Slowing Down the Aging Process
Oct 07, 2015 01:24PM
● By Rene Ng, DOM, AP, L.Ac
Aging is a process that each and every one of us dreads but has to go through as we progress through life. The primary reason for disliking aging is what comes along with it and the fact that it can severely affect the quality of our lives. Every one of us wants to age gracefully and to live a full, active and happy life as we continue to grow old.
But, unfortunately, this will not happen to a large number of us. However, understanding what aging is all about goes a long way towards how we can attempt to manage the aging process and minimize the negative effects it can have on our lives.
What happens when we age?
Our bodies undergo change as we age, and if we do not take care of our physical as we grow older, several issues can result including, but not limited to, the following:
- Heart Problems
- Joint and Bone Problems
- Memory Problems
- Urination Problems
- Fatigue or Sleep Problems
- Circulatory Problems
- Digestive Problems
- Skin Conditions
- Hearing Loss
- Vision Loss
- Hair Loss
- Chronic Pain
Our organs grow weaker and underperform.
It all begins with breathing. As we grow older, our lung capacities start diminishing. As a result, our intake of oxygen goes down as well. At the same time, we are also not as active as when we were younger, thereby also reducing the amount of oxygen we bring in to our lungs. Oxygen‐rich blood provides our body and our organs the much needed fuel to perform optimally. When the organs are functioning properly, our body is healthy, and we function to our optimum potential.
When the heart organ starts underperforming, heart problems can prevail, thereby increasing the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. When the liver organ starts underperforming, our fat management process, our nails and our eyes are impacted. When our kidneys start underperforming, we experience back aches and pains, hearing problems, teeth problems, sciatica, frequent urination, prostate problems and bloating issues. When the spleen and stomach organ systems are underperforming, we lose our appetite, become fatigued, retain water, develop muscle issues and start bloating up. When our lungs are underperforming, our skin loses its luster and begins to wrinkle, our lung capacity is affected, our voices get weak, our breathing is labored, and we get chronic sinus and nasal drip issues. The organ systems also affect each other, so when one organ system is affected, before long, all organ systems will become negatively affected.
Our overall circulation slows down.
As our organs begin to underperform, one of the key functions of our body – circulation – also slows down. This will cause a lot of problems with our bodies, especially in relation to mobility. Our muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints will be undernourished and stiffen up. Muscles will stiffen up, weaken and even spasm or become numb. Joints will dry up, and arthritic conditions will form. Weak soft tissues, joints and cartilages would heighten the potential of serious body injuries from falling or chronic postures. Poor circulation will also result in poor memory, balancing issues, hearing issues, vision issues, and even problems with taste and smell. The circulatory system is also our body’s primary immune system, and so as this goes downhill, so does the body’s immune system.
Digestion and bowel movement problems develop.
Over time, the spleen and stomach get weakened, and as a result so does the body’s inability to digest food, as well as to excrete wastes. The impaired digestive process implies the body will not get the nutrients it needs to sustain daily activities. The inability to ineffectively eliminate toxic wastes from our bodies increases the toxicity in our body and as a result the risk for cancer and other serious diseases.
Aches and pains begin to occur.
As we grow older, not only do we start getting more aches and pains, but they seem to last longer and become more difficult to recover from. These can be from injuries from our younger days that were never healed, or simply due to insufficient blood flowing to our musculoskeletal system. They can also be from chronic illnesses and diseases that seem to attack our bodies more often and with greater ease as our bodies age.
How can we age both healthily and gracefully?
To effectively slow down the aging process, we must take good care and maintenance of our organ systems. We need to start when the systems are healthy, rather than waiting until something is already wrong. By that time, it would already be too late.
- Breathing: Taking care of ourselves does not begin with good nutrition, as everyone seems to think. Instead, good health begins with healthy breathing of fresh air and having an abundance of oxygen in our system. Our digestive systems will not function well without the right amount of oxygen‐rich blood.
