Clark's Nutrition & Natural Foods Market Live Better Health Tip: Growing Older Better
Is it possible we are killing the elderly with kindness?
Are we missing opportunities to live longer when we let others help us? Certainly showing kindness and allowing ourselves to be helped can’t be too influential a factor in how we age?! Or can it? Researchers are discovering how our lifestyles affect the two types of known aging, the first is called “eugeric” and the other is “pathogeric”. Eugeric aging is the normal aging process that happens as we grow older and it becomes harder and harder for us to regulate our homeostasis. This type of aging is experienced as hearing loss and reduced eyesight. This occurs from healthy cell division and is a normal part of the circle of life. The second type of aging is called “pathogeric” aging which means we age in the presence of disease (heart disease, bone loss, etc.) and is not a normal or healthy process. This type of aging is worsened by a reduced physical activity load and can affect anyone at any age, it just happens to affect the elderly more.
A 20 year old person that decides they are going to sit for a week instead of work,
get physical activity or exercise will not only have more fat in their blood, they will have a diminished ability to metabolize sugar. In the elderly, this diminished capacity from a lack of physical activity can result in bone loss, brain fatigue, muscle tone decrease, and a weakened immune system. And while we all vary greatly in our aging processes, there is much that can be done to assist the elderly and ourselves to remain personally independent instead of needing to rely on skilled-care later in life.
Use the following as a starting point and look for new and unique opportunities to get active:
• Get and plan as much physical activity with loved ones as they are comfortable with.
• “Social” age tells us we should let the young and healthy carry the groceries that we should look for escalators whilst avoiding stairs, and park as close to entrances as possible yet these are all opportunities to reduce pathogeric aging. Avoid the “social” norms by walking more, lifting our own loads, and taking the scenic route.
• Plan activities into our social gatherings and avoid making overeating and sitting the main activity
• Encourage participation by everyone throughout activities i.e., let mom, dad, and grandparents help with the dishes and straightening up
• Keep a ball or Frisbee close by and periodically engage in a game of catch
• Don’t forget to dance! There is much we can do to encourage our elders to remain physically active and promote longevity in ourselves as well. Along with this heightened physical activity, there are foods and supplements that can be beneficial to support eugeric aging and avoid pathogeric aging.
• Take calcium and vitamin D for healthy bones, immune system, and hormone health
• Get a strong B vitamin complex for liver health, red blood cell production and to assist in our energy processes.
• Eat foods high in antioxidants: fruits and vegetables in season are best
• Eat plenty of colorful foods and try to vary the menu to encourage maximum nutrient exposure
Aging is an inevitable process hoped for by all and welcomed by none. If we are lucky enough to have a long life, we will have to be vigilant if we want that life to be free of lifestyle diseases. Remaining physically active, encouraging the same in our loved ones and those who need our help is the best approach to being healthy and independent throughout life.