Proactive Aging – Improve Your Quality of Life After 50

by Addie Kelzer

Regardless of how we approach life, time will pass and aging will occur. While this is reliable and inevitable, the status of our abilities is not pre-determined. We can end up in a variety of places on the aging scale. Where we land and the freedoms and activities we partake in later in life is not always up to us. Accidents can happen and injuries and illness can occur, even in healthy individuals. We know, however, that much is up to us to influence our health, positively or negatively. We can shape our later years dramatically through the choices that we make each day and throughout phases of our life.

In some areas of our life, the need to plan for our later years can seem obvious. Being financially well later takes planning, action and even sacrifice early on. Normally, these are barriers that prevent us from acting; yet most of us diligently save for retirement each and every month. The idea of running out of money to live our lives before we run out of life itself is a stressful enough scenario to prompt action.

Similar to running out of money prematurely, running out of physical abilities before we run out of life is no walk in the park, either. I suspect it is the lack of complete assurance that our actions will give us a positive end result that has us less committed to the task of retiring with enough health along with enough wealth. The financials are black and white, save X and you can live on Y. With health it’s more about throwing enough healthy actions in a bucket (a bucket that has a slow leak in it) to keep the scale tipped toward healthy as long as possible. Not so black and white.

This Mayo Clinic article outlines the aging process nicely from both a clinical and practical viewpoint. It answers the question ‘What can I expect as I age?’. The answers to this question, while expected, aren’t that fun to hear. Nevertheless, it’s important to be realistic about the challenges we’ll face through natural declines in specific physical and cognitive functions. In this article, The Mayo Clinic also answers an important follow-up question: ‘What can I do to help myself age well?’. This is where we hold the power to improve the rate at which we decline in some of these areas. By engaging in specific actions that promote health, especially over long periods of time throughout our life, we can expect to have better health and function when we are older.

The following items are widely regarded as a good place to start when working toward improved health, both now and for the future.

Don’t Smoke. Also related: Don’t do drugs, and drink alcohol only in moderation.

Sleep. Consistent neglect of sleep can have numerous negative health implications.

Manage Stress. Consistent neglect to manage stress can have numerous negative health implications.

Stay Connected with Others. Community and family engagement can have numerous positive health implications.

Eat Healthy. The foods we consume provide, or don’t provide, the nutrients that each cell, organ and system need to operate optimally.

Be Active Mentally. Mental stimulation and creative activities can have numerous positive health implications.

Be Active Physically. Even casual movement of your body, most days, can have numerous positive health implications.

We use the following model to help clients bring awareness to different areas of their health and wellness and the amount of emphasis they currently place on each.

Having several people on your wellness team, who help in specific areas of your wellness journey, is a good approach. A financial planner can help ensure you are financially well. A group of friends or church community to engage with regularly promotes social, emotional and spiritual wellness. A personal trainer can help you exercise safely and provide accountability and education around food choices. That is where we hope to share our expertise! Movement is an important part of being proactive in the aging process.

Luckily, the benefits of physical activity are becoming more widely acknowledged. If you need a reminder of how exercise can improve your sleep, balance and emotional health, among other things, check out this article from the National Institute on Aging, part of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. So, with ample evidence to support the benefits of engaging in physical activity, why are so many of us hesitant, or downright resistant, to exercise?

We help clients uncover their own barriers to exercise and create a work-around that works for them.

For many, it is carving out the time for exercise when there are countless other demands. By having a scheduled workout with a trainer, whether in person or virtually, they step away from other demands and make space for this also-important task.

For others, uncertainty about what to do for exercise is a barrier. They want their exercise time to be safe and productive. Feeling unsure about what they are currently doing is enough to stop them before they even get started.

As unique as our clients are, the barriers they face vary just as much. We pride ourselves on being non-judgemental sounding boards on a mission to help you find a solution if that is what you are after. The more information, even if seemingly unimportant, embarrassing or ridiculous, that clients share with us gives us a better glimpse into their struggles and how and where in the process they get stuck. Our goal is to help them eat better, move more and be a cheerleader for them in other areas of their wellness they are committed to improve.

Want help making an exercise plan that’s appropriate for your stage of life and abilities? Schedule a free consultation or call 651-895-0774.

Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.

 

 

 

References:

“Aging: What to Expect.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Nov. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/aging/art-20046070.

“Real-Life Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity.” National Institute on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nia.nih.gov/health/real-life-benefits-exercise-and-physical-activity.

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