How to Age Gracefully: Improve Your Health, Enhance Your Appearance, and Still Have Time to Enjoy Life

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From what I’ve read and heard, folks of the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1954) enjoy better health than their elders. As a generation, the Baby Boomers had it better than previous ones. However, this picture of health and wealth is beginning to fade as we enter the age group studied by the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study (HRS). This ongoing NIH-funded initiative polls over 22,000 Americans over 50 each year. It turns out that the average health of Baby Boomers is WORSE than that of their parent’s generation.

It is not the goal of this paper to settle the debate regarding the causes. To learn more about the findings, please visit http://hrsonline.isr.umich.edu/. Instead, this piece asks, “What can you do about it right now?” As far as I can tell, a LOT! However, I will equally forewarn you that it will take genuine commitment to feel fabulous, look fantastic, and make it all work in your life.

To begin, how would you define feeling fantastic? Less discomfort? Sleeping soundly and welcoming the day with enthusiasm? Do you feel in control of your life? If you succeed at the first two goals, the third will fall naturally. You may do several things right now to alleviate your aches and pains, fatigue, and lack of self-control. Exercising is an effective way to get a better night’s rest. Take a look at how much physical activity you engage in daily. Health experts recommend regular aerobic exercise for 60 minutes a day. You can even vary it by doing it six times daily for 10 minutes each! Anyone can find ten minutes here or there throughout the day to walk if they want to. Put this article down briefly, and remember when you started reading it. Try setting a timer and seeing how rapidly ten minutes can pass.

Imagine a typical day with me. You get up, but today you get up 15 minutes early, so you have time to put on your shoes and sweats and go for a 10-minute walk outside (or on that treadmill, you must uncover). You wear your walking shoes to the office and walk for 10 minutes during your morning and afternoon breaks. Then, for 10 minutes before lunch, you go for a walk. Incredible; you’ve already accomplished so much! You schedule a brisk 10-minute stroll before heading home from work. However, before shopping, you should put on your shoes and walk around the parking lot or a nearby park. So far today, you’ve worked out for 50 minutes! You could be in a hurry when you get home, so if you can’t fit in a 10-minute walk before supper or while it’s cooking, do it afterward. Now you know! Get out a sheet of paper and schedule six 10-minute walks for tomorrow while sitting there (with the timer on).

Better sleep is just one side effect of an active lifestyle. After only a week or two of practice, you should notice an improvement in your emotional well-being. Regular exercise reduces stress levels. In addition, your physical appearance will shift over time. The number on the scale might not budge much just from walking, but if that gets you to watch what you eat more carefully, you’ll soon find that your clothes are looser not just from the exercise but also from the fewer calories you’re burning.

However, you may improve your state of mind even further. Inflammation significantly contributes to the aches and pains we experience as we age. Medication and over-the-counter pain relievers only serve to disguise the symptoms, not the underlying causes. What you put in your body directly affects how ‘inflamed’ your joints feel. Extra fish oil is effective in relieving arthritic symptoms in general. Talk to your doctor or a certified dietitian about these options to find out what would work for you and to be sure it wouldn’t interact with other medications. Include fish in your diet regularly, and remember that when eaten in moderation, nuts can also help reduce inflammation. Feeling better is one more benefit of eating more fruits and veggies. Antioxidant nutrients can reduce your chances of cancer and cardiovascular disease and make you feel better overall. Even your skin will become more radiant.

Constipation is a typical complaint among women of advanced age. A postmenopausal woman will feel better after she has increased her fruit and vegetable consumption to between five and seven servings per day and maintained this regimen for at least two weeks. Increasing your water consumption might also have remarkable effects. Having difficulty passing stool is NOT a normal part of becoming older. Boosting your water consumption has additional benefits for your skin. Dehydrated women are gold to the cosmetics industry. If that happens, anti-wrinkle creams will sell like crazy. However, increasing your water consumption will noticeably change how you look and feel. You’ll feel it in your hands and lips first; if you’re lucky, your neck and top lip won’t be far behind.

Drinking enough water has been found to reduce the incidence of bladder cancer in men. I don’t know about you, but I hope my bladder keeps going as long as mine does, regardless of sex. Here’s some advice I provide to all my customers: Get enough water in the morning so that your pee is apparent in the afternoon.

