Saturday, April 21, 2012

On Aging

86 year old gymnast Johanna and 94 year old quick-stepper Mathilda, featured in the videos below, are still rockin' into old age with robust health and vigor. They appear to be the exception while the norm, what we have come to accept, is infirmity, debility, and senility.

While we all age, and ultimately die, how we live (to the extent of things we can control), most often, determines how we die. 

It is not as if at age 65 one becomes old and everything falls apart. The reality is that decisions we made in our youth and all along the way, relative to health, either bolstered or undermined our body's genetic potential for optimal health. Sadly, most are making bad decisions and paying for it with serious health issues as they age.

Among many false notions we have about modern medicine is the idea that we are living longer. In terms of absolute life span, nothing has changed. What has changed is the average life expectancy. One thing modern medicine has excelled at is keeping more sick people alive longer; in many cases, longer than they wish. 

Today's average modern adult spends more than 10 percent of his or her life sick,” spending the last 12 years of life dysfunctionally, with a poor and progressively deteriorating quality of life, waiting to die. Said another way, we are not living longer; we are taking longer to die.

Half of those ages sixty-five and over have two or more chronic diseases, and a quarter have problems so severe as to limit their ability to perform one or more activities of daily living. Meanwhile, throughout the industrialized world, (more) people are living longer, but they are getting sick sooner. So the number of years they spend chronically ill is actually increasing in both directions.” In other words, while industrialized nations have been successful in decreasing infant mortality, our children are so unhealthy that the onset of disease is much earlier and they will live a larger part of their lives sick. They also have a decreased life expectancy.

It is by no coincidence that all of this translates into expanding profits for both the medical-pharmaceutical-insurance industrial complex and the big Agra and chemical food industries.

Health and vigor into old age are not only possible; they are nature's set-point. We are genetically programmed for health throughout our lives. Johanna and Mathilda should represent the norm.  

The decisions we make throughout our lives, as influenced by our lifetime exposures and experiences (70%), and to a lesser extent genes (30%), will determine how we live into our old age, and how we die.

"Of all the self-fulfilling prophecies in our culture, the assumption that aging means decline and poor health is probably the deadliest.” 


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Anonymous said...

Andi wrote: "amazing i wish i could do that now !, i can only do push up's lol"