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Supplements, Diet and Exercise for Healthy Aging

Recently a television health expert was discussing the topic,
- How to stay young looking' for the post-50 set. It was pretty
much the standard 'take good care of your skin, eat right and
exercise' list until the last item. He stated, 'Take your drugs
every day. One of the best ways to look younger is to stay
healthy'. Wait a minute! When did the use of prescription drugs
become a mainstay of a healthy lifestyle in this country?

Now, no doubt about it, the drug industry is big business. All
those prime time TV ads are marketed to specific audiences. Just
watch the evening news and nearly all the national ads are for
drugs or medical equipment and services. Between the drug
companies and the media, they would have us believing that poor
health is the normal, natural state of the human condition. But
is this really what we should expect?

One 'side effect' of our so-called 'healthy, modern' lifestyle is
that all these drugs, devices and services come with a hefty
price tag to the users. A recent study published in the American
Medical Association journal showed that 95,000 people die from
the use of PROPERLY prescribed drugs each year in the United
States alone. Thousands more are sickened by adverse reactions to
medications. That is right, folks, the facts show that the very
drugs your doctor prescribes to alleviate your symptoms of
illness can do you serious, permanent harm.

What about the financial cost? Recent statistics indicate that
one of the largest groups now filing bankruptcy are people WITH
medical insurance but unable to pay the medical bills and other
associated costs of illness that insurance doesn't cover. Is that
what we should expect from our 'golden years'- to give our gold
to the health care industry just to eke out a few more months or
years of existence while suffering the effects of debilitating
diseases? Is this what you picture for yourself in the future?
Are you suffering now?

The experts agree there are certain basic things we can do to
stay healthier as we age. Most of this you've probably heard
before, yet keep in mind, these suggestions only work if you put
them to use in your life.

First, proper hydration is essential. Our bodies are 90% water
and 8-10 8 oz. glasses are needed every day just to maintain the
proper fluid balance in the body for cell function.

Regular exercise is another vital part of healthy aging. 20
minutes of aerobic exercise- perhaps just taking a walk-three
days a week alternating with moderate weight lifting is a good
routine nearly every one can follow. Research shows that
following a weight lifting program can improve both strength and
agility, no matter what your age. Of course, check with your
doctor first before starting any new exercise program and take
the time to learn proper technique for both safety's sake and the
maximum benefit from your efforts. Be sure to take one day off
each week to allow your body time to rest and recuperate.

Get sufficient sleep. Time spent asleep is grossly undervalued in
our society. It is during the sleep cycle that the body repairs
and rejuvenates itself.

A proper diet of balanced protein and complex carbohydrates with
small amounts of essential fats promotes both physical health and
mental alertness. Remember, what you fuel your body with directly
impacts your performance level in a big way. Avoid processed
foods, artificial colors, flavorings, sweeteners and
preservatives. Eat foods as close to their natural state as
possible. Stop thinking of the fast food drive up window as your
- friend'.

Unfortunately, experts agree that it is nearly impossible to
adequately meet your nutritional needs with our modern diet
alone. Our soils have been depleted of most essential nutrients
since the 1930's. Farmers regularly replace nutrients required
for plant growth-nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, but it is up
to us to replace the minerals and other nutrients missing from
our diets.

Modern processing and marketing techniques also contribute to our
lack of adequate nutrition. Produce picked in it's green state,
then allowed to 'ripen' in transit to market often lacks the
nutritional quality of their field ripened cousins.

Poor nutrition combined with the stress of our modern lifestyle
and constant exposure to environmental toxins means it is
unreasonable to expect good health in our mature years (or any
year, for that matter) without adequate supplementation.

Picking the correct supplement is essential to your health as
well. The vast array of options are enough to make your head
spin. Testing by independent labs show huge differences in
quality between brands. The cheapest drug store 'has everything'
vitamin may not have much in the way of active ingredients, but
the most expensive brands may not, either. Once again, take the
time to do the research. Find out what quality control methods
the company uses. Are their products manufactured to
pharmaceutical standards? What is the company's commitment to
using the best available ingredients and how do they test for
ingredient quality?

In addition, investigate the latest scientific evidence on what
nutrients are needed for good health. There have been important
breakthroughs recently in our understanding of what cells need to
function and how proper cellular nutrition contributes to the
body's ability to restore and repair itself. Find a nutrition
company whose products reflect these advances.

The last, and perhaps most important way to stay healthy as the
years go by, is to pay attention to you. Respect yourself enough
to take care of your physical needs. If something needs fixing,
do it. Learn to like yourself if you haven't already. Don't just
feed your body, feed your mind as well. Make your brain work.
Take time to laugh everyday. Laughter stimulates the immune
system and just plain makes living more fun. Do the things in
life that give you pleasure. After all, there is more to life
than work and worry. You deserve to be happy, but it is up to you
to BE happy. When it comes down to it, you are all you've got. Be
someone whose company you enjoy.

Doing all these things won't guarantee you a long, healthy life.
After all, 'times and unforeseen circumstances befall us all'.
But they may help the time you do have on this planet be
enjoyable for you and those whose life you impact. Best wishes
for a good life!

About the Author

Karen Walker is a life long student of healthy living. She works from her home in Montana.


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