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6 Warning Signs You’re going to End up a Crippled Person at Old Age and How to Prevent It

6 Warning Signs You’re going to End up a Crippled Person at Old Age and How to Prevent It

Admit it. Exercising is a drag. You’ve always hated the feeling of getting ready and preparing your mind and body for something you call a “chore” more than anything else. You would rather dedicate your precious time counting the strands of hair on your scalp.

So you go in, you do what you think is “right” which is exercise, but still your mind wanders, your thoughts are floating around looking for a valid reason as to why you should continue to exercise. And nothing. The motivation starts fading away faster than that last bit of sitting water in a scorching desert. The only thing you’ve gained lately is depression with trying to get over the hump.

You go into a downward spiral and start making bad diet choices, have low energy, and put yourself in a worse situation than where you started from. Think you need a personal trainer beside you to smack you with motivational lines?

Don’t bother. Once you understand how your health is at stake if you don’t exercise regularly, you’ll easily do an about-face and appreciate every ounce of sweat you pour out. This could be all the motivation you need to get up, get moving, and finally working out to reverse these warning signs.

1. You’re Getting Stupider Everyday

The mind is a terrible thing to waste. And yet do you go above and beyond to protect it? You might find yourself feeling that you’re not sharp enough, not thinking critically, or in a problem solving manner. Or maybe you find it difficult to learn and memorize at times.

Thinking critical, problem solving and memorizing are all areas that can be compromised from a functional standpoint of your brain. And proper nutrition and sleeping aren’t a sure bet to help you protect your brain. But can exercise help prevent all problems that can possibly be damaging?

Well, according to The Society for Neuroscience in Brazil, researchers ran a study on how the levels of brain activity respond to exercising and weight training.

Results showed that subjects that were on a training regimen performed better on tests of learning and memory, as opposed to subjects that were sedentary.

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Simply put, the higher the workload and the more rigorous the training program the subjects had to manage, the more brain plasticity was produced within their brains. This increase of plasticity is caused by neurotropic factors, these factors promote the initial growth and development of neurons in your central nervous system and peripheral systemThese same factors and neurons keep the nervous system sharp and on point in transmitting the messages to and from the brain.

The nervous system is extremely crucial – it is a network that relays messages back and forth from different parts of the body. Without these proper functions, the onset of brain fatigue, a decline in processing information, and comprehension could arise. The human brain is extremely complex, but also extremely vulnerable. Exercise can help you revitalize and keep these parts sharp.

Factoring the benefit that exercise has on the brain is outstanding and should help keep your brain where it needs to be: both processing and functioning more effectively than your own home computer. But, more importantly, a healthy and strong brain can help ward off depression, boost your happiness and make a workout session that much more enjoyable.

2. You Are Aging Faster Than You Thought

Do you long to return to your youthful days? Or better yet, just to arrest the effects of aging? Well stress can damage your body and is also be known as “the silent killer”.

With that, below are a few consequences of stress:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Constricted Blood Vessels
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • And cell damage, which has been linked to Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer

The amount of stress you absorb can dictate how you age. One of the best remedies against aging is, yes you guessed it, exercise.

We now know that a quick 30-45 minute session of exercise can increase levels of your feel-good hormones like, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The hormones that are notorious for helping you deal with stress.

But here’s the kicker: not only has research helped us confirm that exercise helps block stress, but research from Princeton University found that physical activity reorganizes the brain and helped reduce its response to stress.

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In addition, anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function. Physical activity in particular produces a large increase in the number of new neurons in the hippocampus. This region in the brain has been shown to regulate anxiety.

You deserve to be feeling your best, even exercising at least 30 minutes can ignite the “feel-good” hormones your body needs to help ward off stress and keep those ageless years in front of you. Your body will thank you.

3. You’re Sure that You’re Going to End Up Living in an Alzheimer’s Unit

Here’s something you should know: The Hippocampus is an important component of the brain in humans. It plays critical roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation.

