Often, it is the simplest things that make one feel better. Fresh air, sunshine,exercise, and a good diet are vital for maintaining and improving health.
In this high-tech world it is easy to lose touch with the simple things that help maintain and recover good health. Boomers, more than any generation before us, are trained to reach for a pill to treat every discomfort, ache, and pain. Those who market to Baby Boomers know this and the drug companies are quick to offer pills for many things that have a more simple cure. Exercise, sunshine, fresh air, and a healthy diet can eliminate the need for many medications. Sadly, these things are no longer part of the lifestyle of many aging boomers. It’s hard to change old habits but even old dogs can learn new tricks if the incentive is great enough and there is a willingness to try.
Technology makes life easier but it also, severs us from nature. Human beings are part of the natural world and separating ourselves from it is detrimental to good health. There are too many sedentary, fat boomers and I admit, I am one of them. Even though I employ many natural methods in caring for my health and can testify as to how they have improved my health, I still have to push myself to do the things I know are right for my mind and body. Life seems to be moving faster than I am these days and the temptation to pop a pill rather than taking the time to exercise and eat right is hard to resist. However, all I have to do is remind myself how miserable and unhealthy I was when I took every pill my doctors offered and it is enough to motivate me and get me back on track. The word pharmacy comes from an old term for witchcraft that included drugs. Drugs are like magic. They often bring immediate results but those quick results are deceptive and too many medications often, take more life than they give. In nature, God has provided what is needed to maintain and improve health. Modern medications are great for the big things that are beyond natural cures but the bulk of many health needs can be managed naturally.
It is hard for me to make time to exercise. I’ve never been athletic. In fact, I have always been clumsy and embarrassed to exercise with others. In school, I was always the last one picked for any team sport and I nearly flunked out of school because I missed so many physical education classes. The only exercise I enjoyed was walking and it remains my favorite form of exercise. If I can’t get outside to walk, I use a power-walk video that is an aerobic form of walk-in-place. I started practicing yoga in my forties and yoga is a form of exercise that I can use even when I’m feeling lousy. Somehow, yoga invigorates me rather than zapping my energy. When I’m sick, a few gentle yoga stretches keep my muscles from atrophying and gives me a boost of energy. This winter, I spent too much time focused on my writing and my exercise program went by the way-side and I’m paying the price of having to take off some weight or start taking pills again. It has only been a week since I returned to my exercise routine and already, I feel better. I’m less stiff, have more energy, and my appetite and craving for carbohydrates has diminished. I know exercise is necessary for keeping my blood pressure and blood sugar down and I’ve returned to my exercise routine, just in the nick of time. If I had waited until I needed to placed on medication to control these issues, it would be even harder to get myself back into exercising. Medications make my numbers better but they don’t make me feel better. Exercise lowers my number and makes me feel better too.
Sunshine is nature’s pain reliever and mood elevator. I need sunshine just as I need food and water. Vitamin D is the body’s pain reliever and it requires sunshine for release into the bloodstream. Serotonin also, requires sunlight for release and it is the neurotransmitter that controls mood, sleep, and carbohydrate cravings. I am blessed to live in an area with more sunny days than cloudy days. I need about 45 minutes of sunshine on my entire body every day for optimum feelings of well-being. If it is too cold to be out, I put my makeup on in a sunny window or sit in a sunny window and read. If I lived in a climate that was often cloudy, I would purchase a full-spectrum sunlamp and sit beside it for an hour every day. What my doctors have diagnosed as fibromyalgia is best treated with sunshine. The pills I tried had many side-effects and in the long run, made my condition worse. Too many cloudy days leave me depressed but when the sun returns and I’m mindful to spend time outdoors, my depression lifts, quickly.
As I write this post,I am sitting on my porch listening to the birds sing and my wind chimes tinkling in the breeze. The trees are just beginning to put on new leaves and the sky is a beautiful crystal blue with a few puffy, white clouds. The air is filled with the fragrance of Spring and this contact with nature calms my spirit and draws me closer to God. I breathe in the fresh air and my heart is calmed. It’s easy for me to spend too much time indoors on my computer and at the end of the day, flop down in my favorite chair in front of the television. There is nothing on the television screen or computer screen that compares with the scene outdoors and feelings of serenity that I’m enjoying, right now. Spending time connecting with nature reminds me of how small I am and how small my problems are in the scope of it all. Technology deceives me into seeing human beings as overly important and our problems as all-consuming. Nature reminds me that God has a better plan and human beings, even with our magic of technology, can’t thwart that plan. There’s nothing better for my anxiety than an hour or so outdoors, breathing fresh air.
A healthy diet is so important but I find that the older I get the less I care about eating. If I could, I’d live on cookies, milk, and jelly beans. This is a sure way to gain weight and deplete my body of the vitamins and minerals it needs to continue to serve me well. I have been on many special diets in my life and restrictive diets haven’t improved my relationship with food. At one time, there were so many things I couldn’t eat that it was really difficult to find anything I could eat. Even now that I’m better it is hard for me to eat without feeling guilty about it and there are still quite a few foods that I need to avoid. I do the best I can to stay on track and try to enjoy the foods that I can eat but I know my diet is too restricted to give me all the nutrients I need. I rely on supplements and I know I would be in much worse shape without them. I have taken the time to study what supplements support which bodily function and every vitamin or amino acid I take is taken for a purpose. Mindlessly, buying and taking every supplement that is touted as the new cure-all may not cause any real damage but it is a waste of money. As it stands now, and I hope it remains, the government doesn’t control supplements. It is up to me to buy from a reputable organization and buy only what I need. There have been a few deaths from supplements and herbs but very few compared to death from prescription drugs that are regulated by the government. My supplements are expensive but not as expensive as continually, visiting doctors or spending time in the hospital. Supplements have enabled me to gain control over my health, rid myself of many medications, and enjoy better quality of life. Poor nutrition is the underlying cause of many illnesses and diseases and supplements are a good way to insure good nutrition as we boomers age, have smaller appetites, and/or restricted diets.
When I write about the simple, natural things that can be done to maintain and return good health, I am writing to me as well as you. Life in this technologically advanced world is a recipe for poor health through sedentary living, disconnect from nature, and poor diet. However, boomers also, have all the means available to live healthy well into old age. Those of us who are currently experiencing poor health can improve our health by employing these simple, natural methods and changing unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits. It is hard to change and when one doesn’t feel well, it is hard to get up and exercise. It is easy to keep reaching for those pills but pills can’t replace those natural things that our bodies need and God provides for in nature. If you’re feeling old, achy, stiff, and in the dumps feeling better could be as easy as exercise, sunshine, fresh air, and a healthy diet. It does require effort but pills can’t imitate the good feelings that a natural return to good health can provide. Trusting God and what He provides for good health through nature was the best decision I ever made and it continues to be the best choice for enjoying a good quality of life.