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Living Well Vs Living Longer

Living Well Vs Living Longer

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The key to living healthy longer lives depends more on what we do than what we buy!
The key to living healthy longer lives depends more on what we do than what we buy!

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Published by: Dr. Cheryl Bryantbruce, M.D. on Sep 30, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/11/2014

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Living Well vs. Living LongerIt doesn’t matter where you look today, you can find a multitude of products, programs and advice on “anti-aging” or “age management.” There are diets, nutraceuticals, cosmetic potions, aesthetic treatments,medical procedures, programs run by longevity gurus, etc. What reallyare we talking about when we talk about “anti-aging” though? Are we just talking about generally extending our lives or are we talking aboutliving long, high quality, productive lives? If we are talking about thelatter, then I think we need to re-shape the way that we think aboutaging and get focused on the work that goes into producing somethingof quality, whether it is a product or a life.Living well is a term that I prefer over living longer, when we aretalking about a lengthy life of substantial quality. In order to achievesuch a life, I believe a shift in thinking is required. First, we have toredefine aging. Next we have to recognize that we are responsible forhow well our bodies age, according to how well we treat them.Additionally, we must understand that maintaining a youthful existencerequires maintaining a youthful mind, along with a youthful physique.Finally, we have to accept that there is no quick fix for living well. If werecognize these four tenants, making positive choices accordingly,then it is more likely that we can look forward to a longer, morehealthy life, more fulfilling life.In redefining aging, we must recognize that we are dying from the daythat we are born and the physical act of aging is an inevitable. Themore we focus on the actual aging, the more we age. So, rather thandefine ourselves in terms of how old we are, wouldn’t it be better todefine ourselves in terms of how alive we are, especially after we havepassed the age of puberty? Would it not be better to think of ourselvesas ageless? We know that time is relative, so, therefore, is age. Webox ourselves into thinking we have to look a certain way, dress acertain way, behave a certain way at certain ages, thus limitingourselves to our preconceptions of what those numbers will bring forour lives. At 40, women start to see themselves as too old to wear ashort dress or a bikini, even when we have nice bodies still, worryingthat others will think us too old for such behaviors. Did it occur toanyone that Tina Turner still wears the best mini-skirt around and Cherbears her midriff better than most teenagers? At 50 men think they areentitled to have their beer bellies and floppy man boobs, yet my beauhas managed to keep a six pack and in his 70’s, my father still doesn’tneed a bra. My father does however define himself according to hisage, so he has developed “old man” mannerisms that many of his olderfriends have rejected in lieu of maintaining more youthful behaviors.My point is that we should forget our focus on the numbers and get
 
about the task of living life to the fullest, encompassing anything thatwe are capable of and desirous of doing into our definition of who weare at any given point in our existence. You can climb Mt. Everest atwhatever age you choose to do it.In order to maintain our ability to do the things that we want to do atwhatever point in our life we want to do them, we have to takeresponsibility for our actions. That means that if we want to bephysically fit in our later years, we have to respect ourselves along theway. If we are constantly insulting our bodies with things likecigarettes, poor quality, toxin loaded food and drinks, drugs-both legaland prescribed and even over-indulgence in healthy things likeenjoying the sunshine, we can count on the wear and tear resulting ina decreasing quality of life. It’s an inverse relationship; the more junkwe put into our systems, the shorter and poorer quality our livesbecome. The likelihood of looking and feeling more youthful increasesexponentially the purer we keep our systems, nourishing our bodiesrather than poisoning them.In terms of achieving an ageless existence, nourishing our bodies andmaintaining our physiques is an important part of the equation. Goodnutrition and a good fitness regimen that includes strength training,flexibility training and a good cardiovascular workout are essential.Equally or more importantly, we must take good care of our brainsthough. The brain is designed to be constantly challenged. Think of the brain as a muscle. In order to be the most efficient and effective, ithas to be developed and regularly utilized. If it is not constantlyworked, it atrophies or shrinks. Considering that the brain controlsevery single other part of our body, it is not something that we wantshrinking or shutting down on us. Recent studies have shown that thepeople who are living the longest and the most functionally are peoplewho are actively engaging their brains. Maintaining a youthful mindmay be more important than anything else that we do to promoteagelessness. Stimulating our brains by constantly learning new thingsallows us to remain forever young. Age is literally a frame of mind.
allowFullScreen=true allowScriptAccess=always type=application/x-shockwave-flash> </embed>Finally, one of the biggest keys to an ageless existence is accepting thatthere is no quick and easy way to get there. It requires a lifetime of makinggood choices for ourselves. One of these choices is choosing not to be lazy,whether it be lazy with our bodies physical fitness, lazy about making theeffort to go the extra distance to make sure that we are nourishing our bodiesappropriately with good food and drinks, or lazy about nourishing our brainswith challenges that will keep our brains growing until our very last day.Living an ageless existence takes work! Retiring at 65 is a great goal, if thatis the age at which you plan to really begin living, i.e. doing other work that

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