff and tired all the time, you want to make sure that you’ll be able to go back and do those exercises Again. Having good posture that becomes important as well. That mini wear and tear of having bad posture actually can do damage to your shoulder to your back, to other things.
Getting good sleep. That’s another really important thing. I think that we take sleep for granted. I think it’s getting a lot of attention now, which is great. That is when you heal. If you’re not sleeping well, then you’re not healing. You’re not healing from diseases that you come in contact with. You’re not healing from exercises. So getting a proper amount of sleep, getting good sleep is really important. This is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. I have been a bad sleeper since I was probably eight, nine years old. I kind of thought it was something that just was a part of me. You know, that’s just the way it is. I’m a bad sleeper. What I started doing maybe a decade ago is I started trying to figure out each individual thing. Hmm, there’s a noise that’s waking me up every night at the moment. Let’s go see if we can stop that from happening. Just recently. I put blackout curtains in my house. My sleep increased by about 20%. I would highly recommend that if you’re having sleep problems, go through the issues one by one. If you’re having light problems. If you’re having noise problems, try to address the problems. You can actually fix bad sleep by going after these things. I also have been working really hard at sleep regularity. It’s something that I ignored a good majority of my life because I want to stay up on weekends and do all sorts of fun things. And then I went to sleep in super late. You’re not doing yourself any favor because your body never gets into that habit of knowing when it should feel tired.
Making sure that your gut bacteria are healthy. This has been a big focus lately, where they’re talking about how you can really decrease the inflammation in your body and keep everything working properly If you have good gut bacteria. Sometimes people talk about eating probiotics and eating the right kinds of food that will help what’s in your stomach.
Making sure that you apply sunscreen. that will keep you looking young too. It’s not just about having a young body. It’s about having young skin. It’ll also keep you from having things like skin cancer, keep you away from wrinkles, and dark spots, and premature aging, all those things. Using good lotions helps too. So the Center for Disease Control did a study, they found that engaging in 30 minutes of exercise five days a week was the actual place that you want it to be when trying to keep yourself younger, physically.
The next word maybe never been heard before, but it’s called sarcopenia. And it means that your body starts losing its muscle tone as you get older, and you can fight this. This is not something that you have to go with. So you want to make sure that you do a couple of things. First of all, it’s going to happen, you are going to lose some of your muscle strength every year after you’re 20 years old. But you can start keeping your muscles and doing things in your life to help increase that. First of all, that means not having a sedentary life. You want to make sure that you don’t stop using any particular muscle group. That’s what leads to muscle loss even faster. So making sure that you use everything that you exercise all the different parts of your body. That’s important.
A bad diet can also lead to sarcopenia. That means protein getting lots of protein in your body will help you prevent losing muscle mass. Inflammation can cause sarcopenia, too. And so that means that you know if you get injured, something swells, but also being sick or living an unhealthy lifestyle causes inflammation in your body. You want to keep that down as much as humanly possible so that your body can spend all its energy building muscle instead of trying to repair all the inflammation and damage in your body. Severe stress can also cause sarcopenia.
And this article suggests that you want to start doing resistance training. They said walking also can help prevent sarcopenia. And for diet, they suggest getting good protein in your diet that helps your muscle grow. We heard that one before. Vitamin D helps us maintain strength, increase strength reduces the risk of falling. These are all things that we want to do. So there’s some good study that shows that vitamin D deficiencies are dangerous for us. So we want to make sure we get enough vitamin D in. omega-three fatty acids. No matter how old you are, consuming omega-three fatty acids, typically from seafood or supplements, will increase your muscle growth.
- You want to make sure that you start working on your health as early as possible and maintain it for as long as you can. Because you want to live a long, healthy life where you can count on your body to help you do all the things that you hope to do in your life.
- Try to find a gym and exercises you can do at home things, that you can do outside or try a class. whatever makes you excited to exercise
- If you don’t find an exercise that is exciting for you, do it anyway. Think about doing walks, cardio, also do resistance training, whether it’s weightlifting bands, bodyweight exercises,
- make sure you get a good diet that has the right proper probiotics. that you are eating fish and omega-three fatty acids. That you’re getting plenty of protein. Make sure that you’re eating that kind of a meal that will help your body stay healthy.
- Do all the things that you thought you should always do. Drop smoking and drinking too much. Warm-up, cool down, stretch, and drink plenty of water. Those are all things that we were always meant to do that turn out to be the way that we can help be younger, longer.
- Find one way this week that you can improve your diet. What’s one thing that you could maybe take out of your diet that’s just not offering you anything good. And replace it with something that you also like, but would be better for you.
Now comes our fun entertainment quote of the week. This movie quote comes from Billy Crystal, starring as Mitch Robbins in the movie City Slicker.
- “Because this is the time in your life and you still have your choices. And it goes by so fast. When you’re a teenager. You think you can do anything and you do. Your 20s or a blur? 30s you raise your family. you make a little money. you think to yourself, what I’m in my 20s? 40s you grow a little potbelly. You grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud. One of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. 50’s you have a minor surgery. You call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery. 60’s you’ll have a major surgery. the music is still loud, but it doesn’t matter because you can hear it anyway. 70s you and the wife retired of Fort Lauderdale. Start eating dinner at two o’clock in the afternoon. have lunch around 10. breakfast the night before. spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate soft yogurt, muttering “How come the kids don’t call? How come the kids don’t call?” the 80’s, you will have a major stroke. In the babbling of some Jamaican nurse, your wife can stand but will you call “mama.” Any questions?”
Okay, that’s pretty terrible advice. That is not how this has to go.