Unfortunately, without stimulating this area with exercise, it is one of the first regions susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects millions of people each year but it is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age.

A fascinating piece of research from Dutch researchers found that inactive people who were in fact genetically prone to Alzheimer’s were four times more likely to develop the disease than those who carried the trait but worked out regularly.

This proves that exercise helps stimulates even the most vital of places with a great payoff for your future in overall brain function and health. Remember that a disease that affects a vast majority of the population is not a disease to take lightly, just like an exposed grape from its vine, the brain can also deteriorate.

4. You’re Afraid That You’ll Get Cancer

It is extremely difficult to experience or even fathom the thought of cancer. While it can be frightening to know of the consequences that arise from cancer, exercise can help in preventive care.

To start, regular exercise can prevent obesity, which is linked to many types of cancer. Obesity has an effect on:

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  • Estrogen – producing too much of estrogen contributes to many forms of cancer, such as breast cancer
  • Insulin – excessive insulin can possibly lead to the overproduction of cells, which can result into cancer.

If that’s not enough, another benefit of being physically active is that it can help boost your body’s immune system and how it responds in reducing inflammation, which in turn helps your own body fight the development of cancer.

But how much time should you dedicate to working out?  Well according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, a recommended of at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day, and 60 minutes of daily activity is even more beneficial.

Anything that gets your heart beating more quickly and makes you breathe more deeply can count as moderate exercise and help you create a great defense against cancer.

5. You Don’t Know How to Strengthen Your Heart

Now do you know what the top leading cause of death in the United States is? Heart disease. There’s no other disease in the United States that kills more Americans than Heart Disease. But there is relieving news revolved around the benefits for cardiovascular health and heart disease prevention.

A captivating study by Scott R. Collier, Ph.D., of Appalachian State University, the research measured blood vessels and how it widened in response to an increased blood flow from exercising and how it can lead to a longer-lasting drop in high blood pressure after exercise, a contributor to heart disease.

The results support previous studies reporting which stated that exercise has an effect on arterial stiffness, high blood pressure and limb blood flow. With the rate of deaths correlating with heart disease, this is not a matter to take lightly. A heart attack sometimes doesn’t give second chances and one can put you six-feet deep.

Now ask yourself, why take the risk? Why not tackle this epidemic now? Exercise is your savior for this deadly disease, now get up and zap it away with 10 reps!

6. You’re Not Aware of How To Prevent the Constant Pain of Athritis

More than 21 million Americans suffer from arthritis, a disease that practically immobilizes individuals.

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Many traits or risk factors are associated with arthritis, below are the most common:

  • Obesity: Being overweight puts extra stress on your joints, which then increases wear and tear, and increases the risk of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis.
  • Age: As we get older, the risk of developing arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, will increase.
  • Gender: In general, arthritis occurs more frequently in women than in men.
  • Other factors: Some jobs that require heavy lifting without proper technique or form can stress the joints and/or cause an injury, which can lead to arthritis.

But, it still can affect practically anyone at any time. The onset of pain is one that can lingers and affects you permanently. And if addressed to late, would need to be addressed by surgery or waived with other drastic alternatives.

However, great news from Tufts University on arthritis: There was a program was conducted with exercise on patients with moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis. After the sixteen-week program, the patients confirmed a 43% decrease in pain, an increase in muscle strength and general physical performance.

This is because, exercise will supplement muscle strength and help by protecting joints from the surrounding muscle that are worked on in that area. For example, squats and deadlifts focus greatly on your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. The muscles that surround the knee joint then help protect the joint (medial and lateral meniscus, anterior and posterior ligaments, along with others).

Your biggest fight against joint pain is exercise. This might not have enough value to you unless its too late and those areas are affected and it becomes a greater issue later on. Help by exercising now, you’ll protect and help lubricate your joints, your body will thank you later.

So start exercising now because you only have one life to live. Now go out there and make it count.

Featured photo credit: CC0 Public Domain via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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