As the weather shifts and we start to notice things changing outside, some of the older among us begin to feel the weather changing — before it even arrives! This used to be dismissed as an old wives’ tale until research showed it to be true. Changes in barometric pressure do indeed exacerbate chronic inflammation and give us these unwanted built-in weather forecasters.
There are a number of changes that often occur with age that everyone assumes are normal. Stiff joints, less energy, problems sleeping, menopause, digestion, worsening eyesight and hearing — you get the picture. We seem to break down in bits and pieces as we age.
But here’s the thing — it does not have to be that way. Think about it this way: as we get older, we have more time to take care of ourselves. We have time for the gym and other activities that can count as exercise. We usually have more income so we can afford better food choices, and we have accumulated the wisdom and experience to make those choices.
I would like to change your mind about the concept that we naturally slow down as we age. The natural tendency is definitely there, but you will slow down at any age if you don’t take care of yourself. I have seen a lot of old 40-year-olds and a lot of young 70-, 80-, and even 90-year-olds. The best news is that you can begin to reverse “normal aging” at any age.
As an example, Alzheimer’s disease can begin to manifest as early as your 20s. Just like any other sign of aging, Alzheimer’s can be reversed at any age as long as it is not too far progressed. Alzheimer’s is now considered a reversible and curable disease if you know how to manage it. Dr. Dale Bredesen, a world leading expert on Alzheimer’s reversal, has even said that Alzheimer’s is now “optional” because of our ability address its symptoms.
So how do we reverse aging? Or Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, or liver failure? By understanding that lifestyle choices that led to the expression of that disease can be changed at any time and at any age. I have had patients in their 80s and 90s start these programs and see significant change. The change is slow, to be sure. But if they stick to the changes, they feel better. Technically, they become younger if you measure their biological markers of aging.
So how do you start? You begin with the decision to change. Sometimes this takes a little motivation, like wanting to get out of pain. Sometimes it takes a different kind of motivation, like wanting to dance at your great-grandchild’s wedding instead of showing up in a wheelchair. Find your motivation and lead with that.
Next you decide if you want to go it alone or with a guide. A functional medicine practitioner is the best professional to guide you along this transformation. With my education and experience, I’ll consider all of your options to help you turn your ship around, so to speak. And if you have a partner to join you, all the better!
Next you decide the lifestyle choices you want to change. The biggest ones are diet and exercise. In addition to those, there are a number of other things that can accelerate the process like supplements, chiropractic, stress management, improving sleep. All these things restore your body’s natural innate curative powers that will lead to you reversing your signs of aging. I personally practice all these steps and I recently had my “physiological age” tested. The test said that I am 47.4 years old, even though my driver’s license still says I am 61!
As the weather gets colder, let that be your spark to begin your transformation. Think of how wonderful it will feel to not notice the weather change until it actually gets here. To listen to your friends complain about their aches and pains and know that that’s not you anymore. That should warm your heart!
Dr. Burtis, D.C., M.S., CFMP, has been providing natural healthcare to the Fairmont area at Burtis Chiropractic Center for over 30 years. He uses a combination of chiropractic, nutrition, and functional medicine to help individuals restore and maintain health and healing through individualized care plans. The mission of Burtis Chiropractic Center is to provide transformational healthcare that takes an individual’s life to the next level. We strive to be a solution for families to experience transformational healthcare and help create vibrant and resilient lifestyles that can be passed to future generations.