How to Maintain Your Youth

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Maintain Your Youth

A decision to do whatever it takes is exactly what it takes in most cases to increase your health, and thus your life expectancy. A healthier lifestyle now means longer life, crisper thinking and a firm foundation for emotional well being late into life. Make the decision to improve your life style now to have an improved lifestyle as you age. It's never too late to begin.


Can you justify smoking, excessive drinking, a couch potato lifestyle, or having a stressful angry attitude about all the little things in life, if it means you may end up in a nursing home 20 years earlier, or that you may not live to see your grand children. If you say yes to that question, it is a valid answer as long as you are being honest with yourself. Some people truly do not want to live to a "ripe old age" and be surrounded by their progeny. This article is not for those people.  


This article is for the people who do not want to grow old gracefully- they want to fight it every step of the way. These people can fight back with humor, good habits and specific goals. Most people have a long list of items they should and shouldn't do. The most important thing you can do is decide for yourself what you expect out of your golden years.


People cannot truly plan for accidents, but barring disaster you may find that you live to a ripe old age. If you do - when are you willing to give up your freedom? Are you ready to move into a nursing home at 50, 70, 90? I personally know an elderly woman who lived by herself with minimal assistance until she was 102 years old. She strongly valued her freedom, her right to make her own choices, and her sense of humor.  


Yes, a sense of humor and a positive attitude play a huge role in remaining younger longer. If you can laugh at yourself, you don't become anxious at the first sign of wrinkles, or even the second hip replacement, which can make a difference in the heart health of any individual. Long held, preconceived notions about getting older are changing every day. The average lifespan of Americans seems to lengthen every year.  


Elderly people are not only living longer lives, but they are more joyful, and their quality of life is higher than it ever has been. A larger group of people are using the ideas listed here to keep a higher standard of living so they are able to not only care for themselves and maintain their independence, but they have a good time doing it. These suggestions can help in augmenting the power of your brain, strengthening your emotional constancy and increasing your health in general.


You want to be as robust, strong, and energetic at 70 as you were at 20. 100 years ago people were pleased to live past age 65. In the modern world we have redefined middle age to be the mid to late 50s, and many elderly adults are dynamic and spirited as late as their 80s and 90s. Reports of active elderly community members in their late 90s and early 100s are becoming more common.


Healthcare, proactive mindsets, facts and continued learning have been key in the pervasiveness of so many people applying anti-aging techniques that increase their life expectancy. Mind-set has a large role in how an individual ages, and the medical community is constantly exploring new techniques in anti-aging and debunking emergent myths intended to make money from the hopeful. People everywhere want to know how to stop time and bring back or keep their younger, fresher appearance and vitality.


Simple things you already know about exercising and drinking enough water every day play important roles in this dream of remaining young-looking and young at heart. Science has also shown how hormone therapy when applied properly, as well as use of antioxidants and proper nutrition also play a significant role in your personal Fountain of youth. Nutrition is important in an anti-aging regimen.  


Many vitamins play key roles in your everyday health no matter what age you are. Vitamin D has been shown to aid in the prevention of cancer in several studies and a significant factor in anti-aging. It is also vital to the synthesis of collagen which keeps your skin youthful in appearance, and neurotransmitters which keep your brain functioning in a youthful manner. Interestingly enough, most people are not aware that Vitamin C also has a principle role as an antihistamine to combat that pesky allergy season.  


Not enough B12 can cause critical and irreparable damage to your nervous system. Consider water as part of your nutritional intake, it is vital in ridding the body of foul toxins and pollutants which speed the aging process. There are so many vitamins that it is impossible to address even the most important ones in a simple article concerning anti-aging.


The intention here is to simply state that nutrition is vital in health and anti-aging. Food is always the preferred source for nutrition, but even with organic foods it can be impossible for you to eat enough to maintain the best level of nutrition and supplementation is often required, particularly as you age. See your physician or health and nutrition expert for recommendations on nutrition for anti-aging and always be upfront and honest regarding any other supplements or prescriptions you may take.


Doctors and other health professionals are frequently lecturing on how a good attitude and low stress levels can extend a person's life. If that person has a stressful lifestyle, anger management issues or is simply having a difficult day, how can they turn things around? There are many things you can do to make your day just a bit less stressful or to cool down a hot temper on a bad day. The most popular suggestion for mood improvement is meditation.  