Many people have told me they avoid drinking water after dinner since it forces them to get up several times at night to use the restroom. Do you, however, find it hard to fall asleep again if you wake up in the middle of the night for bathroom needs? Since most individuals don’t, drinking more water and getting up is still preferable instead of avoiding it. The advantages of getting up in the wee hours of the morning significantly outweigh the drawbacks.
Last but not least, another common gripe is that many experiences an increase in bathroom visits throughout the day when they drink more water. Well, that’s just your body adjusting, and the frequency you need to urinate should normalize once you’re getting enough water.

If you do the things I’ve listed above, you’ll soon notice that your appearance is improving along with your state of mind. But, really, what else can you do? After establishing a regular exercise routine, permit yourself to start thinking about other ways to improve your health and fitness. How many cups of coffee do you have daily? Are there ways you might alter it or shorten it? Which fats do you typically consume? Most of these fats should come from plants, with some from animals. I was wondering how often you eat whole grains. Do you regularly consume whole wheat foods? Brown rice—have you tried it before?

Last but not least, what time do you usually eat breakfast? I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that breakfast is the most crucial part of your day. Let’s talk about incorporating breakfast into your daily routine if you’re not already doing so.

The most common responses I get are “I’m too busy” and “I’m not hungry.” Let’s start by feeding the hungry. Check what you eat the night before if you’re not hungry when you wake up. How about late-night munchies? How about dinner, do you eat it late? People usually aren’t hungry first thing in the morning because of this. Breakfast is the meal of the day meant to break the fast, hence the name. The fast cannot be damaged if it has not lasted long enough. If you munch late at night, you also want to trim down. There aren’t many people I know who eat nutritious, low-fat, whole-food snacks late at night. The first step is to stop eating late at night.

I understand that the word “stop” could cause you to fear, go through withdrawals, or even rebel. This is the last sentence you’ll ever read! Then why not lessen it? The point is to refrain from snacking, but your body craves food and will fight if you try to force it to stop. Do you think I’m joking? See what your stomach feels by giving it a try. Do some study to discover how to make these adjustments; if I went into suggestions for how to cut down, this article would be far longer than even your 10-minute timer can track.

But let’s assume you’ve successfully cut out the late-night munching. You will begin awakening craving food. If you tend to eat dinner late at night, you should also reduce the quantity you eat. You’ll wake up hungry again if you cut your portions low enough.

And now you’re starving, despite having no time to eat breakfast before work! You’ve turned against me now! However, you need not fret. You need to develop the motivation to eat first. Pick out some things that can be eaten on the run to help you. For instance, you can pair yogurt with bananas or apples with a hard-boiled egg. Again, there is not enough room to go into detail beyond those few examples. To put it, there ARE means.

We’ve talked about how to work exercise into a busy schedule, and we’ve given you suggestions for how to make healthy food a regular part of your routine. Please think about something else besides those ten minutes. The most common response I get when I suggest working out or making nutritious meals is, “I don’t have time.” How long did you spend reading this article? Here’s a challenge for those who don’t currently work out regularly: Create a weekly schedule with enough room for each hour of the day. You can get them for free from Microsoft’s website. Then set apart time for when you work and when you commute to and from work, sleep, and get ready for work and bed. Do not include your time with your loved ones in the kitchen or at the table. Take a look at all the time you’ve saved up now. In your spare time, how do you spend it? Do I even need to elaborate? So now you know when to work out!

I’ll leave you with a personal illustration of why I never buy into the “I’m too busy” argument. I’m a graduate student, business owner, author, and entrepreneur in my 50s working on my first book. Breakfast is as routine as breathing, and I rarely eat at restaurants. Instead, I cook all my meals at home and never skip meals. I also make time to work out daily to feel and always look my best. Only I have the power to change that, though.

If you want to improve your quality of life regarding sleep, health, appearance, and confidence, then you should implement at least some of the recommendations above. If you value your longevity and quality of life, you must treat your health with the respect it deserves. The realization that you have more discretionary time than you anticipated might profoundly affect your outlook on life. You can either stay the same or take action to change your situation. What are your plans to address this issue?

If you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of squeezing a good diet and exercise into your hectic schedule, Marjorie Geiser can help. She publishes a monthly email covering a range of health-related topics for free. She has credentials as a nutritionist, fitness instructor, and life mentor.

Or contact her by email at [margie@megfit.com] to learn more about her services.

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