Eating and exercising through the decades: A Fort Lauderdale chiropractor tells how to live well in your senior years
To keep your back and joints healthy as the decades progress into your 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, you should visit a Fort Lauderdale chiropractor to discuss the best plan for your particular lifestyle and health issues. When it comes to aging, your chiropractor will recommend certain ways in which you can learn to live better, so that growing older doesn’t interfere with living your life.
Each decade comes with the same message: Eat right, exercise right, to live right.
As we age, our bodies start to send us messages that we never heard before – or maybe we heard what our bodies were saying, but chose to ignore their wisdom.
In your 60s, healthcare professionals advise packing your meals with nutrient-rich foods – this is the decade in which changes occur to the digestive process as well as bone density. To compensate, your diet should consist of a regular meal schedule, so that your metabolism remains balanced: choose leafy green vegetables and fatty fish such as salmon to help to reduce joint inflammation and, for increased muscle strength, look to lean beef, skinless chicken and foods such as eggs.
In your 70s, the need to eat right becomes even more important. Smaller meals that are high in nutrition will help you to avoid are more important vitamin deficiencies that can lead to muscle weakness and joint issues. Add in foods packed with vitamins such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and garbanzo beans to maintain optimum health. By the time you reach your 80s and 90s and beyond, your body will be used to such nutrient and vitamin rich foods, and you will have become your own expert at what to eat and what to avoid. Make sure that dark, leafy green vegetables remain a part of your lifestyle – these will lower homocysteine levels to protect brain cells. Antioxidant-rich foods like avocados and berries are also recommended to prevent cell damage.
Remember that foods such as yogurt also provide essential nutrients as well as the right protein amounts to help the body in its processing of amino acids, which help to foster mental alertness. Apples, which are high in flavonoids, should also be a diet mainstay because of their ability to get rid of toxins in the body. In fact, it has been shown that an apple daily can help to decrease cognitive decline because of the apple’s flavonoid content. The website alzheimers.net states that even apple juice can help slow the decline of dementia:
“Researchers believe that apple juice may prevent the decline of a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit messages to other nerve cells and are crucial for good memory and good brain health. Past studies have shown that when acetylcholine is increased in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s mental decline can be slowed,” according to the website.
So that covers the food and nutrition end of aging. What about exercise?
Harvard Medical School’s HEALTHbeat says that starting in your 60s, you should become conscious of your level of activity, making the choice to move, rather than remain seated, whenever possible. It recommends starting a structured exercise program that is aligned with your lifestyle. Do you have access to a fitness facility? A pool? Or would you just rather take a walk? Harvard Medical’s Dr. Aaron Baggish suggests a fitness plan that is an 80–20 split between moderate aerobic activity and resistance exercise. Moderate aerobic exercise, he says, can be anything from brisk walking to cycling, dance, or a Zumba class. “The ideal aerobic intensity permits you to have broken conversation—that is, being able to get out four or five words between breaths,” he says. “Less than that, you’re probably pushing yourself too hard. But if you can converse in whole sentences, you’re not reaping the full cardiovascular benefits.”
Strength training, he said, improves flexibility and protects against falls, an important thing as you age and bones become brittle. Good movements to try include squatting, push-ups, arm reaches, and lifts. Always talk to your Fort Lauderdale chiropractor before launching an exercise program, especially if you have generally led a sedentary lifestyle.
Modernseniors.com points out that the aging body, no matter if you’re 80 or 100, responds very well to exercise. “Your body still reacts to healthy exercise in the same manner as it did when you were 20 or 30 years old,” the site states. “Strenuous exercise breaks down muscle tissue and your body repairs it to make it stronger. It just takes a little bit longer to recover when you are older.”
Anyone who starts up an exercise regimen, however, should begin slowly – take the dog for a walk, for example, and go a little farther each day. Eventually work up to walking for an hour without feeling overly tired or sore and then incorporate weight lifting activity, so that you are working out with weights at least one to two times per week.
Weight lifting routines for senior fitness are intended to help maintain overall body strength and increase body elasticity and general energy levels. “These routines can also result in improved blood pressure and sugar levels, better digestive processes, and better balance maintenance” to help ward against slip-and-fall accidents.
After beginning a weight-lifting regimen, senior citizens also report a reduction in lower back discomfort and decreased arthritis pains, plus an overall reduction in everyday aches and pains that those of advanced age traditionally complain about.
It is imperative to keep joints, muscles and bones healthy as you age so that you can continue to enjoy life. As your body starts to send you messages about its aging needs, you should listen and seek out the expert advice of a doctor of chiropractic in Fort Lauderdale – he can explain in detail everything you need to know to live life well as you age.