- Nutrition: Watching what we eat plays a critical role towards what we become. Good nutrition brings good health, and helps to keep our bodies strong. A healthy diet also puts less stress on our body’s digestive system.
- Exercise: Proper daily exercise goes a long way towards keeping our bones and joints limber and healthy, as well as helping to promote whole body circulation. Aerobic exercise also helps keep the heart strong which is essential in pumping blood throughout the body.
- Sleep and Rest: Getting plenty of rest is essential to helping our bodies recover from the wear and tear of day‐to‐day activities. A good night’s sleep helps to keep our minds healthy and our body strong.
- Smoking and Drinking: Avoid or reduce the amount of smoking and drinking, as these are very harmful to our body’s health. Not only is cigarette smoke cancer‐causing, it also dries up the body, creating heart problems and other health issues in the body.
Promote heart health:
Include physical activity such as walking and swimming in your lifestyle. Regulating moderate physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure, and lessen arterial stiffening. Eat a diet that will promote heart health. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high‐fiber foods and lean sources of proteins. Limit foods high in saturated fat and reduce the intake of sodium. Stop smoking, as this habit contributes to the hardening of the arteries, thereby increasing blood pressure and heart rate.
Promote joint health.
As we age, our bones tend to shrink in size and density. This weakens them and makes them more susceptible to fracture. You may even lose height. Balancing may also become an issue. Get sufficient amounts of calcium daily. Eat foods rich in calcium such as almonds, broccoli, kale, sardines and tofu. Get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. The natural sun is a great source; other sources include oily fish and egg yolk. Weight bearing exercises such as Tai Chi, walking, jogging, tennis and stair climbing help to build strong bones and slow bone loss. Avoid smoking and limit your alcohol intake.
Promote digestive health.
Eat high‐fiber foods such as fruits and whole grains. Limit foods that are rich in fats, dairy products and sweets. Drink plenty of water and other fluids. Regular physical activity can also prevent constipation
Promote bladder health.
In addition to an underperforming kidney organ system, urinary incontinence can be caused by medical conditions such as diabetes and menopause. Go to bathroom regularly – ideally every hour. If you are overweight, lose the excess pounds. Stop smoking altogether.
Promote memory health.
The memory tends to be less effective with declining health, in which case, it might take longer to learn new things or remember familiar words or names. Stop drinking, as too much alcohol can lead to confusion and memory loss. Eat low‐fat protein sources such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. Physical activity increases blood flow to the entire body, including the brain, which will help to keep it strong. Mentally stimulating activities help to keep the brain active. Social interaction wards off depression and stress which can contribute to memory loss
Promote skin health.
Stay out of the sun, and if you are in the sun, make sure you use a sunscreen with strong SPF on your face. Jade rollers and Derma rollers are wonderful tools that can be used to stimulate the circulation in the face which, in turn, will help to keep the skin looking healthy and tight. Cucumbers, pears and strawberries help nourish the lungs which will maintain facial health as well.
Chinese Medicine is a powerful anti-aging tool.
If you have not already done so, look into using Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine as your anti‐aging modality of choice. Chinese Medicine has been used to address anti‐aging, facial rejuvenation, back pains and good nutrition for thousands of years. It helps keep all the organ systems strong, balances deficiencies, invigorates blood circulation, and strengthens bones and muscles. All natural and utilizing absolutely no drugs, Chinese Medicine is a powerful tool that can go a long way to helping with your anti‐aging needs such as looking and feeling young, while continuing to enjoy a healthy, active and fun lifestyle over time.
Rene Ng, DOM, AP, L.Ac, is a board-certified licensed Acupuncture Physician and Chinese Herbalist, located in Sarasota. In 2014, he was voted Sarasota’s “Favorite Acupuncture Physician” for the second year in a row, and was also voted the area’s “Favorite Anti-Aging Practitioner.” For more information, Ng can be reached at 941-733-5156 or via email: [email protected]