Quality Life Forum Advocacy and Empowerment Series
It is possible to have too much of a good thing for healthy aging, as you may have heard that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Knowing the limit will prevent harm to your body.
Water is the healthiest drink and hydration is essential for life. But is it the more the better? Water intoxication is a condition that occurs from drinking too much water, upsetting electrolyte balances. Drinking too much water can cause hyponatremia, which happens when blood sodium concentration becomes very low. If one drinks more water than kidneys can flush out, it'll dilute the sodium in bloodstream and causing cells to swell. Fluid overload may lead to severe consequence of heart and/or kidney failure.
In addition, as weak bladder and pelvic muscles are associated with aging, excessive water intake will also increase urinary frequency and disrupts everyday activities especially sleep due to nocturia (wake for night bathroom trips) in older adults.
To know the amount of water your body needs daily is more complicated than you may think. How to account for liquid from diet is challenging. There is no formal recommendation for a daily amount of water people need, as individual threshold varies based on diet, geological location and climate, body surface area and activities. Drinking 8 glasses of water a day should not be a universal standard. Body composition scale is a useful tool, which measures the percentage of fat, bone, and muscle of your body. Use the body composition as guide and listen to your body for your hydration needs is most reliable.
Timing may also play an important role for body’s hydration needs. Biologically, human body water retention depletes in the morning, as the result of body system (i.e., respiratory tract, GI tract, skin, kidney) usage of water during overnight sleep, which is estimated 450 ml. Therefore, drinking a glass of warm water after wake up in the morning will replenish your body timely and comfortably. It may also provide blood diluting effect to benefits circulation and lowing cardiovascular risks. In addition, drinking a cup of water 30 minutes before each meal will help secretion of adequate digestive fluid for food digestion benefit.
2. Fat Free
Plant based foods are generally healthy. Some believe in 100% vegetarian. Plus, decades of fat free promotion may have led to fat phobia and many older adults are afraid to eat meat.
Meats (protein and fat) are essential for healthy aging. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 states that senior men and women should make 20-35% of their daily calories come from fat. Is it better to eat meat or plant food? Follow the link to learn more.
Many people are convinced that their cholesterol is bad and unhealthy. In fact, cholesterol is a critical building block for the production of hormones. Cholesterol in the brain is involved in the communication process for neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. It makes up the majority of myelin, the white fatty sheath that provides a protective coating on neurons to increase the brain's processing speed. Low-fat diets are not good for your brain.
Cholesterol that is too low is bad for the brain. What’s considered normal? Normal total cholesterol levels are 135-200 mg/dL. However, be aware that several studies show that lowering total cholesterol levels below 160 mg/dL can increase the risk of depression, suicide, and homicide, so 160-200 mg/dL is optimal. Don’t go too low.
Ideally, a balanced diet provides all nutritional needs for human life. But some may need some extra boost due to food source or other limitations. To learn more about the value of vitamines and dietary supplements, follow the link.
More than one-third of Americans take supplements.
Multivitamin or mineral supplements make up 40% of all vitamin sales.
The most common supplement contains fish oil, omega 3, DHA, or EPA fatty acids.
About 30% of adults age 65 and older take 4 or more supplements of any kind.
You may be one of the millions of Americans who take a vitamin or supplement each day. Supplements offer a variety of health benefits and serves as excellent source for food intake deficit. Will taking more supplements (in variety and dosage) better for wellness? It would depend on 1, deficiencies are clinically identified or certain essential food sources are lacking 2, how much is your needs 3, safety in food and drug interactions. The danger is many people taking this matter it in their own hands or being misled by marketing advertisements since supplements are commercially available. Dietary supplements are not drugs and aren’t regulated by the FDA. Advertising can be misleading in this overcrowded market.
Get your healthcare provider's approval before taking dietary supplements in place of, or in combination with, prescribed medicines. Dietary supplement safety risks largely exist as many supplements side effects are not clearly labeled and drug interactions may be complicated, but often overlooked.
Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week, in addition to strength training. And the WHO suggests that more exercise (like 300 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week) provides additional health benefits. However, there’s no specific upper limit when exercise benefits cease to exist and the guidelines don’t specify if there’s an upper limit when larger amounts of exercise are unsafe.
Over exercising is counterproductive and may endanger health. Factors such as the intensity, duration, and frequency need to be eased into and increased gradually. Pushing too hard early on could do more harm than good. In fact, new research shows that overdoing high intensity exercise may increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, regardless of age.
How do you know your limit? Consider your current energy level, listen to your body and determine what over-exercising means to you –
Your workouts or physical activates energize or exhaust you?
Your muscles feel toned or sore?
You are emotionally relaxed or stressed during or after physical activities?
Do you feel comfortable for the intensity, duration and frequency at current level?
Are you seeing progress toward your goal or experiencing pain and injuries?
Slow down when you feeling constantly tired and experiencing muscle soreness or joint pains. Allow body for recovery time, otherwise overuse injuries occur. Cut back on exercise when you’re coping with a lot of other life stressors and nurture yourself. Focus on eating well, hydration, and quality sleep to support body recovery. Taking off from exercise at least one day a week and leaving at least 6 hours between workout sessions are recommended.
Which types of exercise are more or less strenuous?
Exercises with moderate intensity include: Walking fast, riding a bike, jogging, doubles tennis, hiking etc. House work such as vacuuming, mowing the lawn, washing the car etc. also burns calories and helps with fitness.
If you oversleeping regularly evaluate your overnight sleep quality and energy of the day.
Are you waking up refreshed or still tired?
Can you mentally focusing well or with brain fog, which is characterized by confusion, forgetfulness, and a lack of focus and mental clarity?
Do you have drowsiness during the day?
Expose yourself to bright sunlight upon awakening.
Get enough sleep and avoid excessive naps.
Reset your body’s biologic clock, also known as circadian rhythm, get up and go to bed at the SAME TIME EVERY Day, for at least 2 weeks and your body will begin to adapt to the new schedule adjustment.
Increases metabolism by healthy food selection and exercises.
Live a meaningful and purposeful life – know what you care about and do it. People who have a purpose tend to wake up with energy.
Too much good things may not add up good results, or may be harmful. Keep life in balance. Moderation is important for healthy aging.
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