Increasing scientific knowledge reveals that an anti-ageing lifestyle keeps our bodies and our minds young much longer than has traditionally been thought. Because of this, more and more people of all ages are seeking a healthy, youthful life and quality old age. Living the "good life" is trending.
A strong, healthy body, is of course, the primary key to enjoying old age and we are starting to understand what real health is.
Real health requires wellness care. And, wellness care depends on health-care/ self-care, not on sick-care.
Self-care is all about treating the whole person and providing a higher quality of life both now and in the future by staying well and nurturing a consistent, pro-active attitude towards personal health.
It places a strong focus on prevention through controlled action (making healthy life-style choices) rather than waiting for disease to strike before making the required lifestyle changes.
In other words, wellness/ self-care searches out and eliminates the cause of disease before it has a chance to happen rather than treating disease symptoms, after the fact, as "sick-care" does. It specifically refers to the steps taken to achieve optimum well-being.
Although modern medicine has achieved much, conventional medicine has, for the most part, focused on sick-care. Your life is full of bad habits. You get sick, go to the doctor and the doctor takes care of the sickness. Any treatment given is to manage the symptoms. It is the conventional surgery and synthetic pharmaceutical drug business.
Alleviating or temporary eliminating symptoms through conventional medicine, is not necessarily a bad thing, but to truly experience the kind of health that leads to vital, productive, extended years, the cause needs to be addressed and changes need to be made now.
Practicing prevention puts us in a position of control, because, when we are in a state of wellness, we are more able to accept what happens and can proceed with controlled action. When we're in a state of illness, we are more likely to react and want to change effects rather than taking the time to address the cause - whatever it was, that led to the effects/outcome.
The reality is, anti-ageing and longevity is not about living long enough to blow out 100 candles on your cake. Nor is it about filling the quota of nursing homes waiting for the invalid, as we continue to pad the pockets of those involved.
Longevity is about enjoying life until our last breath. It's about extending middle age well into the far reaches of old age and increasing the healthy span of ageing. It's about avoiding the worst aspects of old age until the last moment.
Truth is, when we're healthy, we're able to perform functions and participate in what we personally value. Sickness prevents this. If the values of independence and productivity are important to you, and you want to carry those values into your senior years, you must develop a strong sense of personal responsibility for your own health and choose to act responsibly now. Don't wait for the hammer to fall to make your move.
Adopting an anti-ageing lifestyle is the secret weapon that adds years of additional happy, healthy living to our roster. In fact, it's powerful enough to add an extra 25.3 productive years to our lifespan! How's that for a return on your investment?
Good health means all organs and systems of the body are functioning correctly and balanced by good mental and emotional health. Fresh air, challenging exercises that engage your muscles (yes, you must use your muscles!) and plenty of nature's bounty that includes nutritionally dense foods – fruits, veggies, fresh caught fish and grass-fed meats, on your table (minus the chemicals, preservatives and additives) is the key.
Without a doubt, medical science has gifted us with longer, healthier life spans than our ancestors ever saw, and it will continue with its work to cure disease and save lives. However, taking personal responsibility for our health and experiencing a decent old age is something that only we can deliver.
We earn it through healthy living habits. And, that starts now. It is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.
• Carolyn Hansen is co-owner of Anytime Fitness.