by Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
As we age, our bodies and energy levels will change for many reasons. While the aging process is an inevitable cycle, there are plenty of lifestyle habits you can engage in to improve the way you feel, regardless of your biological age.
Feel younger with daily exercise
I am sure you understand the health benefits that regular exercise can have on your heart. While exercise is great for your heart and cardiovascular system, it is also great for your brain, hormone levels, and energy. When you exercise, you increase blood flow to your muscles and your brain. The increase in blood flow can significantly improve the number of nutrients that reach your muscles and your brain, which is why you feel better when you exercise.
Feel younger with a healthy eating plan
In addition to exercise, your diet can add even more positive youthful effects to the way you feel daily. Consuming an adequate amount of protein on a day-to-day basis is a great way to start changing your diet. Dietary protein should be consumed with every meal or snack by every person, young and old.
Believe it or not, another great step towards improving your diet is to eat the right types of fat. Great sources of fat can come from healthy olive or coconut oils, avocados, or even an all-natural peanut butter. If you choose a peanut butter, be sure to choose one that requires you to mix the oil and the ground peanuts before eating.
The combination of lean proteins and healthy fats are vital for cell function, hormone regulation, proper organ and muscle function as well as helping you to feel full throughout the day.
Notice the last macronutrient I am discussing is carbohydrates. Carbs from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are necessary for energy, antioxidants, and other vital functions, but they can be consumed in smaller amounts than what most people are typically aware of.
Consuming 50-60% of your daily calories from carbohydrates is likely too much and may lead to weight gain, especially if some of those carbs are processed or sugar-based. Consuming processed carbs will likely make you feel tired, sluggish, and hungry. Eating lots of carbohydrates is usually only beneficial for high-level athletes to replenish energy lost in competition or practice.
Feel younger with daily relaxation
The last component of feeling younger and improving your energy is to engage in some form of daily relaxation or meditation. Find time to relax or meditate or pray for 20-30 minutes at some point in your day. Relaxing can help reduce your anxiety, muscle tightness, and blood pressure by increasing blood vessels, in turn, improving your vascular function. Enhancing your vascular function through exercise and relaxation can allow more nutrients to be absorbed and used by your body, especially your brain. Improving blood flow to your brain can allow for more nutrients to be utilized and if you’re eating the right foods, you will feel and look more youthful and have more energy.
Four components for positive health and well-being
To feel more energized and even look and feel more youthful; Try these…
- Engage in regular exercise
- Control your diet
- Eat the right types and amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates
- Lastly, be sure to participate in some form of daily relaxation
Remember, these four components are very important and can have a combined positive effect on your health and wellbeing!
*For examples and variations/exercises look under Multimedia-VDF Exercise Tips
**Before starting an exercise and nutrition regimen, consult with your healthcare provider and/ or registered dietitian.