Wellness For The Aging Equestrian- Part Three: Mental Health

So far in this series, Wellness For The Aging Equestrian, we’ve covered PHYSICAL HEALTH in part one, and NUTRITION in part two.  In our last section we will cover MENTAL HEALTH.

There are two areas involved in mental health for aging equestrians; the physical side of brain health and the emotional component of mental health.  I will cover the three ways to keep your brain healthy including:

A) Challenge

B) Meditate

C) Connecting on a Spiritual Level

CHALLENGE.

Eating right and exercising your heart, limbs, etc. is important, but equally important is staying mentally sharp. Your brain is like other muscles in older age – use it or lose it! Continue reading

Wellness For The Aging Equestrian- Part Two: Nutrition

Believe it or not, 80% of your success when it comes to getting healthy will depend on your diet.

Diet is a four letter word to many but it doesn’t have to mean restriction.  Unfortunately our society has associated the word with some sort of restrictive meal plan. BUT remember….

A diet is just what you eat.  Plain and simple.  Just think of your horse.  When you discuss his “diet” with your vet or riding buddies you are just describing what he eats!

I honestly cannot stress the importance of this enough.  You cannot feel like you are restricting yourself or you will never succeed in your goal to eat healthy.

Your nutritional needs change as you mature and grow older.  This is especially noticeable after age 50, when you may need higher levels of certain essential nutrients to maintain good health and optimal muscle function, at the same time that your gut may not be absorbing all those nutrients as efficiently as it used to.  

Getting all the nutrition you need is even more important when you’re an active equestrian who has no interest in hanging up their spurs anytime soon.

Riding places a lot of demands on your body, and as you get older and your body starts breaking down here and there, in addition to your exercise program it’s especially important to stay on top of the nutrition you need to support it and keep it strong and healthy.

I don’t like keeping track of how much I’ve eaten. Not only do I hate counting calories, but I know that calories are really only half of the battle, as they’re not all created equal.

400 calories of Doritos do NOT have the same effect on your body as 400 calories of high-quality vegetables and protein.

Fortunately, if you can expand your horizons and remove certain types of food from your diet and replace them with healthier choices, you can stop worrying about counting calories FOREVER.  Although eating healthy is no excuse to OVER eat either.

Many studies have shown that an incredible number of diseases and lifestyle issues can be reversed with these four simple dietary changes:

  • Eat well balanced meals and snacks,
  • Lower your intake of (or better yet eliminate) sugar, white flour products and processed foods,
  • Eat mostly plant based diet,
  • Eat anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory foods.

What does well-balanced mean anyway?

45%–65% of energy from carbohydrate

10%–35% of energy from protein

20%–35% of energy from fat

This isn’t as hard as it sounds, and you don’t need to be a math expert to eat right.  Just…

  • maintain a high intake of colorful fruits and vegetables;
  • choose whole-grain, high-fiber foods;
  • consume (oily) fish at least twice a week;
  • opt for vegetable oil–based spreads rather than butter, which is rich in saturated fat;
  • select lean meats and vegetable-based sources of protein (e.g., soy, quinoa, legumes);
  • Limit sweets and eliminate diet drinks

As an aging equestrian there are a few things you should add to this plan.

Probiotics:  Just like in horses, a healthy gut is the gateway to improved overall well being and good performance.

It not only absorbs the nutrients you need, but also support and boost immunity.

Prebiotics: Part of maintaining a healthy gut flora is feeding those bacteria (the probiotics) to keep them alive.

Prebiotics are the substances that these bacteria eat.  This photo illustrates some easy ways to add prebiotics and feed the probiotics:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: 

Inflammation is such a catch phrase these days but many older folks are dealing with it.  Omega3s  lower inflammation in the body and help regulate muscle growth, plus they are good for your heart!

Eat at least two 4-ounce servings of fatty fish (salmon, herring, sardines) per week and you’re set.  In order to get your Omega-3s I generally recommend food over capsules, but if you don’t eat fish often, this is one place to take a supplement to get what you need.

Antioxidants:

These wonders of nature fight free radical damage that can contribute to poor performance and to chronic disease. Vitamins C and E are great examples of antioxidants.  A few others that helps maintain an active riders’ body are lutein and co-enzyme Q10 (coQ10).  It’s always best to get them through whole plant foods like vegetables and fruits.

Protein:

Not only do you need to keep your muscles active, but you need to feed them enough protein to stimulate growth. Just think of body builders, the first thing they do after a strenuous workout is grab a protein shake!  By eating enough protein, you’ll also make enough collagen, the substance your body uses to maintain joint, muscle, and bone strength.  The building blocks of protein are amino acids. Your body forms collagen from the amino acids (in the protein) you eat.

Make sure there’s dairy, fish, meat, poultry or plant-based protein on your plate every time you eat.

It’s easy to get your protein. I drink it in my shake every morning.

You can pre-pack your lunch and focus on protein.

And add it to your dinner in the form of fish, or chicken.

Here are 8 great muscle building foods to add/include as often as you can.

Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is another important nutrient for aging equestrians. It is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and for optimal muscle function and recovery.

The sun is the main source of vitamin D, so as a equestrian who spends time outside, you’re probably good, but as we age, our skin becomes less effective at synthesizing vitamin D from the sun.

Good food sources include fortified dairy foods and fortified milk substitutes (e.g. almond milk) and fatty fish.

This is a good one to substitute with a supplement but choose supplements that are made from Vitamin D3, the form your body creates when sun hits your skin.

As you can see, there are lots of great ways an aging equestrian can fuel their body and keep it healthy! No need to starve or count calories. Mother Earth provides us with a bounty of wonderful, nutritious foods.  You can even share some with your horse!

