You’ve heard the saying “50 is the new 40” or “60 is the new 50” – well, we want you to reframe your thinking about your health. Yes, there are certain things all of us need to pay attention to as we move through the decades, but what if we dropped the focus on the number and instead focused on total health. Instead of telling ourselves we can’t do this or that because we’re too old or because we’ve never done it before, instead take an approach of openness. Not one of us is getting any younger, so taking on challenges, new activities, changes in nutrition, and setting a renewed focus on our overall body and joint health is a huge step in the right direction. Admittedly, this thinking is counter-intuitive to much of what we see, hear, and read about getting older and aging. Instead of going trampolining (excellent for joint health support), we’re told to take up lawn bowling or walking. Instead of going on an all-day hike in the mountains with our grandchildren, we’re told to go to the park for an afternoon of relaxation and fresh air. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration, but what we’re trying to emphasize is that you can do what you want – there is no time like the present to take control of your mental and physical health. If there is something you’ve always wanted to do such as scuba diving, long-distance cycling, tennis, painting, photography, bodybuilding – well, now is the time to go for it. Not only will the excitement of these new activities give you a renewed purpose, the mental and physical benefits are huge rewards. We want you to have a happy and healthy life and to encourage you to follow your passions. However, we want you to do so safely and properly. With this in mind, we’ve put together a guide to key things you do need to pay attention to as you get older. Yes, we said to stop focussing on the number, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Move Your Body Safely Whenever you start a new activity, regardless of the impact on your joints and muscles, you have to take it slow. You may want to run in your local five kilometer race or train for a hike of the Camino de Santiago Trail – but you have to start slowly. Rushing head-first into a new activity will only result in setbacks. Take your time and listen to your body. Pay attention to lingering aches and discomfort that aren’t going away after a couple of days. If you have persistent discomfort or injuries, do see your doctor immediately. Depending on the activity, it can be worthwhile to join a club or group that has expert support and guidance. For example, a masters swim club that has an experienced coach who is familiar with the demands of an older body. Or a yoga studio that has a wide level of classes, ensuring you don’t start doing headstands on your first day. (Hint: remember to take your SierraSil for joint support and to carry some SierraSil Topical Spray for immediate joint relief.) Put Yourself First It’s very easy as we age to forget that our needs our important. Perhaps you’re looking after your parents or are heavily involved in looking after your grandchildren, making it hard to find time for yourself. We want you to put yourself first on the list. Yes, it’s hard and you feel the pull of these other obligations. But remember that you’re not going to be much help to your parents, children, or grandchildren if you’re run-down and not feeling your best. Carve out time every day to focus on your activities and interests. This can be as simple as taking an hour every morning to do some photography, gardening, or meeting friends for a walk and a coffee. Your mental health is important and it’s easy to forget as we get older how important it is in our overall wellness and longevity. Eat Well and Enjoy It You can’t open a newspaper or visit Facebook without being bombarded with the latest in healthy eating. Remember when fiber was all the rage and then it was Omega 3 and then it was fat-free food? It’s hard to keep up with the food news (fads) – exactly the reason why you shouldn’t. By now you know what foods make you feel good and which don’t. You also have a good understanding of the common sense rules around balanced eating. Yes, eat a slice of cake but not three slices and not every day. Yes, eat a steak but remember to have a large portion of vegetables alongside it. There are many different ways of eating and each approach works differently for each individual. Do what feels right for you. However, remember that if you’re overweight, suffering from heart problems, diabetes, arthritis, or another condition – it’s important that you follow the guidance provided to you by your healthcare team. We are what we eat – eat what makes you feel good and supports your body to let you go on that day-long hike or to get out and enjoy a day of gardening. Sleep, Rest, Recover Don’t neglect your sleep. More and more research is pointing to the importance of sleep in helping to support a healthy body and mind. We are all stretched thin and need more sleep. So do it – take a nap, go to bed an hour early, sleep in – just as you put a priority on the other key aspects of your health, do the same for sleep. What’s Next For You? Yes, we managed to talk about health and aging with barely a mention of numbers. This is because we really do want you to take an open approach to your health, lifestyle, and age. We know people in their 70’s who have taken up scuba diving and people in their 50’s who have discovered a passion for gardening. The number doesn’t matter – what matters is that you have interests and activities that give you joy and meaning. There is no secret to lasting health, but we do know that the better we feel about ourselves, the better our bodies will respond. Follow your passions. Stop saying “I’m too old” or “it’s too late”. Take a balanced smart approach and you might just discover a new side to yourself. Health truly is wealth – be committed and the pay-offs will be huge. Visit our SierraSil Facebook community page and tell us what you’re doing today that you never thought you could or would. Or maybe you have a goal you’d like to accomplish – tell us about it – chances are high there is someone else in our community with a similar goal.