On Aging

Old woman hand

Image courtesy of [Photokanok] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aging is a terrifying and fascinating process. Personally, I didn’t start to notice my own age until I hit 30 or so (yes, I know 30 is not old – stay with me here). All of the sudden, there are lines on my face, cellulite on my thighs, and, as I discovered just yesterday, nose hairs that are no longer confined to the area *inside* my nostrils. Most days, I don’t worry about the cosmetic stuff – any laugh lines I possess have been hard won, and I’m proud to have laughed so hard it created lines over a couple of decades. But there are those days: I see a magazine cover with a woman my age who looks just shy of her 21st. Yes, I know it’s airbrushed and photoshopped. But I can’t help regret: “if only I’d worn more sunscreen.” Or wonder: “should I get facials/ waxed/ peeled/ injections?” Heaven knows there are almost as many “cures” for cosmetic aging as there are worries about them (maybe more, actually).

Even if you’re not the type to succumb to society’s unrealistic expectations of eternal youth on the outside, the stuff happening INSIDE our bodies is pretty scary by itself. You may have heard that our brains stop forming and start deteriorating around age 18 – that’s what makes it more difficult to learn new information and skills in adulthood. I learned recently from a teacher of mine* that our bones begin deteriorating around age 30. Age 30, y’all. So despite us living longer and longer lives, our bodies still get the same messages to start breaking down, at close to the same time as they did 500 years ago. But now, we stand to live another 70 years with these deteriorating systems! What’s an energetic soul to do?

As it turns out, fixing the inside is actually pretty easy. The concept of neuroplasticity is a hot topic right now: we now know adults can learn new languages and new skills very late in life, especially when approached with an open mind. On the physical side, there have been many documented recoveries from morbid obesity, Type 2 diabetes and other preventable diseases. The shift in thinking our doctors have undergone, from a paradigm of treating illness to one of promoting wellness has helped us be more aware of the power we wield to take charge of our own health. We get physical therapy for pain instead of pills, and we are given the tools to improve our posture and habits, and not just on the fancy equipment. Nobody *needs* a gym to stay healthy. It’s been proven that just walking 30 minutes a few times per week can improve cardiovascular health, bone density and emotional stability. Adding leafy greens to one or two more meals per week improves digestion and mineral absorption.

This. Is. Easy.

It’s easier than we think to improve our health, and improving the inside naturally improves the outside. We can’t go back and wear sunscreen, but we can drink enough water now. We can’t undo the past, but our capacity for change and improvement is infinite. But to make changes we have to love who and where we are now in our wellness. We don’t have to settle where we are now, but loving our bodies is an awfully good way to feel comfortable IN them – which is what movement and exercise is all about. We’re not as young as we used to be, but we can use what we have to the fullest. And hey, if we’re taking care of ourselves but still want a “smoothing treatment,” that’s okay too.

*My teacher of teaching, Bex Burton over at senseofmotion.com, has a depth of knowledge about the body I can only hope to attain. If you want some great advice and easy exercises for relieving muscle tension and promoting proper body alignment, head on over and pay her a visit.

Hey Guess What?!?! I’m teaching again! Check out my new class in Vegas right here!

Posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2015 4:23