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How to Age Gracefully

I am commonly heard saying “Aging isn’t for the faint of heart!” But aging is inevitable. Our goal should be to age gracefully and enjoy the benefits of advanced age. Here are a few things you can do to ensure aging is more pleasant and enjoyable.

Anyone (everyone!) will tell you that the greatest goal as we age is to maintain good health. We see folks who reach into their 90s and still enjoy good mobility and sound minds.  Research tells us that these are the people who take steps early to avoid preventable diseases; avoid smoking; carefully monitor the use of alcohol; be vigilante in preventing accidental injuries.

Nutrition and Longevity

As mom always said, “eat your veggies” and use sugar minimally. Take a good multiple vitamin and mineral supplement regularly. Use enzymes and probiotics as you age since your body will produce less of them. Use supplemental hormone-supporting supplements as the hormones are the internal messengers of the body, and take supplements to forestall genetic weaknesses.

Longevity Herbs

Many herbs also promote longevity.  An example is sage. An ancient proverb states “How shall a man die who has sage in his garden?” And Winston Churchill said, “We are happier … when we are old than when we are young. The young sow wild oats, the old grow sage.”

Exercise both your body and your mind.  Physically, do what you can – simple walking regularly supports the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system, and the bowel, and keeps the muscles and

balance toned. Remember the adage “use it or lose it?” This is particularly true of the brain.  Instead of settling for TV or movies, find something to challenge and tone the mind every day – a hobby, reading, working puzzles, playing games, and so on.  I had a 93-year-old friend who was mentally “sharp as a tack” – his secret: for years he had worked a cryptogram every day! Find something you enjoy and practice it every day.

The Human Elements

And such an article as this would be incomplete without mentioning the importance of comradery, fellowship, friendship, and companionship.  I once read an article about a village in Japan where people routinely live to be over 100 years old.  They believed (as I do) that the secret to their longevity was grouping daily with people who knew them intimately, people they had known all their lives, people who shared their joys and sorrows, people who knew their secrets and loved them unquestioningly, people who could laugh with them and cry with them.  We need people in our lives – family, friends, business or church partners, etc. – with whom to share all of our lives.  If we don’t have these now, we can work to develop them.

Finally, the Reader’s Digest had it right – laughter is truly the best medicine. Don’t take the struggles of life too seriously.  To live long and to age gracefully take care of your body and your mind, walk with true friends, love well and laugh often. May the Lord bless and keep you!

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

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