It Is Possible To Age Well

It is Possible to Age Well

It is possible to age well. Your later decades can be full of vigorous flyfishing and free of suffering. We have a lot of power and influence on how we age but there are some aging processes where we have no say. Fortunately, these are mild (gray hair and wrinkles) not life-sustaining mechanisms.

Everyone knows it is possible to age well. The average man (or woman) on the street will tell you; eat a healthy diet, avoid fast food, don’t smoke, exercise, develop a good sleep habit and stay connected, care about something, cultivate emotional health. We all know this.

Then why are U.S. obesity rates so high? Why are depression rates higher than ever? Why does the U.S. see such a high rate of overdose and suicide? How can we age well when we are not living well?

That’s the point. It’s possible to age well. It is not a given, or a birthright that we will age well. We have to make effort, do something different to get different results. Unfortunately, the current trend is to follow mass culture. We passively take aging as described, as an expected and accepted demise into our later years. As the story goes, “decline? That’s a normal part of getting older.” And it is just a story, fiction.

If everybody knows that it is possible to age well and yet everybody accepts the current deplorable landscape of aging as “normal,” could everybody be wrong?    YES!   

You can follow mass culture or lead and blaze your own new (better) trail.

The average follower on the street might ask:

Q- But I inherited bad genes. My parents didn’t live into their 70s. I am doomed to aging as my parents did—crumbling in their 60s and 70s. Am I not programmed from birth?

A-That is a profound misunderstanding and an even worse excuse. Most premature deaths are lifestyle related. That includes falls and fractures, heart attacks, strokes, common cancers, diabetes and many more illnesses…………….

Genes are maybe 20%. The other 80% is up to you. We now know that we can influence the daily expression of genes. Your DNA is “listening” for coded messages from you that turn on pathways of growth. Begin to send messages of growth now (through exercise) and age radically different from your parents and grandparents or anyone else for that matter. Right now is an incredible time to be alive. 

Q-I’m going to get old and die. A deteriorating quality of life doesn’t matter. What’s the use of trying to beat the odds of that?

A-That’s a scary thought and no way to plan for getting older. The medical industry has done exceedingly well at prolonging our lifespan (age) but not the quality of life (healthspan). Today it’s your choice to get decrepit but you will not likely die. You will probably live, a long time. Most Americans today will live into their 80s (maybe beyond) whether they are shuffling, pushing a walker or riding. And the 80 number continues to climb.

Q- I’m already receiving treatment for a chronic illness. What can I do about that?

A- People with chronic illnesses do better with exercise. Cancer patients recover better with exercise and people with depression do better with exercise.

Exercise is the secret key to aging—the fountain of youth. I call it a secret not because it’s unknown but because few have applied it to the extent of its possibilities. In fact, we don’t know the upper limits of what exercise can do.

I hope you are beginning to see the act of exercise is not all of what is holding people back. Aging well starts long before the physical part of exercise.

  • *To age well, you must first plan for the later decades of your life. What do you want your later decades—70s, 80s, 90s, to look like? Give this some serious attention. It’s a shame but most people will not subordinate anything (not even one hour) in the present to ensure a better future. But if you do muster the strength and commitment to plan and act, you can continue to be yourself, how and who you are right now for the rest of your life.
  • *Belief. Do you believe that exercise is the fountain of youth? Do you believe that you can change your life and age radically better than anyone before you?
  • *Once you believe, can you commit? Can you get out of bed in the morning and without a second thought (or analyzing how you feel) just show up and exercise? The secret here is structure is stronger than motivation. Set aside “me time” and guard it as if your life depends on it because it does. Then just follow the allotted calendar entries like going to work each day. It is scheduled and you go, no motivation, no questions.
  • *Now it’s time to exercise—six days a week for the rest of your life. The real benefits come from months and years of continuous effort. You’ll condition your body to regularly produce the slow and deep currents of the chemical human-growth pathway. You will grow daily and it’s also possible to exercise yourself into a functionally younger age. You may be 60 but you’ll have the muscle, joints and heart of a 50-year-old. It is possible to age well!

You must go through some discomfort—it will be uncomfortable to change. But you cannot slow aging, hold the progression of chronic disease, and live like an “athlete of aging” without a little discomfort. Do you need to be comfortable all the time?

You will develop in ways you didn’t know you could. With continuous effort, your brain changes too. You’ll be more optimistic, more in touch with reality and humility. You’ll become a better person. Your relationships will improve. You will feel good all the time. And when you feel good your behavior will be noble.

Your own experience is all that counts and words fall short of describing what is possible. Feeling the results of your efforts is a much better descriptor.

Download a Quick Guide to Strength, Stamina and Sturdiness.  Use this contact form to ask about joining a Virtual Fitness Program for Fly Fishers and Outdoor Types……

Note: The information herein is meant to be general guidance on fitness. It is not a substitute for consultations with a healthcare professional. Always consult a physician before making changes.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categorized in: