Yoga teacher, health scientist, dad & stage artist
We are aging. Studies point to four things you can do to increase your chances of reaching 100 years old. And new businesses are popping up helping you along the way.
It is no secret that our Western society is marching towards the traditional age of retirement. We boomers who saw our demographic dominate every age bracket will now do so as we become ‘seniors’. As we transitioned through each age we changed and redefined it. We will redefine what being a senior is by our lifestyle choices. We want to remain healthy and active.
One way to find out how to successfully age is to ask centenarians about the “secrets of aging success”. That’s what researchers from UnitedHealthcare did. They found that U.S. seniors who make it to their 100th birthdays credit social connections, exercise, diet, and spiritual activity as keys to successful aging.
I argue that exercise and diet are the two most important factors that form the base of longevity. Research is finding that reducing obesity through exercise and diet can reverse type 2 diabetes. Combine this with findings that people who maintain good flexibility through exercise and can perform a wide range of activities of daily living live longer.
The words exercise and diet can conjure up a host of different reactions. Exercise does not mean you become an Olympic athlete. Studies show that 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise in the aerobic zone is all that is needed. As a quick check, if you are 50 years old, your heartbeat needs to be about 20 beats per 10 seconds. I’ve found that the daily exercise requirements are easily met through yoga practice. Yoga offers an excellent way to develop and maintain strength, flexibility and stamina. Regular yoga practice also can provide spiritual insights, another key longevity ingredient.
Diet is another word that brings up fad crash diet programs. Dieting is really about finding a balance of foods that is right for you. Some people find they want to become vegan. I need my balanced input from the food groups including meat and excluding gluten. It certainly means moving away from processed food and going for ‘home-cooked’ food.
When making a transition and commitment towards a healthier diet and exercise regime, it is helpful to find supporting groups of people. So it is not surprising to see establishments such as Montreal’s NÜX Wellness Centre opening. Their motto is “MOVE.EAT.LEARN” to empower people to live longer, healthier lives. They specialize in organic food, relaxing yoga classes and revitalizing Zumba fitness classes together with educational workshops aimed at guiding their clients to achieve their health and longevity goals. NÜX provides an important social connection for health.
If you are like many aging boomers, pledging to have a healthier new year, then a reasonable program of yoga and healthy eating can lead to success.