How Ageing Effects The Body:
Osteopenia is an unfortunate natural condition that afflicts people as they get older. It reduces our capacity to do work and can result in a loss of muscle mass by 1 % to 3 % per year from around the mid 30’s. This can be even more pronounced in people with sedentary life styles. Muscles are important for not only getting about but also for regulating the use of sugar in our bodies and the prevention of diabetes. As we age our ability to create muscle will decline, but the good news is this is reversible with the right exercises.
As our muscles and joints age they lose elasticity, the connective tissue in joints also has a tendency to bond and restrict flexibility. Fibrious adhesions can develop that are scar tissue from old injuries /trauma which can build up and restrict natural movement if not tackled. This is why as we age we start to find thing that we used to do with ease such as getting in and out of the car or bath or tying our shoe laces get more difficult. Maintaining our flexibilty is a key component of health at any age.
Hormone production levels decrease as we get into our fifties, sixties and seventies and this can result in loss of muscle mass and an increase in fatty deposits around the body, creating weight problems which begin a downward spiral in our fitness. Hormone reduction can also affect sleep, appetite and metabolism along with hair production, skin tone and elasticity, etc. Reductions in bone density can also occur due to hormonal changes, increasing the risk of fractures from falls, etc.
Ageing also can mean a weakening of the bones, in women the loss of oestrogen after fifty can mean they are 50% more likely to develop osteoporosis. Post-menopausal women can lose 20% of their bone mass in 5 to 7 years. Sedentary lifestyles in both men and women increase the risk of fractures by around 30%. Arthritis both osteo and rhumatoid can also be a problem in older age. Hip and knee replacements can then result.
Loss of muscle and a lack of exercise can often affect balance in senior age groups. In cases where a bone such as a hip is broken it can be very painful and can lead to a prolonged spell in hospital with much reduced mobility as a result. In a small number of cases the chance of premature death increases.
As we get older the incidence of conditions such as high and low blood pressure, and atherosclerosis increases along with other conditions such as COPD which are caused mainly by smoking and a sedentary lifestyle, to put the heart under strain.
Be careful what foods you eat
Ensure you get good sleep
Keep stress to a minimum
Stay socially active
Exercise helps improve cognitive fitness
Regularly challenge your brain
Here are 10 foods you should add into your diet that can help improve your mind:
1. Leafy greens. Some ideas: kale, spinach, collard and mustard greens. These foods are high in folate and B9, which improve cognition and reduce depression.
2. Cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts and kale contain folate and have cartenoids that lower homo-cysteine (an amino acid linked with cognitive impairment).
3. Beans and legumes. These foods contain more folate, iron, magensium and potassium that can help with general body function and neuron firing. They also contain choline, a B vitamin that boosts acetylcholine (a neuro transmitter critical for brain function).
4. Whole grains. Good bets include quinoa, kammut and gluten-free oats (not bread and cereal).
5. Berries and cherries. These fruits contain anthocyanin that protects the brain from further damage caused by free radicals. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and contain antioxidants and lots of vitamin C and E.
6. Pumpkin, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, carrots and beets. These vegetables, if not overcooked, contain vitamin A, folate and iron that help with cognition.
7. Omega 3s. People whose diets contain daily omega 3s have been shown to have 26% less risk of having brain lesions that cause dementia compared with those who do not. These fatty acids help the brain to stay in top shape. You can get your omega fatty acids from fish, flax seeds, olive oil (not safflower) or by taking a good quality omega 3 supplement.
8. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts and pecans. All of these nuts contain omega-3s and omega-6s, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
9. Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. These seeds contain zinc, choline and vitamin E.
10. Cinnamon, sage, turmeric and cumin. Theses spices can all help to break up brain plaque and reduce inflammation of the brain which can cause memory issues. In addition to eating the foods listed above, you’ll want to decrease the risk of illnesses that can make your brain age such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.
Other things to avoid are the toxins in your food, water, soil and environment, unnecessary stress, caffeine, drugs, alcohol and sugar. Encourage healthy decisions, conscientiousness, positive peer groups, a clean environment, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, 8 hours of sleep, stress management and gratitude.
If you’re in the Harrogate area or anywhere else and would like to find out more about my approach to fitness and health, please get in touch.