Featured image showing a healthy 76 year old woman doing a bicep curl with a 5 lbs weight

Living Young – A How To Guide From an Expert

A recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) declared new age criteria. It is as follows:

  • 0 – 17 Years Old: Underage
  • 18 – 65 Years Old: Youth or Young People
  • 66 – 79: Middle Aged
  • 80 – 99 Years Old: Elderly or Senior
  • 100+ Years Old: Long-Lived Elderly

Having that new criterion in mind, where do you fall in the age category, and does it line up with how you feel? Chances are you feel older than you are defined. This how-to guide provides tips on living young at any age. The data comes from a local expert, Dr. Maria Cristina, Health and Wellness Coach.

Dr. Maria Cristina, a health and fitness influencer from Reno, Nevada has been featured on Aging and Awesome. She believes that the media wants us to age a certain way. If we buy into the media’s depiction of age, we will rob ourselves of health, and vitality. She also believes that it is never too late to start reversing the signs of aging. In fact, she didn’t start her journey until she was well into her 60s, retired, overweight, and completely resigned to the fact that she was old.

Since then, she has entered international body-building competitions and won, competing against women much younger than her. She understands that bodybuilding isn’t for everyone, but we can all live agelessly. First, by defying the perception that deterioration is inevitable. Second, by harnessing the environmental factors that help us stay healthy. Lastly, by adjusting our mindset.

Deterioration Is Not Inevitable

The media and even some doctors want us to believe that deterioration is inevitable. While deterioration can occur, it doesn’t have to. If we do nothing, deterioration can occur 3 – 5% over 10 years. If you do very lightweight training, you can completely overcome that statistic and even add muscle at any age. When you add muscle, you also add strength and mobility, and even balance. All of that can dramatically decrease the likelihood of falls and fractures. If we begin to incorporate light strength training, we can enjoy a longer, happier, and more independent life.

Strength Training Payoff

Strength training doesn’t have to mean long hours at the gym every day. Just take the 3 or 5-pound weights and do a little workout with those. The payoff of strength training for people over 50 is attractive, lean muscle, and enhanced tone. Beyond the great aesthetic, you will safeguard yourself against a cadre of age-related issues. The declines we associate with age are not inevitable. We don’t have to settle for symptoms like slowing down, weakness, and declining tone. But we do need to get serious about healthy habits and weight training.

Small Lifestyle Changes

Researchers agree that 75 to 85 percent of chronic health issues are lifestyle related. Don’t let yourself fall into this group because you don’t know what to do to change it. Nutrition, sleep, and water are just a few things to consider. Dr. Maria Cristina recommends increasing lean protein consumption, limiting alcohol, and cutting sugar out. She also recommends eating slowly, and stretching each meal out over 20 min. That way, your body has time to communicate fullness. Merely increasing your water intake each day can help with all sorts of other issues. Researchers believe that our bodies crave sugar when we are thirsty.

Keep a Happy Mindset

Studies on aging have been going on for decades. An interesting one was done in 1979 by Harvard University. They took men in their 70s for a 5-day retreat. They tested their cognitive functioning before and after the retreat. They found that in a positive environment, the men’s cognitive function was 20 years younger.

Another famous brain researcher talks about how thinking affects the neuroplasticity of the brain. Dr. Lou Whitaker notes that negative thinking leads to depression and cognitive decline while positive thinking does just the opposite.

What can we do? Keep a happy mindset! It’s time to reconsider our attitudes. Instead of seeing Jane Fonda, the 80-old bodybuilder, the 100-year-old yoga teacher, and the 99-year-old gymnasts as exceptions, we need to see them as the rule. They continue to be treated as oddities and have become media sensations as though they have achieved something no one else can. Wrong.

It all comes back to how we think about aging. We know the way the media wants us to age. But each of us has an individual choice about how we think we will age. As a boomer, Dr. Maria Cristina expects to be among the 3 million that live to 100 and beyond, so she is acting accordingly.

