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Body of excellence: Add years to your life and life to your years

By: Chris Hendren, Special to The Gazette
June 13, 2017 Updated: June 13, 2017 at 5:05 pm
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I'm fascinated by aging. Not that I'm afraid of it or looking forward to it, but I appreciate the science behind functional longevity.

I've read a few books and attended some seminars on aging over the years, and I've learned some things about enjoying one's golden years.

Things to avoid include:

- Aging accelerators such as smoking, pollutants, heavy alcohol use, chronic stress, processed meat consumption and high body fat.

- Products that claim to increase life span but provide no proof.

- Assuming your parents' longevity accurately indicates your life expectancy. It doesn't.

Your lifestyle is the key to living a long, healthy life.

The most critical factor is having a positive attitude about aging. Many people 65 and older report that their social lives, community, finances and physical health are better than ever. They have supportive relationships and love in their lives, enjoy where they live and feel safe and proud of their community. Having a positive perception of aging may increase your life span by as much as 71/2 years, some experts say.

Exercise also is important for the quality and quantity of your life. The volume, vigor and variety of your playtime is key, as you need to challenge yourself regularly, physically and mentally. Find a new sport to provide that challenge.

Work also helps with longevity, providing a purpose in life.

Physical labor increases cognitive function, mobility, balance and cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and neuromuscular function. In other words, you think and move more efficiently.

Eat mindfully, slowly and stop when you are full. A hurried meal of processed food doesn't sustain anyone for long, leaving them soon hungry and prone to overeat and gain weight.

Storing excess fat and weight on your body causes a host of problems such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, high triglyceride levels, hormone dysfunction and joint injuries.

If you want to live the longest, best life possible, relax, eat healthfully, use your body and your mind in new ways and control your weight. Take care of yourself. The best may be ahead.

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Contact Chris Hendren at Chris@ChrisHendrenTraining.com

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