Healthy Aging

by | Sep 4, 2018 | Health Issues, Reiki, Sound | 0 comments

September is National Healthy Aging Month. When I first saw this listed in National Awareness Month provided by the National Institute of Health, I was pleasantly surprised and yet not, after all the baby boomers are retiring by the thousands each year. The reason for this topic is to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. The mission of Healthy Aging Month is to encourage communities to hold events to promote taking personal responsibility for one’s health, whether it is physically, socially, mentally or financially. I decided to focus the next 4 blog posts on these different aspects to healthy aging. This post will focus on physical feature of healthy aging.

If you been to the doctor recently for your annual checkup, one of the first questions he/she will ask is how is your diet, physical activity and sleep. Why? The key to living a long and happy life relates to all three issues. When I worked at the Medical College of Georgia, several of the medical researchers were conducting longitudinal studies on aging and lifestyle- which incorporates exercise and eating habits. The results showed exercising and watching what you eat did influence your life expediency/ longevity. Many Americans live a sedentary life in which we sit at a desk all day for work. Most of these studies found exercise three times a week and eating healthy foods improved the participants overall well-being. Current studies still show these same results of exercising and eating habits being vital to your health. Please notice that I am referring to eating habits and not diet since there are numerous eating plans such as low salt, low sugar, low carbohydrates, low fat, gluten free and many more. The one common theme among these diets is eating more vegetables and fruits and eliminating processed foods.

The other physical issue related to our health is sleep. We spend an average of one-third of our lives asleep. Adults may sleep eight hours, but not feel rested. A new two-year study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation looked at the length of time asleep as well as the quality of our sleep. The Foundation used this study to update the recommendation of the number of hours of sleep needed each night based on your age. For example, preschoolers need 10 to 13 hours whereas adults need 7-9 hours of sleep. The study also looked at life factors, such as work schedules and stress, which can influence the quality of sleep; thus effecting a person’s over health. The National Sleep Foundation concluded their report by stating sleep must become a priority in Americans life to live a long life.

Medical research continues to ponder the question about healthy aging as it relates relating to our lifestyle. This issue will probably continue to be important for the next 25 years since the United States population is an aging one (the largest population in the US is the baby boomers). In the United States society, the term self-care has become associated with healthy aging. The idea of you being in charge of your health emerged in the last 25 years. People are exploring different healing modalities, such as acupuncture and Reiki, to improve the quality of their lives. How can Reiki and sound therapy help us with healthy aging? One way it can help us is by improving the quality of our sleep. Both healing modalities can help us fall and stay asleep for a restful night of sleep. Second, they can provide relaxation and reduce stress, which can aid in digestion of nutrients for our bodies. Many digestive disorders are caused by stress factors in our lives. Finally, Reiki and sound sessions can motivate us to exercise, which is vital to healthy aging.