I encounter many patients each week with all manner of injuries and problems from an acute strain from overworking in the garden to much deeper, chronic pain and disease.
From all these interesting cases and fascinating people that I meet there is a common theme that many of them use to explain away their problems. The bizarre thing being that it is a common theme people use to explain their problem regardless of their age and it goes something like this:
“It must be my age.”
I’ve been told that phrase or words to that effect from people in their twenties all the way up to their eighties and beyond.
Pulled a muscle? “It must be my age.”
Got lower back pain? “It must be my age.”
Low energy? “It must be my age.”
Pain in your foot? “It must be my age.”
And on goes the list of injuries with the same excuse. The most frustrating part for me is when people say, “Well what can I expect at my age?” with resignation.
Should we expect pain and low energy as we age? The simple answer is no. Of course the ageing process does occur and means we will not be doing a 100 meter sprint at 70 like we did at 20! But ageing does not have to arrive with a host of health problems and a gradual reduction in your ability to function well.
One big part of this problem appears to be that we have quite literally been hypnotised by society and a medical system that does not have time or the inclination to encourage good health behaviours to believe we must face a gradual decline so we behave accordingly.
There are a few basic things you can do to maintain good health as you age and remain pain free.
Firstly, eat whole foods. Avoid processed foods and cook from scratch. Do not buy ready meals. Bear in mind that a balanced diet requires each of the three macronutrients with every meal: Protein, carbohydrates and fat.
An example of this is that if you have cereal or toast for breakfast that is basically carbohydrate rich and thus out of balance. I guarantee you will have poor energy and cravings with such a breakfast unless there is fat and protein involved too. So to gain balance here a simple example would be pate on toast – then you get all three macronutrients in your breakfast and will have more energy through the day.
Take a B vitamin supplement – Viridian’s range of range of Vitamin B supplements are excellent. B12 is particularly important for energy levels.
Take a Vitamin D supplement too. Most of us in the north are deficient in this vital vitamin – and you only get Vitamin D from the sun when your shadow is shorter than you are which is only for a few months up here where (apparently) it’s grim! Pharmanord do an excellent range of them and their 5000iu pearls are a really useful way of getting your Vitamin D levels up quickly and safely.
And lastly, never forget, your body is a moving machine and thrives and heals with movement. We are not a car that wears out when used! Our body loves movement and much pain, including that of arthritis eases with gentle movement. As an extra, do make sure you practice balance exercises every day. Even standing on one leg is simple but important every single day. If you cannot do that now, start practising it – and please, I implore you, do put your other leg down if you feel your balance going.
PS If you have a pain – get someone to have a look at it so it can be fixed and be aware pain killers and anti inflammatory drugs do not fix problems but cover them up leading to potential further trouble down the line.