Basics for Longevity

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My mind has been sputtering lately. Too many things to remember as my feet cross the finish line of another year gone past and 365 more days of life experiences under my belt, all starting to crowd out my brain.

I’m finding birthdays are becoming not so welcomed. I am being pushed into the mindset that the young and sans-wrinkle crowd deserves the baton in the run we call life, with society’s constant grasping to pass mine on.

Backed up by numerous ads and television shows that depict crowds of models and actors with peach fuzz still adhered to their faces, I am bombarded with subliminal messages detailing my well-earned wrinkles are not so well-liked and my gentler pace in life a nod towards becoming decrepit.

But hold on. With several dear friends well into their 70s and 80s, I’m reminded of all the wonderful ladies and gentleman who have lapped the years many more times than I have with their never-ending curiosity of every sunrise and the wholesome satisfaction of every sunset despite their wrinkles.

It starts with a healthy body that can tote all those years and more so life can be thoroughly enjoyed.

What then is the recipe for a long and fruitful life? It’s a question so many of us long to have in one simple answer but there are just too many variables to keep it simple. But I do know, living longer for most of us takes a little work and effort. Yes, there are those born with “the genetics” or are so full of piss & vinegar that death easily takes a long pass. But for the rest of us great health, energy and happiness begin with the natural hygiene of good nutrition, exercise and a good attitude.

I know exercise is not an easy thing for many people. But exercising for health is not necessarily the kind that exhausts every cell and leaves the body weary and hurting. Simply going for walks, pedaling down the street on a bike or other low-impact exercises at least three times a week (better yet, everyday) provide the body with enough movement to keep it humming.

Fact is, the biggest culprit is being sedentary – sitting for long hours whether at work or watching television. Long time sitting doesn’t cut it. Get up and move. The blood begins to circulate, the muscles push and pull, the heart and lungs start to pick up the pace. Cholesterol lowers, so does blood sugar.

Get up and go to a yoga class or a zumba class or tai chi class. Play tennis, go hiking. If you’re like the car that’s been sitting in a garage for years, gears rusted and engine clogged, take it slowly. Let your pipes unclog gently, but get your body out of park and start moving if you want to make the finish line for many years.

Eat right. Chances are you don’t sport those “genetics” and the chili-cheese steak will go straight to your heart, arteries, and every other organ creating a suffocating internal fat layer that is not so good and for the most part hidden from your mirror.

Cook with lean organic meats and keep the portions small. Eat organic vegetables as close to raw as possible, steaming a wonderful way to prepare these goodies.

We all know when we are eating badly. Change that habit. Or else your body will constantly need maintenance. And if you ask me, I don’t think science is moving that fast to provide replacement for any and all body parts though I know its coming. Quite frankly, I’d prefer to keep my own, thank you.

Don’t worry, be happy is the best advice ever on this planet, yet even harder to accomplish than eating right. Attitude is a big factor in gathering more years and those people who get a handle on stress have the better chance at longevity than the rest of us worry-warts.

Alleviating stress rests in the perception held in the mind. There are many ways to change perception of a situation, find yours. If it’s meditation, go do it. If it’s breathing the fresh air on a sunny day strolling down the beach, then do it.

Laugh at least once a day, the best stress buster and mental attitude booster you can ever do. Ok, second best. I can go on and list lots of vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, phytonutrients that help the body maintain its health and longevity. But the basic bottom line rests in three simple things that are in your control: exercise, good nutrition and happiness. They will keep you walking and gathering and passing consecutive finish lines for many healthy years to come.

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