Ever wonder why for some, being a senior seems like a perpetual cycle of the same sort of thinking and avoidance? It would feel better to be confident and able, no matter what your capabilities are, right?
There is extraordinary research showing the benefits of regular, prescribed movement and exercise for Seniors. There is strong evidence for mitigating the effects of diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, and others. Also, for improving the ability to balance, coordinate, walk better/faster, increase daily chores, social, sleep and bowel regularity. So much research, and it goes unrecognized as a treatment for common aging issues and challenges.
WHY is this?
One of the biggest reasons is this Negative Vitality Cycle for Seniors that we become entangled in. (see chart below)
As aging occurs, we do not really recognize what the subtle changes are doing to our experience of life (Vitality) until it becomes a recognized disease, disorder or major inconvenience. As such, it gets our attention for awhile. Additionally, the aging changes are compounded onto previous lifestyle choices and our overall health condition. Once we enter the “cycle” it seems impossible to get out of it. Much of this has been compounded by our experience with the Covid lockdowns and senior traumas. This is an example of the ‘reinforcement’ segment of the “cycle”. Its up to those with the potential for intervention such as family members, friends, health professionals and colleagues to help.
The “cycle” is not inevitable, only aging is.
One leads to the next one, which leads to the next one, making it a “cycle”. What if it just stopped at ‘aging changes’ and we work with that? For instance, a near fall or forgetfulness does not have to cement itself as a negative experience. Check out what to do about it, positively instead - Stay 'Steady'!
Here are some ‘healthy’ tactics for slowing down or even reversing the “cycle”:
- Stay self-informed and read about health and aging. Knowing how aging really occurs in the body, and what others have experienced is helpful.
- Try a new ‘something’ in your routine weekly. Change becomes an adversity when you age, and its only due to the imposition it provides, rather than a challenge to help you grow (like when you were younger).
- Do recreational activities such as hiking regularly. Walking is a good substitute and necessary daily. If unable due to disability, try something within your abilities.
- Attend senior specific movement therapies that focus on improving mobility and strength. Be sure to get assessed by a professional.
- Test yourself regularly. Watch for how long the avoidance list you have is, and how often you listen to others telling you to avoid things.
- Obtain checkups and treatments with allied health professionals as well as primary medical physicians.
- Stay open to listening to suggestions for new helpful things.
This author is a firm advocate for Senior care and longevity. As well as a supporter of treating sarcopenia as a means to enhancing vitality and mobility. Having seen loved ones and many clients either pass or succumb to aged challenges, its with sincere respect I pass along this support to help anyone move forward.
Hopefully it may inspire the idea that at any age there is growth, and that vitality is often a concept of the “cycle” you are in, rather that the reality of living!