The eternal fountain of youth and the secret to living forever has escaped humans for centuries. This has been curbed by the idea or belief of ‘the afterlife’. Great Kings, Emperors and Pharaohs of the world, for centuries, have gone to lavish extents to secure their safety in the afterlife. 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 forever? I guess to some degree those who have gone before us lay the pathways. We are taught to leave a legacy, create memories, and in the case of the Pharaohs, 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.
At GrowEatheal, we don’t have the secret to living forever. So let’s be a bit more realistic – how about just living for longer, but being fit and healthy and having all our faculties and enjoying 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, dying 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, and creating a philosophy for life that suits your lifestyle, asking for help, avoiding overuse of substances like alcohol, and being kind.
Let’s explore two items from the list above a bit deeper.
The health benefits of exercise are in terms of lower levels of oxidative damage and a reduction of free radicals, both of which are related to a 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 the 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 develop new strategies that can enhance the quality of life. Many individuals over 65 have experienced wars, natural disasters, poor economic conditions, lower standards of living, and a lack of available treatment as a part of their environment.
These life experiences drive our thoughts and behaviour and lead to deep-seated beliefs. Often we are unaware of these. If we open our hearts and embrace change, releasing old beliefs for new we can thrive instead of living the same old, same old.
Listen to ourselves
The idea that; ‘I’ve always had a piece of toast with marmalade for breakfast every day, 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