The goal of successful aging is not immortality, but to spend less time in illness and disability.
As we age the 4 most common ailments we face are:
Decline in cardiovascular health,
Decline in cognitive health,
The American Heart Association has established a Cardiovascular health metric: Life’s Simple 7, an easy to track metric that scores cardiovascular health. The ultimate goal is a score of >6 for greatest reduction in risk of common diseases such as heart disease, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism.
Life’s Simple 7
Level of physical activity (>150minutes/week of moderate to intense physical activity)
Fasting blood glucose level (<100mg/dl)
Cholesterol levels (<200mg/dl)
Blood pressure (<120/80 mmHg)
These factors are associated with the Big 4. The most difficult goals to achieve are a healthy diet and optimal physical activity. Yet attainment of both usually results in attainment of >6 of 7. To increase success in both areas a sensible plan is needed.
Educate yourself on what a healthy diet is. Avoid fads, instead adopt permanent changes. A plant based diet is the bedrock of a consistent, healthy eating plan, and it eliminates many of the pitfalls and challenges “dieting” is filled with.
Establish a daily physical activity plan that keeps you constantly in motion throughout the day. You are more likely to be successful if you plan to keep moving throughout the day than you are to go to the gym for an hour a day. Avoid setting goals you know you are unlikely to achieve, e.g. promising to run when you hate running. Walk instead of drive, take the stairs instead of the elevator, carry your groceries instead of placing them in a cart.
These goals have no expiration date, they are meant for everyone, young and old, and it is never too late to start.
HITT (High Intensity Interval Training):Before you get discouraged, you don’t have to be an athlete to do this. ANYONE can, including you. The key is to exercise in bursts-go as fast as you can for a specific timed interval, then slow down. The goal is to raise your heart rate high enough to burn fat. But you don’t have to keep it there. With HIIT your goal is to exercise in peaks and valleys: go hard and fast, then go slow till you almost recover, then do it again. You only need about 15 minutes per day. If you are an exercise novice, HIIT is perfect for you. You’ll find it pretty easy to raise your heart rate.
Pace yourself/time your bursts: If you are new to this, I suggest you start with 2 minute bursts followed by a 3 minute cool down. Repeat for a total of 3 rounds.
Go as fast as you can: Be kind to yourself, it takes time to build tolerance. Only go as fast as you can.
As you get used to it, increase your burst interval, and decrease your rest interval.
Eat: Absolutely do NOT starve yourself. You need calories to burn fat. A great body is 80% what you put into your mouth. Eating the right foods will help you shed those unwanted pounds. Food is a necessary part of living. Eating the right foods is a habit that needs to be cultivated. While a diet or a cleanse may give you a jump start on weight loss, real, lasting change comes from good eating habits. 5 Proven Ways to Lose Weight and Keep it off!
Drink Water: not diet sodas, not juices, nothing with artificial sweeteners. Recent research revealed that artificial sweeteners contribute to weight gain. Can’t Lose Weight?
Supplements: I always get asked about supplements. There is more anecdotal data than research study data available to us. If you do take supplements be sure to talk to your doctor about them.
Start a probiotic: Intestinal bacterial plays a very important role in bloat, belly fat and weight loss. A good probiotic helps re-establish the right kinds of bacteria in the GI tract
Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV has been proven to decrease cravings, help curb appetite, and lower blood glucose levels after carbohydrate consumption. Mix 1 tablespoon in 8-10 ounces of water and drink. Do not consume undiluted vinegar as it may cause injury to the esophagus.
Other supplements including Garcinia Camborgia, Green tea extract appear to have a relatively safe profile and may help with weight loss. Always consult your doctor before starting any supplements
Exciting news for HIIT fans came out this week. If you have ever done high intensity interval training (HIIT) you have known it in your bones: HITT delivers the best bang for your time. New research published this week in Cell Metabolism reveals it actually slows aging. In addition to making cells more responsive to insulin, i.e. decreasing the chances of diabetes, making you look fabulous with highly toned muscles, it is the best way to exercise if you want to slow down the aging process!
Fitness training – box jump and kettlebell training
Close up of young man running up the stairs.
HIIT-High Intensity Interval Training involves a series of short, intense workouts interspersed with short pauses all rolled up into one exercise session.
For newbies, High Intensity Interval Training involves a series of short, intense workouts, with short pauses all rolled up into an exercise session. For example, sprinting up a long flight of stairs, pausing for a minute, then doing a set of squats, resting for a few seconds, then doing a set of jumping jacks. There are lots of gyms, and exercise studios using the concept with great results: Crossfit was founded on this principle. Newer exercise studios like Orange Theory Fitness have adopted and adapted 1 hour workout sessions using the HIIT principle. You don’t have to join a gym though to practice HIIT, all you need is a pair of sneakers. You can find exercise routines for free on apps like codyapp.com or make your own circuit if you have a little more experience.
HIIT is a great way for everyone, from couch potato to elite athletes, regardless of experience, body composition, fitness level to exercise. Beginners choose a level of difficulty, but quickly advance as they build and tone. Intermediate and elite athletes can always find greater challenges to push through.
Green smoothies are a great way to pack powerful nutrition into a glass. They are effective meal substitutes and serve well as snacks. Dial back the calorie content by using water, coconut water, or almond milk as the base liquid instead of milk. Check out recipes below.
A lifestyle change does not exclude major food groups, it limits nutrient-poor foods.
Every year, we make promises to ourselves. Some are lofty, likely unachievable goals. The decision to lead a healthy lifestyle does not need to be one of those. Every minute of every day we can make the right choice for healthy bodies. Throw out the idea of a diet, instead think about a lifestyle change. Adopt practices that align with a healthy lifestyle that you can stick to for life. Stringent, “no-#@%*” diets- no carbs, no fat, fad diets-are not sustainable.
A good lifestyle change does not exclude major food groups, it limits nutrient poor foods, makes exercise a part of everyday living. So, make a lifestyle change: move more, dump nutrient poor foods and enjoy eating delicious nutrient packed foods.