If you sometimes find yourself saying those immortal words “I’m feeling old!” consider whether it’s time to do something about it. Aches and pains, tiredness and other niggles can all make us feel older than we really are, and we often resign ourselves to feeling this way until we really are old.
But research shows that feeling older than you actually are is much worse for your physical and mental health than you might have thought. Studies have shown that your ‘subjective age’ can predict various health outcomes, including your risk of death.
In one study, researchers found that feeling 8 – 13 years older than you actually are increases your risk of death by 18-25%! Other negative health outcomes include a higher risk of depression and physical disease. Whereas those people who feel younger than their actual age are less likely to be hospitalised and have better mental health.
How to feel younger inside and out!
Fortunately, most people have a subjective age that is younger than their real age. By the age of 30 approximately 70% of people feel younger than they really are, and this divergence grows over time. But if you’re in the 30% group, feeling older than your years, how can you buck the trend and avoid any negative health outcomes?
One way to do it is to address those aches and pains that drain us of our vitality! It’s no exaggeration that dealing with pain (especially chronic pain) sucks the life out of you. Even if it’s mild, pain can disrupt sleep making you feel tired during the day and also prevent you from leading a physically active life.
Many of my patients talk about their frustration at not feeling confident in their body’s ability to perform and not give them pain, whether it’s getting through a spinning class or running up the stairs. They find themselves becoming increasingly inactive and that becomes a vicious circle of pain, fatigue and physical limitations.
It’s a really common problem, especially amongst 30-40 year-olds who are juggling work and family life, and simply find there are not enough hours in the day to look after themselves. Take for example many mums with lower back pain, often attributed to pregnancy or lifting and carrying a toddler. Many patients in this group report a constant dull back pain that makes them feel stiff and ‘old’ and might wake them up several times in the night (when their children don’t.)
Trying to keep fit can be a problem when you’re worried about jarring your back during an exercise class or when out running. Swimming breaststroke and cycling can be uncomfortable and also puts a strain on your lower back. As a result, it might be harder to shift those ‘baby pounds’ and it’s not uncommon for a patient to be depressed about her weight and lack of energy; as well as managing the low-level pain. Mums have said to me that that they feel like they’re failing their children by not being Supermum.
ABC Treatment for back pain – become a Supermum!
Lower back pain isn’t something that only affects mums and mums-to-be. It’s one of the most common problems I see in my practice and generally can be traced back to poor body alignment rather than a single injury or condition such as being pregnant. Other factors, lifting a small child, for example, may exasperate the problem but often alignment and posture issues already exist. Most parents I’ve treated have spent many years working in offices or doing repetitive jobs before starting a family. Alignment issues often start with poor posture and prolonged periods at your desk, not being a parent.
My approach, Advanced BioStructural Correction (ABC), is to treat the whole body rather than just the lower back and gently unlock the tension created by years of sitting, slumping, slouching and hunching (as well as lifting and carrying a toddler.) With a programme of ABC Structural Correction, we can adjust your body so that no muscle, joint, ligament or bone is out of alignment, so each part can do the job it’s designed to do without unneccesary pain or tension. When your body works well, you don’t notice it and you feel your real age again, or better!
At the same time, my patients work hard to re-educate their bodies about the correct way to sit, stand and lie, unlearn the bad habits that have crept up over the years. Lower back pain can then resolve itself and patients begin to feel like their actual age (or younger) again.
That vicious circle of not being able to exercise or be active because of pain is a big problem when it comes to longevity and living a full life. Inactivity leads to health problems that further compound your ability to move around, exercise and enjoy life, and these can get much worse the older you get. It’s therefore vitally important to break the cycle and if you feel older than you actually are, try to do something about it.
If you have pain that’s making you feel old, I recommend asking an ABC practitioner to assess your alignment and posture rather than treat the site of the pain. Clinics that practice ABC TM can be found by searching the Advanced BioStructural Correction International website here. Or get in touch with me directly, I’d be happy to answer any of your questions.