How Your Habits Shape Your Longterm Health
Lately, I’ve been hanging around some older individuals (we’re talking 80+ here). It’s wild to think that the elderly in some cases, have 2-3x more years of life experiences than many of us! Observing the individuals closely you see how the choices they have made over the years have shaped their health to where they are today. Many of these outcomes are reflective of how they currently and previously have cared for themselves on a daily basis over the years.
Outcome of Longterm Healthy Choices
A few of the elderly I met regulary eat well, exercising and do activities to keep their minds sharp. They have consciously enjoyed a high intake of vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, whole grains, seafood, eggs, and some lean meats throughout their lives. They walk, jog, bike, swim, and or strength train regularly, even in their current states today. Continued learning and social engagement is important to them.
As a result, they are well engaged in the conversations. Because of their exercise routines they are able to walk along thin trails that run along a river bed with slippery rocks and boulders to navigate. And their nutrition helps keep their skin youthful and bright, their eyes clear and focused. They do not tire as easily as their counter parts.
Longterm Poor Choices Add Up
On the other hand, you see another lifelong path that has resulted. The nutrition choices are poor, high in meat, simple carbohydrates (white bread/buns, white pasta, white rice) and processed foods (cookies, crackers, chips, granola bars). There is minimal exercise built into the routine and regular mental stimulation is marginal.
Their health is reflective of this lifestyle. We see decreased cognitive function in the form of forgetfulness, difficultly conversing, and delaying necessary medical care. They struggle to walk much distance and get easily winded. Their skin is inflammed, dry, splotchy and abnormally wrinkled.
Nutrition and lifestyle practices are slow yet powerful medicines.
A rack of ribs here, a few extra drinks there, may not seem like much in the moment… but compound that as a daily or weekly habit by 60-70 years? Well, then we have a whole new picture of health on our hands.
Assessing the Big Picture
Regardless of your age right now, you should be checking in with your health and daily habits. Start by asking yourself: What am I doing that is serving me well? What have I been putting off that I know I need to really be doing right now?
It may come as not surprise that we are creatures of habit – be it good or bad. You make choices everyday that shape your short and long term health. Where will the choices you are making today lead you to in the future?
If you don’t check your bank account from time to time, how do you know how much you have saved up? Your health works much the same way in that you need to check in regularly. Our lives are full of seasons and although you may claim to eat well and exercise regularly… do you? When was the last time you enjoyed a big salad or got your heart rate up and broke a good sweat?
Sometimes it takes surrounding yourself with others who are doing well in those areas for you to realize areas you could improve upon. Or areas you are already doing well in! It’s all about creating balance with your lifestyle. There is no one way to achieve excellent physical and mental health. The important part is that you keep checking in, assessing and improving along the way!
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