It happens to all of us. The years go by and we turn a little bit older and hopefully wiser for the experiences of the previous years. But due to this ever increasing number (age) our bodies start to ache and pain. Our reflexes start to get slower and the ability to move becomes reduced. It feels inevitable that there’s nothing we are able to do to prevent this change. Or is there??

The world has adopted this ingrained belief that aging is a degradation of physical and mental health and it just has to be accepted. It has been shaped into our ideas and turned aging into a negative and something that we almost fear.

Here at Neurohealth Chiropractic we empower patients to fight back the years and age gracefully, or as I say ‘gain maturity instead of growing old’. We encourage a chiropractic lifestyle that focuses on spinal health, stress reduction, nutrition and dis-ease (lack of ease) prevention.

Get adjusted. Having regular spinal adjustments is crucial to spinal health. When the bones of the spine become misaligned, due to the repetitive tasks that we do each day or from poor posture or just from the sedentary lifestyle that we live (the average person will sit at least 80% of the day. Sit to work, to travel, to eat, and to relax). When the bones (vertebrae) are misaligned they cause joint restrictions commonly called spinal joint dysfunctions. These dysfunctions alter the nerve supply from the area causing muscles to spasm, and hence leading to aches and pains traditionally associated with the aging process.

These dysfunctions can be linked to a myriad of other health conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, backaches and vertigo. Your chiropractor helps correct these spinal misalignments with safe and gentle maneuvers called chiropractic adjustments.

Lose weight. This is one of the best ways to beat the clock, whether you are a human being or a rat. We have seen the commercial how the ever expanding waistline affects our heart and overall health. And that by reducing the waist can help, well it also helps with the aging process. Dietary restrictions late in life can be beneficial to help retard age-related functional declines but can also help to restore functional activity.

Drink water. The importance of water as an anti-aging element is often overlooked and neglected by people. The human body is approximately 55-78% water depending on the size. We lose water through the big four, in order, breathing, sweating, extraction from the kidneys to make urine and loss through the large bowel because of inefficient water reabsorption. We also lose water through tears, mucous secretions from the nose and elsewhere such as insignificant sources like spitting.

With all this water loss, if we become dehydrated we increase our chances of dry, wrinkled, lifeless skin. It also tightens our muscles due to dehydration, affects our metabolism, and puts unwanted stress on the kidneys.

As a general rule, we should drink 2-3ltrs of water a day (take what you weigh kilograms and then divide by 30 and this will give you the amount of water you need per day i.e. weight is 70kg, water intake needs to be 2.33ltr/day). This is before exercise and activity.

Savour salmon. Fresh salmon has all the benefits of omega-3, which makes for reason why this fish is the wonder food of Neptune’s lair. The benefit of omega-3 is almost endless. It has been linked with supple skin, reduction of wrinkles and improved overall cholesterol levels. It can help with preventing obesity, breast cancer, colon cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

Other great sources to find omega-3’s are in trout, tuna and most shellfish. But the fish needs to be fresh not from a tin and processed!

Use coconut oil. This is an excellent anti-aging. It has been known to reduce your risk of heart disease and lower your cholesterol. It can be eaten, and used in place of other oils such as margarine, butter. Also it can be used directly on your skin as a moisturizer.

Eat foods rich in antioxidants. Eating food sources that are rich in antioxidants are great ways to remove the free radicals from our body, which are responsible for altering the cell structure and causing aging of the body. Great sources are blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, beans, and artichokes.

Stop stressing. Can be easier said than done, but trying to reduce stress levels or using coping mechanisms that can help lower stress levels can increase those years. It can help lower your cortisol levels, hence reducing the stress on arteries and heart muscles

Worry lines were so named for the root of their cause is worry. No worries, no lines. All of the face creams in the world won’t do you any good, if you still consistently sweat on the small stuff.

Mediation, prayer, yoga and silent reflection can calm even the most stressed out soul. If this doesn’t fit your cup of tea, then get in touch with a walk in nature or along a beach. Using the nature’s energy to calm and cleanse your soul. Finding the time in today’s modern society shouldn’t just be a luxury; it needs to be a necessity. The more hectic your life gets, the more difficult it may be to find a few quiet moments alone, but this leads more to the necessity that you must find and set aside that time.

Improve balance. When was the last time you tested your balance. I look at my 3 children (not yet Maylea but Isaac and Leilani) and they just can’t get enough of the playgrounds, climbing gyms and walking along walls to test their balance. Balance is crucial for our survival. If you feel unsteady on your feet it will definitely impact on your overall health. You will not want to go out anymore, your confidence will be shaken, and your overall physical and mental health will decline due to the sedentary lifestyle that you will adapt.

But in turn testing your balance system and trying to retrain this system to the way it was when you were a child can only be beneficial.

As a test, firstly stand on one leg and see if you can at least last 29-30 seconds (normal for ages 20-59 and 22.5 seconds for ages >60). Then try the other leg.  Firstly see if you can do it, then see if there is a difference between sides.

If you found this exercise easy and were able to complete it, now try the same exercise with your eyes closed. Normal for this is 21-28 seconds for ages 20-59 and 10 seconds for >60.

If you were not able to reach these numbers, then your balance needs to improve. Ask your chiropractor at Neurohealth to help you with some exercises that can help you regain this stability on earth.

This article is written by Dr. Steven Cannon, Chiropractor – Neurohealth Chiropractic