Regardless of your age — old, young or somewhere in-between — the time to get serious about extending your life and preserving your good health is NOW.
The bad news: aging progresses a little, day-by-day. The good news: there are steps you can take to slow and, at times, completely halt the aging process. These are actions you can begin to make not years from now, but today!
And it’s not a minute too soon for you to confront aging. Think about this…
We have never had to face the hidden, insidious challenges to our health that we currently do…and from many different sources. For example, how many people read the labels on the packages of their food? And how many understand what those lines of chemicals mean? Probably very few.
But everyone should read those labels, and understand what they are putting in their bodies. Also, what about the huge pharmaceutical companies (Big Pharma)?
They hold out the promise of seemingly miraculous cures. Do these promises hold up? At times, yes. At other times, they fall short, with harmful and severe consequences.
The point is this: there has never been a time in recorded human history that we have had access to such an incredible amount of information. Therefore, we have no excuse for not doing the research. That’s the good news.
The bad news? There has also never been a time in recorded human history that we have needed to do this research AS NOW! We — all of us — are subjected to a non-stop, 24/7 advertising campaign for products that will supposedly lead to health and happiness.
Just take this pill…or eat this food…and conveniently ignore the fact that the promoter of these miracles has their financial interests at heart, sometimes at the expense of your health and money.
To compound the problem, the pace of life is becoming increasingly quicker. Time seems to be moving faster than it ever did, and the day-to-day struggles of daily life leave so many people too weary or otherwise preoccupied to research the things that are so vitally important to them.
So, what to do? The key is getting back to basics, and taking actions that anyone can begin, immediately. Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to add years of healthy, vibrant living to your lifespan.
People disagree on many things. But there is one thing that is almost guaranteed to get universal agreement: the fact that we are too sedentary, too over-weight, and just too plain lazy to get off the couch and get moving.
Granted, for genuine couch potatoes that have been inactive for extended periods of time, the task of swinging into action can seem daunting. But keep this in mind: you do not have to be an Olympic-level athlete to get the benefits of regular exercise.
Begin slowly, and work up your intensity level gradually. Before you know it, regular workouts will become a habit.
As for the type of exercise program you follow, remember that there are several components of fitness: strength, cardiovascular capacity, flexibility, and balance.
A proper mix of weight-lifting, good old-fashioned body-weight calisthenics, aerobics and stretching will cover all bases. The techniques of the correct and safe ways to work out are widely available through personal trainers, books, magazines, videos and the Internet.
Check out many things, then decide what fits your situation (time availability, your goals, your present fitness level, etc.). Then absorb what is useful, and discard the rest.
In addition to the many well-known benefits of regular exercise (burning fat, building muscle, stress reduction, better sleep and circulation, more energy), there is another lesser-known benefit that just may be the most important one of all: exercise prevents the shortening of the protective segments of your DNA called telomeres. Here’s why this is so important:
Telomerase is the enzyme that helps to restore telomeres, which are the biological clocks at the ends of your DNA.Without getting too scientific, here’s how this works: every time your cells divide, your telomeres shorten.
Eventually, this causes your cells to stop dividing. The result? DEATH! Another analogy is that telomeres resemble the plastic ends of your shoelaces. They protect your shoestrings and prevent them from fraying and falling apart.
When they wear out, trouble. This is precisely what happens to worn-out, shortened telomeres.
The takeaway? We must slow down the loss of telomeres to slow aging. Companies are in a mad scramble to produce a high-quality, yet affordable supplement to provide this desperately needed protection.
But until that process is perfected, exercise is by far-and-away the best way to prevent the shortening of telomeres.
Enough said. No more talk. The time to get off the couch is NOW!
You Are What You Eat
There is an old cliché in the health and fitness worlds: “You can’t out train and out pill-pop bad eating habits.” How true this is.
Just look around. More Americans are obese now than ever. There are many possible explanations for this sad state of affairs.
The need for convenience that is ever-present for so many folks has resulted in an explosion of fast-food outlets, which play a huge role in our ever-expanding waistlines.
How about asking your physician for nutritional advice? Is that a good idea? Maybe. But maybe not.
Doctor’s are well-trained in the latest surgical life-saving procedures and are up-to-date on the newest miracle prescription drugs. But just like the rest of us, they have only 24 hours in the day.
To keep up with the most recent advances in medicine is at best a full-time job, and at worst it is nearly impossible. So many busy physicians overlook the importance of nutrition.
Also, there is the confusion factor. In their never-ending quest for profits and satisfied shareholders, the giant food companies (Big Agra) have loaded much of our food supply with “who-knows-what’s-in-them” additives.
