Society is full of suggestions and opinions on ageing and the changes we should make as we get older. But what should we really be doing as we try to embrace healthy ageing? Join us in conversation with geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas who has four great points to what he believes matters most. Enjoy the show!
Dr. Bill Thomas is a geriatrician, speaker, author, innovator, and a revolutionary who is changing the way we think about ageing and elder care. He hosts events around the United States, helping adults see the beauty in growing older in what he calls a “pro-ageing festival”.
According to Dr. Bill, the things that matter most when it comes to ageing are very simple and quite easy to remember. He uses the pneumonic M-E-S-H to help remind us that Moving, Eating, Sleeping, and Healing are what matter most.
Many adults stop listening when they hear the word “move” because they think it only refers to exercises that are often difficult or painful for older adults. However, Dr. Bill insists that exercising isn’t the key to healthy moving. Instead, he suggests we work on steps, posture, and balance.
Whether you wear a fitness tracking bracelet or carry an iPhone with a fitness app, Dr. Bill recommends walking at least 10,000 steps every day to keep the heart pumping and the blood circulating. Your future 15-years-older-self will thank you for it someday.
Next is posture. To test your posture, Dr. Bill suggests standing against a wall. If your buttocks, shoulders, and back of your head don’t all touch the wall, you have some work to do! If you continue to work on your posture you will be amazed with the results. Activities such as Yoga, Pilates, and Thai Chi can be done in the comfort of your home and will help strengthen your core and improve your posture.
Balance is also an important part of moving. Your older, future self would very much like for you to strengthen your ability to balance well, now and there’s a simple way to include it into your daily routine. When you find yourself standing in line at the store or standing in the kitchen while you cook, simply lift one foot off the ground a few inches and hold your balance for fifteen or twenty seconds. Then switch feet. This simple activity will help you improve and maintain your balance.
Fad diets are not the way to go if you’re an older adult. The most sensible advice for healthy ageing is simply to eat a variety of foods in moderate quantities and to make sure most of those foods are plants. It’s impossible to keep up with what foods are considered healthy or not on any given day, so eating a variety of foods in moderation is key. It’s also been proven that people who spend more time thoughtfully preparing their meals at length and in a leisurely fashion show greater fulfilment and more appropriate weight loss.
Thanks to something called phase advancement, the time of day that ageing adults like to sleep moves forward. This is why many older adults find themselves going to bed earlier than they used to and rising earlier in the morning than they used to. There is nothing wrong with this. It’s a simple pattern of nature.
Older people also have more sleep fragmentation than younger people. This just means that we might be waking up more throughout the night, but it is nothing to worry about. Dr. Bill states that the only time we should be worried about our interrupted sleep is if there are sudden shifts and changes in our sleeping pattern.
Many people think that healing is equated with going back to our previous state of being, but this is simply not true. Adults who have lost a body part or a loved one know that it is impossible to go back to the way things once more. Dr. Bill says, “the truth of the human experience is, we’re expected again and again to move forward to create a new normal which is not the same as the old normal.”
People who only look back and lament what they’ve lost will never feel whole. But people who move forward can heal.
Which part of MESH would you like to improve upon? Aside from physical healing, are there other aspects of your life that you can welcome healing into simply by moving forward? Please, join the conversation below!
Tags Healthy Aging