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Healthy Aging: Why What You Do Today Matters Tomorrow
We have the power to age well. It just takes a little insight, effort, and of course, the right mindset.
So the first step is identifying where we want to be at “X” age. Since I plan to live to be 120, and I plan to do it well, I have a routine in place to help me maintain my strength and mobility, and hopefully to even improve these areas as I age.
Staying active in youth has been linked to staying physically active later in life. For example, the Fit in 50 Years study found that men who had played sports in high school had better physical activity at age 70 and also visited the doctor less across their entire lifespan.
If you feel like high school was a long time ago and that it’s too late for you to get active now, think again. The personality trait of “openness to experience” was a major predictor of good physical activity at age 75 because of a willingness to participate in athletics and try new things. That means, no matter what age you are now, keeping an open and adventurous mind and trying new types of movement in your routine can help you stay active and healthy as you get older.
And not only does regular exercise help us stay active in our later years, but it's also been shown to help defy the aging process. People who have exercised all their lives are more likely to have the immunity, muscle mass, and cholesterol profile of a younger person.
Preparing for the “Centenarian Olympics”
Last week I sat down with Dr. Peter Attia to talk about longevity, and as he likes to put it, training for the Centenarian Olympics. Peter explains how, when we reverse engineer our lives by choosing detailed goals for activities and awareness as we age, we are better able to reach them.
Throughout our talk, Dr. Attia shared his own story of overcoming prediabetes and obesity (despite already living a very active lifestyle) and why he needed to take an integrative approach with diet, stress management, and more, in order to finally dial in his health.
Yoga practice can be an integral part of our “Olympic” training. Yoga, especially when practiced mindfully, is a healthy habit that feeds the body and mind simultaneously. Research shows that yoga practice can reverse age-related degeneration affecting the heart, brain, and nervous system, restoring them to “normal or near-normal levels of function.”
The choices we make for our health today will define our ability to stay active, sharp, present, and independent tomorrow.
Here's another essential healthy aging article from Dr. Hyman - Bacteria and Your Brain: Step Up Your Oral Hygiene.
This article is reprinted with permission from Mark Hyman, MD.
Dr. Mark Hyman is leading a health revolution—one revolved around using food as medicine to support longevity, energy, mental clarity, happiness, and so much more. Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in the field of Functional Medicine. He is the founder and director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, a twelve-time New York Times bestselling author, and Board President for Clinical Affairs for The Institute for Functional Medicine. He is the host of one of the leading health podcasts, The Doctor’s Farmacy. Dr. Hyman is a regular medical contributor on several television shows and networks, including CBS This Morning, Today, Good Morning America, The View, and CNN. He is also an advisor and guest co-host on The Dr. Oz Show. We’ve spent billions of dollars on hundreds of Alzheimer’s studies with nothing to show for it. That’s because we were headed in the wrong direction.