(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


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Most Read