Aging Well: How to grow old without sliding the slippery slope into sloth.

Oh aging. You do suck in so many ways. This week I’ve been worrying a lot about my aging parents. Helping my dad out with recovery from a recent surgery was very tough, especially seeing how weak he really is. Then this last weekend, my mom experienced such extreme dizziness and faintness that she called 911 and spent the weekend in the hospital. It’s frustrating watching them use the emergency room as their health care plan of choice. I’ve been talking with them about ways to improve their health yet, I know, just KNOW, that nothing will change for them.

My parent are in their early 70s but live a lifestyle like they are closer to 80 (super sedentary, meh diets). And while I don’t see that they have any of the major health concerns of the elderly (cancer, stroke, heart disease) they do seem to be failing in health purely due to the simple act of not caring enough about diet, exercise, and lifestyle. They have been scholars their entire lives. Sitting in chairs for the majority of the day has served their minds well, but done absolutely nothing for their bodies. And now they are paying the price. It breaks my heart.

All of this has made me realize that while I can’t change them, I can change ME. I can choose how to age.

I’m in my 40s and there is still plenty of time for me to build up the habits and reserves I need to continue to be active in my 70s and 80s. And for the record, I plan on living into my 90s and dying suddenly while gardening. Face plant in the dirt with the smell of flowers and grass as my last memories. Sounds pretty good to me.

So it is with renewed focus and purpose that I am getting back on the Paleo bandwagon. I’m reading a fabulous book by Barry Sears called “The Anti-Inflammation Zone” which has a lot of great information about how to fine-tune the Paleo life-style for maximum health. I’m also going to take this time of working at home (due to my new puppy) to put a jump-start plan into place.

For the next four weeks, I am launching myself on a new regime. Here’s the details, in case you want to follow along:

  • Diet: Zone diet, paleo basics, 1200 calories
  • Exercise: Cardio (moderate eliptical) – 30 minutes/6 days a week; Strength exercises – 10 minutes/4 days a week; Walking the dogs – 20 minutes/7 days a week
  • Back care – (Yes, I have back problems, thanks to a roll-over car accident): Stretching every hour; chiropractic 2x a month; thinking about joining a yoga class
  • Sleep – in bed, trying to sleep by 10 pm, up at 6:30 am in order to work out
  • Nutrients – that’s probably a entirely separate post, but just because you are eating doesn’t mean you are getting all of the vitamin and minerals you need. So I’m going to make more of an effort to make my diet COUNT and to supplement where it cannot.

I’m not as concerned about losing weight as much as I am about not crapping out when I’m old. After all, HALF of our lives could be spent in this time of our lives called old age (depending on if you think 40s is old). I’m not going to waste any more time. I love this life and have seen twice this year how quickly it can/could be taken from me. I’m going to make it count.

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