Healthy Bucket List For Baby Boomers: A WHOLISTIC Approach
Jan 28, 2018 | by Darci Horton
There are several things that come to mind, as I sit down to write this little blog on healthy living for the 50+ age group. Frequently we don’t stop and think about how we can better our lives, but instead only live “in the moment,” either trying to “keep up with the Joneses” or “keep head above water” or run in the ever increasingly fast-paced “rat race”. We do our best to take care of others: our children and/or grandchildren, our parents and grandparents, our extended families, our friends in need, our clients or patients, etc. But often we forget that, in our haste to care for others, our own lives need to be self-examined occasionally, revitalized, revamped, re-energized, and renewed. Just how can we accomplish this? Here are some ideas to help:
- BREATHE! As often as possible during the waking hours, take a few moments to stop and do some deep breathing exercises. Try diaphragmatic breathing1, or belly breathing as it’s sometimes called, to increase the oxygen level in our bodies and brains. Set a goal to deep breathe out of doors for at least 10 minutes twice daily. Practice pursed lip breathing, which includes breathing in through the nose and very slowly out through the mouth. Here are some of the benefits: to assist our minds for clearer thinking, to speed healing by increasing metabolism, and to calm rattled nerves by relaxing and reducing stress. The best quality of oxygen is found in fresh, pure air, and includes an abundance of negative ions2. The best places to get re-energized in fresh air is out in nature, near running water. (Think beaches, creeks, rivers, waterfalls, etc.) And, if you happen to live in an industrialized region, think about moving to somewhere in the country where you can enjoy fresh, pure air much of the time.3
- TAKE TIME TO EAT NUTRITIOUS FOODS – Our bodies were not designed to run full speed all the time. We must take time to plan for and make nutritious meals with high quality foods, and then sit down and eat them in a relaxed fashion, preferably with people you enjoy being with. Turn off the television, the computer, other media—I know, that’s asking a lot! The hurried lifestyle of today’s world is a recipe for disaster! First, our digestive system requires that we eat on a regular schedule, and only two to three times daily. Secondly, chew your food well! (Just a reminder: the stomach has no teeth, and when we don’t take time to chew our food, multiple problems can arise, such as ulcers, allergies, auto-intoxication, etc.) If perchance you need to pursue the option of dentures, make it a priority. Our bodies were designed to be maintained on high octane fresh, live, chemical-free, unadulterated, colorful (think rainbow colors, especially greens), and natural foods. Dead, devitalized, toxic, old and wilted, boxed, moldy, highly processed and/or “fast” foods, cannot long sustain a healthy and happy lifestyle. Think about the benefits of growing at least a part of your own food: after all, our first parents were placed in a garden, not a fast-food joint! Then do it! Even if you can only grow a few pots of fresh veggies on a deck, in a window sill, in a cold frame, or a yard, the benefits you will reap will surely be worth the extra time spent. Include your children or grandchildren, they’ll thank you for it!
- DRINK PLENTY OF PURE WATER – Water is an absolute must, but what kind of water shall I drink, you ask? Purified, filtered, oxygenated, reverse osmosis, distilled? All are excellent choices to start out with. Our bodies must have plenty of water, but not too much. (Temperance is vital in all things, you know). Thirst, at 50+, is NOT a reliable guide to use, as our thirst control center sometimes deceives us, and thirst is usually a sign that we are already dehydrated. So, how to figure how much we need? The general rule of thumb is to divide your body weight in half, and drink that many ounces of water per day4. However, if you are exercising regularly, working out, or working at a physically active job (think digging ditches manually, building bridges or homes, mowing by hand, running marathons, etc.) or live in a very warm climate, you will need to increase the amount of water accordingly. Dry air can also dehydrate you faster than moist air, so you might need to increase your intake a little in the winter, too. An accurate indicator of your water intake is your urine output: the color of urine voided should always be kept at a very pale yellow/amber color, and have little to no odor. If it’s darker than that, you haven’t had enough fluid.5 Note to gals: if you are one of the very few women who get pregnant after age 50, be sure to drink plenty of water for you and baby. Also, caffeinated, and other beverages do not count, as they frequently include increased amounts of chemicals, sugar, carbonation, and other unwanted ingredients. Overall, water is the best!
- EARLY TO BED, EARLY TO RISE… – Ah yes, let’s address circadian rhythms and insomnia. So many of us suffer or have suffered in this arena, that we may have given up on sleeping well, and just taken to popping a pill or two to get our nightly zzzz’s. But wait, isn’t there a better way? What can be done to remedy the situation? Our bodies can be likened to a finely tuned Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita6 or Lamborghini Veneno6, which, like all vehicles must be maintained on a regular basis to stay in excellent condition. So, we must also pay strict attention to this area of life if we expect to regenerate our cells, rest and rejuvenate our tissues and organs, heal our aching body parts, and prepare for a good day tomorrow. Here are a few vital pointers, to accomplish this:
- Go to bed at the same time every night, including weekends. (Impossible you say!) But let me remind you that our bodies work like a finely tuned Swiss watch and run on a 24 hour/7-day cycle, and must have regularity and moderation in all things. (I cannot stress this enough). If you are in the habit of staying up late, or if you work late hours or odd shifts, your body will thank you if you make changes to accommodate the physiological needs here. The best hours for sleep are between 9-12 midnight, and it is said that every hour slept before midnight is worth two hours after.