Meditation is a wonderful technique if you will take the time out of your busy schedules to give it the good old college try. You may feel it is a waste of time to sit and try to think of nothing, or just as difficult to think of something that has nothing to do with your survival in the work place. I frequently find that meditation is a technique that requires a great deal of effort in the way of persistence, scheduling and patience.  


You may not be ready for that level of commitment and desire something simpler, and above all else - faster. Faster and simpler methods do exist for the quick fix and emergencies or as back up on super stressful days when meditation isn't enough. Walking by yourself outside, or with a dog who can't talk and bring up stressful subjects, is not only great exercise that can increase your life expectancy, decrease your weight, and increase your heart health, but it can also decrease anxiety and stress.  


The key is to not dwell on work or other stressors in your life but to make sure you appreciate your environment. If you are in New York enjoy the fact that you are not rushing to your next appointment but are taking the time to walk in the manmade cannons of a great and bustling city. If you are in California, Kentucky or Washington State you should have no problem taking the time to enjoy the beauty of natural surroundings. Where ever you are, make sure you think of several reason why you are grateful to be there and grateful to be walking.


Natural supplement methods for the treatment of stress and anxiety may include herbal remedies such as Valerian, Hops, Chamomile, and Rhodiola.  GABA and L-Tyrosine have all been used for years, even centuries, to relieve stress and tension. Efficacy studies have been done on these supplements that have shown varying degrees of success. I have included a few of these studies in the references.


There is also argument that these natural supplements can be safer and less addictive than manmade benzodiazepines which contain such contra-indicatory side effects as aggression and addiction. As always, see a health care professional to weigh your symptoms and the possible side effects and interactions when choosing any kind of supplement.  Natural does not always mean free from all side effects or complications. Natural does provide another option that may be the best choice for your situation.


Making the decision, improving your outlook, monitoring your nutrition and decreasing stress and anxiety are all wonderful components of a healthy life style that can lead to anti-aging effects, and slowing down your body's clock. A key component that has yet to be addressed in this article is exercise. I understand you are slowly backing away from the crazy lady who is telling you something you already know, and do not enjoy.


Keep in mind that the benefits of exercise can increase your youthful appearance now as well as slow your aging process so you remain youthful in appearance and physically longer than you would otherwise. Exercise effects your cardiovascular and immune system, your brain function and even has effects on depression and anxiety as mentioned earlier in this article. You don't have to be buff to enjoy increased benefits in all these areas.  


Walk daily for 1 mile. Even at a slow pace it will have a huge effect on your overall well being over time, particularly when compared to the average sedentary lifestyle most of us lead. If you are feeling ambitious you may lift weights which has been shown to increase the strength of not only your muscles which makes you appear attractive, but actually increases the strength of your bones, helping to prevent breaks and fractures as you age.


The positive effects of exercise can still be felt several days later in an increased upbeat attitude and in stress reduction in general. It's difficult enough to find time to exercise when you are young, and elderly people have many reasons to not exercise including not feeling well, being too tired or the fact that they have never done it before. So why should they start now? The simple truth is that the only way to begin exercising and reap the many benefits is to actually begin exercising.  


The benefits are universal for every person of every age group. A nice casual walk everyday is better than nothing at all. Try it and begin to feel the many effects exercise can have on your life.


Tip: Exercise in small amounts frequently.

Tip: Monitor your nutrition.

Tip: Make an effort to lower stress and anxiety levels.

Tip: Research hormone therapy (which is not covered in this article but worth exploring)

Warning: Always check with a health professional before beginning any new health regimen.

Resources

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Hodgson JM, Ward NC, Burke V, Beilin LJ, Puddey IB. “Increased lean red meat intake does not elevate markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in humans.” J Nutr. 2007 Feb;137(2):363-7.

Ingraham, BA; Bragdon, B; Nohe, A (2008). “Molecular basis of the potential of vitamin D to prevent cancer”. Current medical research and opinion 24 (1): 13949.

Gorham, ED; Garland, CF; Garland, FC; Grant, WB; Mohr, SB; Lipkin, M; Newmark, HL; Giovannucci, E et al. (2007). “Optimal vitamin D status for colorectal cancer prevention: a quantitative meta analysis”. American journal of preventive medicine 32 (3): 2106.

