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Most people think the effects of age only set in at about midlife. First you’re young, then you suddenly wake up with arthritic knees that can predict a coming storm. You fall asleep in a slightly-wrong position and wake up with a back that hurts so much you can barely make it through the workday sitting at your desk. However, aging starts long before any external signs are apparent. It’s best to cultivate healthy habits as soon as possible to slow down the aging process. No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to begin a healthy new routine.
Time to De-stress
First off, it is completely counterintuitive to worry about aging, as stress can accelerate the signs of aging. So take a few deep breaths and try to not to worry too much. One option to reduce stress is qigong, the practice of Chinese medicine that is used to manipulate and reinvigorate one’s qi (pronounced “chee”) or energy. It is perfect for those who are older, those with physical maladies, or those who cannot move their bodies well. Qigong is a simple series of fluid exercises and postures that employ the breath to gently open up tendons, muscles, and joints in order to let the energy of the body flow. Stress is one of the main factors that causes one to have a blocked qi or energy.
Kenneth Cohen, qigong master and author of The Way of Qigong, said, “Qigong is an extraordinary tool for reducing the harmful effects of stress. The three pillars of qigong practice are body, breath, and mind. If your body is relaxed, your breathing will slow down. When your breath is slow, you feel more centered, more calm, and more in touch with yourself.”
Qigong is known for its anti-aging effects. Regular practitioners of qigong may experience lowered blood pressure, improvements in heart function and stabilization of hormone levels. There are claims that qigong may even slow the growth of cancerous tumors and reduce their size. True or not, the stress reduction benefits alone make this practice worthwhile.
Eliminate Back Pain
Back pain is very common, even among young adults. According to the American Chiropractic Association, as many as 80% of people are afflicted with back pain at some point in their lives. This pain can sometimes continue indefinitely without treatment. You are increasingly likely to develop back pain after age thirty. In addition, there are many medical conditions and diseases associated with back pain. It is important, therefore, to know all the best tips to alleviate unnecessary pain and prevent further damage to the spine. Take a look at these tips and see which ones you can incorporate into your life.
Stand up. Especially if you are someone who works in an office, it is wise to follow the eighty-twenty rule: switch to standing every twenty minutes and sit when you get tired. According to a small 2018 study, people who used a sit-stand desk and participated in counseling to improve sedentary behavior experienced a 50% decrease in lower back pain.
Wear the right shoes. I’m sorry to say this to the fashionistas, but high heels are not doing your back any favors. Take them off as often as possible, or don’t wear them at all. When part of your body is out of place and aggravated for extended periods of time, it can affect other parts of your body in what is called a kinetic chain. Uncomfortable feet can result in a sore back.
Ballet pumps and flip-flops, on the other end of the shoe spectrum, are too flat. To prevent back pain, your feet should have proper arch support. Feel free to slip some comfy insoles into your shoes to achieve this. If you do not have fallen arches, you may also benefit from going barefoot when indoors.
Use painkillers. Short-term or acute back pain usually does not require professional help and often gets better on its own. If this is your experience, you may wish to take over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen. You may also benefit from the use of hot and cold packs. Using proper technique during regular exercise as well as eating a well-balanced diet can also help to naturally relieve acute back pain.
Choose a Healthy Diet
If “diet” is a polarizing word for you, remember a diet is a lifestyle, not a brief period of intense restriction. There are a plethora of healthy long-term diets to choose from, so select the one that is best tailored to your individual needs and preferences. Your body will certainly thank you for your efforts.
One great way of eating to adopt might be a mediterranean diet. It consists of plant-based foods, healthy fats like olive and canola oil, herbs and spices in place of salt, fish, poultry, and a limited amount of red meat. Serve up some red wine with your mediterranean dish for a tasty treat. From reducing risk of heart disease to lowering bad cholesterol, this diet can reinvigorate your health and give you a taste of the ocean.
Another diet you can try out is the ketogenic diet, which is low in carbs and high in fat. Many people use it for weight loss purposes. The theory behind the keto diet is that when the body’s main source of energy is switched from carbs to fat, it will fall into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When your body is in ketosis, it becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat. In addition to weight loss, other health benefits include lowered blood sugar, reduced insulin levels, and an increase in ketones.
Take Back Your Health!
Now that you are prepped with some solid tips, it’s time to start giving your body the attention it needs to stay young and vibrant. Take the time each day to employ some well-deserved self-care. Give your body and mind some love, and enjoy reclaiming your health.