Implementing steps in our daily lives needs to be simple. When it is easy, body and mind are healthier which helps as we age.
A lot happens when we move and that is why we need to do this every day; all bodily functions work better.
As we move, our breathing is deeper improving the flow of oxygen from the lungs into the blood to the rest of the body.
Moving and breathing result in the lymphatic system being stimulated so that the elimination of waste material and toxins can happen.
The digestive system also functions better which helps with improved processing of ingested foods as well as with the elimination through the bowel.
Movement of the body helps blood to flow more efficiently to all parts of the body allowing nutrients to flow more efficiently to all cells
Deeper breathing in turn helps with stress relief as the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated and this helps with the natural production of endorphins, the feel happy hormones.
The word diet, for many people, means restricting the intake of calories or even whole food groups. Our bodies and mind need food. The quantities now served are often far too large and the calories consumed are not burned off as efficiently and therefore are stored. This leads to weight gain. Eating wholesome foods reduces stress in the body as these foods are easier to digest and put to good use because our body knows what to do with them as this was our staple diet for centuries and our bodies have adapted to these natural foods, the nutrients they contain resonate with our cells supporting health and energy.
Low-quality or processed foods on the other hand create havoc as the body doesn’t recognize them and doesn’t know what to do with them. Often, they are stored and may cause inflammation and other unhealthy reactions.
The World Health Organization describes mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
This means that mental health is not about mental illness but instead mental wellness.
Mental wellness helps with a healthy brain function where we can learn, be creative and absorb new material as well as have positive social relationships.
Stress has a huge impact on our being. This is on the physical, emotional and mental levels. High stress levels have a direct impact on our immune system. Emotional challenges often lead to stress and according to research it is responsible for 85% of illnesses.
When seeing clients walk in stressed, the body language clearly shows the distress and tightness in neck, shoulders, facial expression and language. When getting up from a treatment, these signs have disappeared, it is such a privilege to see the transformation! It is beautiful. When we face challenges in our lives, be it from past experiences or present-day experiences, it is helpful to find someone to talk to.
Any change in our lives takes at least 21 days to become a habit. This is so true, however, if we want to induce real change in our lives, it needs to be simple so that it becomes straight forward. To incorporate change, start at a comfortable pace and introduce one step at a time. When this becomes a habit, introduce a second one. If it takes two months to introduce two different steps in each area, so be it, there is time and it is better to do it this way than to be overwhelmed and either not do anything or quit because it is too difficult, too time consuming or stressful.
Start with simple stretches as you enjoy a shower or when you get dressed. Sliding on a shirt, stretch out your arm consciously and reach out. Balance on one foot when putting on your undies, socks and shoes!
As you stand in the kitchen, preparing food, lift and lower your heels and at the same time tuck your tummy in, working the abdominals. For women, tighten the pelvic muscles and lift them. Count to 5 or 10 and then release to a count of 3. Repeat this several times. This helps with bladder control as well as all supporting the internal organs in the pelvic area.
Once a week, make time to plan meals for a few days so you only have to shop once or twice a week. When you get home from work, you do not have to think about what to cook or even spend time shopping. The bonus is you have all ingredients in the fridge and cupboard, it takes less time, less effort and much less stress to cook a health meal.
The added benefit is you are not tempted to purchase ready made meals or processed foods, chocolates, etc.as you are not in the shop as often and not hungry at the time of purchase. If you are hungry when buying food, you are most likely to buy foods that are ready to eat and not as healthy.
A healthy social life, catching up with friends is fun and good for the spirit. Stress hormones are reduced as you are interacting with others. A conversation is good for body and soul. As we discuss topics that are either close to our hearts or interests that we have or a book we are reading, our mind finds a different focus and delights in the creativity of coming up with ideas. Having these conversations also diverts the attention away from concerns or stresses we may experience in our daily lives.
Meditation, yoga, a hobby are amazing tools to help reduce stress in our lives. Activities that require you to focus on what you are doing there and then allow you forget about daily stresses or challenges. Indulge in these! They serve you.
When we can master changes in our lives, one step a t a time, we experience an easiness in daily life.
As we move daily and regularly, our physical comfort in moving and going about our daily lives improves. As we age with strong muscles and a great sense of balance, there is a reduced chance of falls and an improved long-term physical ability to go about our daily lives, well in to older age.
Having a healthy food intake throughout our lives, supports Healthy Ageing. This is because all nutrients of the good foods we enjoyed, have strengthened our cells, and therefore our whole body.
As we reduce stresses from past experiences, our whole being is more relaxed which is very beneficial to lead us into Healthy Ageing. Do not be afraid to seek out help and support where you need it. Most of us, if not all of us, need support at some stage in our lives. Do not be afraid to seek it out, the challenge allows you to grow and be more relaxed about where you are at.
Stress keeps the sympathetic nervous system active. This was and is beneficial when faced with a catastrophic event or danger such as being threatened by a wild animal where we go into survival mode. However, when present most of our waking hours, it is detrimental to our health, both physical and mental. Take up meditation and breathing techniques as well as conscious relaxation to ward off the detrimental effects of stress so that you can step into healthy ageing.
A Simple, Straight Forward, Smooth
Healthy Ageing Through Healthy Living
It is never too late to start or reverse any steps that do not serve your health. The cardiologist who looked after me when I had a heart attack said to me ‘Why bother’ when I told him I started jogging, I was 60 years old then. I couldn’t believe his answer. Of course, if you haven’t been active before, start walking and increase the pace where you feel comfortable and as you progress. Walk up and down stairs. All these activities benefit your health, today and forever.
Anne Hilarius-Ford, a Holistic Wellness Practitioner for the past 20 years, is an energetic and vibrant 69 year-old and is passionate sharing some of her experiences.
Anne found her purpose after searching for 30 years. Raising two children and working with clients has taught her many of life’s lessons. Anne uses her knowledge as a practitioner and her interest in healthy living to empower others.