Taking Action to Optimal Health - Part 5
Since I opened my first issue of Ironman 16 years ago, I have wanted to create a body that resembled the men inside. I was in awe at the slabs of muscle and deep definition these men could chisel out of their bodies. Once I began exercising, I realized this whole ordeal took a lot more dedication than it looked.
I also found I wanted to know more about this sport. Now, after fulfilling a dream to compete in and win several bodybuilding competitions, I have gained a new respect for health and wellness and creating longevity. At the age of 29, I still get asked for ID and questioned when others realize my age. I have created internal health and wellness, de-aged my body naturally, healed my intestines, cells and endocrine systems with nutrition, and de-stressed my body by maintaining inner peace.
In this article, we will discuss de-aging, vitality and longevity, and methods to incorporate these ideas immediately to your lifestyle for health promotion and disease prevention.
What is aging anyway? It is a combination of factors that disrupt the equilibrium or balance of the body’s systems that normally are referred to as homeostasis. Lets face it, we are all eventually going to age; it is one of those inevitabilities of life. However, most of us do not understand that we can have a profound influence on exactly how aging affects us and how we can slow or halt this process altogether through our day to day living. This goes beyond our healthy nutrition plans, exercise schedules, hormones, de-stressing techniques and sleep patterns. It involves giving thought to and being responsible for our most intimate relationships, the expression of our innermost feelings and desires, and the attitudes we adopt in approaching life’s challenges.
Many of us are too busy with life to notice the signs of premature aging. One of the reasons is because some of the warning signs are invisible. You wouldn’t notice high blood pressure, high cholesterol, bone density loss, oxidative damage caused by free radicals, nutrient deficiency or elevated blood sugar until it has become a severe medical problem. There is definitely controversy as to when premature aging begins, but we know for certain that we don’t feel the same sometime after the age of 30. Or do we? Is this because we are supposed to feel this way or because the doctor said this is normal for our age? I don’t think anyone needs to begin aging at any particular age, or if it is up to our doctor to tell us it’s okay to feel like this at our age. We can feel and look as good as we want at whatever age we choose. Between the ages of 50 to 70, we lose about 15% of our muscle mass each decade. Once we hit 80, we have lost 30% of overall muscle mass. However, we can aid the body in preventing muscle mass breakdown or catabolism (breakdown of muscle and tissue) by supplementing the body with the nutrients it needs.
How old are we really? What time does our biological clock say? In the scientific world they use many different methods to explain aging other than our birthday to successfully decide how old we really are internally. Our bodies are constantly replacing cells that are damaged or dead, while new cells are being made when the existing cells divide. This is an anabolic (building) process known as anabolism, which governs repair and rejuvenation processes of the body. If these processes of cell replacement could perpetually produce new and healthy cells as often as the body needed, aging could not occur.
How about 5 steps to creating a younger you?
- Increase your water intake. Our muscles are three-quarters water, our brain’s wet matter is 80% water, and our blood and lungs are over 80% water. You do not get proper fluids to combat dehydration from coffee, juice, tea or sodas. We do not want our cells or body to dry up; dehydration has been in effect for over 2 hours once you feel thirsty. Three to five litres per day of clean water that is either filtered, reverse osmosis, bottled, or natural spring is recommended.
- Sleep 7.5-9 hours per night. The body needs to replenish energy reserves, rebuild and repair muscle and tissue, re-energize the immune system and cleanse the brain of excess cellular debris. Do not have a high carbohydrate meal before bed; you cannot produce melatonin properly and will store fat all evening.
- Eat a balance of food in every meal. Use a mix of healthy proteins, fibrous carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, and simple or complex carbohydrates with each meal. Refrain from consuming high caloric meals; portion sizing is key to feeding the body and controlling our blood sugar.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise at least three times per week, using a combination of resistance and cardiovascular training to build strong muscle, tissue, tendon, ligament and bone and to lower cholesterol and strengthen your heart.
- Control blood sugar levels. Consume small, frequent meals of balance every 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Never go longer than 4 hours without a meal. This is imperative so insulin does not get into the blood stream at high levels, causing fatty acids and triglycerides to uptake into the adipose tissues.
Finally, incorporate pleasure and play into your lifestyle in the form of de-stressing and relaxation. This should be included in everyone’s lifestyle at least three times per week. Take the dog for a walk, have a massage, play sports, do yoga, whatever, but do something to calm the mind and relax the body. You deserve it!