AGING CAN BE SLOWED DOWN
- Stay away from doctors as much as possible. Many of us prefer to work with nutritionists and holistic healers. We also question and challenge anything a doctor prescribes and we do plenty of our own research.
- Eschew prescriptions as much as possible. Most of us take few or no pills at all. By focusing on healthy choices we limit our need for intervention.
- Be patient with our bodies. On one hand, we are happy to push past perceived limitations. On the other we respect how the body is changing with age, and make appropriate shifts. For example, we stretch more. Many of us do yoga. We don’t beat our bodies up, but rather check to see what’s what, and work with what we have. What this does is help prevent unnecessary injuries, while at the same time moving us past our boundaries.
- Eat carefully. The majority of our diets are designed with our unique bodies in mind. We recognize that as we age, our caloric needs drop unless we’re in training for an event. A FitBit isn’t an excuse to gorm a pizza. We’re far more aware of what works and what doesn’t. On the other hand, we also allow the periodic treat, which keeps the cravings in balance. For example I have a “stash cabinet” where I keep chocolates and other goodies. For the most part I hardly know it’s there. But when I have a craving for a chunk of dark chocolate or a big handful of smoked almonds, they are within reach. Knowing that I can have the occasional treat keeps me from downing an entire dozen Krispy Kremes, which is what we do sometimes when we discipline ourselves too much. We get resentful, and end up buying half the candy aisle.
- Find something physical that we absolutely love to do. For example, I recently met Sean Ongers, who is the head of Learning and Development for a very large corporation that one of my clients services. Sean is in his early forties, but competes in cricket with a vengeance. At an age when far too many people have already given up the discipline of regular exercise and opt for a pizza run rather than a run up the mountain and back, Sean’s involvement in his sport as a senior athlete (in your early forties, which tickles me no end) keeps him in top shape. He exudes energy and enthusiasm, which for so many knocking on the door of so-called “middle age” are already in the past. Whatever we do consistently is what we will look like. About 85% of our appearance is what we eat, and the rest is how much we’re willing to work on our bodies to make the most of the potential fitness it can give us, with all the attendant benefits. Sean’s habits, deeply ingrained as are George’s and mine, will set up him up to age extremely well.
- Never stop experimenting. Changing things up. Exploring. Finding new ways to engage our brains, bodies and emotional development. Rather than get into ruts, which become routines, which become habits, which invite boredom, we are constantly looking for inspiration, ideas and ways to explore. Every year I take on a new sport. Set a big goal. Have something ahead of me that interests me deeply. These things keep me very enthusiastic about what’s next, what’s possible, and what I can still accomplish at any age. Similarly, George simply exudes energy and positive enthusiasm. He feels good, looks good, and those gifts keep him in the game. He still feels he can accomplish just about anything, and he’s right. He can. Being in superb shape sets us up for success at all ages.
- Take the time to rest and recuperate. Long past our youthful excesses (at least most of them anyway), we now understand the critical need to relax, renew, and rejuvenate. That way we can hit the trails, the steps, the water, the ski slopes with all the energy of people a third our age.