(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

COLUMN: Healthy aging for an active retirement

What is healthy aging supposed to look like?

Ron Cain | Contributed

As a personal trainer specializing in the 50-plus crowd and as an aging Boomer and grandfather, I value being able to do what I want without pain or not too much.

Why do some people live longer than others, and what contributes to common ailments that afflict so many people over 50?

The real question is: What is healthy aging supposed to look like versus what is considered typical. The answer is what we think typical or average is, in fact, not healthy and certainly not reflective of healthy aging.

READ MORE: What is a personal trainer?

Here are some key tips for aging with vitality:

Keep a healthy weight. Most people gain weight with age, and that gain accelerates after 50, especially in women. Excess weight comes with a price: premature wear and tear on knees and hips, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, and difficulty with day-to-day tasks like getting off the floor or climbing a ladder.

Eat a healthy diet. In North America, we have a disease diet – excess sugar, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, preservatives and genetically modified foods. Focus on getting sugar and refined, packaged foods out of your diet while eating more fruits and veggies.

Get lots of sleep. North American society is chronically sleep-deprived. A little less than 150 years ago, we averaged two hours more sleep per day than we do now. Electric lights allowed us to extend our days, radio and then TV gave us a reason to stay up, we moved away from 5 am wake ups as people shifted from farms to cities. Today, we’re bombarded with electronic stimulation and stress. When we sleep less, we gain weight, and it has a profound effect on memory.

Lifelong learning. Elder college, changing jobs, learning new technology, cardiovascular exercise and strength training, and trying new activities contribute to brain health and maintains the plasticity of the brain.

Maintaining relationships. Today, we have a more mobile society where people move and change jobs far more frequently. Churches are closing, service clubs and legions have struggled or even disappeared. We have virtual friends we’ve never met and any spare time to look up old friends. People are not going to knock on our doors. We have to get out there and get involved.

Stress management. No single factor outweighs stress. Stress causes a hormonal response in the body that is very unhealthy and contributes to weight gain and heart disease.

Exercise. As a fitness professional for almost 40 years, I may be accused of bias, but I have also worked with the elderly, and I have seen first hand the cost of not exercising.

Alzheimer’s is a vicious disease and one that has ravaged my family. Walking 30 minutes every day at a fast pace can reduce the risk of dementia by 40 per cent or more. Studies have shown that weightlifting in subjects over 60 improved short-term memory.

We are animals genetically bred to move all day, searching out food miles away from our abode. Today we spend 70 per cent of our time sitting. Our lifestyle has gone from physical to sedentary, with few jobs requiring significant effort. This has a profound impact on our health and stress levels.


Ron Cain is a personal trainer with Sooke Mobile Personal Training. Email him at sookepersonaltraining@gmail.com.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Policing amid pandemic challenging, says Sooke’s top cop

Mounties document reduction in property crime and impaired driving

Patrick OLeary won $1 million in the March 24 draw of the Lotto 6/49. (BCLC image)
Sooke man cashes $1-million lottery ticket

The excavator operator had to look twice to confirm the win

(Black Press Media file photo)
Gas leak at Colwood Corners

Emergency crews on scene

These are just a handful of Vancouver Island’s missing person cases. Clockwise from top left: Lisa Marie Young, Lindsey Nicholls, Micheal Dunahee, Jesokah Adkens, Belinda Cameron and Emma Fillipoff. (File photos courtesy of family members and police departments)
Gorge skull fragment could bring closure to one Greater Victoria missing person case

Skeletal remains found in Greater Victoria have not yet been identified

Victoria police will be working to arrest as many people with active warrants as possible during #VicPDWarrantWednesday May 12. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police aim to make sweeping arrests during #VicPDWarrantWednesday

Officers working to locate people with active arrest warrants

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

This house at 1514 Trumpeter Cres. in Courtenay is currently for sale, with a disclaimer that the property was used in a cannabis grow operation in the past. Photo by Record staff
Drug trafficking at Vancouver Island residence nets over $250K forfeiture

Ruling comes from a search warrant executed in 2016 on Trumpeter Crescent home

In this Monday, March 15, 2021 file photo a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is pictured in a pharmacy in Boulogne Billancourt, outside Paris. Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada, as Manitoba limited use of the shot and Ontario announced it planned to save an incoming shipment to use as second doses. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Christophe Ena, File
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

More than two million Canadians have received AstraZeneca and 17 have been confirmed to have VITT

A Mountie issued B.C. RCMP’s first ticket for non-essential travel May 1. (Black Press Media files)
Driver ticketed, told to ‘return to Lower Mainland immediately’ by Vancouver Island police

The motorist was originally pulled over for driving-related offences May 1

Children walk back to their classroom while wearing masks and physical distancing at St. Barnabas Catholic School in Scarborough, Ont., in October, 2020. A group of B.C. teachers has issued an open letter calling for the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions for children in B.C. schools. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)
Group of B.C. teachers calls for easing of pandemic measures for students

Teacher group says ‘response to COVID is out of balance to the cost our youth are paying’

Adam Hamdan has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorist charges given temporary residence in Canada

Adam Hamdan had been facing deportation to Jordan, where he holds citizenship through his Palestinian parents

Most Read