Robert Watine, M.D., Barefoot Bay Internal Medicine
What is Age Management?
Age management works under the premise of shifting from the paradigm of wellness. We are all going to live a certain amount of time. If you’re going to live to 80 years old, there will be a certain time when your body will start to deteriorate. So, what can we do to deter when that deterioration starts? For most people it begins at 50 years old – which is why many refer to it as being “over the hill.” But wouldn’t it be great to be in decent health longer? Instead of feeling it at 60, how about at 75?
As one ages, there are common ailments that begin to set in, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, weight gain, your knees beginning to hurt. Your “joie de vivre” (enjoyment of life) is impacted. To push that life expectancy requires a healthy lifestyle that focuses on exercise and nutrition, so you don’t get lazy and complacent.
Do you see any trends that are affecting age management and life expectancy?
Today, we are seeing so many millennials and young adults with diseases that should not be affecting them until they are much older. They are facing morbid obesity, diabetes and other ailments. In the 1980s, juvenile-onset obesity was unusual. Now it is ubiquitous. This is a result of the lifestyle of the kids (staying indoors watching television, on the computer, video games, or cell phones).
What can individuals do now to deter when the body deterioration begins?
If you look at Baby Boomers (those who are in their 60s, 70s and 80s), you will see they are living longer, healthier lives. In the 1980s, they were the generation that began focusing on exercising and eating right. It became part of their lifestyle. How often do you see an obese 90-year-old? That’s right, you don’t. That is because those people died in their 60s or earlier. It’s all about living a healthier lifestyle through better nutrition and exercise.
Can medications or diet programs with prepackaged food help?
Sometimes medications can help to get the good habits started. But those diet medications are meant to be used for a short period of time. The programs with the prepackaged foods might work great, but they are not teaching you how to eat correctly. They cost a lot of money, so when you stop ordering those prepackaged foods, you most likely will go back to your old ways of eating poorly.
How should one get started on exercising and eating well?
You shouldn’t just start jogging several miles or lifting weights. You should see your doctor and get cleared on what’s best for you. There may be underlying health issues, such as heart disease, that you should know about before attempting to take on jogging or lifting weights.
When it comes to nutrition, it’s about portion control and knowing where most of the calories are coming from. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, so it’s not easy to just lose weight. It takes time. It requires activity and consuming less calories. Change that serving size of the butter you are using in your recipes, or how much dressing that is used for a salad. Most people are using much more than they think.
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