As we age, we naturally move along a continuum from birth to death. The newborn infant has energy and vitality. By age twenty, humans are physically at their prime. But as the decades wear on, we move from that prime condition to dealing with a body that is not as vibrant. And in our elder years, aging can have a strong effect on our ability to do the things we love.
Aging has the effect of closing the body, reducing range of motion, and curling up gradually. Mental sluggishness, energy depletion, and muscle degeneration are commonly associated with aging. Chronic pain and sleep deprivation or poor quality sleep can affect people of all ages, but especially elders. Skin becomes more fragile and less elastic. Lymph and blood circulation become sluggish. The immune system can be weakened.
That does not mean we need to sit back and passively accept the trend of losing our strength and flexibility, balance, and ability to stay active. By becoming proactive in our middle years, and addressing issues as they come up in our later years, we can greatly affect the quality of our lives.
- One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to be active. Movement is the natural state of humans. We are not meant to be sedate. It leads to the 'tin man syndrome', we become tighter and feel unable to move if we don't keep moving.
- Eating healthy is just as important as exercise. By healthy, I mean stressing fresh, whole foods. Nature provides the nutrients we need to be strong, vital, and healthy. Be sure to include healthy fats, they are so key to a healthy mind and body.
- Seek joy in all facets of your life. Choose joyful relationships. Choose work that fulfills you and gives you purpose. Plan regular play-time, vacations, and fun activities in daily life. Laugh.
- Stay in touch with your spirit. That may mean meditation or prayer, time in nature, or an activity that makes your very soul sing.
- Get to know some healthy aging people who can serve as role models for you. Our elders have a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge to share. Seek out the friendship of those who have earned the title 'elder', and benefit from their example.
- Develop a relationship with a team of health providers to keep you at your best. Look for a physician who emulates your values. See your dentist regularly, see a nutrition specialist to stay on track with your nutrition, and find a massage therapist that will work with you to keep you in top form.
Regular massage can address the many issues of aging, and provide relief. Massage enhances tissue elasticity and joint flexibility, improves blood and lymph circulation, promotes healthy vibrant skin, improves immune system functioning, and relieves muscle aches and stiffness. Regular massage therapy may increase mental awareness, increase muscle strength and coordination, boost energy and improve quality of rest.
The earlier these steps are incorporated, the better the effects. Don't wait until the signs of aging have a strong grip on you. Begin to be proactive in your efforts to have a life that is just as high in quality as quantity.
If I can be of help to you, I would be honored. Give me a call if you are interested in being proactive in creating a longer, healthier, happier life.
About the author: Stephanie Bish owns 'Blissful Body by Stephanie' in Ely, MN; also serving Babbitt, Virginia, Tower, and the Arrowhead Region. As a Massage Therapist, Structural Integrator, and Reiki Master Teacher, she enjoys guiding people on their path to well-being.
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