Tuohimaa P (March 2009). “Vitamin D and aging”. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 114 (1-2): 7884.

Keisala T, Minasyan A, Lou YR, et al. (July 2009). “Premature aging in vitamin D receptor mutant mice”. The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 115 (3-5): 917.
Gropper SS, Smith JL, Grodd JL (2004). Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (4th ed.). Belmont, CA. USA: Thomson Wadsworth. pp. 260275.

Johnston C. et al. (1992). “Antihistamine effect of supplemental ascorbic acid and neutrophil chemotaxis”. Am Coll Nutr 11: 172176.

Bent S, Padula A, Moore D, Patterson M, Mehling W (December 2006). “Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis”. Am. J. Med. 119 (12): 100512.

Schiller H, et al, Sedating effects of Humulus lupulus L. extracts. Phytomedicine. 2006 Jul 21.

Amsterdam JD, Yimei L, Soeller I, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 2009;29(4):378382.

Alexander Bystritsky, Lauren Kerwin, Jamie D. Feusner. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. March 2008, 14(2): 175-180. doi:10.1089/acm.2007.7117.

Reductions in the occipital cortex GABA levels in panic disorder detected with 1H-Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. Goddard AW, Mason GF, Almai A, Rothman DL, Behar KL, Petroff OAC, Charney DS, Krystal JH (2001). Arch Gen Psychiatry 58: 556-561.

Stampfer, M. J.; Hu, F. B.; Manson, J. E.; Rimm, E. B.; Willett, W. C. (2000). “Primary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease in Women through Diet and Lifestyle”. New England Journal of Medicine 343 (1): 16.

Gleeson M (August 2007). “Immune function in sport and exercise”. J. Appl. Physiol. 103 (2): 6939.

Hertzog C, Kramer AF, Wilson S, Lindenberger U. (2008). “Enrichment Effects on Adult Cognitive Development: Can the Functional Capacity of Older Adults Be” (PDF). Psychological Science in the Public Interest 9 (1): 165.

The influence of physical activity on mental well-being. Dr. Kenneth R. Fox, Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Priory House, Woodlands Rd., Bristol, UK

About The Author

Alison R. Craig Health and Wellness Advisor, NAHU Her ideas are as contagious as her smile. She is the picture of transformed health and wellness, and her passion born of necessity. Alison has suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome since age 15, sleeping an average of 14 hours per day and battling depression the other 10 hours. She developed type II diabetic symptoms at age 34; around the same time her thyroid stopped producing at appropriate levels and she experienced astonishing weight gain.


She had to look for answers on her own outside of traditional medicine, and with the help of Google and confirmation by two progressive M.D.'s diagnosed herself as celiac with consequent nutritional deficiencies. Within a year she sought causation studies as to why her youngest child appeared malnourished and exhibited certain symptoms of autism.


Again with the help of a M.D. using a scientific approach, determined that not only were all three of her children gluten intolerant, but also nutritionally deficient. This realization led her from metabolic testing to DNA analysis which was the real breakthrough improvement in her health. Alison is leading a crusade to help others improve their personal situation the way she has been able to.


She is taking on individual clients and corporations providing advice and guidance on how to seek out answers to ongoing illness and empowering her clients to pursue wellness with information. She is fighting back the fears of clients who face heart disease, diabetes, cancers, Alzheimer's and arthritis. Standing on the shoulders of giants who have paved the way to DNA analysis; she is able to help people identify potential and current risk factors and actively overcome those factors with nutritional supplementation.


This career path of Health and Wellness Advisor is a departure both from her background in computer networks and telecommunication. However, the role of teacher has been a lifelong pursuit. Alison was educated at Queens University of Charlotte, North Carolina studying both education and vocal performance. She has also owned and operated her own Montessori School. Alison now divides her time between meeting with clients to discuss individual wellness paths and writing on her favorite subjects: being healthy and traveling the world.


Alison is a native of North Carolina, but calls small town Kentucky home. Her husband of 18 years is a Financial Advisor and Wealth Manager. Her three children complete her life, with a constant supply of joy and laughter. The cornerstone of Alison's philosophy is the pursuit of happiness, which does with the help of her family.