Healthy for Life - Tips for Staying Fit as You Age

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  • 8/4/2019 Healthy for Life - Tips for Staying Fit as You Age


    We age when our body's cells die faster than new ones are formed. Aging inevitably results into

    damage of the cells of most parts of the body such as: eyes, ears, kidneys, liver, lungs, skins etc.

    As aging steps in, the following are some of the obvious and observable signs of aging:

    Bulging belly

    Cholesterol-choked arteries

    Brain failure and fatigue

    Weakness and impotence

    Frozen joints or back pain

    Spotted, decrepit skin

    Tumors taking over your body

    Parkinson's tremors

    Menopausal miseries Fading, cloudy vision

    And all other indignities of aging!

    It is believed that many of the changes and damage that occur as we age are caused by free

    radicals. Over time, this damage accumulates and causes body deterioration and ill health.

    These are well known as signs of aging!

    Free radicals

    Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can

    be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. These molecules are very unstable;

    therefore they look to bond with other molecules, destroying their vigor and vitality. Free radicals

    have extremely high chemical reactivity, which explains not only their normal biological activities,

    but how they inflict damage to cells. The chief danger comes from the damage they do when

    they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. To prevent

    free radical damage, the body has a defense system of antioxidants. Free radicals have been

    linked to such diseases as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's tremors, cancer, premature aging, collagen

    deterioration, varicose veins, arthritis, asthma, cataracts, retinitis, angina, rheumatism, cataracts,

    stress, hemorrhoids, heart disease, stroke, senility, impairment of vision due to cataract and

    glaucoma, brittle bones and bone distortion (usually due to osteoporosis or arthritis), swollen

    extremities, diseases that shorten life (such as cancer, cardio-vascular diseases and diabetes),

    kidney and liver disorders, memory loss and so on. Free radicals can be and are often

    neutralized by antioxidants. Free radicals alter the molecular structure of our body and destroy

    our cells but we can fight them even in old age.


    An antioxidant is a compound that gives up one of its electrons, thus returning the free radical to

    normal thereby halting the havoc. At the molecular level, there is a constant battle going on in

  • 8/4/2019 Healthy for Life - Tips for Staying Fit as You Age


    our body between antioxidant nutrients and free radicals. Antioxidants continually combat the

    harmful effects of oxidation in the body by rendering "wayward" free radicals harmless. The net

    result of their work is that they prolong the life of cells, and therefore prolong life itself.

    Antioxidants are readily available from natural food sources and from dietary supplements and

    vitamins and have the ability to defeat free radicals in the body. Taken in sufficient amounts,

    antioxidants can saturate all our cells and tissues to provide protection against free radicals. The

    human body produces antioxidants but most of the time, because of our environment and our

    lifestyles, they are inadequate.

    The major antioxidants are vitamin A, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E, selenium and beta-

    carotene. Others are zinc, lipoic acid, glutathione, allium vegetables (garlic, onion and leeks), co-

    enzyme Q10, bilberry, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, green peppers, oranges, mangoes,

    resveratrol (found in the skins of dark-colored grapes, and concentrated in red wine) and a lotmore.

    The Experience of Aging

    As most people age, they experience a slowing down of mental ability to some degree. They

    have mild forgetfulness and memory delays. It takes them longer to remember a name or the

    right word. It becomes more difficult to learn something new or to remember what they once

    knew. These symptoms are all part of the normal aging process and do not constitute a disorder.

