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Maintain your health and vitality

Patrick and I had the wonderful experience of attending the annual Integrative Healthcare Symposium in NYC this past February. The amount we learned felt akin to drinking water from a fire hydrant, but we took away a few key pearls which we hope to share with you.

Did you know that after the age of 30 we start losing 1% of our muscle mass per year, 2-4% of our strength and up to 6% of our power. In addition to this, these values can double after the age of 60! High handgrip specifically is associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality. Conversely, a low handgrip strength is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality.

The World Health Organization recommends that we perform 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity weekly and we should also participate in muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.

The CDC has a 30 second sit to stand test for those over 60 that involves timing yourself over 30 seconds and noting how many times you can stand and sit. Why is this important? As we age and lose our strength and mobility, we also have an increased risk of falls. We all want to age gracefully and to me, this means being able to not only perform activities of daily living such house chores, grocery shopping and gardening, but also engaging in activities in which we find enjoyment. I myself would like to be able to continue to hike with my husband well into my later years and enjoy travel without the burden chronic disease. If you find yourself scoring lower than expected know that it is never too late to start being active! Start with walking or chair yoga and get that body moving! In addition to strength you will also see an improved mood. As I tell all my patients, a pill typically treats one condition, and can come with a list of side effects, but when you treat your whole body with movement and healthy eating, you will enjoy the benefits of your entire body.

Physical activity of course is paired with a healthy diet. Less processed, more whole foods that are colorful and anti-inflammatory in nature (A topic for another blog!)

I would like to encourage everyone to find that activity that you enjoy because enjoyment is the key to sustainability.

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