Every day we get a little bit older. People don’t really like to think
about that but it’s true. We hit our prime around 25-30 and its an uphill battle from there!
With the next deadline looming, or the soccer tournament on the weekend coming up, it can be difficult to think about the actions we do today and how they impact the quality of our life in the future. We build the foundation of our bodies through the laying down of bricks as we progress through our life. Those bricks can be high quality and durable, or they can be lower quality and prone to breaks and holes. It is the decisions that we make everyday that makes that decision. Every da
y of our life, regardless of our current age, we continue to build that house. Whether you’re contemplating this concept at 25 or 85, we have the capacity to consider the foundation of our current existence.
Bricks are made of building materials, and at STAVE OFF we consider these building materials as the 5 PILLARS OF HEALTHY LIVING. These pillars make up our foundation. What we build our programs off of. Our company’s core values and beliefs are based off of the concept that considering and working on these pillars, irrespective of current age, leads to positive change for the future. The model looks something like the picture below.
As we get older, our body’s physical abilities start to decrease. It’s a natural part of the aging process unfortunately! But what research started to see, is that people don’t decline at the same rate. There was a lot of variability between them. So as persons started to look at what differed between these individuals, we started to see some common patterns. Patterns of behaviours that made it more likely that we would live a long, healthy and fulfilled life that we would look back on and smile.
It was these behaviours that make up STAVE OFF’s 5 PILLARS.
The 5 Pillars
The five pillars are the major healthy habit categories. We have a general idea of the healthy behaviours but new information is coming out all of the time that gives us more insight into how our bodies respond and change as we age and therefore how those behaviours differ. Below we are going to briefly describe the healthy lifestyle practices that make up the 5 pillars
Our bodies were made to move! The pillar of exercise refers to activity – of the BODY AND THE MIND. This can be activity of the body in the form of exercise or physical activity or it can refer to activities of the mind in the form of new, novel learning opportunities. The goal is never to remain stagnant. There are times in our lives where we are going to have set back or interruptions but that is okay! The idea behind this pillar is to keep moving! For some that is football for others it is Tai Chi. For some this is crossword puzzles and for others its learning a new language. The point is that we need to provide stimulation to the body and the mind. At STAVE OFF, we provide programs that allow you to do that.
We recover based on the fuel that we put into our body in the form of food and water. Proper hydration and eating healthily allows our bodies to be well oiled machines. We wouldn’t expect our car to ride well if we didn’t do an oil change or put gas in the car – why should we think any differently about our bodies! As we get older, our appetite decreases because our metabolism does. Our ability to recognize when we are thirsty and need water also gets more challenging. Being cognizant of these changes and adjusting appropriately allows us to be properly fueled for our day. The word “diet” has a negative connotation. Diet sounds like we are restricting ourselves from what we wish to indulge and enjoy. Moderation in our diets and awareness of what we should be eating is the main focus. Eating healthy food also STAVES OFF different chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Preventing these ailments is in close alignment to our mission of successful, healthy aging for our community
As humans, we are intrinsically social beings. Social connectedness gives us a sense of purpose and belonging. Research has shown that a feeling of loneliness for older adults is as much of a
health concern as some chronic conditions. In this pillar, meaningful relationships refers not to the quantity but the QUALITY of our social network. Having persons that we have a sense of belonging to, a community in which we feel connected. Sharing common interests is a way to have a connection with a person and build a relationship. At STAVE OFF, through giving back to our community and working to build a community on our own, we try to foster this pillar. Through small group programs such as PRIME, the strength is in the power of the group. The support you gain from your peers cannot be matched.
Sleep is necessary for the human body to function. Getting adequate rest helps STAVE OFF signs of fatigue, keeps the body healthy and strong and keeps your immune system working at its best to fight disease or illness. Almost half of older adults complain of issues with sleep and it can seriously interfere with the quality of your life. Working on strategies to ensure that you have a good night’s rest can make a big difference in terms of your energy levels throughout the day and allow you to get the most out of your day!
Medical Care (If necessary)
Illness and injury can happen. Our fifth pillar relates to getting the medical care you need when these things come up. As we age, we are at increased risk for a slew of chronic conditions that can put a serious dent in the quality of your life. Pain related to injuries or arthritis are an annoyance nobody wants to live with on a daily basis. Ensuring that if or when these happen, they’re managed appropriately is important and necessary to get you back to your life. You are in the driver’s seat and are your biggest advocate for your healthcare experience. Your medical team is there to support you, give you advice and help manage some of your symptoms but ultimately it is a discussion between you and them. Communication around medical management, if necessary, is pivotal for this pillar. Giving you the resources and support you need to live an active life is a priority for the STAVE OFF team. Together we can get you where you want to be.
These pillars are our foundation. They are what we refer to when we consider the decisions that we make and the avenues that we pursue to promote healthy aging in our community. Prevention is a priority. Tackling issues BEFORE they become issues is a way to save you pain, discomfort and disability. Taking SMALL, ACTIONABLE steps in one or more of these pillars will lead you on a path of possibility and improvement. A house isn’t built in a day, but you can start by laying one brick.