As we age we may feel a lack of purpose - no more job, no longer valuable to society. Sharing wisdom is of value, spending time with children or adults who need care is of value, and taking care of ourselves is our first job.
Our own mother or caregivers helped us slowly learn more skills and take on more jobs in our own self care. As we age we may have to humbly receive more help with our daily care. The longer we can maintain our own health, the longer we can stay in the driver seat of our own lives.
A quick self care test for general overall health is to time with an accurate stopwatch, how long you can stand on one foot, yoga style with the other foot resting against the calf of the leg you are standing on. In older age groups the test has been found to be fairly accurate for predicting mortality risk - shorter or no ability to stand on one leg (in people able to walk and stand normally) was linked to increased death rates over the next seven years. (1)
"Overall, 20.4% of participants failed the 10-second test. Failure rate rose with age: it was 4.7% in 51- to 55-year-olds, 8.1% in 56- to 60-year-olds, 17.8% in 61- to 65-year-olds, and 36.8% in 66- to 70-year-olds. Over half of those ages 71-75 (53.6%) could not successfully complete the test.
During a median follow-up of 7 years, 7.2% of participants died, including 4.6% of people who could complete the test and 17.5% of those who could not." (1)
The Tree Pose in yoga is similar to the standing on one leg test, however, compared to the image a person's arms would not be raised and the foot would be lower on the calf.
Tree Pose, Yoga.
Self care is our number one job - if we aren't fit then we can't do any other job as well, or for as long a career possibly.
A recent blog post:Modern Life Syndrome - it's not all in our heads, but that counts too!, is loaded with ideas for a healthier diet and lifestyle with links to posts elsewhere with the medical research reasoning for my recommendations. Included is a graphic with lifestyle factors that can be inflammatory - do the opposite roughly, and two with foods that help promote Nrf2 - our growth and repair anti-aging device. It is linked to a good night's sleep and our circadian cycle though. The lifestyle factors that are inflammatory include light while we sleep or in the late evening.
Can we balance on one foot in the dark? Or stumble around and find our way if we need to? Function is part of quality of life and practicing - simply using our muscles in full range of motion exercise, gentle if need be, helps us strengthen and maintain fitness and detoxify lymphatic fluid. The article had no reasons to suggest from the researchers or other supporting information as to why being able to stand on one leg for longer than ten seconds might be correlated with reduced mortality rate, but the people who couldn't tended to have other diagnoses such as Type 2 Diabetes and poorer health.
"Those who failed the test generally had poorer health: a higher proportion were obese or had heart disease, hypertension, or dyslipidemia. Type 2 diabetes was three times as common in this group." (1)
In other words . . . the people who were unable to stand on one foot for ten seconds had Metabolic Syndrome - hyperinflammation.
Take care of you, so that you can do the things that you both need and want to do!
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.