Guys, let’s face it.
Aging is an inevitable process for all of us. However, you don’t have to take it “lying down”. As a matter of fact, you can literally manage the whole ordeal and either hang on to your body’s prime condition or regain that which has been lost for years following a few very basic principles.
The first and most important aspect of your prime maintenance program has to do with what you allow to enter your body via your eating habits. You know what they say—“garbage in, garbage out”—and it couldn’t be more true than when it applies to your longevity and how good or bad you will age over the next few decades.
One thing that you will want to start doing immediately is to wean your body off of its cravings for and dependence on sugar. Sugar has a very insidious way of speeding up the aging process by weakening your body in a number of ways. In fact, Nancy Appleton, Ph.D., and author of “Lick the Sugar Habit” outlines the following detriments of sugar intake:
- immune system suppression
- upsets the body’s mineral relationships
- can raise the body’s triglycerides
- reduces the body’s ability to defend itself against bacterial infection
- causes a loss of body tissue elasticity and function
- contributes to copper deficiency
- interferes with calcium and magnesium absorption
- can weaken the eye sight
- can cause general premature aging
- causes tooth decay
- contributes to obesity
- can cause gallstones
- can cause heart disease
- can cause appendicitis
- can cause M.S. (multiple sclerosis)
- can cause varicose veins
- can lower vitamin E levels in the blood
- increases cholesterol and systolic blood pressure
- can cause cataracts
- deregulates bowel movements
- can cause myopia (near sightedness)
- can compromise the lining of the capillaries
- can make the tendons brittle
- can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease
- can lead to the formation of kidney stones
- feeds cancer
- the body changes sugar into 2-5 times more fat than it does starch
- may induce cell death
Need I say more about sugar?
Good. Let’s move on.
Another thing that you’ll want to get a handle on is alcohol. Not such a bad thing in moderation, excessive alcohol consumption inhibits the youthfulness and vibrance of the body by making it more susceptible to a number of diseases and infections which debilitate its ability to function.
Of course, some of the same diet intake strategies that are affective in weight loss help to maintain prime condition as well. Not making a habit of eating late or consuming a lot of dairy and animal fat products will help to both keep you trim and preserve the functioning of your arteries in order to help your body keep control of its blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well, measure which will protect you from developing heart problems.
In addition to things that you will want to restrict from you diet, there are several that you will want to make sure to supplement it with or at least make sure that you get plenty of in your regular intake.
First on this list is water. Cliche as it may sound, there wouldn’t be enough room to discuss all of the things that it does to keep the body’s systems clean and operable. Not to mention the aesthetic benefit that it has on the clarity of the skin.
Antioxidants will definitely need to be a part of your daily food regimen. These substances fight the aging effects of free-radical damage to the body. Some of the more popular antioxidants include:
- Green Tea
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Soy and Isoflavones
Two of the easiest ways to add anti-oxidants to your diet are to drink green tea daily and to use soy milk with added isoflavones in the place of where you would use regular milk or cream.
Body Tone and Mobility
You may or may not be currently putting your body through regular resistance training. However, doing so get more and more important as you get older. Once past the age of 35, our bodies lose approximately 1% of their muscle mass annually. Since it is this muscle mass that gives your body its shape, form, and much of its strength, you will want to use resistance training to prevent atrophy and preserve as much of the actual muscle tissue as possible.
A second way in which resistance train helps you is that it keeps the bones strong and able to take abnormal amounts of pressure. This “practice” for the bones will come in handy in keeping them away from breaks and fractures that are very common as well as debilitating in older people.
Even more important than resistance training is your body’s flexibility. Nothing contributes more to optimal mobility than having flexible joints and muscles.
What’s more is that a regular stretching routine not only adds to mobility but also helps to guard against 3 of the most common injuries—those to your back, knees, and hip area. Many of these injuries are the result of a rigid body being twisted into positions beyond its strength capacity or its range of flexibility to the point that something “snaps”. Once any of these areas suffers major damage, it is generally never the same again.
The third major ingredient in preserving prime body tone and conditioning is cardiovascular activity. The benefits of such activity are obvious: a stronger, healthier heart and minimized body fat, the latter of the two helping the body maintain its most attractive shape and tone.
Preserving What You Have
When someone said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, boy were they on target.
Taking the best care of your body’s condition before it begins to give you problems is the absolute most important part of any strategy to regain—or maintain—your prime.
Much of what has already been discussed has dealt with taking care of yourself through diet and exercise. However, there are additional things that demand attention cosmetically in order to “put the icing on the cake” in all of this.
Getting the proper rest so that your body may recuperate properly is of the utmost importance. Sufficient rest alone does a great deal to retard at least the appearance of aging. You’ll feel a heck of a lot better as well.
Other things can be done include staying out of the sun to avoid excessive skin damage, and following at least a basic washing and moisturizing regimen to keep the face clean and fresh. Good grooming also goes a long way as well with looking and feeling your absolute best.
The Final Word
Finally, it is imperative that you keep at least a once-a-year appointment with your doctor for an annual checkup. This is the best way to catch any deficiencies that may slip through the cracks with everything that you’ve got going on to keep yourself in peak condition.
Even with lots of effort being put into your body’s maintenance, a few things are bound to slip through due to your
individual lifestyle, habits, and genetic predispositions. Therefore, keeping tabs on your vital signs and being on the lookout for common killers like heart problems, cancers, and auto-immune deficiencies are paramount to your success.
Keeping all of these things in mind AND in practice will not only help to restore and retain your prime, but will help you to enjoy the absolute best overall quality of life that you possibly can.
To Your Best Body,
Your Lifestyle and Fitness Coach