Healthy Aging

We all hope to age healthy, but what does this truly mean?

It means to try and enhance the quality of one’s life and therefore potentially the quantity of one’s life.  So how do we go about this path in life?  For starters, one should try and “eat right” and exercise every day. Sounds simple, right?

Well, as we all know, it’s not quite that simple.  You have to get into the habit of making exercise, like, eating right, a part of your daily routine.  And that doesn’t always “fit into your schedule,” or is something that you “enjoy doing” or is “fun.”

But the fact is that as we age, our body undergoes some changes, which makes healthy lifestyle choices even more important. Our metabolic rate slows down, so we tend to gain weight easier. We lose muscle mass, which can lead to a loss of bone density and more aches and pains.  These things can be altered if we engage in an exercise program.  We also know that there are many other long-term health benefits of exercise, such as reducing risk factors of heart disease and other illnesses.

Healthy aging is a process; it is a way of living that starts with a change of one’s inner self to make life choices.

For example, while I know this is a bit extreme, I once met a man at about 4:30 a.m.  I was asking for advice on where to park my car before a road race (a local running race). This 84-year-old man, who looked about 70, told me this was his sixth marathon and he loved to run races in several countries as he traveled on business trips.

This man was for me truly an inspiration. He epitomized what I teach and live: that age is merely a number. His chronological age should not be a barrier to his achievements in life, it was merely  a number, as he took his journey through life. Exercise for him was a part of his fiber; I will never forget that morning.

Imagine you see someone walking in front of you who is living life with vigor across the lifespan, and does not see age as his/her barrier.  Is that healthy aging? Let me know what you think.