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What exactly is healthy aging?

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What exactly is “healthy aging”? You hear it all the time, so is it going to be the latest buzzword around here?? I am not sure, so let’s break it down a bit! The National Institute of Aging refers to healthy aging as being able to manage our health so we can live as independently as long as possible so that we can maintain a quality of life. And of course, I am 100% in agreement with this! I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping to be as independent as possible. We don’t want to be dependent on someone coming in to take care of you! We want to be able to move about freely as long as possible!

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Did you know that the average lifespan for a woman is 81 years? (knock on wood I am trying to go longer than that. My grandmother is 100 years old!) Most of the research we see about older adults are all done on women because guess what…. women live longer! Women typically outlive their spouses and men, so it goes to say we are living longer lives. Women don’t have as many health issues as men; besides menopause, many women have very similar health issues to other women.

Let’s break it down…as we age, what the hell happens to us??
1. First our brain structure. It starts to change.
2. Heart muscles start to thicken.
3. Our eyesight changes.
4. As we age, we lose 3-5% of our muscle. – As a woman, one of the ways we are going to live as independently as long as we can, is we have to build muscle. Hint.. ladies get on this NOW!
5. Increase in body fat due to shifting hormones.
6. Our immune system gets less active.
7. Bone density decreases: This goes hand in hand with muscle. – When you start strength training, you build strong bones because your muscles pull on your bones causing them to get stronger.
8. Diabetes and insulin resistance. – What you are seeing here is that it could be the introduction of processed foods into our lives. Women didn’t have this type of issue years ago.
9. Blood pressure. – This is caused by the thickening of our hearts, or not eating in the best possible way we can. Our blood pressure increases and takes more effort to pump blood through the system.
10. Sleep issues. – Hormones, stress, children, etc. I know for a fact we aren’t sleeping that much or as much as we should!

How do we fight it? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Exercise.
You know I am into exercising of course!! But all we really need is at least 150 minutes a week with the focus being on strength training! In the grand scheme of life, that is not a lot of time and it doesn’t have be done all at once you can break it down in to smaller chunks.

Adding in movement.
70% of how we burn calories comes primarily from us moving around, fidgeting, etc. You can do this by adding 7,500 to 10,000 steps a day! (or more!) Exercise is good for stress management and overall health! So not only will this benefit your body, muscles, and bones, it will help manage stress as well.

Nutrition.
Jack Lalanne says, “Nutrition is queen and exercise is king.” If the queen is unhappy, ain’t nobody happy! The biggest thing is to focus on 80% of our nutrition being healthy food choices! This all-or-nothing mind frame has gotten us to this place of feeling like a failure and it has to stop! You can have cake on your birthday and your kid’s birthday! There is nothing wrong with that! Just focus on that 80% of your diet as beneficial foods for your body!

Increase our fiber.
It helps us poop and when we poop it gets rid of toxins in our bodies. Get fiber through vegetables and other fiber-packed foods. Look at our processed carbs. Flip over to the back of our products and look at the ingredients. (Processed food is processed in a plant or a factory to make something. – varying levels of it.) If I spend all my life drinking apple juice but not eating a whole apple, I am going to have issues! The apple juice is the processed version of apples! There are far too many ingredients in a lot of these things that just are not good or safe. So, avoid it as much as possible.

Alcohol.
There is a place for this, but it depends on HOW MUCH you are drinking. If it’s once a week, that is fine. But if it’s every night to decompress, that’s another story! Check out the podcast about alcohol I did to learn more about this!

What are your sugar levels? Blood sugar?
When you go get your physical, ask your doctor to do a fasting glucose level or fasting insulin. Those are telltale markets if you are moving toward insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes. If we start looking at this earlier, we can get on top of it before it becomes serious.

Stress reduction.
What is going to get your nervous system from this high-alert place to get it regulated?
Meditation, breathwork, or tai chi. Try to slow things down.

Keep up with your annual doctor’s appointments.
I missed 2 years of doctor’s appointments and ladies… it was not pretty! If you are over 50, you are getting a colonoscopy. You should also be getting mammograms, and pap smears every year for 3 years. Get your thyroid levels checked and don’t let them just do TSH. You want your T3 levels and T4 levels checked, this is called a FULL thyroid panel. Check for memory, dementia, etc. Work on your memory and brain health. I also recommend some form of Balance Training – balance or stability work to support your bones! And lastly, get vitamin D levels checked.

What are your thoughts on healthy aging? And how would you define healthy aging? Print this blog for reference at your annual checkups or as a checklist to ensure you are doing all you possibly can to age gracefully and healthy!

LINKS

Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/kimbarnesjeffersoncoach

Facebook Group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/fitgirlmagic/

Website:
https://www.kimbarnesjefferson.com/

Podcast:
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fit-girl-magic-healthy-living-for-women-over-40/id1476883661

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Alcohol Podcast:
https://chtbl.com/track/479199/traffic.libsyn.com/forcedn/fitgirlmagic/Ep.203820-20Podcast.mp3

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