Needless to say, these additives are not designed to enhance your health. The emphasis is on good taste and preservation, which equals more profits. Here are a few of the most egregious examples:
- Trans-fats. This monstrosity was born during the “saturated fats are horrible” craze of the 1970’s and 80’s. Initially, they were touted as a heart-friendly alternative that combined good taste with cholesterol-lowering ability…what’s not to like? Just this: trans-fats do indeed lower cholesterol…but the wrong kind — the “good cholesterol” that protects us from heart attacks. Studies have shown that trans-fats may have been directly linked to as many as 100,000 fatal heart attacks annually. Prodded by public outcry, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally is moving to ban this killer. But they are a day late and a dollar short, since there are loopholes like re-naming them (“partially hydrogenated” “hydrogenated” and “fractionated”). Therefore, read labels, and avoid this stuff like the plague.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). Like something out of a late-night horror movie, this Frankenstein-like additive is a recent man-made addition to our food. The problem? Our bodies have a hard time recognizing HFCS, which means it is harder to digest and adds more calories than regular sugar. The result? Obesity, diabetes, liver problems, metabolic syndrome, and other health nightmares. Thanks to the generosities of Congress included in each new version of the government farm bill, HFCS is cheaper than sugar, at least, in the short term. Long term, the costs of suffering from this insidious poison are incalculable. As with trans-fats, read labels and avoid this hideous toxin.
- Eat Fresh. A recent study from the University College of London has concluded that those who eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day cut their risk of death and severe illness by 42% compared to those who get far less fresh produce, or none at all. This doesn’t mean that anything less than seven servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day is useless. Just start adding more now, and go from there. It’s time to get tough. Simple sugars, bad carbs, bad fats, processed foods and excess sodium are not found in natural foods. Therefore, keep them to a bare minimum. Or better still, cut them out entirely.
Remember this: we are digging our graves with our knives, spoons, and forks. But we can use these same utensils to dig our way out. The choice is yours, so choose wisely.
Don’t Smoke or Abuse Alcohol and Prescription or Illegal Street Drugs
These are really in the “DUH” category.
The evidence of the health damage that smoking causes are so overwhelming, so proven and so all-pervasive that it is perhaps the only topic in the fields of traditional and integrative medicine and alternative health that virtually everyone agrees with, entirely and unconditionally.
And that says a lot. Don’t smoke, period!
Likewise, there are many documented examples of the ruin resulting from alcohol and drug abuse. The financial, social, health and legal consequences of this abuse speak for itself.
Again, enough said. This is a dead-end street that is avoidable. So don’t drive down it.
Take Quality Nutritional Supplements
Flashback one-hundred years. Most families could go out their back door and pick fresh fruit, get access to fresh vegetables, lean meat protein, homegrown dairy and toxin-free well-water.
The air was clean, bright and pollution-free, the soil was rich in nutrients, as was the food grown in it…and the food was produced and consumed locally.
In short, eating nutritious foods was all that was needed to stay healthy. Our ancestors were, for the most part, free from the disease epidemics that are running rampant today.
But that was then — and this is now. Fast-forward to today. Soil depletion due to over-planting in the name of profits (thanks, Big Agra), laboratory-created synthetic chemical additives to our food (thanks again, Big Agra) and steroid-laced livestock (once again, stand up and take a bow, Big Agra), our food is not anywhere near as nutritious as it was then.
And we are paying a terrible price by consuming all of those empty, fat-producing calories.
This is why we need vitamin supplements. Consider adding a quality multivitamin and mineral supplement as a nutritional insurance policy. No matter what, it is challenging to eat correctly every meal, every day.
And even if we could, we would still need nutritional insurance for the reasons mentioned above.
Look for a balanced product, try a few different ones and go from there. Also, individual vitamins like B, C, D, and E should be considered, as well as magnesium.
The world of supplements has made exponential progress in quality in the last few decades, and more and better things are coming, due to new research discoveries.
Exercise Your Brain as Well as Your Body
Think about this: there is no point in staying healthy and living a long time if you are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association:
- Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.
There are approximately 500,000 people dying each year because they have Alzheimer’s.
1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.
In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion.
Alzheimer’s disease is serious…deadly serious. But the goods news is this: there are steps you can take to prevent this debilitating affliction from robbing you of your humanity. Here’s how, and why:
As recently as 40 years ago, the conventional knowledge was that the number of brain cells was fixed. Your IQ was what you were born with.
At best, you could only hope not to lose too many IQ points to aging. And, if you were unfortunate enough to suffer a brain injury, forget about it.
The damage was considered permanent, and there was no way you could come back.
However, the science of Neurology has advanced by leaps and bounds.
We now know that it is possible, with the right brain exercises and stimulation, proper nutrition, staying physically fit and the use of supplements and nootropics (smart drugs and cognitive enhancers), to allow our brains to create new cells and add connections between them!
