Collier and Lee Counties Edition
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Local Health Practitioners Model Graceful Aging Behaviors

Longevity has been proclaimed by the United Nations as the most significant social transformations of the 21st century. With 108,729,506 adults now over the age of 50, according to a 2014 U.S. Census, and a wealth of information available on how to live and thrive as a wise elder, unlimited possibilities exist for the individuals that are aging to leave behind a legacy of graceful aging behavior for younger generations to emulate.

Natural Awakenings asked seven local health practitioners to shed light on their personal legacy of graceful aging.

Making Peace With What Is

Deb Post, owner of Wellbridges Health Center, in Bonita Springs, is open and curious about anything that concerns nature and the human body, but pays little heed to keeping up with social media. “Nature is so Deborah Postwonderful. I love surrounding myself with plants and animals. At age 40 and again at age 60, I backpacked in the wild with a group of people who were attempting to connect with what was important in their lives. It was my way of reflecting on my life and contemplating how I feel about death. Both times, the depth of those experiences and the sharing profoundly impacted me. My curiosity and willingness to look at things deeply is important to me because aging requires that we make peace with what is,” explains the advanced registered nurse practitioner.

Releasing Stress

To help insure his longevity, Dr. Jake Berman, owner of Berman Physical Therapy, in Naples, maintains his health by minimizing the number of times that he eats at restaurants, Dr. Jake Bermanbecause he avoids GMOs and processed foods. His fitness regimen includes lifting weights and cardiovascular exercise five times per week. To supplement his diet, he takes vitamin C, fish oil, glutamine and green tea extract, and tries to drink a gallon of water every day. To restore his body, he sleeps a minimum of seven hours. “I balance my work and family time. But most importantly, I don't allow stress to stay in my life,” says Berman.

A Ketogenic Diet

Dr. Christine Hoch, owner of Fort Myers Chiropractic Studio, follows a modified ketogenic (high-protein/low-carb) diet, not only to keep her body Dr. Christine Hochburning fat for fuel rather than sugar, but to also to stabilize her mood and energy. “This means that I eliminate sugar and starches from my diet. I daily consume five servings of vegetables, two or three servings of protein and 1one or two servings of fruit. I also supplement my diet with a good multivitamin and several other key nutrients,” she says. “I move my body daily by walking, bike riding, swimming or working out in the gym. I work hard in my practice, but I also play hard by having fun and doing what I love, playing tennis, traveling and attending music concerts. I make sure I get six to eight hours of restful sleep each night.”

Reducing Inflammation

The owner of Root Causes Holistic Health Medicine and Integrative Skincare, in Fort Myers, Doreen DeStefano keeps stress to a minimum by Doreen DeStefanoworking out, practicing yoga and getting enough sleep. “Stress is a huge aging factor, which creates inflammation, increases blood pressure, wrinkles the skin, turns hair gray and reduces blood flow. I counteract that with regular nutrient, vitamin and glutathione IV therapy and injections. I get a monthly facial, do peptide injections a few times a year and get into the hyperbaric oxygen chamber as often as possible, because it reduces inflammation and increases blood flow and oxygenation in the brain,” advises DeStefano.  

“Diet is the cornerstone of my graceful aging regimen. I eat a mostly plant-based diet, with some occasional wild fish and free-range beef and chicken. I also take supplements, and detox seasonally,” says the licensed esthetician and licensed registered nurse.

For fun, DeStefano likes to be outdoors and get her hands and feet dirty in her garden. “In nature it’s easy to remember that as long as everyone in my family is healthy, the rest is details,” she notes.

Maintaining Physical and Mental Capacity

Jay WeitznerJay Weitzner, a certified medical exercise specialist and owner of Symmetry, in Naples, is aging gracefully by maintaining his physical and mental capacity to the greatest degree possible for as long as possible. “My plan is simple. I weight train and perform cardiovascular exercises five to seven days a week. I read and study weekly,” remarks Weitzner.

Of utmost importance in his daily routine is the time that he spends with his son. “For graceful maturation, I put myself in uncomfortable situations that allow for personal growth. I also study science instead of gossip and I eat healthy every day,” he says.

Loving What You Do

Christina Carlin, a licensed massage therapist and ayurvedic practitioner, is the owner of Ayurveda, Massage & Yoga Institute, in Naples. She has been following a consistent daily Christina Carlinroutine of meditation, yoga, breath exercises, neti cleansing, dry brushing to keep lymph moving and ayurvedic daily oil massage (abhyanga) since she was a teenager. “Coconut oil in the summer helps to cool the body, while the heavier sesame oil in the winter warms the body,” explains Carlin.

Carlin feels that the time she spends in her home environment is a mini-vacation. “I am content and happy, which I feel is very important to graceful living. Most importantly, I deal with any stress right away and don’t procrastinate. I maintain a positive environment with friends and like-minded people that enrich my simple, but very happy life.”

Carlin takes time annually for seven days of panchakarma, comprising ayurveda’s five therapeutic treatments that are done in conjunction with a special detoxification diet. Treatments eliminate toxins from the body.

Gratitude and Laughter

Terri EvansTerri Evans, a licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Oriental medicine, is the owner of TAE Healthy Aging Center, in Naples. She considers gratitude and appreciation as essential states of mind and heart, which are important to her graceful aging. “I incorporate as much gratitude and appreciation as I can muster every day. Even in the worst circumstances, I dig deep to reach an attitude of gratitude. I love the vibration of gratitude that ripples deep into my core and then ripples out as the vibration of love, the highest and only energetic vibration that leads to healing and freedom. Gratitude can get me back to love.”

Laughter, of course, is the icing on Evans’ cake. “I seek to achieve at least one belly laugh daily and strive to also help others achieve the same,” she says.

Anti-aging comments by individuals in the business of creating health and wellness are a reminder that energy is better spent on working for something than against it.

Local Resources

Ayurveda, Massage & Yoga Institute, 501 Goodlette Rd. N., Ste. A107, Naples. 239-450-6903.

Berman Physical Therapy, 501 Goodlette Rd., Ste. 104, Naples. 239-564-0069.

Fort Myers Chiropractic Studio, 8971 Daniels Center Dr., Ste. 304, Ft. Myers. 239-243-8735,

Root Causes Holistic Health Medicine and Integrative Skincare, 12734 Kenwood Ln., Ste. 84, Ft. Myers. 239-425-2900.

Symmetry, 1750 J&C Blvd., Ste. 10, Naples. 239-940-2121.

TAE Healthy Aging Center, 11983 Tamiami Tr. N., Ste. 100A, Naples. 239-430-6800.

Wellbridges Health Center, 9200 Bonita Beach Rd., Ste. 213, Bonita Springs. 239-231-8354.

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