What comes to mind when you think of the word “aging”? Nothing awe inspiring, right? Visions of sitting in a rocking chair, blanket across your lap. Or being too sore and creaky to be able to play with grandkids and do the activities you love.
Not exactly an image of “healthy”!
So what is healthy aging and how do you do it? Is it even possible? It is! And I’m going to show you how.
What Is Healthy Aging?
Every body should have the opportunity to live a long, healthy life and maintain the ability to accomplish what they want to do everyday.
While healthy aging may look different and feel different to everyone, you should be able to fulfill your basic needs, be mobile, and continue to contribute to society (however you may choose).
Support Your Body To Support You
The first step in having a body that supports you through aging, is supporting your body through aging! The easiest way to do that is through your microbiome! Your microbiome is all the microorganisms that keep your body moving and able to function at its best.
While we often hear about bad bacteria, good bacteria is what comprises your microbiome. Your microbiome is essentially a ecosystem, when there is an imbalance in an ecosystems thing fall apart. When there is an imbalance in your microbiome, you don’t function properly and don’t feel your best.
To support your microbiome, you first need to look at how you’re feeding it! Research has found that people of older age who have a poor diet have a poor microbiome and show more frailty in age. Alternatively, research subjects who switched to a Mediterranean diet for just 12 months improved their microbiome and felt a difference.
Even if you’ve had a poor diet all your life, you can still turn things around no matter your age! You just need to eat foods that build healthy, good bacteria in your microbiome (or gut).
Diets That Support Your Microbiome
I’m not talking about hopping on the Keto trend or going back to Atkins, but a sustainable diet that you will enjoy!
I’ve already mentioned the mediterranean diet that has been proven to boost gut bacteria and promote healthy aging, but any plant-based diet can do this as well.
Instead of looking at the foods you need to remove from your diet, look at the foods you need to include. For example, aim to include more whole foods in each of your meals. Foods in their original form, not processed or have additional chemical compounds in them, meaning it’s easier for your body to process these foods.
The less work your gut has to do, the happier it feels!
Bottom line – support your gut and it impacts your entire body!
Gut Brain Connection
Not that long ago, the idea of a gut-brain super highway would have sounded like the stuff of a late-night science fiction movie—but, in fact, it’s quite real, and it’s actually a two-way highway. The gut talks to the brain and the brain talks to the gut, creating the gut brain axis (GBX) or gut brain connection.
You’ve probably noticed the gut-brain connection in your life and never gave it much thought. You know that fluttery feeling you can get in your gut when you’re nervous? Well, this is an example of how closely your brain and gut are connected and how quickly they can communicate with one another.
So, the obvious next step—that your brain can affect the health of your gut, and vice versa—likely feels much more logical now. In fact, the degree of your mental wellness can be affected by bacteria in your gut. The idea of “losing your marbles” when you age, likely comes from a deteriorating microbiome, making it harder for your brain to function at its prime.
Keep On Moving
It doesn’t always come down to your diet, though. A big factor in keeping pliable and functional as you age is simply to keep moving.The idea of “move it or lose it” definitely applies to your body!
Almost every “healthy aging” program available will tell you that moving everyday will help you live longer. Even scientific evidence supports this, people who exercise regularly not only live longer, but live more functional lives! Additionally, by moving just a little everyday, you reduce your risk of developing diseases or disabilities that typically occur with aging, things like preventing falls because you regularly do things that build you balance skills. (Does that make you feel old yet?)
This doesn’t have to be CrossFit, but a half hour walk every day where you take the dog out, a small weight routine at home, or even gardening (which I bet you’re doing some form of almost every weekend anyways!).
Get Your Full 8 Hours
Support your body, support your brain, support your gut – all with one activity…sleep! You can actually go longer without food than you can without sleep, it is vital to a healthy body.
While as a kid you probably said, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” we know that’s not true. On average, getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night is recommended to let your body rest and recharge (but you know the best amount for your body). Without regular sleep hours (not using the weekend to “catch-up”) you’re more prone to depression, clumsiness, forgetfulness, and impatience.
Three simple things can help you make the most out of every year you have with family and friends and allow you to do all the things you love…but you know how hard just doing one of these things is. Support your body through pain, lack of energy, and poor sleep with my favorite tip – find out more by clicking here.