Is your aging body sending distress signals?

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Doctor with stethoscope
Valley News - Health

STAFFORD, U.K. – If people neglect their bodies, misuse them or otherwise fail to treat them with proper respect, they have an effective means of expressing their dissatisfaction.

The body feels pain – in the joints, in the muscles, in the back; pretty much any place where there exists a nerve that can fire off an urgent distress signal to the brain.

And as people age, those distress signals seem to become more frequent, with the simplest of movements, such as bending over to pick up a fallen object, creating anguish and instant regret.

“Unfortunately, pain and aging are facts of life,” Nicky Snazell, a physiotherapist, expert in pain management and author of “The 4 Keys to Health” and other books, said. “The good news is that, ultimately, our quality of life doesn’t have to be ruled by age and pain themselves, no matter what we might think. Instead, our quality of life is determined by how we handle age and pain.”

In many ways, people are their bodies’ own worst enemies. But Snazell said those who want to treat their bodies the right way can accomplish that by making changes in four key areas:

Mindset

People’s mindset affects all aspects of their health, Snazell said.

“Without a positive, long-term commitment to health, you will not eat and drink well, you will not get regular and adequate exercise, and you will not be able to control your stress,” she said. “Without first getting your head in the right place, how can you expect to make all of these changes to your life?”

Nutrition and hydration

It’s no secret that most people don’t have the best diets, Snazell said.

“We eat too much of the food that enhances pain,” she said. “And too little that reduces pain.”

The ancient ancestors had the right idea, she said. They ate fresh meat, berries, roots and fruit and vegetables high in antioxidants, and they had no processed foods. Perhaps more surprising, Snazell said, is that many people also aren’t properly hydrated.

“Water is necessary for mental agility, the immune system, healing, cleansing and detoxing,” she said, “So it is definitely not something we should ignore.”

Fitness

Televisions, computers and smartphones helped turn people into a sedentary society self-imprisoned on our sofas.

“The lack of physical activity causes emotional and physiological imbalances,” Snazell said. “Improving your fitness changes your chemistry, acts as a powerful antidepressant, promotes mental clarity and reduces the likelihood of cancer.”

Being disciplined about getting exercise is the key to longevity, she said, so exercise regularly and effectively. Running, for example, helps people lose dangerous belly fat that causes inflammation and aids stress. If running proves too difficult or isn’t someone’s thing, there are plenty of other aerobic exercises, such as golf, walking, swimming, rowing and cross-country skiing, among others.

Lifestyle

“If you want to start changing your lifestyle right now to improve your mental and physical health, there are several small, simple things you can do to get headed in the right direction,” Snazell said.

Here are just some of them: Get a regular massage; meditate daily; set purposeful goals; do something nice for a stranger; watch less TV; study something every day; spend time with inspiring and funny people or sing in the shower.

“As we age, we need to put even more care into our diet, our exercise and our workload,” Snazell said. “It sounds simple, but many of us fail to even acknowledge that we have to change the way we use our bodies as we get older.

“We need to remember that so much of this is a choice. We have the power to change ourselves by transforming the way we think, what we eat, how we move, and what kind of lifestyle we choose to lead,” she said.

Nicky Snazell, author of “The 4 Keys to Health” and other books, is director of Nicky Snazell’s Wellness and Physiotherapy in the United Kingdom. She is a physiotherapist and pain specialist. Snazell is the founder of three health companies and still treats patients, embracing holistic physiotherapy, healthy living and new technology for joint repair, after 30 years of treating patients. She also makes presentations internationally on health, well-being and pain relief. For more information, visit www.painreliefclinic.co.uk.