    How to Fight and Defeat Aging

    The benefits of moderate exercise cannot be overstated. A regular program of exercises that

    most of us consider as fun or bother (such as climbing stairs, swimming, cycling, dancing,

    gardening and simple walks around the neighborhood) is essential for good health especially for

    the elderly. Exercise is good for us, no matter how old we are. If you truly want to add years to

    your life, exercise. I recommend brisk walking for at least thirty minutes daily. Exercise boosts

    immune levels, helps in weight control and stress reduction; exercise also helps older individuals

    to remain mentally sharp. The mind can be used to keep the body healthy; there is an

    undeniable link between the mind and the body. Accepting a new way of thinking - namely, that

    you will live a long, healthy and vibrant life - sets in motion a process that ultimately invests you

    with the strength you need to make that thought a reality. What you eat, the type of exercise you

    do and even how you think and breathe play major roles in your health. The United States

    Surgeon-General estimates that 90 per cent of all lung cancers are due to smoking. High-fat

    diets have been implicated in heart disease, colon cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer in

    women. The average life expectancy of an alcohol abuser (i.e. a heavy drinker) is 15.5 years

    lower than that of a non-drinker of alcohol. People who consume lots of fiber are more likely to

    have a lower life-time risk for cardiovascular disease. People who do not get enough sleep are

  • 8/4/2019 Healthy for Life - Tips for Staying Fit as You Age


    likely to develop hypertension and diabetes. Continuing emotional stress often leads to elevation

    of blood pressure and risk of clots leading to heart attack.

    Herbs and Nutrients to Fight Aging

    The following important herbs and nutrients have been found to be useful to ward off the

    diseases that promote rapid aging. These herbs along with vitamins and minerals discussed

    earlier appear to build up the body's immunity: astralagus, milk thistle, echinacea, green tea,

    golden seal, maitake mushroom, Cat's claw, shiitake and reishi, colostrum, beta-glucan. There

    are special needs regarding proper nutrition and vitamins for the elderly. Elders are at risk of

    being malnourished for many reasons including poor appetite due to medications, disability, or

    reduced food intake due to intestinal disorders, diabetes, or restrictive diets. The most common

    nutritional disorder is reduced intake of calories and proteins. After age fifty many metabolic and

    physiological changes impact on the nutritional needs of an individual. The metabolic rate slowsand can decline as much as thirty percent over a lifetime. This results in the need for foods that

    supply calories like carbohydrates. As we age our body composition changes with a decrease in

    lean tissue mass (as much as 25%) and an increase in body fat. Such changes can be

    accelerated because older adults utilize dietary protein less efficiently and may actually need a

    greater than recommended amount of high quality protein in their diet to maintain lean tissue


    Longevity and activity

    Regular activity is very important for good health. A person whose job is sedentary must find time

    for regular exercise, which need not be strenuous. Regular exercise achieves the following

    functions: weight regulation, joint mobility, flexibility, strengthening of the bone and skeletal

    muscles as well as healthy heart. Exercise improves blood circulation thereby providing nutrients

    to the whole body especially to the surface of the skin. Exercise helps to lower blood pressure

    and blood sugar. It also cuts down the risk of heart attack, stroke, arthritis and depression.

    Tips for staying fit and living a long and healthy life:

    1. Eat a varied diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

    2. Take plenty of water.

    3. Maintain a healthy weight.

    4. Exercise at least 15 minutes every day.

    5. Protect yourself against diseases such as malaria, diarrhea and HIV/AIDS.

    6. Quit smoking (or do not smoke at all).

    7. Drink alcohol in moderation.

    8. Do not be promiscuous (or else you may catch dreadful diseases).

    9. Try to get at least 15 minutes of direct sunshine two to three days a week.

    10. Sleep for six to eight hours per night.

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    11. Seek prompt medical care when you are ill or injured.

    12. Get screened for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, kidney and heart diseases.

    13. Follow you treatment schedules for such diseases.

    14. Manage your stress; keep it to a minimum level.

    15. Practice deep breathing and relaxation exercises (e.g. meditation).

    16. Take dietary supplements which include vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

    17. Have faith that you will live a long, happy and healthy life.


    Aging reduces our strength and energy and removes from us our attitude of being busy always. It

    is a way God makes us to slow down in order to make more time for Him. When we age, we are

    able to think more deeply about life, about ourselves, and about others. Though we lose physical

    strength, agility, memory etc., but God gives us calm, peace and the hope and benefits ofsalvation as well as His f