Discover Shelley Cavezza, PhD – a Sunshine Coast Functional Medicine Specialist
As we age, maintaining good health becomes increasingly important to enjoy life to the fullest. However, without the right knowledge and guidance, navigating the various physical and mental changes that come with age can be challenging. With the help of the Sunshine Coast Functional Medicine Specialist, we can develop an understanding of these changes and how to take control of our well-being. Enter Shelley Cavezza, PhD – a seasoned professional with a rich background in functional medicine. In this blog post, we’ll explore Shelley’s insights on adjusting to the changes in our bodies, ensuring optimal health even in our golden years.
Adjusting to Changes in Our Bodies
As we grow older, significant hormonal shifts take place in our bodies. For women, this comes in the form of menopause, while men experience andropause. These changes can lead to a variety of symptoms ranging from hot flushes, mood changes, and reduced libido.
As we age, our bones become more susceptible to damage and fractures due to a loss in bone density. Therefore, ensuring that we have a steady intake of calcium and vitamin D becomes increasingly important, along with maintaining a diet rich in magnesium and other essential minerals.
Maintaining optimal cognitive health is another major concern as we grow older. One key factor is addressing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which contribute to age-related cognitive decline.
As we age, it is essential that we adapt to the changes in our bodies and ensure that we continue to maintain good health. With the expertise of Shelley Cavezza, PhD – a Sunshine Coast Functional Medicine Specialist, and functional medicine, we can take charge of our well-being and enjoy a high quality of life, regardless of our age.
Nutrition for Aging Gracefully
As we age, our bodies experience various physiological changes that can impact our nutritional needs. Eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle play a massive role in determining the quality of life.
Shelley Cavezza, PhD, emphasizes the importance of a balanced diet for healthy aging. She suggests incorporating a variety of whole, unprocessed foods into your daily routine, including:
– Fruits and vegetables: They provide essential vitamins and minerals, along with antioxidants that neutralise harmful free radicals.
– Whole grains: These are an excellent source of dietary fibre, which aids in digestion and helps lower cholesterol levels.
– Lean proteins: Healthy options like lean meat, eggs, beans, and legumes help maintain and repair body tissues.
– Dairy: Low-fat milk, yoghurt, and cheese are great sources of calcium for strong bones.
Staying hydrated is critical, especially for older adults. Water helps regulate body temperature, supports vital organ functions, and aids in eliminating waste products. Aim for consuming at least 8 glasses of water per day, or more if you have an active lifestyle.
Another key aspect of a healthy diet is limiting processed foods. They are often high in sodium, unhealthy fats, and added sugars. Instead, focus on consuming fresh, whole foods that provide essential nutrients your body needs.
While a balanced diet should provide all the necessary nutrients your body needs, certain vitamin and mineral supplements can support health as you age. Some essential ones may include:
– Omega-3 fatty acids: These healthy fats, found in fish, nuts, or oil, help your brain function optimally and keep your heart healthy.
– B-vitamins: B12 is essential for maintaining nerve function, and older adults may find it more challenging to absorb it from food sources.
– Vitamin D: Many older individuals may not get enough sunlight, which is essential for vitamin D production. This essential vitamin helps promote healthy bones and reduces the risk of falls.
– Calcium: As we age, the body’s ability to absorb calcium decreases, making supplementation vital for maintaining bone health.
While supplements can enhance your nutritional intake, it’s critical to consult your healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before starting any supplementation regimen. Some vitamins and minerals can interact with medications or have unintended side effects when taken in excess.
Benefits of Regular Exercise for Aging
Regular physical activity can greatly improve the overall wellbeing of older adults. Exercise not only helps maintain a healthy weight, which can decrease the risk of developing obesity-related conditions, but also assists in improving mobility and flexibility, making daily tasks much easier to do. Furthermore, physical activity has been shown to strengthen the heart and improve blood circulation, improving overall cardiovascular health.
As we age, the risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers increases. Incorporating regular exercise into our routines can play a significant role in reducing the risk of developing these conditions, as well as helping manage them more efficiently if they do occur. Additionally, engaging in physical activity can have a positive impact on mental health, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, and promoting an overall sense of well-being.
First and foremost, it’s crucial that older adults choose exercises that are suitable for their abilities and needs. Shelley Cavezza, PhD, Sunshine Coast Functional Medicine Specialist, recommends low-impact activities such as swimming, water aerobics, cycling, and walking as excellent starting points for older adults, as these workouts can be less strenuous on joints, while still improving fitness levels. Alternatively, yoga and Tai Chi are popular choices for those looking to improve balance, coordination, and flexibility.
In addition to low-impact cardiovascular activities, strength training and flexibility exercises are essential components of a well-balanced fitness routine for older adults. Resistance exercises can help build muscle mass, which can decrease the loss of bone density and reduce the risk of fractures that often come with age. Building strength also allows for greater ease in performing everyday tasks, such as lifting groceries or climbing stairs. Flexibility training, on the other hand, assists in maintaining a good range of motion and reducing the risk of injury, making it easier to move and perform daily activities.
Mental Wellness and Social Connections
In our fast-paced world, stress has become a common factor in many people’s lives. However, the ability to manage stress through mindfulness and relaxation techniques can significantly improve one’s mental wellbeing. Mindfulness meditation, for example, offers the opportunity to become more present and aware of the present moment, helping to alleviate feelings of anxiety and stress. Other relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation, can also help to manage stress levels and promote a greater sense of mental wellness.
Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for both mental and physical health. Adequate sleep allows our bodies time to recover, repair, and rejuvenate, while also playing a role in cognitive functions such as memory and decision-making. Ensuring a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing sleep environment, and avoiding stimulants before bedtime can all help to improve the quality of sleep and, in turn, mental wellbeing.
Having strong social connections has been shown to have a positive impact on overall well-being. It’s essential to establish and maintain healthy relationships with family members, friends, and the broader community, as these social interactions can help to provide support, purpose, and a sense of belonging. To nurture these connections, it’s important to communicate effectively, show empathy, and be open to both giving and receiving support.
Engaging in activities and joining social groups is an excellent way to meet new people and build social connections. Participating in group activities such as sports teams, community events, and interest-based clubs can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness while also providing a sense of purpose and achievement. Moreover, these social activities can offer opportunities for personal growth, learning new skills, and broadening one’s horizons.
Cultivating a Holistic Approach to Health
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of illness by focusing on the unique genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that influence an individual’s health. This personalised approach to healthcare allows for more targeted and specific treatments, which can be particularly beneficial when it comes to aging and managing age-related health concerns.
Shelley Cavezza, PhD, a Sunshine Coast Functional Medicine Specialist, offers invaluable support in this area. Her expertise in the field enables her to provide tailored guidance and recommendations for individuals seeking a comprehensive approach to wellness and healthy aging.
A holistic approach to health acknowledges that our minds, bodies, and spirits are interconnected, and therefore, it is crucial to maintain balance in each of these areas. Eating well, staying active, managing stress, and nurturing relationships all contribute to a balanced lifestyle that supports healthy aging.
Integrating complementary therapies into a holistic approach can also support wellbeing. These therapies, such as massage, acupuncture, and herbal medicine, can help address particular concerns and promote overall health by working in tandem with conventional medical treatments.
To recap, aging well involves a multifaceted approach that focuses on physical health, mental wellness, and social connections. By managing stress, prioritising sleep, nurturing relationships, participating in social activities, and seeking the guidance of functional medicine professionals like Shelley Cavezza, PhD, individuals can cultivate a holistic approach to health that supports their well-being throughout their lives. By balancing mind, body, and spirit, we can all age gracefully and live life to the fullest.