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Healthy Aging

Por Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc.* -
Healthy Aging


From the moment we're born, our bodies start to change. Once your mother gives birth to you, a series of processes begin in your body. After your body goes through a period of maximum potential development, it gradually begins to deteriorate until the person can no longer continue living. We call this process aging.

Although we can’t stop the aging process, we can enjoy it in each of its stages. And we can take measures to control the pace at which the changes occur so we can age healthfully. You can slow the aging process by adopting a lifestyle that focuses on controlling most of the variables in it so that you avoid doing yourself any harm.

The most important variables in your lifestyle involve the things you do or don’t do every day. For example, every day we should:

  • Eat.
  • Empty our intestines of waste foods.
  • Move around to satisfy our needs and to do our jobs. 
  • Take enough time to rest so that our bodies can recover and perform well the next day.

We can add other variables out of choice rather than necessity, and those would include smoking or drinking alcohol.
If we stop to think about the natural variables for just a moment, we begin to realize the many ways in which we carry them out. As a rule, we generally decide for ourselves how many times a day we're going to eat, what our eating routine will be like, and the amount of food we're going to eat. Of course, we also decide what we’ll eat each time. Most of us, without even realizing it, develop a bad chewing habit. The same happens with our bowel movements. We don't give it the importance that it deserves and we end up losing the natural flow of regularity, which can turn an otherwise natural function into a problem.

We all adopt different attitudes towards physical exercise. And it's up to us to decide whether we want to lead sufficiently active lives or live like a 'couch potato,' and not exercising our muscles or heart. We’d rather drive one block down the road rather than walk to buy the newspaper, or take an elevator rather than the stairs, even if it's only going up two flights. We also underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep for revitalizing our bodies, and we easily get out of the routine of sleeping when and for as long as we should.
Practicing healthy habits several times every day is the foundation for preserving our health throughout the aging process and for leading an active and healthy adult life.

Diseases can be prevented by acting upon the factors that cause them or contribute to their manifestation. Luckily, we can prevent the most common diseases and the ones that most affect our quality of life during the aging process by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Eating well and staying active throughout our lives are the two most important tools for healthy aging.

*Dr. Lara-Pantin, a nutrition specialist, is Vice President of Product Development for DrTango, Inc.

 

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