So today is my 35th birthday. I feel great! I remember like it was yesterday when I was in my early 20s. I worked out HARD 5 days a week, slept only about 5 hours a night, and had 15 hour work days. All of this was happening while I was going out and hanging out with friends on the weekends. I noticed that I was no longer in my early 20s, when I experienced my first 5 day hangover after only a few drinks. After that, I started to make changes to take care of my body as I age.
My birthday and this memory made me think a little bit more into our aging process. Is age just a number? Or are there true changes that occur as we get older? The simple truth is that both happen. I believe it is entirely on how you care for yourself when you are younger, but what is even more important is about what you do for your body as you age.
Degeneration, arthritis, and wear and tear are normal processes of aging; just like wrinkles. In fact, as we get older, these become even more present. Interestingly enough there are plenty of aging people who have these changes with no pain; but there are also those at the same ages and same “wrinkles” with a ton of pain. Things brings up the question for today: how can we age gracefully with the least pain as possible? After working with patients over the past 10 years I’ve learned a lot and have built a routine that I believe will help with staying healthy as I age. Here is my routine that I highly recommend. I’ve been through the entire gamut of self care, exercise, rehab programs; the key is consistency, ease of use, and effectiveness.
1) Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. I remember at the start of my career, I loved being awake! I would wake up at 5am and go to bed at 12am. Now, when the sun goes down, I’m getting ready for bed with a good book (currently I’m reading book 5 of Game of Thrones).
2) Stretch or roll out 5 to 10 minutes per day. These are my favorite go to daily stretches/movements: Thoracic spine rollout x 90s; quad rollout x 90s, and windshield wipers x 10 per side
3) Get at least 5000 steps per day; This does not include my workouts. I set this counter low so that I can accomplish every day. On average I’ve been getting 10k. Walking is one of my favorite activities nowadays.
4) Eat a veggie forward diet. I love eating meat; but living out here in Marin County, CA we have the best farmers market. So why not capitalize on this? Vegetables aid in digestion and provide some crucial nutrients.
5) Resistance train at least 2x/week. Now my priorities is building strength, muscle, and bone health. This can be through lifting weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells), or putting on a weighted vest (20lbs) and going for a walk.
6) Having fun. What is life without having a good time? I spend at least 10 hours per week on things that bring me joy; whether that be video games, watching tv, hanging out with friends.
7) Practicing gratitude. At the end of the day, I think about 1 thing that I am thankful for.
I’m all about making things easy. Because if we can make life easier, it will be more fun and enjoyable. This becomes even more crucial as we get older.
I would love to hear from you about the activities that help you stay healthy. And if you are having issues because you are in pain, my challenge for you is to find one activity that is easy for you to do that makes you feel great. Share that with me too.
It’s going to be a great year, and I am confident that things will continue to just get better and better.
Have a fantastic day!