- Keep your sleeping room “cool, dark, and free from distractions” says a hospital ad frequently heard with the on-hold music. This includes leaving a window slightly opened all night (not directed right on you); turning off all technology, including night lights; and placing pets in another area of the home, garage, or yard. If you are sickly, a better idea would be asking a friend to care for your pet(s) so you can get a much needed and undisturbed rest.
- Here are several somewhat obvious changes that could be made as well: end mealtimes and/or drinking fluids 2-3 hours prior to bedtime; take a nap no later than 3 pm; ensure that your bedclothes, including pajamas or nightgowns, sheets, blankets, are smooth and comfortable and that your pillow is properly sized for you, providing excellent neck support; also, get a better mattress if you need to and turn it on a regular schedule.
- For those who live in a dark and rainy region of earth (as I do here in the Pacific NW and above the 45th parallel latitude), investing in a “blue light” can help to regulate your circadian rhythm and insure a better night’s sleep.7
- Exercise aerobically daily, just not right after eating. Moderation is key.
- Think through some of the many causes of insomnia and do your best to remedy as many as possible. I’ve listed just a few:
- Depression, anxiety, and tension8, 9
- Sleeping pills: benzodiazapines and antihistamines (WARNING: DO NOT STOP TAKING BENZO’S SUDDENLY, SEE FOOTNOTE 10)
- Disruptive Environment
- Nocturnal hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Pain or discomfort (for relief of pain, try a far-infrared sauna)11
- Caffeine (including chocolate) and alcohol
- Sleep Apnea
- Nocturnal myoclonus (muscle twitching)
- Nutritional supplements and Botanical medicines taken 20-45 minutes prior to bedtime can be of help: things like niacin, magnesium, melatonin, and 5-HTP, also valerian root, licorice root (not candy), passion flower, skullcap, hops, and chamomile.
- KEEP MOVING! – We were created to move: couch potatoes included. Bottom line is we must take time to exercise in fresh air and sunshine, (or out in the weather if sunshine is at a premium). Walking being the very best. Find a buddy, start or join a walking group, join a gym, take up swimming, bicycling, tennis, walking, plant and keep a garden, get some weights or a lymphasizer (also known as a mini trampoline or rebounder. This can be purchased with or without a balance bar). Find something you like to do! For those seniors who are disabled or bedridden, low impact exercises and/or stretches can help. A passive type of exercise is massage. If you can afford it, go for it! Or give your family an opportunity to “pay back” with free massages. Otherwise there are books written regarding self-massage, and you can work on it in the privacy of your home. You WILL notice a difference. There are also books written on stretching exercises, several of them that I like having been written by Bob Anderson.
- MAKE HEALTHY TEETH A PRIORITY – There has been known for many years that the milieu of the mouth environment determines the health of the body tissues. Weston A Price and Hal Huggins, DDS, years ago, showed the relationship between teeth, gum health, root canals, and disease. 12 13
- Keep teeth, gums, and mouth impeccably clean and hygienic; and see your dental hygienist regularly for clean ups! There are a few things I’ve found to help in this arena: Oil pulling, essential oil mouthwashes,14 and the use of a Waterpik.
- Remove silver mercury amalgam fillings, read up on this highly controversial topic.15
- For bad breath: increase your intake parsley or use parsley soft gel capsules; and/or swish with chlorophyll liquid with mint flavor. (Think about detoxifying the colon, the body’s septic tank).
- LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS – Give a tenth of your income to GOD to forward the spreading of the truth. Sell something. Take on a new job that has meaning for you! Budget!16 Trim spending. Don’t bring any more junk home: Declutter! (The truth is that extra “stuff” creates frustration and excess stress, takes extra time, energy, and money to keep clean, tidy, and organized).
Now, as I look back on this post, it makes me realize more than ever, that I am not immune, and as a loving, living, and very blessed human, I too, must come to grips with these things I’ve shared with you, and “walk the talk”. So, I wish you all the best of health and success: take care of yourselves, you only have one “house” to live in, and please know that there’s no one else like you, a specially designed and manufactured original you! To your health!17
9 Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised 2nd Edition, pp. 602-608. Michael Murray, ND., and Joseph Pizzorno, ND.
10 WARNING: ibid., p. 602.
17 The book of 1 John, chapter 3, verse 1.
-submitted by Kim Reed, LPN