By Susan Manning
“If you didn’t know how old you were……how old would you be?”
Age is just a number. I know people who are 75 years old who say they feel 45, and I know 45 year olds who say they feel 75. So let’s get rid of the number and focus on the feeling.
What does feeling younger mean to you? Being able to keep up with the grand kids, or hike on hilly terrain, is it just being able to bring heavy grocery bags in or is it going up and down stairs without the fear of falling? Whatever it is there are three easy steps to follow that will make you stronger, healthier and feel younger.
USE IT OR LOSE IT:
As we age muscles begin to shrink and lose mass which decreases our muscular strength, there is also a decrease in our cardiovascular system which makes us tire quickly and take longer to recover. Here are some tips:
- Just 30 minutes of moderate activity, incorporated into your daily routine, can provide many health benefits.
- Your 30 minutes can be broken up in to shorter segments of time. For example: 15 minutes walking in the morning and 15 minutes of raking the lawn in the evening.
- Add a few upper body exercises such as wall push ups and band pulldowns to help strengthen the upper body and choose to use the stairs more often to help increase leg strength.
STRETCH, LENGTHEN and RELAX
That feeling of being “stiff” can be alleviated with stretching. Stretching will increase the range of motion in the joint and bring more blood flow and oxygen to the area. Some stretching tips:
- Stretch all your major muscle groups: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Arms, Legs and Hips.
- Only take the stretch to a point where you initially feel it (about 40% of a stretch), hold until the tension goes away then repeat. Going too deep into a stretch will only keep the muscle tight.
- Stretch every day and often.
EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY.
Good nutrition, staying hydrated and laughter have all been shown to improve health and increase the feeling of youth. Here are some tips:
- Eat a VARIETY of foods as no one food has it all. To get all the nutrients you need enjoy eating many different foods from each of the four food groups.
- As a resource there is Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating or if you need advice you can find a registered dietician at www.dietitians.ca. Dieticians can help you translate nutrition science into everyday food choices.
- Smile and laugh each day, multiple times a day….it is good for both mind and body. If you smile and think and talk positive even on days when you don’t feel it, you will eventually become it and feel better for it.
Three simple steps that can change the way you feel and look. The sooner you get started the sooner you will see your results. As a Specialty Personal Trainer and Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist I have helped guide many Older and Younger Adults to see positive changes in their lives and decrease their age…….at least the feeling of their age.
About the Author: Susan Manning is a BCRPA TFL, ACE, ACSM, TWIST certified Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist in BC. She is Dr. Carolyn Anderson’s co-author of It’s Never Too Late To Be Fit, a comprehensive guide for older adult’s fitness.