11 Nov 12 Ways to Stay on Top of Our Health As We Age
I am giving you ways to stay on top of your health as we age today on the blog
Ways to Stay on Top of Our Health as We Age
Of course, there are unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances, but of what we can control, I am giving you those tips today. When I turned 40, i seemed to have a cascade of events that made me utter to myself, “Why me God?”, ” What did I do to deserve this?” And if you ever found yourself wondering those things, the answer is ill health can befall anyone, and you did nothing to “deserve” it.
Also, remember with the Holidays coming up, there will be the hustle and bustle that will always be there. Ask yourself, why am I stressed during the Holidays? Think about creating a less- stressful occasion and make it the Holiday you want.
Be Proactive is the biggest point I can mention. – Keep up with how you are feeling and make the doctors’ appointments. You know your body. Being proactive also means not settling for doctors who aren’t right for you. I just recently “fired” my GP, because after 15 years of going to him; I felt he was now going through the motions, and I became a number. If someone is looking over your shoulder at your notepad of questions, telling you to “hurry up, I have other patients.”, then you look elsewhere. This was more than one occasion. Find the right fit for you! I am currently seeing an Osteopath, as I love that the profession looks at the “person as a whole>”
Being proactive means, I think of questions ahead of time to ask and write them down. If not, I fear I will be how I am sometimes when I go into a room for something. “What was I here for?” LOL. Proactively, I also know every medication I am taking and the dosage. You would be surprised at how many people just know they have to take “a little green pill.”
Here is A POST I wrote about being your own advocate.
Do see your doctor. – Just because you don’t feel sick or anything seems wrong, it doesn’t mean that you skip appointments or stop going to your annual exam. Go to the annual exam. Many conditions or illnesses are “invisible”, and you may not have outward effects right away. Get the bloodwork and tests necessary.
Don’t think that all doctors have the answers. – This goes along with being proactive too. Just blindly going with what the doctor suggests all of the time, may not be the way to go. I have had my GP suggest pills that I don’t agree with, and I will say so. I may offer another alternative, like acupuncture, dry needling… or I may just not be ready to take that certain pill just then. If your GP doesn’t know, see a specialist.
Mix Western and Eastern Medicine/Alternative medicine. – Some people, like myself, go with different modalities to help with their conditions/Pain. I do take medications, but I also believe strongly in alternatives, like dry needling, cupping, and acupuncture. It certainly doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation.
Go for all the screenings and tests we need – bone scans are particularly important as we age. Mammograms are key as well. I know some doctors don’t believe in giving women over 80 a mammogram. That’s hogwash! I think any older woman could get a mammogram and should.
Eat a healthy diet. Supplement. – I love a Mediterranean diet, lots of great vegetables, proteins, some carbs. Foods inherently do not have an “Evil” sticker on them, it is what we make of them. I really believe in moderation and eat what I enjoy. I know people that don’t eat many vegetables, and their body must crave it!
Movement is key– You don’t have to be an “Ultra-Runner” to enjoy movement. From a chronic pain perspective, walking is wonderful, as is swimming or water aerobics. A walk in the woods can be very peaceful. Muscles that do not get used, can become very week, causing more pain. The idea is to find something you enjoy and that you can keep up with.
Mental health is every bit as important- Talking to someone isn’t taboo these days, as it may have been in the past, or stigmatized. We have certainly learned as a society how to be very “Yin-ny” (yoga term meaning stable, unmoving, hidden). We work crazy hours and are type A personalities that sometimes do not think inward enough. Therapy can help.
A positive outlook can help as well.
“Studies have shown an indisputable link between having a positive outlook and health benefits like lower blood pressure, less heart disease, better weight control and healthier blood sugar levels. Even when faced with an incurable illness, positive feelings and thoughts can greatly improve one’s quality of life.” New York Times, source.
In a personal example, if I feel more positive about my day or getting better, I tend to have less stress, which can help with my pain levels.
Here is a POST I wrote on Ways to Help Your Mental Health During Covid.
Social experiences. Believe me, no one understood this as much as during Covid. Not being able to leave the house, seeing the same group of people etc. I joke with my husband (as he works from home) and often it is us and the 2 pups) and say, “Let me talk to anyone! ” Lets go see people as it is as important for our psche to share experience with others, talk and learn from others and enjoy the company of other people.
Research– Now, there is the Goldilocks Theory with Medical research. Too little, too much, and just right. ( BTw, I made that up). But the reality is, if you read too much on the Internet, you may feel doom and gloom about your condition. Too little and you may not feel informed. Just research enough, (for you) and note your sources. This is key, as you want to make sure the publication is reputable. I use PubMed, and other science journals.
Relaxation and Meditation– This is so important. I will be writing another article on pelvic floor health in women, as the more I “research” and hear firsthand, there may be a lack of knowledge in this area. I had a lady ask me what I was at PT for. I told her I was there for pelvic floor PT. She then responded by asking, ” So is it your neck or shoulders hurting you?” I was a bit befuddled, but said it was near my pelvis, and wanted to leave it at that for the moment.
One of the best things my PFPT taught me is “Down training” or “Deregulation”, of the muscles. Needless to say, this involved diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, relaxation. I also use Guided Imagery. Musch of this is to deregulate your nervous system. Learning just how to relax is another art in itself! I love to do this first thing in the morning, put on some spa music on You Tube, and set a timer for 15 minutes. It creates a positive atmosphere for the rest of the day
and LAST BUT NOT LEAST, Pets are not only great companions and love bugs, but they are great for your health. You have to walk them several times a day, you can sing and talk to them, you can cuddle. They truly bring a smile to yours and other’s faces and you can’t help but keep your spirits up when you are around them.
How do you stay ahead of your health as you age? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Have a great weekend!
I hope to post some Thanksgiving outfit ideas next week on the blog.