Body & Mind
Now perhaps the most important way to protect your body and mind against aging: working out and to stay fit!
That’s right: body and mind. Your brain’s primary purpose is to move your body and a huge amount of your grey matter’s real estate is dedicated to exactly that job. If you want to keep learning and creating new connections in your brain, then nothing will compare to staying active and exercising. What’s more, is that exercise stimulates the release of countless necessary neurochemicals including dopamine and serotonin.
It has been shown to greatly improve memory and to boost the IQ too. Meanwhile, the benefits for the body are huge. Staying active can help to improve heart health and prevent the likelihood of heart disease. It can also
improve your looks, combat diabetes, prevent depression, keep your bones stronger (especially if you train outside and get lots of sun) and much more.
More importantly, as we discussed in the introduction, staying active is actually the best way to prevent the loss of mobility that will leave us hunched and in constant pain in old age. So the question is, how do you stay active in the right way to combat age-related health issues?
One Rule: Move | Stay Fit
Get up right now and stand with your feet slightly apart and toes facing forward. Now try to squat all the way down with your heels flat on the floor. Can’t do it? That one is pretty hard do, luckily you don’t have to be able to do it to stay fit! Wheeeew!
This isn’t just a problem for the older or unfit population, it’s something that 90% of fit guys and gals in their 20s and 30s can’t do. The crazy thing is that if you do stay fit, you should be able to do it….REALLY? Yep, squatting is one of the 7 primal movements – it’s a fundamental ability that we should all have whether we stay fit or not.
How about touching your toes?
The problem is that most of us spend 8 hours a day sitting in an office in the same position. That position involves having our shoulders hunched forward, neck craned down and legs bent. This causes muscles like the quadriceps and pecs to shorten and tighten, while our hamstrings and glutes become weakened and flattened. The longer this goes on, the more serious the problem becomes.
Eventually we might even develop a pelvic tilt. Is it any wonder that you can’t move at all when you’re older? So the key is not to start some ‘gentle exercise’. Rather, the key is to get really active and to push your body. It should be able to handle it but you need a trainer who can teach you to get started gently and to gradually increase the difficulty while keeping one eye firmly on mobility.
Read books like Becoming a Supple Leopard and you’ll see that we age best when we use our body through its full range of motion and keep on doing so. Weight-lifting is actually a great choice of exercise for older individuals as it teaches movements like the squat and the dead lift with good technique to ensure that you have full range of motion.
This is even more important if you do have a fall or accident as this is what will very often serve as the catalyst to many more problems. If that happens, then you should see a chiropractor or physiotherapist and then follow the advice they give you to strengthen the area and prevent knock-on effects throughout your body. Of course, if you have existing complaints then you may not be up for squatting and lunging just yet.