“I’ve decided not to think of myself as old. How about you? When people ask what I’m doing, I tell them that I try to do aerobic workouts, combined with strength training. I don’t eat processed, fried, or sugary foods. Most of all, I keep a happy mindset.”

– Dr. Maria Cristina, Health and Wellness Coach

What Will You Do?

The choice is yours. So, what will it be? If you have never implemented any of the recommendations noted in this article, the question becomes where to begin. Trying to change everything at once just won’t work. So, we recommend picking one thing to change. Master it and then move on to the next.

Create a support group filled with like-minded individuals who are sharing the journey. You may need a health coach online or in person. If that’s not an option, you can find a holistic doctor who will provide support sessions for nutrition and exercise. You can start with free online support such as closed Facebook groups where members support one another.

The bottom line? When it comes to making a commitment to aging well, there are endless ways to get the support needed to make lifestyle changes before it’s too late.

Recommended Books

Elderhood: Redesigning Aging and Reforming MedicineDr. Louise Aronson, A monumental book about growing old in America–with powerful arguments and revolutionary conclusions that will challenge your assumptions, and open your mind about aging.

Younger, Dr. Sara Gottfied, Provides a breakthrough program to reset your genes, reverse aging and turn back the clock 10 years.

Soft-Wired, Dr. Michael Merzenich, PHD, Explains how the brain rewires itself across the lifespan, and how you can take control of that process to improve your life. In addition, he offers sound advice for evaluating your brain and gives clear, specific, scientifically proven guidance for how to rejuvenate, remodel, and reshape your brain to improve it at any age.

Dr. Maria Cristina’s Outline of Changes That Help You Feel Younger

  1. Nutrition
  • Increase Protein Consumption
  • Limit Alcohol
  • Cut Sugar Out
  • Consult with a Doctor To Find Out Which Supplements You Need
  1. Strength Training and Exercise
  • Weight-Bearing Exercise, Resistance, or Weight Training
  • Cardio
  • Practice Balance and Master Total Body Movement
  1. Well-Being and Attitude
  • Maintain Positive Relationships
  • Maintaining a Positive Attitude
  • Incorporate Playtime
  • Believe You Can Change
  • Believe in Yourself
  1. Sleep

Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep Each Night

Reclaim Your Vibrancy

Dr. Maria Cristina offers help. You may book a free call to talk about your next steps here. Or, consider joining her private Facebook page Flourish with Age.

Local Access for Area Seniors

Did you know that there’s a dedicated website for local seniors? Under the umbrella of the California Health and Human Services Agency, the California Department of Aging (CDA) administers programs that serve older adults, adults with disabilities, family caregivers, and residents in long-term care facilities throughout the State. These programs are funded through the federal Older Americans Act, the Older Californians Act, and the Medi-Cal program.

Check it out: www.aging.ca.gov

Also, check out our local connection points. There is help available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling the numbers below:

Connections for Nevada and Placer County Seniors:

  • Placer County – (833) 342-5211
  • Nevada County – (833) 342-5211
  • Washoe County – (866) 535-5654

Making social connections is important. That is why Sierra Senior Services is happy to announce that our in-person, congregate dining began again at the beginning of May. The Congregate Meals Program serves nutritious meals to older adults in group settings with an opportunity to socialize with others. Our programs are hosted at the North Tahoe Events Center in Kings Beach and the community room of the Truckee Donner Senior Apartments in Truckee Voluntary contributions are welcome, but not required.

See our Events sections for details.

Sierra Senior Services is the local Meals on Wheels provider covering the Greater Truckee/Lake Tahoe region. We provide home-delivered meals, and can make referrals for additional support services that empower seniors to continue living independently. Sierra Senior Services is a California 501-(c)-3 Non-profit Corporation · Tax ID 68-0484075 Contribute today https://www.sierraseniors.org/product/sierra-senior-services-donations/!