Movement: The foundation of youth.
Nutrition: Food is medicine.
The older I become and every year I face new physical challenges that were not present in my early twenties, or even in my thirties.
As we age, our metabolism slows down, we slowly lose muscle, bone density decreases, cartilage becomes thinner and connective tissue stiffens. These musculoskeletal changes may affect everyday function and movement efficiency. We may start to experience low back pain, prolonged recovery from physical activity, or excessive tightness in our muscles and joints. All of this sounds scary, right? But what if we had a way of significantly reducing and/or delaying the physical effects of aging?
Moving our bodies on a regular basis and feeding ourselves with whole foods is the closest thing we have to taking a dip in the fountain of youth. Exercise and healthy eating are two components you can not separate. They go hand in hand. One will NOT work without the other.
The benefits of physical activity are so vast that exercise is linked with reduced risk of most diseases. The human body has a remarkable ability to adapt to the demands imposed upon it. For example, a marathon runner has developed a cardiovascular system capable of efficiently supplying blood and oxygen to working muscles for long periods of time. The body operates under the “use it or lose it” principle. Adaptations are only made when there is an external stress the body must overcome. We don’t need strong muscles for our bodies to thrive.
So how do we combat the physical effects of aging? Resistance training and weight bearing activities are excellent for building or maintaining muscle mass, increasing bone density, and strengthening connective tissue and joints. Weight training, calisthenics, Yoga and Pilates are all fantastic choices. Making muscles contract against external resistance (i.e. our own body weight, weights, bands, etc.) forces them to adapt by growing and/or getting stronger. Neuromuscular patterns, which are formed whenever we practice movements, become more efficient through repetition.
Here is the good news, in order to maintain a healthy, youthful body and mind, you must move and you must replenish with natural foods that will not clog, slow you down or make you sick.