July 26, 2020 — There aren’t too many people who don’t want to feel, act, and look younger. But, as each of our birthdays adds a bigger number, that seems harder and harder.
While there is no real fountain of youth, yet, there are some simple steps anyone can take to delay the effects of aging. Spend a few minutes to take these simple tests. It could lead to feeling better and looking younger.
Caution. Do not undertake any of these exercises without consulting with your doctor, or if you feel discomfort or pain.
Tests to help you stay young:
Take these simple tests and then share the results with your doctor. He or she can use them to help evaluate how you are doing, and what you can do to improve.
Sitting and standing. How you sit and stand is critical in so many ways. Doing it correctly not only keeps you looking young, it makes you stronger. When you sit, can you do it without using your hands? Ditto with standing, do you need to hold on to something in order to stand up? One evaluation that physical therapists use is to see how much you have to rely on your hands to get up out of a chair. The other is speed – how long does it take to sit and stand 5 times in a row, arms crossed against the chest? A good result for someone in their 70s is 12.6 seconds or less. Long term: practice not using your hands whenever you stand up – it you will keep your leg muscles in shape for the long haul.
Posture. Put a chair in a place where you can see your profile in a mirror. Sit, and then stand up and look in the mirror. Is your back straight, and are your shoulders pulled back? Unfortunately, there is no better way to look old than to have rounded shoulders and be hunched forward. Every time you stand up, practice stacking your spine once you are vertical. Once you do that, center your head over your spine, and pull your shoulders back. This can be hard to overcome after a lifetime of sitting hunched over a desk, but you can do it!
Walking. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal Dr. Nathan LeBrasseur, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, said that people should start working on their health early. For example, a person in their 50s should be able to power walk a quarter of a mile at a brisk pace in less than 6 minutes and 40 seconds. If you are slower than that report it to your doctor. Another test is to see how far you can walk in 6 minutes. If less than 350 meters, that would be worrisome for that person in their 50’s.
Standing on one leg. You should be able to stand on one leg for at least 10 seconds if you under 70. Practice while you are brushing your teeth. In that WSJ article, Dr. Natasha Bhuyan said she believes this test is an excellent prediction of long term physical health.
Push-ups. Dr. LaBrasseur believes that a man in his 50s and 60s should be able to do at least 10 push-ups. If not, it is a confirmation you are losing your strength. In one test of people with an average age of 40, those who could do more than 40 tended to live longer than others. Women would have a different exercise or metric.
Mental. There are various mental tests to determine your mental capacity and any deterioration. Some are free and others you must pay for. You can take them and ask your doctor for an evaluation. The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) is a short screening test you can take at home. It is used to help detect early signs of cognitive impairments. The Clock Draw Test and Simple 3 Word Memory Test are other variants.
Stay active. In Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s excellent book, “Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age“, he postulated the number one key to keeping your brain young is daily physical activity. Much better than crossword puzzles or Wordle, regular exercise is the best thing you can do. Apparently, getting the blood flowing has positive mental effects.
For further reading:
“Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age“ – Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Dementia – Or Ordinary Age-Related Change?
Posted by Admin on July 25th, 2022