Many of us experiencing pains or aches in our 30’s, 40’s or 50’s have often joked about “getting old” or chalk up the pain to being ‘just part of the aging process’, but what if it isn’t? What if there are other factors at play that can successfully influence or change our experience of chronic pain or maybe eliminate illness or disease from the body so that we could age with strength, vigor and vitality?
Far too often I hear people in their 60’s or early 70’s say they are sincerely dreading getting older. Every day they experience tightness, inflammation, discomfort or pain. The bowels are often sluggish, joints swollen, movement slow or restricted and tiredness and low energy felt throughout the day because of years of poor sleeping and sometimes poor eating habits. I hear the sadness and frustration in their voices as they accept that this is just part of “getting older”. Yes, after many years the body can experience some wear and tear and sometimes joints may need to be replaced, but often pain gets worse because our muscles are weak, our posture is poor, our food choices are based on convenience and our activity levels are minimal.
It’s not easy to do something proactively when your doctor thinks that ‘aging’ is the reason for your pain, discomfort or disease and can only offer up pharmaceuticals to relieve the symptoms. Medication can be expensive (if you don’t have a health plan) and they often always come with many side affects such as constipation, upset stomach, dizziness, weight gain, loss of appetite, edema, loss of sexual drive or ability, disruption of sleep, bone loss, hair loss and much more. Even if you need to be on medication (which is important in certain circumstances), we can still do the work to be better.
I am 20 years away from my 70’s, but my personal and professional experience tells me that we can make a difference in the health and well-being of our body – even if it’s on a small level.
What steps can you take to feel good?
- The first step is to talk to a health care practitioner about your concerns and hopefully make a plan to try to get healthier – don’t just accept that body pain is par for the course.
- Take a HARD look at what you put into your body – refined sugar or processed food can affect our joints, make us feel tired, lead to weight gain etc. (give it a try, take it out and see how you feel?)
- SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP – there have been many articles and studies lately that have proven that sleep deprivation is bad for our overall health. Don’t stay up until all hours; try to set a good bedtime routine.
- Keep it MOVING – the body needs strong muscles and movement to keep it supple and sturdy – please don’t rely on artificial drinks full of artificial protein to help build muscle mass. Workout in a community group setting or one on one with a good trainer or Pilates instructor. It’s never too late to start, but be smart and don’t overdo it.
Make a commitment to nourish your body, mind and spirit. Live your best life, eat well daily and move everyday. You will get stronger, you will feel better and you will grow older with grace.
About the author
Cindy is a certified Pilates instructor and an avid athlete. After a professional career in dance, she’s continued to challenge her body and mind through her Kung Fu training. Her approach to achieving whole body health includes moving daily, eating well and living positively everyday.