Aging Gracefully by Diane Sieg, RN, CYT, CSP
I was at my monthly chiropractor visit last week and had some spinal x-rays to give Dale more information in treating me. To our great surprise, the x-ray revealed a number of abnormalities, not the least of which were several impressive bone spurs up and down my spine.
“I can’t feel my bone spurs!” I said, “Are you sure that’s me?” I don’t mean to brag, but Dale did say if I didn’t lead such an active lifestyle, practice yoga, eat healthy, etc., I would be feeling my bone spurs, and plenty of other things as well.
After working in the emergency room for 23 years, the health and fitness field for 25 years, and life coaching for 15 years, I have had plenty of opportunity to work with people who were feeling their bone spurs among other things. With all the hype and hysteria focused on how we look, with potential for an endless menu of tucks, clips and nips, I think the focus should really be on taking care of ourselves from the inside out.
Today, 60,000 baby boomers turn 60 every day. Wow! We are the largest percentage of the population and continue to live longer. I just want us to continue to live stronger as well. With that in mind, here are my top 10 ways to age gracefully from the inside out:
- Move. Nothing new about exercising to maintain a healthy weight, elevate mood, and improve your overall well-being and energy. I used to work out to fit into my skinny jeans. Now I know exercise helps me maintain my bone density, muscular strength and endurance, and still helps me fit in my jeans! You don’t have to go to the gym to move. You can walk, take dancing lessons or ride your bike.
- Practice Yoga. Of course you already know yoga has absolutely been life-changing for me. Not only have I gained a half-inch in height and increased my lean muscle mass and flexibility, but I have also adopted the yoga lifestyle that has changed my approach to life. With the daily meditation, deep breathing, and yoga poses in my 30 Days to Grace practice, I am more grounded, focused and centered, ready to move through my days with more intention.
- Eat Anti-inflammatory. Countless studies show that chronic illnesses, especially auto-immune ones such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and even depression, can be directly related to our diets. An anti-inflammatory diet is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sugar and processed foods. You can supplement what you can’t get enough of in your everyday diet.
- Sleep. We are a chronically under-rested culture! So many of my clients say they can “get by” on 5 or 6 hours of sleep. To thrive from the inside out, studies indicate most of us need closer to 8 or 9. Nothing makes me feel (and look) more graceful than a good night’s sleep.
- Connect As we age, connection is more important than ever. Relationships with our kids, grandkids, friends, neighbors and community are critical to nurture and maintain. It gets us out of ourselves, helps us remember what is most important, and keeps us stimulated and involved.
- Meaningful Activity. Taking a course to learn something new, volunteering at a food bank, working on your family tree or providing a service to someone else all qualify as meaningful activity. As we age, we need a reason to get up in the morning â€” a good reason we can get excited and energized about.
- Hydrate. Such a simple thing, but why is it so hard for some of us? Your body cannot always determine whether you are thirsty or hungry, so we often overeat when we really need more water. Everything also “moves” better when you drink at least half your weight in ounces of water a day.
- Embrace Your Grace. I love the Dove commercials that show real, middle-aged, authentic women, without perfect airbrushed bodies and skin. Their beauty and grace illuminates from the inside out. Nothing is graceful about trying too hard to look young or hip.
- Wear Sunscreen. And do all the other preventative measures like getting your blood work, colonoscopy and teeth checked out. Taking proactive measures to take care of ourselves has become so much easier with all the technology out there. And many healthcare providers are starting to support prevention with low co-pays or even for free.
- Plan. In our 20s 30s, and 40s we had so much time to “get to it,” didn’t we? We could wait to settle down, plan for the future, etc. NOW is the time to plan for your future. It’s not too late, whether we’re talking about creating financial freedom or downsizing your home. Creating a plan can offer a sense of calm and intention for moving forward.
I don’t mean to sound like a nag about your food, sleep, relationships or your life! But since we’re all going to be around a while longer, I just want us to age with grace. Can you feel your bone spurs? I would love to hear what you are doing to age gracefully from the inside out.
© 2011 Diane Sieg, RN, CYT, CSP
From the chaos of the emergency room to the calm of her yoga mat, speaker, author, yoga teacher, and life coach Diane Sieg gives you life-saving strategies to show you how to take care of yourself, take charge of your life, and take daily action! After spending over 20 years working in emergency rooms across the country, today Diane helps you go from chaos to calm, to lead a more authentic, productive, and balanced life. She is the author of STOP Living Life Like an Emergency! Rescue Strategies for the Overworked and Overwhelmed, and holds the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the highest certification for a speaking professional, earned by less than 10% of the professional speakers in the world.
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