“It’s the ordinary things we do on a daily basis that have an extraordinary effect,” says Dr Frank Lipman, renowned speaker and author of the new book “The New Rules of Ageing Well”.
On her recent podcast, The Ageing Well Podcast, TV presenter and lifestyle host Shelly Craft, spoke with Dr Frank Lipman about ‘Ageing Well’ and five steps women could take to support their bodies as they get older. Currently residing in New York, Dr Lipman is a world-renowned leader in functional and integrative medicine, and the author of 5 bestselling books on health and wellness.
Aiming to change the face of ageing, Dr Lipman says that while it is common for women in their 40’s and beyond to start to “not function as well as they used to”, this is not necessarily typical.
“If you’re achey, tired, gaining weight, or not sleeping well, pay attention … these are warning signs from your body that you need to take action.
Many people put the many changes in their body down to simply “getting older” but, as Dr Lipman says, “that’s nonsense”. Moreover, “it’s normally due to poor lifestyle habits; lack of sleep, eating too much sugar, not dealing with stress or not exercising”.
But it’s not all bad news, there are many tangible changes that you can implement which can make a huge difference.
So what are Dr Lipman’s top tips to stay optimal as you age?
Dr Lipman suggests the first place we start is our diet. As we get older, our ability to metabolise carbohydrates decreases and that is made worse by stress and not sleeping. Dr Lipman suggests that women go onto a lower carbohydrate diet. He suggests “taking out the junk including sugar, processed foods, and processed carbohydrates”.
He also suggests intermittent fasting as ‘incredibly beneficial’ and says it can make a big difference to improve the whole functioning of the body. By restricting the time period you eat, women in their mid 40s and above can experience incredible benefits.
This is because “when you fast with something like the 16:8 and you don’t put any calories into your body for 14 hours or over, it triggers a self-cleansing mechanism in your body called autophagy. This will help clean up the debris and the “crap” in your cells, supports weight loss, brain clarity and helps with a host of things as well as being incredibly easy to implement”.
By eating within an 8 hour window, it simply means eating breakfast a bit later, and dinner a bit early and can be easy to stick to because “it means you are not really missing out on too much”.
“Exercise is essential for anyone who wants to age well” but ensuring you are adjusting your exercise to your lifestyle, your age and what is going on with your body is paramount. Dr Lipman explains that it is the mechanisms in the body that are triggered by exercise that “are excellent for ageing whether it be heart, brain or ageing in general”.
He advises that small bursts of intense exercise, like high intensity interval training (HIIT) or aerobic exercise, stimulate powerful cellular pathways that improve our overall health, but he is against over-exercising which will often make people more exhausted.
As we age, our bodies lose muscle mass and so strength training can also become incredibly important. The fascia plays an important role as connective tissue to support the muscles and bones and connects us from head to toe. Old injuries, posture and things like sitting at a desk can tighten the fascia. If this is not loosened it can become a problem so exercises like yoga, and getting massages are beneficial. But self massage with a foam roller can release the tightening of the muscles super effectively by stretching the fascia. Yoga is also highly encouraged by Dr Lipman as a form of ‘moving meditation’ and can help stretch the soft tissue.
He believes that we don’t take soft tissue injury seriously enough (e.g. sprains) and “if you don’t treat the fascia, your body will compensate in other ways and then you become more and more injured and then you can’t exercise at all”. Australian physical therapists are ‘trained really well and are trained to do deep tissue manual recovery work’.
“Sleep is essential and is often pushed into a lesser place of priority for our health because many think it is passive time which they can’t afford”. But sleep is when a lot of activity is going on in the body to support ageing well, such as when the lymphatic system is cleaning up our bodies. If you are not sleeping, it is not cleaning all the neurochemicals and mind activity during the day.
As Dr Lipamn explained, “Sleeping is when your body repairs and recovers, it helps with your microbiome and with hormonal issues. Sleep is underrated and much more important than most people realise”
As we get older, many people don’t sleep as well, and while 7-9 hours is the standard recommendation it is important that the sleep we have is quality sleep. Dr Lipman suggests that people consider their intake of alcohol. While alcohol in the evenings may help you fall asleep, “the nature of alcohol and how your body metabolises it means you will wake up and have problems sleeping later in the evening”, therefore not getting the restorative sleep needed.
Outlook on life
Having a bright outlook on life and where your mindset is at, can determine how well you age. “Having a good attitude, being able to laugh at things, including having a laugh at yourself” can all contribute to healthy ageing. It’s not only how you view life, but it is your community. “Being kind, being grateful for what you have, as well as having a purpose. They are intangible and have a huge effect on how we age.”
There are, of course, genes at play “but how they are expressed in each individual is dependent on how you live your life”. You can also play a role in “re-coding” your genes, and it’s never too late. Find out how here.
“It’s good to know your genes but not to get scared of them”.
As we age our bodies naturally produce less collagen. Dr Lipman is a “big believer” in collagen powder supplements, provided it is from a good source and says it is “able to affect the body so much, and in such a positive way” Collagen is part of almost every tissue in the human body. It is found in the connective tissue, which is virtually everywhere. It gives structure to the bones and creates the framework of the skin. The hair, muscles, tendons, and articulations all use collagen one way or another.
“Collagen powder has the profile of animal protein but doesn’t have the negative sides.
As we get older, Dr Lipman explains that we need less animal protein, and collagen powder, because of its amino acid profile “gives us what we need as a protein source but it doesn’t have the negative effects on the gene regulators”.
The natural decline of collagen production affects our skin, joints, bones and muscles, making us painfully aware of the passing of the years. The good news is that this loss can be compensated for. Numerous scientific studies have proven that taking collagen peptides can effectively support joint, bone and muscle health all at once.
Implementing some of Dr Lipman’s suggestion may support you in ageing well. Regular exercise, sleep, a healthy diet, and a positive outlook on life all contribute to our health and wellbeing. Today, we know that taking the right nutrients is equally influential. And that collagen peptides are a key nutritional ingredient to support ageing well.
To listen to the full interview, click here.
Dr Lipman believes strongly in hormetic stressors. Stay tuned for our next article where we’ll explore ways to (enjoyably) incorporate hormetics into your routine.