This process is dependent on the exchange of chemical signals, called neurotransmitters. As we age, or if we suffer injury, disease or even non-use, the cells and synapses can break down.
This may lead to a host of developments, none of them pleasant: mood swings, depression, impaired cognitive functioning, memory loss, intellectual stagnation, lower IQ, lowered problem-solving skills, and, if things get worse, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
That’s what you are up against. But don’t despair. Brain deterioration is not inevitable. As mentioned earlier, there are steps you can take to prevent Alzheimer’s:
- Follow the previous recommendations. Exercise, correct nutrition, staying hydrated, avoiding toxins and the right vitamin supplements are your foundation — your first line of defense
- Control stress. Long-term stress levels can wreak havoc on your brain synapses. Meditation, learning to relax, enjoying hobbies and keeping things in their proper perspective can work wonders for lowering your stress levels.
- Keep your brain active with new challenges and constant mental stimulation. Use it or lose it. You’ve heard that cliché about your muscles. Your mind is no different. Watching mind-numbing television and doing the same things over and over again will result in a mental rut. To stop that from happening, keep the brain stimulated. Learning to play a musical instrument, speaking and reading a foreign language, doing puzzles, reading about new topics and meeting new people can all combine to help you stay sharp.
- Consider Nootropics. Nootropics are smart drugs and natural substances such as vitamins and herbs that have been shown to improve mental functions like memory and concentration, along with protecting the brain from physical and chemical injury. The racetam family (piracetam, oxiracetam, aniracetam, etc.) were the first nootropics, and have been called “pharmacologically safe” drugs. Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa, DMAE, Choline, Centrophenoxine, Vinpocetine, Huperzine A and Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) are over-the-counter substances that can increase blood flow to the brain and boost memory. Modafinil is a prescription drug that has also shown promise in improving focus, alertness, and concentration. As with all new supplements, start slow and carefully monitor your body’s reactions.
Stay Strong Spiritually and Keep a Positive Outlook
A wise sage once said that “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” Studies have shown that maintaining a positive approach to aging can add an average of seven and a half years to your lifespan.
Why? The answer to that is uncertain. But many researchers see a link between a positive attitude and the will to live.
Focusing on the positive and believing in something more significant is a winning attitude. Dwelling on negativity and surrounding yourself with negative types has the opposite effect. As with everything else mentioned so far, the choice is entirely in your hands.
Don’t Discount the Importance of Deep, Restorative Sleep
The more researchers study sleep, the more benefits of sleep they discover. Conversely, they also continue to learn more about the debilitating effects of chronic sleep deprivation.
From keeping your energy levels high and your mind working efficiently, to keeping your weight under control and resting your internal organs to allow them to function optimally, the importance of sleep cannot be overemphasized.
Humans evolved over millions of years with regular sleeping patterns: sleeping during the dark, and being active in the daylight.
Science has confirmed that this is an essential component of health. So, if you have been cutting corners and “burning the candle at both ends,” make getting the right amount of sleep a priority that will morph into a habit that will add years of healthy living to your life.
Here are a few ideas that will help you get the quality sleep that is so vital to your health:
- Sleep in complete darkness. One of the benefits of deep, uninterrupted sleep is the release of a hormone called Melatonin, which also causes the release of Growth Hormone. Sleeping in darkness maximizes the release of these two vital, anti-aging hormones. Conversely, sleeping with even dim lights on will result in less release of these two twin powerhouse hormones. Also, beware of the electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) glowing from the electrical devices in your room. These suppress these two hormones as much as light.
Don’t eat or drink too much liquid before going to bed. Both of these activities can disrupt your sleep, and raise your insulin levels, resulting in (as mentioned earlier), less Melatonin and Growth Hormone release.
- Consider supplements that promote natural sleep. Sleeping pills work. But the side effects (drowsiness the next day, sleepwalking, trouble concentrating, increasing dependency on the tablets, etc.) can easily outweigh the benefits. Supplements like Melatonin, Valerian Root, and Tryptophan can help you fall asleep SAFELY.
Protect Your Skin
Our skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it is also the most abused. An often overlooked fact is that skin care starts internally.
The right foods and staying hydrated are the foundations of good internal skin hygiene, and there are also supplements that will hydrate the skin from within.
Aging skin gradually loses its ability to retain water. A natural moisturizer called Na-PCA can draw moisture from the atmosphere.
In fact, if Na-PCA is sprayed into a small dish and left out in the desert sun, within a few short hours it will be filling up with water. Na-PCA is a great aftershave for men, and it works equally well for women.
There has never been a time like the present that you have had the opportunity to take charge of your life and health. What we’re talking about here is enormous advances in the potential to dramatically increase your life’s quality and quantity.
But it won’t happen by just thinking about it. Start with the basics we have discussed here, keep researching, AND GET GOING!
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