The eternal fountain of youth has escaped humans for centuries. This has been curbed by the idea or belief of ‘the afterlife’. Great Kings, Emperor’s and Pharaohs of the world, for centuries, have gone to lavish extents to secure their safety in the after life. Huge tombs with treasures, perceived aids and even an army of terracotta soldiers in the case of a Chinese emperor.
So how can we live for ever? I guess to some degree those gone before us lay the pathways. We are taught to leave a legacy, create memories, and in the case of Pharaoh huge tombs, where people visit in their thousands to see the feat of men. On a more meagre basis we have treasures and heirlooms that get passed down the generations as a memory of our ancestors.
So lets be a bit more realistic – how about just living for longer, but be fit and healthy. Have all our faculties and enjoy life – to the end.
It seems most of us spend 3/4 of our life working, hard in some cases, to maintain a lifestyle that often ends up leaving us sick, or worse, die prematurely.
Heart disease, strokes and cancer often bite young leaving our families grieving for what might have been.
It is apparent to me that education might be the pre-cursor to our longevity. Having knowledge of concepts about life and an understanding of; good food, diet, gardening, community involvement, family, learning, personal activities, collecting, arts and craft, exercising, planning, goal setting, creating a philosophy for life that suits your lifestyle, asking for help, avoiding overuse of substances like alcohol, being kind.
Lets explore two items from the list above a bit deeper.
The health benefits, of exercise, in terms of lower levels of oxidative damage and a reduction of free radicals, both related to shortened life span. Aerobic exercise increases blood flow and resistance exercise strengthens muscles and bones. An overall improvement in the functioning of the heart lowers the blood pressure and increases oxygen use efficiency. Both aerobic and resistance exercise are essential for healthy aging and especially for avoiding hypokinesia, the decline of muscle and bone mass; which is a significant factor contributing to physiological decline. Both types of exercise are related to reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
There are also psychological benefits which include lower stress and better moods. Regular exercise may also reduce anxiety and depression and increase cognitive activity.
Throughout life we learn coping skills, as well as developing new strategies which can enhance the quality of life. Many individuals over 65 have experienced wars, natural disaster, poor economic conditions, lower standards of living, and lack of available treatment as a part of their environment.
These life experiences drive our thoughts and behaviour and lead to deep seated belief’s. Often we are unaware of these. If we open our hearts and embrace change, releasing old belief’s for new we can thrive instead of living same old, same old.
Listen to ourselves – the idea that; ‘I’ve always had a piece of toast with marmalade for breakfast everyday, and it hasn’t done me any harm’ expresses stuck in foods, not able to adapt to the current state of our bodies, and therefore less likely to accept change gracefully.
In conclusion having awareness, exercise, and knowing your life philosophy contributes to longevity of life.
Principles of Longevity and Aging: Interventions to
Enhance Older Adulthood
Ryan Wessell (Corresponding author)
Department of Psychology Sociology, & Counseling, Northwest Missouri State University
2410 Colden Hall 800 University Dr., Maryville, MO 64468, USA