“If I had known I was going to live this long then I would have taken better care of myself.”
“Getting old isn’t for sissies.”
“This pain is just due to getting old.”
These are all common sayings I hear around my office.
I am here to tell you that just because you are aging, doesn’t mean that you have to be in pain. Aging doesn’t equal pain.
I feel that the main difference as we age is that we just don’t recover as well from injuries and insults to our bodies as we used to when we were younger.
The best example of this is a hangover. When I was in my early 20’s I could go out drinking all night and be up and ready to go to work the next day.
Now, if I have 2 beers at night then I have a really hard time getting up the next day. If I have more than 2 then forget about it. I will wake up with a headache and upset stomach.
This is because I am not recovering from the toxin that is alcohol. Alcohol causes microtraumas to the body that the body has a harder time recovering from the older we get.
The same goes for the rest of our body. Most of the pain and injury we get is associated with the repetitive, mundane activities of daily life. When we sit at a desk all day, it is slowly causing microtraumas to our body. It is repetitive trauma. Or cumulative trauma.
Our repetitive daily activities slowly cause muscles to tighten until they get so tight that they tear on a microscopic level and fall into a pattern of spasm and inflammation.
As we age our bodies accumulate wear and tear. This builds up over time to make us susceptible to injury. Injury makes us less likely to exercise and take care of ourselves. Injury makes us more likely to get osteo-arthritis in the future. Basically, how we are treating our selves now is dictating our health in 10, 20, 30 years now from now. We are determining now how we will feel in the future.
Treat your body sustainably. Be easy on it. You only get one body per lifetime. The replacement parts are not nearly as good as the original ones.
Exercising and eating right now is the best way to influence how you will feel in the future. It is the only way to slow down the aging process. The better shape you are in, the less effects of aging you will feel. The better you eat, the slower you will age. Exercise and eating right work together to slow down and even reverse the aging process. They are more effective than anything else you can do to slow down aging.
Exercise will keep you slim, and at the very least will stop weight gain in the future. Exercise is pretty much the only way to burn calories. The correct stretches will target the muscles that get commonly overused and irritated. The right stretches will keep you loose which will prevent injuries. The right exercises will keep the right, supportive muscles strong which will also prevent injury. Both stretching and exercising will not only prevent injuries, but they will also reduce pain associated with injuries. Exercising and stretching will prevent you from losing range of motion as you get older. They will keep you moving and give you the best chance possible of being independent as you age.
Eating right will slow down the aging process by reducing inflammation throughout the body. Eating badly can produce inflammation which will damage your body from the inside out and cause your body to break down and you to age quickly.
Eating right reduces free radicals. Free radicals are negatively charged particles that are found in processed foods and sugary foods and produced from stress. Free radicals attach themselves to positively charged particles throughout the body. They disrupt and destroy particles, molecules and processes they attach themselves to. Thus they cause the body to slowly break down over time from the inside out. This is how free radicals slowly speed up the aging process. The aging process is basically the slow breakdown of our bodies.
Anything that you can do to improve your recovery will help you to feel better as you age, and slow down the aging process. A great example of this is taking a cold shower. Studies show that after exercising, taking a hot shower is counterproductive. When you exercise you produce free radicals and inflammation. Taking a hot shower after exercising produces more inflammation and will slow down your recovery. You will feel just a little more achy and stiff the next day. Maybe it will be a little harder to wake up the next morning. Maybe you’ll be just a little more stiff and sore.
Taking a cold shower after exercising will help you to recover a little bit faster. Cold helps to decrease inflammation and therefore helps speed up recovery. We can use any bit of recovery that we can get. I think it is hard to jump into a cold shower. I recommend starting the shower on hot and then finishing it on cold. Let the cold run over your body for as long as you can. Even a few minutes will help. The cold will cause the capallaries in the skin to reflexively constrict. When you get out of the shower then the capallaries open and allow fresh blood to wash in which washes away the inflammation.
There is a reason why many professional athletes take cold showers and ice baths. They reduce inflammation and speed recovery. I worked on an all pro offensive lineman for the Steelers and got him into taking ice baths. They worked so well he bought an industrial sized ice maker and now takes 40 minute ice baths.
We don’t have as much padding as a 300 pound professional football player. We also don’t have as much pain or as many injuries. It isn’t necessary for us to take a 40 minute ice bath. Even just a 2 minute cold shower will suffice for most of us.
Just because we are getting older, doesn’t mean we have to be in pain. Take care of yourself now so that to you will feel better in the future. There is no guarantee that you will have no pain, but if you take care of yourself, your pain will be lessened.
Exercise and eat right to slow down the aging process. Look and feel younger, the Pain Free Way.