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localperspective

Aging Backwards A New Concept on Aging by Jill Roth

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he local native tribes promised explorer Ponce de Leon a “fountain of youth” after he visited what is now Florida in the early 16th century. In 2017, though, we still search for this magical aging remedy and maybe we are not looking in the correct direction. Florida is nice, especially in the winter, but why not go a little deeper, to the inside of each of us where the key to anti-aging is locked away within something we already possess—our muscle cells. Our muscle cells sustain our bodies as we go through our lives. They provide strength, flexibility, energy, and the capacity to maintain a healthy weight so that we may continually function in a safe and effective manner. When we are young, our muscle cells are extremely healthy, toned, and lubricated. As we age, however, we tend to neglect certain muscles once used for running, jumping, swinging our arms and legs, and for moving our spines in all directions. We tend, as we age, to sit more and use our bodies in repetitive motions, leaving other muscles to stagnate for long periods. In addition, we may encounter injuries that frighten us into immobility. According to Aging Backwards by Miranda Esmonde -White, we lose 8 percent of our muscle cells every decade, meaning that by age 65, we lose 25 percent of our muscle capacity. This loss of capacity may send us into a downward spiral effect of compression on joints translating into joint pain, loss of energy, stiff muscles and, eventually, tears in muscles, tendons and ligaments that creates scar tissue. In order to understand how to age backwards, we must first understand what happens to the cells when they go unused, i.e. they shrink and become stiff. Muscle cells need nutrients to sustain themselves, nutrients from our blood through circulation. If the muscle cells do not receive these nutrients on a regular basis, they may begin to glue together and shrink down, kind of like raisins. This process, known as muscle cell atrophy, may in some cases cause the muscle cells to die off completely. Muscle cell atrophy can cause imbalances in muscle groups, and can shrink the joints down closer together; this does not allow the proper synovial fluid to lubricate the joint, and can eventually lead to knee, shoulder or hip pain.

When muscle cells shrink, the connective tissue, a kind of Saran Wrap around the muscles called fascia, shrinks down and becomes glued to the muscles, causing stiffness. This is what may cause everyday activities such as getting out of a car or going up and down stairs to be more difficult. When the fascia restricts movement, it takes more energy to move through those motions, as though walking against a river current. Another reason energy production is lost is because muscle cells also house mitochondria that are essential to energy production and weight management. If we do not optimize the amount of working muscle cells in our bodies, we will not optimize our potential fat burning potential and energy production. The answer to reversing age, then, is DAILY movement of EVERY muscle, joint and bone. The phrase, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,” is an important truth. The key to safe rotation and movement in all the joints is dynamic stretching and strengthening of the muscles, plus plenty of healing circulation to all parts of the body. It is important to find a therapeutic fitness program designed to focus on the entire body and not just segmented parts. In addition, consider regular breaks during the day when sitting or during repetitive motion. One simple and effective exercise is to lift the arms above the head to gently raise the rib cage, and then take in a deep breath, slowly lower the arms, and feel the blood flow. The effects are amazing! Jill Roth is a Certified Essentrics Instructor. For more information, visit BodyAwarenessCoach.com.

natural awakenings September 2017

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Profile for NA Central Ohio

Natural Awakenings Central Ohio - September 2017 issue  

Central Ohio edition of the free monthly national health/wellness and sustainability publication.

Natural Awakenings Central Ohio - September 2017 issue  

Central Ohio edition of the free monthly national health/wellness and sustainability publication.

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