Feeling old, tired and weak lately? Does your body ache and feel depressed? Here are solutions, even if you’re over 60.
The first way to treat this problem is to be very mindful of how you perceive yourself.
The more that an older person perceives herself or himself as old and frail, the more they’ll start feeling this way — even if the perception seems to be based on personal medical status.
For instance, if you see yourself as “old” or “tired,” this may discourage any incentive to engage in structured exercise.
Is that groan, every time you get out of a chair or bend over to pick up your cat, really necessary?
Every time you emit that habitual groan — even though it’s not painful to exit a chair or bend over to pick up Buddy — it reinforces your perception of having an old, withered body. Stop groaning!
A University of Exeter Medical School study investigated the issue of poor self-perception.
Though only 29 older adults were interviewed face-to face regarding their experiences with the aging process and feelings of frailty, the results were striking and something to really think about.
The study paper reports that one’s beliefs about themselves may lean to a loss of motivation for participating in social and physical activities — leading to reduced quality of life.
Check out the well-circulated image below. You do NOT have to end up like the woman on the right!
Stop putting your hand on your back and announcing, “I’m old.” DO something about it.
Your Powerful Brain
“Our brains are very powerful, and often we believe what we tell ourselves,” concurs Rupali Chadha, MD, former chief of medical staff at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, CA.
“The neurochemistry of this is not understood, but all of us mental health physicians see this every day.
“To feel younger, MOVE! Find hobbies and activities you love and do them with friends or family regularly!”
Though senior citizens shouldn’t get ahead of themselves and try skateboarding or climbing a ladder to their rooftop to put up Christmas lights — at the same time they should never think they’re “too old” to take up strength training, yoga, a low impact aerobics class or even karate.
Older people should first consult with their doctor to rule out any contraindications to certain types of exercise.
For example, a woman over 65 may have brittle bones. She needs to know this before she takes up karate or other activities in which jumping or falling to the ground is possible.
They should consult with a physician, then give exercise a try — real exercise, not just strolls in the park. Building up strength and fitness gradually is the key.
Both aerobic and resistance training are crucial in undoing the feeling of being “old.”
Structured exercise will also reduce, and in some cases eliminate, miscellaneous body aches.
In addition to general psychiatry, Dr. Chadha is also a forensic psychiatrist who treats the brain conditions of the criminally insane and serves as an expert witness in trials. She has a passion for fitness plus how the body, mind and spirit come together to build a healthy individual.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.