I have noticed an interesting evolution in my practice. When I was in my 20’s the vast majority of my patients were similar in age, and therefore had questions commonly found in the 25-38 year old crowd. Questions like, “How do I get a six-pack?” used to dominate the discussion.
Now in my 40s, the tones of vanity have given way to cries for survival!
“Why is this happening to my body?”
“Will I ever be able to do that again?”
“Why is it taking me so long to heal?”
And my personal favorite, “Do you have any secrets for living longer?”
Well luckily, I do advice in the area of longevity, but I have to warn you, be careful for what you wish for, because when pressed on the subject, most honest people are able to admit, its not living longer that we most desire, its living more quality years.
So before I dive into the first lesson on how to live a longer happier life, a few Rules We Must All Agree On:
1. Anti Aging is QUACKERY! I will tell you that real scientists agree that they cannot do such a thing, so anyone making those claims is a con artist and a charlatan.
2. Our Goal is more quality years NOT more total years.
3. Longevity is more than just your physical being, it is the health of your mind and spirit.
4. I am not sharing any Rules or hidden secrets, I am sharing lessons learned from the most successful cultures on this planet. Cultures that seem to have fooled the clock, or the science books, about the concept of living a long and happy life. Many of these lessons were taken from studies done in the book “The Blue Zones.”
Without further delay:
Lesson 1: Move Naturally
Considering I just completed a marathon, this first rule may surprise you. The research suggests that longevity isn’t about running marathons and triathlons, and it isn’t about being the weekend warrior. Worse still, it isn’t about the 90 day P90x or Insanity workouts, its about making regular, low-itensity physical activity, part of a daily routine. Cultures that spent their lives gardening, or working as shepherds; doing daily yoga or taking regular nature walks, did the best.
Remember that LIFE is a marathon, so don’t approach it as a sprint. All of the longevity cultures studied incorporated some form of regular, low-intensity activity that satisfies each of the following:
-A large emphasis on core strength at least twice a week,
-Daily balance exercises
-Aerobic exercise 5 times a week.
STRATEGIES TO INCORPORATING LESSON 1:
1. Inconvenience Yourself-Use the stairs not the elevator, get up to change the channel, get rid of the electric can opener/snow blower/garage opener.
2. Have Fun. Keep Moving.-Rather than exercising for exercise sake, make your lifestyle active. Take walk breaks instead of coffee breaks, don’t join a gym if you hate it, do things that keep you active that you enjoy.
3. Walk.- Its easier on the joints, always accessible and invites company.
4. Make a Date.-Getting out and about can be more fun with other people. Knowing someone else is counting on you will motivate you to keep at it.
5. Plant a Garden.-Working a garden requires frequent, low-intensity, full Range of Motion activity, and you have the benefit of fresh vegetables!
6. Enroll in a yoga class.-Just be sure to practice it 2 times a week.