Getting older is not a sentence to a physically non-active lifestyle. Everything you once loved and had a passion for doing, and everything you dreamed of doing, is still within your reach. The key is to know your body, your limitations and utilize the tools that come standardly equipped. And by following a few simple steps, you too can stay healthy and in “the game” as you grow older.
You Can Stay Healthy As You Grow Older
There are simple habits we can form that will keep us in the game. Many of these require little time and the pay-off is phenomenal. “We are all works in progress”, and luckily gifted with bodies that actually respond and listen to our attempts at making them perform better. We also are all growing older with each minute that passes. I personally like the “growing” part of that phrase. It sure beats the heck out of “getting older”. Growth is good and usually signifies vitality and progression.
So how does this “growth” happen? It’s easy; don’t let fear keep you on the couch! Find the level of intensity for playing hard that is uniquely tailored to individually work for your needs.
For the way I play, I had to learn my body and the things that worked to keep me healthy enough to continue doing what I love. This prompted me to learn how to not only care for myself post-injury but more importantly to build and condition to help prevent and minimize future injuries.
After spraining my ankles more times than you’ve probably looked at yours in the mirror, I developed a morning regimen of drawing the ABCs with each foot every morning for the last ten years. It’s become a solid habit of mine to lift my legs while still in bed and trace the alphabet in the air. Something as small as this not only increases blood flow upon waking but also stretches the ligaments and tendons in my ankles leading all the way into my knee area. It has been the single most contributing factor to preventing serious sprains and still performing with the intensity I personally desire to. Yep, an easy three-minute daily habit has had a profound effect on my ability to perform. That example is just one of many.
Here are a few of my favorite basics for optimizing the body’s ability to stay healthy, resilient, and primed. Ultimately, you have to find what works best for your playtime and how you plan to build a better you.
5 Tips to Stay Healthy as You Age
1. Fuel Your Body
What we consume not only fuels our body but our minds too. I believe it is a good practice to take note of the messages our bodies tell us after certain meals; both the good and the bad.
Many people have mild sensitivities to ingredients and foods and never know it until they stop eating them. I learned I function much better with as little gluten in my diet as possible. I also found certain supplements that work well for areas I found I personally am lacking in. After all, you can’t take every vitamin, mineral, and herb out there! The toxicity levels would do more harm than good. An EFA, Ester-C, Calcium, MSM, Milk Thistle, and occasional B-Complex do it for me. I found the rest of my required nutrients were attainable through diet alone and there was no need to supplement them.
As for hydration, take a look at how you sweat and the needed amounts of fluids for you, and please, stay hydrated! Hydration is crucial to the proper function of organs and plays a firsthand role in performance for active people.
2. Don’t be Scared of Your Doctor
Yay healthcare! As much as I preach natural healing and exploration of alternative medicine, conventional healthcare still remains vital. Besides the need to go to the doctor when you hear a ligament snap or bone-cracking, there also is the need for regular check-ups. We live in a world of technology & discovery so embrace the benefits of MRI’s, cardiograms and all those gadgets in between that see what we don’t always feel.
I also have the utmost respect for physicians trained to diagnose and treat illness and disease. Don’t be an extremist and think that conventional medicine is dead. Many of us suffer from chronic or potentially hazardous physical conditions that require monitoring, treatment, or regular check-ups. Balance and utilizing the best of both worlds is the key.
Humans have been stretching since the beginning of time. In fact, I think it’s one of the first things we do when exiting the womb. Yep, less than a few seconds old we are already stretching it out. Don’t stop stretching! It is well worth the research and time to find stretches that you will regularly do and stick with them!
The good thing about having all-around daily stretches is it will become habitual. At first, you might have to think or plan a time to stretch but eventually, they will “just happen”. Don’t worry if you look a little strange touching your toes at the office water cooler. It will become contagious and you will notice others doing the same after a while. Stretch, stretch and stretch some more.
4. Get a Massage
Massage is simply wonderful. There are many types of massage and many benefits so do your research. Keeping it simple, I challenge you to explore self-massage. Get to know your feet, hands, ankles, knees, scalp, shoulders and whatever parts are reachable. You will amaze yourself at how therapeutic massaging your own body can be. Self-massage is also a good way to learn your body and what connects what to what. I have found muscles, tendons and ligaments moved slightly in one area of the body will cause a subsequent reaction in a different area.
5. Educate Yourself
I truly believe the best program is always going to be one that is made up of time-tested methods, experiences of others, professional advice, and most importantly, your interpretation and usage of that information. Learn your limitations and make smart choices deciding if you want to push them a bit further.
Read suggested materials and on your own, find the experiences and advice of others who are directly addressing your particular needs. Spend your couch time getting prepared to bolt off that comfy cushion and into the wild world of serious play.
I’ll see you out there!
Amos Soma Fuller is a 46-year-old author, pro-industry skateboarder, team manager, writer for national skateboarding publications, x-army paratrooper, teacher, and musician. His first book Tough Like You – Injuries, Prevention, Conditioning & Longevity from an Action Athlete’s Perspective and second title Stretches in Bed – 50 Practical Stretches to Better Rest, Awakening and Wellness prompted him to found Thump the World Publishing, dedicated to releasing unique and down to earth self-healing books for active people. Soma’s work is endorsed by several world-class action athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and health professionals. He resides in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo by Nicholas_T