 

Remember the main four rules;

  • Eat well balanced meals and snacks,
  • Restrict (or better yet eliminate) sugar, white flour products and processed foods,
  • Eat mostly plant based diet,
  • Eat anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory foods.

By adding good nutrition to your exercise routine you are now two steps into our three step plan for wellness!  Join me next week for my last installment of Wellness for the Aging Equestrian when I discuss Mental Fitness for Aging Equestrians.  Click here to go to the introduction for the series  or here for the Physical Fitness program.

Thanks for joining me in our quest to stay well as we age.

Peace and good rides,

Laura

The Horse Hippie

 

Wellness for the Aging Equestrian Part One: Physical Fitness

Aging may improve the quality of fine wines and cheeses, but it tends to negatively affect physical performance.  As the human body ages, there is a decline in cardiovascular functioning, respiratory ability, musculoskeletal strength and the flexibility of muscles and joints.  The good news is that consistent physical activity can offset some of the detrimental effects of aging.

Before you make any changes, like adding exercise to your life, talk to your doctor. Get a good baseline of your current wellness so you can know your limitations and track your progress.

A complete program for physical fitness should include the three areas of cardio, strength and flexibility.  Continue reading

Wellness For The Aging Equestrian- Intro

As good horse owners we are always extra concerned for the older equine. We make sure they have proper nutrition, the correct exercise program for their physical ability, and plenty of supplements to aide their creaky joints and such.

But what about the older equestrian?

We tend to forget ourselves and put all the focus on our horse’s care.

The only problem with that is if we don’t take care of OUR aging bodies and minds, we won’t be able to take care of our horse.

Maintaining an optimal level of wellness is absolutely crucial to live a higher quality life. Wellness matters. Wellness matters because everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our well-being. In turn, our well-being directly affects our actions and emotions. It’s an ongoing circle. Therefore, it is important for everyone to achieve optimal wellness in order to subdue stress, reduce the risk of illness and ensure positive interactions.

That is where this program can help!  This series will offer ways we, as older equestrians, can take care of us; mind, body and soul.  How we can stay mentally sharp, physically fit and how we can connect on a deeper level with our horse.

 

As a former professional rider and now a lifestyle brand owner, it has always been a priority of mine to stay in shape.  As I aged I realized my mental health was just as important as my physical, so I added mindfulness practices and meditation to my life.  People frequently ask me about my program for good health, “What do you eat?” “How do you meditate.?”  “Will yoga help me too?” So I decided to share my wellness strategies.

Join me in this blog and over the next few weeks I will cover a variety of topics including:

  • exercise options to improve cardio, flexibility, strength and balance,
  • nutrition specifically for aging bodies that target energy and anti-inflammatory,
  • natural supplements designed to address typical aging equestrian issues,
  • ways to improve mental focus and to calm our minds,
  • ways to connect on a soul-level with your horse through healing chakras and connection techniques.

Click here to join our mailing list, so you don’t miss a post!

Before we begin our series, Wellness for the Aging Equestrian and you make any changes, like adding exercise or a supplement, talk to your doctor. Get a good baseline of your current wellness so you can know your limitations and track your progress.

Also, if you decide to make some changes, it’s important to be deliberate in your actions:

  • If you are setting goals – be SUPER SPECIFIC, write them down, and plan them out.
  • If you are making new habits – add them to your calendar, set phone alarms or alerts, and do them EVERY DAY.
  • This is NOT a quick fix, but a LIFESTYLE CHANGE.

Remember, it’s a low, steady progress. So don’t expect overnight results or get discouraged and give up!  I’ll be here to cheer you on if you need it so just shoot me an email.

Let’s start with what I mean by “wellness”.

Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life. Wellness is more than being free from illness, it is a dynamic process of change and growth.  According to the – The World Health Organization, wellness is “…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  The The National Wellness Institute expands that to say wellness is “a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.”

With those definitions in mind, I wanted to create a series that encompassed Complete Wellness. This must include components that address all areas so this series is broken down into:

A) Physical Fitness- cardio, strength, flexibility

Click this link to start your journey to wellness with  Physical Fitness for the Aging Equestrians.

B) Nutrition– well balanced diet and supplements

Click this link to be directed to Nutrition for the Aging Equestrians.

C) Mental– challenge, meditate, connect

Check back in two weeks for Mental Health for the Aging Equestrians.

I hope to see you here each week and please let me know any questions you might have, and share your progress!

Peace and good rides,

Laura

 

 

Re-Post Happy Earth Day!

I posted this 4 years ago! 4 years go!! Wow! Time flies.

Hope you have a wonderful Earth Day. Here’s a few things you can do to celebrate 🙂

https://ecoequine.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/10-ways-to-green-up-your-horse-farm-for-earth-day/

HHHP_2014 Earth Day Cover

How To Make A Horse Hair Bracelet

 

Horse hippie HHB

A horsehair bracelet is a great keepsake for a horse lover, especially when made from your own horse’s tail hairs.  You can make it for yourself or as a gift. I was curious as to how to make one so I downloaded this Instructables PDF to try and make one.

It was super easy and I’m really happy with the results.  Click here to download your FREE instructions.

Hope you have fun!

Peace and good rides,

Laura

The Horse Hippie

 

It Takes a Village and a Tribe

Blog Cover 2018

I have always been one that goes where life leads me.  I have never had a conventional job for very long and I have lived in ten different houses in my adult life.  Many of the changes in my life were due to circumstances I did not create, others were opportunities I seized.

Most of my jobs centered around horses and/or retail; I raised my kids on a working horse farm, and I had a nature centered gift shop in a groovy little town at another point.  Neither of those jobs/careers ended because I wanted them to (there’s that life stuff getting in my way again) but I kept on listening to my heart and chasing those dreams. Continue reading