The anti-aging business in America has become a 96 billion dollar industry. There is an overabundance of ads for anti-aging products on television and the internet; all of them playing to our vanity and fear of getting old. The fact is that in the history of man-kind, nobody has ever gotten younger. The reality is that we have all been aging since we were born and we won’t stop aging until we die.
For the first time in history, the United States has more senior citizens than children and youth and by the year 2025, our senior population will double. Incredibly, life expectancy at the turn of the century was approximately 46 years. Today it is approximately 76 years.
Whether we like it or not, we don’t all age at the same rate. Genetics, lifestyle, eating habits, sleep habits, activity, occupation, stress and attitude all play a part in how we age. Unfortunately, we can’t do anything about our genetics, but we certainly have control over the other factors in our lives.
Although we are constantly aging, we don’t notice our aging until we realize that we aren’t able to do the things we could when we were younger. Bringing in the groceries, gardening or running after our grandchildren prompt us to think, “I’m not as young as I used to be.”
Most health care professionals will tell you that the best anti-aging solution is a combination of a balanced diet with portion control, management of your health problems, reducing stress in your life, getting quality sleep, and maintaining physical activity.
The physical activity I speak of is a structured weight-bearing exercise and/or activity around the house requiring some weight-bearing. Weight bearing strengthens your bones and muscles, helping you with balance and endurance. It is especially helpful in preventing or reducing the effects of arthritis and osteoporosis. A good exercise program can also help with depression, mood swings and a healthy attitude toward life.
Although people with arthritis and osteoporosis may think that exercise increases the risk of injury from broken bones, the truth is that inactivity is more dangerous than exercise. A regular, properly designed exercise program through your medical provider may actually help prevent the falls and fall-related fractures that so often result in disability and premature death. That's because exercise strengthens bones and muscles, and improves balance, coordination, and flexibility, which is especially important for older adults. That is where your medical provider and/or wellness professionals come in.
A properly designed exercise program consists of having a thorough examination and consultation with your medical provider on what type of exercise is appropriate for you and your goals. Included in the consultation, your medical provider may prescribe physical or aquatic therapy, and a bone density measurement, each of which are reimbursed by Medicare and private insurance for those who qualify.
If you are physically able and can afford it, a fitness facility may be in order. Some fitness facilities have well designed and developed programs to meet the exercise needs of your community. Most of these facilities have certified professional fitness instructors to help you with your exercise goals. Most communities have licensed and certified physical and occupational therapy professionals who can assist you with a strengthening program on state of the art machines. You must have a prescription from your medical provider in order to take advantage of the benefits that physical or occupational therapy can provide for you. Medicare covers physical therapy and occupational therapy for those who qualify. Some Medicaid programs can also cover it on a limited basis for those who qualify.
If you are home-bound and are not able to go to a therapy facility, you may be able to have the therapist come to your home through a home health agency. Most insurance companies will cover therapy services with a prescription from your medical provider. To learn more, click on long term care insurance.
Aquatic therapy is another form of physical therapy that may be used, especially for people with arthritis or those with lower limb conditions. The therapy is conducted in an indoor heated pool under the direction and supervision of a licensed therapist.
You do not have to join a fitness facility in order to get your daily dose of an anti-aging program. You can use ordinary household items to do your exercises. These can be a chair for doing chair squats. You basically sit in a chair and stand and repeat the exercise as long as you can tolerate it. Another exercise you can do is arm curls. You can do these with a can of vegetables in each hand, bringing it up to your shoulder height and back down in repetition. If a can of vegetables is not heavy enough for you, you may be able to find something similar around the house with a little more weight. Remember that you will get better at these exercises each time you do them but you must stay the course.
In summary, making certain lifestyle changes in your life such as developing healthy eating habits, incorporating physical activity in your daily routine, reducing stress, getting quality sleep and developing a positive attitude will slow down your aging process and will help you enjoy a better quality of life.
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