I recently finished the Healthy Aging course as part of the Holistic Nutrition Diploma I am in the process of. The assigned text by John Robbins was entitled “Healthy at 100: How you can – at any age – dramatically increase your life span and your health span.”
The author wrote about people and cultures from around the world (similar to the Blue Zones) and talked about the exceptional health of the people of the various regions. One example was the people of the Abkhasia mountain region in Soviet Georgia. They had high levels of fitness due to the everyday tasks of manual labour, they swam daily in cold streams, they didn’t retire, they didn’t feel the pressure of deadlines, and the higher they climbed in age, the more elevated their status became within the community. It was interesting to read about this model of living and aging, and really reflect on how opposite our thinking is in North America.
We seem to live in fear of aging or have a negative view on getting older. I attending a Conference last week around the topic of “Caring for Older Adults” and one of the fellow participants, who was a nurse, shared her thinking around aging – “either your brain fails and you get dementia or your body fails and you have a horrible physical decline.” I was struck by the sadness of her comment and thought about why we started Active Health Solutions. We believe fundamentally that aging does NOT have to look like either of these two options.
It is often easy to get in the mindset that health is just about our physical condition – our body, our weight, our diet, our injuries, our age, or our aches and pains. But really health is about so much more. And all of the examples in the text were a great reminder that health is about our social connections, our emotions, our community, having a sense of purpose, working towards the future, having a positive outlook, and enjoying both the small and big things in our lives.
The first quote in the book was:
“People don’t grow old. When they stop growing, they become old.”
We love our community and are always thrilled to hear all of the stories of how people are engaging in their lives. The various adventures, hobbies, lunch dates, volunteer opportunities, clubs, and the plans that everyone is making. When people have a well-rounded life and feel like they are in control, they have a higher quality of life. And a better health span. And isn’t that what we all aspire to have? To be healthy at 100?