Aging is stage. Not a punishment, nor a sentence. It’s what happens to any organism that is alive, from the tiniest bug to the biggest mammal. Lifespans vary, but eventually all life ends. The big circle of life, right?
It’s what you make of it
The best news of all: aging is multifaceted. And that’s the bad news too.
I had an interesting conversation yesterday about fear of aging versus aging with grace and ideally, health. (Grace is highly subjective and up to each of us to include as much or as little as we want, so I will not go there.) But as for aging in good health, and without fear… there’s much to talk about.
Fear of aging can thwart good intentions, and it can make ‘mountains out of molehills’, as they say. Here’s what I mean by it. The process of aging is complex and as I stated above, multifaceted.
We may notice that joints are a bit sore here and there, or that our digestion is not what it used to be. Wrinkles, vision issues, decreased muscle strength and muscle mass too, fat showing up around the middle, occasional sleep troubles…It’s a list that can go on, because we’re complicated machines. It’s easy to slip into fearing the future, and it’s almost natural that we struggle with seeing our 20s self morph into what we used to consider ‘older/old people’.
All’s not lost
On the other hand, tackling one aspect of health (or lesser health) at a time, can see us improve physically and mentally too, because the routines we develop plus the effort that we put into being consistent is a form of self-care towards our future self. Again, the best news is that there are many things we can do because aging is multifaceted. That’s also the bad news, some might say, because just imagine, how easy it would be to have to do but one thing and see our health improve.
Choosing whole foods that are nourishing and do not increase or risk of gaining fat, adopting a regular exercise routine, giving joints some extra care with targeted stretches and exercises, changing a few things to improve sleep quality which incidentally also helps with weight maintenance, memory and mood issues. The list of aging-related ailments and issues can be awfully long but, so is the list of the things we can do to improve our health. Priorities sift as we age: disease prevention tops the list, and so does the desire to keep doing (or return to) the things we love. It’s possible!
The key to make it work is…
Approaching aging with an open mind and without fear. Easier said than done, but really, what’s the alternative? When we set fear aside and embrace the new stage, we find ourselves in we make room for two things that can make the journey better: gratitude and a proactive, growth mindset.
Here are a few things we can make happen with a good plan and consistency:
- Better digestion and weight management (weight loss is a rather narrow concept, but how about changing body composition?)
- Increased muscle strength (bodyweight exercises count, so do smaller weight exercises, and there’s always room for improvement, right?)
- Reducing chronic inflammation by dropping some food choices for better ones
- Better sleep and improved brain function (yes, really).
As for the various slogans out there, ’60 is the new 30’ and such, you make of them what you will. Being honest with how you feel and working at doing better for your present and future health is where it’s at. Age is a number, and aging is a stage, or a boogeyman situation. And it can be an opportunity to improve healthspan, which will likely increase longevity.
It takes effort yes, but it pays off. I promise!