There is a popular old Spanish proverb that says this: “A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools.”
It is easy to recognize modern society in these words, where everyone is far too busy with work, picking up the kids, going shopping, or rushing around on errands to take time out for exercise, or to spend time in the kitchen patiently preparing good healthy food. Instead, we neglect our bodies, we stress out over everything, we don’t get enough sleep, we rely on fast foods or processed microwave junk for our nourishment – we live on the edge of perpetual chaos, and our health and wellness become our last priority when it really should be the first.
But the wonderful news is that it is never too late to reverse this situation. What follows are a few tips and suggestions that can help those of any age begin the process of re-energizing their bodies, minds, and spirits. Even if you were too busy to worry about your health in the past, there is nothing to stop you now from following the path to better living.
1. START WALKING
To restore the body to top working order, you must get moving, and get moving immediately. However, please do not make the mistake of doing too much too soon.
Know that once you start walking – and that is all you need to do, just start walking – on a regular basis, it doesn’t matter how slowly you start out or how far you go at first. You just need to keep it up, and as if by magic, your body will respond and begin regaining its vitality. I have discovered this on my own, as I began to walk regularly after my days in the corporate world came to an end, and I can really feel the difference from when I first started. Meanwhile, my mom suffers from sciatica, and her mobility is quite limited. But when we traveled to Mexico we had a chance to get out and walk a lot, and the improvement in her condition during that time was quite noticeable. Now, it is just a matter convincing her to do the same thing now that we are back here in the states.
2. IMPROVE YOUR DIET
Improving your diet is essential to repairing prematurely aging bodies. There are many different types of nutritious foods you could eat that can help you, but the best way to improve your health through diet is to eat as many foods that are high in antioxidants as you can find. These “superfoods” are critically important because they can help remove all the toxic substances that are floating around in your body or lurking inside of your cells. Everyone’s tastes are different, but some of the high antioxidant foods I love the most are blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, walnuts, and salmon.
The great enemy of a sharp and active mind is habit: when you do the same things in the same way over and over, your automatic pilot comes on and your brain cells and neuronal pathways slowly begin to atrophy and die. And when your habits of thought and action include chronic worry or stress, the damage done to your mental faculties is even worse.
3. BE CREATIVE
Creativity is the remedy for what ails us. For this reason, taking up something artistic later in life can be a very smart choice – poetry, sculpting, drawing, painting, songwriting; anything that stretches our creative muscles, and causes us to make new associations and new connections is the best kind of exercise for our minds. After retirement, I took up photography again, which I had originally learned back in school. What I have discovered after really throwing myself into it is that now wherever I go I find myself looking at things in new ways and from different angles, trying to figure out what would make the best picture. If you have never done anything artistic before, don’t worry – your local recreational center or senior center will offer classes that can show you how to do something all kinds of interesting and creative things, I guarantee it.
Stress is one of the greatest causes of mental deterioration. In order to start unwinding the mental knots that you have been tying you up inside of you for your whole life, you need to practice some kind of method of deep relaxation that can help transform the way you react to the world. For older people, one of the really underrated ways of releasing stress and learning how to relax is through regular use of a safety tub. Accessible to seniors regardless of any mobility issues they may face, these easy-to-use tubs are designed to allow users to sit calmly and enjoy a luxurious bath, or experience the deep peaceful feelings that accompany a refreshing whirlpool treatment. Water has an amazing power to heal, and users of this kind of bath tub will discover this very quickly.
There are two ways we can go in our emotional lives. We can either open up or shut down, and unfortunately too many older people unintentionally do the latter by isolating themselves as they age. But if you think for one moment this is the way it has to be for older people, think again – your family wants and needs you in their lives, and if you reach out to them they will be thrilled. Don’t get into the habit (there is that word again) of withdrawing; if you do, shutting down will gradually turn into your default state.
Here is my suggestion for how to open up your emotions even further – bring animals into your life. Personally, I am a cat lover, I have been living with them and enjoying them forever and they mean even more to me now that I am older and can truly appreciate what they bring into my life. But if keeping a pet seems too expensive or takes too much time, you don’t have to actually have them in your home. Instead, you can volunteer at your local humane society or animal shelter, they are always looking for help and everyone there will appreciate your presence, both those with two legs and those with four. If depression has been creeping up on you, the unconditional love you can share with animals will help your spirit soar once again more surely than any medication or expensive therapy ever could.
So there you have it – walking at your own pace, consuming foods high in antioxidants, taking up something artistic, using water therapy on a regular basis, and bringing animals into your life. Five outstanding ways to rejuvenate your body, mind, heart, soul, and spirit. Try them, and you will see for yourself how amazing and wonderful life can truly be. And don’t try them alone – get your friends and family involved, too, it will be great for all of you!
About the Author
Karen Lee is a writer who specializes in giving advice to those who want the second half of their lives to be even better than the first. Her website, is devoted to home and health care products that make perfect companions for those who insist on staying active and healthy in their later years. The popular hydrotherapy bathtub is one example of the health and wellness spa fixtures that she reviews at www.soakandsoothe.com