One of the best parts of being a doctor is meeting new people. Scratch that – it’s getting to know new people. Sure, there are times when I encounter patients with whom I don’t see eye to eye. But even in those cases, I always find that I learn and grow as both a doctor and a human being.
Case in point: Ruth. Let me tell you about Ruth, a 73-year-old patient of mine who is an absolute force of nature. When I say she’s fit, I mean she puts many of my 30-year-old patients to shame. Ruth has more energy than my 9-year-old son after eating a handful of M&Ms, and she racks up 14,000 steps before most of us have even gotten out of bed. Not to mention, she’s beaten cancer like it was a mild head cold and has muscles on top of her muscles! Lastly, Ruth is mentally sharp as a tack, and I swear she gets smarter every time I see her. She is thriving!
Ruth came to me with a neck that refused to turn left. Can you relate? So, when I asked Ruth what she wanted me to discuss in my next blog, I was slightly confused. I thought for sure it would be about my favorite neck exercise. Instead, she asked “How can I stop getting old?!”. She was half joking of course. But as we all know, there’s often truth in jest. How could this 73-year-old who was fit as a fiddle be asking me this question?
So, it got me thinking…which was my first mistake🤣
It got me thinking about my patients over 70 and how they fit into two different categories. Half of them are THRIVING and the other half are simply SURVIVING.
I decided to dive deeper into this. Specifically, the thriving population. Why was one 70-year-old having difficulty getting off the couch, whereas another one was out golfing, hiking, playing tennis, and enjoying the day!
I found 5 key characteristics of the THRIVING group.
- MOVEMENT – Regular exercise – whether it’s walking, jogging, swimming, or something else entirely – can help keep your body strong and your mind sharp.
- NUTRITION – A healthy diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help keep your body in top shape. And don’t forget to stay hydrated!
- SOCIAL – Having a strong support network of friends and family can help keep your spirits up and your mind engaged.
- LEARNING – Whether it’s taking a class, reading a book, or trying a new hobby, challenging your brain can help keep it sharp.
- POSITIVITY – Maintaining a positive mindset can help you feel happier and more energized, even when life throws you curveballs.
One of our many sayings here at SD Body Fix is “time and gravity aren’t friendly!” I say it half in jest. But it doesn’t mean you have to just accept it. Even at age 50 I began to see some fun changes in my body😉. But after treating patients like Ruth for 20 years, I now know we have some choice in how we age.
Of course, everyone’s journey through aging is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. But with dedication and determination, you too can be a shining example of how to age with grace and vitality.
Well, Ruth, there you go! Thanks for writing this blog for me…sorta!